As someone who loves to read mysteries and is always on the hunt for another series to start, I stumbled upon the Bailey Weggins mystery series by Kate White and just finished If Looks Could Kill, the first book in the series. Bailey Weggins is a freelance writer of crime and human interest stories for the monthly fashion and lifestyle magazine Gloss. Early one Sunday morning Bailey is roused out of bed by her boss and the editor of Gloss, Cat Jones, who can’t get her live-in nanny, Heidi, to answer the door of her basement suite. Bailey springs to action to help her boss figure out where Heidi has gone – and it isn’t far – when Bailey discovers the nanny dead in her suite. Cat pleads with Bailey to use her sleuthing skills to try and figure out why Heidi was murdered. Bailey, who puts her investigative skills right to the test, dives into the case.
The mystery heats up when it is determined that Heidi died from eating poisonous chocolate truffles that were an intended hostess gift for Cat. Who was the intended victim – Cat or Heidi? Bailey uncovers evidence that points to someone trying to poison the editors of high profile magazines and she puts her life at risk with her unofficial investigation.
If Looks Could Kill is a light (as far as mysteries are concerned) and easy read that effortlessly blends fashion, vibrant New York City life and murder.
Long Gone, the new thriller from Alafair Burke, is a suspenseful roller coaster of a novel where everything appears one way but, in reality, is completely the opposite. Recently fired from her job at a prestigious art museum in New York, Alice Humphrey is thrilled to be approached by a complete stranger, Drew Campbell, during an art gallery opening. Drew offers her a fabulous proposition – a dream job of managing an up-and-coming art gallery funded by an anonymous, wealthy patron. After a few initial doubts, Alice accepts the offer and begins to make her mark on the art world.
After the initial flurry of a successful opening, Alice begins to enjoy her new career until one morning a few weeks later. She opens the gallery and discovers the space is completely empty and the body of Drew Campbell is on the gallery floor. Quickly, the evidence begins to mount against her and the police believe that she killed the man who she thought to be Drew Campbell, but has been identified as someone else. Knowing that she has been set up, Alice desperately sets out on a quest to clear her name and find out the truth. While searching for answers along the way, Alice discovers even more hidden secrets involving her own family’s past.
Long Gone is a page-turning mystery with an intense and intricately woven storyline. Highly recommended!
Christina Haag, childhood friend and later longtime girlfriend of John F. Kennedy, Jr. has written a moving and beautiful memoir of her years with him, Come to the Edge, which chronicles their lives from the 1970s to the early 1990s.
After meeting him as a young girl as one member of a large circle of friends in New York City, Christina Haag becomes a close friend and confidant of John throughout their high school and later college days. After high school they both attend Brown University and learn that they share a love of theater both at Brown and later in New York City, where they return after graduation. After starring together in an off-Broadway play, he confesses his love for her and they embark on a five year romance. Her memoir tells of the human and personal side of their relationship that was far removed from the prying eye of the public.
She tells of their group dinners while roommates in college, trips to Cumberland Island in Georgia, their near death experience kayaking in Jamaica and of their normal, everyday life in New York. Her recollection of a man who lived his life on the edge is poignant and reflective. This is both a completely satisfying and heartbreaking memoir that tells the tale of love, loss and what could have been.
Many of you know Steve Martin as a comedian and as an actor, but he is also a best-selling author of both children’s books and adult fiction. His newest offering is a fictionalized glimpse into the New York art world, An Object of Beauty.
An avid art collector himself, Martin traces the rise and eventual fall of a young woman, Lacey Yeager, whose ambition and drive to be at the pinnicle of the art world knows no boundaries. Her tale begins when, right out of college, she accepts a position with Sotheby’s auction house. Her position is at the bottom of art world ladder (her office is literally in the basement) but she quickly learns what, and more importantly, who you need to know – but it comes at a high price.
Lacey’s eventual fall from grace is explained in full detail at the end of the book (after the author only gives the reader bits and pieces throughout) and her final eviction from the art world is swift and severe – which make for a compelling and fascinating look into the world of million dollar artwork.
The author includes color photographs of many of the works of art mentioned in the book – it is a nice touch!
Size 12 is Not Fatand Size 14 is Not Fat Either by Meg Cabot, are the first two books featuring former teen queen and singing sensation Heather Wells. Through an unfortunate series of events, Heather’s days of singing in shopping malls have come to a halt. Her bad luck includes a mother who ran off with her entire fortune to Argentina and her father who currently resides in prison. To get back on her feet she takes a job at the fictional New York College as the resident assistant in Fisher Hall, which is also known as “Death Dorm.” In each of these mysteries, Heather plays an amateur sleuth and assistant to her landlord who, conveniently, is a private investigator and the two team up to solve the crimes that take place in Fisher Hall.
Whether she is trying to find out if her female residents are truly elevator surfing (or being thrown to their deaths) or attempting to seek out the wealthy New York College students who killed the star cheerleader for knowing too much, Heather Wells is a likeable character whose escapades will keep you laughing and guessing. The third book featuring Heather Wells, Big Boned, completes this series. Meg Cabot’s mysteries are full of humor, mayhem, murder and a little romance too.
In The Icing on the Cupcake by Jennifer Ross, Ansley is a southern belle, Dallas style, whose well-planned life takes an unexpected turn; her perfect fiance leaves her for a fellow Baylor sorority sister. Unusually for romantic fiction, this is completely justified as the heroine is selfish, mean, and manipulative.
To get away from the gossip, she heads to New York City to live with her grandmother. The women of the family have always been expert bakers and have passed down a cookbook in which they record original recipes. Ansley uses her baking and business expertise to open a cupcakery.
A strong point is the insider information about baking (in particular, the difference between home baking and volume baking). Also, insights into Southern culture, specifically the uniquely Dallas way of life is fascinating.
Unfortunately, the novel wraps up quickly and glibly. Up to that point, the reader has willingly suspended belief when there were unlikely plot turns because the writing is graceful and the characters well-drawn. However, the last few chapters are written awkwardly, as if the author ran out of time or inspiration. I’d still give it an overall thumbs up, though…
From the first time Frenchman Philippe Petit read about the Twin Towers (while they were still being built) he dreamed of walking on a high-wire strung between the buildings. On August 7, 1974 his dream became a reality. Man on Wire recounts the great adventure that Philippe and his friends went on – the hard work, the determination and training, the massive organizing and sheer skill and beauty of the act of high-wire walking.
Footage from Philippe’s personal collection are integrated into what becomes a riveting and often tense story of exactly how this illegal (“but not wicked or mean”) act is pulled off. Philippe begins by setting up practice wires in a field near his home in France. As warm-ups to the Twin Towers, he walks a high-wire between the towers of Notre Dame and then between the towers of Sydney’s Harbour Bridge (with the famous Opera House in the background) Planning the Twin Towers walk took many months; still under construction and only partially occupied, Philippe spent many hours studying how to enter the building with nearly a ton of equipment, what the roofs were like, where would be the best places to anchor the wire.
The night before the walk, Philippe and friends entered the Towers, one team in each building. Both teams had close encounters with guards and equipment problems (imagine for a minute how they got that wire from one building to the other!) The morning dawns misty and foggy, but Philippe never hesitates; he spends nearly an hour on the wire, dancing, saluting the crowd, even laying down, all on a wire suspended nearly a quarter of a mile in the air.
There is an undercurrent of sadness here as well; friendships strained by the white hot passion of a single-minded obsession fade and break. Present-day interviews of the participants show how much they still care and how this adventure profoundly affected their lives. Even more poignant – not once are the events of 9/11 mentioned, nor the fact that the Towers no longer exsit. This lovely, touching documentary stands as a tribute to the lost Towers and the dreams they generated.
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