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31 May 2014

Review: Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead by Sara Gran

Author: Sara Gran
Publication Date: June 2, 2011
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Genre: Adult Mystery
Find It: GoodreadsAmazonB&N
Source: Library

Sara Gran has written a novel about an unprecedented private investigator named Claire DeWitt. Destiny, it seems, has chosen Claire to be a detective, planting a copy of the enigmatic book Détection in her path as a teenager. Claire has grabbed this destiny with both hands but fate has been cruel. Twenty years later detection is her religion andDétection is her Bible.

Now she is summoned to New Orleans, because someone has heard she is "the best," to search for an upstanding citizen lost in the miasma of Katrina. The battered and beggared New Orleans, second only to Claire, is the star of this story. Thus the title.

The style is slick, gripping, and mystical, as strange and as easy as the character of Claire DeWitt. You may be repelled by her earthiness or mesmerized by her off-the-wall devotion to her calling.

Well known district attorney Vic Willig has disappeared - assumed to have perished in the floods that devastated much of New Orleans. However, his nephew isn't convinced that Vic perished in the flood and calls on detective Claire DeWitt to find out what happened to his missing uncle. Following the controversial methods of Jacques Silette in his book Détection, Claire has a knack for finding out what others want hidden.

My big problem with this book is the main character, Claire Dewitt. She is the (self professed) best detective in the world but it's really unclear why she or anyone else would think so. We are not given an information on her professional background or what cases she has solved. Most of her investigative process involves drinking and smoking with teenage delinquents and dream interpretation. Clues fall into her lap (or next to her chair) and I saw very little detection going. Since Claire's skills are supposed to be slightly mystical, she goes about things in an unconventional way. However, as a reader, I think we need to have some idea of where her conclusions come from. There is one point in the book where Claire figures out a major clue but I have no idea how she got there. Without insight into her thought process, she’s just pulling answers out of thin air, with no skill or talent involved.

Claire is a contradiction. She acts intellectually and morally superior to everyone but is also constantly telling people how she comes from the street and the gutter. She is depressed, hostile, arrogant and has addiction problems. She has no friends and I can see why. Now there are plenty of flawed literary detectives with poor social skills, but they usually have some kind of investigative brilliance or an endearing quality to make up for some of it. And, as noted above, I did not see signs of Claire possessing any extraordinary detective skills or redeeming personality traits.

I do have to say that the author paints a vivid picture of New Orleans, post Katrina. It is an extremely bleak picture though. Gran's New Orleans is a place of desolation and violence, where people are lost and no one cares. Even seemingly good people turn out not to be and there is little hope for those who stay. It’s a side of New Orleans I don’t often think about and I have been told by a friend that the portrayal is accurate on many points.

I was pretty disappointed in this book. I was looking forward to a good mystery but found Claire to be too unlikable and the mystery was pretty bland. There was too much coincidence and conjecture and not enough real detecting. I will not be continuing on with the series.

*I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.

*Please note that this post may contain affiliate links. For more details, please see our full disclosure policy here. 

30 May 2014

Uncovered (110): The End Or Something Like That

Hello and happy Friday! This week has really flown by, which has been pretty great. I love the weekend! I know I did not get a review up this week but I am hoping to have one tomorrow. This week's Uncovered book is The End Or Something Like That by Ann Dee Ellis. I just saw this one the other day at Barnes & Noble (yes, I totally troll BN for covers to feature on the blog) and this one caught my eye. I love papercutting and, while this is not as intricate as some, I really like it. It's simple and interesting enough to not be boring. It also has a lot of depth when you see it in person. It doesn't look flat like some papercutting can look and has a real three dimensional quality.

From the description, this book sounds like a contemp YA that deals with grief and friendship. I am not sure I am getting that from the cover, but it sure is pretty.:)

That's my cover for this week. I hope you all have a fun, sun and cake filled weekend!

26 May 2014

Manicure Monday (64): Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead

Manicure Monday is a weekly post where I combine my love of reading and nail polish. Each week I'll feature one of my current reads along with a matching book manicure.

Hello! Happy Memorial Day, everyone. I can't believe that it's practically summer already. This year is really flying by. I am grateful to have an extra day off to just recharge. I saw the movie Chef yesterday, which was really funny and cute. Just don't go on an empty stomach because it will be you want to eat everything. Let's get in to today's Manicure Monday! Today I am featuring Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead by Sara Gran which is my book club pick for this month.

Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead by Sara Gran

There is not a lot going on in this cover and this was a pretty easy look to create. I really wanted to find a good color to match the cover and, luckily, OPI Fiercely Fiona was a pretty close match. It's a weird yellow winged with green shade. I painted on 3 coats of Fiercely Fiona onto all of my nails to get a new, opaque finish. 

Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead by Sara Gran

Next, using acrylic paints and a small brush, I painted the parrot. I painted the body of the parrot on my ring finger and had his tail continue onto my middle finger. 

Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead by Sara Gran

Then, using the black paint, I drew in the banner-type marking that are scattered throughout the cover.

Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead

And that's it! The bird looks a little blob-y in these pics but is a bit clearer in person. Overall this was a simple and fun manicure. I am about a third of the way through this book and it's just OK so far. I find the main character pretty annoying which is hindering my enjoyment of the book. But it may turn around so I'll keep reading.

Hope you guys liked today's look and I'll see you with another manicure next week!

25 May 2014

Stacked (108)

Inspired by Pop Culture Junkie and The Story Siren, Stacked is a weekly post where I share with you the books that I've bought, borrowed or received for the week.

Hello! This weekend is a holiday weekend in observance of Memorial Day. I don't have any big plans this weekend. I am usually visiting my family for Memorial Day but my parents are not going to be in town so I decided to stay put. I've been trying to catch up on some reading and sleeping. I did get to see the X-Men movie last night though, which I really enjoyed. They were always my favorite superhero comic as a kid and I am partial to them.

This week's book haul is pretty tame. I did make a stop at the library and got a couple of e-books. I really do love the library. It's like shopping without having to pay. :)


How The Scoundrel Seduces by Sabrina Jeffries - Received this book for review from Edelweiss. It's been a while since I've read a good historical romance and I am fan of Jeffries. Hope to start this one soon.

And All the Stars by Andrea K. Höst - Picked up this sci-fi YA book after reading a review on The Midnigh Garden. I don't read many indie books but this one has a lot of good reviews so crossing fingers it's good.


Shadow Kin by M.J. Scott - My local library has a pretty sad sci-fi/urban fantasy section. I feel this is often the case with libraries and they don't often know where to place certain books. But I was browsing the other day and found this series by MJ Scott. I don't know a lot about it but have seen it around and am going to give it a try. The library also had the 2 other books in the series, which I'll go back for if this is good.

Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith - I was happy to find a copy of Grasshopper Jungle in the YA new releases section. Excited about this one.

The Here and Now by Ann Brashares - Another find from the library. Love the cover to this one and of course, it's Ann Brasheres so I think I will like it.

The Pastry Queen - Cookbook I've been meaning to try. My local branch doesn't really get a ton of new cookbook releases. This is an older one but one I've been meaning to check out and I was happy to find it.
That's my book haul for this week. I really want to get some reading done this weekend but we will see what happens. Hope you are all having a wonderful weekend!

24 May 2014

What Does the Bookworm Say?: Book Budgeting

Hi and welcome to a new feature here on Nite Lite called What Does the Bookworm Say? that I am doing with my friends at The Reader's AntidoteBooks Unbound and The Windy Pages. This week's topic is about budgeting. Do you have a book budget and/or describe your book buying habits. 

I think it's pretty funny that I thought of this topic because, really, I am terrible at book budgeting or any kind of budgeting. Like most avid readers, I have a pretty bad book buying habit. It's really hard to resist a pretty new book when I see it in the store or on a blog. I have to say that after I started blogging, my buying increased dramatically. Before I began blogging I would still have impulsive book buys but it wasn't nearly as often. Seeing what other are reading and knowing what publishers have coming down the line gets me really excited about books and it's hard not to run out and buy everything I see. The invention of the e-book has also helped me stock my virtual bookshelves. I often justify to myself that I can buy an e-book because it doesn't take up any physical space. There are also some amazing sales on e-books pretty often. When I see a book I've been wanting to read or thinking about reading go on sale for $0.99 or $1.99, it's a no brainer for me to buy it.

Obviously though, I am not made of money (sadly or I'd share it with you all) and do need to watch how much I spend. I also have stacks and stacks of books at home that I need to read so I really can't be buying every pretty book that catches my eye. These days I try to only buy books by authors that I already know I love or books that I've already read and liked. If I go to a signing, I give myself permission to buy books from the authors there. Though I still need to be careful about this because I'll often get carried away at signings and will buy copies of books that I already have in e-book.

I buy from the local B&N when I can or when I have a coupon. I do like to save money though so I try to alternate in-store buys with online buys. If I go to an independent bookstore, I will purchase something there to support them. I also go to used bookstores to find gently loved books. There are a couple of good ones in my area and I like to go there when I have a free afternoon to browse. I've also found that thrift stores can be a great place to buy books. It can be hit or miss sometimes but it's always an adventure.

I also go to my local library once every week or two. I am lucky to have some great library systems near me and I take advantage of them. There are also a lot of great e-media libraries these days and I will borrow books in e-media form before I decide to purchase. Borrowing books from friends is also a great way to save money. If you hang out with a bunch of book bloggers, educators and librarians like I do, it's not too hard to find someone to lend me a particular book. If you're not lucky enough to hang out with such an awesome group I would definitely recommend the local library. Most of them will allow you to reserve books from other branches and pick them up at the location of your choice.

recent library haul

Those are some of my tricks for saving money and I hope it offered you a little insight on how I buy books. I'm interested in hearing what your book buying habits are. Do you have a set dollar amount for the month or do you only buy online? Do you blow caution to the wind like I do? I'd love to know.

Don't forget to check out what The Reader's AntidoteBooks Unbound and The Windy Pages have to say about this topic as well. If you have a topic you'd like us to cover, just leave it in the comments below. 

23 May 2014

Bout of Books Wrap Up

Bout of Books

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 12th and runs through Sunday, May 18th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week.  Be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. 

Hello! This wrap up is coming a bit late. Last week wasn't the best for me reading-wise. I did alright though I did not meet my goal. But I did alright, considering my limited reading time.

I ended up finishing Don't Turn Around by Michelle Gagnon and The Kraken King Part V by Meljean Brook.

Total pages read: 411
Total books read: 1 + 1 novella

I had a fun time watching everyone's progress and hope that I can do a little better next year. Did you participate? Did you meet your goals? Happy reading, everyone!

Uncovered (109): A Thousand Pieces of You

Hello and welcome to Uncovered, a weekly post where I wax poetic about a cover that I think is beautiful. Who says you can't judge a book by its cover?

Hi, guys! Happy Friday! I am looking forward to the upcoming long weekend. This week's cover was a special request by Alethea. She picked A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray, which I agree is a freakin' gorgeous cover. I love everything about this cover. Mirrored image covers are pretty popular right now and I like how they've used it here to juxtapose two very different landscapes. The sleek, modern high rises are a stark contrast to the ornate and colorful palaces of the bottom image. I like how the colors used also match each landscape, with cool blues and greys for the more modern city and bright oranges, pinks and purples less modern city. I really like watercolors as well and they are used to great effect here. This book is about different dimensions and worlds, which I think you get from the cover.

Overall, extremely excited about this one. I may have to place a pre-order for it. Let me know what you think of A Thousand Pieces of You in the comments below. :)

21 May 2014

Review: The Professional: Part 3 by Kresley Cole

Author: Kresley Cole
Publication Date: January 20, 2014
Publisher: Pocket Star
Genre: Adult Contemporary Erotic Romance
Find It: GoodreadsAmazonB&NKobo
Source: Purchased

Are you ready to play?

Yet all is not as it seems. To remove Natalie from an enemy's reach, Sevastyan spirits her into hiding. From an opulent palace in Russia to the decadent playgrounds of the mega-wealthy in Paris, the two lovers will discover that even their darkest - and most forbidden - fantasies can come true  cover that even their darkest—and most forbidden—fantasies can come true.

The final installment of The Professional finds Natalie and Sevastyan at a crossroads in their relationship. Their courtship was brief and intense but now it's time to see if they physical connection can translate into something more lasting. Sevastyan is intent on hiding his part from Natalie, but Natalie knows that they cannot move forward without knowing all of each other.

This book started with a lot of promise for me. I really liked Sevastyan and Natalie, two very different people who found a way to connect. However, as the story went on, I felt like their characters actually regressed rather than moving forward. Sevastyan continues to close himself off from Natalie, pushing her away even while he asks her to stay. I really did not like his behavior at the airport. It was mean and manipulative and it would have served him right it Natalie had left him there. One of the big reasons that Sevastyan is so closed off is because he is hiding his deep, dark past Natalie. However, by the time his past is revealed I found myself wondering what the big deal was. Knowing who he is and what he does now, I don't think Natalie expected him to have some idyllic childhood and I was expecting a lot worse. The introduction of his mysterious brother was interesting but again, fell a little flat. After hiding his existence from Natalie for so long, I expected him to be a

I also hated how Natalie ended up blaming herself for Sevastyan's inability to open up. Suddenly it was her fault for not being patient enough and understanding. I am not sure how she came to that conclusion but I call BS. The independent woman that Natalie started out as was nowhere to be found by the end of the book.

I also found the resolution of Natalie’s family ties to mob a little unbelievable. Maybe I am just a realist but it seems like it would take longer than a few weeks to undo a lifetime of mob dealings. It did wrap things up nicely for Natalie and Sevastyan though and let them go about their lives spending mob money guilt free.

As a fan of Cole’s Poison Princess series, I had high hopes for this book. The world building and character development in that series shows what the author is capable of. However, those qualities are not as apparent in this book and was left feeling a bit let down. 

Overall this book gets a 2.5 rating from me. I really enjoyed Part 1 but the lack of character development made the book less enjoyable in the later installments. If you're interested, definitely give it a go. While this isn’t my favorite Kresley Cole book, The Professional is still a fun read, with plenty of hot sex and daring escapes to keep things interesting. 

Also, check out my reviews for Part 1 and Part 2 of The Professional.

*I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.

Visit the author online at kresleycole.comFacebook and follow her on Twitter @kresleycole

Please note that this post may contain affiliate links. For more details, please see our full disclosure policy here

20 May 2014

Trailer: Kingsman: The Secret Service

Hi, everyone! I could not wait to post the new trailer for Kingsman: The Secret Service that was just released today. I heard about this movie a little while ago but did not know much about it except that Matthew Vaugh (Stardust) was directing and that it has a killer cast. I love gadgets and training sequences so this looks like it's going to be a big win for me. Also - Colin Firth.

For more info and stills from the production, check out comingsoon.net. Kingsman will be released this fall.

19 May 2014

Manicure Monday (63): Sublime

Hi and welcome to Manicure Monday, a weekly post that combines my love of reading and nail polish. Each Monday I will show you one of my current reads along with a matching book manicure. Thanks for stopping by!  

Hello and happy Monday. Today I have a really fun and easy manicure to match the cover of Sublime by Christina Lauren. 

Sublime by Christina Lauren

First, isn't this a gorgeous cover? I really loved the dreamy quality of it and all of the swirling fabrics and hair. I decided to create a fun, easy look using a simple technique. I don't know if there's an official name for this technique but I am going to call it a swirl manicure. It has a look similar to a water marble manicure but is much easier to accomplish.

Sublime by Christina Lauren

First I started off with a dark grey base (Sinful Colors Ardoise) on all of my nails. Then I placed random drops of each color onto my nails. In order for this to work well it's best to work on one nail at a time before moving on to the next. The colors I used were Zoya Gie Gie (light pink shimmer), Zoya Rebel (light blue shimmer), Sinful Colors Ardoise (dark grey) and OPI My Boyfriend Scales Walls (grey toned white). After placing small drops of each color onto the nail, I swirled them together using a nail dotting tool. You can really use anything for this part - a toothpick or pin would also work well.

Sublime by Christina Lauren 

Do this for each of your nails. You polish will be quite thick after this so be sure you give it enough time to dry all the way through before you put your top coat on. And that's it! For very little effort you get a pretty cool looking manicure.

Sublime by Christina Lauren

I haven't really had time to do much more than start Sublime but it's good so far. I also love these authors and have a feeling I am going to like this one. Hopefully I will find more time to read this week than last.

Thanks for checking out today's manicure. Have a good week!

18 May 2014

Stacked (107)

Inspired by Pop Culture Junkie and The Story Siren, Stacked is a weekly post where I share with you the books that I've bought, borrowed or received for the week.

Happy Sunday, all. I hope you've all been having a good weekend. It's been pretty hot here where I live and most of my time has been spent indoors if possible. Yesterday I went to the Ontario Teen Book Fest. I had a fantastic time. The event was really well run and the authors were great. I was pretty good though and only bought one book at the event. This was a good book week for me though because I received a fun stack of books from a friend and I received one pre-order. Let's see what I got!


Thanks, A, for this giant stack of books. Listing them from top to bottom.

The Last Forever by Deb Caletti - I haven't read any Deb Caletti yet but this looks like a great summer read.

Through To You by Lauren Barholdt - Another new to me author. This looks like a sweet romance.

The Girls as the Kingfisher Club by Genevieve Valentine - I am a sucker for fairy tale retellings and is a re-imagining of the Twelve Dancing Princesses but set in the 20's. 

Absolutely Truly by Heather Vogel Frederick - I don't know munch about this one but it has a gorgeous illustrated cover. 

The Real Life Story: Sally Ride - This isn't the type of book I normally read but Sally Ride, the first female astronaut in space, we actually a teacher at my college. I took one of her intro classes just to have her as a teacher. She was a pioneer and a fascinating person. I am excited to learn more about her life and career.

#scandal by Sarah Ockler - This is one of the books I was most excited to get. I am a big fan of Ockler's books and can't wait to read this one.

Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson - I saw Matson last week at a book signing and she is just adorable and very funny. I think this is going to be a good one. 


House of the Rising Sun by Kristen Painter - I featured this cover on the blog recently and promptly put in a pre-order for it. This cover is even prettier in person and I can't wait to read this one. You can't go wrong with vampires in New Orleans. 

Midnight Thief by Livia Blackbourne - They had me at "assassin." :) I didn't know much about this book but was really impressed by Livia Blackbourne at the Ontario Teen Book Fest. This actually doesn't come out until July but Disney/Hyperion had early copies for sale at the event. 

Kiss of Deception by Mary Pearson - Mary was kind enough to give me and ARC of Kiss of Deception at the Fest yesterday. I have only hear positive things about this book and plan to read it really soon. 

As you can see, I have plenty to keep me busy. :) Now I just need to find some time to read all of these. Hope you have a most excellent Sunday!

16 May 2014

Uncovered (108): The Vault of Dreams

Happy Friday, everyone! So I've been a total blogging slacker this week and did not have a review. Sorry about that. My boss is on vacation which means I am covering for him which just leads to me being too tired to do much blogging when I get home from work. I am taking part in Bout of Books, too, and haven't made much progress. But its still fun to participate so I'll keep chugging along.

For this week's Uncovered, we are going into the slightly creepy with the cover for The Vault of Dreams by Caragh M. O'Brien. I am loving this cover for its simplicity and because it is so eye catching (pun intended). This eye is pretty scary since it's staring right at you but it's also framed to look like I think a map or ship's navigation system. I also love the colors and pattern in the eye. It looks abstract up close but is most definitely and eye when looked at further back.

That's my pick this week. Let me know what you guys think of it in the comments. And if you're going to the Ontario Teen Book Fest tomorrow, come say hi if you see me. :)

13 May 2014

TV Trailer: Constantine

I  had no idea that NBC was producing a Constantine television series until a few weeks ago. Constantine is based on the DC Comics series Hellblazer. I read a bit of Hellblazer in high school and enjoyed it. There was a pretty bad movie adaptation years ago with Keanu Reeves and Rachel Weisz that I admit I have a soft spot for. It wasn't very good but I love me some Rachel and Keanu.

This trailer looks promising though. This Constantine actually looks like the Constantine from the comics which is a small good sign and the themes look pretty true to the comics. I reserve full judgement until after I watch a few episodes but I am looking forward do this one. Constantine comes to NBC this fall.

12 May 2014

The Bout of Books Read-a-thon

Bout of Books

Hi, everyone. Seems I am in a joining mood today so I've decided to try and do the Bout of Books read-a-thon. I seem to be doing OK in reading this month and figured a little extra motivation could not hurt.

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 12th and runs through Sunday, May 18th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 10 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. 

I am not sure what books I want to read for the read-a-thon yet but will update later tonight hopefully will more specific goals. 

Time Devoted to Reading
I will be reading during the week probably in the evenings and the weekend. 

Books to Read
1. Don't Turn Around by Michelle Gagnon
2. Sublime by Christina Lauren
3. Saga Vol 1
4. X-23 Vol 1


Number of pages read: Don't Turn Around by Michelle Gagnon p. 1-72

Number of pages read: The Kraken King Pt 5 by Meljean Brook p. 1- 102

Number of pages read: Super busy and did not read much. I read a little but didn't keep track.

Number of pages read: Don't Turn Around by Michelle Gagnon p. 112 - 132

Saturday - Sunday
Number of pages read: Don't Turn Around by Michelle Gagnon 132- 309

Total pages read: 411
Total books read: 1 + 1 novella

Manicure Monday (62): Don't Turn Around

Hi and welcome to Manicure Monday, a weekly post that combines my love of reading and nail polish. Each Monday I will show you one of my current reads along with a matching book manicure. Thanks for stopping by!

Hello! It's Monday again which means it's time for a new manicure. This week's manicure was inspired by Don't Turn Around by Michelle Gagnon. This ARC has been in my TBR pile for so long and I am glad that I've finally started it. I always knew that I wanted to do a manicure with it, too, since the cover is so colorful and distinct.

Don't Turn Around by Michelle Gagnon

To start, I painted on one coat of a white creme (Cult Nails Tempest) onto all of my nails to make a nice base for the other colors pop against. Next, I used four colors ranging from a chartreuse green to a red-orange to create a gradient that matched the cover colors. The shades I used were (starting with the green) OPI Who the Shrek Are You, American Apparel Manila, Zoya Arizona and NYC Color Spring Street. There are lots of tutorials online on how to do a gradient manicure if you'd like to try for a similar look.

Don't Turn Around by Michelle Gagnon

Next I used China Glaze Megabyte, a sparkly gold holo, and a skinny nail brush to paint in grid lines similar to those on the book cover.  Added a layer of top coat to seal it all in and it was done! This was a pretty easy look to achieve with a bit of patience and I really liked the finished results. 

Don't Turn Around by Michelle Gagnon

Don't Turn Around by Michelle Gagnon

I hope you all enjoyed today's manicure. Have an awesome week!