Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Ice Princess

The Ice Princess is the American debut crime novel by one of Sweden's best selling authors, Camilla Lackberg. She is on her way to conquer the American market as well if The Ice Princess is any indicator.

I haven't been a huge fan of murder mysteries in the past. You want to make it at least through half the book before you can figure out the who's and why's of the story. Until now, Harlan Coben has been the only author I have read that has kept me guessing till the end. Camilla Lackberg was able to keep my interest because she was able to keep the mystery.

The story starts with a punch. Local girl is found dead in a tub of ice with her wrists slit. Suicide is the most plausible deduction in this quiet town where nothing happens. But forensics prove she was murdered.

The heroine of the story is Erica. She could be your best friend. She has all the insecurities we as women have. She is a successful biographer and aspiring author. She has the responsibilities of being a concerned older sister who has recently buried her own parents. She also happens to be the one to find the victim, who was once her childhood best friend.

The story begins to develop several characters, that I assume will be included in future books. The Ice Princess is the first of a three part series. These characters are the people you would meet on the street. You become knowledgeable of the fact that the bad guy isn't always the one you suspect and relationships aren't always as they appear. My favorite character relationship is budding romance of Erica and Patrik, the detective who is investigating the murder. Their romance is so believable.

Overall, the story is about childhood friendships, loyalty, and coming to terms with the demons of your past. And solving a murder or two along the way. The Ice Princess is an enjoyable murder mystery. I give it 5 stars. I enjoyed the book so much that I am actually going to try to meet the author on her upcoming book tour.

About This Book:
Product Details
Free Press, March 2011
Trade Paperback, 416 pages
ISBN-10: 1451621744
ISBN-13: 9781451621747
I received a free copy of The Ice Princess from the publishers in exchange for an honest review. No additional compensation was given.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Crazy for Books Blog Hop

Book Blogger Hop
This week's question comes from Mina who blogs at Mina Burrows:

"If you could physically put yourself into a book or series…which one would it be and why?"
My answer is the Myron Bolitar series by Harlan Coben. He is my favorite author.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Raising

The Raising is a book by Laura Kasischke is a story about a middle America college campus under a cloud of mystery. The mystery centers around an automobile accident where a female student is thrown from a car. Conflicting stories between a witness and newspaper accounts of the accident begin the story.

The story centers around 5 key characters.
Nicole: The coed who dies in the car accident. She is portrayed as the sweet, innocent, and chaste girlfriend of Craig. But things aren't always as they appear.

Craig: Nicole's boyfriend and driver of the vehicle in the fateful crash. He is the spoiled, rich man on campus. He comes away from the accident with no recollection of what happened. Although cleared of all charges, he is taunted as a murderer on campus.

Perry: Craig's roommate. He also grew up with Nicole. He is one of the first people to discover that there is something amiss with Nicole's death. And what was his relationship with Nicole?

Shelley: An art professor at the college. She happens to be the first on the scene of the car accident.

Mira: A professor of Anthropology. She helps Perry explore the questions he has surrounding the death of Nicole.

There are other players in the story. I am not sure that they really add to the story. I believe the author should have used less energy in developing these characters as they really have nothing to do with the story. At the end of the book I questioned what was the point of detailing Mira's family life, Shelly's sex life, Perry's ex girlfriend, or the divorce of Craig's parents.

The plot of the story was very enjoyable. The writing was superb. Kasischke grabbed my interest right at the beginning and never let go till the end of the book. That is where the story fell flat for me. As with any mystery, the reader wants to try to figure out 'whodunit'. I got so wrapped up in the who and why of each character development, searching for their part in the story. In the end, I was left with questions. The ending disappointed me. It seemed thrown together. It didn't have the details that were flowing abundantly throughout the book.

I would recommend this book as Kasischke is truly a gifted writer. This is the first of her books that I have read. I want to read more. A warning: there are parts of the story that are quite raunchy. Otherwise, I give this book 4 stars.

Paperback: 496 pages
Publisher: Harper Perennial; Original edition (March 15, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0062004786
ISBN-13: 978-0062004789
Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 3.2 x 1.5 inches

Monday, March 21, 2011

Beautiful Blue Eyes Review

Eyes are the windows to the soul. Even to the young soul of a child. Beautiful Blue Eyes by Marianne Richmond is a beautiful story about the soul of a child growing.

This story is written especially for the parents of blue eyed children. Marianne Richmond shares the exploration of their child's emotions and personality from the perspective of a parent looking in their child's eyes.

The artwork is breath taking. Marianne Richmond shows her artistic talent not only lies with writing beautiful prose, but also with beautiful illustrations. Richmond is a truly talented artist. I give this book 5 stars. I can't wait to read it to my blue eyed grand daughters.

Beautiful Blue Eyes
ISBN: 9781402256394
By: Marianne Richmond
Published: March 2011
Length: 9.625 in
Width: 9.875 in
Weight: 0.00 oz
Page Count: 32 pages

Beautiful Blue Eyes can be purchased here.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

15 Minutes Outside Review

15 Minutes Outside - 365 ways to get out of the house and connect with your kids by Rebecca P. Cohen is a must have for every parent regardless of the child's age.

"In this complex age of over scheduled kids and helicopter parents, the premise is simple: what if you got outside every day, and what if you could get your kids to come along?" Rebecca Cohen challenged herself to take her 2 children out of the house everyday. The result is this book 15 Minutes Outside.

The book is an easy to follow reference book. The activities are easy to accomplish on a moments notice. Rebecca has divided the content of her book by the month and by the day. The activities not only reflect the month, but the season as well. She also gives alternative activities to accommodate all climates, such as no snow. Of course there are no set rules and you can make up your own activities. At the end of the book is a complete list of all the activities.

The objective of this book is to spend quality time with your kids and not spend a fortune. In doing so, you are creating a strong family bond and making wonderful memories. The book is good for children up to 12 years of age, says the author. I believe it is good for all ages. I think it is important to do these outside activities with your young children, but equally important to maintain that 15 minutes of outside time as we get older.

I would give this book 5 stars. I received this book for free for the purpose of this review. I was not paid for this review.

Fifteen Minutes Outside
ISBN: 9781402254369
By: Rebecca Cohen
Published: February 2011
Format: Paperback
Length: 8 in
Width: 5 in
Weight: 9.00 oz
Page Count: 256 pages

Fab Friends Thursday Blog Hop

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Sentimental Me

This is my review on Sentimental Me by Charles L. Fields. The author takes pride in the dual genre of the book - travel and mystery.

Sentimental Me is about Charles Stone, an insurance investigator, who is summoned to see why the beneficiary for a $500,000 life insurance policy for a slain border patrol agent has a known drug cartel connections.

The author creates a like able hero with Stone. Although like able, the character lacks depth. Stone is an autobiographical character so I am confident that there is more depth than meets the eye. I would enjoy knowing more about Charles Stone.

The story was good. It had all the elements for an intriguing travel, mystery, thriller. The author gets you interested and keeps you wanting to pick up the book and finish reading. However, valuable intricate story details were passed over for the travel details of roads traveled, hotels, and even food the hero chose to ate. I would have loved the author to spend more energy developing the story of the murder and investigation. To expand the drug cartel and the war in Afghanistan story would have added real interest to the book. At times it seemed that there was info thrown into the story just to make a word count. For example, there are a couple of "token" love scenes that leave the reader feeling like "what's the point".

I am looking forward to reading more from Fields. His writing is enjoyable and his life experiences show in his writing. He excels in the travel aspect of his book, but the mystery needs a bit more definition. I give this book 4 stars.I received this book free for the purpose of this review.

Paperback: 228 pages
Publisher: Outskirts Press (September 9, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1432763474
ISBN-13: 978-1432763473
Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 0.7 inches

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Art of Being There in Portugal

This is my review of The Art of Being There in Portugal by David F. Jennings. This book is published by Dorrance Publishing Co., Inc. I wanted to read this book because of my own Portuguese heritage. I was hoping to gain some insight into the Portuguese culture.
In the first part of the book, the author tries to give a little background into his personal interest in traveling, which he accomplishes. But I don't feel that it added more to the book. I must admit that I almost stopped reading because this section seemed to bounce back and forth between subjects. It was a bit confusing to read, and honestly took longer to read this section than it did to read the rest of the book.
I am very happy that I continued to read. The rest of the book was filled with personal experiences. The author was forthcoming in preparing the reader that these were memories being shared as if you were sitting with a dear friend. These recollections came as freely as comfortable conversations. This made the book a very personal diary of sorts. My favorite stories were of the experiences where something didn't quite go right. You could smile and say, 'I've been there'.
I enjoyed the author's passion for travel. It came across very clearly. His title couldn't be more perfect. I find that I too share his passion for "being there" when you travel and not just a tourist.
The book has some very helpful information for the person who has an interest in traveling to Portugal. I would rather have this book as a travel guide than one of those Travel Guide books because it was written by someone who truly enjoys traveling Portugal. Not by someone paid to write a review.
I received a complimentary copy of The Art of Being There in Portugal as a member of the Dorrance Publishing Book Review Team. Visit dorrancebookstore.com to learn how you can become a member of the Book Review Team.