Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Russian Winter

Russian Winter is a book with both a past and present story line. It is the story of a Russian ballerina. She defected to the US and decided to sell her jewelry. The novel is the story of what happened to the woman in Russia and what her connection is to a professor in modern day America.

I love historical fiction mysteries that have both past and present day story lines, but I couldn't really get into this book. It took me awhile to read, so it wasn't a can't-put-down book. However, I can't articulate why I wasn't thrilled. I enjoyed it, and when I was finished felt that it shouldn't have taken me nearly as long. The crapiness of this review reflects my lack of ability to say much about Russian Winter.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Monster of Florence

I like true crime stories and picked The Monster of Florence up because of its story of the monster of Florence, a serial killer who had been killing young couples since the 1970s. Author Douglas Preston was living in Florence when he learned of the monster and decided with Mario Spezi, an Italian journalist, to research the story and perhaps solve the mystery of who the monster was.

The first part of the book was about the monster and the killings. The murders were scary and very creepy. This part was interesting, but the second section dealing with Preston and Spezi's interactions with the justice system in Italy was unbelievable.

This book was upsetting. The stories of the monster of Florence's killings were bad enough, but what was really terrible (to me at least) was the actions of the justice system in Italy. It's hard for me to understand how an industrialized democracy has such a backward system. It was even worse when I read the afterword that the same prosecutor who had done so many wrong things was in the one heading the Amanda Knox case. Yet again, I am so thankful to live in the US.

If you like true crime stories or are interested in free speech issues, I think you'll enjoy The Monster of Florence.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Red Herring Without Mustard

A Red Herring Without Mustard is the third book in the Flavia de Luce series. Flavia is an 11 year old living at her family's derelict mansion in post WW2 England. The first two books are The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie and the Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag.

The books are mysteries, and the mysteries themselves are ok. I really read the books for Flavia. She's one of my favorite book characters of all time. She's smart and funny. Flavia loves chemistry and has her own lab compliments of an ancestor. She loves poisons. Her bicycle, Gladys, is her constant companion and friend. She antagonizes her older sisters and steps in to help the police.

I think it's really interesting that Bradley, a male, has created such a great 11 year old girl character.

The books in the series are quick reads. Meeting Flavia definitely makes these books worth the read.

Monday, March 21, 2011


Hi Everyone! My husband and I just got back from China. I read a few books on the plane, but other than that haven't read much of anything lately. (Busy packing and getting ready, then very full days in China.) If you are interested, I'll be posting on my personal blog about our trip.

I hope to pick up some books and get back to posting soon.