Monday, April 24, 2017

Police by Jo Nesbø

Author: Jo Nesbø
Original title: Politi
Pages: 636
Edition Language: Russian
Series: Harry Hole #10
Format: Paperback
Genres: Thriller

      A killer is targeting police officers; specifically officers who were involved in the investigation of unsolved murders. The killer lures an officer to the scene of the previous crime and kills the cop in a way similar to the original murder. The investigators believe that if they can only figure out the killer's motive, maybe they can find this relentless killer, who has left them few, if any, other clues.

My thoughts:
      This is such a hard book to review because even the smallest detail about the content runs the risk of spoiling the way the story unfolds.
The book did not disappoint me, this is a classic Harry Hole story with all the gruesome killings and mysterious motive behind them.
        However after finishing it I had some points I am dissatisfied with.
        First of all, I do not like that Harry went from the bright side to the shadow one. I liked him as a law abiding policeman and how he was breaking some rules, but never to the point of no return. Now he is in some kind of gray area, where he is on the side of justness, but not on the side of the law justice.
        Secondly, Jo Nesbo keeps killing really nice and strong characters which also make the story rolling. Maybe it is because they have already stirred up more interest and attention than the main character. I do not know and it feels like a big loss to the book and the series.
       Thirdly, everything must be personal. I guess in the last couple of books every investigation, Harry took part was personal. Why it just cannot be investigation in what he voluntarily takes part as part of, say civil service? And this point is strongly connected to the second point covered above.
       Fourthly, some tropes of Jo Nesbo story development are getting tiresome. I guess it is important to use them to keep the reader on the edge, but when reading the 10th book you already recognize them straight away. I just wish I didn't have the feeling of being manipulated throughout the story most of the time.
        And finally, the ending. Such a disappointment! The book starts out great, but it becomes purposely confusing and misleading, to the point of utter annoyance. The idea is nice: the police officers are punished by the maniac for not solving crimes, but the final scene, the motives and urges of a killer were so down-to-earth and even naively primitive that it almost killed the whole book for me.
I did enjoyed the book and highly recommend it, but it was not the best book from the series.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Sunday Post #12, Back on Track

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

     I got sick this week and had to stay at home. So when you are at home you suddenly realize how much you need to do around the house. Basically,being in a bad condition and fuss around the house is not the greatest combination, but I managed to see a couple of movies, which were waiting for ages and finally plant some flowers for terrace.
   I made Friday and Saturday absolutely free from reading and blogging due to the Tome Topple. I needed a break from reading so I continued to watch movies))

Last Week on the Blog

The week: 17.04 - 23.04
This Week on the Blog
The week: 24.04 - 30.04
  • On Monday, 24th I review Police by Jo Nesbo
  • On Tuesday, 25th I review movies Girl on the Train, The Bucket List
  • On Wednesday, 26th I publish T5W March 26, Authors You Want to Read More From
  • On Thursday, 27th I review play A woman in a Poppy Dress
  • On Friday 28st, I review The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer

New Comers on my Shelf

1. Frog Music by Emma Donoghue who is very known by her book Room
2. Mr Mercedes by Stephen King (love the cover)

Friday, April 21, 2017

Tome Topple Readathon Wrap Up

The whole point of this readathon is to read big books (over 500 pages). You don't even need to read a lot of them. You don't even need to finish one. The point is that we are all reading those big daunting books at the same time and supporting each other.  Tome Topple Readathon Goodread group. All books read need to be over 500 pages! That's the only "rule".
         Yes, I must admin that I overrated my reading abilities. But I got a couple of points for me for future readathons:
1. I am not able to read a classic book together with some lighter books - every time I tried the classic book was waiting till I finish the other book.
2. Reading 2 or more classic books in one readathon turned out impossible for me.

     The biggest failure is Anna Karenina, which was a target book for this readathon, I have only managed to read around 30 pages before the time was up. But anyway, I managed to finish 3 books:

1. Oblomov by Ivan Goncharov p.634
2. Police by Jo Nesbø p.636
3. The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer p.520
4. and I am in the middle (p. 230) of Blankets by Craig Thompson

     The biggest challenge was Oblomov which does not have any pace at all. It takes him around 150 pages just to get out of the bed, so you got the picture. I have a suspicion that if I would start with Anna Karenina from the beginning, it might be a different situation here.
     Altogether I read 2020 pages, 3 out of 6 expected books, which I can consider a success. Anyway, it was quite a nice experience and I hope to participate in the next round when it will be on.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

April Monthly Recommendations| Big Books (500+)

In this group we will have a monthly theme for book recommendations to share on your BookTube channel or blog. It is pretty relaxed with when you can upload, but we recommend that you upload the first full week of each month. You are welcome to recommend as many books as you want.  We would love for you to share the books you would recommend based on each months topic, no matter how many you have.  For more details visit the a group on Good Reads named Monthly Recommendations. This group was created by Trina from Between Chapters and Kayla Rayne.

  "Big Books"
        Frankly speaking, I am a reader who never pays attention to the size of the book and pages in the book. Maybe when I was a child I was scared by the width of a book, but those memories were erased by the enjoyment.

        When I think about big books, the first thing comes to mind is authors who like to write big books. I have quite a list of them, they wrote a lot of small and big books, but I would recommend only those which I truly enjoyed.

Jules Verne: 
  • In Search of the Castaways or the Children of Captain Grant
  • The Mysterious Island
  • Dick Sand A Captain at Fifteen 
Alexandre Dumas: 
  • The Count of Monte Cristo
  • The Three Musketeers
  • The Man in the Iron Mask 
Victor Hugo: The Hunchback of Notre-Dame

Leo Tolstoy:
  • Anna Karenina
  • War and Peace
Fyodor Dostoyevsky: 
  • Crime and Punishment
  • The Idiot
  • Demons
Jo Nesbø: almost every book from Harry Hole series are more then 500 pages and I liked them all apart for the first 2 books.

Stephen King: 
  • The Green Mile
  • It
  • Pet Sematary
  • Dreamcatcher
  • The Eyes of the Dragon
  • The Talisman

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

WWW Wednesday and Library Loot, April 19th

WWW Wednesdays is hosted by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. A similar meme, This Week in Books is hosted by Lipsyy Lost and Found.
Description: WWW Wednesday is a weekly event where you share answers Below questions:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

I am currently reading 3 books:
Because of the Tome Topple Readathon I put Dogheaders by Alexey Mavrin on hold.

Currently I am reading
1. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
2. The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer
3. Blankets by Joanne Harris

I have finished 3 books:
1. I finished last week Police by Jo Nesbø
2. I have just finished novel Oblomov by Ivan Goncharov

I am planning to start with the following books:
1. The Graveyyard Book by Neil Gaiman
2. Arsène Lupin, Gentleman-Thief by Maurice Leblanc
3. Love Virtually by Daniel Glattauer

Hosted by: The Captive Reader and Silly Little Mischief
Description: Library Loot is a weekly event that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library.

I picked two books yesterday from the library:
1. Frog Music by Emma Donoghue
2. Mr Mercedes by Stephen King (love the cover)

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Movie: Allied, Ghost is the Shell, Assassin's Creed

Name: Ghost in the Shell
Year: 2017
Director: Rupert Sanders
Cast: Scarlett Johansson, Michael Pitt, Juliette Binoche
Genres: Action, Drama, Sci-Fi
Language: English
Country: USA
Time: 120

Outline of the movie:
       In the near future, Major is the first of her kind: A human saved from a terrible crash, who is cyber-enhanced to be a perfect soldier devoted to stopping the world's most dangerous criminals.
My thoughts: 
      I do not know anything about original anime series or manga, so I am judging only the movie itself. And I did not like it. I found no solid plot, no believable character development, no proper actors' performance and some bits and bobs of action loosely connected to each other. So maybe others who are familiar with manga have deeper knowledge of the background and might like it, but I found it a lame action movie with zero substance. It earns some points for action scenes, but that was not enough to enjoy the movie..

Name: Allied
Year: 2016
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Cast: Brad Pitt, Marion Cotillard, Jared Harris
Genres: Drama, Romance, Thriller, War
Language: English
Country: USA/UK
Time: 124 min

Outline of the movie:
      In 1942, an intelligence officer in North Africa encounters a female French Resistance fighter on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. When they reunite in London, their relationship is tested by the pressures of war.
My thoughts: 
      I found this movie very nicely done. What is quite interesting about this movie for me is that it's not primarily a war film, it did provide a very elegant look at what life during war was like for people. This was a time when people partied like the world was ending. Drinks, drugs, sex. It's a fascinating way of portraying the war, and the people living through it.
      The movie went beyond the war theme:  By the end, there are a few clear themes: putting what's best for those you love above your own needs, and trying your hardest to believe/trust those closest to you. Even if it means you have to break some rules, or even put your own life on the line.
      The ending, which was over-sentimental and predictable, worked for me. It showed the lengths people go to protect their family.
      Overall, Allied is absolutely a mix of everything. You can find all kinds of attractions in it: espionage, war, parties, assassinations, beautiful costumes and scenery, family, romantic moments, a mystery to be solved. And some of these pieces are done magnificently, some are well-enough. But all of them harmonically united without any obvious weak point. So if you like movies with a solid plot, linear storytelling, believable characters, difficult choices, great costumes and soundtrack, then you should like this.

 Name: Assassin's Creed
Year: 2016
Director: Justin Kurzel
Cast: Marion Cotillard, Michael Fassbender, Essie Davis 
Genres: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Language: English, Spanish
Country: UK, France, Hong Kong, USA
Time: 115 min

Outline of the movie:
       When Callum Lynch explores the memories of his ancestor Aguilar and gains the skills of a Master Assassin, he discovers he is a descendant of the secret Assassins society.

My thoughts: 
    I do not want to waste time and write in details what I did not like about the movie - it will  take ages and bring none of the pleasure.
To summarize the impression:
1. Bad choice of a hero - I cannot ship for a murderer, however noble his destiny can be.
2. Pointless dialogues. Actually you can easily cut around 2 thirds of the talking as it does no make any sense at all, it is not connected to the plot, not logical and leaves you only in a blind spot.
3. Bad performance (not a fault of the actors, since the movie does not contain any deeper level there is no room for acting)
4. Plot development and ending (sorry by the plot holes are so huge that I can see the back  my TV through them)
5. even action scenes (I believe that was what the produces counted on) were so lame and illogical, that it was painful to watch.
     Everything indicates that there is going to be a sequel to this movie, but I am definitely not going to watch it.

Monday, April 17, 2017

A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler

Author: Anne Tyler
Original title: A Spool of Blue Thread
Edition Language: English
Series: no
Genres: Contemporary
Format: Audio book
Read by: Kimberly Farr
Duration: 13h20m

    The Whitshanks are one of those families that radiate togetherness: an indefinable, enviable kind of specialness. But they are also like all families, in that the stories they tell themselves reveal only part of the picture. Abby and Red and their four grown children have accumulated not only tender moments, laughter, and celebrations, but also jealousies, disappointments, and carefully guarded secrets.

My thoughts:
      It was my first book by Anne Tyler, and it was praised in many reviews, so I guess my expectations were a bit high. I hate to say, but I found this book a bit tedious and really hard to get seriously invested in. This is a very simple piece of literary fiction that focuses on its characters and their development. It is about a family of many members whom we gradually get to know, an entirely believable portrait of an American family in Baltimore.
      The Whitshanks are a family full of quirks, secrets, opinions and history. Anne Tyler has structured the story line in a very interesting manner: we follow their story from one generation to the next – unchronologically, which is interestingly done. What is most fascinating is how she unveils some of the false memories of the Whitshank family when we go back in time. While many readers consider this a cosy novel, there are elements which point in the other direction. I found it quite sad and dramatic and it brought up many existential questions.
      I cannot say I disliked the novel. It is written very well, but it just didn't grab me. I kept reading on thinking it will pick up soon, something will happen, but it never really did. Yes, there were a few minor surprises, and plot twists, but not enough to change the atmosphere of the book for me. 

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Sunday Post #11, Spring is canceled...

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

         All the hopes for early and nice spring are gone. Next week it is going to snow and the temperature will drop. I hope the trees will survive the night temperature and we still have plenty of fruits in the summer.
    I did not keep to the schedule these two weeks as I was dealing with the Tome Topple Readathon and could not find enough inspiration to write. I will try to do my best next week as I have some book finished and need to review them.

Last 2 Weeks on the Blog

The week: 03.04 - 16.04
This Week on the Blog

The week: 17.04 - 23.04
  • On Monday, 17th I review A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler 
  • On Tuesday, 18th I review movies Allied, Ghost is the Shell, Assassin's Creed
  • On Wednesday, 19th I publish WWW Wednesday and Library Loot, April 19th 
  • On Thursday, 20th I publish April Monthly Recommendations| Big Books (500+)
  • On Friday 21st, I publish my Tome Topple Readathorn results
New Comers on my Shelf

1. Havisham by Ronald Frame
2. Volcano Street by David Rain

Friday, April 14, 2017

A Slow Boat to China by Haruki Murakami

Author: Haruki Murakami
Original title: Chūgoku-yuki no surō bōto
Pages: 192
Edition Language: Russian
Series: short story collection
Format:  Hardback
Genres: Magical Realism, Contemporary

A Slow Boat to China is the first book of short stories by Haruki Murakami. "In this book you will find what you can call my world" - said the author about this book himself. 

My thoughts:
     If you choose this collection of short stories to read in order to get to know Murakami, it might end up you'd really hate him. It almost happened to me. Later on, I was told that for the beginners of Haruki Murakami's world, it is better not to start reading his works by selecting the "short stories", as Murakami seems to do best with the novels.
      Reading this book was quite an adventure: I loved the first story and was really excited about the author's style, and then I totally hated the following two stories. I could not connect to the characters and was lost in a magical side of the writing. At the end, I was totally confused as if I read two completely different authors. The next four stories were a bit better, not excellent, but rather interesting and catching, so I still enjoyed the book, especially the first story "A Slow Boat to China" (1980): a Tokyo man remembers his three most significant contacts with Chinese people.
       In the story "Her dog in the soil" we encounter the young attractive lady who tells the story of her most painful and probably most psychologically damaging childhood experience. The last story "Green street in Sydney" is about the well-off man living in Sydney. He owns a private detective agency which helps him to hide from every day life and drag out an empty existence without any worries and efforts, until one day a man-sheep ask him to conduct investigation.