I keep thinking about this but I really don't have anything to say. It's the author's last book written in the beginning of the Second World War befor...moreI keep thinking about this but I really don't have anything to say. It's the author's last book written in the beginning of the Second World War before she was taken to Auschwitz where she and her husband died. If you're at all interested in the lives of the ordinary French under Nazi occupation, you should read it. (less)
A decent follow up for the first book in the series. Apart from the paranormal world, I liked the fact that this time the half demon was conscious abo...moreA decent follow up for the first book in the series. Apart from the paranormal world, I liked the fact that this time the half demon was conscious about giving her a choice in a very fundamental choice. I would have liked the scene to be even clearer on that front but I guess the author was in a hurry to get to the totally unnecessary alluded sex scene.
Who among us while walking by the river Styx doesn’t stop to think that this is the opportune time to have sex? I ask you, who?
Also, Eve Silver continues to write about mixed-race couples. This time the heroine was half Egyptian, half Japanese. I wish I knew enough of Japanese culture to fully appreciate proverbs—or know if they were real or not.(less)
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)
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)
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)
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)
If you can't tell by now, I'm slightly obsessed with le Carré's writing style. Even in its translations it's simple, to the point, and almost wholly w...moreIf you can't tell by now, I'm slightly obsessed with le Carré's writing style. Even in its translations it's simple, to the point, and almost wholly without the unnecessary embellishments that plague so many other works. Maybe that's why the first chapter, the short description of George Smiley, was added--what do I know, I'm only guessing but it feels like an after thought more than a part of the story--to the book. Without it, you'd have to read the last page to get a real feel of him.
As always, there's action, but it's not the blazing guns and explosions kind. It's the near invisible reactions, the subtle kind of psychology we all use in our day to day lives but only few manage to do it consciously. There are few familiar characters either from subsequent books I've already read or the archetypes others are based on. This could be only my imagination, but I'd like someone else's opinion on the possible Dieter-Karla resemblance.
I'm particularly grateful that this is the only le Carré book where I've had to read a summary of the events taken place and that the method of memorandums has been dropped from his storytelling tool box.
As I said it's not without its faults, but seeing as this le Carré's first published book, I'm being more forgiving. And I enjoyed this more than the other le Carré books I've given three stars to.(less)
Reading this after having read Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is like reading a fanfiction for a book I loved. The main character is the same--maybe mor...moreReading this after having read Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is like reading a fanfiction for a book I loved. The main character is the same--maybe more thoroughly explained and explored--the style is similar, though not quite as crisp, and the mystery is there.
From the beginning it comes clear who the murderer really is, or is expected to be and just like Agatha Christie le Carré distracts the reader from the obvious masterfully. Their styles are different, but the method is the same. Misdirection and withholding of information. I liked it, but it wasn't the same as Tinker, Tailor.(less)
It's a quick light read; nothing more, nothing less than I expected from a Nicola Cornick book.
Having read and been disappointed by Desired my expect...moreIt's a quick light read; nothing more, nothing less than I expected from a Nicola Cornick book.
Having read and been disappointed by Desired my expectations weren't that high for this novel, but the second half--more like the last third--of the story surprised me positively. Joanna's trip offered few very vivid images and events that helped me to round up the rating despite the distasteful sauna sex.
Seriously people, what will it take you to understand that sauna is not a place for sex?!
I'm choosing to ignore every anachronism I could pick up and suspend my disbelief enough to accept once again a virginalised heroine that somehow is at the centre of most scandalous scandals of early 19th century London society.
Speaking of Desired, I had a moment of déjà vu with couple of scenes. (view spoiler)[Both Desired and Whisper of Scandal start with an outrageous scene where the Lady ends up in her future husband's arms, and both books have a scene where the sister goes to the man planning to seduce him but ends up proposing to him point blank. (hide spoiler)] The situations and settings were slightly different but similar enough to make me wonder just how fixed is Cornick's model for these books or is she simply reaching for that magical scene in her head she can't ever quite capture on page. Which ever it is, it needs to stop. Good for for getting it right--possibly--but it'll be boring to read if I stumble across it again.
On another day and in another mood, I wouldn't have given this book such a high rating. We need those half stars and you didn't hear me say that. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
The constant slipping between first and third person limited in the narration is bringing the rating down. I don't think this was the sharpest le Carr...moreThe constant slipping between first and third person limited in the narration is bringing the rating down. I don't think this was the sharpest le Carré I've read and I've only read three of his books so far. Also, to fully understand the ending, it helps if you're German. Or European. Or (view spoiler)[non American (hide spoiler)].(less)
In his book Harrington offers a more critical view on the Berlin blockade of 1948-1949, the events that lead to it, and of what followed. He supposes...moreIn his book Harrington offers a more critical view on the Berlin blockade of 1948-1949, the events that lead to it, and of what followed. He supposes that instead of making a clear decision to sustain Berlin through airlift, it was just a way for the Western powers to buy time for a diplomatic solution.
Whatever the authors intention, it's clear that the book title is misleading. It's not strictly about post World War II Berlin. It's about the American and British--but mostly American--approach to the situation in Berlin. The author says so himself in the introduction.
Because Harrington doesn't speak French and Russian fluently, he was unable to include additional sources examining their actions and motivations during those years. I almost put this book down when I read that, but I'm glad I didn't.
The best part of this book is the section explaining the airlift. How the operation was started, what difficulties it had to overcome, and the people who made it work despite wretched conditions and lack of political leadership. It was the small things that made it come alive to me. How the flour and coal dust affected the flying, or how many spare parts the planes went through in a month. Usually these figures came with a commentary comparing their annual consumption.
There was also a brief glance at what life was like for Berliners during the blockade. This was mostly new information to me. The parts directly connected to the airlift operation I might have heard of earlier, but the description of everyday life--as known to the occupying forces--was new. The statistics on caloric intake or how heating was arranged and why, was as fascinating as the comments about women accepting responsibility for feeding their families.
Harrington tries to bring the diplomacy alive through individual people too. He examines a great many people's actions and motivations, and lays them out for the reader. It's basically everything that can be found in English sources.
I wanted more. I wanted to know what the French really thought about the Attee plan and what were their exact reasons for their restraint later. I wanted--would have liked--to know more about what was going on behind the scenes in Kremlin too.
It is unfortunate that Harrington didn't--or couldn't--use a translator to expand the scope of his study. It becomes quite obvious that all this book is really about, is the British and American decision making and approach to the challenges Soviet Union presented them and France with. And if that's all you're really after--a critical, dry study on Truman and the people around him, and how they postponed making the hard decisions indefinitely--then this is a good book for you.
I received an Advanced Readers Copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.(less)
This is a short book describing what life and filmmaking was like in the 1950s especially for people working with Carl Dreyer on the set of Ordet, The...moreThis is a short book describing what life and filmmaking was like in the 1950s especially for people working with Carl Dreyer on the set of Ordet, The Word .
Jan Wahl, then a film student, relates the story of a summer he spent in Denmark with the director and his crew. He relies heavily on his diaries and letters exchanged with Dryer to paint a picture of a man who lived and breathed films and filmmaking, a perfectionist who eventually succumbed to the elements and simply did his best.
For a layman work offers a glimpse behind the scenes and the history of filming. It draws attention to details that might otherwise escape the casual filmwatcher's notice, and it highlights some of the difficulties the age and technology presented.
For an expert, though, I imagine there are infinitely more layers hidden in these pages than I can hope to describe.
I received an Advanced Readers Copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.(less)
Sepäs oli mielenkiintoinen kokemus. Sieppasin tämän sattumalta kirjaston pikalainahyllystä ja koska takakansi ei ollut suorastaan luotaantyötävä, kann...moreSepäs oli mielenkiintoinen kokemus. Sieppasin tämän sattumalta kirjaston pikalainahyllystä ja koska takakansi ei ollut suorastaan luotaantyötävä, kannoin sen kotiin asti luettavaksi.
Tuormaa kirjoittaa tuoreen tuntuisesti ja viihdyttävästi, joskaan ei aivan yhtä liukkaasti kuin Remes - jalat pysyivät alla ja perspektiivi kohdillaan eli en vasta takakannen käännettyäni tajunnut tuhlanneeni tunteja pelkän silkon lukemiseen.
En erityisemmin pitänyt päähenkilöstä saatika sekalaisesta seurakunnasta hänen ympärillään, mutta tämä saattaa johtua vain henkilökohtaisista mieltymyksistäni. Juonikin tuntui paperin ohuelta, vaikka Tuormaa hämäsikin parhaansa mukaan sortumatta johtolankojen panttaamiseen ratkovan komissarion älynlahjojen kustannuksella.
Itseasiassa kolmas tähti tuleekin tuosta positiivisesta yllätyksestä. Vihjeet saatuani ja seuraavat vaiheet mysteerissä pääteltyäni, rikoskomissario Lipponen seurasi välittömästi perässä päätyen ilmeisimpiin johtopäätöksiin. Ja sitten tutkimus eteni loogisia ratoja eteenpäin seuraavaan vaiheeseen.
Näillä näkymin en etsi käsiini Tuormaan muuta tuotantoa, muttenpa sitä aktiivisesti karttamaankaan lähde. (less)
Bongasin tämän kirjakaupan hyllyssä ja koska takakansi kuulosti lupaavalta, suuntasin suorimmiten lähimpään kirjastoon. Taisin olla ensimmäisten jouko...moreBongasin tämän kirjakaupan hyllyssä ja koska takakansi kuulosti lupaavalta, suuntasin suorimmiten lähimpään kirjastoon. Taisin olla ensimmäisten joukossa, jotka tämän kirjan sieltä lainasivat.
Elena Mady kirjoittaa sujuvasti ala-aste ikäisille ja hänen luomansa mielikuvitusmaailma on ihanan suomalainen. Valitettavasti kieli vaikuttaa enemmän englannin käännökseltä kuin syntyperäisen suomalaisen kirjoittamalta. Syykin tähän on selvä: Kiitoksista ilmenee että hän kirjoitti kirjan alunperin englanniksi ja sitten uudelleen suomeksi. Tästä sekä lievästä ympäristöpaatoksesta johtuen kirja ei iskenyt minuun ihan yhtä hyvin kuin se uponnee varsinaiseen kohderyhmäänsä 8-12 vuotiaisiin.
I found this book in bookshop, read the blurb and decided to find it in the nearest library. I must have been one of the first people to borrow it.
Elena Mady's writing is fluent and aimed at 8-12-year-old children and the world she created is deliciously Finnish. Unfortunately the language reads like an English translation rather than a native Finnish writings. There is a clear reason for this. In the acknowledgements it's said that she wrote this book first in English and when asked she rewrote it in Finnish. Because of this and the slight environmentalism pushing the book didn't capture me quite as well as it should its intended focus group.(less)