Book Review: The Snowman by Jo Nesbo

Hello everyone! This is going to be my first book for the Nordic Mystery Challenge!

The Snowman takes place in Oslo, Norway and is the fifth book in Jo Nesbo’s Harry Hole series. This is my first Jo Nesbo novel so I haven’t read the previous books in the Harry Hole series, but I have to say it was pretty easy to jump into without having read the previous books. No gaping holes in the plots, you get the feeling that some of the relationships are further developed in previous novels, but enough information is given that you don’t feel lost.

Anyway, back to Oslo. We open up to a newly fallen snow in a chilly November day in 1980. A woman pulls up to a house and tells her son to wait in the car. The son asks questions but she dismisses him, as she is going in to have one last goodbye romp with the man she is having an affair. During their passionate moment, her lover gets startled, fearing he’d seen a face in the window, closer inspection reveals a snowman. The lovers part ways and the woman comes back to the car, where her son says that he saw him. Startled, fearing her son had seen her with her lover, she asks him who he saw. He says the snowman. Relieved she pulls away and starts down the street, when her son then leans forward and says “We’re going to die” (Jo Nesbo, The Snowman)

This is a synopsis of the opening chapter of The Snowman. And honestly when opening chapters end with sentences like that, how can you not be hooked?

This book satisfied every mystery novel need that I had. I haven’t read a book that satisfied my mystery craving this well in such a long time. Jo Nesbo managed to explore every idea of “who done it” I had in interesting ways. Harry Hole is the epitome of broken detective. Haunted by his past, recovering alcoholic, and brilliant mind. Lots of twists and turns, I think any fan of mystery/murder genre will love this book.

I will definitely be picking up more of Nesbo’s work, as I believe he may be well on his way to becoming my new favorite author.

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I’ve signed up for the Nordic Mystery Challenge 2012

 

I’ve decided to do the Nordic Mystery Challenge 2012 hosted by Heidi at New Paper Adventures 

 

Basically you set your own goal, the only rule is that the mysteries must be set and written by an author from Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland or Norway.

So I think I’m going to set my personal goal at 5. I think it’s easily attainable ( I will be posting my first review up soon of The Snowman) and will give me the opportunity to seek out new authors. I love mysteries and so far I’ve been fairly impressed by the two authors from that area I have read: Jo Nesbo and Steig Larsson.

So check out Heidi’s challenge as sign ups are ongoing. Also if you have any mystery author suggestions let me know! Hopefully we can all discover some new authors!

WWW Wednesdays 1-25-12

WWW Wednesdays is a reading meme hosted by Should Be Reading

What are you currently reading?

The Snowman by Jo Nesbo   I should finish this today or tomorrow.

What did you recently finish reading?

The Cookbook Collector by Allegra Goodman find the review here

What do you think you’ll read next?

I think I’m going to try Room by Emma Donoghue

What are you guys reading?

Book Review: The Cookbook Collector by Allegra Goodman

The Cookbook Collector by Allegra Goodman is my first read off my 2012 TBR Pile Challenge list.

Do you ever go back and look at your TBR list on Goodreads, Amazon Wishlist, or however you may keep track and suddenly realize you can’t remember why you put it on your list? This was one of those books for me and why it was one of the ones that was definitely going on my 2012 TBR Pile Challenge list, because it had obviously been there long enough for me to not remember why it was on my TBR pile.

That being said, I actually went into the book pretty blind, not knowing what quite to expect. I didn’t even read the blurb on Goodreads about it, and since I read it in eb00k form I didn’t have the back of the book blurb either. I actually like to do that fairly often, I like to go into a book without preconceptions about what it’s going to be about or what it should be about.  Sometimes this is great and makes for a great reading experience, other times I accidentally get half way through a book and realize it’s a horrible romance novel ( no offense to fans of romance novels, they are just for the most part not my cup of tea). But I digress, on to the book review!

The Cookbook Collector centers around two sisters, Emily and Jessamine Bach. For sisters, they couldn’t be more different. Emily is very focused, business oriented and driven to become a successful business leader with her new internet business.  Meanwhile Jessamine (who goes by Jess mostly in the book) is dreamy, an activist, and much to their father’s despair is studying philosophy.

I think for a large part this novel was about two women on different paths growing up, changing in ways that they thought they never would and how they world was changing so fast in the early 2000’s. They discover a lot about themselves, their family and their love life.

And you say, what about the cookbook collector? I actually spent a large chunk of this book wondering where the cookbooks were. One of my favorite things about this book is that part of it takes place in a dusty antique bookstore that is Jess’s place of employment. I am a sucker for any book that includes old books and research. This book has both. Jess’s boss is approached by a slightly odd woman who’s uncle has passed away. While hesitant at first to let him see the collection, she finally relents and lets them into her uncle’s house. Where they find cookbooks stuffed in every conceivable (and inconceivable) nook and cranny of the uncle’s kitchen. Cataloging and working with this collection becomes a central part of Jess’s story and her character development.

I’ve felt like maybe I’ve rambled and not explained this clearly but in a way it’s because I don’t want to give away much of the story. I think one of the reasons I enjoyed it was because I went in not knowing what to expect and was able to take the journey with Emily and Jess. You can relate to both characters and see their side in things, at times I felt Emily’s concern for Jess and was wondering at the same time how on earth she could make that choice and others I was with Jess wondering why Emily didn’t see what she was doing and how it was effecting her life.

So if it’s been on your TBR pile for a while like mine, give it a chance. It was a good quick read and I think most will enjoy.

 

Here is the rest of my 2012 TBR Pile Challenge List.

Book Review: The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

I finished listening to an audiobook version of The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh, narrated by Tara Sands yesterday. And wow, it’s just an amazingly written book. As it should be since it discusses the language of flowers.

The Language of Flowers follows the life of Victoria, a ward of the state her entire life. It opens with her in a group home, on her eighteenth birthday, or at least what the state has decided is her eighteenth birthday for emancipation purposes. We find that she has been a troubled youth, closed off from others. The only thing she seems attached to or happy about seems to be flowers. She uses them to communicate her feelings, although she knows that most don’t know what she is trying to tell them and in actuality, she doesn’t care that they don’t know.

This is how our story opens. We continue to follow Victoria as she ventures out into the world, stumbling and then gaining ground, meeting people from the past. We also get to know her past, and how she came to  know so much about flowers and their meanings, through flashback chapters.

This novel is a story of families, struggle, and meanings. Most of all I think it is a story of conveying feelings and finding a way to communicate, even if we are broken. Beautifully written, the story is as beautiful as the language of flowers, it is also a heart wrenching tale. I loved learning all the different meanings of flowers, you may rethink your favorite flower after reading this, and while looking for a link to the book I found that their is a A Victorian Flower Dictionary companion for this book, that the author worked on. I love that she has worked so thoroughly on this book to add that detail as the flower dictionary  plays such a central role in the novel.

As for the narrator of the audiobook she did an amazing job of bringing the character to life. She was able to give a child like voice to the character in the flashback chapters and bring the age and maturity to the voice in the present day chapters. Each character in the novel had a distinct voice. It was a wonderful listening experience and I highly recommend it.

So check out The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh, in either print or audiobook, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Where Do You Go for Book Recommendations?

Do you have that one friend that always gives you the scoop on the newest read? Or do you depend on your book group to keep you in the know?

I would love to have those kinds of resources for book recommendations, but unfortunately, I don’t have any reading friends, much less a book group. I have a few friends that read here and there, but they aren’t near the book addict that I am!

So that left me to finding my own resources for book recommendations. The best resources that I’ve found so far have been podcasts, twitter and BookPage.

I feel that podcasts have filled the need most effectively because not only do I get great recommendations I also get the feel of having book friends. My two favorites are Books on the Nightstand and Bookrageous . Both podcasts are very well done and make you feel like you are listening to a group of friends talk about the books they love. Great resource to find new books that are coming out and occasional information about the industry. My TBR pile always grows by leaps and bounds after every epsidoe. Definitely give them a listen.

As for Twitter I recommend following favorite authors, people from blogs and podcasts you like as well as publishing houses. Many libraries are also now on twitter. This is one of the best ways to hear the buzz on the newest releases as well as getting information about giveaways. Some publishing houses will also do special promotions for advanced reader copies of upcoming books. Twitter is also a good way to start conversations about books with people all over the world with similar tastes and with different views.

One of my last resources is BookPage. You may be familiar with this title from you local library. Most libraries carry free copies of this magazine that is loaded with book recommendations and reviews for a variety of genres. They also have a website full of great information and you can sign up there for them to e-mail you daily recommendations. They are also someone else that you can follow on twitter!

So now that I’ve given you my sources for book recommendations, what are some of yours?

WWW Wednesday (hosted by Miz B at Should be Reading)

 

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Miz Biz at Should be reading. She can be found here

 

What are you reading?

The Cookbook Collector by Allegra Goodman (my first read for the 2012 TBR Pile Challenge)

What did you recently finish reading?

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell   A really fun and quick read. My review can be found  here

What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m torn between Room by Emma Donnoghue or The Snowman by Jo Nesbo

On Tap Tuesdays 1-10-12 and I Think I Have a Problem

Hello everyone! Happy Tuesday. On Tap Tuesdays are my weekly posts about what I plan on reading for the week.

 

On Tap for this week:

 

The Cookbook Collector by Allegra Goodman –  This is the first book I’m reading off my list for the 2012 TBR Challenge! 

Domestic Violets by Matthew Norman – I have this in audiobook form and I haven’t been able to get into it yet, I may end up switching to an ebook  for this one.

 

As for my problem. I was listening to a book podcast the other day and realized something. I really don’t have a favorite author anymore. I don’t have that author that I immediately want to have their book that’s newly published. The only thing that has came close lately is wanting a book that is next in a series because I enjoy the series, not exactly the author. Anyone else have that problem? Who is/are your favorite author(s)?

I haven’t always been this way, I did have a favorite author or two a few years ago, but after several disappointments they have fell out of favor with me. Maybe I need to go on a reading adventures to find new favorites?

Book Review: Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell follows two co-workers, Beth Fremont and Jennifer Schriber-Snyder, who know that their employer The Courier monitors their e-mail but still continue to send personal e-mails to each other through out the work day.

Lincoln O’Neil is stuck in his place in life. He’s living at home with his mother after spending years in school getting degree after degree in an effort to figure out what he wants to do with his life. It’s his job to monitor the e-mail at The Courier that gets caught in their e-mail filter and then send warnings. He sort of hates his job and feels slightly weird about reading other people’s e-mails. But there is something about Beth and Jennifer’s exchange that catches Lincoln’s eye. He looks forward to seeing their e-mails show up in the filter and decides that he’s not going to send them a warning.

Okay first of all, I know reading that part makes you go, eww creeper, but in reading it you really don’t get that feeling. I love the style that the story is written in. You get chapters that are just the e-mail exchanges between Jennifer and Beth and  this is your only look into their characters. I really enjoyed this section, it made me think of e-mails I would send back and forth with my girl friends in graduate school. The witty banter, thrown in with the oh my gosh can you believe this happened. The other half the story is told from Lincoln’s perspective, his reactions to the e-mails and a deeper look into his life as he searches for what he wants to do and where he wants go in life.

 

This was a thoroughly enjoyable read. More people need to read this! It’s fast, it’s quirky, it’s funny and then throws in the serious moments in life as well. Something about it when I was reading it made me think about Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close. I think people that enjoyed that book will enjoy this one as well.

 

Happy Reading!

On Tap Tuesday 1-3-12

Hello everyone! Time to settle back into our routines after the holiday chaos. Every Tuesday I post what books I plan to read during that week.

On tap for me this week:

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell   ( I am really loving this one so far, it’s funny and quirky)

Domestic Violets by Matthew Norman ( I am doing this one in audiobook form, I haven’t really gotten into it yet)

Eragon by Christopher Paolini ( This one will probably be more of a longer term background read for me. I am re-reading it so I can remember everything for the last book in the series that I got for Christmas)

 

So what’s on tap for you guys this week?

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