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review 2019-11-14 20:01
Catch and Kill - Ronan Farrow

If you have been following the whole Weinstein scandal, you need to read this.

Farrow can write - he is far, far more than a pretty face or the son of a famous actress.

The book reads like a spy thriller, which makes the truth it relates far more damning

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review 2019-11-06 09:03
Ansteckende mystische Schnitzeljagd
The Raven Boys - Maggie Stiefvater

Maggie Stiefvater ist eine Frau vieler Talente: Autorin, Künstlerin, Musikerin, Rennfahrerin, Ehefrau, Mutter. Sie besaß stets das Selbstbewusstsein, jede ihrer Leidenschaften auszuleben, doch ihre vermutlich älteste Passion ist das Schreiben. Sie begann bereits als Kind, Geschichten zu schreiben und schickte ihre Manuskripte erstmals mit 16 Jahren an Verlage. Bekannt wurde sie vor allem durch ihre Reihe „The Wolves of Mercy Falls“. Ihr Name ist mir schon lange geläufig; sie tanzte jahrelang durch meine Peripherie, bis ich entschied, sie endlich kennenlernen zu wollen. Ich wählte „The Raven Boys“ aus, Auftakt der Tetralogie „The Raven Cycle“, die Kritiken zufolge anspruchsvoller ist als „The Wolves of Mercy Falls“.

 

Dein Kuss wird den Tod deiner wahren Liebe besiegeln – ihr ganzes Leben verfolgt die 16-jährige Blue diese düstere Prophezeiung. Also entschied sie, sich einfach niemals zu verlieben. Am Markustag hält sie wie jedes Jahr Totenwache für die armen Seelen derjenigen, die in den nächsten 12 Monaten sterben werden. Bisher konnte Blue die Toten nicht sehen, dieses Mal erscheint ihr jedoch der Geist eines Jungen in ihrem Alter, der die Uniform der schicken privaten Aglionby Academy trägt. Er sagt, sein Name sei Gansey. Blue weiß, dass seine Manifestation nur zwei Gründe haben kann: entweder, sie ist für seinen Tod verantwortlich oder er ist ihre wahre Liebe. Normalerweise hält sie sich bewusst von den sogenannten Raven Boys fern. Sie bedeuten Ärger. Verstört flüchtet sie zurück in ihren Alltag – bis Gansey plötzlich lebendig vor ihr steht. Er und seine drei Freunde Ronan, Adam und Noah sind keine normalen Schüler der Academy. Sie sind auf der Suche: nach Macht, nach Energie, nach Antworten. Schon bald ist auch Blue von ihrer mystischen Mission fasziniert. Und das Schicksal nimmt seinen vorbestimmten Lauf …

 

Schriftsteller_innen fantastischer Literatur lieben die Theorie der Ley-Linien. Die Annahme, dass bestimmte Landmarken wie Steinkreise, Kirchen und prähistorische Kulturstätten systematisch über Kilometer hinweg auf geraden Linien angeordnet sind, lädt zu wilden Spekulationen ein und dient immer wieder als Inspirationsquelle für magische Geschichten. Ich schließe mich der Faszination freudig an. Es interessiert mich nicht, dass es keine statistischen Beweise für ihre Existenz gibt, ich sehe Ley-Linien als prickelndes Geheimnis, das andeutet, dass unsere Welt vielleicht etwas zauberhafter ist, als sie wirkt. Maggie Stiefvater mag das ähnlich betrachten, denn „The Raven Boys“ basiert auf der Hypothese, dass Ley-Linien nicht nur existieren, sondern magisch-energetische Strömungen darstellen. Hätte ich das vor der Lektüre gewusst, hätte ich wahrscheinlich viel eher begonnen, „The Raven Cycle“ zu lesen. Der Reihenauftakt ist eine ansteckende und manchmal angenehm gruselige mystische Schnitzeljagd, die mich fesselte und mir großen Lesespaß bereitete. Die Geschichte beginnt mit Blue, die aus einer Familie von Wahrsagerinnen stammt und herausfindet, dass ihr Schicksal an vier Jungs geknüpft ist, die die örtliche Aglionby Academy besuchen. Diese vier, Gansey, Ronan, Adam und Noah, sind ihrerseits auf der Suche nach den Ley-Linien. Es handelt sich dabei jedoch nicht um den naiven Zeitvertreib privilegierter, gelangweilter Söhne oder um ein unschuldiges Abenteuer, nein, die Jungs haben alle sehr individuelle, komplizierte Gründe für ihre Suche, komplexe Motivationen, die viel tiefer gehen, als ich jemals erwartet hätte. Stiefvater konzipierte jede Figur gewissenhaft und überzeugend lebendig. Ich hatte bei allen das Gefühl, dass sie über reiche, detaillierte Biografien verfügen, die ihre Verhaltensweisen in der Gegenwart konsequent beeinflussen. Dadurch fand ich sehr schnell in die Handlung von „The Raven Boys“ und ehe ich mich versah, fieberte ich atemlos mit. Ich wollte die Ley-Linien und das, was sich besonders Gansey von ihnen erhofft, ebenfalls finden. Seine Leidenschaft infizierte mich, ich wurde jedoch auch von der Atmosphäre elektrisiert. Ich konnte mich des Eindrucks nicht erwehren, dass unter der Oberfläche wesentlich bedeutendere Mächte am Werk sind; als sei es vorbestimmt, dass Blue den Jungs begegnet. Diese rätselhafte, beklemmende, schicksalhafte Aura zeichnete eine diffuse tragische Melancholie vor, die nicht unbedingt ein Happy End verspricht. „The Raven Boys“ schließt mit einem befriedigenden Erfolgserlebnis, Stiefvater lässt allerdings keine Zweifel aufkommen, dass es sich dabei lediglich um ein Zwischenziel handelt, das die erste Etappe der Geschichte beendet. Ich bin sicher, dass der weitere „Raven Cycle“ für die Figuren eine Menge Schmerz und Kummer bereithält und sie schwerwiegende Opfer erbringen müssen, um ihre Ziele zu erreichen. Selbstverständlich werde ich sie auf ihrem steinigen Weg begleiten; die unausgesprochene, aber unbestreitbare Düsternis der Reihe ist einfach reizvoll.

 

Es ist schade, dass ich so lange gewartet habe, um Maggie Stiefvater kennenzulernen. Hätte ich geahnt, wie viel Talent die Autorin besitzt, wie mühelos sie eine erregende Geschichte erzählt, deren verschlungene, geheimnisvolle Kraft beinahe unbemerkt die Grenze zwischen Leser_in und Geschehen überwindet, hätte ich „The Raven Boys“ schon viel eher aus dem Regal befreit. Neben den schockierend realistischen Charakteren hinterließ vor allem die melancholische, sehnsuchtsvolle Atmosphäre starken Eindruck bei mir. Stiefvater setzt dieses nonverbale Mittel hervorragend ein, um die düstere Ernsthaftigkeit ihrer Geschichte zu transportieren. Die Suche nach den Ley-Linien ist kein Spiel und ihre Bedeutung für die Figuren ist es ebenso wenig. Einem fantastischen Thema in einem Young Adult – Roman so viel Gewicht zu verleihen und es unmissverständlich als Folge der inneren Dämonen der Figuren darzustellen, ist bemerkenswert. Aber… auf ein Happy End für den „Raven Cycle“ darf ich trotzdem hoffen, oder?

Source: wortmagieblog.wordpress.com/2019/11/06/maggie-stiefvater-the-raven-boys
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review 2019-04-05 14:05
Leonard and Hungry Paul - Ronan Hession

Leonard’s mother has just died and for the first time in his life he finds himself alone. Luckily for him, he has the friendship of Hungry Paul and his family. Their evenings are spent playing one of the many board games kept in the kitchen pantry and picking the right biscuit from the biscuit tin.

 

If you are looking for a delightful way to spend a few hours, then pick up a copy of Leonard and Hungry Paul and get lost in the pages. From the opening line “Leonard was raised alone by his mother with cheerfully concealed difficultly, his father having died tragically during childbirth”, the story works its magic on the reader, charming them as the pages turn.

 

There are so many lines in this novel that make you stop and think. If I were one of those readers happy to underline and highlight their books, then my copy of Leonard and Hungry Paul would be multicoloured.

 

Leonard writes content for children’s encyclopaedias, published under other authors names. He longs to write a truly informative and fun book and when he meets Shelley, the fire marshal in his office, the inspiration to write it is unleashed. He also discovers that life can go on and that the unsettled feeling he has lived with was grief by any other name.

 

Hungry Paul, who’s moniker remains a mystery, is happy to live in the moment, but not in a reckless way. He goes through life with barely a concern. He is happy with his job as stand in postal worker, lives with his parents and is happiest when sat quietly. His default position is quiet. He soon finds that this tendency towards silence and calm is the key to opening opportunities and eventually the key to independence. Helen and Peter are Hungry Paul’s parents. Kind, caring people, still clearly in love, they are caught up in the arrangements for their daughter, Grace’s wedding, distracting Helen from worrying about a much talked about retirement trip, or rather leaving Hungry Paul to go on said trip. You’ll also find out that the reason for the sunfish on the cover is revealed in the novel, and that it is a touching tribute to one of the characters.

 

There aren’t really any big scenes or pivotal moments in Leonard and Hungry Paul, but then real life isn’t like that. It’s made up mainly of quiet moments, with flashes of excitement and fuss.

 

A quiet, gentle tale about friendship and self-discovery. A wonderful novel that’s a balm to the soul.

 

Highly recommended.

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review 2019-03-28 01:40
A Young Irish Police Officer Takes on Leprechauns and other sorts of faerie folk.
Ronan Boyle and the Bridge of Riddles (Ronan Boyle #1) - John Hendrix,Thomas Lennon

I didn't tell Captain Fearnly that I was joining the garda as part of a plot to exonerate my parents and find a four-thousand-year-old mummy -- and there is no place to enter this type of thing in the online application, so I just kept it to myself.


Last year, when Thomas Lennon was a guest on Kevin Pollak's Chat Show #371, they spent some time talking about this book. I knew I had to give it a shot almost immediately. When I got home and found it on Goodreads, I was a little disappointed to find out it was for the MG crowd -- I didn't get that impression at all from his description (I may have missed something while driving). Still, I put it on the "To Read" list and kept an eye out for its publication. It still sounded like a good time.

 

And boy, oh, boy it was.

 

Ronan Boyle is a young man who watched his parents get arrested (in the middle of a family game night) and put into prison. They're academics, and were found guilty of selling antiquities that belonged to the Irish government. As noted above, Ronan joined the Irish police as an intern, primarily as a way to . Until one night when he was recruited to help dealing with a leprechaun (he was the only one the right size to get where the leprechaun was keeping something). He did well enough with that assignment that he was immediately recruited for Garda Special Unit of Tir Na Nog -- the supernatural division.

 

We follow Ronan through his training -- imagine Hogwarts summarized in a hundred pages or so (although this is a shorter course of training) -- what he and his fellow cadets (including a girl who thought she was a log for most of her life, and a medium-sized bear that may or may not have been a fellow cadet) go through is unlike any training program you've seen or read about. Yet it's familiar enough that it feels comfortable. Then we see Ronan and his compatriots begin their garda careers in earnest.

 

Meanwhile, Ronan makes a little progress with the investigation to clear his parents. He also makes friends -- from multiple species -- and decides that he really likes berets. He's a very unlikely hero -- not terribly coordinated, skinny, as physically un-intimidating as you can possibly imagine with poor eyesight. He also has a strange obsession with Dame Judi Dench (not that Dench isn't worth obsessing over, it's just not someone many teen boys fixate on)

 

All in all, an entertaining story steeped in Irish lore, myth and culture -- all very well-researched and lovingly told. I'd probably recommend it just on these grounds.
But it's the way that Lennon tells this story that seals the deal. His voice is chatty, whimsical and infectious. The imagery, language, and overall feel is hilarious. Yes, I'd recommend the book just on the characters/plot. But I'd also recommend it for voice and style alone. For example:


It was a mysterious garda officer named Pat Finch, whose ghoulish face is so crisscrossed with bright red veins that it looks like a map of hell drawn by a monk in a medieval lunatic asylum. Pat Finch looks like what a heart attack would look like if it could walk around eating fish-and-chips and saying terrible things about Roscommon Football Club's starting lineup.

 

"There's a leprechaun navy?"

 

"Yes. Probably the least reliable fighting force in the known world," replied the captain. "The leprechaun navy is basically a heavily armed musical-theater troupe with two boats."

 

If you know Thomas Lennon as a performer, you'll be able to "hear" significant portions in his voice. I think I saw that he does the audiobook,which is good -- because otherwise you'd have to find someone who can do a decent impression of him to really pull of the cadence and rhythms of the text.

 

Oh, you must read the footnotes. All of them. They're the best use of fictional footnotes since Lutz' The Spellman Files or Bazell's Beat the Reaper -- except these are MG appropriate.

 

Hendrix' illustrations fit the mood perfectly. Intricate, goofy, and skillful. They're not essential, but they add a very welcome touch to the text.

 

This is ideal for MG readers who like early Riordan, but wouldn't mind a bit more silliness and an Irish focus. Or for those who liked Derek Landy's Skulduggery Pleasant books. If you don't know what I'm talking about, ignore that (or go read them after you read this). It's just a fun, goofy read with a touch of adventure. Perfect for MG readers or adults who don't mind reading MG if it's well-done. This is. At the end of the day, you need to pick up a copy just so you can read the back cover blurbs by Weird Al and Patton Oswalt, really. Of course, then you'll want to read the thing based on what they say. So just save yourself the effort and get it.

 

The ending sets up at least one sequel and you can bet that I'll be waiting for it.

 

2019 Library Love Challenge

Source: irresponsiblereader.com/2019/03/27/ronan-boyle-and-the-bridge-of-riddles-by-thomas-lennon-john-hendrix-a-young-irish-police-officer-takes-on-leprechauns-and-other-sorts-of-faerie-folk
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review SPOILER ALERT! 2016-01-25 01:44
Not really a good book for scientific minded persons
Confessions of a Fallen Angel - Ronan O'Brien

I want so much to like this book. I bought it because I heard someone else like it a lot.

 

I should have trusted my own judgement.

 

In the first 10 pages of the book, got a near death experience crap. The feeling of "all knowing" for a brief moment.

 

That's a delusion. I dislike making the delusion as a plot device for story. 

 

So this is probably not a book for me.

 

**************************************

 

A bit more proper review

 

The story is about a guy who died and believed that he could see the future death in his dreams.

 

The premise is crap. And this guy is not even likable. 

 

The story go on and on about how his life has been affected by these dreams, and the actions he has taken to prevent death actually make things worst.

 

Oh crap.

 

So, instead of seeking professional help, he drinks. 

 

Why would someone  believe that he could see the future instead of knowing he has been losing his mind slowly?

 

The first death, he childhood best friend.

 

In his dream, this boy drown. But instead of learning how save someone from drowning so that he could be there to save him, he did something stupid.

 

Lesson learned? No. 

 

Stupidity continue when he finally fall in love.

 

And instead of being careful driving to save his love, he drive too fast and couldn't brake in time.

 

Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

 

At least at this point, the writer should make the character realized that he might be at least tricked and stop believing in his bad dreams.

 

No. The stupidity continued.

 

He tried to save another life by sacrificing his own. 

 

He could have prevented it all by moving away from his apartment, get another job in another town.

 

But no. He has to be there, trying to be the hero.

 

Stupid. He is no hero. He sacrifice himself based on the premise that his dream is a gateway to the future. It is not. He could have lived and everything is okay. He was just too chickenshit to face the possible that things didn't turn out okay.

 

I have no sympathy for this character. And the story relied too heavily on that one.

 

Another point that make me dislike this book is the premise of afterlife. No, there is no afterlife. Even as a story plot device, I dislike using this afterlife things unless the writer makes it interesting. 

 

This one doesn't. 

 

The book sucks. Don't waste your time on this one. 

 

 

**************************************

 

Reading progress. 

 

Start with 2 stars and see if it would fall even lower, or if it would manage to redeem itself. 

 

50 pages in.

 

No. No. No. No. No. Precognition? Are you freaking kidding me? Using dream precognition as a plot device is cliche, corny and stupid. Especially when the story has not built a likable strong character. 

 

Subtract half a star. 

 

Only have a few pages to go.

 

This book sucks. 

 

Really. Another prediction, and yet another internal debate if it is god's will. This plot device is so bad that I would really like to stop right there.

 

But then, the story take a turn from bad to worst. So instead of feeling bad for the main character who is now being beaten up and very likely to be killed, I thought of how Hannibal with deal with the wimpy asshole and done with this already.

 

Yes. I wouldn't mind the main character get killed in the story. An sure indicator that I dislike all of the characters in the book and think it is all rubbish.

 

Minus half a star, and safe this for the ending for further deduction. 

 

Oh crap. The ending is crap too.

 

Lowest star possible. 

 

 

 

 

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