Bookloving writer

Bookloving writer

I love books (fantasy, mysteries, YA, historic, science fiction and non-fiction) and writing. Check out my Gravatar profile for more info, if you're interested.

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Review
4 Stars
Top Secret Twenty-One
Top Secret Twenty-One - Janet Evanovich

This time around Stephanie works with Ranger, but the job takes a turn for the worse when Ranger's building is hit by a polonium attack. Someone Ranger encountered in his earlier life wants to kill him, and threatens Stephanie too. It sounds scary, but mostly this book is just good fun. Some feral Chihuauas and an annoying short guy also show up and add to the usual craziness. If you don't mind funny action, then you might like this series. I know I do. Reading these books, is one of the few things that can get me to smile on certain days.

 

Review
4 Stars
The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater
The Raven King (The Raven Cycle, Book 4) - Maggie Stiefvater

The other day I finished reading The Raven King. Like the first three books in the series, this was magical. Some of the story was dark, but much was just fascinating. I enjoyed finding out about the world and getting to know the main characters. The ending was satisfying. I have no complaints.

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Birthday present
Birthday present

Today is my children's second birthday. Naturally, they got books (among other things).

Rereading old mysteries
After the Funeral - Agatha Christie 4:50 from Paddington - Agatha Christie They Came to Baghdad - Agatha Christie

Lately, I've read, and in one case, read for the first time, old Agatha Christie mysteries. It's so relaxing, maybe even therapeutic. They're so reliable. I can't believe I'd never read After the funeral before, when I've read almost all her mysteries at one time or another. It was a nice surprise, even though I can't say it was one of her best titles.

 

Before posting here, I spent some enervating minutes trying to type the same post into the Litsy app and my Swedish iPad wanted to turn most words into Swedish words. I kept having to fight it. It's so annoying. And even more annoying - once I'd managed it, the app told me my blurb was too long. I just shut the app down and decided to just post here instead. Thanks Booklikes. :)

 

Tonight I'm going to read The ABC Murders (I hope that's the right title, since this time I'm reading it in Swedish). Actually, I read all three above titles in Swedish since I can conveniently borrow them from my local library as e-books. Quite conveniently anyway, since now they think I've borrowed too many in a short while (less than a week) so I have to wait a while to borrow the next one. Fortunately, I have cards at two other libraries as well. :) Tonight, I'll escape into nostalgia again. :)

OT: A Wild Goose Chase

Today, my family and I went into the town center to visit one of the open preschools there. Just like the first time - last week (another open preschool, run by the church), we found that the activities hadn't started yet. You'd think the people behind this open preschool might like to let potential participants or rather their parents, know when they intend to start again after the Christmas break. I'm beginning to see a pattern here.

 

A while back I mentioned that I had tried to find a new hairdresser and had trouble finding one here. There are supposedly at least three, apart from at least one barber, but the only one listed on the Yellow Pages had shut down. The one I approached to enquire about prices etc, later turned out to be closed despite it being during the 'official' working hours. I have really had it with this town. This is just one more reason for me to want to leave. :(

 

Before returning home we did some grocery shopping. While waiting for the bus back, my sister took a photo of my new handbag. You might think that I'm a real shopping freak and you might not be entirely wrong about that - but the main reason I got this, apart from it being really cute and cheap, is that my other newish handbag doesn't have a zipper on the main compartment. With our weather, it wouldn't be practical to use that one during the winter. I'd get my phone wet all the time, and anything else as well. Also, I'm a little tired of carrying a handbag in my hand, rather than using a shoulder strap.

 

Anyway, here is the new one:

 

New handbag

 

In the background you can catch a glimpse of the ugliest railway station in Sweden. Or the most artistic one, if you ask the local authorities who contracted an artis to transform it. Ouch, my eyes are hurting. And I really love other shades of blue, not just this one.

Review
4 Stars
Lily Blue, Blue Lily
Blue Lily, Lily Blue - Maggie Stiefvater

The third book in the Raven cycle is just as good as the first two. Blue's mother has disappeared, looking for Blue's biological father, and Blue desperately wants to find her. Her friends try to help her. In the end they find more than they imagined and not all of it good. I like that there's always a proper ending in these books, with some closure but also a continuing story arc.

Review
4 Stars
The Dream Thieves
The Dream Thieves - Maggie Stiefvater

The sequel to The Raven Boys turned out to be just as fascinating as this first book in the series. In this story the reader is introduced to an amazing idea that I won't go into here, since it would be a bit of a spoiler. I love the main characters and their quest, and the plot isn't - at least to me - at all predictable. In a way, the story is quite dark, but not too bad. The world seems magical and incredible but at the same time completely realistic. Although I probably wouldn't want to live in a female collective like the main character, Blue, does, it's really interesting. Their rambling patchwork house is amazing.  I'd definitely recommend this book and the series to anyone who likes unique fantasy stories.

Review
4 Stars
The Feyguard series by Anthea Sharp (and Feyland)
Spark - Anthea Sharp Royal - Anthea Sharp Marny: Feyguard Book 3 - Anthea Sharp

I recently finished reading the last of the books in the Feyguard series by Anthea Sharp - Marny. I first encountered the books about the magic world Feyland on Wattpad. Since I loved the first book, I wanted to read the rest of the series. Eventually, I bought both the first series - Feyland, then the second one too - Feyguard.

Basically both series are set in the (near?) future. There are computer games that you can enter, like Star Trek's Holodeck. Throughout the books you get to know several people and in the first book it's Jennet and Tam. At the beginning of the first book (later a sort of prequel) Jennet finds out that the game Feyland is connected to a real Fairyland, but not a cute Disneyland type of faerie, a really dark world where you can end up injured or even dead. And your injuries sustained in game can carry over to the real world. In the 'real' Feyland the main characters encounter various magical creatures, need to complete quests etc, rather like in a computer game, but of course here, the stakes are higher.

I liked the whole Feyland world. The 'real' world is very well done too. I also liked all the characters but I think my favorite was Marny. In the end, she gets her own book (book 3 of Feyguard).

The plot is fairly straightforward, but not in any way dull. If you don't like YA books you might not like this series, but it's a well written, well researched series of books and it's not too dark. If you like YA fantasy I think you'll like these two series. You can still read some of the books for free on Wattpad, so if you're there you might want to take a look.

 

Quote
Bookstores and libraries are places of refuge, somewhere to go when the skies are dark and rain is beating on the windows.

Tumblr

Source: http://bibliophileanon.tumblr.com/post/169397740512/bookstores-and-libraries-are-places-of-refuge
Quote
When the Wood is no more
There will be woe in the World.
There will be no more laughter on the wind.

~ Traditional proverb

from The Speed of Darkness, by Catherine Fisher

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Christmas Books
Christmas Books

No books in Swedish this Christmas. I'm going to have to do something about that in the new year.

OT: The #metoo campaign

This past week I've read about the #metoo campaign. It's depressing reading. Today I found out that one of our most famous singers is in fact a rapist and also a person who takes advantage of his position to silence his victims. I don't know who it is, and that's really unsettling. It might be one of my favorites. The victim said (anonymously) that every time a friend sings along to one of his songs or even just plays it, she gets a flashback to that night and she can't say anything about it.

What I really wanted to mention was the fact that my mom, sister and I have never (or at least almost never) been targeted. My mom has lived a relatively fun and varied life. She's travelled a bit, worked in different professions and had lots of friends. Back in those days people were clearly better brought up. Or she's been lucky and met only decent people.

My sister and I didn't grow up in such a time. Girls we went to school with were probably targeted like these women that I've read about in the media over this past week. But not my sister and I. And - it may not come as much of a surprise to my readers - we've lived very sheltered lives. Most of the time we just sat at home and read our beloved books. We're simply not very outgoing.

After reading all this depressing stuff, it hit me. Does it really have to be this way? Do you have to stay inside the safety of your own home to be respected as a human being?

Source: http://crimsoncorundum.dreamwidth.org/182145.html
OT: A little trip to Tallinn, Estonia

My family and I have been on a little vacation trip to Estonia. We thought it might be fun for the twins to travel on a big ferry and it turns out we were right. Though actually it took them a very long time to realize we were on a ship. It was only when we had left our cabin and were waiting to be allowed to disembark that the children saw the ocean through the big windows in a lounge area.

 

The trip was ok, if not quite as much fun as my sister and I had hoped.

 

We took a new type of train that we'd never travelled on before. They use the same tracks as the old state monopoly's trains but the actual trains are a lot nicer. We'll definitely travel by the same trains again. On the way out, the children were on their best behavior. Unfortunately, they weren't on the way back. Maybe they were tired.

 

We had to learn how to fold up (?) the buggy several times, which was a bit tricky. The first time was on the way to the ferry terminal, the second when we had to get it inside our cabin. But everything went fine and my sister got a little practice in, in case we'll need to do it again on other trips.

 

The children loved the cabin and at least the playroom on the second ferry on the way back. The first one was too small and my son was a little scared of the slide.

 

The food, as on our previous trips to the Baltic states were delicious. Unfortunately, the beds (bunks?) in the cabin were really uncomfortable and I woke up several times a night because of back pain. On the way back, my mom let me have the least uncomfortable one, but it still hurt quite a lot.

 

The positives (other than what I've mentioned above):

 

On our way to a park where we'd be waiting until we could check into the hotel an Estonian man who didn't speak English offered my mom a seat on the bus.

 

In the park, an Estonian family who had been given three balloons for their three children gave away the one the baby had got. I think she was too young to appreciate it and my daughter really did. She watched as the two older children played with theirs and laughed out loud with delight. We still have that balloon but neither twin really cares about it now. They tire easily of everything.

 

On the ferry terminal, on the way back, a Swedish boy gave away two emoji toys to my twins. It was really cute the way this kid of about ten or so, kneeled in front of the buggy and handed over his toys. Very kind of him. His whole family seemed to enjoy seeing the twins so happy about their gifts.

 

When we got off the ferry, the bus we were going to travel on back to the city center didn't have room for our buggy, so we had to wait for the next one - but then the driver of one of the other buses from the same company offered us a ride out to an area of Stockholm where his passengers were going to get off, one where there are plenty of museums and other interesting sights to see. I only wish we could have stayed and visited a few museums, particuarly the Historic museum and the Medieval Museum.

 

On the bus back home, after we got off the train, a nice lady helped me get the buggy onto the bus and when were about to get off, a likewise nice kid of about eighteen cheerfully offered to help me get the buggy off the bus. We're not used to being treated that nicely so that was a really pleasant surprise.

 

The negatives:

 

A really unpleasant drunk woman complained about my children's messy eating. I suppose she doesn't have any children or grandchildren of her own. I got so angry I just picked up my daughter and carried her back to the cabin.

 

The internet connection was really bad pretty much everywhere. That's something new, because as I remember it from the last time I was in Estonia, there were plenty of wifi hotspots. We could barely use our phones at all.

 

The hotel was rather dull and uninspiring - an old Soviet style building with really depressing colors, at least in my opinion. The color scheme was beige and black. And the wall to wall carpet in the corridors smelled.

 

The food in the restaurant was good, but there was so little of it, it was practically like an hors d'oeuvre, not actual dinner.

 

While we were waiting in line to be allowed off the ferry, a rude man bumped into my sister with his huge backpack and almost pushed her over. She's usually very steady on her feet so that was really unpleasant.

 

Some photos:

 

Tagetes

 

Pigeons

 

A real pigeon

 

More pigeons

 

Statue

 

Advertising thing

 

View from the hotel window

 

Signs

 

Magical Portal

Source: http://crimsoncorundum.dreamwidth.org/181816.html
OT: A little outing

Today, we went on a little shopping trip to a bigger town. Even though this little town/village has surprisingly many shops it's nice to be able to get away to somewhere a little bigger. We took the twins and went to the pastry shop/cafe in the former town hall. They now have one vegan item on the menu - a delicious rye bread sandwich with fresh vegetables. Later we also bought some vegan ice cream in a shop. Unfortunately I spilt a tiny flake of chocolate on my dress so there was a stain. I hope it will wash out.

I took a few photos. It's an interesting town from the perspective of architecture, with lots of huge villas where I imagine doctors used to live (there's a hospital not far away). Outside a beautiful building that I wish was the town library, which we were looking for but didn't find, and might have been at one point, I found this cute lion.

White lion


This is a close up of an ornament adorning the fence around the same building:

Decoration

I'm hoping my sister, Minwynn, will post about this outing too, with more photos.

Source: http://crimsoncorundum.dreamwidth.org/181330.html
Review
4 Stars
Lady of Devices: A steampunk adventure novel (Magnificent Devices Book 1)
Lady of Devices - Shelley Adina

From Amazon's book page:

 

Lady of Devices: A steampunk adventure novel (Magnificent Devices, Book 1):

London, 1889. Victoria is Queen. Charles Darwin’s son is Prime Minister. And steam is the power that runs the world.

At 17, Claire Trevelyan, daughter of Viscount St. Ives, was expected to do nothing more than pour an elegant cup of tea, sew a fine seam, and catch a rich husband. Unfortunately, Claire’s talents lie not in the ballroom, but in the chemistry lab, where things have a regrettable habit of blowing up. When her father gambles the estate on the combustion engine and loses, Claire finds herself down and out on the mean streets of London. But being a young woman of resources and intellect, she turns fortune on its head. It’s not long before a new leader rises in the underworld, known only as the Lady of Devices.

When she meets Andrew Malvern, a member of the Royal Society of Engineers, she realizes her talents may encompass more than the invention of explosive devices. They may help her realize her dreams and his . . . but sometimes the closest friendships can trigger the greatest betrayals . . .

I just finished reading this free e-book, and I must say I was positively surprised. Since I bought my Kindle Touch I have downloaded and started reading so many free books and most of them weren't good enough to finish. This turned out to be among the few that was well worth reading to the end. My main complaint is that the story is a little too short and seems to end sort of in the middle - not quite - there is a resolution of sorts - but it comes rather quickly and feels a bit sudden. Normally, I wouldn't buy the next book when the author leaves the reader hanging, but in this case, I might make an exception. As I mentioned above, there is a sort of ending, even if it's too sudden for my taste.

Claire is a likeable character. As the book progresses we get to know more likable characters, mainly young women. There are of course a few men - one sympathetic and another less so. Time will tell how they will develop. When the story begins Claire belongs to the upper class and is miserable that her mother won't consider letting her go to university. She is passionate about engineering and loves to drive a steam driven car, even though it's not considered 'ladylike'. Soon her circumstances change dramatically. Being a resourceful young woman, she handles her situation well and manages to save herself.

 

If this sounds like your kind of thing, visit Amazon as soon as you can. The book is still available for free if you hurry.

Source: http://www.amazon.com/Lady-Devices-steampunk-adventure-Magnificent-ebook/dp/B0053CYXS0/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1501145280&sr=1-1&keywords=lady+of+devices
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Magi, Mystik och det Okända
Magi, Mystik och det Okända

Magi, Mystik och det Okända.

Source: http://missmagicgirl.wordpress.com