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The Ice Princess is the first novel of a famous crime saga, set in the present, by Swedish writer Camilla Läckberg.

As the story opens, Erica, a journalist whose parents have died recently, returns to her hometown. There she discovers that her youth friend Alex has died in strange circumstances. She has her wrists cut and her body was frozen in her bathtub, so all indicates she has taken her life. However, it is not so easy.

Past dark episodes appear when Erica starts writing   Alex’s biography, but no one wants to answer her questions. As a result, Erica’s interest increases into an obsessive level, making her thirsty to know the truth.

In this intriguing atmosphere, she starts working with a local detective called Patrick Hedström who has his own thoughts, quite different from those of the police, about Alex’s death. With him, who is not a stranger as they have known each other since they were children, she discovers the turbulent past that the calm village of Fjällbacka hides behind its peaceful countryside and some new feelings with a friend that smoothly begins to be more than that.

From my personal point of view, I consider The Ice Princess an extraordinary book which will hook you from the beginning to the end. When the first page is turned, an effect of immersion invades your mind, consequently the story is your present time and you cannot stop reading. In one word, unputdownable.

In spite of the fact that it might start in a bit tasteless and incomprehensible way, as a few pages are read the plot haunts you in all its details and descriptions, for instance, I find the way that Alex appears death and how the author deals with this part superb, with the just pinch of intrigue.

In my opinion, Camilla Läckberg shows us a chilly atmosphere that can be touchable from our sofa. Besides, it is a fast-moving work that makes it easier for inexperienced readers to follow the development of the events.

In conclusion it is, without doubt, a masterpiece black novel.

 

The story is about matriarchal culture amongst the Moso people, in the Southwest of China. It is a complicated social structure which allows women to own property, control household politics, take lovers and have the custody of children without men.  The concept of fatherhood does not exist. The mother is the head of the household, and she will prepare one of her daughters to her succession.

Namu is the main character in the novel, a true story of a young woman who rebels against her mother and the way she lives, against cultural expectations and responsibilities.

Namu’s mother believes that women belong to the house they live in.

Yang Erche Namu (Treasure Princess) cried a lot when she was a child. In the land they live  two religions are mixed , Buddhism and Shamanism, and her mother was instructed to name her child by going to a certain place and having the first person that came along name the baby. That person was Lama Gatusa. When she had her name, the baby would stop crying.

Namu grew up in the mountains of Himalaya taking care of goats and sharing her time with her uncle, who never talks. Namu realized that she was different from other women when she knew that she did not want to follow the tradition of Moso females: she did not want lovers, children and she did not want to cook.

Her life changed when she was chosen to go to sing in a National Contest. After that, the strong girl finds fame as a singer and later as a fashion model. When she finally returns home for the first time after five years, she is a big star and the pride in her mother’s eyes are what makes Namu the happiest.

The story tells us how you can find your place in your community and also the world you want live in.

Click HERE to see her hotel at Lugu Lake.

THE REPORT by SUSANA

Posted by Mª José under Advanced

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OLIVER TWIST by Paco

Posted by Mª José under Book reviews

Click on the book cover to read Paco’s review.

DEADLY HARVEST by Estefanía

Posted by Mª José under Deadly Harvest

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Title:     The Grapes of Wrathgrapes.jpg

Autor:   John Steinbeck

Kind of book:    Novel

The book describes the trip across America of the Joads, a farming family that are forced to move from Oklahoma to California as a result of The Great Depression of the 1930s in The United States.

During that period many small farmers, ruined and starved too, had decided to go to California looking for a better life. They wandered from place to place trying to find work and food for their families. But there were thousands of other families and the Californians were afraid that all those people would take their land, so they treated the Okies badly.

The main character is Tom Joad, the elder son, who has just gone out of prison and joins to his family in this journey. He looks for a job and supports his family with the money he gets.

The story is very interesting because it shows us a part of The United States history. There was a time of oppression suffered by migrants who had to fight for their rights.

I like that, in spite of their situation, the Joads continued trying to help others, even when things in their own life were so horrible.

The book is easy to read, although there are a lot of American expressions used in a colloquial way, but they are explained in a section at the end of the book. There is plenty of dialogues and it´s a good story, so I would recommend this book.

This is a story from ‘Man from the South and other stories’ by Roald Dahl. It’s a mixture of unrelated stories but with something in common - all of them have a moral.

Man from the South is about a strange old man who was spending time by the hotel swimming-pool. There, he met a young sailor and proposed him to make a bet.  If the sailor could light his lighter ten times without any mistakes, he would win the old man’s Cadillac, but if he failed, he would lose one of his fingers. The guy accepted it, but when they were finishing the game, a woman appeared and made them stop. She said she owned the Cadillac and the man had no money because she had won it all from him. Then she showed her hand with only one finger. 

As for the characters, they are very different. The old man is strange, mysterious and he has a problem with bets. The sailor is a typical young man who doesn’t like to lose at anything. We don’t have a lot of details about the narrator.

In conclusion, I enjoyed the story. The moral of the story is related to the sin of avarice. In this case, if you are too greedy you will lose a lot of fingers! All the stories from the book have the same end: a moral. I think that it is interesting to read something you learn from, or at least you think about . What I like the most about this book is that when I finished each story, I stopped for a while and started to think about the story, realising that all the little details have a sense. I also loved ‘The Landlady’ and ‘Beware of the Dog’.

Finally I would recommend this book to everybody, above all ‘The Landlady’ and ‘Beware of the Dog’, because it has different short stories with different and amazing plots, and if you don’t like one of them, I am sure that you will prefer the next.

The book I have chosen is called “Night without end”. This book was written by Alistair Maclean and is a thriller novel published in 1959. Specifically, the edition I have read is a retold for students by Margaret Naudi. This novel is “considered one of MacLean´s very best”.

The main characters are three men: Peter Mason, Jackstraw and Joss. They were working in a weather station in the Arctic when suddenly, they heard a huge noise. They left the weather station to know what had happened. They found out that the noise had been an accident of a plane. When they reached the plane, they fortunately found ten survivors, but they also found several dead men but with one of them dead by a bullet not the crash, so it was clear that there were some murderers among all of them.

The rest of the story runs on trying to guess who is or are the murderers. Peter Mason, Jackstraw and Joss are men who are experienced in working in extreme conditions, but they have never managed a situation as described in the book. The leader of the three is Peter Mason, who, with the help of his two fellow workers, will try to find out what is happening and why a plane appears in the middle of the Arctic. At the end, they get to know that there were two murderers who forced the pilots of the plane to land in the ice-cap because in the plane there was a top secret guided-missile mechanism which is valued about a million pounds.

The rest of characters (the survivors) are secondary characters (Corazzini, Marie Legarde, the boxer…), and the writer does not describe them in detail.

In my opinion, the story is really good and has been fast and easy to read because you want to know what is happening and who the murderers are from start to finish, something typical of the thriller genre, but the writer hides it until the end, so you read and read and this is done very fast.

On the other hand, I think that the writer should be slower with the changes between one setting and another, because in some situations the reader is in the plane but suddenly, in the next line, the story continues in the shelter.

In general terms, I liked the book and would recommend it to other students.

I have only read this book of Alistair MacLean, but I have been searching some information on the internet about him and he was (he is dead) a specialist in the thriller genre, so I would read other books by this author because the thrillers are my favorite books and films, but honestly, I see more movies than I read books.

INTRODUCTION

TITLE: This time it´s Personal

AUTHOR: Alan Battersby

GENRE: Thriller

 

PLOT

Nathan Marley, a private investigator in New York, gets involved in a case of Russian Community illegal immigration.  It all begins when José De La Cruz, the brother of Stella Delgado who is Marley´s personal assistant, is charged with the murder of Alexei Romanov, a Russian community man with a fine reputation.

In this situation, and with José in hospital, seriously injured and unable to remember anything, Marley and Stella work side by side searching for the truth, to clear Jose´s name  because they are sure that he is only a harmless boy, who was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Finally, with NYPD and Romanov´s widow help, they not only find out the real murderer, but they also make a connection between the murder and lots of dead young Russian men, who were found out on the beach. In this way, they also uncover a huge illegal immigration and dirty money operation; and fortunately, José is declared innocent.

 

CHARACTERS

Nathan Marley: he describes himself as “an ordinary-looking guy, bald, overweight and on the wrong side of forty”. He works as a private investigator in New York City, but in the past he used to be a NYPD officer. He is intelligent because he does his job very well and has a lot of contacts in the NYPD.

Stella Delgado: Stella is a young Puerto Rican woman in her late twenties, who works as Marley’s personal assistant. She is a woman who never gives up, because she had a really difficult childhood, but then it took her years of night school study to catch up on her education. During the story, she works hard to prove her brother’s innocence.

José De La Cruz; he is Stella’s brother, a young Puerto Rican harmless boy, who has had a really tough childhood. Nowadays he is looking desperately for a job for the summer season.

Mrs. Romanov:  he is the Alexei Romanov’s widow, and as she has a lot of contacts in the Russian Community, she is a precious help to Nathan and Stella investigation.

 

OTHER INFORMARTION

I really enjoyed the story because it is a thriller book, which is the genre that I usually read in the Spanish language. Besides, the author knows how to keep the intrigue throughout the story.

The best part of the story is for me when that the dangerous criminal Mossolov is found to be a woman.

From this story I have learned how important the Russian Community in the U.S.A. is. Also I have learned important things about illegal immigration.

CONCLUSION

I would read more books by this author because as I said before, he knows how to keep the intrigue, and it is easy to read his story without confusing parts. So I would recommend this book to everyone, because reading books is a funny way to learn English.

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