03 August 2015

Book Review: The Ice Queen

Author:Nele Neuhaus
Publication Date:January 13, 2015
Publisher:Minotaur Books
Source:Library
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The body of 92-year-old Jossi Goldberg, Holocaust survivor and American citizen, is found shot to death execution style in his house near Frankfurt. A five-digit number is scrawled in blood at the murder scene. The autopsy reveals an old and unsuccessfully covered tattoo on the corpse's arm--a blood type marker once used by Hitler's SS. Pia Kirchhoff and Oliver Bodenstein are faced with a riddle. Was the old man not Jewish after all? Who was he, really? Two more, similar murders happen--one of a wheelchair-bound old lady in a nursing home, and one of a man with a cellar filled with Nazi paraphernalia--and slowly the connections between the victims becomes evident: All of them were lifelong friends with Vera von Kaltensee, baroness, well-respected philanthropist, and head of an old, rich family that she rules with an iron fist. Pia and Oliver follow the trail, which leads them all the way back to the end of World War II and the area of Poland that then belonged to East Prussia. No one is who they claim to be, and things only begin to make sense when the two investigators realize what the bloody number stands for, and uncover an old diary and an eyewitness who is finally willing to come forward.

Nele Neuhaus's The Ice Queen is a character- and plot-driven mystery about revenge, power, and long-forgotten and covered up secrets from a time in German history that still affects the present.
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30 July 2015

TBR Thursday #7


My tbr is getting out of control.  My books are are closing in on one another.  It is time take action and remind myself of all those goodies on my shelf.  To get motivated I started a meme, TBR Thursday.  Each week, I will highlight one book that I physically own, be it arc, bought, paperback or ebook and is on my tbr.  It could have been there for months or just acquired it yesterday, but the point is to spotlight novels that scream "read me". 

I've been doing TBR Thursday for six weeks now and thought it would be interesting to see how many (if any) I actually read.  Therefore, I decided to post a progress report of sorts to see what I've accomplished.  Thus at the end of each odd number month I will share how my tbr is coming along and/or if anything has been added to it.

TBR Thursdays

The Daddy Diaries by Joshua Braff
Joshua Braff delivers an authentic, funny and honest tale about modern family life. Jay and Jackie uproot their family of four from San Francisco after Jackie loses her job but finds a lucrative new one in St. Petersburg, Florida. Jay, a one-time copywriter and aspiring author, now plays househusband, caring for his troubled thirteen-year-old son and precocious daughter as they adjust to their new life. As his children begin to assert their independence, Jay realizes that the challenges of child rearing are only going to grow more difficult in the teen years. Through a series of misadventures and run-ins with his narcissistic older brother, his lunatic childhood friend, and his increasingly estranged but beloved son, Jay learns that he must tap his own vulnerabilities if he is to be the rock of stability his family so desperately needs.

Overflowing with pathos and humor, The Daddy Diaries is a memorable take on contemporary fatherhood and a clear-sighted look at how the upending of traditional marital roles can affect the delicate balance of familial love. In his third and best novel to date, Joshua Braff vividly evokes the unpredictable dance that families do, and captures how they similarly ebb and flow.


The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith
A brilliant debut mystery in a classic vein: Detective Cormoran Strike investigates a supermodel's suicide. After losing his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike is barely scraping by as a private investigator. Strike is down to one client, and creditors are calling. He has also just broken up with his longtime girlfriend and is living in his office.

Then John Bristow walks through his door with an amazing story: His sister, the legendary supermodel Lula Landry, known to her friends as the Cuckoo, famously fell to her death a few months earlier. The police ruled it a suicide, but John refuses to believe that. The case plunges Strike into the world of multimillionaire beauties, rock-star boyfriends, and desperate designers, and it introduces him to every variety of pleasure, enticement, seduction, and delusion known to man.

You may think you know detectives, but you've never met one quite like Strike. You may think you know about the wealthy and famous, but you've never seen them under an investigation like this.


Circling the Sun by Paula McLain
Paula McLain, author of the phenomenal New York Times bestseller The Paris Wife, takes readers into the glamorous and decadent circle of British expats living in Kenya in the 1920s. Circling the Sun tells the story of the beautiful young horse trainer, adventurer, and aviator Beryl Markham, from her childhood in British East Africa to her relationship with hunter Denys Finch Hatton and rivalry with Out of Africa author Karen Blixen—a notorious love triangle that changed the course of Beryl’s life.



Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi
In the winter of 1953, Boy Novak arrives by chance in a small town in Massachusetts, looking, she believes, for beauty—the opposite of the life she’s left behind in New York. She marries a local widower and becomes stepmother to his winsome daughter, Snow Whitman.

A wicked stepmother is a creature Boy never imagined she’d become, but elements of the familiar tale of aesthetic obsession begin to play themselves out when the birth of Boy’s daughter, Bird, who is dark-skinned, exposes the Whitmans as light-skinned African Americans passing for white. Among them, Boy, Snow, and Bird confront the tyranny of the mirror to ask how much power surfaces really hold.

Dazzlingly inventive and powerfully moving, Boy, Snow, Bird is an astonishing and enchanting novel. With breathtaking feats of imagination, Helen Oyeyemi confirms her place as one of the most original and dynamic literary voices of our time.


The Meursault Investigation by Kamel Daoud-- read
He was the brother of “the Arab” killed by the infamous Meursault, the antihero of Camus’s classic novel. Seventy years after that event, Harun, who has lived since childhood in the shadow of his sibling’s memory, refuses to let him remain anonymous: he gives his brother a story and a name—Musa—and describes the events that led to Musa’s casual murder on a dazzlingly sunny beach.

In a bar in Oran, night after night, he ruminates on his solitude, on his broken heart, on his anger with men desperate for a god, and on his disarray when faced with a country that has so disappointed him. A stranger among his own people, he wants to be granted, finally, the right to die.

The Stranger is of course central to Daoud’s story, in which he both endorses and criticizes one of the most famous novels in the world. A worthy complement to its great predecessor, The Meursault Investigation is not only a profound meditation on Arab identity and the disastrous effects of colonialism in Algeria, but also a stunning work of literature in its own right, told in a unique and affecting voice.


You Should Have Known by Jean Hanff Korelitz
Grace Reinhart Sachs is living the only life she ever wanted for herself, devoted to her husband, a pediatric oncologist at a major cancer hospital, their young son Henry, and the patients she sees in her therapy practice. Grace is also the author of You Should Have Known, a book in which she castigates women for not valuing their intuition and calls upon them to examine their first impressions of men for signs of serious trouble later on. But weeks before the book is published, a chasm opens in her own life: a violent death, a missing husband, and, in the place of a man Grace thought she knew, only a chain of terrible revelations. Left behind in the wake of a spreading and very public disaster and horrified by the ways in which she has failed to heed her own advice, Grace must dismantle one life and create another for her child and herself.


Added to the TBR

 Bad Wolf by Nele Neuhaus

On a hot June day the body of a sixteen-year-old girl washes up on a river bank outside of Frankfurt. She has been brutally murdered, but no one comes forward with any information as to her identity. Even weeks later, the local police have not been able to find out who she is. Then a new case comes in: A popular TV reporter is attacked, raped, and locked in the trunk of her own car. She survives, barely, and is able to supply certain hints to the police, having to do with her recent investigations into a child welfare organization and the potenial uncovering of a child pornography ring with members from the highest echelon of society. As the two cases collide, Inspectors Pia Kirchhoff and Oliver von Bodenstein dig deep into the past and underneath the veneer of bourgeois society to come up against a terrible secret that is about to impact their personal lives as well. In Nele Neuhaus's second U.S. publication of her enormously popular series, tensions run high and a complex and unpredictable plot propels her characters forward at breakneck speed.

Eeny Meeny by M.J. Arlidge

Two hostages. One bullet. One lives. One dies.

They were going to spend the rest of their lives together. Soul mates. But when a young couple wakes up alone together, disorientated and trapped, they are yet to grasp the true horror of their situation. They have no food, no water. Instead there is a gun loaded with a single bullet and a mobile phone with enough power only to deliver a short message: ‘when one of you kills the other, the survivor will walk free’. For their captor it’s simple: set the scene, watch, wait and leave the victims to do the killing. Tortured by fear, desperation, starvation and thirst, there’s only one way to end their ordeal: one of them must die.

DI Helen Grace and her team know they are hunting a complex predator whose broken survivors must endure their role as living calling cards. And killers. The victims - work colleagues, a mother and daughter, a pair of dancers - appear to be chosen at random and yet the planning is meticulous. There must be something driving the choice of victims, but until DI Grace can establish a connection, the killer is unreachable. A breakthrough is elusive and then, terrifyingly, the investigation begins to turn full circle...






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28 July 2015

Review & Giveaway: Ross Poldark

Author: Winston Graham
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Publication Date:June 9, 2015
Original Publication: 1945
Source: Publisher/Blog Tour
In the first novel in Winston Graham’s hit series, a weary Ross Poldark returns to England from war, looking forward to a joyful homecoming with his beloved Elizabeth. But instead he discovers his father has died, his home is overrun by livestock and drunken servants, and Elizabeth—believing Ross to be dead—is now engaged to his cousin. Ross has no choice but to start his life anew.

Thus begins the Poldark series, a heartwarming, gripping saga set in the windswept landscape of Cornwall. With an unforgettable cast of characters that spans loves, lives, and generations, this extraordinary masterwork from Winston Graham is a story you will never forget.
Review:

Sadly, when I hear the name Ross I automatically think of Friends Ross Geller.  Poor pathetic Ross who for ten years pines over Rachel.  Ross Poldark could have easily fallen into this mold, pining for Elizabeth for the next ten books, but fortunately we are spared.

I am a sucker for melodrama, especially in the form of tv, which has made it so difficult to stay away from the PBS series to keep myself out of the know.  With love, rivalry, and class struggle this was a recipe of perfection.  As engrossing as the storyline was, I liked the attention to detail Graham provided even more.  I could vividly picture Ross and  Rachel Demelza  and the scenery was something to salivate over.  But Graham provides a good solid story with characters who count and scream to have their stories be told.

Overall, Poldark is the beginning of an interesting Odyssey of a series and look forward to reading the rest of the Poldark saga.

GIVEAWAY DETAILS:



Win One of Three Fabulous Prizes

In celebration of the re-release of Ross Poldark and Demelza, Sourcebooks Landmark is offering three chances to win copies of the books or a grand prize, an Anglophile-themed gift package.

Two lucky winners will each receive one trade paperback copy of Ross Poldark and Demelza, and one grand prize winner will receive a prize package containing the following items:

(2 ) Old Britain Castles Pink Pottery Mugs by Johnson Brothers
(1) Twelve-inch Old Britain Castles Pink Pottery Plater by Johnson Brothersr
(1) London Telephone Box Tin of Ahmad English Breakfast Tea
(1) Jar of Mrs. Bridges Marmalade
(1) Package of Duchy Originals Organic Oaten Biscuits
(2) Packets of Blue Boy Cornflower Seeds by Renee's Garden Heirloom (1) Trade Paperback Copy of Ross Poldark & Demelza, by Winston Graham

To enter the giveaway contest simply leave a comment on any or all of the blog stops on the Ross Poldark Blog Tour starting July 06, 2015 through 11:59 pm PT, August 10, 2015. Winners will be drawn at random from all of the entrants and announced on the Buzz at Sourcebooks blog on August 13, 2015. Winners have until August 20, 2015 to claim their prize. The giveaway contest is open to US residents and the prizes will be shipped to US addresses. Good luck to all!



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24 July 2015

Write On review-a-thon

Write On Review-a-Thon
The Write On review-a-thon is a monthly event created and hosted by Brianna at The Book Vixen. It’s 2 days dedicated to getting reviews done, whether you have one review to write or 30+. This edition of the review-a-thon takes place all day Saturday, July 25th and Sunday, July 26th. Let’s get those reviews done!

The reviews I have to write are:
  1. Bad Wolf
  2. The Stranger
  3. The Meursault Investigation
  4. Ross Poldark
  5. Demelza

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23 July 2015

TBR Thursday: #6


My tbr is getting out of control.  My books are are closing in on one another.  It is time take action and remind myself of all those goodies on my shelf.  To motivate myself I started a meme, TBR Thursday.  Each week, I will highlight one book that I physically own and is on my tbr.  It could have been there for months or just acquired it yesterday, but the point is to spotlight novels that scream "read me".  Anyone is welcome to join in to encourage each other to clean up our tbr, just leave your link or book in the comments.

You Should Have Known by Jean Hanff Korelitz
Grace Reinhart Sachs is living the only life she ever wanted for herself, devoted to her husband, a pediatric oncologist at a major cancer hospital, their young son Henry, and the patients she sees in her therapy practice. Grace is also the author of You Should Have Known, a book in which she castigates women for not valuing their intuition and calls upon them to examine their first impressions of men for signs of serious trouble later on. But weeks before the book is published, a chasm opens in her own life: a violent death, a missing husband, and, in the place of a man Grace thought she knew, only a chain of terrible revelations. Left behind in the wake of a spreading and very public disaster and horrified by the ways in which she has failed to heed her own advice, Grace must dismantle one life and create another for her child and herself.

Why it is on my tbr:
Women put in difficult situations or facing hardship "I never thought my life would turn this way" sort of books have always appealed to me.  You Should Have Known strikes that cord with me and seems like a fast paced, possible thriller as well.






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21 July 2015

Book Review: Snow White Must Die

Author:Nele Neuhaus
US Publication Date:January 15, 2013
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Source:Bought
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On a rainy November day police detectives Pia Kirchhoff and Oliver von Bodenstein are summoned to a mysterious traffic accident: A woman has fallen from a pedestrian bridge onto a car driving underneath. According to a witness, the woman may have been pushed. The investigation leads Pia and Oliver to a small village, and the home of the victim, Rita Cramer.

On a September evening eleven years earlier, two seventeen-year-old girls vanished from the village without a trace. In a trial based only on circumstantial evidence, twenty-year-old Tobias Sartorius, Rita Cramer’s son, was sentenced to ten years in prison. Bodenstein and Kirchhoff discover that Tobias, after serving his sentence, has now returned to his home town. Did the attack on his mother have something to do with his return?

In the village, Pia and Oliver encounter a wall of silence. When another young girl disappears, the events of the past seem to be repeating themselves in a disastrous manner. The investigation turns into a race against time, because for the villagers it is soon clear who the perpetrator is—and this time they are determined to take matters into their own hands.

An atmospheric, character-driven and suspenseful mystery set in a small town that could be anywhere, dealing with issues of gossip, power, and keeping up appearances.

By reading the title, one would think it was a Snow White retelling. It is dark like Grimm's Tale, but the comparison stops there.

Pia and Oliver were fantastic detective characters and their star power as a team reminded me of Rob Ryan and Cassie Maddox from Tana French's In The Woods. This is actually the fourth in the Bodenstein & Kirchoff series but first to be published in the U.S. Therefore, the characters were already developed and felt like I missed their introduction and had a little catch-up to do. Fortunately, the backstory of the detectives was not too detailed and was easy to get along with. Having lived in a small town myself, I understand how labels die hard and felt the coldness of the town seethed through the pages and made for a chilly read. I did have an idea of who it might be but looking back I feel that was Nele Neuhaus' point all along as the conclusion was completely unexpected and was a serious "I did not see that coming" moment.

Unfortunately, the end still fell flat like a pancake. I felt that the author was trying to make a happy ending for Tobias, but the damage that had been done to his family was beyond repair and instead came off as "you've got to be kidding me." That is quite the 360 from the previous sentence but that is the gist of Snow White Must Die, it is a novel that takes you through a loop waiting on the edge of your seat to know who gave Snow White the deathly apple.
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20 July 2015

High Summer Read-a-Thon 2015



Michelle at The True Book Addict is hosting another of her fabulous read-a-thons, the High Summer Read-a-thon.  I'm going to set my eyes on three books this time which I have listed below.

  1. Ross Poldark by Winston Graham
  2. Demelza by Winston Graham
I will also track my progress here:

7/20
Books Read: 0
Pages Read:0
Kindle%40
Time Read: 3 hours
Time Commenting: 15 minutes

7/21
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7/22
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7/23
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7/24
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7/25
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7/26
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19 July 2015

Weekly Update: 7/19/15

Sunday Post hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer is a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead. 

I got back from an extended 4th of July vacation with my bf last Sunday from my family's vacation home in upper Wisconsin, and had a nice time.  I also saw the documentary Amy which I would highly recommend, I knew nothing about Amy Winehouse and found it very interesting but it could be an emotional roller-coaster for some.
  Last Week:

  1.  I proposed a blog tour for Classic Literature
  2. Blogged my weekly feature TBR Thursday
  3. Wrote a book review for The Bishop's Wife
  4. Participated in Coyer's Beach Party Read-a-thon
  5. Opened sign ups for a Daphne du Maurier Blog Tour

This Week:

  1. I will participate in the High Summer Read-a-thon
  2. Review Snow White Must Die
  3. Review: Bad Wolf
  4. Host TBR Thursday
  5. Join The Book Vixen's Review-a-thon


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Explore the Classics in August Daphne du Maurier Tour Sign up


 The first author for Explore the Classics is Daphne du Maurier with sign ups starting today and will be open until the 29th. The tour will run from August 17 -31, please keep that in mind when selecting date preferences.

About Daphne du Maurier and her writing:

Daphne was born in 1907, grand-daughter of the brilliant artist and writer George du Maurier, daughter of Gerald, the most famous Actor Manager of his day, she came from a creative and successful family.
The du Maurier family were touring Cornwall with the intention of buying a house for future holidays, when they came across "Swiss Cottage", located adjacent to the ferry at Bodinnick. Falling in love with the cottage and its riverside location, they moved in on May 14th, 1927, Daphne had just turned 20.
She began writing short stories the following year, and in 1931 her first novel, 'The Loving Spirit' was published. It received rave reviews and further books followed. Then came her most famous three novels, 'Jamaica Inn', 'Frenchman's Creek' and Rebecca'. Each novel being inspired by her love of Cornwall, where she lived and wrote.
~ from Daphne du Maurier.org

Fiction Novels:

Short Stories:

Plays:

Non-Fiction:

To Participate:

For the Daphne du Maurier tour read and review one of her works and post about it on your blog on an appointed day.  If you would prefer to read a biography or do a write up on the author instead that is perfectly fine too. 

If you want to tweet about this fantastic!  The not so official hashtag for the tour is:
#exploretheclassicsdumaurier

I also made a banner for the event, so feel free to use it or the "Explore the Classics" button above.


Sign Up:

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18 July 2015

#Coyer Beach Party Read-A-Thon

BeachParty

It is time to get my read on, Coyer's Beach Party Read-a-thon starts today.  It is another opportunity to knock some books off my tbr, (I've managed a pathatic two so far) the only hitch is that they must have a beach settting.  Fortunately, I have three books that meet that criteria, they are:

  1. The Stranger by Albert Camus
  2. The Meursault Investigation by Kamel Daoud
  3. By The Sea by Steven Paul Leiva

    I will also be keeping track of my progress here.
    7/18
     Books Read: 0
    Pages Read: 68
    Kindle%: 0
    Time Read: 3 hours
    Time Commenting: 20 minutes

    7/19
     Books Read: 1
    Pages Read:68
    Kindle %: 12
    Time Read: 3 hours
    Time Commenting: 15 minutes

    7/20
     Books Read: 0
    Pages Read: 0
    Kindle%:40
    Time Read: 3 hours
    Time Commenting: 15 minutes

    7/21
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    7/22
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    7/23
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    7/24
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    Total
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