Alice returns - First play report

I know this is a book blog but it's my book blog and since this is at least remotely literately related I say it goes. It works wonderfully with my Autumnal Horror Theme as well because I've played horror games and watched horror games being played and this is actually among the scarier. So, what am I talking about in this horridly roundabout way? Well Alice: Madness Returns of course.
Alice and the Cheshire Cat, gothic (and creepy) version

Take the classic story about Alice who follows the rabbit and falls into Wonderland and add some gothic themes, horror and mindtwisters, mix it with some traditional platform action and presdo, one creepy game with awesome costumes and scary monsters with dollfaces and also deadly foes with oversized forks.

It is well known that I suck at platform games but this I can manage because when I fall down, and I do - frequently - I won't get knocked back too far and there are ways to save oneself from falling too. And the fighting is similar, it's not easy but you won't get punished too severely if you make a mistake and die. So it fits me.

I'm not even done with the first chapter yet but so far I am loving it. And I have to know how it ends, always a good motivator for both books and games.

On the reading side I am now on George R R Martin's steamboat vampire tale and I am delighted at the classic way he is handling the bloodsuckers.

I've also decided what my next themes here on the blog will be. Some hints: Winter is coming and Steam Springs Eternal.
  • Sooz
  • 8:29 AM
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Låt den rätte komma in - John Ajvide Lindkvist

Låt den rätte komma inLåt den rätte komma in by John Ajvide Lindqvist
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I know I said I would write in Swedish about Swedish books but as this one has been something of an international success, at least the movie, I will take it in English because really, any fan of writing that creeps under your skin, clings to your back as a child sized nighttime monster and sticks in your chest like a pole through the heart needs to be read.

I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to read this, it might be a side-effect of my dislike for Swedish movies or maybe something left over from when I was that scared pre-teen girl. In any case I am kind of glad I did because now the setting of this book is just a metro trip away and that makes it just a bit more real. A bit more scary.

One interesting part is that if you were to take out the supernatural elements of this story I wouldn’t touch it with a ten foot pole. It would be wallowing in real life and misery and that really isn’t my cup of tea. Unless there are vampires apparently. Because the clever addition of a classical monster in a very untraditional guise makes the misery stand out so much more, makes my heart ache for Oscar and the others. Makes it a better book in my point of view.

Maybe it’s different when you grew up in the same world, in the same country. I remember the 80’s in Sweden; I remember many of the things mentioned in passing. If someone who didn’t grow up in the same environment read this book they probably won’t get the same experience. But they on the other hand will get the faint exoticism I get when reading books set in England or USA. In the end I think a good book is worth to read regardless. And this is a very good book.


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  • Sooz
  • 8:07 AM
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Skräckhöst! (The Autumnal Horror Theme)

The wind is near howling outside and darkness in creeping in closer. Let's ignore the dying breaths of summer and get immersed in the gothic horror of autumn not to very far from the frigid north. I am launching my first theme here on the blog and it is, as you dear reader might already have guessed, a theme of horror.

The goal is to read as much of the horror books I've either missed in my misspent youth as a scaredy cat or just haven't had time to pick up. In fact I've already started, I am almost finished with Peter Straub's lost girl lost boy and it's so good I just wanna read more by him!


Other books that have risen to the top of my rather large to-read list are It, Bag of Bones, The Stand and Carrie all of course by the King himself. I also got the Necronomicon as a birthday gift yesterday so there will be some classic Mythos-stories in-between the other books because much as I love H.P Lovecraft his writing can be rather heavy at times.

A rather unexpected addition to the theme is a book the darling husband picked up at sf-bokhandeln yesterday, Fevre Dream. It's written by George R.R Martin and I tempts me with vampires and steamboats. Add Mr Martin's wont to be surprising in his storytelling and I for one is sold.

I have 12 more books to read to beat the challenge I set up early this year and with this theme I don't think it will be hard. The question might just be how many I go over with.

One thing you can trust, there won't be a glittering pseudovampire in sight! I am happy to take recommendation of anything creepy, gory or just plain scary though!

  • Sooz
  • 10:20 PM
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Skräckfika!

(Will be taking this in Swedish as it is again very local and such, sorry. Do come back soon for a post about my upcoming autumnal horror extravaganza though!)

Att försöka sammanfatta allt vi hann diskutera under det två timmar långa skräckfikat på Muffinsfabriken på söndagen vore helt omöjligt. Vi åt gigantiska muffins, drack kaffe av olika sort och avhandlade allt mellan himmel och jord. Det blev mycket skratt, många rekommendationer och jag blev ivrigt påhejjad att starta projektet skräckhöst här på bloggen (se senare inlägg).
 Det som från början var ett generellt bloggfika blev av en slump förvandlat till skräckfika när de som kom var stora delar av mörkerelitistbokklubben och så jag och Ett hem utan böcker-Martina som båda gillar mörk och krypande fantastik. Så skräckfika blev det, och roligt var det.

Helena har också skrivit om fikat och mycket mer verbalt och genomtänkt än mig som just kommit hem från en lång dag av shopping och trevligheter. Gå och läs hennes bloggpost! Jag måste säga att fikan och möten som detta är bland det bästa med att ha flyttat till Stockholm. Att mötas i verkligheten ger verkligen konversationerna ett lyft även om internetprat också är trevligt.
Bloggare i fyra nyanser av goth
Men, nu ska jag nog sova och imorgon blir det inlägg om den stundande Skräckhösten! (och kanske lite om böckerna jag fått/köpt/fått maken att köpa, vad sägs om George RR Martin + Vampyrer + Ångdrivna flodbåtar?)
  • Sooz
  • 10:05 PM
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A tiny review of The Tiny Wife

The Tiny WifeThe Tiny Wife by Andrew Kaufman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Tiny Wife is a tiny adorable book, easily read in a single sitting and most awesomely absurd in both its premise and in its execution. It is hard to say something about the story as almost anything would be a spoiler but what can be said is that in the end it is a story about people, a story about knowing yourself and a story about life. And also tattoos turning into lions and people shrinking until they almost disappear. Or do disappear.

This book reminds me a little bit about Things My Girlfriend and I Have Argued About and somewhat about Microserfs as those books are also about life and are told with in a slightly odd angle and with a first person view.

I recommend this book to anyone in need of a bit of a pick-me-up or just a ray of sunshine. Go read it, you won’t regret it!


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  • Sooz
  • 10:15 AM
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Rot and Ruin - Jonathan Maberry

Rot & RuinRot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I got this book in a review challenge from Swedish Zombie, and I started reading it just after finishing with a very long and complicated hard SF novel by Peter Hamilton. This might not have been completely fair to Rot and Ruin. I spent the whole first third of the book being annoyed at the main character for being an idiot when he in fact was being a pretty ordinary teenager.

Basis of the book is this: two brothers live together in a small town of survivors about 14 years after First Night, the outbreak of the unknown cause for everyone dying rising again a while later with a mindless urge to consume anything living. The older brother is a zombie hunter while the younger is just trying to figure out what he wants to do with his life. Then stuff happens. Perceptions change and in the end the read’s been told a fairly engaging story.

In some way this felt like The Passage light. There’s a strange young girl and a young man finding himself in this one too but the storytelling seems aimed at more inexperienced readers. I use that term instead of Young Adult or Teenagers because age have very little to do with it. I would just as soon put this in the hands of an adult who is rediscovering reading or someone who just want something fun and light while sunning at a resort.

At the start I was pretty sure I was going to be annoyed the whole way through the book but in the end I wouldn’t mind reading more by the author and even a continuation of the book. I also have a sneaking suspicion that if this was filmed I would be hopelessly mooning over Tom (the older brother) even though he is a bit too good to be true at times, even his faults were endearing.

One thing the author does very well is balance the gender roles. Contrary to many post apocalyptic novels both males and females are allowed in any role they feel they could manage but despite this the gender identity is not erased to be replaced with some kind of hard-ass male template. Women are women, just women who can also kick ass when needed. There might not be terribly many women portrayed in Rot and Ruin but those that are feel real, and in the end that’s what matters most.


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  • Sooz
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Meet the bloggers? (Bloggträff?)

I'm gonna take this in Swedish because it's so very local. Poke me if you're a reader/blogger who is non-Swedish speaking and happens to be in Stockholm early October and I'll translate!

Så, i början på oktober, den 1-3 för att vara precis, så kommer Martina från Ett hem utan böcker och hälsar på mig. Och vad passar då bättre än en träff med fika och massor av bokprat? (och säkert prat om annat också).

Min tanke är söndag den 2:a tidig eftermiddag och platsen Muffinsfabriken vid Skanstull. De har ett litet sidorum som vi nog kan få boka (om vi är många nog) och deras muffins är supergoda, kaffet gott (Pressbryggare) och de har laktosfri mjölk! Jag har inte testat teet men de verkade ha ett försvarbart urval.

Anmäl er genom att kommentera på denna post. Väl mött!

Preliminära anmälningar än så länge (förutom mig och Martina):
Bokstävlarna
Dark Places
Tystnad

  • Sooz
  • 10:34 AM
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Whedon Weekend - Laughing through the tears


So, fiktiviteter sent out word some time ago that she was planning a Whedon Weekend in which bloggers would talk about anything Joss Whedon-related. And as a fangirl of gigantic proportions I of course couldn’t resist that temptation. This here is my contribution, go check out this link to see the other wonderful pieces posted over the weekend. And remember, comments are what we live on!

Fair warning, there might be spoilers. Although I write mostly about Dr Horrible’s Sing-a-Long Blog which you can see on YouTube (or Hulu if you are in the us.) If you like it buy the DVD!


Laughing through the tears
If there is one thing Joss Whedon is excellent at, well there are several things (one liners, strong female characters, relatable story-lines), it is to make us laugh just to turn on the waterworks the next second. A brilliant example of this is the experimental feature Dr Horrible’s Sing-a-long Blog. As I hope you all know this was 45 minutes of singing superheroes and villains portioned out in 15 minute chunks for free over the Internet. The idea was apparently spawned and the series created during the writer strike of 2008 (Also known as the TV-season of abrupt endings) and it is really rather great, especially for something made with a shoestring budget.

In the 45 minutes of runtime, portioned out in 3 parts, Whedon manages to squeeze in laughter, original songs and drama enough to make your heart ache. Many think that the base premise is a rather standard love story but there’s where I think they are wrong. This is a coming of age-story, or rather a coming to evil-story.


Billy
The main character, Billy, has a supervillain alter-ego, Dr Horrible (with a phd in Horribleness) and his greatest dream is to get into The Evil League of Evil. Or is it? There’s also the pretty girl at the laundromat who he really wants to at least talk to. And herein lies the problem, can you be a supervillain and get the girl at the same time? Isn’t it the heroes that get the girls? What if the heroes are assholes who use their fame to get into the panties of every female who gets in their way?
This feature pokes fun at the classic portrayal of super heroes and their nemesis and in the process it tells a bit of human nature and breaks our hearts. Seem familiar? If you’re a Whedon fan it should be because he’s done it before. Buffy the Vampire Slayer pokes fun at the horror genre while also telling the story about a girl who just wants to be normal (at first) and later just have a nice quiet life. Angel the Series handles moving to and living in a large city, how easy it is to disappear between the cracks. And Dollhouse is just a big hunk of critique on the whole society we live in, how people become bartering chips and stripped of their humanity in the process. In all of these cases the serious issues are cleverly hidden under a thin veneer of one-liners and laughs which gives the right distance to actually see what is being shown. For me that is much more effective than a based on a true story Lifetime movie about a single mom just trying to get by in a harsh society.
The final song from DrHSaB still makes my eyes misty when it comes on randomly on my playlist. The Bad Horse song makes me smile when I wake up to it (I have a whedonesque playlist for my alam clock app to choose from) and I still can’t see the Buffy episode The Body without ample supply of tissues.


Dr Horrible from the comic book(s) which tell more of the story
Billy isn’t a full on super villain until the accidental death of Penny, he is pushed rather far along on the path by Captain Hammer’s douchery but when the moment comes to pull the trigger he hesitates and that hesitation costs him the girl but gets him the world. The transformation is complete. I don’t really think people are evil from the beginning, most are made such by events in- and outside of their sphere of influence, and that is illustrated very well by mr Whedon (again).

Maybe it is because Whedon’s world view is similar to my own that I like his works so much, but if that is the case I am not alone. I think the mixture of sadness and humor is what drew together the large fanbase and I think the truthful protrayal of real life is what keeps them interested.
  • Sooz
  • 12:02 PM
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Friday Questions!

First from Engelsfors News (That's where you wanna go for information in English about Cirkeln (The Circle) and the rest of the Engelsfors-trilogy. So go, now, and then come back).

Q: Last book you finished?
My answer: Hammered by Kevin Hearne (link in the margins if you wanna check it out)

Q: Did you enjoy it?
My answer: I did indeed, the ending was a bit abrupt and I have some sort of ingrained defense mechanism for the Nordic gods and don't like them getting hurt but still, yes I did enjoy it and am happy the series will continue...
Q: What are you reading right now? 
My answer: The Pandora's Star by Peter F. Hamilton and Udda Verklighet by Nene Ormes.

Q: Are you enjoying it? 
My answer: I picked Pandora's Star up again after letting it rest for a while and now it has caught my interest much better despite being a Very Thick Book. I'm on page 500-something and only half way! But there's FTL-drives and cloning and mysteries and humanity and I am rather liking it. Udda Verklighet is the first proper e-book I am reading on the iPad, I borrowed it from the library and it is really good! Very nice urban fantasy in Swedish.

*** 

And secondly from Bokbabbel - Originally in Swedish, translation is mine.
What are you reading this weekend?
Besides knitting patterns I expect to get at least some read in the two books I talk about above. Especially Udda Verklighet as that is borrowed from the library.


What's the perfect reading moment like?
A good book, something tasty to drink (in a thermos mug if it is hot because I tend to forget about it) and maybe something not-sticky to eat.


Best reading moment last week?
I am guessing one of the commutes, most likely in the morning because somehow I seem to be able to completely ignore the outside world best then.

How many hours a week do you spend in the world of books? 
At least five since I read at least on my morning commute every day but most often at least 10. Not counting weekends cause there is fluctuates wildly.


Where do you never read?
In the shower! I also try to avoid reading before sleep since way too many times that's ended with me blinking confusedly at a the clock after the book is finished and realizing I have something like two hours to sleep before having to be at work.


What do you never read? Based on a true story! General "real world" drama very very rarely makes an appearance in my reader list. There are too many books in genres I generally like for me to venture too far into ones I don't generally like.


Which is your favorite bookstore?
IRL - SF Bokhandeln. Online - thebookdepository.co.uk


You get 300 sek ($38, 32 euro) to shop books for, what do you buy? 
Oh dear, well... I would probably go nuts on the News-shelf at SF Bokhandeln or possibly go through my wishlist over on goodreads to see what I could get my hands on :)


Which recent book wouldn't you read even if you got it for free?
Well, there's a lot of books I wouldn't read but since I don't usually read and enjoy chick-lit Martina Haag's Glada hälsningar från Missångersträsk would probably be left standing way back on the shelf until I could give it away with good conscience.


Which not yet released book are you looking forward to most right now?
The next book about Harry Dresden most likely, it will probably take a long time before that comes out though. I am also eagerly awaiting Tricked by Kevin Hearne. Besides that there are so many already released books I wanna read! 

*** 

That's it for questions for today, don't forget to stop by on Sunday when I post my part in the Whedon Weekend! Check out Fiktiviteter for more on what will be covered and where to read it. (Mostly in Swedish but some, at least my post, will be in english)
  • Sooz
  • 2:37 PM
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Throne of Jade - Naomi Novik

Throne of Jade (Temeraire, #2)Throne of Jade by Naomi Novik

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


I'm not entirely sure why I only give this book a three star rating. I mean it should be right up my alley, there's dragons, history and a compelling friendship. And don't get me wrong, it IS a good book, just not "oh my god I need to rec this to everyone"-good.



In this sequel to His Majesty's Dragon Captain Will Laurence and his dragon Temeraire has to go on a long voyage, to China to be precise. No to surprisingly the eastern country has a drastically different view on dragons and much about the book is about alternatives and how the characters react to them. There's also ships, seamen, dragons, more dragons and the relationship between Captain Laurence and Temeraire grows just a little bit more. It is refreshing to see a relationship that is not romantic in nature but still every bit as strong and life changing for the participants.



I do adore the descriptions of the society in China and enjoy how it affects the rather stiff English visitors but as I said in the beginning the book doesn't leave me frantic to pick up the next one in the series (Black Powder War), I probably will but there are other books I want to spend time with before that.



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Bokstävlarna also read and reviewed Throne of Jade recently
  • Sooz
  • 1:28 PM
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Cirkeln - Mats Strandberg and Sara Bergmark Elfgren

CirkelnCirkeln by Mats Strandberg

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


It's been a while since I read Cirkeln now and I think I have to upgrade it to a five-star rating. Because this is a book you don't forget, it's a book that stays with you and it is one where you end up waiting anxiously for the sequel to come out so you can know what happens, and for the translations to come out so you can pimp it like mad to your english reading friends.

Another writer and fan, Nene Ormes, coined the term rural fantasy when talking about this book and it is very appropriate. It plays on the same field as the urban fantasy crowd but the setting is a small town in the Middle of Nowhere, Sweden (aka Bergslagen) instead of a bustling big city. And it works. It works really damn well. One reason for this is that the characters feel real, even when they are using magic.

The basic premise is this, several young people in the small (ficional) town of Engelsfors get the gift of magic. What they can do is related to the element they are attuned to and this first book is about them learning to handle those powers and in the process defeating evil. If you think it reminds you of Buffy you are not wrong (The authors have said on several occasions that they are fans of the Sunnydale crew) but this is so much more than that. It comes into it's own through believable characters with both strengths and faults, through an engaging story, through a new twist on handling magic. They manage to surprise me with several turns and if I did suspect something and it came true there was something in that reveal that I couldn't have guessed.

I am really looking forward to the sequel to this and I think everyone without a severe allergy to the paranormal should read Cirkeln.



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  • Sooz
  • 12:00 PM
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Books are heavy

We've been helping 'dreas parets to move today and since his dad have worked in a book warehouse for a very long time there was a lot of books, and we only moved the boxes with childrens books today. I was kinda envious of all the nicely preserved Tove Jansson books and there were some dear reunions for me as well, among others a history book aimed towards children (Of course now I can't recall the title. It was a first and last name beginning with A's historia för barn but my google-fu is failing me) which I used as a sleeping aid at times. I liked the book but it also made my eyelids real heavy... maybe this is why I didn't study history at uni *ponders*

Anyways, I hope they do as we have done at home and put up a shelf for the children and YA books. They deserve a better life that being hidden away in boxes.

Also, I really want to read Incubus by Carol Goodman. And I blame Helena :)
  • Sooz
  • 11:30 PM
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I'm in the paper...

... well, digitally at least. Me and Boktimmen-Fia were interviewed by a guy at Eurocon and the article is now been published in IDG.

It seems he's a bit uninformed and have a sligthly twisted look on SF in general and hard SF specifically. And I don't think SF conventions have ever been "guys in rotor hats sitting in corners talking about UFOs". Still, he quoted me correctly (as I went against exactly what he's using as the hook for the article) so I'm pleased.

Oh and the article is in Swedish. Sorry about that.
  • Sooz
  • 8:28 AM
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Threadless and other things

Look at the t-shirt Threadless (full disclosure: that link it my street-team link so if you decide to get a shirt after clicking it I get rewarded with some points) released this week, how filled with book geekery isn't it? I kind of want one but I already have a largeish order heading my way. I hope it arrives before we leave to go north next week. Speaking off it's going to feel very strange to return, I have never been away from Luleå this long and now I'm only going back to visit. I still find it odd that I live here now from time to time, mostly in a positive way though. I don't mind people (I'm good at drowning them out with my own thoughts) and I absolutely love everything that's available.

Speaking of people and Stockholm and commuting, is it just me that thinks it's really nice to see everyone reading books on the trains now that the free newspaper is on a break? Love seeing peoples different tastes, the most adorable so far was a tourist though, a gangly german pre-teen boy with one of the City of Bones-books in his arms while he was sightseeing with his family. I can so relate to that! Never went far without a book in that age myself (never do now either).

Since I last posted the books I ordered have arrived and I've already finished two of them, Hexed and Secondhand Spirits. The latter was rather adorable and the main character was a nice mix of the chick-litish protagonist and the action heroine. It had the best bits of both genres really. Definitely going to read the next book as well. Hexed was every bit as good as Hounded so that series I am really enjoying, the latest part, Hammered, was recently released so I'm going to get that too. Need to finish a few more of the books on the to-read-shelf first though. And I'm not talking about the one on goodreads but the actual physical one. I should take a picture of that when I'm home again.

At the moment I am reading All the Windwracked Stars by Elisabeth Bear and it reminds me quite a bit of China Mieville's Bas Lag books, especially Perdido Street Station, which surprised me a bit. Mostly it is because of the large, rather rundown, city filled with strange wonderment and due to the reader being told just enough at every time and being able to figure things out on ones own. I like it so far.
  • Sooz
  • 1:58 PM
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In which the blogger buys books again

I decided to limit the amount of books I bought until the book swap I was taking part in was over. Well, now that I have recived my awesome package and my bookworm have recived hers there isn't a need of it anymore. And I got payed.

So, bookdepository.co.uk once again got a chunk of my money, I would have shopped locally but one of the books I wanted wasn't available at sfbok.se so I went elsewere for all of them.

These ended up in my basket:

Academ's Fury - Jim Butcher
Changeless - Gail Carriger
Hexed - Kevin Hearne

Moon Called - Patricia Briggs

Secondhand Spirits - Juliet Blackwell



























So basically I am continuing with recently discovered series which  were good and also one new one which seems to be a lovely summer read, a murder mystery with ghosts and a small second hand store. Sounds adorable and my bookworm, to whome I sent this, squee'd over it appropriately. Now comes the less good part when ordering books online - the wait for them to appear in the mailbox! *stalks mailman* Of course this does gives me the time to finish The Anubis Gates...
  • Sooz
  • 12:15 PM
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Furies of Calderon - Jim Butcher

Furies of Calderon (Codex Alera, #1)Furies of Calderon by Jim Butcher

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


It's not a secret that I love Butcher's writing so of course I had to try this book. I actually bought it for my husband for his birthday but I ended up reading it first. My fear was that without the possibility to fall back on pop-culture references Butcher would loose quite a bit of the appeal but thankfully I was wrong. Butcher's writing is still action oriented and to the point but he continues to write captivating characters that carry the story.

I like the magic system (yes, I am repeating myself) and the fact that the main hero has no conventional magic powers at all makes it all the more interesting. Especially as everyone else does. Butcher has also kept his habit of making the real bad guys really bad but also keeping from lumping everyone into the same group. Just because one barbarian is a blood-thirsty monster that doesn't mean every barbarian is. Check your prejudices at the door.

The story is simple (a plot to overthrow the ruler meets with unexpected resistance and unlikely heroes), the action is abundant and the characters are wellformed and likable. All in all a great light read, maybe while the sun shines and there's something cold and delicious to drink nearby.



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  • Sooz
  • 1:47 PM
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Eurocon Day Two and Three

I had no idea going to a con was this much fun! I should have guessed but damn was it great!

Yesterday me and Boktimmen-Fia met up with Feuerzeug and some other book bloggers and had some awesome geeky conversation in between the panels and even on the metro. The panels were also really good. I had one difficult choice on Saturday when Ian McDonald's GoH interview collided with a reading and Q&A with Cirkeln-Sara. I went with my gut feeling and went to see Sara and I do not regret it at all. She read the first chapter of Cirkeln and was so lovely I didn't feel afraid to ask questions at all. I found out that the Danish, Norwegian and German translations of the book will be released this year and the UK one sometime early 2012. I'll keep an eye out for more exact dates because there are several of my international friends that need to read the book! After the read there was a signing and I was first in line like a proper fangirl getting my already read copy signed. Also there was unexpected loot in that I got one of the much coveted Cirkeln-totes for myself.

Interestingly that was the only piece of loot from Saturday. My wallet was very relived. Another memorable panel was Hannu Rajaniemi and Charles Stross interviewing eachother, they were funny and had some interesting things to say about the future of Sci-fi. I am unashamedly delighted at Charles Stross way with language and he has that rather smug, dry humor I so like.

Today I did shop a few more things, a con t-shirt and a Swedish anthology of short stories. I wibbled over getting the t-shirt since it is white but I figure I can get some dye and remedy that. There were fewer panels and talks today but one of my favorites was the one about gender and the freedom that writing in the sci-fi, fantasy and horror gives the author when it comes to handling gender. It gave me the (maybe slightly mad) idea to write my Young Adult novel with a main character whose gender I won't divulge. It could be done but the question is if any publisher would want to touch it with a ten foot pole. I do hope so.

Finally, once again, this has been awesome and if nothing else I am infinitely thankful that my muse have returned to me. And I leave you with a few cute Steampunk ladies who I sneak photographed during the Steampunk Tea Mixer.
  • Sooz
  • 10:50 PM
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Eurocon Day One

I just got home from my first day on my first convention and let me tell ya, it was awesome! There was a table of second hand books, a table of new books and lots and lots of geeky people talking about geeky subjects and being generally awesome. Add to that really really cheap alcohol and brilliant guests talking about interesting things and you can see why I found it so great.


And just look at this loot! Every book but the Elisabeth Bear one is second hand and all of them only set me back 155 for the second hand books and 85 for the new one. I also got the new one signed by Elisabeth who I was unintentionally stalking half the day, she is lovely to listen to, intelligent and funny with a very infectious laughter. And I basically need all her books. As soon as possible.


When I got my hastily bought book signed I even managed to talk to her without making a complete ass of myself but, as I wrote on twitter, I don't think I quite managed to keep the stars out of my eyes. I do believe she took it as a compliment though.

The other guests were also interesting and I think I enjoyed the "As you know, Bob"-panel best of the shared panels. It was about info dumping and how to do it well (in sexscenes, through non-fiction passages or having the character ask a convenient professor to explain it all). That panel had Elisabeth Bear, Ian McDonald, Charles Stross and Hannu Rajaneimi and the four of them played off eachother really well. I also really liked the "Lovecraft Today" panel because, tentacles!

It's nearing midnight now and I'm about to tip into bed but I am really looking forward to tomorrow!
  • Sooz
  • 11:55 PM
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Sandry's Book - Tamora Pierce

Sandry's Book (Circle of Magic, #1)Sandry's Book by Tamora Pierce

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This is a rather thin and lovely YA book. It takes a refreshing look at magic along with a more traditional one. The four youths are great with all their strengths and weaknesses, they feel human and they use their powers in really imaginative ways. The worldbuilding is also well done, no infodumps or the like, it just comes when it comes.

This is the kind of book I would have loved as a kid, it even has that boarding school element that I loved so much at that age.

One thing though, this book is named Sandry's book but there's not a lot of her in it, not much more than the other three at least. I hope the other books have the same mix else it feels really unfair to as lovely a character as Sandry.



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  • Sooz
  • 2:28 PM
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I got gifted!

So I was woken up at just after 8 am but I really didn't mind since the lovely mail lady brought me a huge package of books, chocolate and extra goodies! It was my librarian from the bpal.org book swap who really took her job seriously. And she must be some kind of psychic because none of the books were on my wishlist yet I find now they should have been!

So, you ask, what did I get? Well, look at that lovely pile of awesomeness!

What's not visible there is the two NASA patches that were also in there, I didn't open that package until after the picture was taken but needless to say they are made of awesome!

So, the books...

Silver Borne - Patricia Briggs
All in all, Mercy has had better days. And if she isn't careful, she might not have many more to live...

This is actually book #5 about Mercedes Thompson but despite that I couldn't keep from starting with this one. I'm actally half done and I think I might have found a series to tide me over until the next Dresden File comes out. And yes, I will get the four first books as soon as possible. I mean, like I could resist coyote shapeshifters, werewolves, fae and vampires?

The Good Fairies of New York - Martin Miller
When a pair of fugitive Scottish thistle fairies end up transplanted to Manhattan by mistake, both the Big Apple and the Little People have a lot of adjusting to do.

Fairies! Punk Rock! New York! Add to that a blurb and introduction by Neil Gaiman and I was so sold. I am really looking forward to reading this.

Dies the fire - S.M Stirling
The Change occurred when an electrical storm centered over the island of Nantucket produced a blinding white flash that rendered all electronic devices and fuels inoperable. What follows is the most terrible global catastrophe in the history of the human race—-and a Dark Age more universal and complete than could possibly be imagined.

The end of the world is always fascinating and this one promises to deliver as well. I really like the cover on this one too!



And then there was three books from the same author, Charles de Lint. Union Girl, Promises to Keep and The Mystery of Grace.


All three seem very interesting, from what I can gather two are from the same 'verse but the third is separate. All three stories intrigue me and I am looking forward to getting to know a new prolific author.

Besides all these lovely books there was also something I didn't expect in this summery weather - chocolate! And it actually held up very well, it must have avoided the worst of the heat on the way. Among the flavors were bacon and sweet curry both of which I am very eager to taste.

And I've saved the best to last, you can see it in the background in the picture up there, it's a lunch + book canvas bag with a lovely quote on it. I've been looking at something similar since carrying plastic bags feels cheap and wasteful, and now I have something I won't see ten others with on the metro!

So, thank you dear Librarian, you've really made my day with your awesome package!
  • Sooz
  • 11:50 PM
  • 2 comments

Marvel 1602 - Neil Gaiman

Marvel 1602Marvel 1602 by Neil Gaiman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


What happens if you take Marvel characters we all know add some Neil Gaiman and then toss it all to the 1600's instead of the modern age Well, judging from this graphic novel greatness! Every character is recognizable and enjoyable and the story complements them very nicely. It's even so that some character who seem a bit out of place in the modern world are now fitting in perfectly (Dr Doom is a shining example and in a way also Steven Strange).

The art is also flawless, the dramatics and the subtle changes suit the story and there are many frames I would love to have as prints on my wall.

This is a true can't-put-it-down-book, don't start reading it late at night when you should be sleeping. Just saying!



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  • Sooz
  • 8:58 PM
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Iron Council - China Miéville

Iron Council (New Crobuzon, #3)Iron Council by China Miéville

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


The final (so far) book in the Bas Lag series is New Weird goes Western and I don't mind one bit. In fact I would have loved more of that part and less of the parts happening in New Crobuzon. I half hope he writes another book about the Iron Council, just about the Iron Council.

Something I like is that Miéville have reigned in his abundant flow of imagination and streamlined it abit, maybe it's because I've gotten used to this world and don't even blink when he talks about living cactus and creatures with a womans body and a beetle for head. And due to this I can focus more on the story, which is rather good indeed. There's quite a few characters but it never gets too overwhelming and some of the stories are just heartbreaking.

A note though, you don't have to read the earlier books in the series to "get" this one but as I said it benefits if you are already familiar with the world and fantastic people who inhabit it.



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  • Sooz
  • 11:45 AM
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Round and round

So I finally went and got Cirkeln (The Circle) today and I must say it is quite refreshing to read about a reality mixed with the fantastic to which I can still relate. The school in Engelsfors could just as well have been located in the city I grew up in. I superimpose my own school over the one in the story and I can smell the classrooms and see the furniture and such like it was real.

As someone who's grown up about as far away from an american high school or english boarding school as is possible it is kinda nice to have a sense of familiarity. Especially since I so rarely read YA books set in Sweden. They are usually rather void of the elements I want in a book, ie horror, magic or the supernatural in general. Do feel free to prove me wrong by providing links to books that do contain them though!

Right now I have ten glorious days off and I bet I will spend a chunk of that time on my lovely shaded balcony with a glass of something cold and a book in the hand, at least if the weather keeps. Oh and I will end the vacation by going to listen to one of the authors of Cirkeln, Sara Bergmark Elfgren, speak about writing at Eurocon!
  • Sooz
  • 11:07 PM
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Hounded - Kevin Hearne

Hounded (Iron Druid Chronicles, #1)Hounded by Kevin Hearne

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This is yet another addition to my to-read list from John Scalzi's Big Idea segment on Whatever. As soon as I read "Defiant Drunk Nerd Syndrome", druids, shapeshifting and celtic mythology I knew I had to read this book. And I wasn't disappointed. This is a fun read, filled with laughter, bad-assery and a dog who sometimes wants to raise an army and take over the world. And he's not the bad guy.

One of the problems for an author of the fantastic is creating a believable magic system. It can't be giving the hero or his enemies too much power. And you can't really give to little either because then it just get kind of boring. Hearne manages to balance that quite nicely despite the enemies being mostly gods. He gives everyone a fair bit power but he gives them limitations as well so there is that oh so necessary balance. Sidenote, I think it's great that he takes the traditional witches covern and makes them a force to be reckoned with. Too often they get ridiculed and looked down upon.

All in all this is a very enjoyable and kinda fresh take on urban fantasy. I am looking forward too Hexed and Hammered and I hope those two are about what I think they are about.

Oh and read John Scalzi's blog. It's a treasure trove of good book suggestions. And bacon on cats.



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  • Sooz
  • 9:55 PM
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Ask China Miéville

Over on goodreads they've started series of Q&A's with authors and next up is China Miéville. Now I know about this because apparently the goodreads people take a look at what books are on your shelves and if one of those authors are picked for a Q&A they send you a nice message informing you of that fact. Pretty awesome actually.

Now I'm trying to think of a good question to ask, the thread is open until June 17th so I do have some time fortunately.
  • Sooz
  • 8:52 AM
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Soulless - Gail Carriger

Soulless (The Parasol Protectorate, #1)Soulless by Gail Carriger

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I found this book on a list of steampunk novels worth reading (it was over at www.epbot.com if you're curious) and after reading it I can say it most definitely belongs there.I really enjoyed getting to know Alexia Talbott and her supporting cast. The story take a new look at the link between the supernatural and the soul and it sets this in the still very strict and rule-bound Victorian era. That in itself would make the book an interesting read but what makes it rise above the rest is the charming language. It's funny and fitting and I giggled several times no matter where I was at the moment (one would think my co-commuters would be used to it by now)

I can't say the actual story wasn't easy to see through though, because it was, both the romance and the mystery part of it, but despite this it was enjoyable. Sometimes it's nice to read something that you've already guessed approximately how it's gonna end but is well-written enough that you wanna see how it gets there. This is that kind of book.

And why can't I have a brass,steam-enhanced parasol? With this sun and this heat I sure do need one. Oh, and a fantastically flaming vampire friend to visit and gossip with, need that too!



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  • Sooz
  • 9:49 PM
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Holy long weekend, batman!

Six days without blogging? I should be ashamed, except how I'm not since I've once again been having a grand old time off in the real life. We've had a five day weekend over here in lovely Sweden and I've spent it laughing with friends, eating lots of tasty foods at a food festival (dumplings! samosas! strawberries! sushirolls!) and drinking rosé wine on my newly furnished balcony. And I finished a book or two as well.

I'm back at work now for about four days and then I have another one week vacation coming up, one that is ending with Eurocon and a visit from Boktimmen! I hope this nice weather keeps up, I'm already getting used to having breakfast outside.

Oh and isn't the blog looking great!? My lovely friend koryou made this layout for me and I adore it alot! (Of course I managed to fudge up a few things in the transfer of layouts but I'll have it sorted soon enough!)
  • Sooz
  • 8:31 AM
  • 2 comments

Book Blogger Meet (and meat)

I am yawning at work today but it was totally worth it. 14 (or was it 15) lovely intelligent women chatting away the hours while eating excellent Lebanese food and drinking various beverages makes for a brilliant evening. It felt like wherever I turned there was great conversations and they went from books and authors to cats through nail-polish and weddings.

All the books I'd brought got snatched up and I even brought one home, Paul Auster's The New York Trilogy. It's not really in the genres I usually cover here but I've heard lots of good things about it. And mysteries is the genre I most often stray towards when I leave the comfort of the fantastic. Especially well-written mysteries.

I failed at one thing last night though, I didn't get a single picture. But luckily others did, Bokbiten, Dark Places and Bokbabbel have posted some in their spaces and I'm sure other posts will appear eventually as well.

Finally I did some book shopping today, but I still didn't break my self-imposed ban since I shopped for the swap I'm in. I won't say what I got in case she finds her way here and figure me out but I will say that Book Depository have extended their 10% offer until Friday! And as always there's free shipping to a lot of countries, including Sweden.
  • Sooz
  • 11:40 AM
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Been off living my life

I did have the silent intention to blog every day, well, it's lucky it was silent because I epicly failed this weekend. Things like that happen when you're off visiting friends in another town and don't feel like spending precious hours at the computer.

I didn't even read very much. Imagine that.

Now I'm back to normal life though, except how I am off to meet a whole bunch of other book bloggers this evening and although I have nail polish and converses and a canvas bag with books to trade I still feel a bit anxious. As one is when meeting new people. I'm pretty sure it will be an evening of laughter and lots of book talk though. In fact I think it will be generally awesome.

On the way there I will keep reading about Temeraire and giggling about large dragons sneezing.
  • Sooz
  • 1:31 PM
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So who would you...

...want to smooch, who'd be a great spouse and which character deserves a very long walk on a very short cliff? In other words, kiss, marry, cliff - the literary version! Answer in the comments or in your own blogs and post the link in the comments, please.

So, what are my own answers? Well, for kissing I'd pick Harry Dresden. Now I am tempted to say it would be magical but then I'd have to shoot myself over that bad pun so I'll stick to saying that Harry is a man who does things with a passion and I can't imagine his kisses being much different.

Marry then, well, I do already have a awesome husband but if I hadn't I'd love a rebellious gentleman, Lord Peter Wimsey would make an awesome spouse. The other choice would be Karrin Murphy, also from the Dresden Files, she's good looking, kick-ass and would probably make me worry indefinitely but I still think she'd be a good partner.

As for who to walk off a cliff, well there are several who deserve it. Most often inflexible pencil-pushers who take a sadistic pleasure in enforcing rules no matter the consequences. Of all those I'd say Dolores Umbridge is among the worst and therefore she get's to take a tumble.
  • Sooz
  • 10:25 PM
  • 3 comments

Boarding school books

When I was young and inhaled books I loved reading about boarding schools, I remember one series about, I think, a pair of female twins but I can't for the life of me remember the titles! Anyone recognize them? They were dark haired and solved some sort of mysteries. The books had white covers I think.

This links into what some other book bloggers have named Aca-porn, ie books set in an academic setting, often old universites, bording schools and the like. I want to read more of this, preferably with some sort of mystical, fantasy or future element... anyone have recommendations? Besides Harry Potter of course because I think my geek book blogger card would be revoked if I hadn't read those.

Edit: I am wondering if the series I read might have been The Dana Girls, appearently they are from Carolyn Keene so that would explain why I read them since I was a Nancy Drew-fan for a long time.
  • Sooz
  • 10:26 AM
  • 2 comments

Oscar Wilde and the Candlelight Murders - Gyles Brandreth

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have read shamefully little of Oscar Wilde but every time I read a quote of his I always smile and promise myself to pick up The Picture of Dorian Gray and Three Stories or The Importance of Being Earnest very soon. Therefore I was of course intrigued when my friend handed me this book. Oscar Wilde as a detective? It turns out it works very well, it's a mystery somewhat in the style of Arthur Conan Doyle (who also shows up as a character in the book) but a bit less straightforward than the cases Sherlock Holmes solves. It wasn't until the very last chapters that I figured out who was the murderer and that is always a good sign. I also like how Oscar Wilde is portrayed in the book. He of course has his faults and vices but on the whole is it a very believable portrayal.


It took me long enough to finish this book but that is more my fault than the book's, I am most definitely looking forward to reading the next one.



  • Sooz
  • 10:00 AM
  • 0 comments

Whirlwind

I went back to work on Monday, business trip was back on so I threw myself head on into learning a new program well enough to hold a presentation about it. Hence no posts for a few days.

Right now I'm in Denmark for said presentation and I'm wishing I actually knew danish.

Also, very annoying thing when travelling - leaving your book in luggage that is suddenly not carry-on anymore. Lucky it was on the shortest leg of the trip.

By the way, you know an author can write exciting action when you forget time and place when you read it. In other words, Furies of Calderon is really good if you like actionbooks.
  • Sooz
  • 2:14 PM
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Yup, still sick

Getting better I think but still exhausted and coughing. Really over this whole cold thing now. But Furies of Calderon is good and Agent to the Stars was good and from my vantage point on the couch I've made tentative plans on how to arrange our bookshelves. So, progress, I think.

Tomorrow I'm going to work to see if I am still going to Denmark this week. Three days lost is not a good thing but honestly I think I would have been worthless at work anyways. Shit happens, I'll sort it somehow.

Also, I get payed this week and it's time to see if I can keep to my self-imposed stop on buying books. As long as I don't pass by a bookstore I should be ok. I think. *deletes bookdepository.co.uk from bookmarks*

  • Sooz
  • 8:51 PM
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V for Vendetta - Alan Moore

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I now understand why people who have read V for Vendetta first is not as big fans of the movie as the people who haven't. Because while the movie is good, and I expect I will still enjoy it, the book is so much better. It's kind of like the difference between a really nice sketch and a beautiful oil painting of the same motive. Both are works of art but the oil painting has more dept and more variation.


If I were to make a recommendation to someone completely unfamiliar with both the movie and the book I would say watch the movie first. I think that way you'll get the most enjoyment out of both as the movie won't feel like a pale copy but rather a nice preview.


There are differences of course, not only in the amount of detail, most of those differences are centered around Evey and I'm not sure which version I like best. Same thing with the ending.


In any case, I would say this graphic novel is required reading for anyone interested in alternative history and good stories.



  • Sooz
  • 8:49 PM
  • 1 comments

Side Jobs - Jim Butcher

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The best parts of this antology are the two stories that Dresden is not the main character in. One is from Thomas' POV while the other is from Murphy's and I am a big fan of how they give an extra level to the 'verse Butcher have constructed.

All in all this book is a must-have in the wait for the next novel in the series and although it has spared me from having to buy all the antologies just to get my fix of tall, lanky, snarky wizard I probably will pick them up eventually anyway if only for Butcher's good words about the people who put them together.

So, how long until Ghost Story again?



  • Sooz
  • 9:09 PM
  • 0 comments

Still sick

The only positive with being sick is all the time to read. I'm now ahead instead of behind in my personal challenge to read 52 books this year and I'm halfway through Ark which has turned out to be very interesting and they haven't even gotten into space yet. But then again the world ending is always interesting no matter if it happens due to zombies, vampires, global warming or floods.

Ark is a very serious book though, not much humor but lots of misery (although written well as opposed to Black Blade Blues which was angsty and badly written), so I think the next one I pick up will have to be funnier, maybe Agent to the Stars? In any case, I'm going back to bed now.
  • Sooz
  • 3:08 PM
  • 3 comments

The Passage - Justin Cronin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Passage is a big and rather complicated book. The story, or stories rather, take place over a long period of time and instead of explaining everything the reader is allowed to reach their own conclusions and their own explanations.


It's the story of the end of the world.

It's the story of the girl Amy.

It's a story of humanity.


It took me a long time to get to the end of this book, mostly because I started it in 2010, a year in which I wasn't reading much at all, but also because it takes a bit of effort to read The Passage, not only because my edition is a big (very pretty) paperback which almost doesn't fit in my bag, but also because of what I wrote above about the reader needing to reach their own conclusions. Which is a good thing.


Another good thing is the way Justin Cronin writes, without getting bogged down with endless descriptions he paints very vivid pictures of the world both before and after it ends. I'm not in the least surprised that it's already been picked up by the movie business because like many of John Scalzi's books it's written like a movie already. I just hope it gets treated well and is not completely butchered on the altar of time and cost restraints.


So did I like The Passage? Well I gave it four stars so I must have, right? And, yes, I did. But it also leaves me wanting and desperately wishing that the second book, The Twelve, answers some of the questions that still linger in my mind.



  • Sooz
  • 8:38 PM
  • 2 comments

Fever and Irish Druids

I finished Soulless last night (will be reviewing it soonish) and it was wonderful. I had plans to start Hounded on the commuter train this morning but this was foiled by my husband realizing I was warmer than him and forcing me (lovingly) to take my temperature. Turns out I was running a fever coupled with my raspy throat and cough so he used my own tricks against me and guilt tripped be into staying at home. I grumbled a bit, emailed work and went back to bed. Got up a few hours later and went to the shop for coffee and some other things and judging from how exhausted I was by that he was probably right to make me stay home.

So, I've started reading Hounded while resting and drinking lots of tea and other fluids instead and it really is a perfect "home sick"-book, humorous, easy to read and with a captivating story. Plus, you know, viking vampires, a dog who wants to be Djingis Khan and lots of Irish deities in a family fight of truly epic proportion. In other words, just my kind of book. In fact, I'm gonna make myself another cup of tea (Earl Grey. Hot.) and go back to reading.
  • Sooz
  • 3:57 PM
  • 2 comments

Sunday meme on a Monday

Since this Monday is my Sunday as I took time off work to spend time with Martina and Fia I thinks it's quite alright if I answer this meme today (created by Bokstävlarna and translated by me):

This weekend's...

…funniest: Trash-talking ESC together with the girls and the awesomely geeky bookish get-together on Saturday.

...most boring: Not having enough money to indulge in all the bookstores we visited. And also saying good bye to M & F again.

tastiest: Maybe the dumplings, or the sushi, or the muffins or possibly the tacos. So much good food!

…reading: Finished Iron Council by China Mieville and started on Soulless by Gail Carriger.

…listening: Less than usual but when appropriate the usual very random spotify-list.

So, how was your weekend?

  • Sooz
  • 10:09 PM
  • 4 comments

Newly acquired

While I am poorer than a church mouse at the moment I still couldn't resist buying Kevin Hearne's Hounded when we went to sfbokhandeln yesterday. I read about it on Scalzi's blog, in one of the Big Idea segments where Hearne himself talked about the thoughts behind the book and it went on the to-read-list instantly. So when it was finally in stock again and rather cheap too (79 sek) I fluttered my eyelashes at the husband and borrowed enough to get it.

Martina claims the cover looks like one from a romance novel (despite the rather glaring lack of heaving busoms) but judging from the blurb on the back it seems void of much romance. In any case I am looking forward to reading it as soon as I finish Soulless.

  • Sooz
  • 10:30 AM
  • 0 comments

Kraken - China Miéville

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I think this might be my favorite China Mieville book to date. I've read a few of the other reviews on here that claim it is thinner, more boring and whatever (don't get me wrong, many of those reviewers liked the book too just maybe not as much as me) but honestly I think that is a plus. Now, Mieville is one of my favorite authors but his books are kind of like eating really dark chocolate, very tasty but it get's too much if you mainline a whole bar of it. The worlds he creates are so filled with wonderful strangeness that I can only absorb so much before having to put the book down. Now this book is like dark chocolate with a nice filling or flavoring, ie you can actually eat the whole damn piece without feeling overwhelmed.


Kraken might be a bit easier to read but in no way has Mieville skimped on the fantastic ideas. I do adore Billy the main character because he feels so real, so normal in all of the craziness of the world ending. Because the world is ending, the problem is only finding out how.


I heartily recommend this book to anyone who has enjoyed Chine Mieville's earlier books, especially Un Lun Dun, or Neil Gaiman's whole bibliography, especially Neverwhere.



  • Sooz
  • 10:18 PM
  • 4 comments