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review 2017-09-23 06:31
Halloween Bingo - Raven Free Space - Mysteries, Ghosts, Monsters
The City of Falling Angels - John Berendt

 

 

Not all mysteries involve murder.  Not all ghosts were once human.  Bewitchment can be enchanting.  And monsters lurk everywhere.

 

John Berendt conjures up a gallery of intriguing characters for this magical tour of Venice in the aftermath of the 1996 fire that gutted the historic La Fenice Opera House.  At the heart, of course, is the investigation into the cause of fire -- was it arson?  was it negligence?  was it just an unfortunate accident?  But how the fire touched various lives, and how those lives were part of the mystique of the city, makes for fascinating reading.

 

Spoiler -- The cause of the fire is determined at the end and the responsible parties are convicted.  Or are they?  In a city like Venice, it's hard to say.  Is corruption rampant?  Well, maybe yes.  That's part of its charm. 

 

The whole city is haunted by its own 1500-year-old past, and menaced by the monsters of time and water and pollution.  If ghosts don't actually walk the halls of the palazzos, their spirits remain unforgotten by the living. There are the rooms where Robert Browning  read his poetry . . . and where he died.  There is the house where Ezra Pound lived with his mistress of 50 years, the house almost stolen by someone perhaps eager to cash in on Pound's fame. 

 

Venice may own much of its current survival to American millionaires who, for whatever reasons, sought to preserve its patrician glamour, perhaps in hopes some of it would magically rub off on them. 

 

Halloween, or the Celtic Samhain, is a time when the veil between our physical world and the spirit world thins to permit visions and visits back and forth.  While I was reading John Berendt's fascinating descriptions of the places and people of turn-of-the-millenium Venice, I couldn't help but think of John Ruskin's monumental The Stones of Venice and the impact it had both on his and subsequent generations of both art historians and social reformers, as well as Madeleine Brent's 20th century gothic romance, Tregaron's Daughter.  The atmosphere of the gothic winds through the three works like morning fog twisting over the lagoon and drifting down the canals.

 

An interesting note:  Ruskin obtained his own camera in 1849 to take photos of Venice for research.  The City of Falling Angels lost half a star for not containing illustrations!  Perhaps Berendt expected his readers to sit beside their computers -- or read on them? -- and look up their own photos.

 

The January 1996 fire, from www.VeniceOnline.it, which has quite a gallery of photos from the fire.

 

 

And the rebuilt La Fenice -- "The Phoenix," rising again from its own ashes -- in 2004.

 

 

 

 

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text 2017-09-23 01:51
Reading progress update: I've read 235 out of 414 pages.
The City of Falling Angels - John Berendt

At this point, the investigation into the cause of the fire that gutted the Fenice Opera House in Venice has ruled that arsonists set it.

 

"All that remains to be done is to put a face on the monster or monsters who did this," according to prosecutor Felice Casson.

 

Venice, quite frankly, is alive with monsters.

 

 

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review 2017-09-22 12:35
"Grimm City. Bestie" Jakub Ćwiekc
Grimm City. Bestie - Jakub Ćwiek

Mimo niechęci do tego gatunku wróciłem. Wróciłem do miasta ciemnego jak dusze jej mieszkańców i gangsterskich porachunków. Spytacie dlaczego? Bo miałem zakupiony cały komplet książek Ćwieka hurtowo. I byłem też ciekaw, czy koncepcja się nieco zmieni. Jeżeli też jesteście ciekawi to zapraszam.

 

Grimm City jak i poprzednio jest brudne, ciemne i ponure. Ale nastąpiła pewna zmiana. Otóż został zabity jeden z bossów podziemnego światka. Jest podejrzany, wszyscy czekają na proces a organizacje przestępcze do czasu jego zakończenia ogłaszają zawieszenie broni. Jednocześnie nieco na uboczu detektyw Evans dostaję sprawę seryjnego zabójcy "Drwala". Nikt sprawy nie rozwiązał i nikt mu nie pomoże, bo wszystkie oczy zwrócone są na sale sądową, gdzie lada chwila może zapaść najważniejszy wyrok w historii miasta. Możliwe jednak, że obydwie sprawy coś łączy. Może to osoba byłego boksera, który ma problemy z kontrolą agresji, a może były wojskowy, który znalazł powołanie w kościele i pomocy sierotom ulicy. Jak przeczytacie to się dowiecie.

 

W trakcie lektury załapałem w końcu koncepcje świata jaka wymyślił autor. Mamy stworzone ramy, którymi są miasto i kilka kluczowych postaci jak detektyw Evans, albo funkcjonariusz McShane lub reporterka. I w tych ramach osadzamy nową historię i jednorazowego bohatera. poprzednio był to Alfi, tym razem wspomniany wcześniej były bokser. Jest to rozwiązanie dające wiele elastyczności w prowadzeniu narracji i można dowolnie łączyć wątki poszczególnych powieści. Czuć tu mroczną stronę miasta, ale nie jest ona tak bardzo gangsterska. Tym razem spowodowane jest to opisem porwanych przez Drwala kobiet, które są dosyć mocne.Mi to nie przeszkadzało i dzięki zmniejszonemu naciskowi na wątki polityczno-układowe lepiej mi się czytało. Niestety do czasu. O ile snucie historii szło Ćwiekowi bardzo dobrze, to zakończenie wydawało mi się bardzo kiepskie. Mamy tu dwa wątki. Pierwszy jest o procesie znanego obywatela, a drugi to poszukiwanie wspomnianego Rzeźnika. W pewnym momencie ten drugi zostaje gwałtownie i brutalnie przerwany, a nie ukrywam, że to on wydawał mi się ciekawszy, zwracając na siłę naszą uwagę na ławę sądową. Nie byłem tym zachwycony.

 

"Grimm City. Bestie" to solidny kryminał noire z ciekawym rozwinięciem fabuły i kiepskim zakończeniem. Koncepcja świata i miasta jest ciekawa, ale nie na tyle, żeby mnie na dłużej przyciągnąć. Chciałbym powiedzieć, że z chęcią sięgnę po kolejna część o ile powstanie ale nie będę się okłamywał. To nie moja bajka.

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review 2017-09-20 15:02
Great Story and Characters
Misadventures of a City Girl (Misadventures Book 1) - Chelle Bliss,Meredith Wild

Madison felt she was the complete picture of a miserable divorcee. Madison thought when all the paperwork had been finalized something would change….. She herself would change . Madison was no longer the wife of the rising star. The failure of her marriage had been a devastating blow to Madison can't let her famous  and infamously unfaithful husband Jeremy  ruin her future. Although sometimes it feels to Madison like Jeremy was everywhere. Clients, gigs, and friends were still in their circle and Madison felt like she needed to get away from L A. Madison had stood by faithfully as Jeremy rose to fame. Jeremy and madison had met as naive fumbling teenagers they have been together every since. Madison had been stupid in love with Jeremy then. Madison started to look for a spa retreat as she needed a real break, something restorative. Something that could heal all the tears in her heart.  Madison needed some quiet time, maybe a few massages, and some fresh mountain air. Then she sees Avalon Springs - home cooked meals, yoga classes, a few outdoor excursions and big blocks of time  to help people recenter themselves. The owners look like hippies and the place doesn’t look like a convoluted trap for the prima donnas Madison is hoping to take a break from. So Madison booked a four week stay. Once there at Avalon Springs  a young girl tells Madison orientation is in an hour but it was more like a meet and greet. Madison would introduce herself to the other residents, do some breathing exercises and stretching and Vic and Lori will talk a little more about the springs. But Madison didn’t want to go to orientation. And she already felt she may have made an utter mistake coming to Avalon Springs. The landscape was different from anything Madison was used to. She’d been an East Coast  Girl all her life, working on her career and then when Jeremy came out west to work on his career Madison came with him.  Tears burned Madison’s eyes because she is so utterly alone. Madison had been walking for awhile and night is coming on and she doesn’t know where she is or where she is going but then she hears water and shortly after finds she finds a clearing  a well of steamy water at the center. The temperature of the water was perfect. Madison figures this is the springs and she is free to go in. So Madison strips and gets in the water. Nothing ever felt so good. Then Madison feels the need  of a man and one who won’t break her all over again. Madison tries to get herself off but just get herself there but then she can see a man through the trees and screams. Luke was not sure why he had stopped  to watch her. Another city girl from the retreat. Luke moves closer as Madison goes back in the water to hide her nakedness. Then Luke asked Madison if she knew her way back and offered to take her back to the retreat Luke told Madison she was at least a mile from the retreat Luke hadn’t been with a woman in a long time and he despises everything this one probably stands for. Luke is hot for the woman but  a week in the mountains is a fashion statement for most of the people who come to the resort. Luke had came to the mountain for solitude and peace, and a simple life. After her swim Madison had no makeup on and Luke felt she was perfectly gorgeous with no effort.Restful sleep had eluded Madison since the news of Jeremy’s infidelity was in every gossip magazine and newspaper in town. The phone calls and texts had kept her awake and unable to move on. The man in the woods had looked at Madison with pure lust the was Jeremy used to before he strayed. Luke’s grandfather had left him this land over fifty acres of mountaintop. Luke hadn’t planned on living there. But after his last tour of duty and release from the service Luke thought about going to his  old life and being part of civilian society sent Luke into a tailspin. Luke had put his own blood,sweat, and tears into his place and made it a home. It was suppose to be Luke’s escape , his haven from the outside world. Luke had thought he would have the American Dream - get married, buy a house, and have kids to fill it. But his time in the military messed that up. Luke thought he had been prepared for whatever he was going to experience while in the service . Before joining the Navy Luke had dreams of a normal life, none of them had involved living in the woods high up a mountain living alone. Luke had seen and done things he didn't want to relive or repeat. Luke didn’t have any issues until his last tour of duty. There didn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to their assignments. The violence seemed endless. By the time Luke was discharged as a decorated Navy Seal Luke couldn’t imagine going back to “ normal life”.  Luke’s  PTSD was so severe that even the sound of a car backfiring could set Luke off. The only cure was self imposed isolation. Luke could function around people when he has to. Violence wasn’t Luke’s style or in his nature. Luke had sworn to serve and protect not attack and scare. One minute the woman was frightened the next touching him.The contact had shocked him,  completely  rocked Luke to his core. Luke grows his own food and raises livestock and cuts wood everyday to have enough wood to heat his cabin through winter and any other cold weather. The woman had worked erh way into Luke’s mind and shows up at Luke’s cabin while Luke was trying to take care of himself as he was so sexually frustrated especially after seeing her naked and doing the same thing. Madison doesn’t turn away from Luke . They enter into an intense sexual relationship.But then feelings start to grow but Luke knows his limitations and can’t leave his mountain. And Madison’s life is in L A.  Luke felt Madison had saved him but Madison he had actually saved her and turned her into the woman she was always meant to be. This was a very sweet, sexy easy enjoyable read and I loved it. I loved how Luke could not look away from Madison when she was at the springs and she didn’t look away from him in his cabin. The chemistry between Madison and Luke jumped right off the page. I loved the plot and the pace. While reading this book I didn't want to put this down, good thing it was a novella but I did want more. I loved how Luke nor Madison could fight their feelings no matter what they did. But I loved them together. I felt this was a realistic story that could happen. I loved seeing the growth between Madison and Luke. I wish I had a Luke in my life but he will just have to be one of my favorite book boyfriends. I couldn’t find anything to complain about and that is always great when reading a book. I loved the characters and the ins and outs of this story and I highly recommend.

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review 2017-09-18 05:39
Style By City - Ida Magntorn Style By City - Ida Magntorn

This book totally fit my dream house aesthetic. I’m definitely a combination of the Paris and London style.

 

Content wise, I loved the pictures. They showcased very intriguing design styles. Here are some of my favorite ideas from the book:

 

-Hanging lingerie on walls (Paris)
-Using doll heads for a touch of gloom (Paris)
-Putting a ladder on a bookcase (London)
-Putting a bathtub in a bedroom (London)
-Having a picnic at the cemetery where Soren Kierkegaard is buried (Copenhagen)

 

Overall, this was a great coffee table book for those looking for home inspiration.

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