Je suis Charlie

Je suis Charlie

Dienstag, 18. September 2018

The Atlas Obscura Explorer’s Guide for the World’s Most Adventurous Kid by Dylan Thuras and Rosemary Mosco #TheAtlasObscuraExplorer’sGuideForTheWorld’sMostAdventurousKid #NetGalley

 

 

 

 

The Atlas Obscura Explorer’s Guide for the World’s Most Adventurous Kid



Blurb:

The team behind the #1 bestselling Atlas Obscura presents a kid's illustrated guide to more than 150 of the world's most mesmerizing and mysterious wonders, both natural and manmade, in 47 countries and on every continent on earth. Travel the world through common points of interest, from strange skeletons (Trunyan Tree cemetery in Indonesia leads you to India's Skeleton Lake, for example) to wild waterfalls (while in Peru visit the Gocta Waterfall--and then move on to Antarctica's Blood Falls) to ice caves to bioluminescence.


Unfortunately, this book couldn't totally convince me. On the one hand. there are amazing places in it that not only kids will long to see but most of the illustrations are rather rough, more eye-catchers than real representations of the places and most of them don't invite to browse and linger on the pages.

The descriptions are enticing and make you want to visit those fascinating and intriguing places but  - most of them are simply not doable for kids, not even the most adventurous ones. It's always a question of opportunity and money. Those places are far to exotic, no kid could go there without its parents and not many parents have the money to go there. That wouldn't be a problem if the list of items to take and so on at the beginning wouldn't suggest that this is a book that leads you to places that you can explore. You could do that, sure, but you have no chance to get there.
If there were other illustrations or photos, this could be some bucket list for years to come but ...see above: not with this kind of illustrations and not with this list at the beginning.

Sure, some places are doable but most of them aren't. I think that most kids would prefer to have more places in it that they can actually explore than those (truly amazing, just saying) others that are unreachable.
The journey takes us from Iceland to Venezuela via Antarctica, Japan, Russia, Africa, Australia, China and all over Europe.  I think that it might be rather frustrating as the descriptions make you want to pack and just go there but reality being a beast and such, most of us have to resign ourselves to dreams of going there but - well, back to the illustrations.

 



Montag, 17. September 2018

Blogtour: The Ancient Nine by Ian K. Smith



 BLOGTOUR

 The Ancient Nine

 by 

Ian K. Smith






Blurb:

Cambridge, Massachusetts, Fall 1988

Spenser Collins
An unlikely Harvard prospect, smart and athletic, strapped for cash, determined to succeed. Calls his mother—who raised him on her own in Chicago—every week.

Dalton Winthrop
A white-shoe legacy at Harvard, he's just the most recent in a string of moneyed, privileged Winthrop men in Cambridge. He's got the ease—and the deep knowledge—that come from belonging.

These two find enough common ground to become friends, cementing their bond when Spenser is "punched" to join the Delphic Club, one of the most exclusive of Harvard's famous all-male final clubs. Founded in the nineteenth century, the Delphic has had titans of industry, Hollywood legends, heads of state, and power brokers among its members.

Dalton Winthrop knows firsthand that the Delphic doesn't offer memberships to just anyone. His great-uncle is one of their oldest living members, and Dalton grew up on stories of the club's rituals. But why is his uncle so cryptic about the Ancient Nine, a shadowy group of alums whose identities are unknown and whose power is absolute? They protect the Delphic's darkest and oldest secrets—including what happened to a student who sneaked into the club's stately brick mansion in 1927 and was never seen again.


Dalton steers Spenser into deeper and deeper recesses of the club, and beyond, to try to make sense of what they think they may be seeing. But with each scrap of information they get from an octogenarian Crimson graduate, a crumbling newspaper in the library's archives, or one of Harvard's most famous and heavily guarded historical books, a fresh complication trips them up. The more the friends investigate, the more questions they unearth, tangling the story of the club, the disappearance, and the Ancient Nine, until they realize their own lives are in danger.


This book was difficult to rate as I enjoyed reading it on the one hand but on the other hand, it took me several tries to finally get through it. The story is really interesting and well-spun but it is a bit drawn out and I couldn't really get into it even though the story itself was fascinating.

When Spenser Collins gets "punched" to join the exclusive (and elusive) Delphic Club, he and his friend Dalton Winthrop somehow end up investigating the dark secrets of the club's past. Considering the fact that Spenser himself is not really Delphic material the two young men try to find out what is behind his invitation only to find themselves digging deeper and deeper until finally ...well. This book reminded me a bit of The Secret History and Illuminati while being unique and imaginative in its own right as well as somewhat undecided when it comes to the subject of the book. Mysteries, secret societies, lost manuscripts, history and the boys' research spiced up with a pinch of romance and some, well, not really romantic (and rather sexist) encounters with women.

I really liked the characters of our two heroes and the way they went ahead and tried to find out more, the way they worked together and I liked the story itself and of course - it's Harvard and we read quite a bit about it as well. This was the first time, for example, that I heard about the all-male final clubs and I found it really interesting and intriguing but on the whole something was missing.

★★

Interested?

Do you want to find out more?

EXCERPT

 PROLOGUE

Halloween Night, 1927
The Delphic Mansion
Cambridge, Massachusetts

EMPTY ROPES CLATTERED against flagpoles, and street signs flapped
helplessly in the shadowy night. Two boys sneaked down a cobblestone path
crowded with heavy bushes and enormous signs that warned against trespassing.
They stood there for a moment, their bodies dwarfed by the gigantic
brick mansion
    “That’s enough, let’s turn around,” Kelton Dunhill whispered. He had large competent hands and knots of compact muscles that bulged underneath his varsity letter sweater. He carried a long silver flashlight he had borrowed from the superintendent’s office of his residential house.
    “I’m going all the way,” Erasmus Abbott said firmly. “I didn’t come this far to chicken out. Just a few more minutes and we’ll be inside.”
Dunhill looked up at the tall wrought-iron fence that had been reinforced with solid wood planks to obstruct any potential view into the rear courtyard. He was a tough, scrappy kid, a varsity wrestler who had been undefeated in almost three years of college competition. He was many things, but a quitter was not one of them. Very little intimidated Dunhill, the son of a banker and elementary school music teacher, but when he looked up at the mansion’s towering spires and turrets set against the ominous sky and the royal blue flag that snapped so loudly in the wind, something made him feel uneasy. At that very moment, if Erasmus Abbott had not been standing next to him, he would’ve turned on his heels and run like hell. The only thing that kept his feet planted was his greater fear of the humiliation he would face once the others got word that the scrawny Abbott had showed bigger nerve.
“If we get caught, we’ll be fried,” Dunhill said in his most persuasive voice, trying to sound rational rather than scared. “Technically speaking, we’re trespassing, and they can do anything they want to us since we’re on their property. I don’t need to remind you of what happened to A. C. Gordon.”
Erasmus Abbott took the milk crates they had been carrying and stacked them in a small pyramid against the fence, then slipped on his gloves and pulled his hat down until it settled just above his eyes. He was dressed all in black. Now completely disguised, he turned and faced Dunhill.
“There’s no proof Gordon ever made it this far,” Abbott contested. “And besides, I never believed the whole business about his disappearance anyway.” Abbott turned toward the platform of milk crates, then back at Dunhill, and said, “So what’s it going to be? I’m making history tonight with or without you. The answer is in there, and I’m not gonna stop till I find it.”
“Jesus Christ,” Dunhill mumbled under his breath before pulling down his own skullcap and stepping up to the fence. It all started out as a dare, but Abbott had taken it more seriously than anyone expected. This would certainly not be the first time a student had tried to break into the well-guarded Delphic mansion. There had been many attempts over the years, but according to legend, the farthest anyone had gotten was the external foyer. No one had ever penetrated the interior. What most worried Dunhill, however, was that few had lived to share their story.
“And what’s your plan once we get on the other side of the fence?” Dunhill said.
Abbott ran his hand over the small canvas bag strapped to his waist. “Everything we need is in here,” he said. “Once we get to the back door, I’ll have the lock open in well under a minute.”
Abbott had been practicing on diferent doors all over Quincy House in the middle of the night. His best-recorded time was twenty-nine seconds with a blindfold covering his eyes and a stopwatch hanging around his neck.
Abbott was not particularly athletic, but he scaled the crates easily and in one motion hoisted himself over the top of the fence and its row of pointed spears. Dunhill heard him land hard on the other side, then made a small sign of the cross over his heart, climbed onto the crates, and hurled himself over the fence. He landed on the firm slate tiles with a jolt.
They stood on the perimeter of a large courtyard dotted with elaborate marble sculptures and a fountain whose water sat motionless in a wide, striated basin. There were no lights to guide them, but moonlight cut through the heavy canopy of trees that towered overhead. A formidable, sturdy brick wall that was even taller than the fence they had just climbed surrounded them on two sides. Abbott had correctly chosen their entry point into the yard.
A gust of wind sent small piles of leaves flying sideways from one corner of the courtyard to the next. The mansion was eerily dark except for the dull flicker of a light in a small window just underneath the sloping angle of the tiled roof. The enormous building looked cold and menacing and unforgiving.
“She’s massive,” Abbott whispered. “I didn’t think she’d be this big. Must’ve cost them a king’s fortune to build it.”
“It’s not empty,” Dunhill said, pointing at the lighted window. “I still say this isn’t a good idea. We’ve already proved our point. Let’s get the hell out of here while we still can.”
Abbott pretended he hadn’t heard a word Dunhill said. He walked quietly across the courtyard toward a set of stairs that led to a large door with small panes and a brass doorknob that glistened under the moonlight’s glow. He cupped his face to the glass and looked inside. He turned and waved Dunhill over, but Dunhill remained motionless underneath the fence, still not believing they had actually gotten this far.
Abbott unzipped the canvas bag, pulled out a couple of tools, and quickly went to work on the lock. That’s when Dunhill glimpsed a shadow moving across the courtyard. He looked up toward the lighted window and saw  something that he would never forget. It was the ugliest, scariest, blackest face he had ever laid eyes on. His heart tightened in his chest, and his lungs constricted. He tried to scream but couldn’t get the air to move in his throat. He turned to Erasmus to warn him, but it was too late. The door was open, and he was already inside.

1


Harvard College
Cambridge, Massachusetts
October 2, 1988

IT SHOULDN’T HAVE been enough to wake me, but I had just drifted off on the couch in the common room that separated my bedroom from my roommate’s. It was a short scratchy sound: a pebble or sand being dragged across the linoleum floor. I looked toward Percy’s bedroom. His door was closed and his light off. I sat up on the sofa, swiveling my head in the darkness to see what could’ve made the noise. Mice were not exactly uncommon sightings in these old Harvard houses, some of which had been built more than a century ago, so I was preparing myself for vermin out on a late-night scavenge. But when I turned on the lamp and looked down at the floor, what sat there took me completely by surprise.

Someone had slipped a small cream-colored envelope underneath the front door. There was no postage or return address, just my name and room number elaborately inscribed.

Spenser Collins
Lowell House L-11

I turned the envelope over, hoping to find some indication of who might have sent it, but what I discovered was even more puzzling.

Embossed on the flap were three torches—so dark blue, they were almost black—arranged in a perfect V shape.

I heard footsteps just outside the door, slow at first, but then they began to pick up speed. I pulled the door open, but the hallway was empty. Our room was on the first floor, so I grabbed my keys and ran a short distance down the hall, jumped a small flight of steps, then rammed my shoulder into the entryway door, forcing it open into the cool night. I immediately heard voices echoing across the courtyard, a cluster of three girls stumbling in high heels, dragging themselves in from a long night of drinking.

I scanned the shadows, but nothing else moved. I looked to my right and thought about running across the path that led to the west courtyard and out into the tiny streets of Cambridge. But my bare feet were practically frozen to the concrete, and the wind assaulted me like shards of ice cutting through my T-shirt. I retreated to the warmth of my room.

Percy’s bedroom door was still closed, which was not surprising. He wouldn’t wake up if an armored tank tore through the wall and opened fire.

I sat on the edge of the couch and examined the envelope again. Why would someone deliver it by hand in the middle of the night, then sneak away? None of it made any sense. I opened the book flap slowly, feeling almost guilty ripping what appeared to be expensive paper. The stationery was brittle, like rice paper, and the same three torches were prominently displayed in the letterhead.

The President and members of the Delphic Club
cordially invite you to a cocktail party on
Friday, October 14, 7 o’clock
Lily Field Mansion at 108 Brattle St. Cambridge.
Please call 876-0400 with regrets only.

I immediately picked up the phone and dialed Dalton Winthrop’s number. Fifth-generation Harvard and heir to the vast Winthrop and Lewington fortunes, he was one of the most finely pedigreed of all Harvard legacies, descending from a family that had been claiming Harvard since the 1600s, when the damn school got its charter from the Bay Colony. Dalton was a hopeless insomniac, so I knew he’d still be awake.

“What the hell are you doing up this time of the night?” Dalton said. “Some of us around here need our beauty sleep.” He sounded fully awake.

“What can you tell me about something called the Delphic Club?” I asked.

The phone rustled as he sat up.

“Did you just say ‘the Delphic’?” he said.

“Yeah, do you know anything about it?”

There was a slight pause before he said, “Why the hell are you asking about the Delphic at this ungodly hour?”

“They invited me to a cocktail party next Friday night. Someone just slipped the invitation under my door, then ran.”

“Are you fucking kidding me? The Delphic invited you to a cocktail party?”

“Unless there’s another Spenser Collins I don’t know about.”

“No offense, Spenser, but don’t get your hopes up,” he said. “This is probably some kind of prank someone’s pulling on you. The Delphic isn’t just a club, like any fraternity. It’s the most secretive of Harvard’s nine most exclusive clubs. They’re called final clubs. The Delphic goes all the way back to the 1800s and has some of the world’s most prominent men as members. An invitation to their cocktail party is like an invitation to kiss the papal ring.”

“So, what you’re really trying to say is that they would never give an invitation to a poor black kid from the South Side of Chicago.”

“Spenser, you know I don’t agree with that kinda shit, but that’s how these secret societies operate. They haven’t changed much over the last century and a half. Rich white men passing off the baton to the next generation, keeping their secrets shielded from the rest of the world. Yale has Skull and Bones, but here at Harvard we have the final clubs. It’s no exaggeration when I tell you that some of the country’s biggest secrets are buried in their old mansions.”

“If I don’t fit their image, then why did someone just slip this invite under my door?” I said.

“Because it’s not real,” Dalton said.

“What do you mean?”

“Guys joke like this all the time. This is the beginning of what’s called punch season, which means the clubs are secretly nominating sophomores to enter a series of election rounds. Whoever survives the cuts over the two months gets elected into the club. You’ve heard of the hazing they do in fraternities. Well, this is a little like that, but it’s a lot more formal with much bigger stakes.”

“What makes you so sure my invitation is fake when you haven’t even seen it?”

“Are you alone?”

“Percy’s here, but he’s out cold.”

“Pull out the invite and tell me if you see torches anywhere.”

I was sitting in the chair underneath the window, still eyeing the courtyard, hoping I might see who might’ve dropped off the envelope. The ambient light cracked the darkness of our common room. I held up the envelope.

“There are three torches on the back of the envelope,” I said.

“What about the stationery?”

“There too.”

“How many?”

“Three.”

“What color?”

“Dark blue.”

“Is the center torch lower or higher than the others?”

“Lower.”

Dalton sighed loudly. “Now take the stationery, turn it over, and hold it up to a light,” he said. “Tell me if you see anything when you look at the torches.”

I followed Dalton’s instructions, carefully removing the shade from one of Percy’s expensive porcelain lamps that his grandmother had proudly given him from her winter house in Palm Beach. I held the invitation next to the naked bulb. “There’s a thin circle with the initials JPM inside,” I said. “But you can only see it under the light. When you move it away, the letters disappear.”

“Jesus fuckin’ Christ, Spense, it’s the real deal!” Dalton yelled as if he were coming through the phone. “The Delphic really has punched you this season. I can’t believe this is happening. Tell me the date of the party again.”

It was rare to hear this level of excitement in Dalton’s voice. Few things got him going, and they typically had to do with either women, food, or his father, whom he hated more than the Yankees.

“Next Friday at seven o’clock,” I said. “It’s at a place called Lily Field Mansion.”

“Lily Field, of course,” Dalton said. “It’s the biggest one up there on mansion row, and it’s owned by the Jacobs family, one of the richest in the country. Stanford Jacobs used to be the graduate president of the Delphic, so it makes sense that he’s hosting the opening cocktail party.”

Secret society, mansions, ultra-wealthy families, an invitation delivered under the cloak of darkness. It was all part of a foreign world that made little sense to me, the son of a single mother who answered phones at a small energy company.

“So, what the hell does all this mean?” I asked.

“That you’re coming over here tomorrow for dinner, so we can figure out some sort of strategy,” Dalton said. “This is all a long shot, but if things go well for you on Friday night, you might make it to the next round. I’m getting way ahead of myself—but one round at a time, and you might be the way we crack the Ancient Nine.”

“The Ancient Nine?” I asked. “Is that another name for the clubs?”

“No, two different things,” Dalton said. “The Ancient Nine are an ultrasecret society of nine members of the Delphic. A secret society within a secret society that not even the other Delphic members know much about. Most around here have never even heard of the Ancient Nine, but for those who have, some swear it exists, others think it’s nothing more than another Harvard legend.”

“What do you think?”

Dalton paused deliberately. “I’d bet everything I own that they exist. But no one can get them to break their code of silence. According to rumors, they are hiding not only one of Harvard’s most valued treasures but also century-old secrets that involve some of the world’s richest families.”


Copyright © 2018 by Ian K. Smith in The Ancient Nine and reprinted with permission from St. Martin’s Press.

Sonntag, 16. September 2018

The last books that she wrote ..... #jigsaw #tribute #EdnahWalters #EBWalters



#Ednah Walters #EBWalters

....as E.B Walters, were the books of the 


Infinitus Billionaire Series

 




Someone with such a vivid imagination....#jigsaw #tribute #EdnahWalters #EBWalters


#EdnahWalters

...could never be limited to one genre! 

As E.B Walters she gave us the  six books about the

*Fitzgerald Family* 

 

 




There is one last ... #jigsaw #tribute #EdnahWalters #EBWalters




#EdnahWalters

...series to explore that she wrote under the name of Ednah Walters:

Storm - The Phantom Islanders 

Her last series and one of my favorites!



...of course we shouldn't forget ........ #jigsaw #tribute #EdnahWalters #EBWalters




#EdnahWalters

...that there was a whole kindle world dedicated to her Runes Series. 

 Unfortunately Kindle World has been closed down lately 

but at least  Fated  is still available.


And there is more to discover... #jigsaw #tribute #EdnahWalters #EBWalters




#EdnahWalters

 ...like The Runes Series and its companion, the Eirik Series...

 


Do you want to know more about the Runes Series?






Do you know.... #jigsaw #tribute #EdnahWalters #EBWalters





#EdnahWalters

*The Guardian Legacy?* The series that started it all?





How fast are you?



One year ago... #tribute #EdnahWalters #EBWalters





... a wonderful friend and amazing author left this world far too soon.

Never forgotten.




Last year we had to say goodbye to a wonderful friend whose amazing books made me get to know her but whose warm and sparkling personality made her a friend who is still deeply missed.


Freitag, 14. September 2018

A Perfectly Scandalous Proposal (Redeemable Rogues #5) by Tanya Anne Crosby









Blurb:

 Not quite sweet, not quite spicy, A Perfectly Scandalous Proposal is a witty, passionate Victorian novella by New York Times and USA Today best-selling author Tanya Anne Crosby.

Lady Margaret Willingham is a wealthy heiress, who knows what she wants. No husband. No children. No man to tell her what to do, or how to do it. Forced to marry, or lose her inheritance, she defies convention and places an ad in the paper for a commoner husband, fully intending to take charge of her life. When the perfect candidate applies, Margaret has no inkling that he's keeping a life-long promise or that a midnight kiss holds the key to healing her spinster's heart.



"A Perfectly Scandalous Proposal" is a sweet and charming story, that once again drew me in and made me swoon and sigh a  lot. I loved the hero and the heroine, Lady Margaret and Gabriel because of their authenticity and of course, Lady Margaret was such a strong character who knew exactly what she wanted and how to make it happen (even though she didn't get what she asked for but she might have got what she really wanted).
Gabriel fulfilling a life-long promise may find some real love along the way and Lady Margaret, well, Maggie will find everything she ever dreamed of - and more. What I also loved was the fact that once she realized who she had married, she didn't play any games.
This story about two childhood friends finally getting a chance at love, also shows once again the social status of a woman in those times and how powerless they were when it came to protecting themselves and their property against abuse.
A short but beautiful story that I really enjoyed reading.

★★★


Mittwoch, 12. September 2018

From Ice To Flames (A West Brothers Novel) by A.M. Hargrove #FromIceToFlames











Blurb: 

 One Rule: No More Men.

Two years ago I walked away from a marriage I thought would last forever and all I got from it was Dick …
and I don’t mean the one between my stupid ex’s legs.
I’m talking about the one-hundred-sixty pound furry kind said ex dropped off at my doorstep.
But I’d take Dick over any man, any day.
So why did I resemble my dog, panting and drooling, whenever I ran into Hudson West, my sexy neighbor?
True, the gorgeous veterinarian was hotter than sin.
And my new roommate only made it impossible for me to avoid conversation with a man I didn’t need.
Until … some asshole decided to run Dick down.
And it was hotter than hell Hudson who came to his rescue.
Then it became impossible to ignore him.
It was only supposed to be a fling, a quickie, a one and done, I’d given into.
We both had reasons to keep it that way … my one rule and his five-year-old son.
Except things didn’t quite work out that way.
One turned into two, then three, annnnd you get the picture.
Before we knew it, he gave me a lot more than puppies and fairy tales.
I was in way too deep.
And that stupid rule?
I should’ve stuck to it because now more than my heart was at risk.



Oh My....I was so furious! This guy behaved like an a...sh. Honestly, I would have loved to kick him somewhere. Hard. I mean, he was really great before that happened but that....no. After everything else that went on, this was downright mean and absolutely uncalled for. And I really hated that she, as in Milly, our heroine, felt that she was wrong in...yeah. Just believe me - she wasn't wrong. No matter what. Nope.

Alright, Hudson didn't behave like that all the time, otherwise, I would never have read this book. Most of the time, he is really sweet and when he talks to Wiley...*sigh* Oh, Wiley is his son and he is cute. And sweet. And he loves Dick. Not that one. The one with four legs.

Lots of action, lots of romance and a bunch of charming and lovable characters of the four-legged- and the two-legged variety - I really enjoyed reading this book!


 ★★★


Dienstag, 11. September 2018

How the Earl Entices (Capturing the Carlisles #4) by Anna Harrington #HowTheEarlEntices










Blurb: 

WHEN OLD DECEPTIONS LEAD TO NEW DESIRES
Ross Carlisle, Earl of Spalding, has dedicated his life to serving his country. When he discovers secrets that could endanger England, he’s forced into an impossible situation—commit treason and race to London to clear his name before the crown turns against him. He’s prepared to abandon everything he possesses in order to protect England, including his life…until he crosses paths with a woman who’s keeping her own secrets.

Ten years ago, Grace Alden fled the only life she’d ever known in order to protect her son, only to come face-to-face with that past when Ross collapses on her doorstep. They strike a deal—she’ll help him travel to London if he helps her reclaim her son’s inheritance. But as old deceptions turn into new desires, will they be willing to sacrifice everything they hold dear in order to protect the people they love?



Ohhh, I loved this book! Grace with all her fire and her stubbornness, her loyalty and her courage was a wonderful heroine and Ross, well, he is simply amazing. The well-written story was fast-paced and kept me on my toes, I was swooning and grinning goofily and the next moment I was sitting straight, turning the pages faster and faster and fearing the worst ... Captivating and thrilling with the right dose of romance and humor in between, I didn't put this book down. And when I browsed through it to write this review, I got lost in the story again.

I loved Grace and the way she stood up for her son's rights using every means available to get Ross to help her. And when everything fails and things are rough, she is there, ready to defend the man she loves. Ross' dedication to his country and to those he loves will make you fall for him. He is strong and tender, stubborn and courageous.

This was another amazing book in a great series and I really can't wait for the next book to come out. The next book "What A Lord Wants" will be out in early 2019 and those of you who have already met Evelyn Winslow will be, like me, looking forward to seeing her find her match!

★★★★

Blasse Helden von Arthur Isarin


Inhalt: 
Wer Russland heute verstehen will, kommt an diesem fulminanten Roman nicht vorbei.
Der romantische Deutsche Anton zieht zu Beginn der 1990er Jahre nach Moskau. Hier hofft er jene Leichtigkeit und Freiheit zu finden, die er im Westen vermisst. Engagiert wird der 32-Jährige Deutsche von einem Rohstoffhändler, der für seine riskanten Geschäfte in der rapide zerfallenden Sowjetunion einen zuverlässigen Mr Fix-it sucht. Anton ist dafür der ideale Mann: Er hat keine politische Haltung, stellt keine moralischen Fragen und beherrscht die Kunst lässig-dionysischen Gleitens. Es verlangt ihn nach schönen Frauen, der hohen Kultur und, natürlich, Geld. Schnell erhält Anton Zugang zu den neuen Eliten des Landes. Er lässt sich treiben und führt als „blasser Held“ ein bizarres Leben unter kultivierten Banditen, Künstlern, Geheimdienstleuten, Betrügern, korrupten Unternehmern, Kokotten und mittellosen Schönheiten. Sein lustvoller Gleitflug endet jäh, als Putin ein Jahrzehnt später die Szene betritt. Anton muss sich entscheiden.
Ich glaube, man muss diese Zeit erlebt haben, um dieses Buch wirklich genießen zu können. Mich interessierte es, weil ich in der Zeit, in der das Buch spielt, für zwei Monate in Moskau lebte. Allein in dieser kurzen Zeit, in der ich eigentlich als Studentin dort war und mit Wirtschaft und Geschäften eigentlich gar nicht viel am Hut hatte, kam ich über die Menschen um mich herum, gerade auch die anderen Ausländer, mit vielen der von Isarin in diesem Buch geschilderten Dinge in Kontakt.

Um Politik kam man nicht herum, die Politik bestimmte das Leben und wenn man einmal Panzer auf dem Kutusovskij Prospekt hat fahren sehen, dann fühlt sich Politik auch gleich noch ein bisschen wichtiger an. Alles andere jedoch, das war Moskau. Man kam mit allem in Kontakt, weil einfach alles im Umbruch war. Es gab scheinbar wenig Regeln, der Stärkere oder Schlauere gewann. Es war eine faszinierende und manchmal auch leicht verstörende Zeit.

Arthur Isarin fängt die damalige Stimmung des Aufbruchs, des Umbruchs und der Gelegenheit auf überzeugende Weise in seinem Roman ein und vesetzte mich dann auch gleich wieder in die damalige Zeit zurück. Mit jeder Seite stiegen mehr und mehr Erinnerungen auf und auch wenn Anton, unser Protagonist, doch noch wieder ganz andere Erfahrungen macht als ich damals als Studentin, kehrte ich mit jeder Seite, die ich umblätterte immer weiter in das Moskau von damals zurück: Beängstigend, faszinierend und unvergesslich.

Mir gefiel das Buch sehr, allerdings kann ich durchaus nachvollziehen, wenn jemand, der mit der Zeit noch so gar nichts anfangen kann, vielleicht auch mit diesem Buch seine Probleme hat. Anton erscheint vielleicht ein wenig blass, ein wenig austauschbar, aber für mich mit meinen Erinnerungen, steht er für jeden jüngeren und älteren Unternehmer, den ich auf irgendwelchen Botschaftsempfängen oder "in freier Wildbahn" getroffen habe. Vielleicht auch für den jungen Soldaten, der mich bat, ihn über den Flohmarkt zu begleiten, damit er mit Hilfe meiner Sprachkenntnisse günstig Gold oder Silber kaufen könnte - die Gelegenheit machte die Unternehmer, ob in großem oder in kleinem Rahmen.
Ein tolles Gesellschaftsporträt eines faszinierenden Landes in einer turbulenten Zeit, in der alles möglich schien.

★★★★


Montag, 10. September 2018

Bride for Keeps (Big Sky Brides) by Nicole Helm











Blurb:

They all said it wouldn’t last….

Sierra McArthur never could have imagined they were right, but ever since her husband’s world was rocked by a family secret, it’s clear that their happily ever after isn’t to be. But one last night of passion with her husband creates a lasting consequence neither of them planned on….

Or is it?

Carter McArthur doesn’t want a divorce. But he doesn’t know how to fix all the mistakes he’s made in the wake of his family’s betrayal. But when a surprise pregnancy gives them one last chance at forever, Carter is determined to make her understand, she’s not his bride by accident. She’s his bride for keeps.



When your "not supposed to be" is the one right thing in your life and you are in danger of losing it forever, it certainly makes you think about many things and reconsider your choices and your values. And if you find that this is the one thing worth fighting for, well, don't give up on it!

Sierra was Carter's "not supposed to be" and even though she is everything that is good in his life, those two have lost their way. When Sierra learns that her husband has hidden some pretty important news from her instead of sharing his fears and his concerns with her, she gives up and runs. His family never accepted her and with Carter becoming more and more distant and withdrawn, it seems that their fairy tale ended. Only Carter will not accept that things are over and when all seems lost, he finally starts to fight for their love and their marriage.

I absolutely didn't like Carter's parents, so I just hoped that they wouldn't win...it took Carter and Sierra long enough to get their act together and to start fighting. I loved to see them find out what love and marriage are about, that it is not just fun and roses but sometimes also hard work and hurt - and the willingness to keep trying.
It was good to see them bond with those around them who supported them and helped them find their way back to each other.

I'm a bit torn though because even though I loved Carter and Sierra and read this book in one sitting, I was sometimes annoyed when Sierra once again stressed that she wasn't worthy of him and that it would be better for their marriage to end and that it would just hurt. When she finally accepted that ....well, read for yourself!

★★★
 
 

Sonntag, 9. September 2018

Kiss the Girl (The Naughty Princess Club, #3) by Tara Sivec #KissTheGirl













Blurb: 

A struggling antiques collector finds herself falling in love with a millionaire playboy; but can she ever be a part of his world?

Meet the Naughty Princess Club, a series from USA Today bestselling author Tara Sivec that brings readers to Fairytale Lane and the hilarity—and romance—that three women fall into once they decide to strut their stuff and bring on their own happily ever after.

While her friends have broken free of their insecurities, Ariel Waters is struggling to come out of her shell. Her ex-husband took away her voice and her self-confidence, and Ariel is drowning under a sea of debt to afford the alimony she has to pay him. She refuses to ever fall for a man’s charms again, and is determined to make her own way.
When her house and her beloved antiques are taken by the bank after too many missed payments, Ariel finds herself adrift until the infuriatingly charming Eric Sailor comes to her rescue. Although she can’t stand the millionaire playboy, Eric’s kindness and unconditional support reveal hidden depths and a love that Ariel never imagined she could find.

But there are outside influences who will stop at nothing to keep them apart; can Ariel and Eric weather the storm and find a way to be together?



I'm really torn when it comes to this book. It took me so many tries to finally read it. It got better the more confident the heroine became but at the beginning, she simply got on my nerves with all her yelling and swearing and such. As I said, it got better but... Honestly? She reminded me much more of a (very) cranky, hormone-ridden teenager than a grown woman.

Sure, Ariel is kind of growing on you and she keeps getting better and more confident and starts to speak more and yell less but that just made it readable. It's not the swearing and her use of ...let's call them less-than-polite-words but the fact that she doesn't seem to be able to talk normally and in an appropriate manner.

Even though Eric, our hero doesn't seem to mind her way and accepts her just the way she is, I felt that despite the fact that he really gets Ariel and her way of thinking, he is really clueless. I mean - all this stuff about his mother and her role...well.

Soooo... even though I liked this group of friends and the way they stand up for each other and care for each other and even though I loved to see Ariel stand up for herself and the things that are important to her, it couldn't make up for everything.



Freitag, 7. September 2018

Cowboy SEAL Christmas (Navy SEAL Cowboys, #3) by Nicole Helm #CowboySEALChristmas










Blurb: 

Three former Navy SEALs
Injured in the line of duty
Desperate for a new beginning...
Searching for a place to call their own.


Single mom and Revival Ranch's on-site therapist Monica Finley has dedicated her life to helping brave servicemen and women, but former Navy SEAL Gabe Cortez is the one man whose shell she just can't crack. Yet with the holidays fast approaching, she may finally have a plan. In a bid to get Gabe to open up, she'll ask for as much help as possible―cutting down the Christmas tree, stringing lights, the whole nine yards.

Who could possibly be a Grinch with so much holiday cheer in the air?

Gabe has always hated Christmas―the holiday never fails to remind him just how alone he truly is. But the more time he spends with Monica and her young son, the more he finds himself drawn to their cozy little family...and the more he begins to realize his long-suppressed Christmas dreams may finally be coming true.



Ohhh, I loved this book! Okay, I loved the other books in this series as well but reading about Gabe, the odd one out, the one who refuses to accept help (oh, well, I know, that's what the others said as well, right?) and who really has a hard time to accept that he is drawn to someone who by her profession represents everything that he hates...I loved it. Monica and Gabe are both amazing characters who are trying to belong, trying to find their place.

This wonderful family-by-choice that opens up to those around them and takes care of their own, is heart-warming and sweet.

Alex and Becca's marriage is approaching and emotions are flying high, especially when Gabe and Monica are trying to fight their growing attraction. Some things are not meant to be suppressed though, and even Gabe might not be able to stifle his feelings much longer... If you've read the other books you know that he is rather good at ignoring his feelings but with their attraction growing and his feelings becoming more intense, well, even a Grinch can learn to love Christmas so Gabe should be able to learn to love and accept it in return, right?

This is another wonderful book in this series that drew me in right from the first page. I really enjoyed reading it!

★★★★
 
 

Dienstag, 4. September 2018

The Wrong Man (Alpha Men #3) by Natasha Anders #TheWrongMan










Blurb:

No commitments. No expectations. No way this could possibly go wrong…right?

Former special-ops soldier Sam Brand is used to getting what he wants. What he wants is to unbutton the buttoned-down, sweet, and shy Dahlia McGregor. He’s hot to find her wild side. She’s eager to let him explore it. So he makes his proposition—no strings, no hurt feelings, and no promises—save for one: she’ll have the time of her life.

After a broken engagement, Lia’s looking to someday find the right man and settle down. That’s some day. Now it’s all about the night. A hot, meaningless fling with a magnificently weathered blue-eyed stud like Sam couldn’t hurt: he’s sexy, and sure he’s arrogant, but best of all, he’s here. In other words, he’s perfect…for now.

But when Sam is wounded in the line of duty and left in Lia’s tender loving care, all bets are off. Because the more time they spend together, the more it becomes clear: this “one night” deal is getting steamier and lasting longer than they counted on. It started as a fun little game. Is it possible they could be playing for keeps?



Phew....rating this book isn't easy. The first third of it, I couldn't stand our hero, Sam Brand. Honestly, this guy, while telling her the whole time that he is no guy for a relationship while knowing that our heroine Dahlia is looking for Mr. Wright and that she would be hurt, he never stops fantasizing about her and pushing her. Yes, they had a passionate night or two before but she says no and he doesn't even remotely accept it. Oh, yes, there are many excuses but in the end, it's just that - he doesn't accept her decision and keeps pushing her.
At about 40%, I got the first spark of something more from him. Don't worry, it's just a spark and it will take him a lot longer to become nice (when she has given in to his demands...) but finally, the last 20%, he turns out to be kind of nice. Alright, really nice and a bit cute. In between there are times when he is getting better and I start to like him but...

I really love Lia's family even though I don't exactly share her opinion that they are so very supportive of her. They love her and they want to protect her but I don't consider their actions as supportive.
Apart from that, her family is very welcoming and warm. I loved to read how Sam slowly falls for the small joys of life in a little city. Imagining the big bad-ass CPO (as in close protection officer) waltzing with...well... it's nice.

A rough ride for me, not easy for those involved either but in the end I sat there with a big grin on my face despite all that.
As I said, it is not easy to rate this book, I've read several other by the author already that I really enjoyed, this one and I, we have rather mixed feelings about each other.

Montag, 3. September 2018

Coming soon: Center of Gravity by K.K.Allen




✮ ✮ ✮ Coming Soon! ✮ ✮ ✮ 

Center of Gravity by K.K. Allen is releasing September 20th!
 
 ✮ ✮ ✮
 

✮ ✮ ✮

✮ ✮ ✮ BLURB ✮ ✮ ✮
  
 
Lex
I came to L.A. with dreams bigger than me. 
To learn from the best choreographers in the business and secure a professional dance gig working for Hollywood’s elite.
Everything was going according to plan—until I was literally shoved into the arms of the one man who could make or break my career. 
Come to find out, it wasn’t my career I had to worry about. 
It was my heart. 


Theo
Everything about Alexandra “Lex” Quinn screamed amateur, save for the way she moved across the dance floor. 
She was athleticism and grace, precision and passion, and she had a stage presence I couldn’t tear my eyes from. 
I wanted her...on my team, in my bed. 
There was only one problem... 
I couldn’t have both.
 
✮ ✮ ✮ Coming Soon! ✮ ✮ ✮
 
 

Sonntag, 2. September 2018

Sinful Seduction (Red Stone Security #8) by Katie Reus











Blurb:

He'll do anything to protect her....

Former Marine and newest Red Stone Security employee Alexander Blue is still adjusting to the civilian world after a decade spent at war, but when he sees someone in danger, nothing can take away that intrinsic need to protect. After stopping a would-be mugger, Blue finds himself being bandaged up by a sensual local artist in her Key West condo. He never expected to stay the night, even if it is on her couch. The mysterious Mina gets under his skin in a way he never thought possible. When it becomes clear that her mugging wasn’t random and she’s being targeted by deadly men, Blue has no problem stepping into the role of protector.

But she doesn't want to be saved

Tired of being coddled and treated like a child, Mina has tried to distance herself from her family. When danger finds her, she’s forced to turn to the sexy stranger who she feels a strong, unexpected connection with. In him she sees glimmers of herself; a little broken, withdrawn and wary of the world. Soon she learns that the biggest threat might not be from the men trying to kidnap her, but from the quiet warrior who poses an immediate risk to her heart.



I haven't yet found a book by Katie Reus that I didn't love and "Sinful Seduction" is no exception from the rule. This book got me hooked right from the first page on and when I went through it to write this review....it drew me right back in and I didn't stop reading till the last page. Again.

This book is part of the Red Stone Security Series, a series of 15 books, all of them packed with lots of well-written action and romance.
In "Sinful Seduction" we get to meet Mina and Alexander. I really loved the chemistry between the two, you can feel their attraction and that they belong together.
It all starts with Alexander Blue rescuing Mina when someone tries to kidnap her... Their attraction is instant and when Blue stays around to protect her, the two can't help but fall in love - while at the same time trying to find out who is after her. The story is fast-paced and keeps you on your toes.



★★★



Samstag, 1. September 2018

Cowboy, Cross My Heart (Heart of Texas #2) by Donna Grant #Cowboy,crossMyHeart








Blurb: 

New York Times bestselling author Donna Grant takes you deep inside the Texas rodeo scene, where danger and desire ride side by side. . .

Naomi Pierce isn't the type to let a cowboy sweep her off feet. It's not her first rodeo, after all. But when she returns to her Texas hometown, she can't help but be swept up again in the rough-and-tumble world of hard-riding, bronco-busting good-ol'-boys she loved as a girl. She might be here to photograph her Rodeo Queen best friend. But it's one fine-looking cowboy who really captures her eye...

Brice Harper is all man, all muscle, and all heart. From the moment he rides into the stadium, he can't help but notice the beautiful stranger with a camera watching him fromthe stands. It doesn't take a zoom lens to see the sparks of instant attraction. But things really heat up when he meets Naomi up-close--and he discovers that someone is stalking her friend. Brice wouldn't be any kind ofcowboy if he didn't offer to help the ladies out. But can the rough rider keep this spirited shutterbug out of danger--without risking his heart?



Oh my..., I really loved this book!
When we first met Brice Harper and his family, I fell in love with them. Now they are back - and this trip might be even more gripping and captivating and all in all amazing than the last one!
It started with a mugging...but it didn't stop there. And when Brice, Naomie and their friends start to dig, things get worse, much worse before they finally start getting better. Well, not for all of those involved things will get better...

Right from the first page on, I couldn't put the book down. it kept me glued to my reader, and I enjoyed every single page of it! I felt with our hero and our heroine and their friends, I loved how they rallied to protect their own and I really loved to see Brice fall in love. The young man has grown "a bit" and I loved to see him interact with his brother and Abby and...oh, I enjoyed learning more about Abby and Clayton and their life now.

A great sequel and I can't wait for the next book to come out!

★★★★

Freitag, 31. August 2018

In Vino Veritas by Sydney Blackburn #InVinoVeritas



Oh, just a short note:







Blurb:

 Anthony Beretta inherited the family winery at the tender age of twenty-four. It’s a struggle to keep it up, but he loves it and is determined to make it work even if it kills him. That is, if a motorcyclist doesn’t kill him first. He initially judges the man, attractive as he may be, on the basis of his appearance and apparently limited vocabulary. He soon discovers he’s wrong, but by then Oscar Kennett has already judged Anthony on his appearance.

Oscar thinks Tony Beretta is uptight and snobbish, and Tony’s speech for the charity they’re working on together reinforces that, even when he finds out Tony did it just to push his buttons. His adorable curls and sexy glasses might not be enough to change his mind, but maybe there’s more to Tony than meets the eye.



All in all this book was a wonderful pageturner, romantic and sweet. Anthony and Oscar are cute together and I loved to see them fall in love and find out more about each other. Oh, and don't forget Anthony's mother, she is really great! I was a bit annoyed by their constant efforts to push each other's buttons though because I thought that it was a bit too much. Apart from that, it was a very enjoyable story with two very likeable  characters who just can't help falling in love!

★★★

The Duke with the Dragon Tattoo (Victorian Rebels #6) by Kerrigan Byrne #TheDukeWithTheDragonTattoo








Blurb:

The bravest of heroes. The brashest of rebels. The boldest of lovers. These are the men who risk their hearts and their souls—for the passionate women who dare to love them…

He is known only as The Rook. A man with no name, no past, no memories. He awakens in a mass grave, a magnificent dragon tattoo on his muscled forearm the sole clue to his mysterious origins. His only hope for survival—and salvation—lies in the deep, fiery eyes of the beautiful stranger who finds him. Who nurses him back to health. And who calms the restless demons in his soul…

A LEGENDARY LOVE

Lorelei will never forget the night she rescued the broken dark angel in the woods, a devilishly handsome man who haunts her dreams to this day. Crippled as a child, she devoted herself to healing the poor tortured man. And when he left, he took a piece of her heart with him. Now, after all these years, The Rook has returned. Like a phantom, he sweeps back into her life and avenges those who wronged her. But can she trust a man who’s been branded a rebel, a thief, and a killer? And can she trust herself to resist him when he takes her in his arms?



Wow, that book took me on a ride!
When The Rook comes to claim his woman, a long time has passed - too much time? He isn't the young man he once was and Lorelai, well, not much has changed for her otherwise but it is difficult to feel the same for someone who doesn't resemble his former self anymore. Is it?
The Rook is formed by those years that separate them, he is harsh and hard, a pirate, a killer - and he has one weakness: Lorelai. Will that be enough? And will he ever find out who he really is?

I really loved Lorelai and the way she cares for those around her and how she opens her heart to those in need. Her brother being a brute of the kind that lives in your nightmares and her father being too weak to protect her, she is used to abuse and suffering but she never gives up and she never loses hope.
The Rook and her, they belong together and I loved to see them fall (back) into love while they slowly unravel the mysteries of his past - and not just those of the past!

The story captivated me right from the start and I enjoyed every page of it. There were some minor aspects that made me go for four stars instead of five though.
Considering her age and the fact that she lived with her brute of a brother all those years, Lorelai hasn't aged. Twenty years later she is still the same and she still sounds like the young girl of fourteen that she was when Ash left her. And I must admit that I felt that the fact that The Rook is so hard and that he can't feel and ....well, all that, was stressed a bit too much. Add the fact that he and his friends who finally turn up everywhere (at least it feels like that) all got up in the world and became people of consequence in one way or another, well, that was a bit too much for me.

Despite that, I really enjoyed reading this book and I can't wait to find out, hopefully, about Veronica and her groom in the next book!

★★★


Mittwoch, 29. August 2018

The Duke Who Lied (The 1797 Club #8)




 
The Duke Who Lied (The 1797 Club Book 8)

The Duke Who Lied by Jess Michaels

Blurb: 

The 8th Book in the bestselling 1797 Club series by USA Today Bestseller Jess Michaels

Hugh Margolis, Duke of Brighthollow, has been keeping a secret that eats him up inside. His beloved sister was seduced and nearly ruined by a wicked man. The trauma sent her into exile and to protect her reputation, he never did anything about it. But now the ‘gentleman’ is back in Society and recently engaged to another lady.

Miss Amelia Quinton cannot believe her luck. After a whirlwind courtship, she has just become engaged and now she’s looking forward to a true love match. Only all her plans come to a screeching halt when her father announces she is now to marry the Duke of Brighthollow because he owns her father’s debts.

Amelia is horrified, for Hugh is nothing like the sweet and gentle boy she wanted to marry. Only once their vows are said, passions flare and she begins to know the man better. Little by little, both their walls come down and feelings grow. Until she finds out he lied. Will Hugh ever tell her the truth and will it even matter by the time it’s all said and done?



Ohhhh, I loved this book! I mean, I loved the other books in this series as well and every time I finish one of them, it feels as if this one is the best - till I read the next or one of the other ones again.
My heart went out to Hugh and Amelia, when both of them,  for different reasons, had to let go of their dreams of love and a loving family - only to find that sometimes love finds you unexpectedly.

Revisiting old friends and meeting new ones, I followed Amelia and Hugh's story from their rocky beginnings to their ...well, tumultuous but nonetheless happy ending.
Hugh and Amelia are both characters that I really liked. Both of them have been hurt in the past and it's not easy for them to trust considering the circumstances but never ever do they let their insecurities win and destroy what they have. Even when Amelia realizes the depth of the deception, all those lies....she is hurt, she is devastated but she is still willing to go on and make things right and even better.
And when things get really rough? Those two are so amazing and strong and courageous, you can't but love them!

Another beautiful and captivating book in a wonderful series!


★★★★
 
 
 
 

Dienstag, 28. August 2018

Fundstücke or a traveler's findings...



*
***
*****

When my daughter dragged me to Primark's at Plymouth, 
I simply couldn't resist when I found these bags there :










Oh, and for someone like me, there was something else that I loved:

All those lovely teas!


*****
***
*


Sonntag, 26. August 2018

And then there was....Astley Book Farm in Bedford....



...and of course, when I read that according to their website, 
 
 is the largest second-hand bookshop in the Midlands, 
we had to to make a pit stop there on our way back down to the South and the ferry.

 Parents beware though, 
a sign at the door to this booklover's heaven, 
threatens with the distribution of a cup of espresso and a free puppy to unattended kids.


You can spend a couple of hours here, browsing the shelves or sitting in the cozy little cafe.
The shop is open every day from 10am to 5pm. Even though I found it more difficult to navigate the shelves and to find things than at the Bookbarn, it is nice to browse at leisure and to spend some time there. We had a lot of fun and found a couple of nice books.





This is where you can find all the science fiction and fantasy books...


...and American and Biritish history are not far either.
The whole place is charming and really nice. I really enjoyed
my time there - and my family as well. We ran out of space after that stop though....



I must admit that the wonderful secondhand bookshops are one of the things that I enjoy most when traveling around Great Britain. Especially two years ago when I went to 
Haye-on-Wye and to Wigtown, two of the three book towns in Great Britain, I was blown away by the number and the quality of the secondhand bookshops. Of course there are also many secondhand bookshops in my part of the world as well but usually, at least those that I know, they are more chaotic and less cozy - and of course, the books are not in English, at least not many of them.


These are the books that I bought on this trip....
Should I mention that I wasn't alone and that there were three other booklovers around....?

Another wonderful trip is over and I'm back home - and I even found a place for all my new (book) friends!