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text 2017-02-01 12:34
January Wrap-up
Ten Years in the Tub: A Decade Soaking in Great Books - Nick Hornby
Shadows Linger - Glen Cook
Dark Visions - Conversations With The Masters of the Horror Film - Stanley Wiater
Dark Entries - Robert Aickman
Indemnity Only - Sara Paretsky
The Fifth Profession - David Morrell

Okay, I read six books in January, half of them re-reads. Not my best month, but oh well.

 

A quick note on my ratings:  *****,  great; ****, quite good; ***, decent; **, mediocre; *, dreck.  You won't  see many * or ** ratings because I usually DNF them. If I don't finish, I don't review, partly because it wouldn't be fair, but mostly because they aren't worth my time.

 

1. Ten Years in the Tub: A Decade Soaking in Great Books - Nick Hornby  Ten Years in the Tub: A Decade Soaking in Great Books - Nick Hornby   *****

 

    My only five-star this month, and a rerun. I love Hornby's non-fiction, so a collection of his book criticism for Believer magazine is perfect for me, and seeing him struggle with the magazine's "acid-free" policy is hilarious (I couldn't do it, myself, as you'll see shortly). Plus, a loot of great recommendations, albeit in a more mainstream vein than my usual tastes. Still, any book that got me into reading Sarah Vowell is aces.

 

2. The Fifth Profession - David Morrell  The Fifth Profession - David Morrell  ***

 

    Another re-read, this from one of my favorite thriller writers. Alas, not one of his best. This is a silly book, but a lot of fun. It involves bodyguards, espionage, psychosurgery/brainwashing, the return of Japanese imperialism, insta-love... Like I said, silly, stupid fun. Would have made a good camp movies tarring Michael Biehn.

 

3. Dark Entries - Robert Aickman  Dark Entries - Robert Aickman  ****

 

    My first short-story collection of the year, and a damn good one. Most of the stories are oblique, many to the point where I'm not quite sure what, if anything, happened. Still the atmosphere was great, and "Ringing the Changes" is an all-time classic for a reason.

 

4. Dark Visions - Conversations With The Masters of the Horror Film - Stanley Wiater  Dark Visions - Conversations With The Masters of the Horror Film - Stanley Wiater  ***

 

    Really, 2.5 rounded up. It is a series of interviews with actors. writers, directors, etc. Many of the people are interesting, but Wiater is a bland interviewer. There are few, if any, tough questions, the creative and technical sides of film are left unexplored, no personal insights... Well=written, with the occasional fun nugget, but often dull.

 

5. Shadows Linger - Glen Cook  Shadows Linger - Glen Cook  ***

 

    Second in the fabled Black Company series, and just as uneven as the first. Glum, grim, and yet still engaging. I will read book three, as I own it, but am in no rush.

 

6. Indemnity Only - Sara Paretsky  Indemnity Only - Sara Paretsky  

 

    First in the V.I. Warshawski series of P.I. novels. First published in 1982. it hasn't aged well. Also, the lead is difficult, though understandably so. Still, it's well-written and often funny, and deals with white-collar crime, a rarity for the sub-genre.

 

-----

 

All in all, not a great month, but not terrible. Hopefully, it was better for you folks.

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review 2015-11-15 12:51
Vampirisch auf Erwachsen
Sanguineus - Band 1: Gefallener Engel - Ina Linger

Meine Meinung

Auf diese Reihe wurde ich aufmerksam, weil die Autorin Ina Linger mich direkt angesprochen hat, ob ich Band 1 der Reihe rezensieren möchte. Nachdem ich den Klappentext gelesen hatte, habe ich mich schnell entschieden, mich an einer erwachsenen Vampirgeschichte zu versuchen.

Mein Erfahrungsschatz gehört eher den Hexen, demnach war ich noch gespannter auf die Vampire in dieser Story.

 

Der arrogante Jonathan Haynes konnte mich von Anfang an begeistern. Ich mochte seinen erschaffenen Charakter, sein Wesen und sein Auftreten wirklich sehr.

Die Verbindung zwischen knallhartem Geschäftsmann und Vampir ist hier gut gelungen und es hat etwas anderes, etwas Erwachsenes.

Für mich ein Pluspunkt, da ich das Thema Vampire im Jugendbuchbereich meist zu kitschig finde.

 

Die große Frage in diesem Buch ist, was ist mit Nathan passiert?

Jonathan vermisst seinen besten Freund und Sam hat ihre Liebe des Lebens verloren. Das heißt dieses Buch behandelt sowohl das Thema Liebe, als auch Freundschaft. Zwei Themen, die sehr gut in das Buch eingearbeitet wurden.

Ein absolutes Highlight in dieser Hinsicht sind die vielen tollen Zitate, die Ina Linger in dieses Buch eingebracht hat. Ich hätte sie alle aufschreiben können, habe im unteren Bereich der Rezension aber nur einige genannt. Jedes Zitat trägt so viel Wahrheit in sich und sie bereichern meine Sammlung wirklich immens.

 

Der Schreibstil und auch die Wendungen im Buch passen perfekt zusammen und es war ein schönes Lesen.

 

Im Nachhinein muss ich jedoch sagen, dass mich dieses Entführungsthema weniger inspiriert hat, als die Themen Freundschaft und Liebe, die alles überdauert.

Das Thema um Nathan und seinem Verschwinden, wohinter die Organisation „Die Garde“ steckt, wurde erst gegen Ende so richtig spannend.

Und da es erst Band 1 von 4 ist, lässt uns die Autorin natürlich mit einem fiesen Cliffhanger zurück.

So dass es weitergehen muss und ich werde die Reihe auch weiterverfolgen.

____________________________________________________________

 

Ein Kritikpunkt ist für mich, dass in den Erzählperspektiven zu oft gewechselt wurde. Ich wusste zeitweise immer gar nicht, ob gerade Jonathan, Sam oder Nathan spricht. Das hat einfach unheimliche Konzentration benötigt. Dann nach meinem Geschmack entweder einer oder ein durchgehender Allwissender Erzählstil.

 

Auch mit den Zeitsprüngen hatte ich in meinem Lesefluss irgendwie meine Problemchen. Erklären kann ich es nicht so richtig, die Zeitangaben standen in den Kapitelüberschriften, aber dennoch war es irgendwie schwer.

 

Und auch die Charaktere Sam und Nathan waren mir zu blass dargestellt, natürlich kann dieser Punkt im zweiten Band ganz anders aussehen, Folgebände bauen ja auch den ersten Band auf, aber ich spreche es trotzdem an.

 

Mein Fazit

Wer sich dem Thema Vampire auf erwachsener Ebene widmen möchte, nimmt hier das richtige Buch zur Hand. Für mich ist es eine neue Idee und eine tolle Umsetzung. Aufgrund des Cliffhangers bin ich gespannt, wie es weitergehen wird.

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review 2015-10-30 00:00
Linger
Linger - Maggie Stiefvater Actual Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Linger is the second book in the Wolves of Mercy Falls Trilogy and considering how impressed I was with the first book, I was dying to continue with the series! So I bet you're wondering if the sequel fell victim to the dreaded 'second-book syndrome' or if the goddess that is Maggie Stiefvater managed to avoid that altogether and impress me even more. Well, let's have a look shall we?

I have to apologize in advance here because this next paragraph will be on the vague-side but I want to avoid any major spoilers for the series. Ok. So Linger opens up with Grace and Sam, coming to terms with the big changes that went down for Sam at the end of Shiver. Beyond that though, there are some not-so-subtle hints that there's something going on with Grace as well. I remember reading reviews where people complained that Grace's problem was too obvious but here's my take on it: I think it was supposed to be obvious. We were meant to guess what was up with Grace's predicament before she did. It seems clear to me that Stiefvater wrote it that way. The true mystery here is the 'when?' and the 'HOW?!'. To me, that was just as engaging as anything because it opens up a whole other issue with the Wolves - not to mention the clear heartbreak that will no doubt ensue...when things finally hit the fan ...

After reading the synopsis for Linger, I was worried that a love triangle might have been looming here but Stiefvater deftly avoided that predictable outcome. Instead, she introduces two more POVs, one for Isabel, a character we met and that I grew to LOVE in Shiver. Win. Her friendship with Grace was unexpected but it's also like the best thing ever. We also get introduced to a new character: Cole. Cole isn't what you'd expect going in and as the story progresses, he managed to keep surprising me. Needless to say, I adored the new POVs - I felt as though they very much added to the story and to the whole family within The Pack. The four of them all have page time with one another and seeing how they interacted with each other, for better or for worse was seriously enjoyable.

Beyond that though, each character has their own rich background, issues and heartache to deal with, which only added depth to an already richly layered story, with it's inherent sadness and atmospheric setting. Sam as always, has the soul of a poet and he made me swoon with the random song lyrics that run wild in his mind and pop up at random intervals. We got to see a more rebellious side to Grace, which could have come off as petulant but instead, I felt that she was warranted in her behavior. Together, Sam and Grace are the best. The way that they know each other so intimately is beyond romantic. ♥

Moving on to Miss Maggie Stiefvater's glorious writing style. Well, in Linger she literally showed that she can make breading chicken strips sound like a work of art. I kid you not. Her prose reads like air: effortlessly. The pages seem to turn of their own accord. There's a sort of wild, primal tone to this series and with Stiefvater, not only can you see the things she describes with crystal clear precision, you can also feel them, smell them...hear them as if you were right.there. Sigh.

Needless to say that by the time that the ending rolled around, I was pretty much covered in FEELINGS, which made those last pages all the more poignant. Knowing how Linger was going to end didn't reduce its emotional impact - not by a long shot. I was left broken, but cautiously optimistic. I'm crossing my fingers that Forever will offer up a happy ending for all of my beloved characters. It seems unlikely, but I don't think that my heart will survive if I don't convince myself that a happy ending is possible.

This review was previously featured on my blog: Photobucket
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review SPOILER ALERT! 2015-06-24 20:50
REVIEW of Linger 5: "The Death of Dreams" Escalates the Psychological Horror
Linger 5: The Death of Dreams (A Linger Thriller) - Edward Fallon,Rob Cornell

The Death of Dreams, book five of the Linger series, is an intense story.

 

The plot uses psychological horror, leading our three protagonists down a twisted path. This story is not for the lighthearted, there is gore and monstrous elements that make it a real grisly thriller that will have you biting your nails (if you have any left after reading the first four books). The creepy small town and frigid winter storm will keep you shivering, as well.

 

Kate Messenger tries to remain in control but quickly discovers her police training is of no use here, when she comes up against a foe with abilities she has never confronted before. The pain of their individual loss is used against each companion and takes control of their minds. This force hits the target head on, when Weston is compelled by memories which he could not fight off. The urge for one more experience with his family, even though not real, is too strong. At a few pivotal scenes the heroes are doomed, leaving doubt about their survival from this abominable situation. Once again Christopher shows how strong his powers are and is able to pull his friends back to safety, maybe . . . The last story of the first five in the Linger series has an acceptable ending.

The reader is left with some ideas of what is going to happen to them now that they have faced so many horrors together. Once you've finished reading book five, you will want more books to be written in this series, because it's easy to imagine so much more that could happen to this odd ball group of friends, Kate, Weston and Chris, during their suspenseful quest for the beast.

 

I've been lucky to read the ARC copies, and all 5 stories are available for preorder now -  to be released July 1st. Once you begin your reading journey you will keep reading . . .


This is a GREAT SERIES that's well worth your time. Hoping that more stories will be written about this courageous band of characters. (heard more to come :D )

 

Bravo, well done, leaving the reader wanting more.  

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review 2015-06-24 20:36
This Series Is Compelling - This Story is an Uber Creepy Addictive Read
Linger 4: Here There Be Monsters (A Linger Thriller) - Edward Fallon,Will Graham

REVIEW of Linger 4: Here There Be Monsters from ARC received

 

Another great story in the Linger series- book four, Here There Be Monsters, is yet another terrifying experience especially for Kate Messenger. The three companions: Kate, Weston, and Chris, are still traveling and chasing the beast together, however, Kate decides to take on more of the burden. Worried as she witnesses Christopher’s continued breakdowns and bad dreams, she pulls in resources that will assist to make use of her crime fighting training. Kate asks for help from her network of friends in the field, and the reader is introduced to colorful personalities: a confidant of hers, a cop from Chicago named Mooch, and his Texan sister MK (officially named Colonel Baxter), and more—homicide detectives and yes, Rangers, too. The setting is Texas after all!

Feeling empowered, Kate decides to go the extra mile. Although filled with confidence, she has no idea the depth of the horrors she would get herself into . . . I will not say more because I don’t want to be a spoiler. Let’s just say the story creeps forward building up, and then something unexpected happens that will force you to turn the lights on.

The monsters that Kate faces are darker than any she has ever confronted before. The climax scene is not for the light hearted—and reads like a true hard horror that would make King proud. The story pulls together the threads and the three companions come to realize just how serious, no heinous, their quest has become . . . The dangers they face concern various law enforcement entities, as well. The beast is on everyone’s radar and yet to be confronted. The hero trio knows the beast has to be stopped. I’m going off to read book five now—can’t put it off any longer. This is a very exciting series.

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