Review: Crooked House

Posted 23 January, 2019 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Crooked House
By: Agatha Christie
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase

The Leonides are one big happy family living in a sprawling, ramshackle mansion. That is until the head of the household, Aristide, is murdered with a fatal barbiturate injection.

Suspicion naturally falls on the old man’s young widow, fifty years his junior. But the murderer has reckoned without the tenacity of Charles Hayward, fiancé of the late millionaire’s granddaughter.

I seem to be slowly making my way through Agatha Christie’s standalone mysteries. I picked up this novel because I saw the trailer to the movie adaptation starring Glenn Close, Gillian Anderson, Christina Hendricks, and Max Irons. I was curious about it so here we are 🙂

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Review: The Fall of Gondolin

Posted 21 January, 2019 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

The Fall of Gondolin
By: J.R.R. Tolkien
Format/Source: Hardback; my purchase

In the Tale of The Fall of Gondolin are two of the greatest powers in the world. There is Morgoth of the uttermost evil, unseen in this story but ruling over a vast military power from his fortress of Angband. Deeply opposed to Morgoth is Ulmo, second in might only to Manwë, chief of the Valar: he is called the Lord of Waters, of all seas, lakes, and rivers under the sky. But he works in secret in Middle-earth to support the Noldor, the kindred of the Elves among whom were numbered Húrin and Túrin Turambar.

Central to this enmity of the gods is the city of Gondolin, beautiful but undiscoverable. It was built and peopled by Noldorin Elves who, when they dwelt in Valinor, the land of the gods, rebelled against their rule and fled to Middle-earth. Turgon King of Gondolin is hated and feared above all his enemies by Morgoth, who seeks in vain to discover the marvellously hidden city, while the gods in Valinor in heated debate largely refuse to intervene in support of Ulmo’s desires and designs.

Into this world comes Tuor, cousin of Túrin, the instrument of Ulmo’s designs. Guided unseen by him Tuor sets out from the land of his birth on the fearful journey to Gondolin, and in one of the most arresting moments in the history of Middle-earth the sea-god himself appears to him, rising out of the ocean in the midst of a storm. In Gondolin he becomes great; he is wedded to Idril, Turgon’s daughter, and their son is Eärendel, whose birth and profound importance in days to come is foreseen by Ulmo.

At last comes the terrible ending. Morgoth learns through an act of supreme treachery all that he needs to mount a devastating attack on the city, with Balrogs and dragons and numberless Orcs. After a minutely observed account of the fall of Gondolin, the tale ends with the escape of Túrin and Idril, with the child Eärendel, looking back from a cleft in the mountains as they flee southward, at the blazing wreckage of their city. They were journeying into a new story, the Tale of Eärendel, which Tolkien never wrote, but which is sketched out in this book from other sources.

Following his presentation of Beren and Lúthien Christopher Tolkien has used the same ‘history in sequence’ mode in the writing of this edition of The Fall of Gondolin. In the words of J.R.R. Tolkien, it was ‘the first real story of this imaginary world’ and, together with Beren and Lúthien and The Children of Húrin, he regarded it as one of the three ‘Great Tales’ of the Elder Days.

It’s always exciting to learn a new Tolkien book is to be released, even if it is just early drafts to a well-known tale (and even with the debate of whether these drafts should be published since these were clearly not the final polished edition that the author preferred). The Tale of Gondolin is one of the more memorable stories in the Silmarillion so I did come to it (even if it took a while) with great curiosity.

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Review: The Presidents Club: Inside the World’s Most Exclusive Fraternity

Posted 18 January, 2019 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

The Presidents Club: Inside the World’s Most Exclusive Fraternity
By: Nancy Gibbs & Michael Duffy
Source: eBook; my purchase

The Presidents Club, established at Dwight Eisenhower’s inauguration by Harry Truman and Herbert Hoover, is a complicated place: its members are bound forever by the experience of the Oval Office and yet are eternal rivals for history’s favor. Among their secrets: How Jack Kennedy tried to blame Ike for the Bay of Pigs. How Ike quietly helped Reagan win his first race in 1966. How Richard Nixon conspired with Lyndon Johnson to get elected and then betrayed him. How Jerry Ford and Jimmy Carter turned a deep enmity into an alliance. The unspoken pact between a father and son named Bush. And the roots of the rivalry between Clinton and Barack Obama.

Time magazine editors and presidential historians Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy offer a new and revealing lens on the American presidency, exploring the club as a hidden instrument of power that has changed the course of history.

I picked this volume up around the time of former President George HW Bush’s funeral. There was a lot of talk about the small club of former presidents and how they only meet on occasions of presidential libraries being open and funerals, and I remember coming across this book time and again so I decided to check it out.

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Bookish and Not-So-Bookish Thoughts

Posted 16 January, 2019 by Lianne in Miscellaneous / 1 Comment

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. Food coma. That is all 😛
  2. In all seriousness, my Christmas holidays was good. Lots of events happening on top of Christmas and New Year’s with family birthdays and then a whole slew of Christmas meet-ups/get-togethers but it was a lot of fun, I was happy to spend my downtime with these people in my life 🙂
  3. And when I wasn’t going out for Christmas lunch or dinner, I was working, hahahaha. I worked Christmas Day and Boxing Day (evening shifts) so that gave me leeway to take New Year’s off. In previous years I have worked New Year’s Day–usually short-shifting from evening to day shift, FML–but this was the first year I actually said Nope, I’m taking time off and spending it with my family. And I did 🙂
  4. Alas, back to the grind now. School resumed this week, sad face. I’m taking three courses this semester and one of them is shaping up to be a bit of a head stomper so yeah, this semester should be fun #cries #sarcasm At least I got the professional course that I wanted (a requirement for my degree) in gerontology (as I already work with the elderly population anyhow).
  5. I’m trying to keep my work schedule to a minimum/whatever’s on my master schedule. It’s going to be tough as we’ve been consistently short-staffed these days and of course there are people moving *tear* But an opportunity sort of came up too within my hospital and I’m trying my hand with it.
  6. Books I’m currently reading: been reading/finishing up Mikhail Zygar’s All the Kremlin’s Men: Inside the Court of Vladimir Putin which has been a fascinating read of recent Russian history and politics. Spent the last two days wholly engrossed with Deborah Harkness’ Time’s Convert so I’m looking at my TBR queue for my next fiction read…Maybe Dominic Smith’s The Last Painting of Sarah de Vos?
  7. In continuation with my project to acquire all my favourite books in hardback, I got Deborah Harkness’ Shadow of Night and The Book of Life recently, which completes my collection of her books in hardback (realised I forgot to add The World of All Souls in that photo, oops). Now I have two books left on the list (Elizabeth Gaskell’s North & South and Ian McEwan’s Atonement in case you were wondering).
  8. I also spent my time off trying to catch up here and organising myself for projects I want to work on this year. Bit tricky as balancing school and work already takes up a lot of time, and honestly my momentum here has been snail-like at best (even though I’ve said I’m reverting back to blogging casually). It’s hard, half the time I’m wondering if I should just retire my blog altogether. Most of the people I keep in touch with are on my Instagram anyway, and honestly I’ve never had a very big reading audience to begin with. I don’t know, I guess I’ll feel out how this year goes.
  9. Speaking of blogging, yeah, clearly I’m never going to post about my time in Portugal, now am I? I haven’t even pressed to grab a copy of the raws (the photos) from my Dad. Oops.
  10. But hey, my writing projects *fingers crossed*


And that’s it from me! How have you been? Have a lovely week!

9th Annual End of the Year Book Survey

Posted 14 January, 2019 by Lianne in Meme / 1 Comment

Jamie @ Perpetual Page-Turner‘s End of the Year Book Survey is back for 2018! It’s always fun to recap at the end of the year 🙂 To those interested, here’s my previous years’ entries.

Admittedly, and you will see when I list my stats, I didn’t read much in 2018. I was busy with offline matters, and on top of it I was in a fairly major reading slump. Nonetheless I decided to fill out the survey for 2018, haha.

And without further ado:

2018 Reading Stats

Number Of Books You Read:
According to my personal list, 81 books O_O That’s….significantly lower compared to previous years.

Number of Re-Reads:
6 books, lol.

Genre You Read The Most From:
According to Goodreads, poetry was the genre I read the most from, followed by non-fiction (I really got into a non-fiction cick in the latter half of the year).

Best In Books

01. Best Book You Read In 2018? (If you have to cheat — you can break it down by genre if you want or 2018 release vs. backlist)
Neil MacGregor’s Germany: Memories of a Nation, Svetlana Alexievich’s The Unwomanly Face of War, Julia Quinn’s When He Was Wicked, Joseph Stiglitz’s The Euro: How a Common Currency Threatens the Future of Europe, and more…Sense a general trend as to what I read this year? xD

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