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Librocubicularist

Inherit the Bones by Emily Littlejohn

May 27, 2017 | One comment


 

In brief: Emily Littlejohn’s acclaimed debut novel about detective Gemma Monroe, who investigates a murder at a traveling circus with links to a powerful family.

Setting: Small town in Colorado.

The good: Well-written mystery with great characters in a wonderful setting. The plot is complex with lots of levels and details.

The not-so-good: A bit of a slow start, and at times, the numerous aspects to the case seemed a bit too much (but at the end, it all came together perfectly).

Why I read it: Rory recommended it to me (and it was one the outstanding books for her in 2016).

My rating: ★★★★

Conclusion: I’m looking forward to reading the sequel A Season to Lie, to be published in November.

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Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts #86

May 25, 2017 | 3 comments


 

1. I couldn’t resist and watched the remake of Dirty Dancing. The highlight was definitely Nicole Scherzinger as Penny, and I did like some of the new things they had added, but overall, it just felt like a watered-down version of the original (especially when it comes to the dancing). And the ending ruined it completely.

2. I recognized 5 of these 7 old things. (I, or my family, even have several of them.)

3. I thought this video about sign language and music was very interesting.

4. The project of finally reading Les Miserables is pretty much on a standstill. I started in January, and have still barely made a dent in it. The other day, I started rereading another >1000 page classic: Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind (which thankfully is going a lot faster than Les Miserables).

5. I’m almost finished with my current big crochet project, so I’m starting to plan the next one. I’m thinking of doing either a granny square blanket or one with a pattern of triangles or diamonds.

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

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2017 Petrona Award Winner

May 21, 2017 | No comments


 

At the end of March, the shortlist for this year’s Petrona Award for the best Scandinavian Crime Novel was announced, and yesterday the winner was announced. Congratulations to Where Roses Never Die by Gunnar Staalesen, translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett and published by Orenda Books.

After seeing the shortlist, my plan was to read all 6 nominees before the winner was announced, but I have only read two of them: the winner Where Roses Never Die and The Bird Tribunal by Agnes Ravatn (also Norwegian).

The other nominees were:
Why Did You Lie by Yrsa Sigurđardóttir (Iceland)
The Dying Detective by Leif G.W. Persson (Sweden)
The Exiled by Kati Hiekkapelto (Finland)
The Wednesday Club by Kjell Westö (Finland)

I have both The Exiled and Why Did You Lie, but haven’t gotten around to reading them yet (something that will be fixed asap).

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Where Roses Never Die by Gunnar Staalesen

May 18, 2017 | No comments


 

In brief: Private investigator Varg Veum is hired to investigate the disappearance of a 3 year old girl 25 years earlier.

Setting: Bergen, Norway

The good: This had everything I want from a good mystery: an interesting case with lots of emotional aspects, great characters, just the right amount of foreshadowing and conflicting clues. Veum is the epitome of my favourite type of investigator – melancholic, misunderstood, and heavily flawed (but brilliant).

The not-so-good: The plot occasionally progressed a bit slow.

Why I read it: Shortlisted for the 2017 Petrona Award.

My rating: ★★★★

Conclusion: I will definitely read the other 19 books in the series.

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The Bird Tribunal by Agnes Ravatn

May 16, 2017 | No comments


 

In brief: Former TV presenter Allis starts working as a housekeeper and gardener for a mysterious man whose wife’s whereabouts are very unclear.

Setting: A remote fjord in Norway.

The good: This is a beautifully written story about the complicated relationship between two very complex characters, who both have a lot of secrets. It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what the best things about this book are, but I couldn’t put it down and a month after finishing it, I’m still thinking about it.

The not-so-good: If I were to describe this book in one word, it would be ‘confusing’. The story is almost exclusively presented through the interactions and dialogue (or lack of dialogue) between the two main characters, and I’m not sure if I hate or love them. The plot is slow moving, almost borderline boring, while at the same time the pages are bursting at the seems with with little details and a mystery with so many levels that I repeatedly had to go back and reread sections of previous chapters.

Why I read it: Shortlisted for the 2017 Petrona Award.

My rating: ★★★ (but should maybe be ★★★★★)

Conclusion: I’m still not sure if this book is absolutely brilliant or just weird and boring. Everyone should read it so we can figure it out together.

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Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts #85

May 12, 2017 | No comments


 

1. The Eurovision Song Contest final is tomorrow. Who is your favourite? I usually watch the semi-finals and will have a very in-depth analysis of each song before the final, but this year I’ve only heard a few of them. I wasn’t a big fan of Sweden’s song (but compared to the others in the first semi, it was suddenly really good). Iceland didn’t make it to the finale this year, but I quite like Norway’s song.

2. This is all very true. I apologize to my future husband, whoever you are.

3. This is why I love being a geologist.

4. I’m excited to see who wins the Petrona Award this year. I’ve already read two of the books on the shortlist and I’m planning to read the other three soon.

5. Videos like this makes me want to take up a new hobby.

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

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6 Degrees of Separation: The Slap

May 6, 2017 | 6 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.

The starting book this month is The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas. I have not read it.

I also have not read his other novel Dead Europe, which is described as setting “sharp realism against folk tale and fable, a world of hauntings and curses against a fiercely political portrait of a society”.

A book I’m definitely planning on reading soon is Arne Dahl’s Europa Blues, the fourth book in his series about a special unit (the A-Unit or Intercrime Unit) who investigates violent crimes with an international connection in Sweden. A tv show has been made based on the book series, but I’m waiting to watch it until I’ve read all the books.

Another tv-series that I’m waiting to watch until I have read the books is Shetland, based on Ann Cleeve’s great crime series about detective Jimmy Perez (of which I just finished the fifth book, Dead Water).

Another book I just finished is Wait for Dark by Kay Hooper, the 17th book about a FBI unit where all the members have paranormal abilities and use them to solve special (supernatural) cases. The leader of the unit is FBI profiler Noah Bishop, but each book focuses on one or a pair of different investigators. Paranormal is not my usual cup of tea, but I really enjoyed this series, which actually consist of multiple trilogies.

Mariah Stewart’s John Mancini series (starting with Dead Wrong) also consists of multiple smaller series, and each book focuses on a different member of an elite unit of the FBI run by Mancini.

Wrong Place, Wrong Time by Andrea Kane is the first in a series about Pete Montgomery, a former NYPD detective turned private investigator. I’ve liked most of her other series, but this one was sadly not one of the best ones (in spite of the great title).

This time, my chain took me from The Slap, via different groups of crime investigators, to Wrong Place, Wrong Time.

Why don’t you join us and make your own chain? Starting with The Slap, 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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Reading Recap | April 2017

May 3, 2017 | No comments


 

April was another impending-reading-slump month filled with mostly forgettable 2-to-3-star books. I did read 3 books in Swedish, but did not even pretend to attempt making any progress on Les Miserables. Out of the 21 books I read in April, two Scandinavian crime novels were the highlights.

Den man älskar by Mari Jungstedt ★★★★
Ebook | 348 pages (Read April 10-11)

Police inspector Anders Knutas in Visby returns from sick leave and his first case is to investigate the murder of a realtor with ties to a family with a past filled of secrets. I’ve been reading this series out of order, and this book (#12 out of 13) was the last for me to read to finish the series and it did not disappoint.

 
Where Roses Never Die by Gunnar Staalesen ★★★★
Ebook | 285 pages (Read April 25-27)

The 18th book about private investigator Varg Veum in Bergen, Norway, in which Veum is hired to investigate the disappearance of a 3 year old girl 25 years earlier. I haven’t read any of the other books in the series, but I definitely will. Veum is the epitome of my favourite type of investigator – melancholic, misunderstood, and heavily flawed (but brilliant).

 
OTHER READS

★★★
Wild Crush by Simone Elkeles | Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles | Bones of the Lost by Kathy Reichs (audio) | The Precipice by Paul Doiron | The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett (audio) | Borderline by Nevada Barr | A Slaying in Savannah by Jessica Fletcher & Donald Bain (audio) | Madison Avenue Shoot by Jessica Fletcher & Donald Bain (audio) | Bones Never Lie by Kathy Reichs (audio) | Mord och mandeldoft by Camilla Läckberg | En midsommarnattsdröm by Arne Dahl | Bones on Ice by Kathy Reichs (audio) | Hercule Poirot’s Christmas by Agatha Christie (audio) | A Vote for Murder by Jessica Fletcher & Donald Bain (audio) | The Bird Tribunal by Agnes Ravatn | A Superior Death by Nevada Barr | Virals by Kathy Reichs (audio)

★★
Return to Paradise by Simone Elkeles | Better When He’s Bad by Jay Crownover

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Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts #84

April 28, 2017 | 2 comments


 

1. I have a new obsession: combining science and art (or rather, watching videos about people who do this).

2. It’s finals week and I’m grading exams. I’m not sure what is worse – taking an exam or grading one (but the latter is definitely a more time consuming process).

3. This made me smile (but I’m surprised not more Swedish idioms made the list).

4. I just read two very different Nordic crime novels and both were books I need to think about for a while before I’m ready to write reviews.

5. I’m loving that the days are finally getting a lot longer, but the weather lately has been very depressing so I’ve bought new plants for my living room window, and a big bouquet of tulips to make it feel more like spring.

6. I took part in the March for Science last Saturday. (Did you see all the great signs? Like these and these?)

7. Another reason I love IKEA.

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

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Top Ten Things to Avoid

April 25, 2017 | 12 comments


 

Las week’s top ten list was all about the things that makes me want to read a book. This week is the companion list – the top ten things (as hosted by The Broke and the Bookish) that makes me avoid reading a book are:

1. Animals dying. I have no issue reading gory crime novels, but I can absolutely not deal with any mention of a dog being harmed.

2. Epistolary novels. One of my biggest pet peeves. This literary style should be avoided at all costs.

3. Second-person narrative. Another big pet peeve. What is wrong with third-person?

4. Zombies. I’m not a big zombie fan (ok in movies, but not in books). The only exception is Pride and Prejudice and Zombies which I’m still considering reading.

5. Christian novels. I have absolutely nothing against Christian authors (or authors of any other religion for that matter), but novels that are specifically marketed as Christian makes me want to run in the other direction.

6. Paranormal/shape-shifters. Really not my thing (with some very few exceptions where the paranormal abilities are used to solve crimes and I like to think of the book as just another crime novel).

7. Ugly covers. You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover (but I do).

8. Chick-lit. Like with #5, I occasionally read chick-lit but I despise this term and most of the time I will avoid a book if that is how it is marketed.

9. Time travel. There are some notable exceptions (Outlander), but I tend to avoid books where the characters travel through time. (Dual time-lines on the other hand are usually something I like.)

10. All the other things on my literary pet peeves list that I haven’t mentioned above should be avoided (both by authors and people who lend me books…)

What things makes you avoid reading a book?

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