WWW Wednesday December 18, 2019

  WWW Wednesdays 2

 WWW Wednesdays

BOOKS JUST READ

click on the covers to know more about them

HISTFIC/MYSTERY

Olgas Egg

HISTFIC/MYSTERY

Treachery

AUDIO

Sur les chemins noirs

Olga’s Egg
Received for review from Clink Street
VERDICT: The Fabergé eggs as you never knew them. Intriguing, lavish, fascinating. My best historical novel of the year.
My full review is here

Treachery
Received for review through Netgalley
Another great adventure with Giordano Bruno, this time around Francis Drake. I found it a bit long, but still very satisfying.
Review coming soon.

Sur les chemins noirs
Believe it or not, I first heard about this French author through the English translation of one of his books: The Consolations of the Forest.
I so loved the content and its beautiful, both simple, direct and yet very poetic style.
This time, I decided to listen to one of his more recent narratives. After a very serious accident where he almost died, he decided to travel this time in France, on foot. He chooses as best as possible les chemins noirs, that is, the dark paths, in other words, paths and tiny roads that you cannot even find on the most precise map. Areas that are not yet under the gaze of Big Brother and the French government, who want to do all they can to connect the whole country to the internet, ignoring the choice of simple folks to go on living as they have been for generations. I loved it! So nicely written again on nature, but with this ardent cause to defend the right for people and areas of France to keep their deep identity.

CURRENTLY READING

HISTFIC

Lady Clementine

NONFICTION

Elder Anthony

CLASSIC/AUDIO

The Lodger

Lady Clementine
Received for review through Netgalley
I have read and enjoyed several books by Marie Benedict, so I didn’t hesitate with this one, especially as I knew nothing about Clementine Churchill. I’m about half done, and I find it very good so far, especially at describing the complexity f characters.

Elder Anthony of Optina
Almost done with the life of the famous second Elder of Optina. I’m in the interesting part with excerpts of his journal.

The Lodger
I decided to listen to this mystery for The Classics Club.
It was written in 1913 and is based on Jack the Ripper murders. I’m almost done, and it’s fabulous! Especially the tension growing in Mrs Bunting’s mind about her latest lodger. Plus the narrator is excellent at doing various English accents.
I plan to read/listen to other books by the same author. Her mother was English, but her father was French. She actually has a famous brother, Hillaire Belloc, who wrote books on Roman Catholicism, very well known in France.

BOOKS UP NEXT

HISTFIC

Dreamland

MYSTERY

Perfect Little Children

MYSTERY/AUDIO

Le cri

Dreamland
Received from the publisher for review 
“The year is 1911 when twenty-year-old heiress Peggy Batternberg is invited to spend the summer in America’s Playground.
The invitation to the luxurious Oriental Hotel a mile from Coney Island is unwelcome. Despite hailing from one of America’s richest families, Peggy would much rather spend the summer working at the Moonrise Bookstore than keeping up appearances with New York City socialites and her snobbish, controlling family.
But soon it transpires that the hedonism of nearby Coney Island affords Peggy the freedom she has been yearning for, and it’s not long before she finds herself in love with a troubled pier-side artist of humble means, whom the Batternberg patriarchs would surely disapprove of.
Disapprove they may, but hidden behind their pomposity lurks a web of deceit, betrayal and deadly secrets. And as bodies begin to mount up amidst the sweltering clamour of Coney Island, it seems the powerful Batternbergs can get away with anything…even murder.
Extravagant, intoxicating and thumping with suspense, bestselling Nancy Bilyeau’s magnificent Dreamland is a story of corruption, class and dangerous obsession.”
To tell the truth, I copied and pasted this synopsis without reading it. I have so far very much enjoyed Bilyeau’s books, so I want to go into this one without knowing anything about it.

Perfect Little Children
Received for review through Edelweiss
“The New York Times bestselling author of The Monogram Murders and Woman with a Secret returns with a sharp, captivating, and expertly plotted tale of psychological suspense.
All Beth has to do is drive her son to his soccer game, watch him play, and then return home. Just because she knows her ex-best friend lives near the field, that doesn’t mean she has to drive past her house and try to catch a glimpse of her.
Why would Beth do that and risk dredging up painful memories? She hasn’t seen Flora for twelve years. She doesn’t want to see her today—or ever again. But she can’t resist. She parks outside the open gates of Newnham House, watches from across the road as Flora arrives and calls to her children Thomas and Emily to get out of the car.
Except . . . There’s something terribly wrong. Flora looks the same, only older. Twelve years ago, Thomas and Emily were five and three years old. Today, they look precisely as they did then. They are Thomas and Emily without a doubt, but they haven’t changed at all. They are no taller, no older. Why haven’t they grown? How is it possible that they haven’t grown up?”
Another author of mysteries I have liked a lot.

Le cri
Not sure if I’m actually going to listen to this one. Depending on what book I get through the Classics Spin, I may switch. Anyway, that will be the next French audio I listen to.
It’s been translated in several languages, but apparently not yet in English.

GIVEAWAY

There is a giveaway featured
on the homepage

***

And I have books available for swap!

***

WHAT ABOUT YOUR READING?

 

WWW Wednesday November 13, 2019

  WWW Wednesdays 2

 WWW Wednesdays

I prepared a whole video, and then, for whatever reason, I discovered that the audio and visual were not in sync, so here is a traditional post!

BOOKS JUST READ

click on the covers to know more about them

MYSTERY

Scare Me

NONFICTION

The Parables

NONFICTION

A Monks guide

Scare Me:
Probably one of the most scary books I have ever read, with some horrific scenes. Endeavour Media, where I got it for free for signing up to their newsletter, presents it as psychological mystery, It’s that too, but I would first classify it as horror.
I have to admit it was well written and kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time, though I guessed early who was behind it all.
I only would give it 3 stars, just because horror is really not my thing, and I think some overdone details could have been avoided.

““When did you last google yourself, Mr Frost?”
Will Frost, successful businessman and happy family man, is woken to a disturbing midnight caller who asks him just that question.
Unnerved, but hoping that he was simply a victim of a twisted prank caller, he goes back to sleep in readiness for his pregnant daughter, Libby, and her boyfriend’s arrival at Gatwick the next morning.
When Will goes online, he finds a website has been set up in his name, showing photographs of the inside of his home, along with photographs of six houses he’s never seen before.
In the first of these strange houses, a gruesome murder has already taken place.
Will is then told that his own family is in mortal danger.
The only way he can keep them safe is to visit each of the houses on the website in person – before the police discover what has happened there.
Seven houses.
Seven gruesome homicides.
Seven chances to save his daughter’s life…”

To counterbalance, I read two very deep and thoughtful books:
The Parables
I will soon review it on my Orthodox blog. I hadn’t read any book by this author, and it’s really excellent, easy yet deep commentary on Scripture. The author wrote several volumes.

A Monk’s Guide to a Clean House and Mind
I’m not Buddhist, but I found this little book so good. It’s written by a Buddhist monk, and gives practical and easy ideas to clean things. I really enjoyed all the parallels between cleaning things where you live, and the impact on your inner life, as long as you do things in awareness, living in the present moment – definitely Christian concepts as well, alas often forgotten in the way many Christians live in our Western world.
The richness of Orthodoxy is that it kept this early Christian wisdom alive today.

CURRENTLY READING

NONFICTION

Guide to Healing the Earth

HISTFIC/MYSTERY

Treachery

MYSTERY/AUDIO

Sharko

Tom Brown’s Guide to Healing the Earth:
Won in a giveaway organized by Penguin Random House
It’s good, inspired by Native American spirituality. I’m about half done, but so far I’m a bit disappointed, because I was expecting some more practical ideas to help me do more than I already do – based on the title of the book.

Treachery:
Received for review through Netgalley
I had thoroughly enjoyed the first 3 books in this series on Giordano Bruno, a fascinating figure. Then this volume 4 was announced several years ago, but didn’t seem available. So glad it’s finally coming out in December, and I have been enjoying its first chapters.

Sharko:
Another scary one, by a French author I had yet to discover.
The main idea of the plot is great: Lucie privately wants to investigate a case her dead uncle had been working on. She goes to the house of a guy, without telling her colleague cops, and ends up killing him (Ramirez) in self-defense. So Franck, Lucie’s husband and also a cop, goes to mask the crime scene to make it look worse and to send his police department on another track.
I’ve really been enjoying the suspense, and I am learning a lot (on all kinds of scientific, historical, and legendary details related to blood!), but what that horrible Ramirez was into is really horrific and chilling.
Not available in English

BOOKS UP NEXT

MYSTERY

A Noel Killling

FICTION

If You Cross the River

CLASSIC/AUDIO

The Masque of the red death

A Noël Killing
Received for review 
“Christmastime in the south of France is as beautiful as ever, but when a shady local businessman drops dead in the middle of the festivities, Verlaque and Bonnet must solve the case while keeping the holiday spirit alive.
Antoine Verlaque, examining magistrate for the beautiful town of Aix-en-Provence, doesn’t like Christmas. The decorations appear in the shops far too early, festive tourists swarm the streets, and his beloved Cours Mirabeau is lined with chalets selling what he regards as tacky trinkets. But his wife and partner Marine Bonnet is determined to make this a Christmas they can both enjoy, beginning with the carol sing at the Cathedral Saint Sauveur, a beautiful service in a packed church.
Just as the holiday cheer is in full swing, a man is poisoned, sending the community into a tailspin. The list of suspects, Verlaque and Bonnet quickly discover, almost fills the church itself, from the visiting vendors at the Christmas fair to the victim’s unhappy wife and his disgruntled business partner. In A Noël Killing, with the help of an ever-watchful young woman named France, the pair must solve the murder while the spirit of the season attempts to warm Verlaque’s stubborn heart.”

If You Cross the River
Received for review through Edelweiss
From celebrated Belgian author Geneviève Damas, a modern fable about friendship, self-determination, and the power of words.
Illiterate, isolated, and held at arm’s length by a bitter father, François Sorrente has spent his seventeen years within narrow confines. By day he tends the family farm’s pigs; by night he manages the household chores. Still, François can’t help but wonder about the wider world and his place in it. Who was his mother, who he remembers not at all? And why is the opposite shore of the river, where his beloved older sister disappeared many years ago, forbidden to him?

The Masque of the Red Death
Short story, For The Classics Club
“The story follows Prince Prospero’s attempts to avoid a dangerous plague known as the Red Death by hiding in his abbey. He, along with many other wealthy nobles, has a masquerade ball within seven rooms of his abbey, each decorated with a different color.
In the midst of their revelry, a mysterious figure disguised as a Red Death victim enters and makes his way through each of the rooms.
The story follows many traditions of Gothic fiction and is often analyzed as an allegory about the inevitability of death, though some critics advise against an allegorical reading. Many different interpretations have been presented, as well as attempts to identify the true nature of the titular disease.”

GIVEAWAYS

There are several giveaways featured
on the homepage

***

And I have books available for swap!

***

WHAT ABOUT YOUR READING?

 

WWW Wednesday October 16, 2019

  WWW Wednesdays 2

 WWW Wednesdays

I prepared a whole video, and then, for whatever reason, I discovered that the audio and visual were not in sync, so here is a traditional post!

BOOKS JUST READ

click on the covers to know more about them

MYSTERY

Solving Cadence Moore

NONFICTION

Fr Leonid

MYSTERY/AUDIO

Avalanche hotel

I have reviewed the first two:
Solving Cadence Moore
Elder Leonid of Optina

Avalanche Hôtel:
In 1980, Joshua wakes up in a hotel where he works as a security guard. He is interviewed by a cop about the disappearance of a girl. But he has a hard time remembering what he does there, where he is, and what really happened.
Then we jump to 2018. Joshua wakes up in the hospital after a period of coma due to an accident in an avalanche. During this coma, Joshua had vivid dreams, and he strongly believes his subconscious is trying to tell him something. His first step is to find that hotel, which has actually been abandoned for years. So what is really going on?
Who is he really? What was he doing in this dangerous place?
The book is set in Switzerland. I loved the atmosphere, with the abandoned hotel, and the way the author described the cold, the snow, and the spooky silence around.  I hate snow and cold, but I have to say, it was so well done, I really could feel there!
I especially liked the constant shift between dream and reality. In Joshua’s mind, and for the reader.
There’s a lot in this book about memory, how it builds up on our past, and defines who we are.
The narrator was great for the suspense and atmosphere.

CURRENTLY READING

CHINESE SCIFI

Supernova Era

NONFICTION

Secret Agent Brainteasers

CLASSIC/AUDIO

Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes

Supernova Era:
Received for review on BOOKishFirst
After 3 meh books, finally a great one!
A supernova exploded, and because of the heat and radiation, people’s chromosomes are damaged. Only kids 13 and under will heal and survive. So the adults have only 12 months at most to train the children how to do everything and run the world.
And what happens after is sociologically quite fascinating!
UPDATE: loved it, see my happy review!

Secret Agent Brainteasers:
Received for review
Interesting book: it’s indeed a collection of brainteasers – actually quite difficult, I don’t think I’ll manage to solve one.
But the book is much more than that. Each chapter starts by explaining the historical background of spies, highlighting one theme per chapter, and then the teasers of that chapter focus on that theme.

Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes:
I had no idea this book was so hilarious, about the people’s reactions to this Scottish foreigner travelling with a donkey in the middle of nowhere in France.
Fascinating overview of the time.

BOOKS UP NEXT

CLASSIC

On the Edge of the World

FICTION

If You Cross the River

MYST/AUDIO

Archipel dune autre vie

The synopses below are from Goodreads

On the Edge of the World
For Classics Spin #21.
“Based on a true story of an early Russian missionary bishop’s trip to Eastern Siberia. During his journey he learns through example and suffering that in indigenous peoples of all cultures there is dignity that must be recognized and built upon as a foundation for Christian conversion.”

If You Cross the River
Received for review
From celebrated Belgian author Geneviève Damas, a modern fable about friendship, self-determination, and the power of words.
Illiterate, isolated, and held at arm’s length by a bitter father, François Sorrente has spent his seventeen years within narrow confines. By day he tends the family farm’s pigs; by night he manages the household chores. Still, François can’t help but wonder about the wider world and his place in it. Who was his mother, who he remembers not at all? And why is the opposite shore of the river, where his beloved older sister disappeared many years ago, forbidden to him?

The Archipelago of Another Life
I’ll listen to it in French, but it’s now available in English. I’ve been curious about this author.
“A tense “Siberian Western” set in the inhospitable, boundless Russia taiga at the height of the Cold War.
On the far eastern borders of the Soviet Union, in the sunset of Stalin’s reign, soldiers are training for a war that could end all wars, for in the atomic age man has sown the seeds of his own destruction.
Among them is Pavel Gartsev, a reservist. Orphaned, scarred by the last great war and unlucky in love, he is an instant victim for the apparatchiks and ambitious careerists who thrive within the Red Army’s ranks.
Assigned to a search party composed of regulars and reservists, charged with the recapture of an escaped prisoner from a nearby gulag, Gartsev finds himself one of an unlikely quintet of cynics, sadists and heroes, embarked on a challenging manhunt through the Siberian taiga.
But the fugitive, capable, cunning and evidently at home in the depths of these vast forests, proves no easy prey. As the pursuit goes on, and the pursuers are struck by a shattering discovery, Gartsev confronts both the worst within himself and the tantalising prospect of another, totally different life.”

GIVEAWAYS

There are several giveaways featured
on the homepage

***

And I have books available for swap!

***

WHAT ABOUT YOUR READING?