Lillelara

Lillelara

"A half finished book is, after all, a half finished love affair"
                 - Robert Frobischer (Cloud Atlas)

Reading progress update: I've read 20%.
The Moonspinners - Mary Stewart

The heroine, Nicola, has stumbled over a man, who has been shot. Conveniently this man is British and about her own age. And since he is injured, Nicola´s Florence Nightingale insticts kick in and things are developing fast.

 

Sounds cheesy? It kind of is, but Mary Stewarts writing is so soothing and comforting, it calmed me down during my lunchbreak (due to various reason I was seriously grumpy before my break).

 

So far I´m loving this book. I´m keeping my fingers crossed that it will remain that way.

 

Reading progress update: I've read 5%.
The Moonspinners - Mary Stewart

One of my most dreaded Halloween bingo squares, because

 

  1. I didn´t enjoy and did not finish Mary Stewarts The Crystal Cave
  2. romantic suspense novels are either a hit or a miss for me, depending on how heavily the plot relies on the romance and how sympathetic I feel towards the characters. 

 

I have to say, though, that Mary Stewart has some gorgeous description of Crete in the first chapter. And she managed to make me smile:

 

Yet here was a Dane, a well-rounded, well-found Dane (and the Danes have possibly the best food in Europe), recommending the food in a Greek village taverna.

 

Yeah, I don´t think that Danes have the best food in all of Europe (personally for me this title goes to Italy). Sure they have some very nice food, they use a lot of cream while cooking and they have Bacon and the traditional Danish hot dog, both food made in heaven. But equally they have (in my opinion) the most horrible food ever, called Svensk Pølseret (which consists of potatoes, sausages, onions, cream, tomato purèe, spices):

 

[Source]

 

Just looking at this picture gives me the shivers.

 

 

Reading progress update: I've read 164 out of 320 pages.
The Tokyo Zodiac Murders (Pushkin Vertigo) - Shika MacKenzie, Soji Shimada, Ross MacKenzie

"What else? ... Holmes was a master of disguise, wasn´t he? He dressed himself as an old woman, put on a grey wig and fake eyebrow, carried a parasol and went for a walk. Do you know how tall Holmes was? Over six feet! Obviously, the old woman would have looked like a man - or a monster! [...]"

"Watson said Holmes could have been a very strong boxer. How did he know? Probably Holmes, who was addicted to cocaine, got violent and beat him up occasionally. Poor Dr. Watson! But he could never leave Holmes, since Holmes provided him with all the material for his stories. [...]"

 

Almost an entire chapter is dedicated to some serious Sherlock Holmes and Watson bashing by one of the main characters.

 

[Source]

 

So much fun. This is such an entertaining read.

 

Reading progress update: I've read 17 out of 320 pages.
The Tokyo Zodiac Murders (Pushkin Vertigo) - Shika MacKenzie, Soji Shimada, Ross MacKenzie

In astrology, the human body - a bag-shaped object - is a reflection of the universe in miniature. Each part of the body has its own planet that rules, protects and empowers it:

 

[...]

- The legs are aquarius, ruled by Uranus.

 

As I have said, each of us has a part of our body that is given strenght by our ruling planet.

 

Mmh, I´m an aquarius. Does this mean that I should have become a professional marathon runner.

 

 running run forrest gump leaving work run forrest GIF

[Source]

 

Well, that would have been an interesting profession for me. Because, to be honest, I´m a lame duck.

 

 

What follows is pretty creepy, though:

 

So I thought to myself: if I were to take the perfect head, the perfect breasts, the perfect hips and the perfect legs, and then combine them into a female body, I would have the perfect woman!

 

Halloween Bingo: Update #7

 

I will use this as my main bingo post and update it along the way.

 

Finished books: 

 

1. Monsters: Relic by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child 

2. American Horror Story: Salem´s Lot by Stephen King

3. In the Dark, Dark Woods: Endless Night by Agatha Christie

4. Classic Horror: The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells

5. Classic Noir: Farewell, My Lovely by Raymond Chandler

6. Chilling Children: The Bad Seed by William March

7. Aliens: Aliens 30th Anniversary: The Original Comic Series by Mark Verheiden

8. Magical Realism: The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett (buddy read - free square)

9. Genre Horror: The Moorstone Sickness by Bernard Taylor

10. Country House Mystery: The Crime at Black Dudley by Margery Allingham

11. Ghosts: Thin Air by Michelle Paver

 

 

My markers: 

 

 Square has been called

 

 Square has been read

 

 Square has been called and read

Review
4 Stars
Thin Air
Thin Air - Michelle Paver

I love stories that take place in the harsh setting of mountains. And Michelle Paver´s Thin Air combines this setting with a compelling ghost story, which makes this a truly great and enjoyable read.

 

I really appreciated the slow build up of this novel and the almost gothic feel to it. We follow the main character, Stephen, on his slow ascend of the mountain and get to experience the sheer force of the mountain, the superstitions of the sherpas and the effects of altitude sickness through his eyes. And since he is a doctor, we get a few medical facts about altitude sickness as well, which I personally appreciated very much.

 

And since hallucinations are a symptom of altitude sickness, I was never sure if he actually saw things in reality or if he was hallucinating:

 

But even if I´m widly mistaken about everything, about what I saw on the Crag and now here at the crevasse - even if it´s all simply the result of oxygen deficiency - how does that help? The idea that altitude is giving me waking nightmares, that thin air is altering my very perceptions and deceiving my own mind into betraying me ... I find that horryfying.

It´s a kind of possession.

 

A highly recommended, dark and subtly disturbing read.

 

Reading progress update: I've read 108 out of 223 pages.
Thin Air - Michelle Paver

Two days in and we´ve only done five miles. Like some loathsome dragon, the glacier flings obstacles in our way: ridges, crevasses, boulders bigger than cathedrals. It won´t even allow us a glimpse of the mountain.

 

When it´s coming to stories about mountaineering, I´m always wondering what´s the driving force behind the incessant urge of rockclimbers to venture into one of the most inhospitable regions of the earth. The cracking of the ice and the constant avalanches would freak me out, let alone the biting cold, the lack of oxygen and the general feeling of sickness caused by the high altitude.

 

I´m about halfway through and the ghost made it´s first appearance. Even though I´m not exactly sure if it really is a ghost that the MC saw or if he merely had some kind of hallucination. And the tension between the members of the group, especially between the two brothers, doesn´t bode well either. I´m really enjoying this story so far.

 

Reading progress update: I've read 36 out of 223 pages.
Thin Air - Michelle Paver

I looked up the Lyell expedition, which gets mentioned on the very first pages of the book. Apparently the fictional and the real expedition don´t have a whole lot in common and I skimmed through the author´s note in the back of the book, which says that the author has made the story of the Lyell expedition up. The real Lyell expedition had its own set of dramatic events and eccentric characters, but nothing to justify a ghost story. So I guess Michelle Paver made the right decision in inventing a fateful expedition.

 

I really appreciate the gloomy atmosphere of this book. The mountain being shrouded in clouds, the superstitions of the sherpas and the blatant disrespects of the mountaineers, who don´t believe in said superstitions. There is a lot of foreboding going on in this novel.

 

 

Review
3 Stars
The Crime at Black Dudley
The Crime at Black Dudley - Margery Allingham

George Abbershaw is part of a group of young people, who have been invited to a house party at the remote Black Dudley mansion. During a vivid dinner conversation, the group decides to play a game, which leads to the demice of someone. But this death isn´t the only thing that is wrong at Black Dudley.

 

So, the only thing you can be sure about is that Albert Campion isn´t the murderer, simply because this is the first book in the Albert Campion series. But then you would suspect that Campion is the main character in this novel. Which he isn´t. Instead a red haired, cherubic faced pathologist named George Abbershaw is the main character of this book and I´m wondering, at what point Allingham decided to make Campion the main protagonist of her series. Did she get fan mail that everybody just loved Campion?

 

Campion is repeatedly called an idiot and a silly ass, who is constantly chatting and making inappropiate remarks. So he isn´t a very sympathetic guy in the first place, but I can see why she choose him:

 

Abbershaw nodded and stared covertly at the fresh-faced young man with the tow-coloured hair and the foolish, pale-blue eyes behind tortoiseshell-rimmed spectacles, and wondered where he had seen him before.

 

He is a nerd. Do I need to say more?

 

The plot is a weird one and I tried to connect the dots between the different plotlines, but I had a hard time doing it.

 

The fact that the murder was of secondary interest in the whole narrative and only happened, because Allingham needed a setup for her organized crime / kidnapping story, was a bit disappointing.

 

And what is up with golden age mystery writers and their love for organized crime stories? I don´t get it.

(show spoiler)

 

It wasn´t a bad read, but it wasn´t an exceptional read either. The plot could have been better, but I enjoyed reading it nonetheless. But I´m counting on that the next book in the series is going to be better than this one.

 

I´ve read this book for the "Country House Mystery" square for the halloween bingo and it fits like perfection. Black Dudley is a country house with hidden passageways and a dark and gloomy atmosphere and anything else you can think of.

 

Reading progress update: I've read 56%.
The Crime at Black Dudley - Margery Allingham

Martin looked at him wonderingly. "Do you always talk bilge?" he said.

"No," said Mr. Campion lightly, "but I learnt the language reading advertisements. Come on."

 

Well, talking gibberish comes in handy when you have to deal with dangerous people.

 

 

 

Reading progress update: I've read 100%.
The Moorstone Sickness - Bernard Taylor, Mark Morris

And now I have to figure out how to fall asleep. The ending...

 

[Source]

 

Reading progress update: I've listened 512 out of 1204 minutes.
The Alienist (Audio) - Caleb Carr, Edward Herrmann

"But what about ..." Lucius´s words became a bit halting. "What about the ... I´m sorry, but I´m afraid I still don´t know how to discuss certain things with a lady present."

"Then pretend one isn´t" Sara said, a bit impatiently.

"Well," Lucius went on, no more comfortably, "what about the focus on the ... buttocks?"

"Ah, yes," Kreizler answered. "Part of the original story, do we think? Or a twist of our man´s invention?"

"Uhhh..." I droned, having thought of something but, like Lucius, unsure of how to phrase it in front of a woman. "The, uh ... the ... references, not only to dirt, but to ... fecal matter ..."

"The word he uses is "shit"," Sara said bluntly, and everyone in the room, including Kreizler, seemed to spring a few inches off the floor for a second or two. "Honestly, gentlemen," Sara commented with some disdain. "If I´d known you were all so modest I´d have stuck to secretarial work."

"Who´s modest?" I demanded ... not one of my stronger retorts.

Sara frowned at me, "You, John Shuyler Moore. I happen to know that you have, on occasion, paid members of the female sex to spend intimate moments with you ... I suppose they were strangers to that kind of language?"

"No," I protested, aware that my face was a bright red beacon. "But they weren´t ... weren´t ..."

"Weren´t?" Sara asked sternly.

"Weren´t ... well, ladies!"

At that Sara stood up, put one hand to a hip and with the other produced her derringer from some nether region of her dress. "I would like to warn you all right now," she said tightly, "that the next man who uses the word "lady" in that context and in my presence, will be shitting from a new and artificially manufactured hole in his gut."

 

I like Sara.

 

Reading progress update: I've read 60%.
The Moorstone Sickness - Bernard Taylor, Mark Morris

And here I thought the Dartmoor ponies, trying to eat a chunk out of you because they think you have a piece of sugar in the pocket of your pants (been there, done that), were the most dangerous thing in Dartmoor.

 

Reading about the town of Moorstone, I´m not so sure anymore. I have to say though, I still don´t know exactly what´s going on, but I´m suspecting things.

Reading progress update: I've read 32%.
The Moorstone Sickness - Bernard Taylor, Mark Morris

The elderly people in this town are suspiciously weird and creepy.

 

Reading progress update: I've read 1%.
The Moorstone Sickness - Bernard Taylor, Mark Morris

Tannat commented on my update post how I´m not allowing my mummy owl to rest in its sarcophagus. So I decided that my next read is going to be for a square that has been called. I think the mummy owl has by now deserved to get comfy at home ;).

 

I liked Sweatheart, Sweetheart by Bernard Taylor, which I have read last year for the bingo, and I hope there is going to be some atmospheric writing in this book as well.

 

Reading progress update: I've listened 444 out of 1204 minutes.
The Alienist (Audio) - Caleb Carr, Edward Herrmann

I have already listened to 7,5 hours of this audiobook, it is such a compelling and excellent read. Carr´s writing is oozing with atmosphere and he included a kick ass female character in Sarah, who gets her say in the male dominated world of the New York police in the year of 1896. 

Listening to a story about child prostitution and the death of children is harrowing at times, but I´m utterly captivated by this book.

 

currently reading

Progress: 30%
Progress: 758/1204minutes
Progress: 1870/4318minutes