Category: Books


Review: The Obelisk Gate

Posted 14 June, 2019 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

The Obelisk Gate (The Broken Earth #2)
By: N.K. Jemisin
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

THIS IS THE WAY THE WORLD ENDS… FOR THE LAST TIME.

The season of endings grows darker as civilization fades into the long cold night. Alabaster Tenring ñ madman, world-crusher, savior ñ has returned with a mission: to train his successor, Essun, and thus seal the fate of the Stillness forever.

It continues with a lost daughter, found by the enemy.

It continues with the obelisks, and an ancient mystery converging on answers at last.

The Stillness is the wall which stands against the flow of tradition, the spark of hope long buried under the thickening ashfall. And it will not be broken.

So I read the first book sometime before my exams and meant to continue onward but then I was so busy getting ready for my holiday, and then of course busy when I returned (and distracted by all the other books I picked up while I was on holiday) that I didn’t get around to continuing the trilogy until now.

Read More

Review: The Hellfire Club

Posted 12 June, 2019 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

The Hellfire Club
By: Jake Tapper
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase

Charlie Marder is an unlikely Congressman. Thrust into office by his family ties after his predecessor died mysteriously, Charlie is struggling to navigate the dangerous waters of 1950s Washington, DC, alongside his young wife Margaret, a zoologist with ambitions of her own. Amid the swirl of glamorous and powerful political leaders and deal makers, a mysterious fatal car accident thrusts Charlie and Margaret into an underworld of backroom deals, secret societies, and a plot that could change the course of history. When Charlie discovers a conspiracy that reaches the highest levels of governance, he has to fight not only for his principles and his newfound political career…but for his life.

I follow a few political commentators/analysts online and I think it was last year that they started mentioning this book quite a bit. I was intrigued so I had this book on my wishlist for a while. Then I picked it up some time ago, enticed by a sale.

Read More

Review: Bloodhoof

Posted 10 June, 2019 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Bloodhoof
By: Gerður Kristný, Rory McTurk (Translator)
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

Bloodhoof is the re-casting into compulsively spare modern verse of an ancient Eddic poem – but this only begins to hint at its attractions. It is a minimalist epic telling of the abduction of Gerdur Gymisdottir from the land of giants to the court of Freyr of the ‘wolf-grey eyes’, and the subsequent events culminating in the birth of her son and her hopes of being saved by her own kin.

It is full of iron-hard rocks and ice, serpents in the breast gnawing at the harness of hope, but also wide-reaching fields of corn whispering in the breeze and a throne carved with beasts and dragons-heads. You could read the whole book in perhaps half an hour but it will take many months or years to begin to clear the ghosts and long-dead heroes from your mind.

I first encountered this book while I was in Iceland; there was this bookstore I had visited the first time I was there and revisited it again recently. However I didn’t pick up a copy of this book until I returned to Canada–bought way too many books as it was at the time!

Bloodhoof was a wonderful read. I don’t remember encountering the original Eddic poem when I read the poems a few years back, but thankfully this book has an introduction that introduces the original poem and where Kristny draws her sources from to write this book. I especially love the fact that this book is bilingual, with the original poem in Icelandic set at the top and the English translation at the bottom; Icelandic is a complex language but I always appreciate it when a book is bilingual like that, you can refer to it. The poem itself is minimalist but rich in imagery and feeling.

Suffice to say I really enjoyed this poem and glad I picked it up 🙂

Rating: ★★★★★

Learn more about the author on Wikipedia || Order this book from The Book Depository

Review: Don’t You Forget About Me

Posted 7 June, 2019 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Don’t You Forget About Me
By: Mhairi McFarlane
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

If there’s one thing worse than being fired from the grottiest restaurant in town, it’s coming home early to find your boyfriend in bed with someone else.

Reeling from the indignity of a double dumping on the same day, Georgina snatches at the next job that she’s offered – barmaid in a newly opened pub, which just so happens to run by the boy she fell in love with at school: Lucas McCarthy. And whereas Georgina (voted Most Likely to Succeed in her school yearbook) has done nothing but dead-end jobs in the last twelve years, Lucas has not only grown into a broodingly handsome man, but also has turned into an actual grown-up with a business and a dog along the way.

Meeting Lucas again not only throws Georgina’s rackety present into sharp relief, but also brings a dark secret from her past bubbling to the surface. Only she knows the truth about what happened on the last day of school, and why she’s allowed it to chase her all these years…

Wheee, a new Mhairi McFarlane book! As you may know I’m a big fan of her books (see author tag) so I was delighted to hear she was coming out with a new book this year. I actually picked up my copy of the book while I was on layover at Munich International Airport which is something to remember too 🙂

Read More

Two Book Reviews

Posted 5 June, 2019 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

The following are two reviews (sort of) that didn’t warrant a post of their own. Unfortunately this post is a bit of a downer, but I also didn’t want to pass them off and not post about them, if that makes any sense lol.

+++

Moonstone: The Boy Who Never Was
By: Sjon
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

The year is 1918 and in Iceland the erupting volcano Katla can be seen colouring the sky night and day from the streets of Reykjavik. Yet life in the small capital carries on as usual, despite the natural disaster, a shortage of coal and, in the outside world, the Great War grinding on.

There, sixteen-year-old M·ni Steinn lives for the new fashion – the movies. Asleep he dreams altered versions of them, their tapestry of events threaded with strands from his own life. Awake he hovers on the fringes of society. But then the Spanish flu epidemic comes ashore, killing hundreds and driving thousands into their sick beds. The shadows of existence deepen and for M·ni everything changes.

Capturing Iceland at a moment of profound transformation, this is the story of a misfit in a place where life and death, reality and imagination, secrets and revelations jostle for dominance. With not a word wasted, this mesmerising and original novel is the work of a major international writer.

It’s funny, I was actually eyeing this book the last time I was in Iceland but didn’t pick it up at the time. So this time around when I went I did have it on my mind to pick up a copy 😉

It’s my first Sjon novel so I’m not sure how it holds up compared to his other books. I thought it was an interesting read, reading how the Spanish flu affected Iceland, what life was like in Reykjavik in the early 20th century. There is also the added factor of what it was like to be a homosexual in Iceland in the early 20th century (though Mani I think was bi? I wasn’t sure if it was intrigue or infatuation re: Sola).

All in all it was an interesting read, although the epilogue chapter seemed tacked on and a bit of a leap for me. Nonetheless I’m glad to have picked it up and to have finally read a novel by Sjon.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Visit the author’s official website

+++

Waitress in Fall
By: Kristin Omarsdottir
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

For over three decades, the work of Kristin Omarsdottir has thrived in the vanguard of Icelandic literature. Waitress in Fall offers anglophone readers the first substantial selection of her poems in translation. Spanning thirty years and seven collections – from her first to her latest – this wide-reaching introduction celebrates a vital voice in contemporary European poetry.

Kristin Omarsdottir’s work resists the sweet, the neat or the certain. Her poems delight in the lush mess of actual life, in its hands and fingers, lemons and clocks, socks, soldiers, snow, knives, mothers, nightstands, sweat, and crockery. The domestic is at the heart of the poems, but it is a domesticity tinged with threat: something `clear and ominous’ persists between the lines.

These are surreal, unsettling landscapes, in which children lap milk from trees and car tyres are `soft as skin’. But Kristin’s poems are also full of laughter, sex, and love. They accept vulnerability as a condition of intimacy. Erupting `wherever thirst is ignited’, they are not afraid to strike, to rage, recognising a right – a responsibility – to risk the necessary word, even to `wound the language’.

This book kept following me in Iceland: at the bookstore, then at the airport, so I decided to pick it up, lol. As I haven’t heard of this poet until I visited Iceland this time around, picking up a book that spans much of her work these last few decades seem like the best place to start. It’s a great collection that indeed touches on the above topics, especially that of love and intimacy, and certainly raises that of everyday things we see, touch, and do to new heights. Definitely worth checking out.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Learn more about the author on Wikipedia || Order this book from the Book Depository