Sunday, May 31, 2009

Hedge Fund Wives by Tatiana Boncompagni

Marcy Emerson becomes a hedge fund wife when she and her husband, John, move from Chicago to New York. As a former investment banker who grew up middle-class, she doesn't really fit in with the glamorous other wives who continue to spend loads of money, despite the downturn in the economy. Since having a miscarriage in Chicago, she still longs for a baby, yet John immerses himself more and more in his work. Luckily, Marcy finds a good friend in Gigi who lets her keep busy, helping with her catering business. After a life-changing event, Marcy learns to reinvent herself and come out an even stronger person. A frothy look at both the up- and downsides of great wealth.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Ice Princess by Camilla Lackberg

Writer Erica Falck has moved from Stockholm back to her family home in Fjallbacka after her parents' deaths. Soon after returning, she's involved in the discovering the murdered body of her childhood best friend, Alex Calgren. Erica is very affected by Alex's death since Alex disappeared from her life when they were ten and Erica never knew the reason for the Calgren family's move. Erica thinks that Alex's story would make a great book and does some investigating of her own, despite her misgivings of exploiting the situation. In Erica's personal life, she struggles with the hold her brother-in-law, Lucas, has over her sister, Anna. Lucas is demanding that Erica and Anna sell the home in Fjallbacka, since its half Anna's. Erica also finally lets her feelings come to the surface for policeman Patrik Hedstrom, someone she has known since she was a child. The Ice Princess is very similar to the mysteries of Asa Larsson. The setting and descriptive characterizations remind me of the books of Karin Fossum and Echoes from the Dead by Johan Theorin. Not yet published in the U.S., try borrowing through your library's interlibrary loan service.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Scarecrow by Michael Connelly

Jack McEvoy, a reporter at the Los Angeles Times, is given two weeks to train his replacement, then he will be let go. Jack decides to go out with a bang when he finds the story of a 16-year-old boy arrested for murder who just might be innocent. We, as the reader, know he is, since the murder was commited by a serial killer named Carver. Carver is watching every move Jack and FBI Agent Rachel Walling are making. Carver knows they are on his trail and is able to stay one step ahead. Will Jack and Rachel be able to catch him? In The Scarecrow, Jack McEvoy (from Connelly's novel The Poet) and Rachel Walling (from many Connelly novels, including The Poet and some books in the Harry Bosch series) team up again and their attraction to each other is, as before, immediate. Connelly does a great job in this novel describing the decline of the American newspaper and the journalist's job along with it. While The Scarecrow was a fast-paced read, the Harry Bosch series is my favorite by far.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Choral Society by Prue Leith

Lucy is a recently-widowed food writer who is sacked from her newspaper job. Rebecca has a zest for living life to the fullest, despite her age. Joanna is a very successful businesswoman, yet has never been married. When these three fifty-ish woman meet at "Sing Your Heart Out" classes in Notting Hill, they become friends. Each is at a transition point in her life where she has the opportunity to do something new, to test the waters. Will going for love or a career change bring them the happiness they deserve? I always enjoy Prue Leith's novels because they mix the insight into women's lives with lots of detail about gardening and cooking in a British setting. She's also not afraid to show her characters, at times, in a unlikable light (Rebecca in this novel), which might bother some readers.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Tea Time for the Traditionally Built by Alexander McCall Smith

Mr. Leungo Molofololo, owner of the soccer team Kalahari Swoopers, hires the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency to find out which of his players has been throwing the games during the team's long losing streak. Both Precious Ramotswe and her assistant, Mma Makutsi, interview the various players to find out who could be behind the team's bad luck. On a more personal note, Mma Ramotswe's much-beloved but very old white van is acting up again. She decides to try and keep its problems from her mechanic husband, Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni, because she knows he will make her junk it. Mma Makutsi is also having problems. Her fiance, Mr. Phuti Radiphuti, owner of the Double Comfort Furniture Shop, has hired an archnemesis of Mma Makutsi, Violet Sephotho. Mr. Phuti Radiphuti has no idea of the bad blood between Mma Makutsi and Violet, especially Violet's lies and sneaky ways. Mma Makutsi feels Violet is out to steal Mr. Phuti Radiphuti from her, since he's quite a catch. Will the ladies of the detective agency be able to foil Violet's plans? Regular readers of the series will not be disappointed.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Running from the Devil by Jamie Freveletti

Chemist Emma Caldridge is on her way to Bogota when her plane crashes in the Colombian jungle. An ultramarathon runner, she feels she can survive in the rainforest on her own when the rest of the passengers are taken prisoner by a group of local guerrillas. After finding supplies in the wreckage, Emma follows them from a distance figuring it's her only chance to get out alive. This area of Colombia, however, is full of lots of different guerrilla and paramilitary groups, which makes it very unstable. To make it worse, only a small force from the United States is sent on the rescue mission. It also seems as if Emma has an ulterior motive for being in Colombia besides her job. Will Emma and the other Americans make it out of the dense, unforgiving jungle? Running from the Devil is a promising first thriller. The scenes and descriptions of Emma in the wilderness are first-rate. However, I had a hard time keeping track of the different “bad guys” and found that I wanted the book to concentrate on Emma's journey more.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Prayers for Sale by Sandra Dallas

In 1936, eighty-six-year-old quilter Hennie Comfort is spending a few last seasons in the Colorado mining town of Middle Swan before she moves in with her daughter, Mae, in Iowa. Mae feels that Hennie is too old to live in Middle Swan alone, especially in the winter, but promises that Hennie can still spend her summers there. One day, Hennie meets a young bride, Nit Spindle, and feels an immediate affinity with her. They become friends and since Hennie is quite the storyteller, she tells Nit all about life in Middle Swan over the last seventy years. Hennie also talks about her own life as a young bride during the Civil War in Tennessee and her trek to Colorado. Hennie's reminiscences cause her to relive the pain and happiness in her life, yet in the end she remains upbeat and giving.