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by Arnaldur Indridason
Edition: Paperback
21 used & new from $12.65

5.0 out of 5 stars second prequel to Erlendur series, November 27, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Oblivion (Paperback)
As this welcome second sequel to the beloved Erlendur series begins, a college girl goes missing on her way to school. Twenty five years later, new detective Erlendur is on the case of a man found floating in the bog with unusual injuries, but following his fascination with missing persons cases he is also looking into the cold case. The action takes place a few years after the events of Reykjavik Nights. At this point Erlendur has been a homicide detective for about two years.

Both cases involve the large American air base near Keflavik. American military presence has usually been controversial in Iceland, and this book allows the author to visit the subject.

In the original 9 book series we occasionally meet the enigmatic Marion Briem, so it's fun that here we get to see Briem as he partners with, and mentors, a younger Erlendur, who is considered and deliberate, and we get little hints about his personal life. If you've read the original series you'll feel a bit sad knowing what's ahead for Erlendur.

I give this book 4-1/2 stars. While Iceland's landscape is used to good effect, and we get hints about Erlendur's personality, I found this novel a little less interesting than Reykjavik Nights but still a lot of fun.

If you want to read the books (at least those translated into English) in chronological order, they are: Reykjavik Nights, Oblivion, Jar City, Silence of the Grave, Voices, The Draining Lake, Arctic Chill, Hypothermia, Outrage, Black Skies and Strange Shores. If you want to read them in the order written, start with Jar City and read Reykjavik Nights and Oblivion last. There is also a subtitled film of Jar City that is really good.

This is one of my three favorite Nordic series, and I'm so grateful Indridason is giving us the gift of these prequels!

Olde Book Pillow Classics - Treasure Island
Olde Book Pillow Classics - Treasure Island
Offered by WordVine Media, Ltd.
Price: $39.95

5.0 out of 5 stars great pillow, but overpriced here, November 25, 2015
Note: Even though three pillows are pictured, these pillows are sold separately, and here you are only getting the Treasure Island pillow.

These are comfortable, cushy but firmish pillows, about a foot tall and 3 inches thick -- nice size and firmness to prop up your head or book while reading.

The pillows do not open or close. This one, and The Sherlock Holmes pillow, are closed, with a quote from the book printed on back. The Alice in Wonderland pillow is always open and is a little bigger.

They do not have a smell when they arrive, and when I removed the tag the seam on the pillow remained intact. Made in China.

While these are very nice pillows, the prices here are outlandish. They are sold at ThinkGeek for a much more reasonable price.

Infinite Dungeon Corridor
Infinite Dungeon Corridor
Offered by GoodforYouShopping
Price: $30.65
27 used & new from $30.65

5.0 out of 5 stars mesmerizing, November 25, 2015
This review is from: Infinite Dungeon Corridor (Toy)
This is such a great light! Running on 3 AA batteries, this ten inch tall plastic mirror suggests an infinitely long medieval corridor illuminated by an infinite number of torches. The lights vaguely simulate flickering.

There is no AC inputbut you can hang it on the wall or place it on a flat surface. It's very stable, and very cool, and would make a head-trippy night light for a little medievalist.

Make: Like The Pioneers: A Day in the Life with Sustainable, Low-Tech/No-Tech Solutions
Make: Like The Pioneers: A Day in the Life with Sustainable, Low-Tech/No-Tech Solutions
by The Editors of Make:
Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.77
57 used & new from $6.78

5.0 out of 5 stars DIY low/no-tech projects, November 25, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I was not familiar with Make: magazine, though now I've learned it delineates DIY projects that are often electronic and modern in focus, so this manual is a departure from their usual style. This manual collects 13 projects culled from the last ten years of the publication. Each article is written by a different author, and the editors have organized the projects into a pioneer's day. The topics are making: a fire with a bow drill, bacon lard soap, apple cider, paper, bookbinding, a stool and a chair. There is a great lesson on lashing things together -- very useful for gardeners! -- as well as instructions for pickling, brining a turkey, roasting pumpkin seeds, and building da Vinci's reciprocating mechanism and a prehistoric oil lamp.

The projects are interesting, and I was really impressed by the clear instructions and plentiful, useful photos. My only complaint is that I would have liked more projects!

This is fun and informative for the DIY-er, but would also be useful for homeschoolers who want to talk about pioneer (or Renaissance or prehistoric) life.

Viva Labs CoQ10, 100 mg, 100 count
Viva Labs CoQ10, 100 mg, 100 count

5.0 out of 5 stars easy to take, but check about using black pepper fruit extract, November 25, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
CoQ 10 is a supplement often recommended to those taking statins to lower cholesterol. It's supposed to relieve muscle pain, one of the more common side effects of taking statins. As others have stated, check with your doctor if you're taking any other medications, especially because this particular CoQ 10 supplement also contains black pepper fruit extract, which is supposed to improve absorption and might therefore affect the effects of anything you're taking.

These pills are small gels that are easy to swallow.

Find Her (D. D. Warren)
Find Her (D. D. Warren)
by Lisa Gardner
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.86

5.0 out of 5 stars latest creepy novel in a dark series, November 23, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Det. D.D. Warren is called to the scene of a man who's been burned alive, his killer Flora -- a naked, bound young woman who was once famously kidnapped and rescued after more than a year. As you'd guess, Flora is a complicated character, not well understood by Warren or the reader, but before the detective can get to know her better it seems she may have been abducted again.

I hope Lisa Gardner takes cheery vacations and brunches occasionally. She's a prolific author and her novels are very dark as she examines the psychology of victims and their families, as well as those of the monsters, and relates horrific deeds. It's a merciless, cruel world populated by sadistic predators, and Gardner doesn't pull punches, though the writing is more concerned with menace and psychology than gore or explicit violence. Still, I hope she gets out once in a while, and hangs out with kind people.

The structure of the novel is quite interesting. Chapters alternate between Det. Warren investigating the death of the man who abducted Flora and then the disappearance of Flora; the first person account of victim/perpetrator Flora as she realizes she's been taken again; and the first person story of Flora when she was kidnapped the first time. These threads are well coordinated so that tension is high and revelations are dramatic.

So the story is compelling and the characters are fascinating. What else is there? The writing, which is superb. The dialogue is natural, the pace fun, and after a thrilling climax the ending is quite moving.

If the book has a weakness, I'd say it's Det. D.D. Warren, who is not particularly interesting. We delve deeply into Flora and even her abductor much more than we do Warren, though undoubtedly reading the entire series would help.

Seriously, this novel is dark. The action may not be explicit, but the depravity is nevertheless quite disturbing. If you are a cozy mystery reader, this would not be your cup of tea.

Craft Men's Active Comfort Crewneck Long Sleeve Base Layer Shirt, Black, Large
Craft Men's Active Comfort Crewneck Long Sleeve Base Layer Shirt, Black, Large
Offered by Backcountry
Price: $59.95
14 used & new from $47.96

5.0 out of 5 stars comfortable, good looking cold weather base layer shirt, November 22, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
One of the good things about winter is wearing layers of soft clothes that you add to or take off as circumstances demand. This shirt acts your bottom layer. It's soft and form fitting, and is made of material that wicks moisture away from your skin -- so you don't get a rash from all those layers. This would be especially useful if you and all those layers are working or playing outside -- skiing, stacking wood, walking to the coffee shop .... The fabric is a little stretchy but does not wear tight, 70% polyester, 30% polyamide. Made in China.

Just Fall: A Novel
Just Fall: A Novel
by Nina Sadowsky
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.50

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nick and Nora Charles meet Christopher Nolan, November 22, 2015
This review is from: Just Fall: A Novel (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I got two books in the mail yesterday. One, by an author I know, I was looking forward to; this book, Just Fall, I knew nothing about but had thought it sounded intriguing. (And frankly, if the publicity does NOT say this author is the next Jane Austen I'm willing to give it a try.) I had received both books and decided to read a few pages of Just Fall before plunging into the anticipated book. By two a.m. I had to admit I wasn't going to sleep and made a pot of coffee.

Great first book. The plot is twisted and interesting, and every character has a complex backstory, even if not necessarily true. The structure of the book, as it alternates between chapters labelled Now and Then, is intricate and satisfying. As the book opens Ellie sighs at a group of carefree youths before looking back at the man she's just killed. He might not even be her first, if you count a guy in a coma. But she seems like such a nice girl.

While Ellie's incredible story moves forward, the Then chapters provocatively reveal the fascinating backstories of Ellie and her (very) new husband Rob, as well as the police detective investigating the sudden rash of murders in his little Caribbean tourist town. These chapters begin with Ellie hearing one sentence, uttered to her on her wedding day, that will change absolutely everything.

Just Fall is playful, twisty and interesting. Ellie is resourceful and the author handles multiple story threads masterfully, making each character compelling and each chapter engaging. The book is not perfect. Sometimes the scaffolding creaks a bit with overexplanation, an awkward sex scene or ambitious metaphors, but I would still put it in the Mensa of books -- top 2%, and that's amazing for a first novel. Occasional observations about the human condition are worthwhile, and suggest a friendly intelligence at the keyboard. I am really looking forward to Sadowsky's next book. Write, Nina, write!

Now I can hear the other people in the house stirring. My goodness, when is the last time I stayed up all night to finish a book! So what am I to do? Make waffles, of course! And bacon!

And then I just might read this superb book again.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 27, 2015 12:05 PM PST

Bet Your Life (Jess Tennant Mysteries)
Bet Your Life (Jess Tennant Mysteries)
by Jane Casey
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $14.80
67 used & new from $3.99

4.0 out of 5 stars fairly salacious YA novel, November 21, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is the second book about teenager Jess Tennant, though it's the first I've read. The book is similar in content to what you would find on a mean girls type show, and the sexual content is mature-- not necessarily graphic, but there is lots of leering, sexual innuendo, some intergenerational affairs, exploitation, blackmail, possibly rape. The female characters seem to be willing participants in a pretty unhealthy sexual atmosphere, and the guys are mostly jerks or clueless.

That said, the writing is good, the plot is tense. Some readers will like this, others may be uncomfortable with the heavy sexual content, and it presents a fairly cynical view of people, especially the rich. I would give this to a mature teen reader who likes Gossip Girl. It's too mature for young teens. There are makeovers and lingering descriptions of clothing, so probably of more interest to girls.

Sebastian Bergman: Dark Secrets
Sebastian Bergman: Dark Secrets
DVD ~ Rolf Lassgård
Price: $19.99
11 used & new from $15.48

5.0 out of 5 stars second dvd collection about a messed up criminal psychologist haunting Sweden's bleak landscapes, November 19, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Sebastian Bergman: The Cursed One (Volume 1) contains two 90 minute episodes that correspond to the first two books in the series by Swedish screenwriting team Hjorth and Rosenfeldt, Sebastian Bergman and The Man Who Watched Women. This dvd, Sebastian Bergman: Dark Secrets (Volume 2) contains two 90 minute episodes, though the books are not translated into English yet (11/2015).

If Ingmar Bergman and Britain's Cracker had a baby it would be Sebastian Bergman, a brilliant criminal psychologist who is an absolute walking train wreck, leaving eviscerated friends and lovers in his wake. Sebastian cannot live with the grief and guilt of losing his wife and daughter, and everyone around him suffers. At the same time it's thrilling to see him work, reading killers' psyches with an ease and clarity he never achieves on his own behalf. Rolf Lassgard plays the man perfectly, and the supporting cast is quite good. The lighting is stark and the music melancholy, very Scandinavian noir, but Sebastian's personal life is more like a telenovella.

The books are excellent too.

It's best to watch or read these in order since Sebastian's tortured backstory is worth enjoying as it unfolds.

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