Tag Archives: Book

2013. The year that was

I have no better words to describe it. It was, it’s over now.

I look back on it and all I can think is, thankfully, it’s over. Nothing bad happened to me but it still felt like a bad year, full of bad news (both domestic and international), lethargy, indifference, deaths – generally, a year that didn’t display human kind at its best (an understatement) and did display it at some of its worst.

I always feel guilty for thinking like this, I feel I am being ungrateful. Compared to most of the world, I lead a life of plenty. And realistically speaking, it’s true. I lack for nothing, quite the contrary, I have a great family, a nice job, a good education, great circle of friends. I live in a beautiful country. I travel. I can buy perfumes and books. I am also healthy and hopefully will remain so.

So why feel like my year was one I just went through? Because it was. It mostly feels like a year where I went through all the motions of my everyday life when actually it felt more like hibernation with some small sparks of life.

But I want to focus on all the positive things this year brought me (because it feels like the hibernation period might be over) and one should always bring in the new year on a positive note. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

PERFUME

This year has brought me some true treasures. ๐Ÿ™‚black smoke

I discovered Cuirelle by a lucky chance and fell in love completely.

Suzanne opened my eyes to what incredibly happy perfume 24, Faubourg is.

I listened to Maurice Roucel give a talk on perfumes and met some new perfume friends.

And then the new Puredistance Black came out. And speaking of black, it really has become my favorite color to wear.

 

 

BOOKS

I discovered I am hooked to post-apocalyptic novels of any and every caliber – YA, horror, zombie, romance – you name it, I’ll probably enjoy it. I do wonder about what that says about me because I’m scared of the actual possibility (some of them sound too realistic). Am I preparing for the possibility?!passage

I haven’t read World War Z but I did see the movie and loved it. I’m guessing the book is better. When someone asks me what I want for birthday, that will be on my list (although I can already see the eye-rolling accompanying my wish for more books). ๐Ÿ˜€

I also think I will never reach my annual goal of 100 books. Last year I came closest, but this year, I think it’s the worst so far. Maybe I should sign up for the 50 books a year challenge, I would be able to finish that one. ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

THE REST

The highlights of my year have been the trips to Vienna and Rome. In Vienna I finally got to meet the lovely Birgit and her boys, with an additional surprise of meeting Sandra and her son as well.

Rome was a trip we planned while in Paris in 2012. I cannot say how happy I am that I got to meet with Suzanne, Mark and Asali in Rome again. I thought there wasn’t a city in the world that could remove Paris from the top of my list of places I would love to live, but there’s Rome. I love that city and I hope to visit it again soon.

View from the park above Spanish steps

View from the park above Spanish steps

It might seem like I had a very active year, what with finishing 4 half-marathons in 3 different countries, but that was an uphill fight all the time, as all I wanted to do was stay home and read, and not go out and run. Still, you can’t tell that from the races, so at least it looked good on the outside. ๐Ÿ˜‰

IMG_2034

See how tired I was?!

But I took time off for the last two months as I needed to replenish my physical and psychological energy levels. I actually feel better now.

So, without further ado,

Wishing you all a successful, fulfilling New Year full of happiness, laughter and joy!

*off to toast to that with a glass of champagne*

Champagne_glass_flower_stem_shape

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Scott Lynch: The Republic of Thieves Read Along, Part I

It’s time for another round of fun with Locke and Jean! ๐Ÿ™‚

As with the previous two, I’m again participating in the read along of Scott Lynch’s Gentleman Bastards series.

This week’s questions were provided by Dab of Darkness and without further ado, here they are with my answers.

1) We get to reminisce with several old friends in this section – Carlo, Galdo, Chains. How did you like this? Bitter sweet or happy dance?
It did start a bit bittersweet for me but that was soon replaced by happiness of getting to enjoy those “carefree” days again. Actually, I wasn’t even aware hoe much I missed them until those parts appeared in this book. I guess Mr. Lynch considered our shock and sadness at seeing them gone. And that it also proved as a good background for the whole Locke-Sabetha situation.images (1)

2) Finally, the infamous Sabetha makes a physical appearance, albeit in Locke’s reminisces. What are your impressions? How do you think the romance, if there is to be one, will play out?ย 

Well, I actually got further along than designated for this week. My impressions in the beginning were that it seemed a bit too young to develop a burning love to last until Locke’s dying day (at least that’s what I gather from him it feels like). ย I don’t know how it will play out (I’d rather not guess and then be proven wrong) but I certainly hope Locke gets some happiness in his love life.

3) After trying absolutely everything to save Locke, Jean still won’t give up. What did you think of that little pep talk he gave Locke concerning Patience’s offer of healing?ย 

Well, I know the story is centered about Locke more but Jean is to him what Hermione is to Harry Potter (I manage to put HP into everything). Jean is who has my vote of confidence to make it all happen for what Locke imagined. Because lets face it – Locke would be long dead without Jean while I don’t think the same is true for Jean.
Can I just say ย my thoughts at that part were – Hit him as well for being such a pain in the ass! (the book is making me swear, I swear!)

4) Locke has a few caveats to working for the Bondsmage. Wise or just Locke grasping for some control over his life? What would you ask Patience?

Wise. Definitely wise. There is no way there is not an underlying current to all this we’re not seeing. I mean, it was expected it would be the Bondsmagi who would save Locke but now they did, I hope they get put down to earth a bit.
I actually think Patience is one of the “good” guys – it seems someone is working to kill her as well (her son’s faction I’m guessing).
What would I ask her? Actually nothing comes to mind instantly – I just cannot grasp the magnitude of their capabilities.

5) At the end of this section, we see that all is not as Patience laid it out. How much do you think Patience knows of the plot to off Locke and Jean? Do you see it interfering in the rigged election?

I see it as part of the rigged election. Experience so far has shown that Mr. Lynch manages to make it all somehow come together and there might be signs along the way but until you reach the end, they are generally undecipherable. ๐Ÿ™‚ That said, I think the two (elections and getting killed) go together. I don’t think Patience knows anything about the particular plot (as I believe it concerns her life as well). But I do think she might believe that could be a real scenario.

We’ll see what happens next…

Please check the following blogs for their take on the part I:

Dab of Darkness

The Little Red Reviewer

Over the Effing Rainbow

Just Book Reading

Book Den

Many a True Nerd

Lynn’s Book Blog

Theft and Sorcery

Coffee, Cookies and Chili Peppers

Tethyan Books

Rosesthingamajig

Genkinahito’s Blog

Joma Fantasy

Books Without Any Pictures

Lindsey Fairleigh & Lindsey Pogue: After The Ending (The Ending Series)

Yes, there’s no way around it, I got involved in another series. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Luckily though, it’s terrific and the next book is out in November. Also, it’s not a short novel so it can be stretched into 3 books, this one is actually longish (I don’t how long exactly as I read an e-book but considering the time it took, it’s nicely sized).

It reminded me a bit of J. Cronin’s The Passage, less dark and with more romance (no vampires either) but a post-apocalyptic scenario that unfortunately for me, becomes easier and easier to believe.

Not exactly this particular one, but some kind of a virus (or other man-made catastrophe) seems more and more like a possible scenario for the world we live in.after the ending

We follow the story through two friends, located in different cities but more connected than sisters, losing the life they led because of the virus and finding unlikely fellow travelers on their way to the military camp where everyone is being kept safe (if you can reach it). Of course, not everything is as it seems and slowly it becomes visible.

I’m going to warn you know, the first book ends with a horrible cliffhanger so if you want to know what happens next, wait until November and then you can just continue on with the next.

I loved how there were some smart references in there, how one of the main characters seems a bit bitchy, how they are both insecure even though they are in theirย  twenties – there are many parts to this book making the characters come alive because of the little things you learn about them or see them do.

I often mention the predictability of a story as a bad thing (because I think it is), then again, some authors take it so far to other side of a spectrum you cannot make heads or tails about what’s happening. Here, you cannot guess where the story is going to take you but it makes sense (of course you can guess where the romance will go). ๐Ÿ˜‰

The story starts slowly and the builds up until you cannot stop reading. I enjoyed reading it a lot and consider it one of the best new books I read this year (HP is a league of its own).

There are so many great moments to this book, funny, sad, tragic, honest, scary, life-enriching that all I can say is – go read it. ๐Ÿ™‚

Quick bookish reviews

I don’t think my thoughts on each of them would suffice for a post, so I’ll just talk about them all together.

James Rollins: The Eye of God

Reading a James Rollins novel is always a thrilling ride. The fact that he can take legends or rumours and turn them into a credible alternative that is always a bit scary to ponder but unbelievably believable (couldn’t find a better phrase, sorry) – is what makes his novels always my top choice once they are released.eye of god

Basically, an action-packed, thrilling ride through the world with interesting bits of history thrown in for a possible alternative view on what we think we know.

Which is why I’m leaving you with this quote I found a bit scary to ponder:

“Could that be possible? Could Plato have been right all along: that we are blind to the true reality around us, that all we know is nothing more than the flickering shadow on a cave wall?

 

John Oehler: Aphrodesia

I admit, thinking that there might be a true aphrodisiac in any form is scary. Seems I’m reading books with scary ideas in them. ๐Ÿ˜‰

The book is full of interesting tidbits from the perfume industry which I found fascinating (loved the part where IFRA is criticised).Aphro-cover-209x300

I also loved the idea on which the story is based and the difference a minute thing can make. What I had a problem with was the main character Eric. As he seems to lack much of a character. It seems like his nose and perfume ability is his only defining quality. He certainly doesn’t seem to have read a crime novel in his life because it was kind of obvious who was behind his perfume disgrace/fall (well, I had 2 people on the list but itย became clear rather quickly that one of them didn’t do it).

It might just be me, as far as I can tell, nobody else had a problem with Eric. But he’s such a bad readย  of people’s characters, it’s tragi-comic and basically, in my opinion he came off as a bit stupid for real life (one outside perfumery).

That said, how cool is forensic perfumery?! Love that!

 

Alex Connor: The Rembrandt Secrettherembrandtsecret

Another novel with an interesting crime twist. Turns out I either read too much crime novels in life or writers no longer try to hide who the killer is.

I admit, I expected it to be more of an art crime thriller when it’s actually an art crime novel. The only thrilling part of it was learning that Rembrandt was a bad person and that a character in the novel wears Bal a Versailles.

Even though the letters this novel revolves around are fiction for the story of the book, the fact that the woman who wrote them existed and suffered at Rembrandt’s actions remains true.

I can’t say I was excited after reading this book but I did enjoy it a lot and will definitely pick up the other thrillers by A. Connor. I gotย  a bit hooked on the art history you can learn about reading this. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Cristin Terrill:ย All Our Yesterdays

I’ve kept the best for last. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Now, this book has really amazed me. This won’t sound nice but it was better than I expected when I started reading it. It’s an intricate YA story of time-travel, power-hungry people and friendship.

The great part? You really need to think through some parts where time travel is involved. ๐Ÿ˜€

The story switches from the perspectives of the future characters come to theย past and the present people who, it won’t take you long to realize, are the same. This doesn’t even qualify as a spoiler.AOY-Cover-Hi-Res

I don’t want to mention what exactly it’s about because I don’t want to spoil it for you. But you can probably guess if the future characters returned to the past, it is because of something that needs to be changed in the past.

This was just so well written, I enjoyed it a lot. Even though Marina in the present day is a bit of a self-centred teenager. ๐Ÿ™‚

But the fact thatย  my heart beat faster at some points, and then constricted at others, and kept me awake when I should have been sleeping… Those are clear signs how good I found it.

The best thing? It’s not part of a series! Finally! ๐Ÿ™‚

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