Category: Reviews

Review: Hollow City

“Look!” Enoch shouted, standing up in the boat next to ours. “It’s disappearing!”

A spectral fog enshrouded the island, blanking it from view, and we broke from rowing to watch it fade. “Say goodbye to our island,” Emma said, standing and removing her big hat. “We may never see it again.”

“Farewell, island,” said Hugh.

“You were so good to us.”

Horace set his oar down and waved.  “Goodbye, house. I shall miss all your rooms and gardens, but most of all I shall miss my bed.”

“So long, loop,” Olive sniffled. “Thank you for keeping us safe all these years.”

“Good years,” said Bronwyn. “The best I’ve known.”

Cover of the book

Cover of the book “Hollow City” by Ransom Riggs.

In the second book in the series about Miss Peregrine and her peculiar children, author Ransom Riggs has the kids leaving their safe island in search for their mistress.

The book is a lot darker than the first one in places, Jacob’s relationship with Emma is solidified much more than in the first book, and Jacob comes to find out much more about who he is in this book.

This book also properly introduces the main villain of the series, Caul. He’s just as nasty and despicable as you could expect if you read the first book. The book has a lot more of what made the first book great: peculiarity, pictures, action and excitement.

Basically: if you liked the first one, you’ll like this one. If you loved the first one, you’ll devour this one!

A good debut

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Skyggejakten by Jørgen Jæger is a crime novel about the policeman Ole Vik. It is the first book about the policeman, and it was published in 2003.

The book revolves around a case where the paranoid and schizophrenic scrap dealer Ingolf Holgersen apparently killed his own maid.

Because of his condition, it is difficult, if not impossible, to prove what happened, and Ole Vik has an intriguing case in front of him. The case will turn out to throw suspicion on employees in his own staff, which gets Vik to start doubting whom he surrounds himself with.

Although I personally miss some action scenes in this book, Jørgen Jæger has done a thorough job and has managed to create a good crime drama.

I have a little trouble identifying myself with Ole Vik, because he is much older than me, but in spite of this I managed to stay around  until the end of this mystery.

His characters are well constructed and it is easy to emphasize with the psychology of the various characters. A negative aspect is Jæger’s narrative style, which is often a little slow and characterized by a somewhat old vocabulary.

But all in all, this book is recommended for people who like Nordic crime fiction.

Review: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

I wanted to tell him. I wanted to explain everything, and for him to tell me he understood and to offer some tidbit of parental advice. I wanted, in that moment, for everything to go back to the way it had been the way it had been before we came here; back before I ever found that letter from miss Peregrine, back when I was just a sort-of-normal messed-up rich kid in the suburbs. Instead, I sat next to my dad for awhile and talked about nothing, and tried to remember what my life had been like in that unfathomably distant era that was four weeks ago, or imagine what my life would be like four weeks from now – but I couldn’t. Eventually we ran out of nothing to talk about, and I excused myself and went upstairs to be alone.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is a bleak but warmhearted, strange but logical, book with photos. Primarily, it is a sparkling debut novel by the American author Ransom Riggs.

Each chapter contains one to four quirky black and white photos illustrating the story. The book is an atypical fantasy novel / picture book that is about the rich boy Jacob who lives a seemingly normal life in an American suburb. The only thing he wants in life are friends, and, as it turns out, finding out what happened when his grandfather Abe was killed.

Abe was a strange grandfather who throughout Jacobs upbringing told him about monsters, a strange orphanage he lived in  in order to escape the war, and children with special abilities. As Jacob grows up he becomes more and more suspicious of his grandfather’s stories.

But one day when he goes to visit his grandfather and finds him out in the woods, killed by what is apparently animals, he becomes determined to uncover the truth about his grandfather’s life. This leads him to an island off the coast of Wales, mostly inhabited by sheep farmers, where all electricity comes from diesel generators which stops at 10 PM every day.

There he discovers things that will turn his hitherto innocent existence upside down. The book has several sequels, including Hollow City and the Library of Souls. If you like fantasy literature, and perhaps particularly innovative literature, you will most likely enjoy this book.

Review!

Trouble in Trondheim was reviewed by Ida Elise Østberg of ByMarlida, and received three of five stars. I’m so grateful!

I hope this is not the last we see of Kurt Hammer, because he is a main character I would love to continue to follow throughout more adventures!

– Ida Elise Østberg

The book can be bought now on Amazon, Smashwords, Kobo, and B&N!

Review: The Son by Jo Nesbø

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This is a really good Crime Thriller. It’s also pretty brutal.
It features at least four murders and one torture, with varying degrees of intensity. This is not a book for the faint of heart, in other words.
But if you like well-written, modern crime fiction, you will probably dig this book. Especially if you live in Oslo or you’ve ever visited it.
Jo Nesbø features lots of good descriptions of Oslo in this book, from the city’s classy hotels to the more slummy areas east in the city where the drug addicts live. He also features a varied cast of characters.
One thing I didn’t like was the names, many of which are untypical and somewhat unrealistic, such as “Sonny”, “Rover” and “Ab”.
That said, the characters are still interesting, such as the main character Sonny who is a brutal murderer but still very sympathetic, the love interest Martha which is very conflicted and takes a long time to realize that she’s fallen for Sonny, and the old wise cop Simon who turns out to be very different from what he initially seems.
The plot is well crafted and gripping, and will keep you at the edge of your seat like a good thriller is supposed to do.

Review: Hail, Caesar

First, an admission: I was never a huge fan of the Coen-brothers. I never watched any of their movies except for Bridge of Spies (which I loved!), The Big Lebowski (which was ok), and Oh Brother, Where Art Thou (which was so-so).

I hadn’t read or seen anything about this movie when I went to see it, so I didn’t know what to expect. The movie starts off in antique Rome, where a roman soldier, played by Baird Whitlock (George Clooney), is leading a flock of prisoners back to the capitol.

Soon, the movie somewhat abruptly cuts to a confession booth inside a Catholic church. Here we meet the movie’s actual protagonist, Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin). He’s a “fixer” working for a Hollywood studio in the 1950s, and the movie depicts a day in his life.

Ralph Fiennes as Laurence Laurentz

Ralph Fiennes as Laurence Laurentz

Problems start piling up almost immediately: Whitlock is drugged by a couple of extras on the set and kidnapped by what turns out to be a bunch of screenwriters-turned-communists. They demand $100,000 in ransome money from the studio.

DeeAnna Moran (Scarlett Johanson), another one of the studio’s stars, has become pregnant and doesn’t want to take responsibility for her baby while her movie is in production.

The director Laurence Laurentz (Ralph Fiennes) is missing a male lead for his latest production. With all these things going on at the same time and more, hilarity ensues.

What I liked best about this movie was its interspersed scenes from movies that could have been made in the 1950s, complete with dancing sailors, diving mermaids, live music, and rodeo cowboys. Movies are not made this way anymore, and this movie offers a fresh look at how things were way back when.

The acting performances are spot on, as you would expect from the ensemble that this movie offers up. In the end though, this really is Brolin’s movie, and he works really hard to make you feel for all the problems he has to fix during the course of this movie.

I also liked quite a lot of the music in this movie, which is fittingly infused with plenty of jazz and big band.

If you like period movies, smart comedies, classic Hollywood, and /or movies made by the Coen brothers, you will definitely like this one.

Review: The Hateful Eight

When you go to see a movie directed by Quentin Tarantino, there are two things you can be sure of: plenty of gratuitous violence, and Samuel L. «Motherfucking» Jackson. But that doesn’t mean you know what you’re going to get.

When I saw this movie, I didn’t know anything about it except it featured mr. Jackson and that it was shot on 70mm film. As a director and script writer, Tarantino is like a fine wine: he always tastes the same, but gives you new flavors with every sip.

So it is with this movie: quite unlike anything Tarantino has done before, this movie is a chamber play set in a stagecoach and (primarily) a haberdashery.

Mr. Jackson plays a bounty hunter lost in the snow, who happens upon another bounty hunter riding in a stagecoach (played by Kurt Russell, another Tarantino alumni). John Ruth (Russell) has a prisoner, Daisy Domergue (played by Jennifer Jason Leigh) who is destined for the gallows.

Samuel L. Jackson as Marquis Warren.

Samuel L. Jackson as Marquis Warren.

Marquis Warren (Jackson) and John Ruth have met previously, and Ruth is aware that Warren has been a pen pall of president Lincoln. Because of this, Warren decides to let the doomed bounty hunter into his carriage, and the unlikely threesome make their way towards a haberdashery in the mountains.

Before too long, they run into another man lost in the snow – Chris Mannix (played by Walton Goggins, yet another Tarantino alumni). He purports to be the new sherriff of Red Rocks, the town on the other side of the mountains, the stagecoach’s final destination. Ruth doubts this, but nevertheless lets Mannix into the warmth, lest he be responsible for killing the new sheriff.

As the party reaches Sweet Minnie’s haberdashery, where they seek shelter, it turns out that the owner has left to visit her mother and left the place in charge of a Mexican, a Brit who claims to be the hangman of Red Rocks, a mysterious cowboy (played by Michael Madsen, yet another Tarantino alumni) and a southern general.

Neither Mannix nor the old general are particularily fond of black people, and Ruth is sceptical of all the people in the haberdashery. Needless to say, the plot develops into a Agatha Christie-esque thriller. In the end, Tarantino has managed to kill off most of his cast in the most brutal way possible. I was left wondering how he was going to pull off a satisfactory ending, but I was not disappointed.

Speaking of cast; Tarantino has managed to assemble some of Hollywood’s greatest actors for this movie. Though many are alumni, their characters all feel original and fresh and are played with such ferocity and thrilling charm that it’s impossible not to be impressed.

For the score, Tarantino has hired Ennio Morricone, and he does a splendid job of recreating the feeling of the old wild west, while not repeating his collaboration with Sergio Leone.

The film is shot on 70mm film, the widest format available, and the shots, colors and contrasts are all amazing. Cinematographer Robert Richardson has done a great job of capturing the raw spirit of the nature of the american  west.

As with every Tarantino film, I didn’t know quite what to expect when I went into the cinema. But I was not disappointed. This movie should be watched by anyone who likes Tarantino’s work and everyone who likes film in general.

Review: Moleskine Volant

For the past months, I’ve been writing on iPad for journalistic assignments, or on free journals from my university in my spare time.

But a couple of days ago, I realized that I’d forgotten to bring extra journals with me home, and that, thusly, I needed new ones.

After mulling for a bit too long in the store, I ended up buying a set of two Moleskine Volants, because it seemed like a good compromise between quality, number of pages and price.

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If you don’t care about quality at all, then these are not for you. They are, frankly, way to expensive for that. However, if you want a journal that you can store in your backpack (large) or pocket (small) without worrying about wrecking them, these are for you.

They also come with enough pages (96, large and 82, small), so you won’t run out of pages in the foreseeable future.

As if that wasn’t enough, the first page has a sentence: “In case of loss, please return to:”, underneath which you can fill out your address and a specified amount as a reward. Neat!

Last but not least, the small version comes with detachable pages, and the large version comes with the last sixteen pages detachable. In case you should need it 🙂

One thing I found annoying was that the ridge of the journal was too stiff, making the first page hard to write on, but other than that, I totally love these journals.

Highly recommended!

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