Saturday, July 31, 2010

Arnaldur Indridason - Hypothermia


Title: Hypothermia
Author: Arnaldur Indridason

Genre: Fiction

Love/Hate?: Subtle love
Rating: 5/5
Did you finish?: Couldn't finish fast enough!

One-sentence summary: Icelandic police investigator is nagged by a suicide that doesn't seem right.

Why did you get this book?: Goodreads Giveaway

Do you like the cover?: Eh -- I don't hate it, but it doesn't stick out in my mind.

First line from book: Maria hardly registered what was happening during the funeral.

Review: Apparently this is the 6th book in a series, which I didn't know when I requested this book. (I likely wouldn't have requested it then as I hate arriving at a series in the middle.) However, this book easily reads as a satisfying standalone thriller, and I didn't feel at anytime that I was lost or missing an inside joke or reference.

I've seen this book compared to Larsson's Millennium trilogy, but other than both being Scandinavian authors, I fail to see the similarities. Larsson's hero is in his prime, slightly disreputable but clearly moral, irresistible to women; Indridason's Erlendur is in his 60s, reticent and withdrawn, emotionally distant. The pacing of this book is different than Larsson as well: we're treated to flashbacks leading up to Maria's death, breaking up Erlendur's careful investigation. The tension comes from the slow, inevitable confirmation of what we -- and Erlendur -- suspect and fear. It's not an exciting book, per se, but it's definitely not boring.

Tropes?: Distant daddy, angry daughter, smothering mother-in-law

FTC Disclosure: I received this book via GoodReads First Reads giveaway.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Books to movies

So Daniel Craig is playing Mikael Blomkvist in the American version of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. I'm pretty happy about the casting, which got me thinking about other book-to-movie translations that I liked and disliked.

Likes

The English Patient:
The Hours
Smilla's Sense of Snow

Dislikes

Possession: Ohmygod. The levels of wrong. I actually liked Gwyneth Paltrow as Maud but I was pretty cold about everything else. Well, to be fair, the casting wasn't as egregious for me as the

Friday, July 23, 2010

Reading Challenge: Historical Fiction

I'm such a sucker for historical fiction it seems ludicrous I haven't signed up for a challenge yet. Better late than never!

I'm aiming for 'Fascinated' (read 6 Historical Fiction novels); challenge by Queen of Happy Endings/The Royal Reviews.

Update, 9/23: Challenge completed! 

Books Read

For the King by Catherine Delors
Wildthorn by Jane Eagland
Dracula in Love by Karen Essex
None But You by Susan Kaye
For You Alone by Susan Kaye
The Rose of Sebastopol by Katharine McMahon




Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Quick Review: First Flight - Mary Robinette Kowal

First Flight
by Mary Robinette Kowal
5/5

Short review: This fabulous and inventive take on time travel charmed me from the first moment. When has sci-fi featured a mature heroine? (Mature in age, not in rating.) I couldn't imagine what was ahead of me when I started this too-brief story; I'm unsurprised this was an award-nominated piece.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Apex Magazine, May 2010



Title: Apex Magazine, May 2010
Rating: 4/5

Original Fiction:
The Last Stand of the Ant Maker by Paul Jessup
City of Refuge by Jerry Gordon
Interview:
DARK FAITH Roundtable: Gary A. Braunbeck, Jay Lake, Nick Mamatas, and Catherynne M. Valente

This issue features items from Apex's Dark Faith anthology, which looks interesting -- and if the two stories are an indication of the quality, then I'm all over it.

'City of Refuge' by Jerry Gordon was my hands down favorite -- I'm a sucker for dystopias anyway, never mind ones involving the undead and underground religious movements.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Apex Magazine, March 2010

Title: Apex Magazine, March 2010
Rating: 5/5


This was my first time ever reading Apex Magazine and I wasn't sure what to expect. This issue was almost solely dedicated to Mary Robinette Kowal's work, an author I was unfamiliar with -- but I can now say I'm a fan. The three stories are wildly different from each other but each is so well-written was I immediately sucked in.

My favorite has to be "The Bride Replete" which blew me away -- Kowal's world-building is marvelous, and she does it in a way that is effortless, easy, and ... sneaky. I say sneaky because even though the story is set on an alien world with an alien race, I was able to get into the story without feeling lost or confused.

My second favorite story was "Scenting the Dark" -- it had a kind of 'Pitch Black' feel to it, in a fabulous way.

Kowal's other two stories were wonderful, but these were the standouts for me. This issue is definitely worth owning -- I'll be rereading these stories often!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Eros, Philia, Agape by Rachel Swirsky


Title: Eros, Philia, Agape
Author: Rachel Swirsky

Genre: Fiction

Love/Hate?: Love times infinity
Rating: 5/5
Did you finish?: Finished, reread, finished again!

One-sentence summary: Poignant break up of a marriage. (Ha, that's my sneaky summary.)

Why did you get this book?: Free sample from the Sony eReader store

Do you like the cover?: N/A

First line from book: Lucian packed his possessions before he left.

Review: Oh.My.God. I didn't know what to expect from this short piece of fiction but wow -- what I got just blew me away. In just a brief number of pages (31 on my eReader), Swirsky created a story that touched upon so many themes: marriage, abuse, heartbreak, parenthood, AI, soul ... Her writing is so readable, one just inhales the pages, and then suddenly, I was at the end, very nearly screaming for the story to go on. No wonder this was a Hugo and Locus finalist. So good.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Reading Challenge: Speculative Fiction

I've never done a reading challenge before, but I just couldn't resist the Speculative Fiction one offered by Book City Chick. Being half brave, half chicken, I'm going to declare my level at: Enthusiastic (read 6 Speculative Fiction novels). To make my life easier, I'm going to make a TBR for this challenge -- which I may or may not stick with.

The Handmaiden's Tale, Margaret Atwood
The Windup Girl, Paolo Bacigalupi
The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker, Leanna Renee Hieber
The City & The City, China Miéville
The Forest of Hands and Teeth, Carrie Ryan
Finch, Jeff VanderMeer