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text 2019-01-17 20:38
TBR Thursdays - January 17, 2019
A Call to Conscience: The Landmark Speeches - Martin Luther King Jr.,Clayborne Carson,Kris Shepard,Andrew Young
Three Fearful Days: San Francisco Memoirs of the 1906 Earthquake & Fire - Malcolm E. Barker
The Glass Universe: How the Ladies of the Harvard Observatory Took the Measure of the Stars - Dava Sobel

*Bookish meme created by Moonlight Reader

 

I came home from the Cub Scout winter lock-in/camp out achy from sleeping on concrete floor and VERY tired. Woke up Sunday with a sore throat...and by Tuesday I developed headaches and cough. I'm ridiculously sick and life is throwing me one huge ass lemon everywhere I turn. Stick a fork in me, I'm so done. So very little reading got done this week. I DNF'ed The Turning of Anne Merrick because I couldn't get into the story and it already seemed overly long and very winding and I just couldn't see myself enjoying the book. 

 

I picked up A Call to Conscience from the library today and already enjoying it, despite the Nyquil fugue state I'm in. That one should be easy to knock out along with Three Fearful Days, which I am at 30% done. That leaves The Glass Universe for Monday's reading, but honestly I'm not getting what I want out of the book (too much focus on the male scientists and rich society ladies who donated tons of money to them and not enough on the women computers and scientists). I'm giving it to the end of the third chapter before I decide to DNF or keep going. 

 

Now I'm going to my blanket fort and not coming out until Tuesday. Have a great weekend everyone!

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text 2019-01-17 20:03
Down for the Count - Reading progress update: I've read 22%.
Down For the Count (Pushkin Vertigo) - Martin Holmen,Henning Koch

Hey, the slang changed to proper British. Reads a lot smoother.

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review 2019-01-16 21:08
Tragik, Liebe & die Erfüllung eines Traumes vor malerischer Kulisse
Deine Stimme in meinen Träumen - Joanna Martin

Informationen zum Buch: 
Das Buch „Deine Stimme in meinen Träumen“ aus dem FeuerWerke Verlag umfasst 200 Seiten und ist seit dem 27. November 2018 als Taschenbuch und E-Book erhältlich. 

Worum geht es: 
Christine zieht wieder zurück nach Schutzingen. Das „Kaff“, in dem sie aufgewachsen ist und wohin sie eigentlich nie wieder zurück wollte. Ihr Freund Stefan ist der verlässliche Anker mit dem sie nun endlich sesshaft werden möchte. Sie freut sich auf den nahen Kontakt zu ihrer Großmutter, den sie dann wieder haben wird, doch diese stirbt kurz nach dem Umzug und hinterlässt Christine einen Stapel geheimer Liebesbriefe, mit dem letzten Wunsch, sie zu ihrer großen Liebe Wilhelm in Kanada zu bringen. Mit dem Ziel, so schnell wie möglich wieder zurück zu Stefan zu kommen und ein tolles Jobangebot in Schutzingen anzunehmen, reist sie nach Kanada. Doch Wilhelm ist inzwischen leider ebenfalls verstorben. Zum Glück trifft sie auf seinen freiheitsliebenden Enkel Robert, der sie beim Lesen der Briefe unterstützt und ihr spontan ein paar Orte zeigen möchte, an denen Wilhelm sich gern aufgehalten hat. Eine Reise, bei der sie auch ihr eigenes Leben in Frage stellt. 

Meine Meinung: 
Einen Großteil des Buches machen die Liebesbriefe der Großmutter aus. Ein sehr tragischer und detailliert geschriebener Teil, der mit viel Emotionen gespickt ist und teilweise sogar zu Tränen rührt. Aber das Buch lebt auch von Christines eigener Geschichte, die sich den Ängsten ihrer Vergangenheit stellt und einen lang gehegten Traum wieder zum Leben erweckt. Der Roman motiviert auch dazu, selbst über seine Träume nachzudenken, die man vielleicht viel zu früh als „ist ja doch nicht realisierbar“ abgestempelt hat. Die Figuren sind eigentlich sehr gut ausgearbeitet und agieren stimmig, jedoch sind mir Stefan und seine Eltern ein wenig zu klischeehaft. Die Landschaft von Kanada ist sehr schön beschrieben und durch das tolle Gesamtpaket hätte es sogar eines meiner Lieblingsbücher werden können. Mittendrin war ich total begeistert. Doch gegen Ende des Romans rast die Geschichte förmlich dahin. Leider geht deshalb viel von der Atmosphäre und Emotion verloren, die gerade dort eigentlich ihren Höhepunkt erreicht. Es wirkt ein wenig, als hätte man die Geschichte unbedingt in die 200 Seiten „quetschen“ wollen. Ansonsten ist es aber ein toller Liebesroman in einem angenehm zu lesenden Schreibstil, den ich trotz des rasanten Endes gern weiterempfehle.

Fazit: 
Ein teils tragischer und warmherziger Roman mit einer tollen Message

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review 2019-01-15 15:38
This is the end, my friends...
Summoned to the Thirteenth Grave - Darynda Jones

Book source ~ NetGalley (for tour in 2018)

 

Charley Davidson broke the only rule she was supposed to follow and God (yes, Him) flicked her like a bug into a Hell dimension as punishment. Ok, maybe he didn’t actually flick her. He may have whisked her. Or scooted? Anyway, after 100+ years of exile she’s back and she’s not sure what she’s missed more: Reyes, her daughter, her friends or coffee. But just because she’s been gone doesn’t mean shit hasn’t hit the fan and now she has to roll up her sleeves, assuming she has sleeves, and get to work.

 

I finished this epic final installment of an even bigger epic series and all I could hear is the Doors playing The End. That was a stupid ringtone I picked for my phone, but anyway, I’m sad to say it is The End for Charley’s adventures. However, I left the last page behind with hope in my heart that there will, at some point, be a book/trilogy/series featuring the ever adorable Beep and her army facing off with Lucifer.

 

I laughed, I cried, I snorted, I drooled, so it was a typical Charley book in that respect. But I was also floored by a certain revelation. Woo doggie! I totally did not see that coming. And that thing, at the end? I never would have thought of that! So, goodbye for now, my friends. I hope to see you again soon in another dimension. Or installment. Or whatever. Oh, who am I kidding? I’m totally going to re-read this entire series and soon, so get some cookies and put on the tea!

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review 2019-01-14 16:31
Clinch by Martin Holmén
Clinch - Martin Holmen,Henning Koch

Anybody can knock out an opponent, but only a technician can take a bloke's heart away from him.

 

Historic Scandinavian noir, set in Stockholm 1932, following a bisexual ex-boxer: how could I say no?

 

Harry Kvist is a former boxer who was quite popular at his time, but never quite made it to pro-status. December 1932 sees him working as a debt collector in Stockholm, a task that lets him put his fists to good use. His next assignment seems promising: rough up a debtor, collect the debt, get a lot of dough. The first part goes quite well – for Harry at least, not so much for the debtor – but then it‘s down the drain with no up in sight. When Harry returns the next day, the debtor‘s dead and he is framed for murder. Two people could attest to his innocence. The boy is out of the question, because Harry has already been sentenced for violation of paragraph 18 („indecency“) twice, and anyway, he punched him afterwards, so not the ideal situation to ask for a favour. The whore Harry chatted with is nowhere to be found. When a third witness leads to his release, Harry goes looking for the prostitute – and tries to find the real murderer as well.

 

noir rain

 

Clinch came to my attention 2016, when members of both the GR m/m group and the Pulp Fiction group started to read and review this book simultaneously – and seemed equally satisfied. There isn‘t that much overlap between those two groups (except when you count my presence in both of them as overlap; which I guess you can), so I was instantly intrigued. Yet I was hesitant to get my own copy: I planned to wait for a German translation, as Swedish translates better into German than into English, and I have a somewhat easier time with 1st person present tense in German to boot. But none seems to be forthcoming, and I finally ran out of patience. I‘m glad I did get over myself, because Clinch is certainly worth it.

 

My old trainer once said that boxing, at its best, makes you feel properly alive. This is wrong. Boxing is at its best when you’re completely empty inside, pressing on like some kind of automatic doll. One movement is not more than a natural extension of another. The body is abandoned to answer in a certain way to a given situation, hardened through thousands of hours of training. The fight turns into a physical self-examination, a receipt for the time that’s been invested. Street fighting is really no different; it just lacks a system of rules.

 

As far as noir goes, Clinch is firmly on the grittier, pulpier side of things. It’s a very physical story. The violence is as graphic as are the sex scenes, which end in not entirely consensual violence as well. But sensuous as those scenes are, Clinch isn’t celebrating violence; things aren’t prettied up or glorified. Amongst breaking bones and flowing blood there are few instances of tenderness, presented in a way that always make you question how genuine they actually are.

Holmén also adds some really nice touches: “The meat thermometer in his throat shows thirty-three degrees but I don’t know how long I’ve been out.”

 

The author plays some well known noir tropes to good effect and offers some top-notch character work. Harry Kvist has an intensity to him that I find hard to resist. He’s just as intense in his needs and in his longings as he is in his propensity towards violence. He’s not easy to decipher, but as his backstory is presented in little nuggets throughout the book, you get a pretty good idea about the man. I especially liked the fact that he isn’t a good detective. His fights have left him with an impaired memory, not the best prerequisite for detective work, and he often solely relies on his fists. But there’s no success to justify his brutality, which makes this character all the more tragic.

 

Although gritty and brutal, this is not a fast-paced story. Holmén seems more interested in atmosphere and character than in a fast-moving series of events. He’s also a historian and it shows. The first part is a bit in danger of reading like a Swedish street directory. The second half more than makes up for it. The book is at its best when it zooms in on Harry and his relationships, be it his companionship with his landlord, the undertaker Lundin, his distaste for a certain ex-lover, or his relation to the femme fatale of this story, an ageing film star.

 

Bisexual characters in genre-fiction are still rare. Unapologetic bisexual men like Kvist even more so. I read a lot of SFF, and when we get trad-published SFF stories with queer characters, they often fall into the trap of either a) concentrating on the character's queerness, b) being so busy with being “diverse” that they forget to tell a story or c) giving the character no personality apart from being queer. The books churned out by Tor are the worst offenders in all of these regards, Indies and Angry Robot do somewhat better. As usual, crime fiction seems to be a bit ahead of the game. I keep asking for stories with queer characters that are simply good stories with good, believable characters who happen to be queer, and Clinch certainly fits that bill. This being the 1930's, Kvist’s bisexuality is cause for conflict, and the book buries quite a few gays, but that’s to be expected. Most importantly, Holmén gives you people, in all their complexity, with all their flaws. And that’s all I’m really asking for.

 

Henning Koch’s English translation flows quite well, although, as a GR reviewer has already remarked, he mixes British English and American English vernacular, and I’d wished for a bit more consistency.

 

Clinch is the first part in a trilogy, and now my hesitancy has one advantage: The two other parts are already published and I can read them right away (well, almost, I have a longish buddy read coming up).

 

Bonus points for avoiding the phrase “letting go of the breath one wasn’t aware one was holding”, and instead saying: “I notice that I’ve been holding my breath, then straining for air.” See, authors, there are variations you can use!

 

Soundtrack: Nick Cave's extra-sultry version of Leonard Cohen's "I'm Your Man"

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