Tag Archives: party

The Mayor of Mardi Gras: A Memoir by Gregory L Fischer (Book Review)

New Orleans Mardi Gras parades date back to 1857. Many people attend Mardi Gras. Fewer people participate as members of a krewe, and still fewer work year-round as artists and float builders. My cousin McKinley “Mackie” J. Cantrell, III was one of the artists and builders who worked full-time to bring Mardi Gras to life. A third-generation float builder, Mackie’s grandfather began building floats during the Great Depression. By the mid-70s, “Big Mac” Cantrell had his own company, called McKinley J. Cantrell and Son and was captain of his own parade, the Krewe of Mardi Gras. Cantrell Floats lives on today, but Mackie died suddenly two days after Christmas in 2021. He was forty-seven. He was more of a brother to me, a mentor, who took me on to work with him for an entire year of Carnival preparation in 2011-12. This book is a telling of all my great memories of Mackie. It is a rare glimpse into New Orleans life from an artist’s perspective. As Mackie would say, “It’s a true story, stab-ah.”

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I received a complimentary copy of this book from Reedsy DiscoveryI voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

 

The Cantrell family has a long history with Madris Gras, dating back to the Great Depression. Their legacy is quite impressive. In The Mayor of Mardi Gras: A Memoir, Gregory Fischer shares fond memories and photos of Mackie Cantrell, his cousin – best friend – and honorary brother.

Every page is a tribute to the man Gregory lost just two short days after Christmas 2021. If you ever have lost someone, you know the pain Mackie’s friends and family have experienced and probably are still experiencing. I didn’t know Mackie, but I felt like I did through Gregory’s storytelling. 

Mackie was a Renaissance man, a person with many talents or areas of knowledge. He was an athlete in high school (football and wrestling), an artist, a musician, a singer, a songwriter, and loved books. His favorite was The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas. He could snowboard, rode a wakeboard like a pro, and welds. His artistic ability amazed me. I was blown away by the Flintstone vehicle. I could not fathom how in the world he created it. Just WOW! 

I’ve been to New Orleans, but I have not enjoyed the thrill of the Carnival Ball. I have seen photographs and news reports on the celebration but never really thought about the time it takes to bring a design to life or the toll it takes on a person’s body to create these elaborate floats and props. At Mackie’s passing, he made hundreds of floats and props. From the photos, he loved every moment he spent sweating over constructing and final touch-ups. 

Unfortunately, all parades were canceled in 2021 due to covid. Gregory stated Mackie worried about what 2022 would look like. Would they come back? Mackie’s work will be cherished and admired for years to come. His presence will be felt every year during Mardi Gras. And Mackie will be close to those in spirit—never far from Gregory’s thoughts. 

Besides learning much about Mackie, I learned a few things about Mardi Gras floats. One, the first float rolled out in 1857. And two, the floats have a port-a-potty on them. Fascinating! 

This book is a joy for anyone to read!

I want to end my review with parting words…

“I’m here for you. Come around anytime. You know where to find me.”

 

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Meet the Author

Author Gregory L Fischer is a former Editor-In-Chief of the Weekly Citizen, The Chief, and the Post-South newspapers in Louisiana. He is currently the owner of Make It Write, a publishing services company in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where he lives with his wife and stepchildren.

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Grace in Hollywood – A Grace Michelle Mystery by Kari Bovee (Book Review)

GRACE IN HOLLYWOOD (A Grace Michelle Mystery) by Kari Bovee

All that glitters… is sometimes blood. With her golden ticket buried in the ground, can she save a wrongly accused teen from the gallows?

Hollywood, 1924. Promoted to lead costume designer of a star-studded film, Grace Michelle should be on top of the world. But between her husband’s debt, her sister’s recent death, and the troubled teenaged girl she’s fostering, she’s struggling to please everyone and still keep a smile on her face. And when a Tinseltown shindig turns deadly, Grace is horrified to discover her young charge unconscious alongside the director’s grisly corpse.

Determined to prove the girl’s innocence, Grace’s own haunted past fills her sleep with prophetic nightmares. And no sooner has she sought clarity from a medium than a second body lands the scared teenager in the slammer.

Can Grace turn the camera on the real culprit before another victim ends up on the cutting room floor?

Grace in Hollywood is the second book in the riveting A Grace Michelle Mystery historical series. If you like fiercely loyal heroines, thrilling whodunits, and the magic of old cinema, then you’ll love Kari Bovee’s enthralling tale.​

 
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I received a complimentary copy of this book from iRead Book Tours. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
 
 
Grace and Chet have come a long way since Sophia’s death. They now live on a ranch and foster four children of various ages. They did more than open up their homes; they opened up their hearts. 


While in their care, though, tragedy struck. A murder occurred during a Hollywood party, and their oldest charge, Lizzy, is the prime suspect since she was found with the deceased. Lizzy denied responsibility, and Grace believed her. 


The evidence is mounting. Bodies are piling up. Lizzy is losing hope. Grace, however, doesn’t give up. Like with the murder mystery of her sister, Sophia, Grace will turn over every rock to uncover the truth. Through her investigations, she learns some shocking facts. She also finds herself facing the real villain of the story. 
 
Grace in Hollywood – A Grace Michelle Mystery by Kari Bovee is a mystery you WON’T figure out quickly. All the twists and turns will keep you puzzled as to who is the real murderer. 


The last page will have you muttering, “WTH,” or something close to that. I can’t wait to read Grace Among Thieves (A Grace Michelle Mystery), book three in the series. 

 
 
Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤
 
 
 
 
 
Meet the Author:

Author Kari Bovee

When she’s not on a horse riding along the beautiful cottonwood-laden acequias of Corrales, New Mexico; or basking on white sand beaches under the Big Island Hawaiian sun, Kari Bovée is escaping into the past—scheming murder and mayhem for her characters both real and imagined in her historical mystery novels.

Kari Bovée writes the award-winning Annie Oakley mystery series and the Grace Michelle mystery series. In 2020 she was honored with First Place in category for the Chanticleer International Clue Awards for her book Folly at the Fair. In 2019 she was awarded the NM/AZ Book Awards Hillerman Award for her novel Girl with a Gun. The novel also received First Place in the 2019 NM/AZ Book Awards in the Mystery/Crime category, and won First in Category in the International Chanticleer Murder & Mayhem Awards. It was also a finalist in the 2019 Next Generation Indie Awards. Her novel Grace in the Wings won First in Category for the 2019 International Chanticleer Chatelaine Awards. Peccadillo at the Palace won Grand Prize in the 2019 Goethe Awards, and was a finalist in the 2019 Best Book Awards Historical Fiction category.

Kari Bovée has worked as a technical writer for a Fortune 500 Company, has written non-fiction for magazines and newsletters, and has worked in the education field as a teacher and educational consultant.

 

Connect with the author:  
Website ~ Goodreads ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Instagram Pinterest

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Olive and the Valentine’s Spell by Helen Millman (Book Review)

** 2022 Family Choice Award Winner **OLIVE AND THE VALENTINE'S SPELL by Helen Millman

 
​Olive is a sweet elementary school boy who is afraid to go to school on Valentine’s Day. . .because he thinks he’ll have to get married! Olive’s mom joins in his fight to defeat the “princess of love,” but along the way he learns an even bigger lesson, discovering the true meaning of love.

Olive and the Valentine’s Spell is an inspiring children’s book for all ages that shines a humorous light on Valentine’s Day and overcoming your fears.

 
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I received a complimentary copy of this book from iRead Book Tours. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
 
 
As a parent who’s raised two kids, my children didn’t have fears regarding Valentine’s Day like Olive did in Olive and the Valentine’s Spell by Helen Millman. However, there have been many times they’ve been afraid when it came to other firsts. So, with that said, I’m sure other children will be frightened or have questions regarding their first Valentine’s party. 


If you have children or take care of children, you know that we caregivers go to any lengths to take a child’s fear away. Much like the mommy in the story, we listen to a child’s fear(s), hold them tightly, reassure them everything will be all right, and maybe we’ll toss in a bit of magic. 


While being scared is no laughing matter, Vanessa Alexandre bought a smile to my face with her adorable illustrations. I loved the children’s expressions, and Cali’s glasses were just the cutest! The fairy was also darling. 


There are a couple of words that might need to be defined: humbly and oh vey. While I can see readers (ages 3-7) following along when being read to, I think it’ll prove challenging for them to read independently. No worries though – they’ll be old enough to read this story solo sooner than you think! 

No matter the age, I think it’ll be enjoyed by many! 


Happy Valentine’s! 

 
Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: 
 
 
 
 
 
Meet the Author:
Author Helen Millman
​​
Children’s author Helen Millman is a loving wife and mom. Her three young boys continually inspire her with their wild adventures and vivid imaginations. They even helped inspire her to write her new book, Olive and the Valentine’s Spell!

While living in Vero Beach, FL, she spends her time writing, reading, singing, and growing through her life’s experiences. She knows the importance of “seeing the bright side of life” and encourages her readers to “choose love, even when it seems impossible”. A friendly, optimist Helen has always loved to read to her own children and remembers how much her imaginative voices really helped bring the stories to life. She invites her readers to gather with a beloved book, for it truly is one of the best places to snuggle, giggle, imagine, and make unforgettable memories – together.


connect with the author: website facebook ~ instagram

 
 
 
 
 
 

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