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text 2018-08-19 21:00
Summer of Spies - Tracking Post
Above Suspicion - Helen MacInnes
Blowback - Valerie Plame Wilson,Sarah Lovett,Negin Farsad
The Traveller Returns - Patricia Wentworth
The Spy - Paulo Coelho
Zoo Station - David Downing
The Zhivago Affair: The Kremlin, the CIA, and the Battle Over a Forbidden Book - Simon Vance,Peter Finn,Petra Couvée
Night Soldiers - Alan Furst
Fair Game: How a Top CIA Agent Was Betrayed by Her Own Government - Valerie Plame Wilson,Laura Rozen
I Will Repay - Emmuska Orczy,Johanna Ward
The Lifeline - Phyllis Bottome

Memorial Day Weekend -- Labor Day 2018

 

Finished, to Date:

Fiction

Agatha Christie: N or M? (revisited on audio, narrated by Samantha Bond) ***

Ian Fleming: Quantum of Solace (short story only; new / audio, narrated by David Rintoul) *1/2

Kate Westbrook: Guardian Angel (new / audio, narrated by Eleanor Bron) ***1/2

Stella Rimington: Secret Asset (new / audio, narrated by Rosalyn Landor) ****

Francine Mathews: The Cutout (new / audio, narrated by Trini Alvarado) **1/2

Jane Thynne: Black Roses (new / audio, narrated by Julie Teal) ****

John le Carré: The Tailor of Panama (revisited on audio, narrated by the author) ****1/2

Graham Greene: Our Man in Havana (audio, narrated by Jeremy Northam) ****1/2

Agatha Christie: They Came to Baghdad (new / audio, narrated by Emilia Fox) ***1/2

Rosalie Knecht: Who Is Vera Kelly? (new / audio, narrated by Elisabeth Rodgers) ***1/2

Len Deighton: Berlin Game (new / audio, narrated by James Lailey) ****

Eric Ambler: The Mask of Dimitrios (new / print) ****

Helen MacInnes: Above Suspicion (new / print) ****1/2

Valerie Plame Wilson, Sarah Lovett: Blowback (new / audio, narrated by Negin Farsad) ***

Patricia Wentworth: The Traveller Returns (new / print) ****

Paulo Coelho: The Spy (new / English print version + German audio, narrated by Luise Helm and Sven Görtz) ***1/2

David Downing: Zoo Station (new / print) ****

Alan Furst: Night Soldiers (new / audio, narrated by George Guidall) ****1/2

 

 

Emmuska Orczy: Adventures of The Scarlet Pimpernel

The Scarlet Pimpernel (revisited on audio, narrated by Stephen Crossly) ****1/2

I Will Repay (new / audio, narrated by Johanna Ward) ****

 

 

John Le Carré: George Smiley Cycle

The Spy Who Came in From the Cold (revisited on audio, narrated by the author) *****

The Looking Glass War (new / audio, narrated by Michael Jayston) ***1/2

Smiley's People (revisited on audio, narrated by Michael Jayston) *****

 

 

Nonfiction

Stella Rimington: Open Secret: The Autobiography of the Former Director-General of MI5 (new / print edition) ****

Peter Finn & Petra Couvée: The Zhivago Affair (new / audio, narrated by Simon Vance) **1/2

Valerie Plame Wilson: Fair Game: How a Top CIA Agent Was Betrayed by Her Own Government  (new / audio, narrated by the author) ****

 
 

Currently Reading:

Phyllis Bottome: The Lifeline
 

 

 

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text 2018-08-09 06:43
Dipping a toe in

 

Hi there!

 

I have just joined the BookLikes community and I'm looking forward to connecting with fellow booklovers, especially fellow crime-fiction addicts!

 

I've been hooked on crime fiction in books and on screen since about the age of six, thanks to some awesome mystery and adventure writers. It was about then that I decided I wanted to be a crime writer. It took a while...

 

Being a crime-fiction addict and lover of series books, you can expect lots of my reading to fall into these categories. You can also expect to only hear about the books I have enjoyed as reading enjoyment is subjective – but as I have honed my selections to my tastes over the years, I am rarely disappointed anyway. I rate books as I go and post my standouts in a “Good Reads” column each month on my website, including just a little blurb about each.

 

As for reviews of my books, I appreciate readers reading my works and sharing what you think. So, thank you.

 

I'd also love you to connect with me at my website, Instagram, Facebook or Amazon.

 

Happy reading!

Cheers,
Sandi

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review 2018-07-15 15:29
4 Out Of 5 "a movie and a book" STARS
Winter's Bone: A Novel (Audio) - Daniel Woodrell,Emma Galvin

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

~BOOK BLURB~

Winter's Bone

Danial Woodrell

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

The sheriff's deputy at the front door brings hard news to Ree Dolly. Her father has skipped bail on charges that he ran a crystal meth lab, and the Dollys will lose their house if he doesn't show up for his next court date.

 

Ree's father has disappeared before. The Dolly clan has worked the shadowy side of the law for generations, and arrests (and attempts to avoid them) are part of life in Rathlin Valley. But the house is all they have, and Ree's father would never forfeit it to the bond company unless something awful happened. With two young brothers depending on her and a mother who's entered a kind of second childhood, Ree knows she has to bring her father back, dead or alive, or else see her family turned out into the unforgiving cold.

 

Sixteen-year-old Ree, who has grown up in the harsh poverty of the Ozarks, learns quickly that asking questions of the rough Dolly clan can be a fatal mistake. She perseveres past obstacles of every kind and finally confronts the top figures in the family's hierarchy.

 

Along the way to a shocking revelation, Ree discovers unexpected depths in herself and in a family network that protects its own at any cost.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

~MY QUICKIE REVIEW~

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Initially, the spare writing, left me constantly trying to fill in the blanks.  I was hoping that watching the movie would fill some of those in…and it did a few, actually.  I mostly just picked out the differences between the movie and the book, though.    There were quite a few, including the most obvious one; Ree's siblings.  The movie has a boy and a girl, where the book has two boys. 

 

Despite that, I would say that this story made an impression on me.  With the harsh living conditions and indelible characters, and the hopelessness of Ree's situation, I really felt for her.  Ree is poignantly portrayed by Jennifer Lawrence, and actually, the entire cast is spot on.  I think the book is better for the obvious and usual reasons but I also think watching the movie rounded out my experience of the Winter's Bone altogether.

 

๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏

~MY RATING~

4STARS - GRADE=B+

๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏

 

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

~BREAKDOWN OF RATINGS~

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Plot~ 3.8/5

Main Character~ 5/5

Secondary Characters~ 4/5

The Feels~ 4/5

Pacing~ 4/5

Addictiveness~ 4/5

Theme or Tone~ 3.8/5

Flow (Writing Style)~ 3/5

Backdrop (World Building)~ 4/5

Originality~ 4/5

Ending~ 4/5

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Book Cover~ Movie Cover…

Narration~ ☆4☆ for Emma Galvin, her voice was perfect for this.

Setting~ Rathlin Valley, The Ozarks

Source~ Audiobook (Library)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

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text 2018-07-07 16:19
Reading progress update: I've read 48 out of 343 pages.
Above Suspicion - Helen MacInnes

Oh, wow.  I'm only a few chapters in, but this is feeling mighty topical already -- even more so given that it's not historical fiction but was actually published in 1941 (note: it's set in the summer of 1939):

 

"'It is really very sad for a German to find how misjudged and abused his country is.  Of course, our enemies control the Press in foreign countries, and they have been very busy.  They have clever tongues.'

'Have they?  It is strange, isn't it, how criticism of Germany has grown even in countries which were once really very close to her.  I wonder how it could have happened.'"

(P. 25)

 

"'You are a very prejudiced person, I can see.  I suppose you will now lecture me gravely on the wickedness of Germany's claims to natural Lebensraum.  It is easy to talk when you have a large Empire.'

'On the contrary, Herr von Aschenhausen, I like to think of all people having their Lebensraum, whether they are Germans or Jews or Czechs or Poles.'

His voice grated.  He was really angry.  'It is just such thoughts as these which have weakened Britain.  In the last twenty-five years she could have established herself as ruler of the world.  Instead, she makes a Commonwealth out of an Empire, and they won't even fight to help her when she has to fight.  She leaves the riches of India untapped; she urges a representative government on Indians who were about to refuse it.  She alienates Italy with sanctions.  She weakens herself all the time and she thinks it is an improvement.'"

(P. 27)

 

"'Well, I suppose if a nation allows concentration camps, it will find it hard to believe that other people don't use similar methods.  Cheeer up, old girl, who cares what a lot of uncivilised people think anyway?  It's only the opinion of the civilised that really matters.'

'Yes, but it looks as if a lot of the civilised will be killed because they ignored the thoughts of the uncivilised.  Ignoring doesn't expose them, you know, Richard.'"

(P. 32)

 

"[...] And then bastards like von Aschenhausen come along all smiles and bows.  And wonder why people are not enthusiastic about them.  They blackmailed us with bombers one year, and go back on the agreement they had extorted out of us, and then expect to be welcomed as friends.  All within nine months."

(P. 33)

 

"There's nothing like self-pity for thoroughly dissipating a man.  And when a nation indulges in that luxury it finds itself with a dictator.  Wrongs and injustices come in at the door and reason flies out of the window.  It's a solution which does not flatter the human race."

(P. 43)

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review 2018-06-27 19:25
Alekhine’s Embalmed Body: “Theory of Shadows” by Paolo Maurensig
Theory of Shadows - Paolo Maurensig, Anne Milano Appel (Translator)


“‘Imagine,’ he said, ‘that Stalin, with the complicity of the Portuguese police [PIDE], gave the order not only to kill him, but also to bring his body back to bring his body back to his native soil. Although the man was considered a traitor, his genius belonged to Great Mother Russia. Imagine that Alekhine’s embalmed body is to this day displayed in a showcase in some secret room in the Kremlin. Imagine that, as the conclusion for your novel.’”

In “Theory of Shadows” by Paolo Maurensig


For those of you who don't know, Estoril is near Lisbon. 


Chess is a troublesome game. I gave it up after many years playing at expert level. At club level the element of sheer chance involved means that most players would have more fun and probably considerably more success playing ludo. This does not stop egocentric oddballs from exhibiting a most unbecoming arrogance whenever the dice happen to fall in their favour. This is likely to be true at Grandmaster level equally and explains much about their strange behaviours. Alekhine hated losing and would have fits of carpet-biting rage whenever he did. Weird lot of them chess players! There is of course no chance at any level of chess except for the draw in some tournaments.

 

 

If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

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