The first half was filled with boring teenage relationship drama, but the second half reminded me why I liked the first book in the series. The aftert...moreThe first half was filled with boring teenage relationship drama, but the second half reminded me why I liked the first book in the series. The aftertaste tells me the author might have bit off more than she can chew. There's just too many different kinds of supernatural beings littered on the pages for any of them to be characterised properly. Mary Ann and Aden had theirs sketched in the first book. (less)
Let me preface this by saying I know nothing of Japanese culture. I might recognise a stereotype—emphasis on the word might—but that’s it. So, if any point you feel like raving about how I just don’t get it, you’re probably right. I don’t. Instead I’m going to ask a few stupid questions and concentrate on the things I do know—like what I consider good storytelling.
Believe it or not, there was a time when I liked quiet novels, I still do, but it’s a rare book that hits me just right at the right time and changes my world. I kept wishing Norwegian Wood would be one of those books, but it was not to be.
Toru is a middle aged man on a plane and hears a familiar song. Suddenly Toru is a young man studying in university in Tokio and he’s in love with a girl who never loved him. Toru has friends, good friends and bad friends. Toru has sex a lot. Toru is lost.
This is a young man’s coming of age story, and this is a book about sex and suicide. Not necessarily in that order. I’m aware of the description that extols Murakami’s lively representation of the 1960’s Japan and the fascinating mix of east and admiration of all things American. Those things are true too, but unfortunately the majority of this book isn’t about what life was like in 1960’s; majority of this book is about an eighteen-to-twenty-year-old-man wanting to get laid. And when Toru Watanabe isn’t getting his leg over, the girls are talking about how wet they were with him or with someone else. It’s off putting to say the least.
And then there are the suicides. I think I counted four of them and that just made me think the author doesn’t know how to pick his moments. Or is suicide a huge problem in Japan? Are masses of young adults killing themselves there? If they are, this isn’t the book to highlight and address that problem. This isn’t a book that encourages people to stop and think what needs to be changed for kids to stop killing themselves. Not only did Murakami fail to pick and choose, he managed to trivialise a very serious issue.
I’m not going to dignify the psychological break recovery portrayal with a comment.
Then there’s the romance aspect. With better characterisations I might agree that it was well done. There was a love triangle of sorts but it wasn’t about choosing the first shiny love of a character’s life but about choosing what was best for them in the long run. However, it was boring and it was trite. I could see the ending coming from a long way and the only thing that could’ve save the book and its rating for me would have been the how.
Had Toru’s epiphany and personal growth happened differently, I might have ended up liking this book, because that’s what I kept hoping for. I can see why others have liked the story. I liked the writing and in theory I liked the message. It’s not that long ago that I was going through some of these things and learning to be an adult, but even then I had my priorities sorted differently. The shame of failing in school or life is nothing compared to the shame of hurting my family by hurting myself—like taking away my own life or running away. I had this figured out by the time I was twelve, so I have little sympathy for adults still lost on this issue.
Sometimes people fall and need help to pick themselves up again. It’s a part of life, but I don’t think we should romanticise it. (less)
I think I'm over the billionaire fantasy. It wasn't a bad book, but I simply couldn't connect with the characters. The author made all the right moves...moreI think I'm over the billionaire fantasy. It wasn't a bad book, but I simply couldn't connect with the characters. The author made all the right moves and there was a sense of history for the characters, but it was told rather than shown. I didn't really buy that they had any deeper feelings for each other if even for themselves. Also, I was disappointed to find out that his problems trumped hers. In the end the chemistry felt more like a mother comforting her adult child and congratulating him on growing up than a woman deeply in love and happy to see the man of her life finally ready to commit to her.
Also, (view spoiler)[I get what the author was trying to do with the necklace, but I found it tacky. It'd been better for him to finish the first necklace however he wanted to finish it and make something new for Madeline (hide spoiler)].["br"]>["br"]>(less)
This thing is so bad. So very bad that it almost wants to redefine my suckity-suck shelf and that's a tall order considering Beautiful Disaster is on...moreThis thing is so bad. So very bad that it almost wants to redefine my suckity-suck shelf and that's a tall order considering Beautiful Disaster is on that shelf. I swear to whichever deity you'd prefer that it felt like I was back there in that dark place and reading *that* book again. I snark and snark, but it's not often every paragraph makes me want to stop and complain.
Cutters vs. Jocks doesn't stand alone. It's a prequel to Marx's other novel, Binding Arbitration where single mom has to find her long-forgotten fling to save her cancer-sick son.
Can you guess what happens in Cutters vs. Jocks? Was your answer: The fling. You'd think that, wouldn't you. You'd be wrong.
There's no fling. There's one billiard game and a year's(?) worth of avoidance leading to the pity fuck that results in the pregnancy. As for how that situation is handled... Alicia, dear, you definitely don't want to read this one: (view spoiler)[It's the dreaded She never told him that she kept the baby-trope. (hide spoiler)]
This novella is an infodump meant to highlight Libby's and Aidan's backgrounds and to explain why they at twenty-two and twenty-three could have never worked. It succeeds in its goal magnificently, because it never shows them fall in love. Told in two alternating first person voices this novella completely skips the becoming friends and falling in love. Both Aidan and Libby suddenly go from proclaiming that they're not in love to that they in fact are. The reader is never shown why either of them would care for the other one bit.
Instead the pages are full of misogyny and romanticised stalkerism.
I assume this novella is meant to hint at the promise as to why those same two people might fit together eight years later having had the chance to mature. The only problem with this is that I became so thoroughly disgusted with both characters that I never want to read about them again. I'd almost say it goes a step further than that: I never want to read anything Elizabeth Marx writes ever again. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
This is a collage of old tales an ageing spy tells his students before his retirement. Unfortunately the stories were told in the first person voice f...moreThis is a collage of old tales an ageing spy tells his students before his retirement. Unfortunately the stories were told in the first person voice from a perspective I never connected with. Despite his best efforts, le Carré couldn’t make me care about Ned, not even when he was reminiscing with Smiley.
Smiley made a cameo and nothing more.
I might have found a couple of the spy tales themselves interesting, but they always ended and a new chapter began just as I started paying attention. Someone else might think the description of a hardened spook letting go of his secrets and learning to live in a post cold war world is compelling in itself, but for me it simply wasn’t enough. (less)
I wish I could upgrade the rating from suckity-suck to the theory-good-practice-not level, but I can’t. This book read like someone, after having written one historical romance too many, decided to fake it and throw together an endless string of period appropriate sounding platitudes. When I start paying attention to the language and platitudes, you know the story sucks.
Annelise Sophronia Sawcross Anne Wynter is a governess at the Pleinsworth household. She’s very lucky to have such a good position after being forced to live on her own and slave for her only two letters of recommendation. Of course someone is going to walk into her life and ruin it for her. The disaster comes in form of Daniel Smythe-Smith, the Earl of Winstead, recently returned from three year exile on the continent.
The heroine, at sixteen, was a vain and self-absorbed nitwit who got herself into trouble with a man she loved. After eight years she’s grown up a bit; I just don’t think she’s grown up enough. She’s a wishy-washy thing who on a theoretic level recognises the boundaries of her station in life, but in reality fails to show any kind of moral backbone and act accordingly. One minute she’s begging the oh so high above her earl to kiss her and another she’s pulling away, telling him to leave, and saying sorry for things she’s only half responsible for. Anne Wynter isn’t a woman who has learned to clean up her own messes.
What of the hero then? He’s another precious aristocrat, a babe in a man’s body, an adolescent who has given up alcohol but failed to fix whatever got him into the trouble with the Ramsgates and forced him to flee England in the first place. One minute he’s acting like any other man with a woman—stealing kisses, copping a feel—and another he’s a virginal youth dreaming of holding hands with his very first sweetheart ever.
Nothing of this story comes across convincing or consistent let alone appealing.
The whole book is basically about Anne thinking she shouldn’t but doing it anyway, and Daniel flying off the handle but failing to harm the one person most deserves to be harmed—himself.
Without the costumes and dates mentioned, I wouldn’t have thought I was reading a historical romance. The characters don’t exactly talk and act like people from the 1900’s. (I swear to all things holy Anachronist is brainwashing me because I never used to notice these things.) Of course I’m not an expert on the language but some of the expressions Quinn uses feel too modern for the context. There were good quotes and an odd scene or two that were almost entertaining, but nothing in the way this author writes is especially attractive to me.
This was my first attempt reading a Julia Quinn novel and it looks to be my last. (less)
When I finished reading this book and went on Goodreads to see what others had thought of it, I was surprised. The four star ratings didn't surprise me, the five star ratings did. As good as I felt after closing the book (or activating the screensaver on my Kindle) I didn't think I'd just finished reading a five star book. I didn't think I'd finished reading anything as close to such (im)perfection I expect from a five star book. I did think I finished reading an entertaining, character driven romance about two very irritating people who were a match made in heaven or hell depending on your belief system.
Lord Dain—don't ask me to look and type out his full name, I beg of you—was the titular character in the book, a true Lord of Scoundrels. He's not welcomed into polite society despite his breeding and he doesn't aspire to spend his evenings with the genteel folk of the French capitol, he'd much rather spend his time in more pleasurable endeavours with the less than reputable Parisians. He has the money to do it, but the people he drags down with him don't. That is how he trips to the greatest obstacle life has thrown at him yet, Lady Jessica Trent.
Despite being virginal, Jessica isn't one of the vapid insipid ingénues that plague the world of historical romance. She's determined to save her brother from ruin and she has the character to pull it off. Jessica is capable, shrewd, brazen to a point, and most of all self-assured. She doesn't wait to be chased and wooed, she goes after what she wants. And she knows boys of all ages as the author points out, repeatedly. She's also smart, but she isn't all-knowing, but she faces head on all the challenges presented to her, including her husband.
That's another part I liked about this book, that the romance didn't end at the altar, but that it continued well into the marriage
After two novels, I finally figured out why I like Loretta Chase's books as much as I do despite their obvious downfalls and dated modern attitudes shining through the writing. It's because she creates complex and interesting characters and I have a soft spot for character driven stories. There are only so many ways to create interesting characters that fit into the strict society of old without turning them into boring cardboard cutouts most authors churn out.
Despite his rakish habits, it's Dain who is the insecure ingénue. He's deluded about his looks as unfashionable as they are and he's deluded about his own worth and influence on others. He believes in the only power that hasn't failed him in his life—money—but inside he's a wounded puppy and an unloved child looking for someone to hold him while he cries.
“In any case, to hesitate in such a situation was to indicate doubt, or worse, weakness. To do so with a man was dangerous. To do so with a woman was fatal.”
The only problem I have with this beautiful characterisation is that if you're the sort of person to skip prologues, you'll never find a shred of sympathy for the man. The way he behaves may be understandable, but in so many ways it is also unforgivable. A better writer could have worked that horrible history within the main body of text without having to glue on an apologetic introduction to the horrors of growing up to be Lord Dain.
At the same time Jessica is the bold seducer who works within the society and makes the society work for her. She not only overcomes the period appropriate hindrances for her sex, but uses them in her favour. (view spoiler)[Yes, I'm talking about the shooting (hide spoiler)].
As much as I loved incongruence between reality and his perception of himself, I think I would have loved the story more had Dain truly been hideous and had Jessica been less of a Beauty to her beast.
Although, I liked Lord of Scoundrels better than I did Captives of the Night I do think the latter had a better if under utilised story of the two. In essence Lord of Scoundrels is a straightforward story about two people meeting and working through a random series of obstacles before settling to live the rest of their lives together as a (view spoiler)[blended (hide spoiler)] family. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
My name is not Ruby Miller and this book is not about me. Although, it could be.
Except it could not, never. I would never ever ever ever go and meet my idol. I’m too much of a coward. This is why I watch Buffy on TV—or DVDs now—and why I am not Buffy.
But Ruby Miller is the zombie slayer. Or at least she pretends to be.
She’s a fan of zombie comic books and does all the things a young fan does. She spends too much time on the internet and discussing the comics with her friends. She also acted in a fanvideo and goes to the same school the creator of Zocopalypse graphic novels went to. She meets him, Gabe Foster, and ends up a little deeper in the fantasy world than any other fan.
As understandable as the situation in which Ruby meets Gabe for the second time is, I’m disappointed that once again the story starts with a guy coming to a girl’s rescue. After that, Ruby handles it all well, almost too well for an eighteen year old girl. She has her best friend Iris and her parents to support her, but how many of us would know how to act in the sudden spotlight of fame?
In Fangirl, the fangirl gets to live the other side of the industry. Not just see it, but to live it. Or a fictionalised version of it. Of course there’s romance and predictable relationship drama thrown into the mix to make things more realistic.
I had most fun with the fannish aspects like the lingo of the story even if certain nods to fanfics made me grit my teeth—Gabriel’s Inferno? Was that really necessary? The footnote commentary I found extraneous. It wasn’t there purely to add snark to Ruby’s voice and the informative facts for non-fans were useless to me because I know what IMDb.com is, but as I said, I’ve lived the fangirl side of things. I am still living it. It was a nice try to avoid infodumping, but it’d been better had the information buried within the body of the text. The romantic subplot was as predictable as ever as was Andrew’s secret.
This is a fun, straightforward Mary Sue self-insert novel for each and every fan of anything and everything ever. It’s labelled as Young Adult fiction but could be read by younger children and even people almost twice the age of the characters.
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for this review.(less)
The premise of this novel is really promising: A chance encounter that leads to a taboo relationship between a theatre student and her professor. It’s a shame that it was wasted on such a poor story about a naive little girl and a man whose only charm was his British accent.
As the title says Losing It is about Bliss Edward’s quest to lose her virginity at twenty two and before she graduates from college. She’s supposedly held on to it this far because she’s a control freak and not at all attracted to all the wannabe actors in her theatre school. The control makes her a good stage manager but it doesn’t exactly hinder her acting either, which is just a blatant contradiction. The head of the department points this out to Bliss:
”You’ve always been a bit too in your head, I suppose. Controlled. Careful. Mechanical, might be the best word for it. But in those auditions—you were living in the moment. You were feeling instead of thinking. I saw shades of emotion in you—strength and vulnerability, desire and disgust, hope and shame—that were quite simply captivating. I don’t know what you’re doing or what you’ve done, but please continue. You’re much better when you make bold choices.”
So, we’re told in Bliss’ narration and with the voice of an authority that she was controlled and careful, but we’re never actually shown it. Bliss is way too comfortable in her small group of friends to classify as socially awkward. She is at best a naive little girl who hasn’t fully embraced the risks and rewards of being an adult. She’s afraid and that fear is what spurs her into drinking herself silly, ignoring a lovely boy flirting with her at the bar, and falling all over a stranger with A BRITISH ACCENT. (I’m just typing as it was in the book.)
Maybe I’m being a little cruel, but from the start Garrick Taylor’s defining characteristic is his British accent, and that’s really not enough for me. I have this vague impression that Garrick had his sweet moments and that he was patient with Bliss when she was freaking out over nothing, but those possible good guy moments were overshadowed by the lack of chemistry between the couple and the sexist red flags that would have had me and any other woman with a speck common sense run away from him.
Let’s not forget the most important part, the great illicit love affair that never was. Garrick is in the know from the start. He knows he’s a teacher and he knows he lives in an area close to the school where college students might live. And yet when Bliss confesses living practically next door, he follows her and would have sex with her, if she didn’t grab the nearest flimsy excuse and run away from her apartment and the naked boy in her bed.
That’s another thing, Kelsey, a supposed friend of Bliss’—what ever happened to her?—repeatedly calls Garrick a boy before they learn that he’s their new professor. The cover shows a boy, and I’m supposed to believe Garrick is an adult, a man? Umm, okay?
When the truth about their power dynamics comes out in chapter seven, it’s only a momentary disruption. Garrick soon decides it’s not enough to keep him away from Bliss. Neither of them really acts like they’re doing something they’re not supposed to be doing, although Bliss occasionally thinks she shouldn’t. There isn’t any of that delicious angst of a forbidden love and sexual tension building up between the main couple the blurb promises, and all the emotional stress is reserved for Bliss’ relationship with her friend Cade, who is quite unnecessarily in love with her.
It says a lot about the romance when I’m ready to cheer for two other minor characters to win the wishy-washy girl rather than the apparent love interest. In two words: It sucks. This book’s only saving grace is that it’s not romanticising an abusive psychopath—that’s because it hardly romanticises anything—but unfortunately for Carmack that’s no longer enough to inflate the rating.
P.S. I really didn’t like how the gay character was portrayed.(less)
Kirja oli fantasiaa siitä hetkestä, kun tajusin sen kertovan kahdesta Lontoossa asuvasta suomalaisnaisesta. Tämän jälkeen, fiktiivinen hakkerointi, la...moreKirja oli fantasiaa siitä hetkestä, kun tajusin sen kertovan kahdesta Lontoossa asuvasta suomalaisnaisesta. Tämän jälkeen, fiktiivinen hakkerointi, laittomat aseradat, poliisin toimintaan sekaantuminen, sekä uskottavuuden rajoja koetteleva loppuratkaisu eivät tuntuneet missään. Näin sain vain nauttia hyvästä tarinasta.
Vaikka pidinkin rauhallisesti etenevästä juonesta ja pohdiskelevasta kerronnasta, olisi ainakin kirjan alkupuoliskoa voinut vielä hieman karsia. Turhaan toistetut yksityiskohdat rassasivat melkein yhtä paljon kuin Mamian ensimmäinen tarkoituksettomalta tuntunut nettipuhelu.
Nyt kaduttaa etten ole lukenut Hiltusen ensimmäistä kirjaa Viattomasti sinun, joka saattaisi selittää jotkut Lian hahmossa minua ärsyttäneet puolet. Kahdesta päähenkilöstä enemmän pidin Marista ehkä juuri etäisyytensä ja varautuneisuutensa takia. Hänen taustansa muuten livahti samalla syvälle sinne fantasia maailmojen mappiin.
Jos Hiltunen jatkaa sarjaa, toivoa sopii hänen hyödyntävän Rauteen sisaruksia sopivalla tavalla.
Let’s call it a modern fantasy mystery and leave it at that. There’s no magic involved, but the setting in itself forces me to suspend disbelief to an extent where there’s only a good fictive story left.
Although I enjoyed the slow pace in the beginning i thought it needed another round of edits. Repetition and Mamia’s first call felt pointless and annoying. At the time.
I wonder if reading the first book of the series would have explained some of Lia’s annoying qualities. I liked Mari as a character better perhaps because of her reticence. Her character history is included with the fantastical elements of this novel.
If Hiltunen continues writing for this series, I can only hope he’ll bring back the Rautee siblings in appropriate context. (less)
Sam Kirk and Delaney Michaels are in love. He just doesn’t know it yet. She’s known it since she was fourteen but has managed to convince herself that he won’t ever return her feelings, so why bother telling him. No, instead of talking to him, she’s going to run away.
That’s the conflict of this story.
I guess in certain circles it could be viewed as romantic to wait for the other person come to the right conclusion by himself, but when you’re tired of waiting and decided on leaving him without saying a word? Nope, that’s just cruel. To his credit Sam says so at one point before promptly ruining the moment with sexual innuendo. I could understand Delaney deluding herself while they were still stuck in the platonic gear, but the moment she decided to make a change, telling him should have become step one. Or step two. Any step before quitting her job, selling her flat, and telling him she never wanted to talk to him again.
Preferably after the second time they had sex and before she went to her enabler sister who came up with the brilliant plan of weekend of sex to get Sam out of Delaney’s system. And the scoundrel knew it would backfire.
There’s nothing wrong with Mayberry’s writing; the story just didn’t work for me. Two hundred pages of miscommunication fuelled angst and sex, and a two page resolution dropped the otherwise entertaining narrative just below my meh line. (less)
Once again Smiley is called back to deal with old spies and old secrets others have long since forgotten, and this time he’s in a hurry. Within a few...moreOnce again Smiley is called back to deal with old spies and old secrets others have long since forgotten, and this time he’s in a hurry. Within a few weeks George Smiley will face his old nemesis, Karla, and play his last hand in their twenty year card game.
That’s where the title of the Finnish translation comes from: Värisuora = straight flush.
I felt like le Carré tried to recreate Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy in Smiley’s People. All the things I so very much disliked about The Honourable Schoolboy were absent and I could once again lose myself in the marvellous mind and machinations of the old, round, and bespectacled spy.
Unfortunately, a recreation can never truly surpass its original and for longest periods I was simply bored. If I were merely comparing this to Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, well, let’s just say that the rating would sink like a cow’s tail, but I’m not. The last hundred pages of this book more than earned their stars. The last two pages and the resolution for Smiley’s personal relationship might have even earned an extra one all by themselves.
I love the way le Carré writes. It’s as simple as that.(less)
I liked the idea but I'm not completely convinced by the execution. Small grating things brought this down to three stars, but now I'm considering ded...moreI liked the idea but I'm not completely convinced by the execution. Small grating things brought this down to three stars, but now I'm considering deducting another star for the logic fails (view spoiler)[the protective macho werewolf brings his love and a fragile human being to a party with vamps, really? (hide spoiler)] and love induced personality transplants. The story needed more focus.
Still, I liked her take on the lore. ["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Sota on sota ja ihiminen on ihiminen. Seleviytyjä. Taipuu tai hajoaa mutta selviytyy.
Hyvä tositarina vaikken Ketun muovaamista ihmishahmoista erityise...moreSota on sota ja ihiminen on ihiminen. Seleviytyjä. Taipuu tai hajoaa mutta selviytyy.
Hyvä tositarina vaikken Ketun muovaamista ihmishahmoista erityisemmin pitänytkään. Kielenkäyttö oli hiukka rivompaa kuin mihin olen kotona tottunut, lieneekö tuo sitten eteläisemmän paikkakunnan vai ajankohdan syytä.
I liked the story but I didn't particularly like the characters. The story is based on real events.(less)
Too big a story for a novella. I'm always hoping writers include the explanations within the text instead of...moreOne Starlit Night by Carolyn Jewel 2 stars
Too big a story for a novella. I'm always hoping writers include the explanations within the text instead of adding flashbacks of footnotes or infodumbs. Jewel did that but, still, I'm not satisfied. Part of me wondered whether or not the story would have benefitted from a short glimpse to the seventeen year old Portia and Northword, instead of just reminding the reader that they were in love years and years before. I definitely think that although Northword had plenty of time to change his mind, the reader didn't. Despite the rushed sex scenes in beginning, I still viewed them as friends rather than lovers.
The sister-in-law was an infuriating meddler and she wasn't properly reprimanded nor thanked for her behaviour. I also have a vague recollection of logic gaps in the beginning.
What Happened at Midnight by Courtney Milan 3 stars
"If we waited until we were married, you'd own the right to use my body. Now I can say no." ... "And I can say yes," she whispered."
That's the best description for all three novellas I could find within the stories. None of the heroine's adhere to the strict moral rules of the time or live up to the expectations the society has for young unmarried women, but each and everyone of them wants the choice and takes it.
As always with Milan's novellas, I thought the story should have been a full length novel instead. As interesting as their "adventure" was, I thought the forgiveness and re-embrasement of their love was rushed. At least Mary and John had to wait a while longer before the sex.
Also, I felt like this one could have used one more round of edits. There was a whiff of repetition, which remains repetition no matter how intentional it might have been. Those words could have been used to explain how Mary (view spoiler)[placed her dead father's body in her trunk and how was she able to move it to the window and out of it—before lowering it with the rope—and to wherever she took it after her escape. (hide spoiler)]
A Dance in Moonlight by Sherry Thomas 2 stars (rounded up)
At first I thought Thomas managed to write the most appropriate story for a novella. It starts and focuses on one night when a chance encounter leads to flirting, talking, instant friendship, and love. But then Ralston and Isabella part and start writing letters. I didn't give up on the story utterly until the confrontation with Ralston's lookalike and Isabelle's childhood love. The confrontations were rushed and so were their resolutions. Once again the story proved to be too large for its length.
I liked Thomas' writing style well enough, but the disaster of the ending and the unfortunate sex scene descriptions have convinced me to give her books a wide berth. Unless someone I trust recommends me her books I won't be changing my mind.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
A quick, simple read, with a plot of misunderstandings that could have been resolved with a honest talk. Why don't the characters ever talk to each ot...moreA quick, simple read, with a plot of misunderstandings that could have been resolved with a honest talk. Why don't the characters ever talk to each other? I'd be rounding the rating up instead of down had the man told her how he felt before reading the damn letter. (less)
Kun kyyhkyset katosivat jatkaa synkkien kertomusten sarjaa Neuvosto-Viron lähihistoriasta. Jälleen kerran tarinan keskiössä ovat kahdessa aikalinjassa kulkevat mutta yhteenkietoutuvat tapahtumat. Jokainen Oksasen teoksia lukenut osaa päätellä tämän verran jo lukujen postimerkeistä.
Toisen maailmansodan tuoksinnassa Viro jäi ensin Neuvostoliiton, Saksan ja uudelleen Neuvostoliiton jalkoihin. Tavalliset ihmiset kamppailivat nälkää ja miehittäjiä vastaan tai antautuivat vaikutusvallan vietäväksi. Jotkut sortuivat tiedonantajiksi tahtomattaan, toiset pyrkivät miellyttämään valtaapitäviä hinnalla millä hyvänsä, ehkäpä jopa oman identiteettinsä kustannuksella. Toisille nimestä luopuminen oli ainoa keino varjella rakkaimpiaan.
Sota tekee rikollisia meistä kaikista. Sota tekee meistä selviytyjiä.
Sen kummempaa sanomaa en usko löytäneeni tästä teoksesta ja sekin uhkasi kadota ärsyttävien tyyliseikkojen hyökyaallon alle. Oksasen proosa on itsessään edelleen kaunista, mutta romaanin rakenteessa olisi ollut hiottavaa. Tuntui kuin Oksanen olisi yrittänyt pakottaa mysteeriä sinne, missä selkeys olisi ollut palkitsevinta. Lopun yllätykset — kolme omien laskujeni mukaan — olivat kaukaa nähtävissä alun sekavuudesta huolimatta.
Englanninkielisen kirjallisuuden lukeminen on tehnyt minusta yliherkän ensimmäisen ja kolmannen persoonan kerrontojen sekoittamiselle. Minulla ei ole mitään hetkellistä — virkkeen tai pari kestävää — sukeltamista henkilöhahmon ajatuksiin, mutta kokonaisten lukujen pituiset vaihdot tuntuvat laiskuudelta. Jos kirjailija haluaa laajentaa kertomustaan useampaan näkökulmaan, miksei hän myös kertoisi kaikkea kolmannessa persoonassa sen sijaan että asettaa yhden henkilön ylitse muiden muttei kuitenkaan kerro koko tarinaa tämän perspektiivistä? Vaikken Riikka Pulkkisen Totta-romaanista pitänytkään, ainakin siinä tällä tehokeinolla oli tarkoituksensa.
Laatukirjallisuutta, mutta Oksaselta odottaa parempaa.
Sometimes the oppressors win.
Kun kyyhkyset katosivat (When the pigeons disappeared) continues the series of bleak tales about Soviet Estonia. Once again within the story events of two timelines intertwine. Anyone who has read a book written by Oksanen can deduce this from the stamps in the chapter titles.
Estonia was overrun by Soviet Union, Germany, and Soviet Union again in the Second World War. Ordinary people battled with hunger and against their occupiers. Or they let themselves be swept away by the authority and influence. Some became informants against their will, others aimed to please the powerful at any price—even at the expense of their own identities. For others giving up a name was the only way to protect their loved ones.
War makes criminals of us all. War makes us survivors.
I don’t think I found any deeper meaning than that in this book, and even that was almost overrun by the annoying style points. Her prose is as beautiful as ever, but the structure of the novel could have used a bit more work. It felt like Oksanen was trying to create mystery where there was none. Clarity would have been more rewarding. The plot twists in the end—three by my count—were all predictable despite the messy beginning.
Reading English literature has made me oversensitive to mixing first and third person voices. I don’t mind quick—lasting a sentence or two—plunges into the the psyche of the character, but chapter long switches stink of laziness. If the author wants to expand her narration into several viewpoints, why wouldn’t she also tell it all in third person voice? Why would she place one character above all others but not important enough to tell the whole story from their perspective? Although, I didn’t like True by Riikka Pulkkinen, at least in that the narrative device had its purpose.
It’s quality literature, but my expectations for Oksanen were higher.(less)
Takakansi lupaa teoksen olevan “täsmäkirja kuntauudistuksen kourissa kiemurtelevaan maahan”. Ja sitähän se onkin: kirjan alkusivuilla. Heikkisen kriti...moreTakakansi lupaa teoksen olevan “täsmäkirja kuntauudistuksen kourissa kiemurtelevaan maahan”. Ja sitähän se onkin: kirjan alkusivuilla. Heikkisen kritiikki on terävimmillään alussa asetelman luonnissa. Lyhyt kuvaus siitä kuinka Suomi päätyi sisällissodan kynnykselle on hupaisa ja tarkka. Valitettavasti siihen se kosto fantasia sitten jääkin.
Jo muutaman kappaleen jälkeen tarina latistuu syrjäytyneiden sotaintoilijoiden – siis keski-ikäisten miesten – elämän kuvaukseksi. Tuntemattoman Koskelaa ihannoiva Jesse Purola ja Helsingin herroihin kyrpiintynyt Oula ovat pullamössö poikia kumpainenkin. Leluilla ja vekottimilla leikitään, mutta todellisesta sodasta tuskin tietää kumpainenkaan. Maahanmuuttaja Abdi ja pohjoisen räppäri lisäävät tarinan miesnäkökulmaan omat ulottuvuutensa.
Ei naisiakaan ole unohdettu: ei ainakaan porontaljoilta. Ainoa jokseenkin ihmisen oloinen naishahmo kirjassa on toimittaja Aino Riski. Työhönsä tympääntynyt kasvisruokavalionsa kanssa poroalueella kamppaileva tyttö sortuu sitten haastateltavaansa ja katoaa irrallisia lehtijuttuja lukuun ottamatta kirjan sivuilta lähes kokonaan.
Ja kun alun huumorikin uupuu yksittäisiksi anekdooteiksi, ei kirjasta minulle paljon iloa irronnut.(less)
Entertaining but so very bad. She’s an irritating adolescent and he’s a shadow of a dunce. I’ve overgrown the virginal heroines and their innocence, e...moreEntertaining but so very bad. She’s an irritating adolescent and he’s a shadow of a dunce. I’ve overgrown the virginal heroines and their innocence, even if they do deliciously stupid things as pretend to be other people to seduce their husbands. (less)
A decent paranormal on the plotty side. The characters are developed but at the expense of the relationship development. I spied a logic lapsus or two...moreA decent paranormal on the plotty side. The characters are developed but at the expense of the relationship development. I spied a logic lapsus or two, but I don’t know whether I should be blaming the slightly wooden translation or the original text.
There wasn’t any explicit sexual content, so I can’t call this an erotica, but the presence of ancient Egyptian deities ensures the book aimed for adults and mature teens. And horror flick fans.
Should or shouldn’t I mention this? It’s a mix race couple, and for once the black woman was stronger character than the white man. Of course, they’re both hardly human, so they have that in common. (less)
I wish I could say I was disappointed, but I’m really not. I got what I expected to get after reading the first chapter:
A bunch of deus ex machinas tied together and with a nice bow on top starting with Ashley’s blindness.
I was positively surprised that Adams at least appeared to have done her research into blindness. There were two institutions mentioned and the way Ashley and her assistant, Lizzie, behaved rang true to me. Still, reading about spotty vision or hazy peripheral vision made it clear that Ashley wasn’t going to stay blind forever. That didn’t stop me from hoping that the author would surprise me.
There’s a slow build romance with the neighbours, Ashley and Mel, getting to know each other and become friends first. They’re both hiding from the world and trying to learn to cope with their new selves. Ashley at least was being mostly honest with herself, while Mel’s tendency to speak of himself in the third person was understandable but distracting. He had a secret to keep, but it felt more complicated than that; it felt like the character or the author didn’t really know who he was. I think this is why I found the couple’s chemistry lacking.
The writing, I mostly liked. Some plot details like Roamer felt more contrived than others like the initial avoidance of Ashley’s accident and the cause to her temporary blindness as well as the final confrontation. If the characters had acted naturally instead of being driven by plot points, Mel would have told the truth to Ashley before leaving. That would have only shifted the emphasis of their argument (view spoiler)[and there wouldn’t have been need for that awkward moment where Ashley recognises Mel from his picture before ever seeing him (hide spoiler)].
I hesitate too mention this because I’m not a native English speaker and I could be completely wrong, but some of the expressions used in the book sounded childish to me. Like Ashley’s comments about something being wowie zowie or aces or her and Mel’s nickname for Paula—Smelly.
The sex scenes did take a good portion of the book when they finally got into bed together, but luckily they weren’t gruelling. Not worst I’ve read, but not the best either. I was glad to see the unprotected sex addressed though I wasn’t very happy with the conclusion either.
I received an Advanced Readers Copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is a tough act to follow, but I must admit I was expecting more. At first, I thought that’s exactly what I was getting but t...moreTinker Tailor Soldier Spy is a tough act to follow, but I must admit I was expecting more. At first, I thought that’s exactly what I was getting but then the mind-numbing second third happened and I was lost in a way I never was in Tinker Tailor. I still don’t have a clear understanding of what happened—in the book or with my interest in it.
All I know is that I got sick of reading about Jerry. I got sick of Guillam’s overdone fawning. I got sick of the female characters—including Connie—portrayed as little else than objects or victims of a man’s obsession. Smiley himself, he was a changed man in this.
Still, the story had its good moments, and when it was good it was oh, so very good. The ending with its rebirth almost reassured me enough to forget all my troubles with this book. Almost.(less)
What can I say about this black and red covered brick that hasn’t been said already?
Not much. Nothing at all.
The translation sucks. It’s uneven, sloppy, and it’s painful to read at times. It’s the reason I kept putting this book down and reading something else instead. It’s not, however, enough to hide the great story underneath.
The beginning of the novel is bogged down by long infodumbs explaining the game, the government’s approach, and pointing out most if not all of the 42 players. That’s a lot of names and factoids for a reader to remember and I wish the author had just picked a handful of core characters to properly introduce before hitting the “start game” button. Takami doesn’t have any trouble introducing new characters later in the book while detailing the progress of the killing game, and I don’t understand why he couldn’t have used that same tactic from the start. And that’s what I loved most about this book. As bloody and gory as it is, it also gives voices and personalities to even the most obnoxious characters. They were the best part of this book.
The heroes and heroine, however, were not. Noriko redeemed herself somewhat towards the end, but in doing so she took away Shuya’s last chance to morph into an interesting character. Of the three, both in the book and the film, most interesting was Shogo. You can guess how I felt about that moment on the mountain top, if you’ve read the book.
There are two endings for this story, the first on the island and the second off the island. I would’ve loved had the first been the final ending, but I can understand why the second one exists. The confrontation with the government representative was necessary because of the world Takami created and because of the message he wanted to convey at the end.
I would have preferred had it been done without the lyrics, though.(less)
On my Goodreads profile on the “favourite books” line it says: Well written ones, but often I'll settle for entertaining. What it doesn’t say is that...moreOn my Goodreads profile on the “favourite books” line it says: Well written ones, but often I'll settle for entertaining. What it doesn’t say is that sometimes I’m just looking for something entertaining (disclaimer: basic grammar rules should always be adhered to).
That’s what I got here.
Probationary Constable Peter Grant dreams of being a detective in London’s Metropolitan Police. Too bad his superior plans to assign him to the Case Progression Unit, where the biggest threat he’ll face is a paper cut.
This is actually a sterilised version of the beginning of the book. Aside from using the first chapters to introduce the integral characters, Aaronovitch spends a lot of time fleshing out the procedural side of the drama. Expect to see lots of names and abbreviations that’ll come and bite you later if you forget them. Though, I must say, I miss the expression “bunny suit.”
But Peter’s prospects change in the aftermath of a puzzling murder, when he gains exclusive information from an eyewitness who happens to be a ghost.
And then there’s the paranormal side of this urban fantasy mystery. Like so many authors before him, Aaronovitch eases Peter into this new world exposing and explaining things as they come. There are ghosts, there’s magic, and there are deities that put a young man’s libido into overdrive.
Peter’s ability to speak with the lingering dead brings him to the attention of Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, who investigates crimes involving magic and other manifestations of the uncanny.
This is what I liked. The magical—uncanny—side of the world is embraced but science isn’t thrown aside either. Peter has an inquisitive mind and he reacts like I’d expect any modern person to react: He tries to make the two sides of his new reality fit together. It’s an ongoing struggle but every now and then he figures out something new.
Now, as a wave of brutal and bizarre murders engulfs the city, Peter is plunged into a world where gods and goddesses mingle with mortals and a long-dead evil is making a comeback on a rising tide of magic.
Aaronovitch takes all these familiar elements and somehow fits them together. He doesn’t completely rewrite the legends or invent his own, he just takes what he needs and builds on it. He gives his narrator a snarky and entertaining voice, and a bit of a mystery to stretch your grey cells.
Seeing as this a British book about magic, the inevitable Harry Potter references do come up and are addressed in the same manner as most other popular culture references: They’re acknowledged, joked about, and put aside.
Saying that this is like seeing Harry Potter grow up and become a policeman is doing Peter Grant a disservice, after all, Harry never really fit in with the muggles.
P.S. Trigger warnings: (view spoiler)[ Quite a nasty case of possession with gory aftereffects and a violent incident involving a baby. (hide spoiler)].["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
It wasn't enough to test my suspension of disbelief with the cats. It wasn't enough that everyone reacted fantastically well t...moreI am done. I am so done.
It wasn't enough to test my suspension of disbelief with the cats. It wasn't enough that everyone reacted fantastically well to all the exits from the closet. Oh, no. There had to be that holy mother of all deus ex machinas inserted in the end. There's no point; there simply isn't any point to this anymore.
Not that there ever was.
From now on, I'll look for my Jensen Ackles/Dean Winchester & Jared Padalecki/Sam Winchester rpf-fanfic-amalgam free from the internet. (less)