Friday, April 26, 2019

April 26, Friday in Memes #10

The Book Blogger Hop hosted by Coffee Addicted Writer. Each week the hop will start on a Friday and end the following Thursday. There will be a weekly prompt featuring a book related question. The hop's purpose is to give bloggers a chance to follow other blogs, learn about new books, befriend other bloggers, and receive new followers to your own blog.

This Week's Book Blogger Hop Question:
     At the end of a hard day, how do you get yourself psyched about writing a book review? (submitted by Billy @ Coffee Addicted Writer)
My Answer:
      I cannot motivate myself to write reviews. It is always a struggle. Those books which do not leave any impression are easy to review: I just write down my thoughts and things I do not like. But  reviews about books that I loved or hated are more difficult to gather; I am usually full of emotions, and it is difficult to put in any reasonable form to convey my thoughts. So those are the longest to write. I still have one book from last year that I hated and want to rant about, but still have not even started.

Book Beginnings of Fridays hosted by Gillion Dumas of Rose City Reader. A weekly meme where readers share the first sentence of the book they are reading and say what they think. 
The Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice. Join us every Friday and share an excerpt from a book you’ve been reading.

My Book Beginnings:
There was a boy called Odd. and there was nothing strange or unusual about that, not in that time or place. Odd meant the tip of a blade, and it was a lucky name.
My 56:
The fox tosses its head and walked away. Odd put his knife down and took out his hatchet once more. 'I've seen rainbows on the snow sometimes,' said Odd, laud enough for the fox to hear, 'and on the side of buildings, when sun shone through the icicles. And I thought, ice is only water, so it must have rainbows in it too. When the water freezes, I think the rainbows are trapped into it, like fish in a shallow pool. And the sunlight sets them free.'

Outline: I love Chris Riddell illustrations and I am ready to read whatever book he illustrates. His collaboration with Neil Gaiman was not bad so far, so I am hoping to enjoy this short book. Besides, the extract about rainbows is so poetic and beautiful.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

A Stranger in the House|The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

Author: Shari Lapena
Original title: A Stranger in the House
Edition Language: English
Series: no
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery
Format: Audio book
Read by: Tanja Fornaro
Duration: 9h02m

     Karen and Tom Krupp are happy—they’ve got a lovely home in upstate New York, they’re practically newlyweds, and they have no kids to interrupt their comfortable life together. But one day, Tom returns home to find Karen has vanished—her car’s gone and it seems she left in a rush. She even left her purse—complete with phone and ID—behind.
       There's a knock on the door—the police are there to take Tom to the hospital where his wife has been admitted. She had a car accident, and lost control as she sped through the worst part of town.
      The accident has left Karen with a concussion and a few scrapes. Still, she’s mostly okay—except that she can’t remember what she was doing or where she was when she crashed. The cops think her memory loss is highly convenient, and they suspect she was up to no good.

My thoughts:
       I did not enjoy it as much as I was hoping, judging by the popularity of it, because the plot was somewhat predictable and the characterizations seemed to me unrealistic at some points. Also, I could not relate to the characters and found myself annoyed at the decisions they made throughout the novel. The last three pages were quite interesting, the rest of the story was not impressive. I would not recommend it.

Author: Shari Lapena
Original title: The Couple Next Door
Edition Language: English
Series: no
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery
Format: Audio book
Read by: Friederike Kempter
Duration: 6h43m

     Anne and Marco Conti seem to have it all-a loving relationship, a wonderful home, and their beautiful baby, Cora. But one night when they are at a dinner party next door, a terrible crime is committed. Suspicion immediately focuses on the parents. But the truth is a much more complicated story.
     Inside the curtained house, an unsettling account of what actually happened unfolds. Detective Rasbach knows that the panicked couple is hiding something. Both Anne and Marco soon discover that the other is keeping secrets, secrets they've kept for years.

My thoughts:
       I liked this novel more than the above one, though the characters are also plastic and unrealistic. What I appreciated is the multiple hints in this or that direction, so we could constantly guessing who's done it. I guessed somewhere in the middle, but still I wanted to know why, so the story was going nicely for me. The ending though, was a bummer, which made the whole story pointless.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

April 23, Top Ten Tuesday My First 10 Book Reviews

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This week’s TTT topic is  (First Ten) Books I Reviewed (These do not have to be formal reviews. A small sentence on a retailer site or Goodreads counts, too! Submitted by Rissi @ Finding Wonderland)

My first reviews are very painful to re-read. I was trying different forms. First, I was thinking about reviewing books only in Russian. Then I realized that it is difficult to do, so I tried dual language format, but it was taking so much time to make reviews similar in content so I stuck to English only. I was not reviewing much at the beginning as I did not read much, now I have more books read than I can possibly review.

1. The Lonesome West by Martin McDonagh - my review

        The Lonesome West is a cruel and dark comedy. The story of emotionally poor and morally
handicapped two brothers is based on a long trail of mutual crimes between them and abusive words. Neither Coleman nor Valene are able to yield and are deaf to each other's feelings.
      The priest, Father Welsh is making multiple fruitless attempts to bring the brothers together. But the grudge is deeply rooted in childhood and they are very efficient in hurting each other. Coleman and Valene are more often repulsive in their pettiness, sometimes are funny, but at times simple human sympathy towards them is appearing. Drunkenness, hopelessness and petty vindictiveness prevail in their lives and these all drag them to a downfall, push them to a tragic end.

2. Moonraker by Ian Fleming - my review

      The third novel by Ian Fleming reveals ongoing adventures of Secret Service agent 007. Buried in paperwork Bond is more than happy to escape and proceed with private investigation for M. of card fraud in one of the most famous clubs. This investigation is of most delicate matter for M. as the suspect is Sir Hugo Drax, the richest man in England, mysterious national hero. Drax started building “Moonracker”, nuclear missile, intended to defend England and its people on his own nickel. The eyes of the whole nation are on missile-building base and on Sir Hugo Drax himself, dis-featured by war scars, bestial and vulgar man. But everyone is ready to look over his obnoxious behavior and foul play for the greater goal that he is fulfilling with exceptional eager.

3. Dark places by Gillian Flynn - my review

Libby, the main protagonist, realistically estimates her chances in live and clearl
y sees the situation she is in. She does not want to work after 24 years living on money collected for her by good people. So how to survive when you are about to run out of money? Of cause try to sell you family’s murder story once again and get whatever money they give. Most luckily a group of amateur investigators turns out, who are more than happy to pay a round sum of money for Libby to face participants (and probable suspects) of the drama and for information she can get out of them. She meets her brother Ben in prison for the first time, but still has a feeling he is hiding something. What it can be but his reasons for killing? She also meets with her father, now homeless, but he does not seem to play any part in this drama. Through her investigation, she learns of her brother's secret girlfriend, as well as accusations against him for child molestation.

5. Dr. No by Ian Fleming - my review
   And again James Bond is here. After difficult and almost flubbed up mission Bond is spending quite a long time in a hospital recovering from poisonous wound inflicted by SMERSH agent Rosa Klebb, M. has decided to send Bond to Jamaica on “rest cure” with the task to investigate the disappearance of local agent and his secretary. Everybody believes that it was elopement; unlike them Bond has a different opinion and throws himself into investigation trying to prove M. that he does not need “rest cure”.
          All leads are pointing to the mysterious Dr. No, the owner of island Crab Key which is said to be dangerous and mortal place. There are a lot of unexplained facts about the island: disappearance of rare birds, strange death of two bird guardians, plane crash and mysterious vanishing of people who were dare enough to visit the island. While trying to gather all the facts together Bond realizes that he is being watched and survives a couple of assassinations. But all this does not throw any light on the situation, so 007 resolves to visit Crab Key to establish if there is a connection between Dr. No and agent’s disappearance.

6.  The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer - my review

      These books are absolutely enchanting. I would call it the biggest shocker this year. I have picked Cinder as a recommendation of participants of Popsugarreadingchalenge and was not waiting for anything special. But I actually loved the series. The main characters are strong and alive. Each new book brings additional members to the squad and every of them have a unique personality, strengths and weaknesses.
      Though it is a YA series it is not overloaded with love stories. We get the first introduction and get the idea who will date whom, but there is no lingering description of kisses, hugs and feelings altogether. Actually, there are even more friendship relationships in the books than love. Throughout the series the friends are split so many times that they need to learn how to work in different teams, overcome their fears and gain trust.
The story is quite original: re-telling of old fairy tales in new unexpected way.

7. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs - my review

I extremely like the format of the books. First of all the cover is black and white, which gives them kind of retro look. Secondly, the pictures integrated in a story are a good and fresh move. In the first book Jacob discovers a lot of old photographs and I am as a reader able to see them too. In the 2nd and 3rd book the pictures are already part of the narration of what Jacob sees on his journey, they are not presented in a physical form in the story, but aim as additional description of people and places Jacob meets and visits during his quest. I would say that photos lost their appeal and are starting to be quite “unpeculiar” in 2nd and 3rd books.

8.  Hotel World by Ali Smith - my review 

I cannot remember a book recently which I was enjoying less than Hotel World. A book without story development, but only emotions and stream of conscience. I hope that all Ali Smith’s fans will ever forgive me, but I found this book utterly boring and unexciting. The anticipation of the story ranged from boring to frustrating. Some days I was forcing myself to get the book and continue reading. The Sara’s sister’s chapter was a total nightmare with 31 pages of unpunctuated stream of conscience writing. This was like I'd read poetry. The story stayed in the fog even though there are 5 main narrators. The only chapter that made any sense was chapter "Perfect". Here was at least some story and character development, some inner wishes and thought shared and some interaction between the characters.

9.  Let It Snow: Three Holiday Romances by John Green, Maureen Johnson, Lauren Myracle - my review

     I've been meaning to read this for some time. I'm glad I finally did, but I wouldn't say I would recommend it to any of my friends. I found the stories generally interesting enough to keep reading, but I didn't fall in love with any characters, any settings, and any stories.
      This was a sweet Christmas read and set me in a proper winter mood. I also liked the cooperation of three authors and the fact that these stories are linked with each other and you recognize the characters as you read on.
      The book started off interesting and got progressively boring. The best stories are from Maureen Johnson and John Green. The last one seems like non-stop whining. I liked the development of the Jubilee story, lively staff and great weather description, but I did not like her judgments and how easy she is to persuade, but altogether the story was fun with many plot turns.
John Green's story kind of baffled me. I wanted to like this story more, but the main characters seem so irrational and sometimes stupid. Their idiotic actions and the twister game were the only thing that made the plot moving.
10.  Fortunately, the Milk... by Neil Gaiman - my review

Surprisingly I wanted to do a review on this book...
     This is a funny short book for children age under 10. I bought it for my nephew as a Christmas present and you know how it is with children books nowadays; you need to check the content by yourself; as I have already seen so many books with a lot of violence and sometimes really crappy plot that it can be not only disturbing for a child but dangerous. So I sat down to check the book and it was just magic. I was having a silly smile on my face the entire time I was reading it. I just loved the way it was written with all the plot twists and interconnection. It was brilliantly constructed, logical and funny. The illustrations by Riddell are so vivid and witty.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Author: Rainbow Rowell
Original title: Eleanor & Park
Pages: 400
Edition Language: Russian
Series: no
Format: ebook
Genres: Contemporary

   Two misfits. One extraordinary love.
    Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.

My thoughts: 
       This follows the story of two young people named Eleanor and Park, who meet on the bus journey to school. It tells of their unlikely friendship and how this grows over time to become something much more.

      To be frank, there is a number of things I did not like, but still I gave it 3 stars. I did enjoy it for some mysterious reason. Although this book is about teenagers, it was well written for adults. It very much speaks to adults, recalling the awkward adolescent years. There were parts that were sad, mainly with Eleanor's family. At times it was rather slow as not much was happening. The constant point-of-view switches were slightly distracting and I didn't believe the relationship, that zoomed from zero to 100 in intensity.
      All said, I still enjoyed this book way more than famous Fangirl and recommend it if you feel nostalgic about your adolescence years.


Saturday, April 20, 2019

Sunday Post #46, Frohe Ostern

The Sunday Post is hosted by The Caffeinated Book Reviewer.  It’s a chance to share news, a post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things received, and share news about what is coming up on the blog for the week ahead. To get in on the Sunday fun, see the rules here: Sunday Post Meme. 

Outside the Blog
      That can be more disappointing than falling ill on nice hot spring days? Falling ill a day before greatly expected road trip to Germany, said main chief of our clan. Lucky for us, it was just one day temperature, not resulting in any sickness and we went off to Nuernberg, Koeln, Hanover and Berlin.
   The weather is just crazy nice. I cannot remember last time Easter was so sunny. We are so high on positive emotions and fresh impressions, that even small disagreements cannot spoil it in any way.
Last on the Blog 
Next on the Blog
  • On Monday I will review Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
  • On Tuesday I will publish April 23, Top Ten Tuesday
  • On Wednesday I will publish WWW Wednesday and Library Loot
  • On Thursday I will review A Stranger in the House|The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena
  • On Friday I will publish Friday in Memes #10
  • On Saturday I will publish March Wrap up
 Newcomers on my Shelf

March 2019 Wrap up

Read books: 
read: 17/ listen: 1/ pages: 4125/ hours listened: 15h34m
1. Count Karlstein: or The Ride of the Demon Huntsman by Philip Pullman p. 109 **
2. Doctor Proctor's Fart Powder by Jo Nesbø  p. 142 ***
3. Bubble in the Bathtub by Jo Nesbo p.304 ****
4. Doctor Proctor Who Cut the Cheese? by Jo Nesbo p.320 ***
5. The Magical Fruit by Jo Nesbø p.236 ***
6. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling p.617 *****
7. The Case of the Stolen Sixpence by Holly Webb p. 224 ***
8. The Case of the Vanishing Emerald by Holly Webb p. 224 ***
9. The Case of the Feathered Mask by Holly Webb p. 224 ***
10. The Case of the Secret Tunnel by Holly Webb p. 224 ***
11. The Case of the Phantom Cat by Holly Webb p. 224 ***
12. The Case of the Spilled Ink by Holly Webb p. 224 ***
13. The Case of the Blind Beetle by Holly Webb p. 224 ***
14. The Case of the Weeping Mermaid by Holly Webb p. 224 ***
15. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell p.400
16. What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty 15h34m
17. Holmes (1854-1891?) 1 and 2 part by Cecil and Brunschwig p. 78 ****
18. Holmes (1854-1891?) 3 and 4 part by Cecil and Brunschwig p. 128 ****

Movie watched:
1. Captain Marvel (2019) *****

Challenges overview:
Goodreads Reading Challenge: 30/52
2017 PopSugar Reading Challenge 15/40
Pages Read Challenge: 7042/24000
Audiobook Challenge: 5/15
Russian Literature: 3/30
World of Literature: 18/50
Booker Prize Project: 7
The Backlist Reader Challenge 2019: 9/20
Classics Club: 6/50

Friday, April 19, 2019

April 19, Friday in Memes #9

The Book Blogger Hop hosted by Coffee Addicted Writer. Each week the hop will start on a Friday and end the following Thursday. There will be a weekly prompt featuring a book related question. The hop's purpose is to give bloggers a chance to follow other blogs, learn about new books, befriend other bloggers, and receive new followers to your own blog.

This Week's Book Blogger Hop Question:
   Do you check how many views your posts have received? (submitted by Elizabeth @ Silver's Reviews)
My Answer:
      Constantly))))) And I am always sad to see that reviews are not popular at all. But I guess it is an issue for most bloggers.

Book Beginnings of Fridays hosted by Gillion Dumas of Rose City Reader. A weekly meme where readers share the first sentence of the book they are reading and say what they think. 
The Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice. Join us every Friday and share an excerpt from a book you’ve been reading.

My Book Beginnings:
Seven o'clock on a Monday morning, five hundred years after the End of The World, and the goblins had been at the cellar again. Mrs Scattergood  - the landlady at the Seven Sleepers Inn - swore it was rats, but Maddy Smith knew better. Only goblins could have burrowed into the brick-lined floor; and besides, as far as she knew, rats didn't drink ale.
My 56:
Maddy looked out across the Hill, where the distant figure of Adam Scattergood was getting smaller and smaller along the Malbry road, occasionally giving vent to a shrill scream of rage as he ran.
'I could have killed him,' she said, beginning to shake.
'Another time, perhaps.' 
'Don't you understand? I could have killed him!'
One-Eye seemed unmoved. 'Well, isn't that what you wanted to do?'
Outline: Runemarks is Norse mythology inspired novel. I have not read any YA work from
Joanne Harris, but I like her adult novels. So hope this will work for me. My impression that I am going to struggle for a while to get into a story with all the names and references to the Norse gods and runes, but I am optimistic and excited. This book has been on my TBR for more than 3 years.