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Jan 18

Too good to be true? Four new series for me to follow!

Posted on Monday, January 18, 2016 in TV series

When the series I was following on Swedish tv (not the streaming ones I watch online) stopped just before Christmas, I was convinced it would be a long time before there was anything else I could watch (again, on Swedish tv, fortunately we do still have the streaming series, though most of them will be American and not the British and European ones that we would so much like to see as well).

However, I was wrong. On an ordinary week I now have four different series to watch, and that’s not counting the Sherlock Christmas special that is coming up this month. At least that was lucky.

First of all, there’s a German series, called Deutschland 83, which seems very interesting. It’s about an East German soldier who is forced to relocate to West Germany and work as a spy. It’s set in the 1980’s which is one of my favorite decades so much of the music will be great and it’s sort of ‘historic’ now, so that too, adds to my interest in the series.

Then there’s Shetland, season 3. I had forgotten how short the seasons were, so I was a little surprised to find that we were already on season 3, but clearly it’s correct. I love the scenery and I also really like the episodes, because they’re just old-fashioned ‘real’ cop series. These days you get all that ‘whydunnit’ instead of ‘whodunnit’ and I really prefer the latter. That’s also why I love the historic cop series, because they focus on ordinary plots, instead of all that new stuff.

Finally, tonight there were two new series for me to follow. I’m amazed.

The first one is a Norwegian historic series about a group of resistance fighters who attack the heavy water plant at Rjukan in Nazi-occupied Norway. It’s a very interesting historic series that I’m really looking forward to following. Of course, that attack on Rjukan is very famous in Nordic history so I knew about it before, but I’d forgotten many of the details and we’re also getting a lot of the background, which is great.

Then right after the Norwegian series, Swedish tv has decided to air London Spy. I never thought we’d get to see that this soon after it was released in the UK. It’s a very interesting series too, especially for a slash fan like me, since it’s about two gay guys, well, actually, there’s an older gay man as well.

As someone who’s also into angst, I found this first episode very interesting though a bit surprising. My impression of men, regardless of sexual preference, is that they’re usually not that emotionally fragile and self-desctructive and rarely prone to self harm. But since this series is apparently written by a gay man, I guess he should know. Clearly I was wrong, just as I was wrong about Bob and Rose (about a gay man who falls in love with a straight woman). I also didn’t think that men were quite as likely to just talk, talk, talk instead of getting down to some – erm – action right away. I hope I haven’t spoiled this first episode for anyone intending to watch the series who hasn’t done so already.

Jan 16

Saeculum by Ursula Poznanski

Posted on Saturday, January 16, 2016 in Books, Reviews

I just finished reading Saeculum by Ursula Poznanski. Unfortunately, I didn’t like this book at all. I found it boring and the characters unsympathetic and the plot rather pointless. Maybe I would have felt differently at another time, but as it was, I was really disappointed. Especially since this is a big, thick book that cost a lot to buy. I’d been looking forward to reading it for a long time. Oh, well, these things happen.

I’d already read another book by the same author, Erebos, and loved it so naturally I assumed I’d like other books by her.

For someone who might like this kind of book, I’ll just briefly go into the plot.

Bastian is a medical student who has trouble relating to his manipulative father. He meets a pretty girl who gets him interested in medieval reenactments, historic fairs, that sort of thing. She talks him into coming along on a live game playing thing somewhere far from civilisation. When they get there, things start to go wrong. Is it really possible that an old curse is causing all the troubles the group is experiencing?

Unfortunately, the story never gets very exciting, at least not to me. I read the book in a Swedish translation that I really didn’t like. It made me question the translator’s qualifications. Usually, it’s the other way around, a translation can actually make a book seem better than it is. So all in all, I’d say this book was a failure from beginning to end. I don’t usually even review under these circumstances, but after reading this long book, I felt I wanted to have my say about it.

For someone else, it might still be an interesting book, but personally, I just want to forget I wasted time and money on it.

Edit: I just checked out the reviews on Goodreads and now I really wish I’d done that before I bought the book… :/

Nov 3

Real (historic) people

Posted on Tuesday, November 3, 2015 in Humanities, Literature

Serenissima made me consider if there is a historic character I (might) want to get involved with. It struck me that it’s really hard to tell, even if I’m sure no one will show up and demand I actually get involved with the guy in question. Haha.

Actually, it’s probably about the same with some real life celebrity. How can I tell if he’s actually as great in real life as he seems to be in the media?

I did come to the conclusion that I probably wouldn’t want to be involved with Shakespeare, at least not judging by the famous portrait. Not really my type.

In fact, it would probably be easier to simply consider if I would like to meet one of these characters in real life. Just to talk to. Or even just to see from a bit of distance. That would be a little easier. If so, Shakespeare would be on my list, I think. I’ll add the Roman emperor Trajan too, I think (though the culture shock would probably be enormous). Then Raoul Wallenberg, just because I happened to think of him. Even this is really hard to tell. Who would be interesting to meet?

And since it’s just a matter of meeting and talking or even seeing someone from a distance, I’ll have to add women too. Why not?

So maybe Anne Frank, though I’ve read that she might not have been the sort of girl I’d like to get to know. A bit too outgoing for my taste.

Maybe Jane Austen. George Bernard Shaw. Possibly Christine de Pizan. If I’m looking this far back in time, I’ll say Corinna too, since that’s one of my ‘idols’ too. LOL. Maybe Joe Hill. I hear he was very handsome. But maybe he was a bastard to women. And maybe even if we for some magical mysterious reason were to find ourselves in the same time, he’d probably never look at me twice.

Sep 22

New fanfic and fandom – again

Posted on Tuesday, September 22, 2015 in Fandom

I’m almost embarrassed to flood you guys with my latest writing efforts, but well, since I have a little more to say than just ‘hey, I’ve written another fanfic’ I will do it anyway. And of course you can ignore it if you prefer.

This new fanfic is also in a new fandom for me (to write in). It’s Desperate Romantics. I have mixed feelings about it, but since I did have an idea and since I got it to work for me, I decided to write it. A couple of years back I wrote a review of the series and in that I mentioned my mixed feelings about the setting and the people.

First of all, the women’s situation made me sad. Secondly, though I’m absolutely crazy about Aidan Turner, I didn’t like his character very much. I found him too – coarse, too unfaithful and too false. I also didn’t like most of the other characters, though they did fascinate me. The only one I could really like was John Millais, because he was such a good guy, but at the same time, he bored me a little. Typical, right? One is never quite happy.

Another opinion I have concerning this series, won’t make much sense to English speakers but I’ll mention it anyway. For years now, Swedish tv (and the ones who set the titles for movies as well) have chosen not to translate most of the English titles. On the one hand, I almost prefer them not to try if they’re going to substitute one English title for another, instead of translating it, but I would much prefer them to make an effort to find a Swedish title. Sure, sometimes it’s not going to be nearly as good as the English one that might have a sort of pun or double meaning in it, but on the other hand, they should make the effort. This is our language. We can’t give up on it, just because some simple souls find English ‘cooler’. Sure, it’s cool, but so is Swedish. So, to summarise, this series has the exact same name in Swedish as in English. I’m very disappointed. I can think of a couple of Swedish translations that would work, but no one even tried. Really sad.

Sorry about the whining.

Aug 30

Imaginary dinner guests

Posted on Sunday, August 30, 2015 in Other

I was completely sure I had posted about this ages ago but when I went to check on my blog/homepage I couldn’t find that post so maybe I didn’t. So I thought I might do it now.

The idea comes from a really annoying, boring tv show that my mom watches every evening so I know the concept very well, though I wish I didn’t. In the show, a celebrity gets to ‘invite’ four dinner guests to an imaginary dinner party. They also talk about where they are supposed to be and what they’ll be serving. I won’t really go into that, because that’s not all that interesting to me. Actually, I will also forget about the exact number of guests, just mention whoever I can think of.

Here are my imaginary dinner guests:

1. Corinna (Early Greek poet). Scholars aren’t quite sure during what era this lady lived, one suggestion is that it was during Hellenistic times. It is sometimes said that she was such a success that she was able to buy herself ’emacipation’ – ie to become like a man, able to act on her own behalf, rather than being a ward of her father, brother or husband. Though I’m not much into poetry, I think she might be an interesting woman to talk to, always assuming I would have access to a ‘universal translator’ like in Star Trek.

2. Christine de Pizan, who was an Italian French late medieval author. She was widowed at the age of 25 with three children and had to turn to writing to support her family. According to some scholars she was an early feminist.

3. Edith Södergran – Finlandic-Swedish (Swedish-speaking Finlandic) poet. Sadly, she died at 31 and her work speaks of her fear of dying and her wish to live as intensely as possible in the few years she had.

4. Dorothy Parker. Perhaps she doesn’t need as much of an introduction as the former guests, but I’d like to mention what it is I find interesting about her. She was a success very early in life, unlike many other writers, but later life didn’t live up to her expectations so she died rather disillusioned. She was funny but quite sharp and is known to have said some really mean, and amusing things about other famous people.

5. George Bernard Shaw, because I find his work very interesting and there are many quotes from him that I find really thought provoking.

6. Hedvig Charlotta Nordenflycht. She was a poet, feminist and salon hostess. She was known as the first female writer in Sweden who was able to support herself from her writing. Unfortunately, some men couldn’t accept her success and would criticize her for the way she looked (apparently they thought she was too fat). Her personal life was generally unhappy, especially in love. Towards the end of her life she fell in love with a much younger man, and unfortunately that ended badly. He was also involved with her best friend. It seems Hedvig Charlotta tried to kill herself and died shortly afterwards, perhaps of pneumonia.

As it happens, all my choices of dinner guests are dead. That’s probably not a coincidence. I’d have to think some more if I wanted to ‘invite’ a bunch of currently living people, but I’m sure there are several I’d find just as interesting though perhaps for slightly different reasons. You get a different perspective on people you read about in the media, watch on tv or in movies or listen to them being interviewed or look at current photos of them.

Aug 21

Murder on the Rue Cassette by Susan Russo Anderson

Posted on Friday, August 21, 2015 in Mystery/Cop, Reviews

From the description on Amazon:

The story begins in Paris at the famous First Impressionist Exhibit on April 15, 1874. But later that night, when the body of a countess is found in the Rue Cassette, Serafina is sent by the slain woman’s wealthy father to investigate the brutal murder. Her budget bountiful, Serafina and her entourage stay at the plush Hôtel du Louvre, dine at Véfour and La Maison Dorée, interview friends of the deceased, have a midnight snack at Les Halles, visit with Berthe Morisot, Cézanne, Les Mardistes and other artists, and lock horns with the French police. As the plot twists, Serafina and her friends find themselves in the savage grip of a mind gone feral.

This is the third book in the series (or fourth, counting a novella, that only existed in e book form).

As I have mentioned before, I really like this series of mysteries, set in 1860’s Italy (Sicily). One thing I really like is that the main characters are so nice and interesting.

Just like the other books in the series, this is a well written mystery, in a fascinating setting, with a number of well developed characters.

Aug 18

Twelve skeletons found beneath Swedish castle

Posted on Tuesday, August 18, 2015 in Links

The bodies of three children and nine men were dug up from the grounds of Sweden’s Kalmar Castle earlier this year and tests suggest the bones are up to 500 years old, archaeologists have revealed.

Read more here.

Mar 8

Some favorite books I recommend

Posted on Sunday, March 8, 2015 in Books

I thought I’d do a post about some books I’d like to recommend. It’s a mix of new and old, e-books and printed books and several different genres.

E-books (that I’d love to buy in print):

Wattpad books:

* Kidnapping in Kaua’i by Ava Easter (mystery/fantasy),
* Feyland: The First Adventure, Feyland: The Dark Realm, Feyland: The Bright Court by Anthea Sharp (fantasy)

From other sites, such as Smashwords and Amazon:

* The Backworlds by M Pax (Science fiction)
* The Rune House by L J Hutton (fantasy)
* Housewife with a Halflife by A B Wells (fantasy)
* Cut Crop and Die by Joanna Campbell Slan (scrapbook mystery)
* The Night Also Rises by C B McCullough (SF)
* Fatal Boarding and Deep Crossing by E R Mason (SF)
* Defying Fate by D L Morrese (fantasy/science fiction)
* Bonds of Fire by Sophie Duncan (fantasy slash romance)
* The Glass Wall, Behind the Mirror by Madison Adler/Carmen Caine

Print books:


* Eliot Pattison’s Tibet mysteries
* Barbara Nadel’s Turkey mysteries
* Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum comic mysteries
* Susan Russo Anderson’s historic mysteries set in Sicily (one of them only available as e-book)
* Jean François Parot’s French historic mysteries (in French and English, maybe other languages)
* Michael Innes’ mysteries
* Denise Mina’s Garnet Hill trilogy


* Shadowbridge, Lord Tophet by Gregory Frost
* the Old Kingdom series about Sabriel by Garth Nix
* The War of the Flowers by Tad Williams
* The Blue Girl, Dreams Underfoot by Charles De Lint
* Kelly McCullough: science/tech/fantasy series starting with Webmage
* Eccentric Circles by Rebecca Lickiss
* The Invisible Ring by Anne Bishop
* Diana Wynne Jones’ books (all of them)
* Ursula K LeGuin’s Earthsea series
* Frances Hardinge’s books, especially The Lost Conspiracy (Gullstruck Island) and Well Witched    (Verdigris Deep)


* Tattoo the Awakening by Toni Leland

Historic romances

* Penelope by Anya Wylde (comedy)
* Kitty by Catherine Chapman
* The Only Gold by Tamara Allen (slash)

Science Fiction:

* Majestrum, The Spiral Labyrinth, Hespira by Matthew Hughes (sort of science fiction/fantasy)
* To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis (time travel story)
* The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K LeGuin

This is really a post about books, but I can’t resist adding some of my current favorite tv series:

Endevour, Grantchester – historic cop series
Shetland, Fortitude – cop series in rather unusual settings

Feb 6

Josephine Tey’s mysteries

Posted on Friday, February 6, 2015 in Books, Mystery/Cop, Reviews

After reading Josephine Tey’s mysteries, I thought I’d post some of my thoughts about them.

First the positives:

They’re free.
They’re very well written in general.
They’re really good mysteries.
The minor characters are mostly nice and interesting.
To me, they’re historic, though I know the author wrote and published them in her ‘present’.

What I had a bit of trouble with:

In my opinion, the ‘sleuth’ Alan Grant, is a tiresome, annoying condescending pretentious snob. He’s terrfied of falling for some woman and ending up getting married.

In fact, most of the characters seem to be a bit bisexual, or maybe it’s just my fan fiction/slash-tainted mind that sees them that way, but that wasn’t meant to be a negative, it’s just connected to Grant’s fear of falling in love (and being lost to crime-solving). Actually, it feels quite modern.

I won’t go into any more about the negatives, because they’re very few and I did like the books. It’s obvious that they’re of far higher quality than most internet freebies.

Some of the books are standalones, others are part of a series about Alan Grant, apparently one of Scotland Yard’s finest (and he’d be the first to agree with that). As far as mystery solving talents go, I agree too. He is brilliant.

In one of the books, The Daughter of Time, Grant’s hospitalized and going stir crazy with boredom. With a little help from his best buddy (faghag?) actress Marta Hallam, he finds a historic mystery to solve. (“Did Richard III kill his little nephews?”). It’s probably the best of the books (or maybe The Singing Sands is or – actually I’m not sure – most of them are really good). The title isn’t explained in the book, so obviously Josephine Tey expected her readers to be as edcuated as she was. Is the meaning clear to most people? I didn’t know what it was referring to, until after quite a bit of research, I ended up finding the explanation in a review on Goodreads. The Daughter of Time, apparently, is Truth, rather than Duty. I’m sure that makes sense as far as history is concerned but I’m not sure if it helps with murder cases. Not in real life. Agatha Christie makes the same claim in The Mysterious Mr Quin (that murder cases can become easier to solve after some time has passed), and it certainly works in her book.

One of the books had a rather unusual (for the time) twist at the end, but I won’t go into that because I don’t want to spoil it for any future readers).

I must say Miss Pym Disposes is probably the one I like the least. It’s about a former teacher, turned best-selling author (a bit like Josephine Tey herself, apparently) who is invited to a girls’ school by an old friend from her own school days. She ends up staying much longer than she’d intended and finds herself fascinated by the students. This book is as well written as the others, but ultimately it ends up being about Miss Pym thinking she can make a life-or-death decision that affects many people and failing because she didn’t have all the facts and that pretty much ruins it at the end.

More than one of these books have been turned into movies and tv series. In fact, I seem to have seen at least one movie and one tv series, not knowing they were based on Josephine Tey’s books. I hardly remembered the movie (Young and Innocent) so that story wasn’t spoiled for me, but I turned out to remember more about the tv series (The Franchise Affair), so that book was pretty much spoiled for me, in the sense that I knew where it was heading right from the start. Strangely enough, that didn’t ruin the story for me, since it was fascinating to follow it anyway.

Aug 16

The Only Gold by Tamara Allen

Posted on Saturday, August 16, 2014 in Books, Historic, Reviews

The Only Gold by Tamara Allen was a Kindle freebie that I downloaded last year (I think). It’s not free anymore, but it’s still only 3.74 (US dollars). I have so many books on my TBR list that I had forgotten what sort of book this was. The way it looks once I’ve started reading it, I can’t find the title or the author’s name. It took me a rather long while to figure out what this book was about. In other words, there was a bit of a slow start, but once I got into the book, I found it interesting and well written.

It’s the late 19th century. Jonah Woolner works at a bank in New York. He is content with his life until he’s passed over for a long-awaited promotion. Reid Hylliard shows up out of the blue and annoys Jonah with his charm. Eventually, Reid begins to win him over (as he’s done with everyone else at the bank). Then trouble strikes the bank and Jonah’s relationship with Reid is put under severe strain. Both their lives (and those of others) are threatened, not only the bank.

The fact that it is a slash story and a historic one as well, was a big plus for me. I don’t normally read pure romances – but in combination with historic and/or fantasy it usually works for me.

There’s quite a bit of action (and I mean action, not sex) in this story, but also, to be honest, gay sex, so if you don’t like that, don’t read. Otherwise, I can really recommend this book.


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