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text 2017-07-01 15:14
On sale
The Terror - Dan Simmons
Dead Mountain: The Untold True Story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident - Donnie Eichar
The Blue Sword - Robin McKinley
Night Train to Lisbon: A Novel - Pascal Mercier,Barbara Harshav
Mornings in Jenin Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; 1 Reprint edition - Susan Abulhawa
Fledgling - Octavia E. Butler
Arthur and Sherlock: Conan Doyle and the Creation of Holmes - Michael Sims
Medicus - Ruth Downie

On sale this month for kindle US.  

 

Also several Marvel masterworks

 

The Terror is slow, but good.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-06-23 00:08
The Worms Crawl In, The Worms Crawl Out...
The Troop - Nick Cutter

Alternative name for this review: Fifty Shades of Fuck That, pardon my french. 

 

This book is the definition of horrifying. It pushed on literally one of my worst fears. Despite all that, I devoured it and that's really ironic considering the subject matter. 

 

In The Troop, Scout Troop 52 is taking it's annual camping trip to Falstaff Island. They're cut off from the mainland for a whole weekend with no cell phones or computers, only a radio for communication and the trust that a boat will come for them at the end of the adventure. Then The Hungry Man shows up, impossibly thin and carrying something within that will challenge every boy's worst nightmare. 

 

I loved this book. It was simply incredible. Part of it was how unique it really was. When I first read the premise I thought it was going to be a zombie-like situation. Which, I was fine and down for, but come on. Zombies are not the most unique thing in horror. Then I get worms and when I realized that my heart sank and sped up at the same time. Seriously, when was the last time a horror movie had worms that weren't exactly monsters, just animals? It was original, incredibly unique and that made it all the more horrifying. 

 

One of Cutter's greatest strengths is he knows how to create a suffocatingly ominous atmosphere. The kind that makes you read something super innocent and go, "Oh no." Like when Scoutmaster Tim wanted crackers. Or when Kent had the sip of scotch. Or just an article in a magazine written after the incident. It was nothing overt. Just a little sentence that immediately connected all the dots in your head and made you go, "Oh no." And made me not want to read on because I knew what was going to happen but I HAD to read on and see what was happening. It's like the worst (read: best) kind of horror because I was pushing myself into the situation further, despite the anxiety and terror it caused me. It's just so well done I'm floored. 

 

If I had to describe this book in one sentence, I would say Lord of the Flies meets Alien. There are so, so many threats to the boys' safety - the worms, surviving stranded on an island, fucking Shelley - that it creates sort of the perfect disaster. Best of all, it had a natural rhythm too it. At no point did it feel like, "Oh, things are fine, better throw this in to stir drama up". Every obstacle in the story had a place and a purpose and I really applaud Cutter for that because I have read survival stories in particular that don't do it as well. 

 

Along with being scary, this book is heartbreaking. You come to really know these boys and they're very complex characters. Sure, maybe they're little shits in the same way all teens are little shits but I loved them. I didn't want to see them suffer but it's horror so of course they have to suffer. That made it hard to read at a lot of points but the story is so intense and had me so sucked in that I had to read it.  Which really, I think that's a sign for a terrific book. 

 

Final rating: 5 out of 5. Won't read it again any time soon because it scared the bejesus out of me but I want to. I hunger for it, if you will. 

 

Final thought: Last time a book shook me up as much as this one, it was The Mist by Stephan King. Fog still makes me uneasy.

 

 

 

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text 2017-04-30 11:16
April Wrap Up and Challenge Update Part 1
The Doll-Master and Other Tales of Terror - Joyce Carol Oates
Sedition: A Novel - Katharine Grant
Aurora - Kim Stanley Robinson
I Will Fear No Evil - Robert A. Heinlein
Women All on Fire: The Women of the English Civil War - Alison Plowden
The Breakdown - B. A. Paris

Well, April is pretty much over and as a reading month it hasn't been too bad. The first book I finished was:

 

The Doll Master and Other Tales of Terror by Joyce Carol Oates

This book was an opportune pick at the library. As usual I went in to get one book and came out with 5. I read a collection of her short stories a few years ago and wasn't that impressed but as this was a library book I thought I would give her another chance. I was surprised that I enjoyed it so much. The first story was mediocre and I thought that my opinion was going to be vindicated but I found the other stories much more to my taste. So 4/5 stars for that.

 

Next up was another library pick and the one that I had originally gone in for:

 

Sedition by Katharine Grant.

This one has been on my radar for a while and I wasn't disappointed. At the end of the 18th. century five teenage girls need husbands with pedigrees. But how to get them when all the girls have is money and no connections? Their mothers decide that the girls should shine at a piano concert but first they need lessons. So a piano is bought a tutor provided and many hours are spent in lessons - not necessarily of the musical kind. One of the girls is being abused by her father and decides to turn the tables on the piano teacher and get her revenge on her father. All hell breaks loose.

The story starts off fairly light and amusing but soon becomes pretty dark. This is one I would definitely read again. 4/5 stars

 

Another library pick was Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson

Green Earth left me somewhat lukewarm but I wanted to give this one a bash. I tested it on my husband first though and it got his approval so no worries. Although ostensibly a space opera I read it as more a tale of the environment. The message I got from it was that you can't have a second Earth so you had better look after this one. I don't necessarily have to agree with that but it has made me think about it. Another 4/5 stars. 

 

The biggest disappointment for me this month was Robert A. Heinlein's I Will Fear No Evil. Set in the early 21st century this is the story of an old man who has his brain transplanted into the body of his young secretary (I should note that she is dead). Her 'soul' still inhabits the body and helps the new occupant to settle in. I have fond memories of reading this book a couple of decades ago but being the kind of reader who can't really remember what happened in a book after I close it, I couldn't remember the story, only that I enjoyed it so much. Having read it a second time I don't know why now. 3.5/5 stars

 

Finally, I come to Women All on Fire by Alison Plowden.

This time a non-fiction book about the Civil War. I found it interesting and easy to read, even for a newbie to the subject like me. There was enough background information to put everything in context without being overwhelming. 5 stars

 

Edit:

 

That's it for April. According to my calculations I'm about 4 books behind my challenge. I'm also lacking 3 German books and 3 classics but as my self-imposed challenge conditions are more guidelines than rules, who's cares? :)

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review 2017-04-18 00:00
Terror: Ein Theaterstück und eine Rede
Terror: Ein Theaterstück und eine Rede -... Terror: Ein Theaterstück und eine Rede - Ferdinand von Schirach Ausführliche Rezension:
http://nouw.com/cwidmann/terror-was-ware-wenn-29814282
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text 2017-04-07 17:24
OT: In shock

I'm sitting in front of the tv, following the news about the terror attack in Stockholm. It's hard to describe how I'm feeling right now. Stockholm was my dad's city, so in a way it's also mine, even though I've never lived there. I see images of places I've walked and where I might, in theory have been walking at the time of the attack, if I'd been out traveling. It's completely unreal. At least my whole family is safe and sound, right here, next to me. Today, it's never been more clear to me that nowhere is safe, no one is completely protected from this sort of thing. At the moment, I don't have anything more to say, except take care, hold on to your loved ones.

 

LittleLion

 

The image is of a little copy of one of the 'big' lions that briefly appeared in the footage from the news segment, one that my sister bought the last time she was in Stockholm, since we have passed it more than once while in Stockholm. I'm letting it symbolize my Stockholm.

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