Review: Night Soldiers

Posted 29 January, 2018 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Night Soldiers
By: Alan Furst
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

Bulgaria, 1934. A young man is murdered by the local fascists. His brother, Khristo Stoianev, is recruited into the NKVD, the Soviet secret intelligence service, and sent to Spain to serve in its civil war. Warned that he is about to become a victim of Stalin’s purges, Khristo flees to Paris. Night Soldiers masterfully re-creates the European world of 1934–45: the struggle between Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia for Eastern Europe, the last desperate gaiety of the beau monde in 1937 Paris, and guerrilla operations with the French underground in 1944. Night Soldiers is a scrupulously researched panoramic novel, a work on a grand scale.

This is not my first Alan Furst novel–that would be Mission to Paris (review)–but this was the first book I had ever heard of by the author and it has long been on my wishlist. Well last year I finally got around to picking it up and reading it 😀

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Review: Atlantis

Posted 26 January, 2018 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Atlantis
By: Lauren Eden
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

Atlantis is a three-part poetic tale of a young woman’s quest to build paradise out of her flat-packed suburban life. Heartbreaking and humorous, Atlantis is a journey about picking up the pieces from the ruins of a life they said would be good for you.

Fun fact: I more or less started 2017 reading her first poetry collection, Of Yesteryear (review) and read this latest collection of hers at the end of 2017. I like symmetry like that.

Anyway, whilst I didn’t love this collection as much as the first one (as I found the first one to be much more relatable), I thought this collection was a far more personal outing of the poet’s. Her poetry continues to touch on romantic love but her poems also reflect on her life, on expectations, on her own personal relationships with her mother (actually I first found out about that on Instagram and having read the rest of the book since I can see much of that theme running throughout the book). Some of her poems are zingers (like the one I posted below) and others I can see after having read Of Yesteryear that her style has evolved a bit. Which makes sense, we grow and continue to develop our skills.

Overall I enjoyed reading Atlantis and am delighted to have read another collection by this poet. Definitely one of my favourites that I’ve discovered last year.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Follow the author on Instagram || Order this book from The Book Depository

Review: Chapterhouse: Dune

Posted 25 January, 2018 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Chapterhouse: Dune (Dune #6)
By: Frank Herbert
Format/Source: Mass market paperback; my purchase

The desert planet Arrakis, called Dune, has been destroyed. Now, the Bene Gesserit, heirs to Dune’s power, have colonized a green world — and are turning it into a desert, mile by scorched mile. Here is the last book Frank Herbert wrote before his death. A stunning climax to the epic Dune legend that will live on forever…

And here we are, at the last of the original Dune novels. It’s been quite a journey, finally getting around to reading the rest of the volumes in the original series. Took me a while to finish this last volume as I was busy with school and work at the time (was reading this during my commute and during my breaks).

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Bookish and Not-So-Bookish Thoughts

Posted 24 January, 2018 by Lianne in Miscellaneous / 2 Comments

Bookish and Not-So-Bookish Thoughts is a weekly blogging event hosted by Bookishly Boisterous. It allows book bloggers (and non-book bloggers) to write about pretty much anything, bookish or otherwise (i.e. share exciting plans for the weekend, rants on things they’ve encountered during the week, etc.).

  1. Back from hiatus (sort of)! I hope everyone is having a lovely January so far and that your Christmas holidays were wonderful 🙂 Mine was, albeit peppered with work (but that’s okay).
  2. Despite the holidays though, I was so frustrated because of school. They said they kept our holidays intact and yet they placed assignment deadlines on and around Christmas -_-; And after New Year’s of course all the other deadlines started streaming in so I was pretty pissed…And then of course there were exams last week and this week so yeah, I just want this month over with, to be honest.
  3. Some news right before the New Year: I got a permanent part-time position at my hospital! Yay, no more worrying about where I will nab another temporary part-time and reverting back to a casual status. I’m also heading back to the medical rehab unit, which is also yay but at the same time I’m a bit sad that I didn’t stay at my old unit longer as I really enjoyed working with the other part-timers there. But anyway, onward and upward, right?
  4. So since January 1st I’ve also been on a no-spend, which has surprisingly held up! lol. Sure, there’s been that moment where I was thinking about something but so far I have been strong, haha (and saved some money along the way). Yeah, there should be a reprieve somewhere for a bit, but in the meantime it’s been good and I’m using a lot of the stuff I have on hand so that’s a plus 🙂
  5. Remind me the next time I’m offered an overtime shift to make sure I’m not working a day shift the following day? I worked two overtime shifts last month (day/evening) but the second one was brutal, I was dragging myself through the following day shift. Never again (as much as possible), 16 hours is too much for one person x_x
  6. Unfortunately because I’ve been so busy with schoolwork and mounds of application forms and whatnot, I haven’t gotten around to editing my next poetry collection. I initially wanted to release it in February (heh, does that give you a hint as to what that collection is about?) but yeah, that’s not happening and I don’t want to make a rush job of it. Besides…
  7. …I’m still promoting my second poetry collection, Of Frost and Fury: Poems Written in the Land of Volcanoes and Giants 🙂 It’s a collection of poetry I had written while I was in Iceland last year, and I had put it together incorporating photos I had taken during the trip. So that was good fun; you can find out more about the process in this post) I had finalised it sometime in the December amidst shifts at work and assignments; coupled with the Christmas holidays, I reckon it went under the radar considerably.
  8. Books I am currently reading: Robert Ostler’s Empires of the Word: A Language History of the World and Soren Kierkegaard’s Works of Love. Why do I have so many “hefty” books on my TBR pile at the moment? I need something light to read, lol…
  9. I was sort of catching up in preparing some content here in the blog for the next bit (changes are a-coming; see next week’s January Updates post) but I realised that next month will hit 11 years blogging regularly. I know I say it every year but time truly flies…
  10. On a final note:

+++

And that’s it from me! Wishing everyone a lovely week 🙂

Review: The Undertaking

Posted 23 January, 2018 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

The Undertaking
By: Audrey Magee
Format/Source: Hardback; my purchase

In a desperate bid to escape the trenches of the Eastern front, Peter Faber, an ordinary German soldier, marries Katharina Spinell, a woman he has never met, in a marriage of convenience that promises ‘honeymoon’ leave for him and a pension for her should he die in the war. With ten days’ leave secured, Peter visits his new wife in Berlin and both are surprised by the passion that develops between them.

When Peter returns to the horror of the front, it is only the dream of Katharina that sustains him as he approaches Stalingrad. Back in Berlin, Katharina, goaded on by her desperate and delusional parents, ruthlessly works her way into Nazi high society, wedding herself, her young husband, and her unborn child to the regime. But when the tide of war turns and Berlin falls, Peter and Katharina find their simple dream of family cast in tragic light and increasingly hard to hold on to.

Reminiscent of Bernard Schlink’s The Reader, this is an unforgettable novel of marriage, ambition, and the brutality of war, which heralds the arrival of a breathtaking new voice in international fiction.

I must’ve picked this book up how many times before committing myself to reading it, lol. I first heard of it when it was longlisted a few years ago for the Baileys Women’s Prize in fiction, the premise sounded interesting.

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