Just as fun as the first one, although for some reason it took me a while to get into the story, so I let the book rest a few days. The further I readJust as fun as the first one, although for some reason it took me a while to get into the story, so I let the book rest a few days. The further I read, the more addictive it became.
I loved the snarky exchange of words between (view spoiler)[Amelia and Emerson (hide spoiler)], and I was happy to see that their personalities hadn't changed one bit, but that they could still spar with each other despite the situation changing. People like them can seem a bit hard, though, but there were moments where their hard exteriors melted and they seemed more human. Not that they didn't seem human before, but now there were more faults visible as well, like with real human beings. It was pretty obvious, too, that Amelia wouldn't settle into tea parties. The way she appears next to the ridiculous Lady Baskerville, who's constantly fainting out of shock like your typical romance heroine, would make anyone want to escape with Amelia to the dusty digs.
The characters were more interesting this time around, especially the insane Madame Berengeria, who loved her bottle a bit too much and dressed like ancient Egyptians. Bigger bunch of people also meant there were more choices for the murderer, and although the identity wasn't a complete shock, I wasn't disappointed either. Peters handled the twists and turns with style.
There's a cat, too!
Ok, that was a bit random, but Bastet deserves a mention.
All in all, I liked the sense of adventure. I can't give four stars, because I still feel there's something missing, but for certain situations these are perfect light mysteries, and I'd love to know where Amelia ends up next.
"Bucolic peace is not my ambience, and the giving of tea parties is by no means my favorite amusement. In fact, I would prefer to be pursued across the desert by a band of savage Dervishes brandishing spears and howling for my blood. I would rather be chased up a tree by a mad dog, or face a mummy risen from its grave. I would rather be threatened by knives, pistols, poisonous snakes, and the curse of a long-dead king."["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
"A young man in one’s hotel bedroom is capable of being explained, but a corpse is always a hindrance."
Is there a better way to return to reading and"A young man in one’s hotel bedroom is capable of being explained, but a corpse is always a hindrance."
Is there a better way to return to reading and reviewing than write about a light, bubbly, vibrant, and sparkly mystery? When my studies calmed down a bit and my brain began to miss fiction, I started a ridiculously long classic, but then I noticed a book whose blurb made my heart beat a little bit faster. A detective story that is set in the roaring twenties and whose main character is a bold and unconstrained female private detective, can't be bad. Am I right?
My expectations turned out to be reasonable. Phryne is the soul of the book. Whenever you start a new series, you want to make sure that you like the main character who carries the weight of the story, so that you're interested enough to continue with the series. Phryne Fisher carries herself with style and enjoys the luxuries of life, but isn't arrogant or afraid to get her hands dirty in seedy back alleys. This unabashed and clever adventuress, who enjoys cigarettes and - quelle horreur! - sex, exists in an entirely different sphere than the rest of the characters. Especially the squeaky clean maid Dorothy seems puny next to her mistress, even though she does find courage in the end when things become dangerous.
On the other hand, the plot itself didn't have the spark I was hoping for. One important identity was easy to guess about halfway through, because Greenwood's hint is pretty heavyhanded. Not knowing Melbourne, I also couldn't pinpoint the events to Australia, because it seemed like any metropolitan city would have been the location, which of course is a shame since Australia is an interesting country. The endless descriptions of Phryne's dresses just radiated iffy chick lit vibes.
Although the fluffiness wasn't entirely my thing and occasionally style moved ahead of substance, I believe I could continue with the series if I ever need something that wouldn't require any brain activity. Based on this first installment the series might potentionally be addictive, and because of that extra that the 20s brings to the plate, things could be worse. Greenwood's writing style has the kind of perkiness and sharpness which in the end makes reading fun, and that's what you want from a cozy mystery. If, however, I don't feel like reading the whole series, there's the tv show that I'm going to check out at some point. Maybe I'll make those cucumber sandwiches and cocktails as seen on Phryne's website to get in the mood....more
A few days ago I was about to go to the summer cottage without electronic devices, and because I didn't feel like reading anything from the pile I alrA few days ago I was about to go to the summer cottage without electronic devices, and because I didn't feel like reading anything from the pile I already had, I went to the library to see if there were more Elizabeth Peters's Amelia Peabody adventures. Apparently, the library hasn't acquired them in order (the horror!), so I have to buy the next one if I'm planning on reading it. Then I saw something interesting next to the other Peters's novels: crime novels where a monk is doing the investigating. A monk! This has to be good, I thought, and something totally different than the tediousness that is The Name of the Rose (1980).
I was laying on the pier and eating strawberries, when the skeleton was found from the field. From there on I was instantly hooked. I couldn't have been more wrong in my guesses for the culprit, although the ending made complete sense, and was even a bit medieval in a way. Although I prefer only the final revelation instead of the characters constantly repeating the evidence gathered so far and who could be guilty, I still enjoyed following Cadfael in his efforts to find who did it.
Things were also made more interesting by Cadfael being stuck in the monastery, since he had to ask permission for errands not related to his vocation, and because of that he had Hugh the sheriff to help him in the outside world. Not that Cadfael is a master detective. He and Hugh seemed pretty equal in their brain activity, although Cadfael is naturally the one who solves the case.
Not only that the mystery is rewarding, but Peters is also a wonderful writer in general. She depicts the environment and the monastic life vividly and beautifully, and weaves thoughts about life and religion into the narrative (of which the contrast between secular and monastic life was the most interesting). Her monks are imperfect and people's behavior in general is plausible and suitable for the time period.
My brain has a minor glitch what comes to the history of the Middle Ages, so the parts where Peters explains a little about the historical background went completely over my head. I have no idea who the king was, I can't remember who were fighting and why etc. That's just a small thing, however, because they're not important in understanding the plot. Although it should be noted that Peters never went to college but was self-taught, which is incredibly impressive.
The series is suitable for reading out of order, which is always a plus for me. I will store Peters in my mind for those days when I don't feel like reading anything particularly challenging, but still something a bit more serious....more
I currently have 225 horror films under my belt. The Exorcist (1973) is not the best I've seen. It's not the worst either, but it's still only mildlyI currently have 225 horror films under my belt. The Exorcist (1973) is not the best I've seen. It's not the worst either, but it's still only mildly entertaining, if even that. The vomiting scene makes me want to eat pea soup. Pea soup, mustard, and crisp bread with cheese on top are the best combination ever - but I digress. If the film was meant to be funny, fine, but since the tone is serious throughout I highly doubt it was made as anything else than a good ol' creep show. Ravenous (1999) and Evil Dead II (1987) are hilarious gore fests (although I don't usually like overly violent horror) but The Exorcist is unintentionally so.
However, this wasn't always so. I can't remember my age, but I was certainly under ten when me and my two friends decided to secretly watch it. Obviously it was a bad idea, since it scared the shit out of me. I've never liked hospitals or anything remotely related to them, so when Regan was subjected to all kinds of tests that alone was horrifying. I don't remember the famous scenes, though, so I was probably mostly burying my face under a pillow and only listening to all the suspicious screams. Fast-forward to a couple of years later when I rewatched the whole thing: Jesus Christ, what is this now?
I think the problem is that I don't like exorcism horror. Even The Conjuring (2013), which is otherwise excellent, was in danger of falling flat during the latter half. I find nothing even remotely scary about a contorted body, a face that looks like Chucky, blasphemy, profanities etc. It's then painfully obvious what my attempt to inject a little creepy horror into the hot summer days turned out to be: a dud.
I don't require a lot from a horror novel, just that there's a some sort of looming threat or creepiness that has an effect on me. Blatty spends too much time educating the reader about possessions and psychology, and the underlying message about how God is good and evil will always lose is a bit heavy handed for my liking. There's also this awkardness in his writing, like he wanted to appear more intellectual and literary, but actually failing miserably (a sad table? really?). I did like Karras, his struggles with faith and the games he had with the demon, but the story overall works better in a visual form. The novel does however reflect (either intentionally or unintentionally) the social upheavals of the time, so that's something that would be worth exploring.
I'm trying to catch up on 1970s horror novels, since I've already seen some films from that era, but Blatty left me disappointed and underwhelmed, and the issues far outweighed the interesting aspects. I'm confident there will be better material later on (and there already has: The Other (1971) is the ultimate forgotten horror classic that is atmospheric, creepy, and heaps of fun)....more
A basic werewolf story, to which King doesn't really bring anything new, even if he always has interesting characters. Once again an American small toA basic werewolf story, to which King doesn't really bring anything new, even if he always has interesting characters. Once again an American small town works great in a horror novel, and when King sinks his teeth into the small town life, it's executed in such a way that I always keep coming back to get a fix of that certain atmosphere. Although the identity of the werewolf is easy to guess right at the beginning, this was still an entertaining snack. Even at his worst King is highly readable and fun....more
Having read Naked Lunch, I thought I had been sucked into an alternate universe when I saw this in the library. I don't usually grab random stuff whenHaving read Naked Lunch, I thought I had been sucked into an alternate universe when I saw this in the library. I don't usually grab random stuff when I'm there, but this just seemed too weird to pass. Turns out, this was pretty - blah. Not particularly moving, meditativeness wasn't that interesting, and overall pretty forgettable. Although I did enjoy Burroughs's style, which didn't make this your run-of-the-mill mushy book about cats, but kind of a dream-like journey. ...more
I'm not that into young adult literature (at all actually), but overall I liked the idea in this, and that it's set at the beginning of the 20th centuI'm not that into young adult literature (at all actually), but overall I liked the idea in this, and that it's set at the beginning of the 20th century. The execution was unsatisfying. The bits where characters argued about women's rights and were sad about Titanic felt out of place, like Gripe definitely wanted something to scream the time period, but couldn't decide where to put them so she jammed them somewhere where they seemed to fit. They didn't. The characters were also unlikeable and sometimes behaved oddly and unnaturally. The biggest problem for me however was the whole mystery of the photograph itself. I don't know if it was because things are made more obvious in books for young adults or what, but I guessed what was going on pretty quickly. The mystery of the twin brother was lame as well. I was also hoping something more about the father's interest in Swedenborg, since it reminded me of Uncle Silas, but I guess it wasn't supposed to be important.
The second part of the series seems interesting, though, so maybe I'll have a look at some point if I feel like it....more