Daily Archives: February 19, 2012

Mailbox Monday – February 20, 2012

Welcome to this week’s edition of Mailbox Monday hosted this month by Metroreader.

Visit Metroreader today to get links to other readers’ mailboxes.

Go to the dedicated blog for the meme to see the complete tour schedule in the left hand sidebar.

Two books arrived at my home this week:

Meike from Peirene Press sent me a copy of The Brothers by Asko Sahlberg (January 2012) which has been translated from the Finnish by Emily and Fleur Jeremiah. Today I devoured this novella which is set in 1809 and centers around two brothers, Henrik and Erik, who fought on opposite sides in the war between Sweden and Russia. Meike writes: “This is a historical novel in miniature form. It deals in dark passions and delivers as many twists as a 500-page epic. And if that were not enough, each character speaks in a distinct voice and expresses a unique take on reality. I’m thrilled to be publishing a book that is as Finnish as a forest in winter – but that resembles a work from the American South: William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying.” I found this slim story packed with action and an excellent read so watch for my review tomorrow.

Asko Sahlberg was born 1964 and has acquired a fame in Finland that has yet to be replicated in the English speaking world. He published his first novel in 2000 and has written steadily since then, completing his ninth work, The Brothers, in 2010.

Emily Jeremiah and Fleur Jeremiah unite as a multi-lingual mother and daughter translation team. Emily has an MA in Creative Writing and a PhD in German Studies. Fleur, her mother, is Finnish. They have co-operated on translating the poetry of Helvi Juvonen and Sirkka Turkka.

Random House sent me an unsolicited finished copy of The O’Briens by Peter Behrens (March 2012). This family saga is set during the twentieth century. Joe O’Brien, a backwoods boy and grandson of a potato-famine emigrant, meets Iseult Wilkins in Venice, California and it is their courtship which opens the novel. At the heart of the novel “is mystery and madness grounded in the history of Irish sorrow.

Peter Behrens is the author of The O’Briens and The Law of Dreams (which received Canada’s Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction and was published around the world to wide acclaim) and Night Driving, a collection of short stories. His stories and essays have appeared in many publications, including The Atlantic and Tin House. Honors he has received include a Wallace Stegner Fellowship from Stanford University’s Creative Writing Program. Learn more about Behrens and his work by visiting the author’s website.

Did any wonderful books arrive at YOUR house this week?

Sunday Salon – February 19, 2012

February 19, 2012

Good morning and welcome to The Sunday Salon, a weekly event in the blogging world where readers share their love of books. Visit the Facebook Page for links to other posts.

Last week I talked about Come In and Cover Me by Gin Phillips – a book I loved from page one (read my review). I finished that book and am still thinking of it. Since I wrote my review, I have visited other reviews of the book and it looks like not everyone loved the novel as much as I did. It seems to be one of those love ’em or hate ’em types of books…so you will have to make up your own mind. That said, I still think this is a terrific book!

I decided to pick up a suspense-thriller after reading Phillips’ fabulous literary fiction novel. No Mark Upon Her by Deborah Crombie is the fourteenth book in a series – but don’t let that discourage you. This one can most definitely stand alone (I have not read any of the previous novels in the series). I really loved this well-paced mystery which kept me guessing until the end (read my review) and will definitely keep my eyes open for future books by this talented author.

My next book is going to be a quick one. I received the latest book published by Peirene Press and it looks really great. The Brothers by Asko Sahlberg (translated from the Finnish by Emily and Fleur Jeremiah) is described as “a Shakespearean drama from icy Finland” and is set in 1809.  I expect to finish this novella later today and hope to have a review posted by tomorrow.

Next up in the queue for this week are two books which look especially good:

  • Blue Monday by Nicci French
  • Half-Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan

I posted a wonderful guest post by Paula Friedman on Friday. Friedman is an amazing woman and has just recently published a new book – a novel – entitled The Rescuer’s Path. Although I do not typically publish guest posts of authors whose books I have not yet read, I made an exception for Friedman who was a social activist during the 1960s. Given that this is an election year in the United States, I think the idea of activism is especially topical. I hope you’ll give her guest post a look!

I also want to mention that I am giving away two books this week as part of the Literary Blog Hop (contest is open to US mailing addresses through Tuesday, February 22nd at 5:00 pm PST). The Literary Giveaway Blog Hop is an event hosted by Judith at Leswammes’ Blog and it is a great opportunity to visit other bloggers and to throw your name in the hat for giveaways. I’m giving away Five Bells by Gail Jones (Picador, February 2012) and Scottsboro by Ellen Feldman.

I hope you have something wonderful planned for today – at least, I hope you have a great book to read! At any rate, my wish for you is a terrific week ahead filled with plenty of exceptional reading!

No Mark Upon Her – Book Review

Beneath the surface, tendrils of dark hair moved like moss, and white fingers, slightly curled, drifted back and forth as if waving, signaling for help. – from No Mark Upon Her, page 45 –

Rebecca ‘Becca’ Meredith is a high-ranking detective with the Met in London. She is also an Olympic caliber rower who has decided to follow her dreams for a gold medal. So when her body is discovered in the Thames by two canine search and rescue teams, it is hard to imagine who would have wanted to do her harm. When one of the canine teams – Kieran Connolly and his black lab, Finn – come under attack, the mystery deepens. Duncan Kincaid is assigned the case and he immediately finds himself embroiled in much more than a murder investigation. Although  Becca’s ex-husband, Freddie, appears to be the most obvious suspect, the evidence begins to suggest that the real killer may be closer to the investigation than originally thought.

Deborah Crombie has crafted an intriguing and twisty suspense-thriller set in England. Filled with interesting characters, including canine handler Tavie and her German Shepherd, Tosh, as well as Kincaid’s feisty wife, Gemma, the novel is well paced and offers a mystery which keeps the reader guessing until the end. Crombie lives in Texas, but she deftly weaves a believable story set firmly in London and its surrounding countryside.

Although it is the mystery of Becca’s death which drives the narrative, Crombie complicates the story with underlying secrets and the prestigious world of rowing clubs and posh schools.

I thoroughly enjoyed this thriller, and not just because it involved search and rescue dogs and their handlers. Crombie writes well with a good command of her story and a knack for maintaining the mystery up until the last pages. The novel is absorbing and suspenseful – the perfect book to read on a wintery day.

Readers should know that Crombie has written thirteen previous books in the Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James series, although it is not necessary to have read the first books to appreciate this one which stood alone just fine for me. That said, I think I may need to go back and catch up on Crombie’s earlier works.

No Mark Upon Her is highly recommended for readers who enjoy thrillers, mysteries, or anything with an English flavor.

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FTC Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher for review on my blog.

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