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review 2017-09-24 16:45
Freebie Square Read
Wolves in the Dark (Varg Veum Series) - ... Wolves in the Dark (Varg Veum Series) - Gunnar Staalesen,Don Bartlett

Disclaimer: ARC via Netgalley

 

                Varg Veum is a literary character that I first meet though television.  MHZ had the Varg Veum movies on, and I watched them.  So, I started reading the series in a haphazard fashion, or in other words, totally out of order.

 

                This installment finds Veum coming out of a drinking addiction fueled by depression after a death.  In part, some of his sobering comes from meeting a woman (who has a daughter) and part of it comes from being accused of child pedophilia. 

 

                The novel opens with the arrival of the police to arrest Veum and search his apartment, and the book stays to the break neck speed.  In a cell, Veum is forced to remember as much as his drunk years as he can because someone, he doesn’t know who, is setting him up.

 

                Not many people believe him.  Strangely enough his new girlfriend is one of those who does.      

 

                I guess he is lucky that way, for those that have known him the longest, by and large, view him as guilty.

 

                On one hand, the story is a non-stop thriller.  It starts with a bust and keeps going.  The pace never seems to slow, not surprising when Veum isn’t given the time to catch his breath.  The characters are well written, possibly not the girlfriend who seems a bit too trusting, yet she is not stupid.  Even though at times it seems like too much coincidental.  The ending too, is on level, a typical white male ending.  It is difficult to image an immigrant or even a woman, even in Norway, having the same reaction as Varg Veum to the final outcome.

 

                In part, that might be part of the problem with this book – Veum never seems quite aware of the societal pressures, norms, what have you, that contribute or allow the trafficking and abuse of children (and women) to occur.  On one hand, there are times when a reader wants to smack Veum for his cluelessness on the matter.  Doesn’t he realize, the reader might wonder under her breath, in particular when he is confronting woman.  Then one wonders if this genius on the part of Staalesen.  What better way to show a problem?  There is no preaching, no holier than though.  And this provokes more thought.

 

                This book will most likely get less attention then Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  A shame considering that it is better written and far more powerful for its subtlety.

 

 

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text 2017-09-13 03:41
Thoughts on the Eve of the 2017 Man Booker Shortlist
Home Fire: A Novel - Kamila Shamsie
Exit West - Mohsin Hamid
Days Without End - Sebastian Barry
Autumn: A Novel - Ali Smith
The Underground Railroad - Colson Whitehead
Solar Bones - Mike McCormack
History of Wolves - Emily Fridlund

The Man Booker Prize shortlist announcement is hours away and I've been working hard to read my way through the list. Despite my best intentions, I was only able to completely read seven of this year's nominees as well as three others in part. That leaves three novels that are at this point a complete mystery to me, so I cannot speak on them. Here are some thoughts on who might make the list tomorrow.

I think Home Fire, Exit West, and Days Without End are the three strongest contenders from the ten I've read. I will be surprised if these three do not make the shortlist. I'll be really surprised if none of the three do.

Personally, I didn't enjoy The Underground Railroad much, but I think it also stands a good chance of being shortlisted. I'll be annoyed if wins the Prize given how much attention it has garnered this year, but a shortlist nomination would be accepted.

Rounding out the list is difficult. Autumn and Solar Bones are possible contenders.

I'd love to see History of Wolves on the list as it has been a personal favorite, so far. I know many readers had a very different reaction to this novel, however, so it's a long shot to make the list. (And it has zero chance of winning the Prize.)

If I had to put money on six and only six titles, they'd be
1. Home Fire
2. Days Without End
3. Exit West
4. The Underground Railroad
5. Autumn

6. History of Wolves (anything's possible, right?)

Have you been reading the Man Booker nominees? Have any thoughts on who might be shortlisted?

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review 2017-09-02 02:09
AT THE TABLE OF WOLVES by Kay Kenyon
At the Table of Wolves - Kay Kenyon At the Table of Wolves - Kay Kenyon

Kim has a Talent which only came on with adulthood.  She is now trying to use that Talent to save Britain from Nazi Germany but she's not very good at the spy business. 

 

I loved this story!  I call it a paranormal historical spy thriller.  I was on the edge of my seat until the end of this book.  The story was good.  Kim did not know who to trust.  I could understand that as I was questioning whether a character was true to England or a spy for Germany.  I questioned motives.  I did figure out some of the events and reasons during the story but not all. 

 

There was a good cast of characters.  As I read the blurb then started the story I was hoping that Kim and Lt. Colonel Stelling would meet.  I'm not sure what I felt about Erich von Ritter.  I wish Kim and her dad would become closer.  This is a keeper!

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review 2017-09-01 02:28
great story and characters
Twice Bitten (Cascadia Wolves series, Book 7) - Lauren Dane

Michelle was a cop but also a witch but her co-workers nor her boss knew that.  One night her best friend Allie who she had known since third grade. Allie’s mother Kathy called and Michelle to tell her Allie was missing. Allie’s apartment had been broken into and there was Mage energy in the apartment  as Kathy was also a witch. The witch in Clan Owen had taught the witches Michelle knew some defensive magiiks against the mages who had been attacking witches across the country. Michelle had to think and like a cop, she had to push aside the fear and worry for her best friends and focus on the facts.  Worry wouldn't find Allie , skill would. Some witches from Clan Owen had offered a class on how to read different magikal energies and Michelle had jumped at the chance to learn. Allie had been terrified whatever the magik had done. Allie had been missing at least four hours.  Wiches hadn’t come out to humans yet like some other supernaturals had. Clan Owen was so overwhelmed with their own disappearances that they sent Michelle to the Others who happen to be werewolves who would be able to to track Allie’s scent much better than a witch. Then Michelle went to the werewolves headquarters and heard a voice from her past . It was Josh who had been her first love and broke her heart. Josh took Michelle back to his office and michelle told him why she was there and he said that this was very dangerous but of course he would help. Then he proceeded to tell Michelle why he had never returned to her so long ago, he had been bitten and the alpha of the wolf who had bitten Josh came to help him assimilate to a whole new life. It had taken Josh a year to handle his wolf. Josh had to leave everything and everyone behind. It had been twelve years since Michelle had seen Josh. Josh told Michelle he was the Enforcer there. Josh also said the Mages were a way bigger problem then she knew and Michelle said she wasn’t going back and Josh commented she could always read his mind. Josh had loved Josh deeply when he was a laid back football player and she was a cheerleader. But that person was gone here was a man. Josh told Michelle he could smell her arousal. But Michelle told Josh she had control of her parts. Josh Josh then told her Mages had been working with turned witches in an increasingly organized fashion and witches were being taken and found dead totally drained a couple days later and now they were also taking weres.  They also believe the Mages are working with human anti hate groups. Michelle wanted Josh and knew she wanted him but Michelle had to find Allie before anything else could happen or be explored. Josh tells Michelle she is his mate but he wished he had longer to get her used to the idea and give her time for everything to sink in.

This was a great story as usual for Lauren Dane. I just love her paranormal books and have never read one I didn’t absolutely love and this one was no different. I love how Michelle came to understand why Josh never came back when she was sixteen even if it broke her heart. I also loved how Michelle decided to leave her old life behind and have a whole new life and world. I loved Josh and Michelle together, they so worked. I liked how the witches went to the weres for help and the weres did all they could. I loved the plot and pace of this story. Nothing I could find wrong with this story. I loved the characters and the ins and outs of this story and I highly recommend.

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review 2017-08-31 21:06
Review: History of Wolves
History of Wolves - Emily Fridlund

I get why some readers do not like Emily Fridlund's History of Wolves. I totally do. There are two primary stories being told in this novel; the narrative jumps back and forth between the two and also fills the reader in on backstory. The connection between these various threads is vague. If you're not paying close attention, you may not see any connection at all. Even if you see how everything is related, you may not care. The thread that binds everything is a mental one, and those looking for a concrete link will be thoroughly disappointed. I recognize all that, so I'm not surprised that this novel has its fair share of haters.

I loved it. Early on, I could tell that this novel was going to require some thought. I don't recall what the clue was, but there was something off-kilter about the narrator and I suspected that close attention was needed. So I slowed my reading down. I listened to the nuances of the narrator's speech. I looked for clues in the text. A few times, I flipped back and compared. And while such functions should not be required of a reader, I'm glad I did, because I enjoyed the story immensely more as I took more time with it.

There's an atmospheric quality that is beautiful in History of Wolves. It's lyrical and thought-provoking, but it's dark and impossible to trust. You can feel the shadow of the forest, the creak of the trees, the crunch of snow beneath your soles and you want to stay here, but there's also a need to rush home and never look back. The same is true with the story's narrator. “Linda” is completely believable as a young teenage girl, charming as a storyteller, but you sense she is not a trustworthy person. Yet, I really liked her. She seemed so much more real than most of what I encounter in fiction.

The conclusion I'd been anticipating was not as big and dramatic as I'd work out it would be. I expected something really huge and the final acts were far from that, but they worked. The conclusion tied most of the threads together. I say most, because I'm not sure how some of the backstory with the cult fit in. Also, I didn't grasp how all this tied in with Madeline's wolf project. I suspect this is something I simply missed or was too daft to understand. A second read would probably clear these matters up, but it's rare that I ever return to a book, even when I have loved it.

I'm really glad History of Wolves was nominated for this year's Man Booker Prize. Prior to its nomination, I hadn't heard of the novel or its author; I doubt it ever would've crossed my path. It is such a gorgeous work in so many ways. It was difficult, you could say elusive, but part of what I liked most was the hunt for the heart of the story. It's in there and if you can put your finger on it, you'll feel the pulse that really brings this story to life.


Man Booker Prize 2017:
History of Wolves is this year's biggest underdog. Personally, I think it stands no chance of winning the prize. I'd venture to guess that it won't make the shortlist either, but it does share some of the gothic atmosphere of last year's Eileen—it made the shortlist. While I think History of Wolves is a stellar novel (and some of the judges must agree since it made the longlist), it does not strike me as a Man Booker winner (though of the five nominees I've read so far, it's easily myfavorite).

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