Monthly Archives: February 2012

Review: The Gentle Axe

Posted 29 February, 2012 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

The Gentle Axe
By: R.N. Morris

Just before Christmas, in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1866, police investigator Porfiry Petrovich faces his most challenging murder case since the events made famous by F. Dostoevsky in the novel Crime and Punishment-a case with disturbing parallels and even darker implications

Stumbling through Petvosky Park one cold morning in search of firewood, an elderly woman makes a horrifying discovery. A burly peasant twirls in the wind, hanging from a bowed tree by a rope about his neck, a bloody axe tucked into his belt. Nearby, packed neatly into a suitcase, is the body of a dwarf, a deep axe wound splitting his skull in two.

It does not take long for the noted police investigator Porfiry Petrovich, still drained from his work on the case involving the deranged student Raskolnikov, to suspect that the truth of the matter is more complex than the crime scene might suggest. Why do so many roads lead to the same house of prostitution and the same ring of pornographers? Why do so many powerful interests seem intent on blocking his efforts? His investigation leads him from the squalid tenements, brothels, and drinking dens of the city’s Haymarket district to an altogether more genteel stratum of society. As he gets deeper and deeper in, and the connections between the two spheres begin to multiply, both his anger and his terror mount.

I’ve read Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment years ago but the details are quite hazy to me now beyond the basic plot points (a sign that I need to re-read the novel sometime soon ^_~). I came across R.N. Morris’s works on GoodReads and thought it was interesting that he chose to write a mystery series featuring a character from Crime and Punishment. The Gentle Axe is the first novel in this series featuring Porfiry Petrovich and set in St. Petersburg.

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Meme: Teaser Tuesdays

Posted 27 February, 2012 by Lianne in Meme / 6 Comments

TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:
– Grab your current read
– Open to a random page
– Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
– Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Should Be Reading

Hi everyone! Hope you all had a wonderful weekend =) I have two teasers to share this week with you all:

“He dipped his fingers into barrels of shoes and crates of spectacles and stroked the snuffboxes and thimbles laid out on trays. It was as if these objects, left to their own devices, demonstrated some natural law of affinity, the magnetism of the abandoned. And of course, there was the fact that everything in the shop had once been part of someone’s life; behind every object, however mundane in itself, was a story of despair and even tragedy.”
– p. 51, The Gentle Axe by R.N. Morris

This is the first novel in Morris’s historical fiction/crime series feature Russian detective Porfiry Petrovich, who was one of the main characters in Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment. My memories of Crime and Punishment are a little vague I remembered thinking that it was interesting for Morris to take the inspector character and write a series of novels featuring him. I’m only a small way into this novel but it’s pretty interesting so far (can never really say no to a novel set in Russia, really, lol).

“‘…If you refuse to obey me, I’ll replace you as commander.’
‘And how will you do that?’
Arista revealed a faint smile. ‘Think hard…I’m sure you can figure it out.'”
– p. 381, ‘The Emerald Storm’, Rise of Empires by Michael J. Sullivan

I’m continuing Sullivan’s Riyria Revelations with the second omnibus, Rise of Empires. ‘The Emerald Storm’ is the fourth novel of the series; I just started it and am quite excited to see where Royce and Hadrian’s story will take them in this installment. I thought this particular exchange was amusing and kick-butt ^_~

Review: Midnight in Peking

Posted 24 February, 2012 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Midnight in Peking: How the Murder of a Young Englishwoman Haunted the Last Days of Old China
By: Paul French

Peking in 1937 is a heady mix of privilege and scandal, opulence and opium dens, rumours and superstition. The Japanese are encircling the city, and the discovery of Pamela Werner’s body sends a shiver throughout the already nervous Peking. Is it the work of a madman? One of the ruthless Japanese soldiers now surrounding the city? Or perhaps the dreaded fox spirits? With the suspect list growng and clues sparse, two detectives–one British and one Chinese–race against the clock to solve the crime before the Japanese invade and Peking as they know it is gone forever. Can they find the killer in time?

I received an advanced reading copy of this book from GoodReads; this book is coming out in hardback sometime in May 2012. I was pretty excited to read this book because during my undergraduate program, I never got around to taking a Chinese history class. It’s amazing how complex and multi-faceted Chinese history is and how interconnected it was with other countries so I was curious to see how French presented 1930s China through this murder case.

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Review: Time Travelers Never Die

Posted 24 February, 2012 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Time Travelers Never Die
By: Jack McDevitt

When physicist Michael Shelborne mysteriously vanishes, his son Shel discovers that he had constructed a time travel device. Fearing his father may be stranded in time—or worse—Shel enlists the aid of Dave Dryden, a linguist, to accompany him on the rescue mission.

Their journey through history takes them from the enlightenment of Renaissance Italy through the American Wild West to the civil-rights upheavals of the 20th century. Along the way, they encounter a diverse cast of historical greats, sometimes in unexpected situations. Yet the elder Shelborne remains elusive.

And then Shel violates his agreement with Dave not to visit the future. There he makes a devastating discovery that sends him fleeing back through the ages, and changes his life forever.

This is the third book by McDevitt that I’ve read (the other two books were part of his Academy/Priscilla Hutchins series, which were quite enjoyable). Obviously this caught my attention because I like the theme of time travel in literature and movies/television so I was curious to check out this book. Contains some spoilers ahead!

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Website: What’s Been Going On

Posted 24 February, 2012 by Lianne in Website / 0 Comments

lol, I haven’t posted here in almost five days now which got me a bit antsy so here’s this post! =P Anyways, here’s an update of everything that’s been going on here at since my last update ^_~

(I loved this episode; sadly, I don’t know who made this wonderful gif, I saw it on tumblr, I believe)

      01. I’ve posted a ton of book reviews since my last general update (11! Wow!), which has been fun. In the process I’ve read two more books to go with the I Love Italy Reading Challenge, which is cool. My to-read pile expanded majorly in the past few days–going to try and refrain from book-buying for this Lenten season =P (let’s see if I can do it)

      02. I finally got around to purchasing a new domain for the other website so I’m hoping to start working on that next week depending on when it’s implemented. If I was smart with my time instead of oggling over fandoms and pretty pictures on tumblr I should have already watermarked my photos that are going to uploaded there but alas, did not really think that through (though I had an excuse: earlier this week I wasn’t well). Not to mention I’ve been meaning to upload them to websites like 500px. Nonetheless, I’m excited to get started on that though =)

      03. Speaking of websites, I’ve formally started my role as webmaster for my parish. It’ll take a week or so to get everything set up but I’m also looking forward to putting that project together as there’s a lot that we can do with it. I’ll be sure to post the link up here once everything is set up so that you can see what I’ve been up to! ^_~

      04. The job hunt is sort of preoccupying me both in my things-to-get-done list and mentally (which is very frustrating and another topic altogether) so I’ve been pretty slow in getting started in the other creative projects (i.e. my works-in-progress, compiling photos from my last vacation, etc.). My friend on livejournal recently reminded me that it’s been ages and a day since I’ve made any wallpapers or icons or whatnot (according to my arts site it’s been almost two years–rikes!). We’ll see if I can squeeze in some graphics in the near future ^_~

And that’s about it on what’s been going on at my end! I’ve started Intermediate II in my Italian language classes so that’s also been keeping me pretty busy. Hopefully I’ll be proficient enough to start typing some entries in Italian? lol, maybe, maybe not ^_~ Anyways, I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!