Lillelara

Lillelara

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

Reading progress update: I've read 123 out of 529 pages.
The Good Daughter - Karin Slaughter

Karin Slaughter knows how to write a compelling story. It´s gritty and gory and there is so much drama in the life of the main character, it is unreal. But I cannot put this book down, even though I had other plans:

 

[Source]

 

Well, at least I did a little bit of house cleaning today :).

 

 

Reading progress update: DNF on page 62
Memento Mori - Muriel Spark

Not my kind of book. It´s not funny at all and I really don´t like the vicious tone of this novel. And I really, really don´t want to read another page of this novel.

 

!!! spoiler alert !!!
Reading progress update: DNF at page 154
The Mitford Murders - Jessica Fellowes

I´m calling it quits with this book.

 

There was something off about the murder mystery, which is based on a real crime. So I went and read Jessica Fellowes´ historical notes in the back of the book:

 

Florence Nightingale Shore was attacked on the Brighton line on Monday 12 January, 1920, and died a few days later in hospital. There was public outrage at her death and money was raised to fund the Florence Nightingale Shore Memorial Hospital (destroyed by bombing in World War Two), of which her long-term friend, Mabel Rogers, became the superintendent. Mabel Rogers was never suspected or charged with the murder of Florence Shore, and all conversations with her outside of the inquest have been completely invented by me.

 

A murder, which has never been solved. This doesn´t make a very compelling crime story, does it? So I skimread the solution to the murder mystery and, I am not kidding you, Mabel Rogers is the murderer of Florence Nightingale Shore in the book.

 

It´s not enough that this author is exploiting the brutal death of an innocent woman. But then she has the audacity and blames the  murder on a perfectly innocent woman, a person who once has lived and breathed on this very earth. How many readers don´t read the historical notes in the back of the book and don´t look up the real murder case? How many people believe in the end that poor Mabel Rogers has killed Florence Shore?

 

[Source]

 

I´m speechless. And if you wonder what Jessica Fellowes reasoning is behind her story, here it comes:

 

First and foremost, this is a novel. It´s my hope, however, that in blending fact with fiction, we come closer to understanding the people of the past, as well as remember and commemorate them.

 

Yeah, whatever .... NEXT!

 

Reading progress update: I've read 120 out of 420 pages.
The Mitford Murders - Jessica Fellowes

The "man in the brown suit" had apparently vanished into thin air [...]

 

There really isn´t an original thought in this novel. This is a lame mishmash of Agatha Christie, the Mitford sisters and true crime. And the last 60 pages were incredibly boring.

Reading progress update: I've read 61 out of 420 pages.
The Mitford Murders - Jessica Fellowes

I´m not very far into the story and I already have an issue with the plot, especially the setup of the novel and the introduction of the main character, Louisa.

 

The novel starts off with Louisa living with her mother and uncle. Her uncle is a dangerous man, who wants to force Louisa into prostitution, so he can pay off some of his debts. Louisa devices a plan to escape her uncle: she´s applying for a job at the Mitford household (Louise knows about this job opening through a serendipitous meeting at the very beginning of the novel). Of course, Louisa´s uncle finds out about her plan and forces her into a train to sell her off to another man. Louisa can escape and in the process she snatches a letter from her uncle, in which she is granted an interview at the Mitfords house. Oh, and during her escape she meets a man, who is possibly going to be the love of her life. Sadly, Louisa can´t make it in time to the interview, but she goes to the Manor nonetheless. And the people are so nice there, they actually don´t mind her being too late and she gets the job.

 

Oh, and I forgot to mention that a woman gets badly beaten up and killed in the same train that Louisa is taking with her uncle. At it´s core this novel is supposed to be a murder mystery after all.

 

[Source]

 

Things like that can happen to people. But am I supposed to believe that all of this is happening to one person in a very short amount of time? The setup of this book is rather ridiculous.

 

 

 

 

 

My Sunday reading plan
East of Eden - John Steinbeck The Mitford Murders - Jessica Fellowes

I think I have to read another book alongside East of Eden. I´ve gotten the feeling that this might be a hard hitting read. Cathy freaks me out and I don´t even think I have seen the worst of her. And no, it doesn´t mean I don´t like the book. I really do. I just have to read something a bit more lighthearted every now and then.

 

I have choosen The Mitford Murders as the book that has to do the deed. I have never read a book by any of the Mitford Sisters and I don´t know much about the family either, so I don´t know much about the Mitfords themselves. Which might be a good thing in regards to this book. Let´s see how I will get along with it.

My ever-growing TBR pile

 

A few more books have arrived this week and I´m putting myself under a book buying ban for the next two or three months. I bought way too many books. Books for group reads that I can get otherwise excluded.

 

The Mitford Murders is my Willoughby bookclub book of the month and I´m intrgued by it. This might be one of the books I´m picking up in August to pass the time until September 1st. 

 

And on this stack is my most anticipated book of Halloween Bingo: The Case of the Constant Suicides by John Dickson Carr. I can´t wait to read this locked room mystery.

Reading progress update: I've read 91 out of 602 pages.
East of Eden - John Steinbeck

Okay, the introduction to the character of Cathy Ames has been slightly disturbing.

Reading progress update: I've read 24 out of 602 pages.
East of Eden - John Steinbeck

This might be an 800 pages novel disguised in an edition with 600 pages. The fond is tiny in this Penguin Modern Classics edition. I´m a little bit intimidated by that.

 

I´m not very far into the story, but there is certainly something special to Steinbeck´s writing:

 

When a child first catches adults out - when it first walks into his grave little head that adults do not have devine intelligence, that their judgements are not always wise, their thinking true, their sentences just - his world falls into panic desolation. The gods are fallen and all safety gone. And there is nothing sure about the fall of gods: they do not fall a little; they crash and shatter and sink deeply into green muck. It´s a tedious job to build them up again; they never quite shine. And the child´s world is never quite whole again. It´s an aching kind of growing.

Reading progress update: I've read 38%.
Bad Blood: Secret and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup - John Carreyrou

Wow, there are some full-blown sociopaths at work here. How was it possibly that Elizabeth Holmes could do this for 15 years. It´s unbelivable and reading this makes my skin crawl.

 

A fantastic book so far.

My Halloween Bingo Card has arrived!

Thank you very much, Moonlight Madness.

 

 

These are the books I consider for the bingo:

 

Deadlands: Let The Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist

Modern Noir: Snowblind by Ragnar Jonasson

Darkest London: Don´t know yet, maybe The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

Diverse Voices: Something by a Japanese author.

Romantic Suspense: A Mary Stewart

 

Baker Street Irregulars: City of Saints and Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson

Southern Gothic: The White Raod by John Connolly

Terryfying Woman: So glad that this square is on my card. Deep Water by Patricia Highsmith

Modern Masters of Horror: Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

Classic Horror: The Shining by Stephen King

 

Shifters: Moon Called by Patricia Briggs

Doomsday: The Running Man by Stephen King / Richrd Bachmann

Free Square:

Terror in a Small Town: Hex by Thomad Ulve Heuvelt

Cozy Mystery: Grey Mask by Patricia Wentworth

 

Slasher Stories: The Devil in Grey by Graham Masterson

New Release: The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware

Murder Most Foul: A Golden Age murder mystery from my TBR

13: Nevermoor - The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend

Supernatural: Discount Armageddon by Seanan McGuire

 

Spellbound: Don´t know yet. Maybe Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix as an audiobook.

Genre Suspense: One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

Amateur Sleuth: The Case of the Constant Suicides by John DIckson Carr

Fear the Drowning Deep: Meg by Steve Alten

Genre Horror: Cold Moon over Babylon by Michael McDowell

 

My wild card author: Of course, Dame Agatha Christie. I still have a shelf full of unread books by her.

 

 

 

Review
1 Stars
Illuminae
Illuminae - Jay Kristoff, Amie Kaufman

I apologize in advance. This review is long and rambly.

 

Where to start with Illuminae?

 

Okay, here´s a curious thing about me: I can put up with a lot of stupid things in a book so long as I´m thoroughly entertained and it´s not getting too stupid.

 

Having said that, this is exactly what has happened while reading Illuminae: the first half of the novel has been entertaining and thoroughly engaging and I didn´t mind all the annoying stuff such as passive aggressive teenagers or ship captains, who kill off their best pilots for being disobedient, even though they are severely understaffed and are about to get blown up. And then there is the second half of the book and to be honest, I can´t even comprehend how boring and dumb the second half has been. I will come back to this later.

 

The most unique thing about this book is the structure. The novel is told in the form of a casefile, comprised of interviews, chats between characters, analysis reports of surveillance footage, after combat reports, diary entries and so on. I didn´t mind the structure and for the most parts I even liked the way the story has been told, adding a lot of excitement to the story. Of course, a downside to the structure is that I couldn´t build up an emotional connection to any of the characters. They could have died, every single one of them, and I wouldn´t have cared one bit.

There were passages I started to skim-read, though. Especially the chats, whether it being the one between the two main characters Kady (ByteMe) and Ezra (Mason, E), who mostly went along those lines

 

Mason, E, LT 2nd: Luv u

ByteMe: Luv u 2

Mason, E, LT 2nd: <3

 

or the chats between Ezra and his friend James, which are the most mind numbingly stupid conversations ever written

 

McNulty, J, Sgt: jus saw you head back to your rack wut news chum

McNulty, J Sgt: chum

 McNulty, J, Sgt:  mason

McNulty, J, Sgt:  ezramaaaaaaassssoooonnlSrnbopNRB[onerb

McNulty, J, Sgt:  I guess they didn´t shoot u

Mason, E, LT 2nd: nope, not me

McNulty, J, Sgt:  good news for ms hottie and my young namesake

 

But still, I enjoyed this book up until the point where the AI, Aidan, gets introduced. And from this point onward, I will put everything behind a spoiler tag, because I´m going to spoil the heck out of this book:

 

 

The AI is supposed to calculate every possible outcome of a situation and choose the possibility with the best outcome and the least amount of casualties. Bear that in mind.

 

At the beginning of the book Aidan gets damaged in combat and basically blows up a ship with thousand of people on it because of reasons. Aidan gets then shut down. But alas, a battle ship is still in pursuit of the remaining ships, so after having fixed Aidan, the AI gets restarted to help the military in its fight against the enemy. After successfully having done that, the AI fears for no apparent reason at all that the humans are about to shut him down again. The solution to this problem: shutting all the doors and leave a corridor from airlock four to the bridge and unleash the lame-ass zombie armada on the bridge staff. Aidan´s objective: killing off the only dude on the ship (can´t remember his name, I think it was Byron), who can shut him down (the rest of the crew is apparently too dumb to do that).  

 

Unfortunately, Aidan has forgotten to shut one door on the bridge, so Byron can escape and doesn´t get killed by the initial zombie attack. And another thing Aidan has forgotten is the fact that he isn´t fully functional just yet and the one guy, Byron, who is able to fix him, is the one he wants to kill in the first place. And to top it off: the virus, which made people into zombies, is airborne. Byron gets infected and then he starts chopping up Aidan´s servers with an axe.

 

Now is the right time to remind you of the fact that this AI is supposed to act according to the best outcome with the least casualties. So far Aidan has made one moronic choice after another.

 

  

 

And after that a whole lot of shit ensues. Aidan impersonates Ezra, luring Kady over on his ship, because she is a pink haired, hacker-genius kind of teenage girl with an IQ of 147, who is the only other person in the whole fleet who can fix him. Kady is then on the zombie infested ship, helping Aidan out (even though he has disclosed to her that Ezra is dead and she is massively pissed off about it) and rescuing the non-infected people on the ship (it seems like they have a hazmat suit for every single person on board).

 

Trust me, the rest of the story isn´t even worth mentioning, but let me just say that the layout of this ship doesn´t make sense at all and that zombies are lame.

 

 

 

The story hit rock-bottom for me when Aidan developed feelings for Kady.

 

 

[Source]

 

 

It´s a freaking AI! He is not programmed to have feelings, the only thing this AI has to do is to make calculations. And Kady is just horrible. I would have lured her to an airlock and blasted her out into space. An AI is a better person than I am. That is just great.

 

 

 

I was even disappointed by the ending. Ezra isn´t dead. Yep, Aidan has lied. How shocking. The ship with Aidan and Kady gets blown up and Kady survives the explosion and the subsequent radiation poisoning. Not even Aidan is completely gone, he managed to load a part of him onto Kady´s tablet and he is self-regenerating …. what a load of rubbish!

 

 

(show spoiler)

 

 

Just writing about this book brings back all the rage, so I´m changing my rating to one star. Really hated this book.

Reading progress update: I've read 62 out of 226 pages.
Memento Mori - Muriel Spark

I really don´t like the tone of this book. Based on the plot and the unpleasant characters, I have to assume that this book is meant to be funny ... or at least that there is some sarcastic wit to it.

Unfortunately this book reads like Muriel Sparks has meant every single word she has written down. It isn´t particularly funny or witty and the sarcasm is lost on me.

So I´m left with an mediocre plot, which I don´t see the point of, and some really unlikeable characters, who have to be the most vicious elderly people in the history of literature.

 

I need a break from this for the rest of the day.

Reading progress update: I've read 19 out of 226 pages.
Memento Mori - Muriel Spark

"Afraid I´m late," he said. "Is the party over? Are you all Lisa´s sinisters and bothers?"

 

The party is a funeral!

 

All the elderly characters that have been introduced so far are unlikeable, but this old curmudgeon takes the cake for being the most unpleasant one. At least so far.

Review
3.5 Stars
The Suspicions of Mr Whicher
The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher: A Shocking Murder and the Undoing of a Great Victorian Detective - Kate Summerscale

On a summer's morning in 1860, the Kent family awakes in their elegant Wiltshire home to a terrible discovery; their youngest son has been brutally murdered. When celebrated detective Jack Whicher is summoned from Scotland Yard he faces the unenviable task of identifying the killer - when the grieving family are the suspects.

The original Victorian whodunnit, the murder and its investigation provoked national hysteria at the thought of what might be festering behind the locked doors of respectable homes - scheming servants, rebellious children, insanity, jealousy, loneliness and loathing.

(Blurb of my physical copy)

 

The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher is an interesting account of the Road Hill House murder, a crime committed before the age of forensic and scientific methods, and the impact this crime had on authors from the Victorian time period. The development of crime fiction and the sensational novels were largely influenced by this sinister crime, because the danger apparently didn´t come from the outside, but more likely was committed by someone within the family.

 

What I liked most about this book was the depiction of the Victorian society, constantly craving for gossip, discrediting the police in the newspapers and voicing their opinions, coming up with theories of their own. This shows that people haven´t changed over the years and it doesn´t matter if they are using local gossip, the newspapers or Twitter to voice their opinion.

 

I have to say, though, that this book became repetitive after a while. The author especially overdid it with the constant mentioning of one author or another, who was influenced by the Road Hill House murder in this particular scene. Because of this there were chapters in the book that dragged on and it feels like a book that could have been shorter and it still would have worked.

 

It´s still a book I would recommend for any true crime afficionado and for everyone who is interested in Victorian society and their gossipmongering.  

I´m afraid I overdid it ...

... a teeny tiny bit with my book buying this week.

 

 

And there are still some books I haven´t received just yet. Add to this the 3 books I have bought on my kindle for the upcoming Halloween bingo:

 

Cold Moon Over Babylon (Valancourt 20th Century Classics) - Mike Mignola,Michael McDowell  Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow - Jessica Townsend  The Devil in Gray - Graham Masterton  

 

Okay, I bought an insane amount of books, I admit it. But you know what, I don´t care. And in my defence (and not to appear as a crazy book hoarder), I have already finished Catwoman: Soulstealer by Sarah J. Mass off of this pile.

 

currently reading

Progress: 123/529pages
Progress: 420/602pages
How To Be a Victorian - Ruth Goodman