marți, 30 iunie 2015

”Eroare judiciară” (”Vik & Stubø”, #1) de Anne Holt - Recenzie

Titlul original: Det som er mitt
Autor: Anne Holt
Editura: Trei
Traducere: Marie- Jeanne Vasiloiu
Anul apariției: 2011
Număr de pagini: 368
Limbaj direct, acţiune susţinută, deznodământ surprinzător şi o portretizare subtilă a emoţiilor umane.USA Today
Eroare judiciară e un alt roman polițist nordic care m-a îmbarcat într-un carusel al misterelor, bănuielilor și descoperirilor de-a dreptul surprinzătoare. 

Acțiunea are loc în țara de baștină a autoarei (fost ministru al justiției) - Norvegia - și se concentrează asupra unui criminal în serie care răpește copii și îi omoară printr-o metodă care, o bună bucată de vreme, va rămâne necunoscută polițiștilor și medicilor legiști. Mai apoi, trimite corpul neînsuflețit mamei, însoțit de mesajul ”Ai primit ceea ce ai meritat”.
Cum inspectorul Ingvar Stubø nu îi dă de cap acestui caz iar copiii continuă să dispară, el îi cere ajutorul lui Inger Johanne Vik, care a lucrat într-un timp la FBI. Colaborarea celor doi duce la descoperirea unei legături între cazul cu pricina și Aksel Seier, condamnat în urmă cu 40 de ani și, acum, exilat în Statele Unite.

Desigur, într-un thriller nordic, nimic nu ceea ce pare și nimic nu e atât de simplu. Aksel Seier devine principalul suspect, însă Inger Johanne ”sapă” și mai adânc și află lucruri ce pun la îndoială nu numai actuala prezumție de vinovăție, ci și sentința pe care Seier a primit-o acum 40 de ani. Inger Johanne merge până într-acolo încât îl vizitează pe presupusul vinovat. Acesta este unul din motivele pentru care Vik mi-a câștigat simpatia - deși s-a lăsat greu înduplecată să-l ajute pe Stubø, odată angajată în anchetă, se folosește de toate resursele pe care le deține ca să aducă adevărul la lumină. Ingvar Stubø nu se lasă mai prejos. E un personaj la fel de plăcut și mă bucură faptul că între cei doi protagoniști se dezvoltă o relație ce nu rămâne la stadiul formalităților. Această relație face ca găsirea criminalului în serie să aibă loc înainte ca alți copii să devină victime și, totodată, face posibilă descurcarea ițelor - și sunt foarte încurcate. Ce-i drept, au fost momente când ițele mi s-au părut exagerat de încurcate, pentru ca, mai târziu, să ajung la concluzia că ar fi fost la fel de bine și fără unele elemente care, mi se pare mie, au cam îngreunat desfășurarea acțiunii.
- Intuiția nu-i nimic altceva decât prelucrarea în subconștient a unor factori pe care i-am receptat, declară el, înainte de a-și aminti de unde știa chestia asta.
Una peste alta, Eroare judiciară este o lectură pe care o recomand, în special celor interesați de psihologia omului aflat în situații de criză (căci Anne Holt a surprins-o cu succes) și de cazurile întortocheate, ce jonglează cu trecutul și prezentul.

Nota mea: 4/5

luni, 15 iunie 2015

”Silent Orchids” (”The Age of Alandria”, #1) by Morgan Wylie - Review

Title: Silent Orchids
Author: Morgan Wylie
Publishing year: 2013
Format: e-book (provided by YA Bound Book Tours as a part of the tour in order to provide a honest review)

Description 

A dying realm.

The ancient evil of the Droch-Shúil has been unleashed. 

The Orchids have been silenced... but for how long?

Daegan, elite of the Ferrishyn warrior tribe of Faeries, is charged with a mission to find the Sol-lumieth, a mysterious new power that could change the fate of all in the realm of Alandria. But he is conflicted by his purpose, and he cannot trust the motives of those he serves. He has too many questions and they must be answered.

Kaeleigh, a girl abandoned as a small child just outside Missoula, Montana, is now 18. She is trying to discover who she is and where she belongs. In her heart, she feels she has family out there… somewhere. Desperate to unravel the mysteries of her past, she embarks on a journey that will forever change her along with her two best friends, Finn and Chel - who have secrets of their own.



Review


The first book in The Age of Alandria series is a captivating and promising beginning of a journey that involves magic, elves, faeries, shapeshifters, orchids and a lot of mysteries. For Kaeleigh this journey means the moment she has been waiting for a long time - the moment when she finally discovers who and what she truly is. For Daegan, on the other hand, it is a mission he needs to accomplish as a part of his destiny in order to bring back peace in Alandria. I must admit, I wish the premise would have been a bit different, and not following the typical fairy tale pattern - the character who doesn't know his/ her true identity, the prophecy that saying he/ she is the chosen one to destroy the evil. Yet, I cannot say this bothered me, I just say it would have been great to read about a more diverse main idea.  

However, the main idea gradually evolves into a complex and multilayered story. So many secrets show up that it becomes quite difficult to keep up with them. Kaeleigh's friends - Finn and Chel - become really interesting characters because they have their own mysteries and questions, which are related to Kaeleigh. Plus, there is the bizarre bond between the protagonist and Daegan, which suddenly comes out when the two characters meet. I enjoy this connection between them because if they are going to be more than friends at some point in the future, it will be easier for me to get accustomed with the situation and it will also remove the "instantly-falling-in-love" cliché. When it comes to relationships, I do need to share my sympathy for Daegan's friendship with Halister (the son of the Paladins) - although it is not largely outlined in this book, it is nice to get a glimpse of it.

I had some problems with the first novel in the trilogy though. One is that concerning the worldbuilding, which, to my mind, is somehow disproportionate - some things are very well described while others are given less attention. Regarding the language, I was indeed pleased with the figures of speech and the way the author managed to express, for instance, the connection between Kaeleigh and Daegan or between Kaeleigh and the orchids. Still, I detected some mistakes, repetitive phrases, too many Caps Lock written words and excessive usage of the exclamation mark. In addition, I believe it would have been better if the family name of both Chel and Finn hadn't been mentioned right from the start, as they have strange last names and it becomes obvious they are not that earthly.

Overall, Silent Orchids is a story that slowly develops into an engaging bigger picture, which provides the certainty that there is more to find out, more characters to encounter and more gripping events to take place.


My Rating: 3,5/5 (Goodreads - 4/5)


Buy Links:

About the Author

Morgan Wylie, originally from the Pacific Northwest, now resides near Nashville, TN with her husband and daughter. She and her husband work everyday at their individual and combined creative pursuits while she learns to balance being “Mama”, wife, and mediator to the many voices and muses constantly chattering in her head.

Author Links:



Giveaway

vineri, 5 iunie 2015

”Always Remembered” (”Never Forgotten”, #3) by Kelly Risser - Review

Title: Always Remembered
Author: Kelly Risser
Release Date: 05/19/15
Publisher: Clean Teen Publishing
Edition: Kindle (provided by YA Bound Book Tours as part of the Always Remembered blog tour)


Summary from Goodreads:
One clue… what does it mean?

Ken, the leader of the Blue Men of the Minch, has kidnapped Evan. Before they left, Evan was able to leave a package for Meara—her grandfather's necklace wrapped in a cloth napkin with one word written in blood. Azuria. Unfortunately, Meara doesn't understand it and neither does her dad or Kieran.

When Dad and Aunt Brigid attempt to rescue Evan, Meara and Kieran begin to train the clan on how to fight and defend their home. A war is brewing, and Meara is determined their people must prepare for the battle. The training sessions are long and arduous, but the Selkies work hard to learn.

Meanwhile, Evan wakes and finds himself in Belle Tresor, the home of sirens. He's bound to his blue form, unable to transform to human, and Ken has plans to use Evan's powers to destroy the Selkies. Thankfully, he's not alone. He befriends a siren named Deanna and several Blue Men. Can he trust them to help him escape or do they have ulterior motives?
As both sides prepare for an ultimate confrontation, the stakes are high and friendships are tested. Some will rise to be victorious. Some will be destroyed. But love and loyalty will be always remembered in this exciting conclusion to the Never Forgotten series.

Review

It is always hard for me to write a review because I want to communicate so many things that I don't know where to start, but it is even harder when it comes to the conclusion of a series that I fell in love with. 

Always Remembered is almost as I have imagined it would be after reading Current Impressions. The second book in the Never Forgotten series predicted more or less the energetic action in this volume. Yet, there are new, surprising and mesmerizing elements. To start with, I am very pleased with the plot shifting from one place to another, places which are beautifully described. Belle Tresor (the home of sirens), for instance, is so well depicted that it gives the impression of a veracious community where sirens live their regular lives, enjoying various activities. The image of Ronac (Meara's and her family's home), too, is developed to a greater extent. And then is Azuria, but I don't want to enter into particulars that may give you any spoiler.

Secondly, it is a pleasure to see the evolution of the characters. Meara, the protagonist, does evolve, maybe not as much as I was expecting, still, she is obviously more able, determined and, fortunately, more responsible. I must say, since the first book I have been getting along with her really well and I am certainly going to miss her. In Always Remembered her most powerful traits surround her continuously. The optimism, tenacity and the tenderness she owns are her definitory features and, likewise, the ones that make her truly unforgettable. I also got to know the other characters from different perspectives - Kieran, Evan, Ula, Brigid are just a few noteworthy examples. 

Lastly, I need to express how happy I was about the epilogue. After the venturesome journey, which was full of ups and downs, strong emotions and wonderful landscapes, it came as a calming wave. It took away a bit from my "I-don't-want-to-finish-this" sadness and, one way or another, it opened the way to a new adventure. I do believe the author did a great job with this glimpse into the future of our beloved characters. 

Overall, I am absolutely satisfied with the entire trilogy. I do feel it could have been even better, but, anyway, I strongly recommend Always Remembered as it successfully takes up where Current Impressions left off and makes up the ideal ending of a story that I have read, felt and that I will never forget.

My Rating: 4,5/5 (Goodreads - 5)

About the Author

Becoming a published author is a lifetime dream come true. As a child, I subjected friends and family to my "KellyMark" greeting cards ("When you care enough to make the very best."), poetry, homemade magazines, and short stories. In high school, my short story, "If Only to Escape" was published in the local paper, and I won a writing contest for my children's story, "Televisella." In college, my creative writing tapered off, but I still managed to write the occasional review for The Marquette University Tribune. Once I graduated, I mixed creative writing with business writing, and I've held positions in Advertising, Marketing, and Instructional Design/eLearning Development.

Today, I am busy writing the next book in Meara's story. When I'm not writing, I'm reading, hanging out with my husband and two kids, or playing with our Whoodle puppy.


Author Links:


Giveaway

miercuri, 3 iunie 2015

"Current Impressions" ("Never Forgotten", #2) by Kelly Risser - Review

Title: Current Impressions
Author: Kelly Risser
Publishing Year: 2014
Edition: Kindle (provided by YA Bound Book Tours as part of the Always Remembered blog tour)

It has been a while since I read the first book in the Never Forgotten series and I thought reading the second one will be quite a challenge, considering the fact there is some information to grasp. Although, my worries were pointless, as it turned out, and this due to the author's ability to slowly and naturally integrate the main ideas of the first volume.

Current Impressions surprised me for many reasons. First of all, it is incredibly and breathtakingly fast-paced, compared to Never Forgotten. There is so much action going on with Meara's training (which enables the protagonist to discover her unique powers), her emotional evolution towards Kieran (character that shows up in the first novel too), Evan's arrival and behavioural change and so on. This many-sided plot gave me a sense of satisfaction and made the process of reading happen so quickly that I was surprised when I reached the last page. Plus, the writing is as beautiful as in the first book, and the shifting of the narrative perspective also awarded the story with great dynamism and excitement.

Secondly, I need to mention the love triangle. As I wrote in some of my previous posts, I am not particularly keen on love triangles, but if it is well-outlined, then I will give it a try. I am glad I did so with the one in Current Impressions. The love triangle between Evan, Meara and Kieran is the first love triangle that put me in the position where I don't know on which side to be. On the one hand, I would like to see Meara and Evan together, as they became a couple in the first book and I honestly enjoy their relationship. On the other hand, the idea of Meara ending up with Kieran also draws me in forasmuch as Kieran understands her true nature better. This confusing situation gets even worse when Evan finds out what he truly is. It is no surprise Meara is so disorientated and incapable of making a decision. Though, I must say, she is lucky with these two boys. Both of them are mature enough not to start fighting or put useless pressure on her.

However, when it comes to the main character - Meara - I would have liked to see more responsability and understanding. Indeed, she has evolved since her departure from Canada, but, until a point, it seems she doesn't realise at all the danger wandering around her. What annoyed me is the fact that she wants her father too look at her as if she were an adult and, contrary to that, she craves for spending time with him (who is busy with his leader business) and acts, on many occasions, like a stubborn and foolish child. Still, I believe these flaws are part of her further development and I cannot wait to see it. In her behalf, I would say she is very caring, persevering and strong, knowing she no longer has her mother and her life has taken a 180 degrees turn. What is more, those flaws I indicated make her more human and approachable and make me more curious about the next book.

One problem I wish I hadn't with Kelly Risser's work is the one consisting of some replies which are overused in YA literature. Current Impressions has a few, but I wish it had none because the dialogue is, generally, really good and absorbing. Therefore, it saddened me that the dialogue was "stained" with those rare yet unpleasant clichés.

Overall, Current Impressions is an almost perfect sequel that kept me on the edge of my seat. It introduced me to new, interesting, powerful and diverse characters engaged in a suspense-filled intrigue.

My Rating: 4,5/5 (Goodreads - 5)

* Trailer *

marți, 2 iunie 2015

N motive pentru a citi #2


A trecut o vreme de când nu am mai postat în această rubrică. Mă întreb de ce. Motive sunt, n chiar!

În prima postare am vorbit despre unul din darurile pe care li ne oferă cărțile - acela că ne dă șansa să trăim orice viață ne dorim. 

Dar gândiți-vă că uneori nu putem fugi de realitate. E chiar aici. Și e dură. Nemiloasă. Ne pune piedici. Cădem. Și e atât de dificil să ne ridicăm! În astfel de momente ne dorim din tot sufletul să avem aripi sau să putem zbura pur și simplu. În astfel de momente ne dorim... să trăim o altă viață, ceea ce sună cam trist, într-adevăr. Însă o asemenea escapadă necesită timp. Nu poți deveni Harry Potter doar bătând din palme. Trebuie să pui mâna pe primul volum al seriei, să îl deschizi și să îl citești. Să îl cunoști pe Harry și după aceea să devii el.

Dar nu ai timp de asta acum. 
Ești cu moralul la pământ. Cedezi.
Nimeni nu vrea să te ajute. 

Ei, nimeni! Dar cărțile? Tot ele ne sar în ajutor, desigur. Și e foarte simplu. Nu trebuie să devii un personaj ca să uiți de grijile vieții proprii. Tot ce trebuie făcut este să iei o carte, la întâmplare și să te pui pe citit. Dacă îți place sau nu, asta rămâne de văzut. Cert este că mintea ta o să se concentreze asupra lecturii. Poate o să zică ”Hm, devine interesant.” sau ”Hm, nu înțeleg nimic.”, dar important este că nu va mai fi preocupată cu nenorocirile ce, din păcate, ți s-au întâmplat.

Pe mine și simplul fapt de a mă retrage în biblioteca personală mă ajută să-mi calmez nervii. Unde mai pui că poate te mai ia și somnul încercând să pricepi ce-a scris vreun amărât. De asta ce ziceți? Nu cred că există activitate mai plăcută și mai alinătoare decât dormitul.

Nu degeaba marele scriitor francez Victor Hugo spunea:
”Cărțile sunt prieteni reci, dar siguri.” 
Așa reci cum sunt ele, cărțile vor fi mereu acolo, dispuse să ne ofere un umăr pe care să plângem... și să dormim, eventual.