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Librocubicularist

A Murder in Time by Julie McElwain

July 28, 2016 | No comments


 

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In brief: Julie McElwain’s debut novel combines mystery and historical fiction (with a bit of time travel). The protagonist, FBI agent Kendra Donovan, suddenly finds herself 200 years earlier in time at a British castle, where she needs to solve multiple gruesome murders and catch a serial killer.

Setting: Starting with present day US, ending with a UK castle in 1815.

The not-so-good: The first few chapters went very slow and it took quite a long time for me to warm up to the heroine. For some reason, I found her to be quite hard to relate to, not very sympathetic, and occasionally not very believable. I also felt like there was a lot of back-story glossed over – it almost felt like there was a previous book I had missed reading – that would explain a lot of her actions.
I usually have a hard time with books involving time travel (Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander being the exception), and even though I didn’t find that part of this story very convincing, the mystery part of the plot eventually had me hooked. The writing is far from the best I’ve ever read, but overall, this book contains all the pieces needed for a good mystery.

The good: In spite of the issues I had with the setup of the plot and the protagonist, once the mystery started (and dead bodies started turning up) I was hooked. After a while I forgot about all the minor details that had been bugging me and got completely wrapped up in trying to figure out who the murderer was. This is definitely one of those books where the individual pieces are not so great, but together they somehow work. (Also, did I mention that much of the story is set in a castle?)

Why I read it: It was the June/July selection for the Big Library Read. And the cover is gorgeous.

My rating: ★★★★

Conclusion: This mystery disguised as historical fiction is definitely worth reading. I’m looking forward to reading the sequel, A Twist in Time, scheduled for publication in April 2017.

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Reading Recap | 110

July 25, 2016 | One comment


 

I’ve gotten a lot of reading done in the last two weeks, but unfortuneltey, most of the books were quite disappointing.

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I read Season of Fear by Brian Freeman (★★). I found it slow going and with characters I didn’t connect to. The same was true for Son of Stone by Stuart Woods (★★).

I finally got around to reading Trauma by Daniel Palmer (★★★), a medical mystery/thriller. It wasn’t quite as good as I had hoped.

The worst of the recent reads was The Daydreamer Detective by S.J. Pajonas (★), a cozy mystery set in Japan. Although I liked the setting, the main character was one of the most frustrating and annoying I’ve ever come acrossed, and the plot was weak. It was a painful read.

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I also read several shorter novellas: The Tudor Plot by Steve Berry (★★), Gone Bad by JB Turner (★★), The Art Sleuth by Mary Anne Pennington (★★), The Witnesses by James Patterson (★★), and The Room by Jonas Karlsson (★★). Neither of them were anything I would recommend.

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I finished Vårlik (published in English as Spring Remains) by Mons Kallentoft (★★★). It is the 4th book about detective Malin Fors. I had a hard time getting into this book and didn’t like it as much as pervious books in the series.

I finally read The First Order by Jeff Abbott (★★★), the 5th (and last) book about former CIA agent Sam Capra, and The Hanging Girl by Jussi Adler-Olsen (★★★), the 6th book (and last) in the Department Q series. Both of them were good, but not as good as previous books in the series.

I also read Midnight Fear by Leslie Tentler (★★★), the 2nd book in the Chasing Fear trilogy. It was good, but not as good as the first book.

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The last two weeks I also started several new series. I read A Lesson in Dying by Ann Cleeves (★★★), the first book in the Inspector Ramsay series, Broken Promise by Linwood Barclay (★★★), the first book in the Promise Falls series, and Open Season by CJ Box, first about game warden Joe Pickett in Wyoming (★★★), and Silent Scream by Angela Marsons (★★★), first in a British crime series about DI Kim Stone. I will probably continue all of the series, but maybe not right away.

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I listened to A Darkness More Than Night (★★★), City of Bones (★★★), and The Burning Room (★★★) by Michael Connelly, the 7th, 8th, and 19th books about detective Harry Bosch. I think this series works really well as audiobooks.

I also listened to Deep Storm by Lincoln Child (★★), a mystery/thriller about a secret military/science project on the sea-floor, with manned drilling through the MOHO. As a geologist, I’m all for bad geology movies and bad geology books, but the mystery/thriller part of this was definitely not good enough to make up for the bad geology part.

 

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I’m hoping this week’s reading turns out to be better. I’m reading Driftwood Point by Maria Stewart, the 10th book in the Chesapeake Diaries series (one of my go-to contemporary romance series).

I’m also planning on reading Lucifer’s Tears by James Thompson, the 2nd book about Inspector Kari Varaa. I loved the first book in the series, and hopefully this one is just as good.

I’m also going to read Anatoli Boukreev’s biography Above the Clouds: The Diaries of a High-Altitude Mountaineer. I have wanted to read it ever since I read Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer.

I’m listening to The Guilty by David Baldacci, the 4th book about hit-man Will Robie.

 
What are you reading at the moment? For more inspiration and other’s reading plans, visit the it’s Monday, what are you reading linkup.

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Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between by Jennifer E. Smith

July 23, 2016 | No comments


 

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In brief: A boy and a girl + the night before leaving for college + a difficult decision to be made.

Setting: US

The good: Jennifer E. Smith has an amazing ability to write stories you instantly connect to, about characters you feel you already know. I no longer read a lot of young adult novels, but when I do, Smith’s books are definitely high on my list. I thoroughly enjoy her writing style.

“Maybe the world isn’t full of signs so much as it’s full of people trying to use whatever evidence they can find to convince themselves of what they hope to be true.”

The not-so-good: This is not a story that is going to change the world. The plot is somewhat predictable (but cute).

Why I read it: The title. And the cover.

My rating: ★★★★

Conclusion: Highly recommended to anyone who wants a quick, nice read.

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Life & Everything

Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts #58

July 21, 2016 | 6 comments


 

1. I had a wonderful 5 days at the summer house with my grandpa and mom. So nice to be away from big cities (and internet access) for a few days. My dad and his partner was at their house, which is nearby, so there were lots of quality time with both sides of the family. My cousin, who I haven’t seen in years, also joined us for a few days. We ate lots of good food (smoked fish!), played cards, read good books, went for long walks, and just relaxed. It was the best kind of mini-vacation.

2. The only thing missing from the mini-vacation was my sister, whose summer vacation doesn’t start until next week (when I’m back in Iceland). Stupid schedules.

3. I have a day in Stockholm before going back to Iceland. My plan for the day is to go through all the things I left at my sister’s place when I moved a month ago, and bring another suitcase with me to Iceland. It’s going a bit slow… (So many decisions!)

4. As usual, I’m a bit late to the party, but I’m completely hooked on the tv show How To Get Away With Murder. Such great selection of characters, and the plot is full of twists and turns.

5. Last month, DJ Earworm released his yearly summer mash-up. I’m always amazed how he manages to combine popular songs. I’m not as fond of this year’s mix as the previous ones he has made. Of the songs included, I actually only have one on my iPod (Justin Timberlake’s Can’t Stop the Feeling).

Visit Christine at Bookishly Boisterous for more bookish (and not so bookish) thoughts.

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Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts #57

July 14, 2016 | 2 comments


 

1. I took the red-eye this morning to Stockholm for a mini-vacation. I’m staying with my sister for a few days and then I’m going to visit my grandpa. I love living close enough to take last minute short trips home.

2. First lesson learned: Keflavik airport is not the most happening place on a Wednesday night. Second lesson learned: I’m too old to stay awake all night. Thankfully my sister picked me up at the airport, and then I could sleep pretty much all day while she was at work.

3. After the last two weeks of reading some really good books, I feel like I’m heading into a reading slump. The books I’ve read so far this week have been far from great.

4. Baby goats is officially the cutest thing ever.

5. I really want to see the new Tarzan movie. It has gotten less than stellar reviews, but it stars Alexander Skarsgård, which is pretty much enough reason to see it if you ask me…

6. Why is Outlander season 2 not yet available on iTunes?

7. I think I’ve found a place to rent. Campus housing is cheap and I do like having only a 5 minute walk to work in the morning, but I really cannot wait to move into my own place. Only bad thing is that it is not available until end of summer.

8. What is all this about Pokemon Go? I don’t understand the point.

Visit Christine at Bookishly Boisterous for more bookish (and not so bookish) thoughts.

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My Brain is Mostly Song Lyrics

MIXTAPE || my addiction

July 12, 2016 | 5 comments


 

I was listening to Joni Mitchell (specifically, A Case of You) and I couldn’t get the lyrics “I can drink a case of you darling, still I’d be on my feet” out of my head. I just had to make a mixtape. Not a mixed tape or a playlist. A mixtape. Then I remembered that I don’t actually have a tape recorder, or a cassette tape, but if I did, this is how my mixtape would have turned out.

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A Case of You – Joni Mitchell
I can drink a case of you darling, still I’d be on my feet.

Breath of Life – Florence + The Machine
But I only needed one more touch, another taste of divine rush.

Little Too Much – Natasha Bedingfield
Everybody hurts just a little too much, everybody hurts but it’s never enough. It’s wonderful to fall, it’s worth of risking all.

Sex and Reruns – Matt Duke
Block out all your demons with white noise, pills, and Jesus.

Dark Side – Kelly Clarkson
There’s a place that I know, it’s not pretty there and few have ever gone.

Demons – Imagine Dragons
When you feel my heat, look into my eyes. It’s where my demons hide, it’s where my demons hide. Don’t get too close, it’s dark inside. It’s where my demons hide, it’s where my demons hide.

My Silver Lining – First Aid Kit
I don’t know if I’m scared of dying but I’m scared of living too fast, too slow.

Barely Breathing – Duncan Shriek
‘Cause I am barely breathing and I can’t find the air. I don’t know who I’m kidding, imaging you care. And I could stand here waiting, a fool for another day. But I don’t suppose it’s worth the price, worth the price, the price that I would pay.

In Too Deep – Genesis
Asking all kinds of questions, to myself, but never finding the answers. Crying at the top of my voice, and no one listening … Although I need you, I’m not gonna make this. You know I want to, but I’m in too deep.

Shake It Out – Florence + The Machine
It’s always darkest before the dawn.

Colors – Laleh
Just because it’s black in the dark, doesn’t mean there’s no colors.

Just Like a Pill – Pink
I can’t stay on your life support, there’s a shortage in the switch. I can’t stay on your morphine, ’cause it’s making me itch … I think I’ll get outta here, where I can run just as fast as I can to the middle of nowhere, to the middle of my frustrated fears. And I swear you’re just like a pill. Instead of makin’ me better, you keep makin’ me ill.

Moodswings – Charlotte Church
I try to walk away from situations that run into complications that make me lose control.

Against the Voices – Switchfoot
Everybody knows that the hardest war to fight is the fight to be yourself, when the voices try to turn you into someone else.

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Librocubicularist

Reading Recap | 109

July 11, 2016 | One comment


 

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Last week was another great reading week. I read several really good mysteries: Angels Flight by Michael Connelly (★★★★), the 6th book about police detective Harry Bosch; In the Dark Places by Peter Robinson (★★★★), the 22nd book about Inspector Banks; Silverkronan (not yet published in English) by Anna Jansson (★★★), the fourth book about detective Maria Wern on Gotland; and Storm Prey by John Sandford (★★★), the 20th book about investigator Lucas Davenport.

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I finally read Sandmannen (published in English as The Sandman) by Lars Kepler (★★★★), another great installment in the crime series about police inspector Joona Linna.

I also read Snow Angels by James Thompson (★★★★★), the first in a crime series about Police Inspector Kari Vaara in Finland. It is one of the best Nordic crime novels I have read in a long time, and I highly recommend it to anyone who likes Nordic crime (or just a good mystery in general).

Last week, I also read Destroyer Angel by Nevada Barr (★★). It was unfortunately a disappointment compared to the other books from the series about park ranger Anna Pigeon that I have read.

 

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This week I’m continuing reading Vårlik (published in English as Spring Remains) by Mons Kallentoft. It is the fourth book about detective Malin Fors. I usually really like this series, but am having a hard time getting into this book.

I’m also reading The First Order by Jeff Abbott, the fifth (and last) book about former CIA agent Sam Capra. So far, it is just as good as the previous books in the series.

I’m also reading Season of Fear by Brian Freeman. It’s going a bit slow and I’m not really connecting to the characters.

I’m listening to City of Bones by Michael Connelly, the 8th book about detective Harry Bosch. I think this series works really well as audiobooks.

 
What are you reading at the moment? For more inspiration and other’s reading plans, visit the it’s Monday, what are you reading linkup.

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Reading Recap | 108

July 4, 2016 | 17 comments


 

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Last week was a great reading week. I read several great mysteries: Bad Little Falls by Paul Dorion (★★★), the third book about game warden Mike Bowditch in Maine; A Murder in Time by Julie McElwain (★★★★), first in a new series about an FBI agent who accidentally ends up 200 years in the past; A Man Lay Dead by Ngaio Marsh (★★★), the first in the classic English detective series about Scotland Yard’s Inspector Roderick Alleyn; and Map of Fates by Maggie Hall (★★★★), the second book in The Conspiracy of Us series.

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Last week I also read Midnight Caller by Leslie Trent (★★★★), the first in her Chasing Evil trilogy and a great romantic suspense.

I listened to Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik (★★★★), a very interesting read about one impressive lady.

I also listened to The Crossing by Michael Connelly (★★★), and The Serpent of Venice by Christopher Moore (★★★). Both were ok, but not great.

 

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This week I’m reading Snow Angels by James Thompson, the first in a crime series about Police Inspector Kari Vaara in Finland. So far, it is a thrilling read and I cannot wait to read the rest of the series.

I’m also reading Vårlik (published in English as Spring Remains) by Mons Kallentoft. It is the fourth book about detective Malin Fors.

I’m also planning to read Destroyer Angel by Nevada Barr, the 18th book about park ranger Anna Pigeon.

I’m listening to In the Dark Places by Peter Robinson, the 22nd book about Inspector Banks.

 
What are you reading at the moment? For more inspiration and other’s reading plans, visit the it’s Monday, what are you reading linkup.

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6 Degrees of Separation: Midnight’s Children

July 2, 2016 | 2 comments


 

6 Degrees of Separation is a book meme hosted by Kate at Books are My Favorite and Best. The goal is to construct a chain with 6 other books, using any criteria you want, and see where you end up.

This month, the starting book is Salman Rushdie’s prize winning novel Midnight’s Children. It’s on my list of books I feel I should read, but that I don’t actually feel very motivated to read.

I read the first four books in Jean M. Auel’s Earth’s Children series, starting with The Clan of the Cave Bear, as a teenager but I have no urge to finish the series. The series is set in prehistoric times and is by many considered a classic (although the consensus also seem to be that the books are pretty bad).

Mother Earth Father Sky by Sue Harrison is also set in prehistoric times, but focuses on Aleut tribes. I read the first two books in the trilogy when I was a teenager (both were horribly bad) before I abandoned it.

The cover of Mother Earth Father Sky has a lot of similarities with Sleeping Lady by Sue Henry, which I read earlier this year. It is a mystery set in Alaska, involving a plane the crashed in a remote lake.

A plane crash is also at the center of the case that forensic anthropologist Dr. Bill Brockton investigates in The Breaking Point by Jefferson Bass. Jefferson Bass is a pen name used by Jon Jefferson and Dr Bill Bass.

Lars Kepler is a pen named used by Swedish writer couple Alexander Ahndoril and Alexandra Coelho Ahndoril. I love their series about police inspector Joona Linna, and cannot wait to read The Sandman, the fourth book in the series. I’ve had it since it was published, but I’ve been saving it.

Another book by a Swedish author that is high up on my TBR-list, but that I have been saving, is Davidsstjärnor (published in English as The Chosen), by Kristina Ohlsson. It is the fifth book about investigative analyst Fredrika Bergman.

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This time, my chain took me from a book on mr TBR-list that I’m not motivated to actually read, to two books that are high on the list but that I for some reason have been saving.

Why don’t you join us and make your own chain? Starting with Midnight’s Children, where will you end up? Visit Books Are My Favourite and Best to read the rules and see who else made a chain this month.

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Life & Everything

Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts #56

June 30, 2016 | 6 comments


 

1. So far, I’m not regretting the choice of moving to Iceland. (In spite of the pretty bad weather the last few days with lots of rain and fog, and temperatures of about 20 degrees lower than in Hawaii.) I’m so happy to be here.

2. Reading things like this also makes me happy.

3. I love, love, love this mixtape list that Kate wrote the other day.

4. I joined the 20 Books of Summer reading challenge (hosted by Cathy), with the goal to read 20 Scandinavian/Nordic crime novels to catch up on some of those series I haven’t had a chance to finish. I also thought it was an appropriate way of celebrating moving back to the Nordic. The challenge runs from June 1st to September 5th. I have already read over 20 books, but only 2 were for this challenge. I have gotten distracted by other non-Nordic authors and other series (again). I will need to remedy this asap.

5. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg keeps impressing me. I just read the biography Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and I highly recommend it.

6. Somehow, June is almost over. That of course means that it is time for July’s 6 Degrees of Separation this Saturday. It is still my favourite book meme to participate in.

Visit Christine at Bookishly Boisterous for more bookish (and not so bookish) thoughts.

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