19 Jun 2018

Review - Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

Title: Norse Mythology

Author: Neil Gaiman

Synopsis:

The great Norse myths, which have inspired so much of modern fiction, are dazzlingly retold by Neil Gaiman. Tales of dwarfs and frost giants, of treasure and magic, and of Asgard, home to the gods: Odin the all-father, highest and oldest of the Aesir; his mighty son Thor, whose hammer Mjollnir makes the mountain giants tremble; Loki, wily and handsome, reliably unreliable in his lusts; and Freya, more beautiful than the sun or the moon, who spurns those who seek to control her.

From the dawn of the world to the twilight of the gods, this is a thrilling, vivid retelling of the Norse myths from the award-winning, bestselling Neil Gaiman.

My Thoughts:

Yes, I've read another Gaiman, because the man is a master storyteller. That's a fact. If you haven't read any work of Gaiman yet, do yourself a favour and dive into one of his books. They are magic.

Norse Mythology is not an exception. The book contains 15 short stories about the Norse gods, each usually featuring one god as the 'hero' of the story. Odin, Thor, Loki, Heimdall, Frey, Freya and lots of lesser known gods are spotlighted in these tales.

Giants and dwarves appear too and it actually occured to me while reading this collection that Mr. J.R.R. Tolkien must have taken inspiration for his novels from the mythology of the north. The atmosphere of these stories and the creatures present in them show similarities with what we find in the world of The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings. (it's possible that everyone knows about this connection and I was a bit slow to realize it... If it is so, please forgive my ignorance.)

Mr. Gaiman clearly has a soft spot for Loki (I don't blame him), so be prepared for a lot of Loki if you pick up Norse Mythology.

My favourite story was Freya's Unusual Wedding simply because it was hilarious! So funny, there are no words. But then there are quite dark ones as well, that include murders, mutilation and torture. I guess every mythology has some nasty bits here and there but I think Norse mythology outdoes most. 

It was great to discover all aspects that northern mythology has in common with other countries' mythologies or folk tales. The tree that grows between worlds for example is present in the old Hungarian beliefs as well, only our ancestors called it 'life tree' or 'world tree'.

I recommend this book to all those who'd like to learn more about Norse mythology, Marvel/Thor fans and anyone who feels they need to take a break from novels.




17 Jun 2018

Weekend Wrap-up #10

The Sunday post is a weekly meme hosted by Caffeinated Reviewer. It's a chance to share news, a post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things you have received.


This was my last week of training at the workplace, so from Monday I'm on my own. Hopefully everything will go well.

Yesterday we went to the bath with my best friend. We swam so much, I was extremely tired by the end of the day, but it was so good to take advantage of the summer at last. We didn't expect we'd have nice weather but in the end I looked like a tomato because of the sunburn. I still do, I have to apply a thick layer of creme on my face, shoulders and chest to reduce the pain a bit.

Yesterday I finished reading Bring Me Their Hearts by Sara Wolf, my review is coming on June 27th.

I'm currently reading Mrs. Sherlock Holmes by Brad Ricca for the Timeless book club, The Lucy Preston Literary Society.

I'm planning to start Edward Albee's play Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf next week.

I'd really like to put my review of Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman up on the blog next week too.


Recent posts on the blog:


Wednesday: WWW Wednesday #16

Friday: Book Beginning and the Friday 56 #18 featuring Mrs. Sherlock Holmes by Brad Ricca



Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews that makes it possible to share with other bookworms what books you added to your shelves physical or virtual during the week. 

Physical books:


Title: Ready Player One

Author: Ernest Cline


I know, I'm a little bit late to the game but I'm curious what the hype was about. I'll watch the movie after reading the book and will decide if I want to do a comparison post or will stick with a review. I'm glad I've got to own this book at last and that I have a chance to pick it up soon. 






Title: East of Eden

Author: John Steinbeck


I've been planning to read East of Eden for so long now. It's one of my mother's favourite books. I've read Of Mice and Men from Steinbeck, I know he was an incredibly talented writer and so I can't wait to start this epic family story of his.







Title: Hold Your Own

Author: Kate Tempest 



A poetry collection at last. A sequence of poems about the prophet Teiresias to be exact. The gender change that happens in this work interests me a lot, not to mention I've wanted to familiarize myself with Kate Tempest's poetry for some time know. It will be a wonderful ride I'm sure.






ARC:


Title: The Oddling Prince

Author: Nancy Springer

Source: NetGalley



I saw this book on many other blogs and the reviews usually say good things about it. My request on NetGalley got approved in 10 minutes which is a new record, haha. 







Please leave  link to your weekend post below so I can go and visit your blog. Enjoy the weekend!

15 Jun 2018

Book Beginnings and the Friday 56 #18

Book Beginnings on Friday and The Friday 56 are weekly memes hosted by Rose City Reader and Freda's Voice.

Rules: 

Book Beginnings: Share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. 

The Friday 56: Grab a book, turn to page 56 or 56% in you eReader. Find any sentence (not spoilery) and reflect on it if you want.
 
 
The book in the spotlight today is:
 
by Brad Ricca 


Synopsis:

Mrs. Sherlock Holmes tells the incredible true life story of Mrs. Grace Humiston, the New York lawyer and detective who solved the famous cold case of Ruth Cruger, an 18-year-old girl who disappeared in 1917. Grace was an amazing lawyer and traveling detective during a time when no women were practicing these professions. She focused on solving cases no one else wanted and advocating for innocents. Grace became the first female U.S. District Attorney and made ground-breaking investigations into modern slavery.

One of Grace's greatest accomplishments was solving the Cruger case after following a trail of corruption that lead from New York to Italy. Her work changed how the country viewed the problem of missing girls. But the victory came with a price when she learned all too well what happens when one woman upstages the entire NYPD.

In the literary tradition of In Cold Blood and The Devil in the White City, Brad Ricca's Mrs. Sherlock Holmes is a true crime tale told in spine-tingling fashion. This story is about a woman whose work was so impressive that the papers gave her the nickname of fiction’s greatest sleuth. With important repercussions in the present about kidnapping, the role of the media, and the truth of crime stories, the great mystery of the book – and its haunting twist ending – is how one woman can become so famous only to disappear completely.
 
 
Book Beginning:
 
Prologue:
 
Pushing through the water, the massive steamship Olympic, sister of the lost Titanic, docked at New York City carrying passengers, thousands of sacks of mail, and the mind of the world's greatest detective.
 
A little game for you: can you guess who arrived to NY or this particular steamship?
 

The Friday 56:

"It doesn't matter so much when a man dies as how he dies." Bell said. "When he dies as a craven spirit he dies forever, but when he dies like a hero he lives forever." 
 
Bell then invited all those in the audience who had sons or relatives in the service to meet him up on the stage. As people filed up on the wooden riser and crowded forward, he shook their hands, sometimes two at a time.
 
"The world was on fire," these fighting men were told.

I don't think these worlds could actually comfort those who lost relatives to the war. The sentiment is very noble but those who were gone were still gone...


How's your reading week going? What are you reading at the moment? 
Please leave your Friday link for me below.

13 Jun 2018

WWW Wednesday #16

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words

WWW stands for three questions:

What are you currently reading?

I'm still reading Bring Me Their Hearts by Sara Wolf. My review of this novel is coming a bit later than I planned, expect it on June 27th.

by Brad Ricca


Synopsis:

Mrs. Sherlock Holmes tells the incredible true life story of Mrs. Grace Humiston, the New York lawyer and detective who solved the famous cold case of Ruth Cruger, an 18-year-old girl who disappeared in 1917. Grace was an amazing lawyer and traveling detective during a time when no women were practicing these professions. She focused on solving cases no one else wanted and advocating for innocents. Grace became the first female U.S. District Attorney and made ground-breaking investigations into modern slavery.

One of Grace's greatest accomplishments was solving the Cruger case after following a trail of corruption that lead from New York to Italy. Her work changed how the country viewed the problem of missing girls. But the victory came with a price when she learned all too well what happens when one woman upstages the entire NYPD.

In the literary tradition of In Cold Blood and The Devil in the White City, Brad Ricca's Mrs. Sherlock Holmes is a true crime tale told in spine-tingling fashion. This story is about a woman whose work was so impressive that the papers gave her the nickname of fiction’s greatest sleuth. With important repercussions in the present about kidnapping, the role of the media, and the truth of crime stories, the great mystery of the book – and its haunting twist ending – is how one woman can become so famous only to disappear completely.


I'm reading this book for the Timeless Book Club on Goodreads, The Lucy Preston Literary Society.


What did you recently finish reading? 

by Neil Gaiman 


My review is coming soon!


What do you think you'll read next?

Winter Eternal by E. Thomas Joseph is still the next one on my list.

Please don't forget to leave your WWW links below! Happy reading!

10 Jun 2018

Review - Clowders by Vanessa Morgan

Title: Clowders

Author: Vanessa Morgan

Synopsis:

Clervaux, Luxembourg. This secluded, picturesque town in the middle of Europe is home to more cats than people. For years, tourists have flocked to this place – also known as “cat haven” - to meet the cats and buy cat-related souvenirs.

When Aidan, Jess and their five-year-old daughter, Eleonore, move from America to Clervaux, it seems as if they've arrived in paradise. It soon becomes clear, though, that the inhabitants' adoration of their cats is unhealthy. According to a local legend, each time a cat dies, nine human lives are taken as a punishment. To tourists, these tales are supernatural folklore, created to frighten children on cold winter nights. But for the inhabitants of Clervaux, the danger is darkly, horrifyingly real.

Initially, Aidan and Jess regard this as local superstition, but when Jess runs over a cat after a night out in the town, people start dying, one by one, and each time it happens, a clowder of cats can be seen roaming the premises.

Are they falling victim to the collective paranoia infecting the entire town? Or is something horrible waiting for them? Something unspeakably evil.

Aidan and Jess' move to Europe may just have been the worst decision they ever made.


I received a free ebook copy of this book from the publishers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

My Thoughts:

I was expecting a thrilling tale going into Clowders but unfortunately I closed the book in the end fairly disappointed. The plain truth is: I was a lot more bored than thrilled while reading it and I kept waiting for a turning point that would have changed my opinion but the real rush of fear never came and I was eventually left with an empty feeling regarding the book.

Clowders tells the story of a family who moves to a small town in Luxemburg that is famous for its high cat population. Aidan and Jess, who take their 5 year old daughter Eleonore with them too, soon realize that people in the town act strangely, especially when a cat's life is in danger. They learn about a legend that keeps the townspeople in fear and that makes sure they treat the cats of the town well. When a cat dies in an accident and a mysterious feral creature starts stalking Jess and Eleonore, the legend turns out to be real. The only question is whether the family can escape from the crazy cat town in time to avoid the gruesome fate they can expect after being involved in the incident.

More than half of the novel is about Aidan and Jess trying to patch up their broken relationship. I confess I didn't like these characters at all. Aidan is the one who wanted to move to Europe, he basically dragged Jess and his little girl with him because he wanted some adventure in his life again. Almost as soon as they arrive to Clervaux he starts an affair with with a horrible woman who likes playing around with (sometimes married) men just for fun. Aidan doesn't give a fig that Jess hates their new home, that she's slowly becoming depressed because she has nothing to do all day.

I didn't like Jess mostly because she was very slow to understand what was going on around her (just like Aidan, actually) and because she complained too much about things rather than doing something to solve them. She didn't like driving Eleonore to and from school for expample, but at the same time she was always going on about how she didn't have anything to do all day. Partly I understand why the situation was tough for her but many times she annoyed me with her utter helplessness. Even when Eleanore was around, she just put the kid in front of the telly rather than playing with her. They hardly ever did anything together, mother and daughter, which was kinda strange to me.

The half-human half-cat creature wasn't scary enough for me because for the longest time it didn't do anything at all other than stalk people by standing in their bedrooms at night. It didn't attack anyone unless a cat had been killed and even then, she made a quick job of getting rid of the guilty party. What made the whole thing creepy (and why I gave it two stars/pineapples in the end instead of one) was the town's reaction; they worked together with this monster/catgirl, they actually helped the creature eliminate the cat killers. Clervaux was a little bit like the village in the movie Hot Fuzz (only that movie is waaay better than this book).

No one tried to stop the creature. Like... what?? I'm not kidding. People tried to escape but they didn't try to fight. They accepted without question that it cannot be defeated and the only thing they tried was to outrun it. 

I didn't feel like I was entertained, I asked the question why??? a million times while reading the book and in the end I didn't understand why this story had to be told. It's a shame, the premise was excellent. It could have been so much more than what it became.



3 Jun 2018

May Wrap-Up, June TBR

Summer is here folks and I'm wishing for fall (the weather is too hot for my liking already). But let's not jump ahead so fast. I'm hopeful that this is going to be a really good summer, filled with events and trips that I'm already looking forward to. 

In the month of June my focus will probably solely directed on work though. Since I'm new at the company I'll have a lot to learn this month, but hey... you gotta start somewhere.

I'm still trying to figure out a reading routine that could work now that 8 hours are taken from my day. During the training weeks I'll probably have some extra studying to do at home too, but I'll do my best to be efficent and I'll make sure to leave myself time to relax with a good book after the hard work.

I really hope I can finish at least 4 books this month too. One of these books will be a play (Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf by Edward Albee), which makes my life easier because I usually fly through plays. 

I'm very excited to join my fellow Clockblockers in a read-along of Mrs. Sherlock Holmes by Brad Ricca. Some people had the amazing idea to start a Timeless book club (in which we read books that are related to the tv show in some way) and this is the first title that we'll discuss. I can't wait to learn more about Grace Humiston, badass female detective of the 1910s.


Here's a summary of May on Paradise Found:

I've finished four books:

Nothing But Sky by Amy Trueblood Review

The Stolen Girl (The Veil and the Crown #1) by Zia Wesley Review

Clowders by Vanessa Morgan – My review is coming soon

North Mythology by Neil Gaiman – My review is coming soon



Other posts on the blog in the month of May:

Book Tour (Excerpt) Succubus Lips by Lina Jubilee



Weekly Memes:

Goodreads Monday (May 7, May 21

Tell Me Something Tuesday (May 22)

WWW Wednesday (May 9, May 23, May 30)

Book Beginnings and the Friday 56 (May 4, May 11, May 18, May 25)   

Weekend Wrap-up (May 5, May 12, May 26)


Plans for June

I'd like to read the following books in May (in no particular order):

Bring Me Their Hearts by Sara Wolf 

(For book tour)

Winter Eternal (The River That Flows Two Ways #1) by E. Thomas Joseph

Mrs Sherlock Holmes by Brad Ricca 

(For the Timeless Book Club. Join here if you're interested: Lucy Preston Literary Society)


Did May treat you well? Please leave a link to your monthly wrap-up post if you'd like me to read it! :)

1 Jun 2018

Book Beginnings and the Friday 56 #17

Book Beginnings on Friday and The Friday 56 are weekly memes hosted by Rose City Reader and Freda's Voice.

Rules: 

Book Beginnings: Share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. 

The Friday 56: Grab a book, turn to page 56 or 56% in you eReader. Find any sentence (not spoilery) and reflect on it if you want.
  

My current read is:

by Sara Wolf

 

Synopsis:

Zera is a Heartless – the immortal, unageing soldier of a witch. Bound to the witch Nightsinger ever since she saved her from the bandits who murdered her family, Zera longs for freedom from the woods they hide in. With her heart in a jar under Nightsinger’s control, she serves the witch unquestioningly.

Until Nightsinger asks Zera for a Prince’s heart in exchange for her own, with one addendum; if she’s discovered infiltrating the court, Nightsinger will destroy her heart rather than see her tortured by the witch-hating nobles.

Crown Prince Lucien d’Malvane hates the royal court as much as it loves him – every tutor too afraid to correct him and every girl jockeying for a place at his darkly handsome side. No one can challenge him – until the arrival of Lady Zera. She’s inelegant, smart-mouthed, carefree, and out for his blood. The Prince’s honor has him quickly aiming for her throat.

So begins a game of cat and mouse between a girl with nothing to lose and a boy who has it all.

Winner takes the loser’s heart.


Book Beginning:

"King Sref of Cavanos watches me with the deadened eyes of a raven circling a corpse – patient, waiting to devour me the second I let my guard down."

King Sref seems to be a dangerous fellow. And this is a very powerful first sentence.

  
The Friday 56:

"The prince studies me, or rather, my mask. My eyes behind the mask. It feels as if he's trying to peel away the layers of my defenses, my secrets, like a bird of prey peeling back skin and muscle from a kill." 

 What is it with this book and birds? Haha :)


What are you reading this week?

 

30 May 2018

WWW Wednesday #15

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words

WWW stands for three questions:

What are you currently reading?
by Neil Gaiman

  
I won't leave a synopsis here, since this book was featured in my Friday post but if you click on the title, the link will transfer you to the Goodreads page of the book.

by Sara Wolf


Synopsis:

Zera is a Heartless – the immortal, unageing soldier of a witch. Bound to the witch Nightsinger ever since she saved her from the bandits who murdered her family, Zera longs for freedom from the woods they hide in. With her heart in a jar under Nightsinger’s control, she serves the witch unquestioningly.

Until Nightsinger asks Zera for a Prince’s heart in exchange for her own, with one addendum; if she’s discovered infiltrating the court, Nightsinger will destroy her heart rather than see her tortured by the witch-hating nobles.

Crown Prince Lucien d’Malvane hates the royal court as much as it loves him – every tutor too afraid to correct him and every girl jockeying for a place at his darkly handsome side. No one can challenge him – until the arrival of Lady Zera. She’s inelegant, smart-mouthed, carefree, and out for his blood. The Prince’s honor has him quickly aiming for her throat.

So begins a game of cat and mouse between a girl with nothing to lose and a boy who has it all.

Winner takes the loser’s heart.


What did you recently finish reading?

by Vanessa Morgan


My review is coming this week!


What do you think you'll read next?

(The River That Flows Two Ways #1) 
by E. Thomas Joseph


Snyopsis:

In 1777, Captain Isaac Pearson joined the British Army when he believed the Colonial Rebellion would be dispatched with effortless haste. Taking a few American lives was an agreeable price for the pampered aristocrat who believed his actions in the conflict would afford him honor and glory. Yet, the path Captain Pearson rode was neither honorable or glorious and the price he would pay was beyond his imaginable fortunes.

Time is the enemy of all, the hunter of the hunters whom no measures of tenacity or weaponry can defeat. Yet, in the early days of America’s war for independence Phantom Regiments, ruthless shadow units, British Redcoats, American militia and crazed me of the occult race to acquire a mysterious Iroquoian artifact which offers the capacity to defeat time. Set in New York’s Hudson Valley, the contest for time will marshal tragic desperation and horrific ends. Winter Eternal, uncovered from layers of dust, deep within the archives of America’s Untold History are the tales of the soldiers and the citizens who sell their souls to pursue the mysterious Native talisman, the Kahontsi Ehnita; the Giver of Life…A revolutionary war has begun. 

Please don't forget to leave your WWW links below! Happy reading!

29 May 2018

5 Genres of Fiction I'd Like to Read More Of






Why Horror?

As a teenager I was a scaredy cat. Truth be told though, I always felt I was missing out on something when my classmates spoke about the horror films  they'd watched. They were always so excited about them. I've been an adult for some time now and still, until recently horror didn't attract me that much. However, after watching The Woman in Black and The Exorcist in the theatre in London and reading my first Stephen King book, things changed. I feel like I want to face my fears of the supernatural, especially evil spirits and haunted houses.

One book I've read in the horror genre:

Title: 'Salem's Lot

Author: Stephen King

Goodreads

This was the first modern horror book I ever read. A small town falls under the influence of a powerful vampire and hell breaks loose. It impressed me how much inspiration Mr. King drew from the classic vampire stories, especially Bram Stoker's Dracula.


One book I'm planning to read in the horror genre: 

Title: Daughters Unto Devils

Author: Amy Lukavics

Goodreads

Actually this is only one of the books of Amy Lukavics that I'd like to read; earlier I hauled Women in the Walls which looks and sounds just as creepy as Daughter Unto Devils does. I'm really curious about this author's stories.



 


Why Western?

I always feel like I need to be in a certain mood for western, but then when I read this genre I almost always enjoy it... I like the feeling of danger that comes with it; the pistol duels and train robberies, the snake bites and the bandits that know no moral codes. If there are badass ladies in the story, I enjoy it even more. I really need to read more western...

One book I've read in the western genre:

Title: Sawbones (Sawbones #1)

Author: Melissa Lenhardt

My Review

Goodreads

Although I gave Sawbones three pineapples only, it kinda fuelled my hunger for more stories set in the wild wild west.


One book I'm planning to read in the western genre: 

Title: Lonesome Dove

Author: Larry McMurtry

Goodreads

This will take some time to go through, given this novel is almost 1000 pages long. But still, many people love it and I'm convinced this book will blow me away. Talk about high expectations...




Why Poetry?

Poetry is food for the soul. There are so many poems out there that I know would give me the feels and I have to find them. And read them. And read them again. And again. Reading a book filled with poems is a lot different than reading a novel but it's not less amazing. I have so many collections on my to-read list I'd like to dive into!

One poetry book I've read:

Title: The Complete Poetry of Edgar Allan Poe

Author: Edgar Allan Poe

Goodreads

I adore Poe's poems as much as his short stories. The man was a genius. It doesn't take much time to read this thin volume, since he didn't write many poems. The few he did though are deliciously dark and full of crazy imaginings.



One poetry book I'm planning to read:

Title: Hold Your Own

Author: Kate Tempest

Goodreads

Hold Your Own is a sequence of poems that tells the story of the blind prophet Teiresias. Since Greek myths are close to my heart I have a feeling Kate Tempest's poems will delight me to no end.




Why Mystery & Crime?

I grew up on Sherlock Holmes short stories and Agatha Christie novels, however at some point I got bored with this genre, I'm not even sure why (probably I read too much of it if that's possible at all). Recently I've been trying to find my way back to it and I hope to rediscover it in the future.

One book I've read in the mystery & crime genre:

Title: Widdershins (Whyborne & Griffin #1)

Author: Jordan L. Hawk

Goodreads

This series is pretty awesome: it has Sherlock Holmes-like crime solving, a touch of the paranormal and gay romance too. It is the perfect combination of things I like to see in books.



One book I'm planning to read in the mystery and crime genre:

Title: A Death of No Importance

Author: Mariah Fredericks

Goodreads

A ladies' maid is the one who tires to figure out who dun it in this one. I like the historical setting, can't wait to lose myself in 1910, New York City.





Why Paranormal?

I can only come up with the same reason I did for horror I think. These days I'm like: Give me everyhing supernatural! Also, I like reading about creatures like vampires, werewolves and such. Paranormal romance is something I generally enjoy too, often more than plain romance. I have somehow skipped these kind of tales lately, which is a shame. I should definitely pick up more novels from this genre.

One book I've read in the paranormal genre:

Title: The Graveyard book

Author: Neil Gaiman

Goodreads

No list is complete without a Gaiman book (if you've frequented my blog in the past year you know this philosophy of mine already). This is my second favourite out of his novels; it's witty, funny, scary, sad, happy... you name it. Such an enchanting book.


One book I'm planning to read in the paranormal genre:

Title: Lord of the Dead (or The Vamypre)

Author: Tom Holland

Goodreads

Lord Byron becomes a vampire.

'Nuff said.

*Grabby hands*


What genres would you like to discover more? Is there a genre you've never tried?

 

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