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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Should have posted this first...

Now that I’ve read quite a few free e-books (hardly any printed ones, I’m afraid, which means none in Swedish) I really should get started on reviewing them (or at least post a brief comment on the ones I liked). Since I’ve read so many, I guess it will just be a brief comment for most of them.

It’s odd. Sometimes a book I’ve read seems to be a perfect choice and I end up not liking it at all. Then again, there are others that I see as being based more or less on average ideas but that are somehow just great anyway. Usually because I really like the characters. Besides, you don’t need originality to be distracted.

I remember answering a question  on a blog. Why do you read? For educational purposes or to escape? I replied escape, but everyone else said educational. I guess we live in different worlds. I have learned things from books I’ve read but that’s hardly ever why I pick up a book. Distraction and escape are what I crave.

About books and tv series mostly

Just like I’ve read several books during the great isolation, I’ve also watched a number of tv series. One was a UK crime series set in Mallorca. It’s about a female cop who chases a suspect down to Mallorca and he escapes and makes a fool of her. She ends up staying. Then she’s paired up with a German cop who also ended up there more or less by accident, plus he was never the most brilliant cop back home. Unlike most people I’m not crazy about hot weather and beaches so this series wasn’t among my favorites. I did like the German cop though and I didn’t exactly hate the English one either, even though she was boring and lacking in personality.


Another was a Finnish series set in the south of Spain (”The Paradise” - nothing to do with that other tv series by that name). Apparently, just like Swedes, Finns love to live in the sun. An older female cop with a husband who’s going senile, is sent to investigate a case of a Finnish family butchered in their camper van. The grandmother of those children was a friend of the cop so it was a bit personal. In Spain, this older female cop meets a younger Spanish cop and they are attracted to each other. Sadly, I must say that this felt unrealistic. Sure, the man had had a Finnish girlfriend so he was partial to women from Finland but this lady was at least twenty years older, probably more. At first I found the whole thing rather refreshing after billions of books and tv series and movies about men in their seventies ending up with women in their late twenties or early thirties, but in the end, it got a bit annoying. This lady was so completely assured of her attraction and beauty, that she never even questioned the younger guy’s interest in her. Besides, there was no ulterior motive, apart from wanting to relive his earlier love for a Finnish woman.


The series was interesting. I usually like it when the motive of the killer lies in the past. This series felt a lot more realistic than the Mallorca Files. I had the impression that it was mainly created to advertise Mallorca.


It was also interesting but tragic to see the cop’s husband’s descent into total dementia. He had these clever tricks to make people believe he wasn’t forgetting things. Also, as a doctor he managed to fool the staff of his nursing home into letting him go. Sometimes he was completely lucid and lectured at the university like nothing was wrong, at other times he beat his grandson or his wife for some real or imagined slight.


Another thing that’s interesting is that when the original language of a series is not English, we actually get a translation of the title, like when I was a child. In Sweden they have this annoying habit of sometimes using another English title that they make up, instead of the original English one, but don’t actually translate it into Swedish. Looking at old tv series and movies, the translation they made back then was sometimes good and sometimes less so, but I appreciate that they made the effort. I remember being surprised at some translations. They were so completely different but then again, if any pun or double entendre was untranslatable I guess they had to make up something reasonably similar or the equivalent of the original title. Actually, it just hit me that the series Vera does have a translation into Swedish, which it didn’t need to. It’s called ’A Case For Vera’. And Call the Midwife has a translation - ’The Midwife in East End’. And the old, old Midsomer Murders does have a translation too, a literal one meaning the exact same thing, or at least close enough ’The Murders in Midsomer’. I guess I was wrong about not getting any translations of tv series. Endeavour has one. It means ’Young Inspector Morse’. Death in Paradise is called ’Murder in Paradise’ which is close enough. But Grantchester, Poldark and Doctor Who don’t. They just got to keep their own, as did Dublin Murders. Odd, but I guess that’s because it’s a new series, not one that’s been around for ages, like Midsomer Murders.


It’s like book covers. I really hate it when they use a generic one or worse, when you can tell that whoever made the cover art had no idea of what the book was about. It’s more or less ’let’s put a half naked woman on the cover, that’s always good’. I’m mostly referring to my dad’s books. He probably never looked at the cover art and if he did, he probably liked it anyway. Now if the situation had been reversed and the main character was a nine-year-old boy and they’d put a half naked really hot guy in his twenties on the cover, it would still annoy me. Even if a hot guy is nice (though usually those artists make any person look very plastic and unrealistic).


Last year I read a really great crime novel set in Svalbard/Spitzbergen. In Swedish it was called something meaning ’The Coal Child’. It refers to a kindergarten for children whose parents work in the mining industry. At one point someone mentions in passing that some people have been poaching reindeers. That didn’t ruin the novel for me at all, because it wasn’t spelled out. I’m not sure this has been translated into English, but if it has, I can really recommend it. I love the skillful misdirection.


At the beginning of the novel I was sure I knew what was coming and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to finish the book at all, but I was completely wrong. It was about something else entirely. Very clever. I just checked and there is no English translation, but both a German one and a Dutch one. The author is Monica Kristensen, if anyone’s curious and the German version is called Suche, which works out great because much of the book is about a search. I’m guessing the Dutch title means The Missing, which again, seems appropriate.


Oh, can I ask you guys something? Is Stranger Things worth watching? We are going to watch Veronica Mars whatever anyone else thinks, because we’re hardcore fan girls, but I have no idea about Stranger Things. If animals get killed we won’t like it and possibly if children are killed too, it depends on how much ’in your face’ it gets. I watched a trailer and it seemed good - a bit like the X files. Would you say it is? Also, we are going to take a chance on Locke and Key. Has anyone watched that? Sorry for the long and rambling post. It’s the isolation that’s beginning to get to me.

OT: Morning news

Today, I read the morning paper online. There were primarily two things that struck me.

One: one man wrote in his column about the ’hug greeting’. It will have to go, so like my daughter does to all kinds of things, he says bye, bye to the hug. Great. I’ve never liked being hugged by all and sundry. Cute guys, sure, my adorable kids, of course, but that’s about it, really.

I feel the same way about the handshake. I know we’re meant to shake hands to show that we trust the other person. Way back, people had to lay down their hand weapons to shake hands so obviously you needed to be able to trust whoever you greeted like that. We even have an architectural detail in our churches called ’the weapon house’ - the hallway, entrance hall etc. Where, apparently, our ancestors had to lay down their weapons to enter the church. It shows how much our society was dependent on weaponry for defense. The extreme right have made a big deal out of the handshake as a ’Swedish’/Aryan thing. Muslims don’t want to shake women’s hands, apparently. So naturally, the authorities need to force these foreigners to shake hands like ’real people’. ;) Note the irony here. I do not feel that way. There’s quite a bit of resistance to burkas and things like that too. There’s an old Swedish saying about needing to know your ’Pappenheimers’, meaning know your friends/allies. If someone’s wearing a burka, you know she’s religious. I think it’s far better to know what people are about, than have them forcibly hidden behind a behavior that isn’t natural to them. Same with handshakes. Besides, they’re unhygienic, even when there’s no Corona virus, no flu, nothing in particular.

The other day, I ran into a slightly eccentric man. My sister’s met him too. He asks where you’re from to get you to start to talking to him. He inevitably leads the conversation to football, because that’s his passion. So we talked a while. He asked about my son’s name and took his hand. A few seconds later my son was sucking his fingers. I consoled myself with the fact that there’s basically no corona virus here. It’s an extremely safe place and I really doubt this man had travelled lately. So I guess my son will be ok. But it was disgusting. I wish I’d had some disinfectant with me.

I’m rooting for the Bhuddist greeting. Pressing your hands together and bending your neck. I’ve seen some humorous suggestions about shoving each other with the elbows (mostly suitable for young men, I think) and a sort of ’foot shake’ that looked funny, but any kind of physical contact brings you too close to the other person. So, the Bhuddist thing. Respectful and hygienic.

Another thing I read about is the fact that Sweden hasn’t shut down our schools (except for the high schools). It was a conscious decision that other countries never tire of criticizing Sweden for. And by the way, I get furious when our neighbors criticize us. It gets really personal for me, despite the fact that we moved away from our home country because of the change it has undergone. Sure, Sweden may be wrong, or other countries may be. I’m sure it’s far too soon to tell. Even if it was a mistake, people make mistakes. It’s hard to know what to do when something completely new hits you. Only very few people with experience of the Spanish flu are still around. None from decision making circles. Who could have known what would be best to do? All we have is the advice of the experts.

Anyway, now people are saying that closing down schools and teaching kids online has cost millions. Ok, maybe so, but if that’s true, I say they weren’t doing it right. Sitting at home would have helped me enormously and I’m sure my kids, particularly my son, would benefit from it too. Lower rents and fewer people employed would also save money. I realize that some people are hyper social and thrive on the company. I didn’t and I know my son won’t. He basically doesn’t care much for other kids. Except for cute blonde girls, but that’s another story (did I tell you about his ’date’?). If you can save yourself from the risk of infection, surely it’s better to stay at home than venture outside where people might be infectious?

I’m beginning to prepare for a life without social contacts, maybe for the foreseeable future. As long as we can manage to finish our loooong move. Get all our stuff collected and above all, a good piece of land. I very much doubt there’ll be travel or outings or actual shopping in our future. Whatever money we have we’ll spend on our home. Now I guess I’ll never meet ’Mr Right’. :/


Today it's Midsummer. It’s a major holiday around here (in Sweden and Finland, particularly) but since we don’t have access to any cabin/cottage or even a house of our own with a garden, we won’t celebrate much. Midsummer is supposed to be celebrated in the countryside with lots of flowers and green trees. This town is quite green though and relatively small so I guess we’ll get some of that Midsummer feeling anyway, but no seven flowers to put under our pillows to see if we’ll meet Mr Right anytime soon. LOL. No music and no dancing and no little frogs (it’s a song that’s sung at Midsummer). Actually, it was once an English song mocking French soldiers, apparently. Hence the ’frogs’. I had no idea until a Swedish historian blogged about it a few years back.

If we’d hurried up a bit maybe we could have celebrated Midsummer at a campsite. We placed an ad for a piece of land to put a mobile home on (not a camper van), an actual movable house or rather cabin or cottage. A nice man with a small campsite replied and we might move there. It’s a bit ’the back of beyond’ but that actually sounds quite charming. It’s on a small island, and I’m not that keen on the sea and the sky like that, though it’s also isolated but with a shop nearby (how nearby is a bit hard to tell from looking at the map) and there’s a bridge and a ’bicycle ferry’. I’ve never heard of anything like that, but I guess the term is self explanatory. There’s a church and some hills with a famous cave in the area. If the rent is ok, we’ll probably save a bit of money at least, which is very welcome. Of course, it’s having something of our own that’s the main thing. Now we’ll miss Midsummer in the countryside but that’s ok, we’re not really partygoers at the best of times. We’ll just have something nice to eat and drink (flavored mineral water).

We also have some things to see on tv. Right now, we’re watching some old episodes of Lewis and hoping that the second season is new to us and Vera, Poldark, The Durrells and Dublin Murders. When my children leave me time to do it, I read. I have dowloaded a bunch of books, not only from Amazon but also directly from authors whose newsletters I subscribe to. I mostly enjoy reading their newsletters and most of the books have turned out to be at least relatively good.

OT: A mistake - or not?

I guess I made a mistake. Or not. At least I’ve learned from this experience. The thing is, my sister and I found some yoga pants in an ad on Facebook. We really liked them, at least the pants in the photos. That wasn’t quite what we got, I think. Still, those pants are quite good and probably about half price compared to ’the real thing’. It’s just that they don’t look like I expected and I think what you buy should look like the photos in the ad. At least they seem to be made from bamboo and they’re really comfortable. They’re probably copies of the ’original’ pants. Leaving aside the fact that my mom and my sister could probably make something very similar, I’m quite happy with them, all things considered.

Now we’ve found almost exactly the same pants on Amazon. They are about twice the price but if you can trust the photos, and I think you probably can, since this is Amazon, it must be the real thing. I’m awfully tempted to buy them. I hope I’m not going to be disappointed this time again.

I’ve always wanted a pair of yoga pants since I read about them in one of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum books. Stephanie wore a pair of them and since I didn’t have any idea of what they might look like, I did an image search and thought they looked very comfortable and quite nice looking for workout clothes.

Now with the Corona crisis, I’m guessing it’s going to be a very long time until there’s any reason to dress up in anything more formal than jeans or sweatpants. It’s a good thing that we’re introverts. We’ve been practicing all our lives for this. ;)

Free books

Recently, I’ve signed up for author newsletters. It’s a great way to get free ’real’ books, not just excerpts and they're usually much better than general ’freebie’ sites. Besides, I also enjoy reading about my fellow (more successful) writers’ lives. It’s a bit like downloading other freebies, except there are fewer DNF:s. I’ve even found a few favorites - among them, a series of mysteries about two really fun older twins (sixty-somethings). In a way, they remind me of the Stephanie Plum mysteries, without the sex. The only drawback is that many of these books only exist as e-books. If I really like a book, I want to buy it in print (preferably paperbacks). Oh, and I can never get any books in Swedish. It’s getting so hard to get books in my own language without buying them, without having read a preview or something. There’s been some trouble with borrowing e-books at the library. Some libraries never buy e-books at all. One that used to have so many, suddenly doesn’t. At least a few still have ebooks, fortunately. I’m hoping I’ll soon be writing reviews again.

OT: Shoes again

Today, we all went to Lidl. Well, I stayed outside with my son, who prefers to keep moving, but anyway, outside Lidl, in the parking lot, I saw a girl who was probably just a little taller than me and definitely skinnier (probably a teenager). She wore shoes that were about the same size as mine. Now, maybe she had exceptionally big feet but maybe some sneakers look that big. I now feel a lot more comfortable with my shoes than before. They are a little too big, but not really ridiculously so. I think I’ll keep them.

OT: Shoe problems

This is the sixth blog post I write but it's the first I'll actually post. Nothing happens so I don’t really have anything to say. Except to whine a little about my shoes. Recently I bought a pair of sneakers. Today was the second day I wore them. They’re a nice color and very comfortable, but when I was going to buy them, there was only one pair left. My size, but it also said on the site that they’re very big so it would be best to buy a size smaller than usual. Like I said, there was only one pair left so I ordered them anyway. Now I feel silly. I look like a clown in those big shoes. I’m not sure what to do. I should probably have picked another pair. But these were the ones I thought would be best. If there had only been a pair in a smaller size.

What should I do? Try to buy another pair? Or keep these and feel like a clown or Pippi Longstocking. What would you do?

OT: Getting a bit scared

This far into the crisis, and having listened to the grim news from Sweden, we've become more nervous and wary about being infected. My mom is quite old, even if she's very healthy. And my sister and I are a bit overweight and used to have high blood pressure after our pregnancies. Not anymore though. The last time I had my blood pressure checked it was as low as ever, before getting pregnant (and suffering from pregnancy toxicosis). I think maybe I had a touch of white coat hypertension, since testing at home, lying comfortably on a sofa doesn't show anything like as high results as they used to when I went to a clinic.

We try to keep our spirits up in different ways. My mom got a set of balls of yarn and a crochet needle, but she says she'd prefer to knit. I would too, but right now I'm doing other things. My sister and I have been exploring in Second Life and will now try to get our homepages/blogs up and running. Well, mostly we'll start over but even that will take a bit of work. New themes or not, for instance. And since I finally have access to my new/ish computer, I have started downloading free e-books. Unfortunately, my children have massacred my old Bookeen Cybook Odyssey. :/Even if anyone could find spare parts, this time it's beyond salvation. And we need to keep an eye on our expenses right now, so no Kobo (which is what I want this time) for me. My mom needs a new phone because - you guessed it - the children smashed her old one as well. Besides, it was a faulty phone to begin with.

At least ordering food online has worked out quite well. From one company. Another won't deliver in this city. Very odd since it's quite big. Another one just cancelled our order today, when they were due to deliver for the first time. Wrong address, they say. Ha. I wonder if it's because this used to be an ancient storage building where no one has ever lived? My sister has been in a chat with them and we'll see how that goes. We just found out that one of our favorite chocolates are sold by the company we get regular deliveries from. So naturally, we'll need to get some of that as well. Unfortunately, Denmark doesn't seem to have our very favorite brand available online. Typical. There's always something. But in the grand scheme of things, I guess that's nothing much to get worked up about. Just like our favorite beverage (if you can call flavored mineral water a beverage) is only sold in Sweden. It's completely delicious. Mineral water with real fruit or berries added. Our favorite is strawberry, closely followed by raspberry. I wonder if we could import it. There are other things we'd like to get as well, but maybe the tea shop delivers to other countries. I have developed a craving for Ahmad's strawberry and apple teas. And I found out that they have raspberry tea as well. At least Denmark sells my other favorite tea brand Pickwick. They have a delicious strawberry tea too. Can you tell that I love strawberries? :) There's also the kind of candy you take for a sore throat. We call them throat tablets. There are several different flavors but we prefer strawberry.

This must be getting boring so I guess I'll stop now. How are you hanging in there, my friends and followers?

OT: My glasses again

Apparently, the opticians aren't allowed to send prescriptions digitally or over the phone, but they can hand it over in paper form, to a relative or friend who walks into a physical shop. Remains to be seen if one is actually open. But we can definitely get help from relatives or friends. And it doesn't have to be my specific shop (?) but any in the chain. So we'll find out if they're open and ask one of the cousins to help us out. Also, we'll need to get the paper prescription to our shop here somehow, possibly by snail mail? Since they're not open. At least it seems to be possible to get this done. I really don't want to have to do an examination right now, even though I think I should probably do it later this year when things get back to normal. I think it's about time, but with moving and everything, I don't remember exactly when I last had one done.

Slightly OT: Games with stories

Though I have been lucky enough to get a number of books that I hope I'll review soon, I have also spent my time, whenever I've been able to, playing a number of games on my phone.


Two of them have what you might call a story (actually, a few more do, but they don't really work as actual stories anyway).


One of my favorites among them, right now, are Lily's Garden. You might call it a 'feel-good' story. It's about Lily who's worked as an accountant for nearly ten years, has just left her boyfriend, who wasn't good for her and returned home to her aunt's estate, where she herself grew up. The aunt has died and Lily's inherited everything. At least if she fixes the place up, according to the lawyer. There are many surprises and twists ahead.


I'm not really into games, but I waste time on them anyway. :) And this one is definitely one of my favorites.


It's free and the graphics are good, so it's quite a nice game to play when you can't read.


My other favorite is Riddleside. It's a bit like the X files, Fringe etc. This is free too, the graphics are great and the story is really thrilling. I keep wanting to return to it whenever the lives have regenerated.  Remember the first episode of the X files? Mulder and Scully have gone to the Pacific west to investigate a number of odd incidents. Riddleside is a lot like that place, I think. And mysteries abound.

OT: Unexpected reaction

Yesterday, several of my followers here gave me some great tips about how to occupy my kids. I downloaded everything and started playing them to my kids. They liked everything but when it came to the workout I got a slightly unexpected reaction. They wouldn't move an inch. Just sat there spellbound staring at the guy trying to encourage them to do the workout. LOL. I told my nieces and my daughter that they were supposed to do what he did. My daughter yelled no! and my nieces didn't dare to try. It's ok though. I guess the workout is mainly aimed at fat couch potato kids, and ours are skinny and extremely active (wherever they got that from...). Haha. At least they kept quiet and calm while they watched the clip.

Oh, no. :( More bad luck.

My glasses just broke. I don't know where to go with them to have them fixed here in a new place. Maybe my sister can glue them back together again, but if they look 'fixed' I'm not sure I'll like going out in them.

OT: Long, boring post

Being stuck inside most of the time, I've grown increasingly bored. Normally, I'd at least help tidy up, do the dishes and best of all (no irony) do the laundry. However, since the house isn't the least bit childproof, I have to stick to my son like a leech. Poor thing, he's probably tired of me by now. All I can do is, once in a while, keep an eye on what's going on online. The problem is, whatever is going on, it's not going on in my feeds and on my dashboards... :)

Under other circumstances, we’d be exploring our new neighborhood, but as it is, we can just go to the shops a few times a week. We try to go outside as little as possible. There’s a patio outside but it’s not very nice. You get the impression every neighbor can see us there. It’s also a bit bare. Everything’s very monochrome. Mainly grey with a bit of black here and there. When were at Lidl we were eying an orange tree longingly, but it’s quite expensive and right now, we need to keep an eye on our expenses. There were also violets or pansies in a big lilac pot. They were very pretty and not as expensive. We might get those later, we’ll see. I also want more indoor plants. I have a few I had to leave behind but at the moment, with the borders closed, we can’t get to them. I’m keeping my fingers crossed they won’t die. My lovely Monstera Deliciosa that I got for my confirmation died a few years ago, but at least one of its 'children' was still alive when my sister was last back at the house. We might get something for the patio, to get more privacy and some chairs and a table so we sit outside some time in the evenings.

We absolutely need to get more toys for the children. They’re not even allowed to play in any playground so we haven’t even gone out looking for one.

No matter how inconvenient this is, I know there are others much worse off and we just need to think of them and be grateful we’re doing as well as we are.

I’ve already done a bit of exploring in Second Life, so now I’m probably going to look for a concert and try listening to some music.

We took the opportunity of reconnecting with a second cousin that I haven't met since we were both six. I sincerely hope he doesn't remember that occasion, because I wasn't very nice to him then. LOL. It seems not. He seems nice, but we don't have anything in common.

I also decided to try to log on to my email accounts. Sadly, it turns out I haven't logged into one of my main accounts for more than six months and they are deleting it, if they haven't already done so. Even if it isn't completely gone, they can't reverse the process or let me get the same address again. :( So I decided to get a similar one on my other account. No use crying over spilled milk, even though I almost did. Sigh.

I should try to save and then archive my old homepages/blogs and start new ones. No one will be interested in my ancient history. I'll probably change the name too. I'll see. We will probably keep our fan fiction up until further notice but it's not that simple unfortunately. We'll need to change things over quite a bit. Our personal blogs will be easier. I would love to have somewhere to just 'chat'. I have a private blog where I gush over all the cute things my children and nieces have done, that I promised I wouldn't spam my followers with. :) It used to be where I was whining about my life but nowadays I find that I mainly post about the children. I was born to be a mother.

OT: Stuck

Now that we’re basically stuck, I’ve been thinking about how most of my life has been spent wishing I was somewhere else. Then for a short while I really felt at home and loved my life. Then we had to move from our first and best apartment and since then nothing has been going right.

Now dreaming about going somewhere else suddenly doesn’t work. I can’t go anywhere. When all this is over, I’ll try to make sure I end up somewhere I’m really, really happy. If that’s even possible at this time in my life. At least I have the children. They help a lot.

Though I know I shouldn’t complain. Many people are a lot worse off. No one in my family belongs to a risk group. We’re in a safe and relatively comfortable place and getting enough to eat and drink. It’s just so dull. There’s nothing to do except pick up after the children. Which I have to do all the time, so I guess I can keep busy, even if I’m not exactly having fun doing that.

Maybe I can take this time to tell my friends that we’re moving into another quite cool place now. It’s a 17th century building that was used for storage in the past. Now it’s been transformed into our very own little town house. It’s got two floors and its own little backyard. All that’s missing is a pretty view. All we can see are some rather plain buildings and a parking lot. (At least so I’ve been told by my sister. I haven’t actually seen it myself yet, for obvious reasons). It’s a rental, but these things still cost a bundle, here in Denmark. We’ll see how long we can stick around. Once we’re free to travel we’ll have to settle things back in Sweden. Move our stuff, sell the house etc. For now we’ll just sit tight and thank the powers that be for IKEA. :) And a store that seems to be almost next door. So no long walks to do the shopping. Though actually, we’re going to try to order food for the duration of this weird time of isolation.


Happy (Virtual) St Patrick's Day from a 10 % Irish person. :)