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In my mailbox


Hosted by The Story Siren

 

  • “Shiver” by Maggie Stiefvater for our readalong in November. If anybody else would like to join, let me know.
  • “Steampunk” edited by Ann & Jeff Vandermeer, an anthology I want to read for the Steampunk challenge.

imagesteampunk_cover

 

And I received the best bookish gift ever in the mail on Saturday….

Carin from A little bookish has been to the Texas Book Festival a few weeks ago and got me some awesomeness. Not only did she sent me a travel mug saying “Texas Book Festival” on it , she also bought me Leviathan and Behemoth for the Steampunk challenge and had them signed by Scott Westerfeld and then almost bankrupted herself shipping the enormous package to me! Yes, Carin, I did look at the label and almost fainted.

Now, look at those wonderful goodies that she sent me!

texasbookfestival

And here we have the inside:

leviathan behemoth

I am totally made up about this. I haven’t really got a lot of signed books, mostly because the authors I read never come to our city / country for signings, so this is a real treat for me. Thank you, Carin! This is a brilliant gift!

I am sure not many of you had better stuff in their mailbox this week, but tell me anyway :).

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Must-Read Horror Classics

Happy Halloween!

Halloween is not a big thing over here. Somehow it just doesn’t catch on. Even though the shops sell Halloween costumes and decorations, even though the TV channels show spooky movies, the people seem reluctant to really get into the spirit. Strange, usually the Germans are always more than willing to adopt foreign customs.

halloween

Image Vintage Halloween postcard by riptheskull on flickr

Still, I had a look around for horror classics and found a list at Techland. According to them these are the 15 must-read horror classics. I’m no big fan of horror, so let’s see how many I have read (in italics).

  • The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole, 1764
  • Vathek by William Beckford, 1786
  • The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe, 1794
  • The Monk by Matthew Gregory Lewis, 1796
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, 1818
  • Melmoth the Wanderer by Charles Robert Maturin, 1820
  • Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson, 1886
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, 1890
  • The Great God Pan by Arthur Machen, 1894
  • Dracula by Bram Stoker, 1897
  • The Turn of the Screw by Henry James, 1898
  • The Case of Charles Dexter Ward by H. P. Lovecraft, 1927
  • At the Mountains of Madness by H. P. Lovecraft, 1936
  • Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, 1938
  • Conjure Wife by Fritz Leiber, 1943

5 out of 15, not so great. I always wanted to read Castle of Otranto and, as an Austen lover, The Mysteries of Udolpho, but never got around to doing so. I have to put them on my to-read-list on Goodreads, so I won’t forget. Apart from those two I’m not very interested. Except maybe for Conjure Wife. That sounds interesting. Lovecraft I will definitely give a pass. I tried to read some short stories by him once and found them too weird for me.

Are you a horror lover? How many have you read?

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Weekend cooking: Poutine – unanswered questions

 

Carin from A Little Bookish who already gave me the idea to my Marmite test last week mentioned Poutine on twitter a couple of days ago. Right, I have heard of Poutine before and was always wondering about it. It is supposed to be delicious, if slightly unhealthy, but we will leave the health concerns out of this.

So, today I need the help of Canadians and other Poutine lovers. What better opportunity than the weekend cooking. We had a long discussion about the ingredients of Poutine. Some say it can be made with cheese, others insist on cheese curds.

  • What kind of cheese? Mozzarella or another kind? I suppose it has to have the ability to melt, poutine1 right?
  • The dictionary translates cheese curds as “Quark”, but somehow I can’t see Quark being used. Judith suggested it might be cottage cheese, which seems to be a bit closer from the looks of it, but is it really? I have no idea! There is no other translation for cheese curds, so I have no clue what to buy. What exactly IS cheese curds?
  • Can you buy cheese curds in the shop? What does it look like exactly? Can I make Poutine with cheese instead or is that a deviation?
  • About the gravy:  Has anybody ever had Poutine with vegetarian gravy? Is that a sacrilege?

I want to re-create the Poutine experience but maybe need to adapt it a bit to European circumstances. Thanks already for any tips and hints. I need all the help I can get.

Weekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads

Poutine sign image by sashamd on flickr.  

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George Orwell’s bookstorebingo

GeorgeOrwell

Everybody (well, almost everybody) loves bookstorebingo. Like for example this one:

dud9083: Customer.. "I’m looking for a book by some guy. I don’t know his name or the title, but I think he’s dead. Does that help?" #bookstorebingo

On twitter Constellation Books posted the link to George Orwell’s Bookshop memories. Seems like he could have tweeted some stuff with the #bookstorebingo hashtag as well.

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Thursday 13: Random Latin quotes and phrases

Today is all about Latin, a language that I hated to learn when I was at school, but sort of appreciate now.

  • The first one shows clearly that the old Romans have a lot in common with the Germans. We have an expression “Was nicht passt, wird passend gemacht” (actually they even made a film with that title), meaning “What does not fit will be made to fit”.
    This is the ancient version:
    Aut viam inveniam aut faciam – I’ll either find a way or make one
  • Crede quod habes, et habes – Believe that you have it and you do.
  • Amor tussisque non celantur. – Neither love nor a cough can be hidden . Ovid
  • Bonitas non est pessimis esse meliorem. – Being better than the worst is not goodness. Seneca
  • Seneca is probably right with the last quote, however he also says:
    Exigo a me non ut optimis par sim, sed ut malis melior. – I expect myself not to be equal to the best, but better than the bad.
  • Aliquando et insanire jucundum est. – Sometimes it is enjoyable to be insane. Seneca
  • Nec possum tecum vivere, nec sine te. – I can neither live with you, nor without you. Martial
  • Nemo repente fuit turpissimus – No one ever became thoroughly bad in one step. Juvenal
  • Nihil est incertius vulgo, nihil obscurius voluntate hominum, nihil fallacius ratione tota comitiorum. –
  • Nothing is more unpredictable than the mob, nothing more obscure than public opinion, nothing more deceptive than the whole political system. Cicero

  • Exitus acta probat – The outcome proves the deeds. Ovid
  • Mens agitat molem – The mind moves the matter. Vergil
  • Nulla res carius constat quam quae precibus empta est – Nothing is so expensive as that which you have bought with pleas. Seneca
  • And my favourite:
    Animum debes mutare non coelum. – You should change your attitude, not your sky. Seneca

Read what other T13ers are writing about.

     

     

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Broken by S. L. Carpenter

Blurb:

Jesse Andersen is a broken man. His life is shattering around him, leaving him tired and alone—wondering if there is anything left of his soul. Then one rainy night, the winds of fate blow his way and suddenly he finds a woman who can make him smile once more.
Kari Hawkins has her own wounds to heal. Dating Jesse is a risky proposition—a gamble with emotions that are still raw and painful. Except something about this man calls to her heart with a voice that shares her sadness and offers hope. Hope that maybe, just maybe, he can be the one…
Like the pieces of a puzzle, Kari and Jesse come together for solace, for warmth and finally for passion. It’s not easy or casual, but it is hot and sensual—and what they both need. Neither wants to ask if it will last—nor do they anticipate the future until it confronts them head-on. Then it’s time to ask if their broken lives have truly healed…

My thoughts: 

At first I thought not to blog about this story at all. My reviews usually are quite balanced, at least I hope so, and I don’t do snark. Then I thought about this sorry piece of work again and decided to talk about it after all, if only to prevent people from reading it.

I know from experience that stories published by Ellora’s Cave are heavy on the sex side, but this story was not only that but badly written to boot. On top of everything else its plot made no sense whatsoever.

Talking about that plot and its inconsistencies already gives this book too much credit since it indicates there is actually a plot to discuss. I’ll try anyway for the benefit of potential readers. Forewarned is forearmed.

Kari is recovering from an abusive relationship and longs for a new and steady one. What does she do in the prologue? She goes out with friends to have a look at what is out there. Nothing wrong with that. She picks up a piano player at a bar and decides "she had found the warm body she wanted for this night". What follows is a sex scene that is totally not enjoyable (for both, her and the reader). Is that the behaviour of someone who is looking for a serious relationship? Find a body “for this night”?

Anyway, the next day she meets Jesse in front of her house when she goes to work. Jesse who is totally plastered watched Kari through a gap in the curtain crying her little heart out while she was showering the night before. He recognizes her through his stupor and after sobering up visits her in the diner she works at. They arrange a date. Right, I can only repeat it, the woman who just experienced a bad one night stand and who longs for a serious relationship with a nice fellow (I’m not saying Jesse won’t turn out as a nice fellow, he will, but she doesn’t know that yet, does she?) is arranging a date with a man she met a few hours earlier while he was half slouching over her car, half sitting in a pile of trash with rubbish in his hair, pissed as a newt. Makes sense?

Jesse’s issues have to do with his ex girlfriend who told him he was not good enough for her and that he doesn’t give her enough freedom. As a result he is "broken". Oh, is he? Not so sure about that. He is pretty social, open, invites Kari on a date and more or less immediately wants to fuck her. There is no indication he is down, depressed or crushed, other than that we are told frequently that he is. No, wait a minute, he does slump in his chair a bit after meeting his ex at a restaurant during his date with Kari. And a few lines later he “was now withdrawn, somewhat hidden”. Does that count?

And there we come to the main problem with this story. I often wondered about what the difference was between telling and showing. Now I know. If you need a prime example of a story where things are being told constantly but never shown then read this one.

Just one example:

Before he could reach the latch, she kissed him.

Her tongue was hot and wet as it slid into Jesse’s mouth. Kari’s pussy was already hot and was now becoming wetter by the moment as his hands fondled her body.

This was passion at its peak.

Oh, was it? You could have fooled me. "Passion at its peak" might be a nice alliteration but the fact remains that I didn’t notice anything particularly passionate about the character’s actions.

I am no native English speaker so I hardly ever comment on choice of words, sentence structure and on whether a certain expression is appropriate in a given context or not. However, I can’t refrain from doing so in this case.

A passage (one of many) that struck me a little odd:

“God, I thought you were full from dinner. Oh, my…” Jesse moaned, feeling her pull up.

With a pop, Kari let him free from her tight lips. Panting, she answered back. “It’s not this pair of lips that are hungry. It’s these.”

She climbed on Jesse and reached back to close the open car door.

Isn’t this just awful? Is this supposed to be witty, funny or seductive? Sorry, it is neither. There are plenty of examples for this sort of “dialogue” along the lines of “I am hungry” – “I’ll give you something to swallow”. Wow, I’ve got to say, I am impressed. If a man said that to me I’d be his sex slave for life.

Next:

Kari dug into her purse  on the floorboard. She smeared her juices along the length of his cock resting between the lips of her pussy.

Did she find her juices in her purse and got them out in order to use them? As it turns out she dug into her purse for a condom, but for a second I was surprised.

Also, this is erotica (at least I thought so before I started reading) and I personally do not think it is very erotic to read about people who are literally drooling. And they drool quite a bit – either because they are drunk or horny. Also, I find the following expression a bit unfortunate:

Her mind was a blur of thoughts. Her mouth sucking and slobbering over Jesse’s straining cock.

Excuse me? She was "slobbering" over his cock? Isn’t that what dogs do? Well, not necessarily over a man’s dick, but in general? The image of a woman "slobbering" is such a turn off that I didn’t want to continue reading.

And that is why I stopped. I can’t believe I paid money for this miserable excuse for an erotic story. It is neither erotic nor sensual. Before you go and spend anything on this go and look for free erotic stories on the net. I assure you you cannot do worse and you will probably do much better.

 

Title Broken
Author S. L. Carpenter
Publisher Ellora’s Cave
ISBN

9781419903632

Buy link Buy Broken, if you must
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Model Student by Shae Connor

Blurb:

Making his living as a model allows Aaron Stevens to pay his way through film school at NYU. While on a photo shoot, he meets Matt Carson, a journalism student who wants to interview Aaron for his senior project, and they feel an instant connection that catches them both off guard. As their relationship develops over the next week, they open up to each other about their pasts, but attraction won’t be enough to keep them together unless they can share their secrets too.

My thoughts: 

In the author bio at the end of the story it says about Shae Connor she “writes about pretty boys falling in love”. Yeah, you can say that. Aaron and Matt are both pretty boys, one is a part time model, the other good looking enough that he could be, and they fall in love at first sight. So far, so good.

There is instant attraction, but soon it becomes apparent that both men have issues to resolve. And not minor ones. Due to Aaron’s problem with being lied to (not that I blame him, nobody likes that, but his temper issue blew that fib totally out of proportion) he and Matt separated. Aaron’s overreaction was met by Matt’s who took the blame for lying in a big way when, in reality, they should have just talked it over and reconciled. Matt’s further issue I found much more difficult even though it did not pose an immediate problem. The two guys have quite a lot of baggage to carry around: that’s why their making up happened a bit too quickly for me. Mind you, I was all for it, I really liked them both, but they resolved this major lying issue (even though to me it would have been a minor one) within two days and there comes the happily ever after. Once more the oh so popular novella format has cut the story short.

As to the end, I totally loved the last sentence which gave a humorous note to an otherwise pretty serious story. I can already see Matt’s new fetish coming along here, :).  

Title Model Student
Author Shae Connor
Publisher Dreamspinner Press
ISBN

978-1-61581-653-8

Buy link Buy Model Student
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Perilous Partnership by Ariel Tachna

Blurb:

A year after the end of the war that brought them together, Raymond Payet and Jean Bellaiche have found a balance in their relationship: Jean drinks only Raymond’s blood; Raymond sleeps only in Jean’s bed. The demands of their public roles as president of l’Association Nationale de Sorcellerie and chef de la Cour of the Parisian vampires keep them busy dealing with fallout from the war and the alliance, particularly the not-always-successful partnerships between vampires and wizards.

The foundation of an institute to research and educate wizards and vampires about the implications of the partnership bonds only adds to those responsibilities. When political factions, both vampire and mortal, oppose their leaders’ decisions, the stress begins to affect Raymond and Jean’s deepening relationship. And when political opposition turns to vandalism and then to violence, they’ll have to find a way to reconcile their personal and professional lives before external and internal forces pull them apart.

My thoughts: 

If you liked the Partnership in Blood series as much as I did you will enjoy this spin-off. However, it is much different from the previous four books. Why?

It mainly concentrates on one couple, Jean and Raymond, instead of telling the stories of various couples. We meet Orlando and Alain, Sebastien and Thierry and others, but the main focus is on one couple. All the others are only side characters about whose lives we learn only very little if anything.

The story is less energetic. The war is over and there is no immediate danger to fight against. Therefore the pace is slightly slower until some occurrences force everybody to get out of their happy living routine and try to find out what is going on. There are some obstacles to overcome in regards to their plans with the institute, but they are not that big an issue.

The main couple is an established one. Jean and Raymond have been living together for some time and now they have to deal with how to shape their future together. There is no new love interest to pursue, no discovering the personality of someone new. Some anxiety, yes, but not the usual “I’m falling in love, does he love me back” kind.

Once I got my mind wrapped around all this, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this “sequel”. And it is a sequel as well as a spin-off. It picks up after the war with Raymond being the president of l’ANS and a new institute to be opened to research the partnerships in more depth. At the same time it is supposed to educate wizards and vampires on how partnerships work and help them to  find partners if they wish.

I had a problem with that education. It is a good idea to tell people beforehand what they are getting into, however, the instructors are not as open as I would have wished them to be. L’ANS is accused at some point of pandering, which is, of course, ridiculous. However, after those accusations Thierry points out that all partnerships (maybe with the exception of Marcel and M. Lombard, but they are a different league) turned sexual at one point, regardless of the previous preferences of the persons involved. Wouldn’t that be a very important aspect that needs addressing in those educational classes? It seems that all they tell the “students”, though, is that people can decide if they want to form a partnership before an actual blood exchange by checking if they are compatible in other ways. They say that they are in control over how the partnership develops. Nobody ever mentions that once blood is exchanged chances are you will have a sexual relationship. Even Jude and Adele who were NOT compatible in any way and hated each other’s guts had a sexual relationship, if you want to call it that.

At one point Raymond came over as the old prejudiced guy I thought he had shed. When Jean offers the Aveu de Sang his reaction was way over the top. He could have said, he will have to think about it instead of answering in such a dismissive way. Did Orlando treat Alain like cattle? I found this comparison with the branding quite unfair and harsh. It would have befitted a researcher of Raymond’s calibre to stop and think and maybe get an opinion of someone who knows before declining in such a rude manner. Jean must have considerable thick skin to not walk out the door for good after such a rejection.

Apart from those minor things it was a great continuation of the series which I liked a lot. I don’t know whether there is anything more planned, but the ending does not immediately suggest another spin-off or sequel. I really would have liked to see Adele and Jude come together. But that would have probably been a task to difficult even for Ariel herself :).

For readers who liked the Partnership in blood series, this is a must read. To all newcomers I recommend to read the previous four books first, otherwise you won’t get much fun out of this one.

Title Perilous Partnership
Author Ariel Tachna
Publisher Dreamspinner Press
ISBN

978-1-61581-634-7

Buy link Buy Perilous Partnership
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Weekend Cooking: The Marmite test

This week my weekend cooking post is not really about cooking or baking, but rather about a very controversial product. For some time now there has been a war raging on twitter about the qualities of Marmite and Vegemite. It seems that the world can be divided into two kinds of people (or rather three kinds if you count the sub divisions).

 

1. The people who hate Marmite and its derivatives. Period.

2. The people who passionately love those spreads. Those can be divided into:

  • The people who LOVE Marmite and think Vegemite is for weaklings
  • The people who HATE Marmite and think Vegemite is super yummy

marmite

Carin from A little Bookish made the ultimate test. She tried the various products and vlogged about it. You need to watch that video in order to get all the information you ever wanted on Marmite etc. On top of that you will be seeing Carin wearing a cute woolly hat.

Carin’s vlog inspired me to go to the British Empire yesterday morning and buy a small bottle of Marmite at an outrageous price. I needed to know what all the fuss was about. John, my husband, laughed his ass off and predicted that my little taste test will end up badly. I was determined to prove him wrong.

marmite_love_hate What can I say? He was right. That Marmite stuff is FOUL. OMG, why anybody would eat that is beyond me. There is a disgusting product produced by Nestle called Maggi, a salty liquid seasoning that some people use to spice up oversalt their meals, and Marmite strongly reminded me of that. Salty with a very strange aftertaste.

John says that kids love Marmite so maybe I will use my kids as guinea pigs and try it on them. I need to get rid of it somehow. We’ll see. I won’t touch that stuff again, that’s for certain.

So, even though I have not tried Vegemite, which is said to be milder, I think I can safely say I belong to the people in category no. 1. Next time I’m offered a Marmite sandwich it’s going to be “thanks, but no, thanks”.

Weekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads

 

Marmite factory image by Urban Combing on flickr 

Love Hate Marmite wall image by ultrhi on flickr

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Comparing covers: The Neverending Story

Today is about “The Neverending Story” by Michael Ende. The original German title is “Die unendliche Geschichte” which was translated into English literally. I have read this book quite a few times when I was a kid and loved it. I still do. I thought I’d have a look at a few of its covers.

The German covers are all pretty simple. In fact, the simpler the cover of this story is, the better. That’s why I prefer the first one which is a special edition. I have the second one, it is ok. The illustration is rather plain and doesn’t suggest a lot. I don’t like the third one. The snakes, yeah, ok, there is the connection to the book, but other than that I find it rather ugly.

geschichte1 geschichte2 geschichte3

The English covers, well, I like the first one in itself, but I hate the fact that it tries to tell the reader what things look like. The Neverending Story is a book that should leave everything to the imagination of the individual reader. I’m not quite fair here because there are illustrations in my German edition but for some reason they never kept me from creating pictures in my mind at the time. Maybe I was more imaginative when I was younger and never paid attention to pictures in books. The film, however, is a different matter. I absolutely hated the film. The way it depicted Fuchur for example was so disappointing, I was shocked. Unfortunately after seeing that worm like thing it is how I NOW imagine Fuchur in my head whereas before he looked totally different. I have to say it again, I hate that film. And now you know what I think about that second English cover. “Now a fabulous film”, yeah, right. Don’t think so.

geschichte4 geschichte5

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McCafe & libri.de

McCafe von McDonalds kooperiert momentan mit libri.de und bietet Gutscheine an für kostenlose Hörbücher. Offenbar bekommt jeder McCafe Kunde ein Kärtchen mit einem Gutscheincode, mit dem man auf einer speziellen Seite von libri.de unter drei verschiedenen Hörbüchern auswählen kann.

Die drei Titel sind:

  • “Eisfiber” von Ken Follett
  • “Der Nobelpreis” von Andreas Eschbach
  • “Lügen, die von Herzen kommen” von Kerstin Gier

Die Aktion läuft bis 31.12.2010.

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Thursday 13: Romance quotes by Oscar Wilde

romance Again I have missed Thursday 13 for quite a while. This must be the first one in months. As it was Oscar Wilde’s birthday a few days ago, here is another batch of his quotes – and it’s all about romance…(or relationships).

 

 

 

    • They spoil every romance by trying to make it last forever.
    • A man can be happy with any woman as long as he does not love her.
    • The heart was made to be broken.
    • The very essence of romance is uncertainty.
    • Romance should never begin with sentiment. It should begin with science and end with a settlement.
    • Men always want to be a woman’s first love. Women have a more subtle instinct: What they like is to be a man’s last romance.
    • Those who are faithful know only the trivial side of love: it is the faithless who know love’s tragedies.
    • One should always be in love. That is the reason one should never marry.
    • How marriage ruins a man! It is as demoralizing as cigarettes, and far more expensive.
    • Bigamy is having one wife too many. Monogamy is the same.
    • Deceiving others. That is what the world calls a romance.
    • How can a woman be expected to be happy with a man who insists on treating her as if she were a perfectly normal human being.
    • In married life three is company and two none.

See here at Thursday 13 what other TTers are talking about.

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Duncan’s World by T. A. Chase

Blurb:

Kyle MacDonald keeps his head down and tries to avoid making his father angry while traveling on the professional bull riding circuit. He’s learned the hard way how his father deals with being upset. The only rebellion Kyle’s allowed himself is helping out with the bulls after the event. It’s on one such night that Kyle meets Duncan Hornsby.

Duncan’s the reigning world Champion, and has everything he could want. Yet the shy young man whose father is Duncan’s biggest rival catches his eye. Kyle makes Duncan feel protective and passionate. Even though he’s fourteen years older than Kyle, Duncan’s ready to risk rejection to see if Kyle’s lips taste as sweet as they look.

Could a relationship grow between them amidst the macho atmosphere of bull riding and the danger presented by Kyle’s father? Or will Kyle and Duncan prove that age doesn’t count in matters of the heart?

My thoughts: 

I like age gap stories and when I looked around on Elisa Rolle’s LJ among the age gap tagged ones I stumbled upon this one.

I like a Western theme once in a while, so I got it.

I am not sure T. A. Chase is for me. I reviewed a story by that writer once before (Bound by Love) and it seems I now am writing almost the same review again.

The two men were attracted to each other immediately after meeting for the first time and landed in bed within hours. Given the fact that Kyle had suffered a severe beating up just a bit before and risked quite a lot by following Duncan into his room and given the fact that there was an age issue to overcome I found this somewhat overhasty. 

At first I thought the conflict with Kyle’s abusive father would be overwhelming, but as it turned out this was not so. Yes, he physically abused his son, which I do not want to play down, but he is basically a bully who caves when being threatened himself. So that issue got resolved without much fuss. A verbal threat to expose him was enough to send him packing.

So, what have we got?

  • Age issue? Duncan got over that quickly; he was a bit worried, got reassured by Kyle. Check.
  • Abusive father? Threatened Kyle and Duncan, then caved. Check.
  • Duncan being outed? No big deal as far as it went. Check.
  • Kyle’s family? Apart from the father they were more than ok with Kyle new relationship. Check.
  • Duncan’s grandfather? More progressive than a lot of younger guys. Check.

We’re all good.

Another thing I had a problem with is Kyle’s mother. I did not understand why she would never step in and tried to protect her son. The reason that was given made no sense whatsoever. She might not have been able to divorce that jerk, but she could have still tried to protect Kyle from the constant abuse (call police, report her husband, I could think of some more unpleasant ways). No husband of mine would ever abuse my child without suffering consequences. The mother seemed to be caring enough, so why she let that happen was beyond me.

All in all, I found this a quick and uncomplicated read. I never had to worry about the outcome of the story. If you like straightforward stories with instant attraction and only little conflict this might be something for you.

Title Duncan’s World
Author T. A. Chase
Publisher Amber Allure
ISBN 978-1-60272-668-0
Buy link Buy Duncan’s World
Article

What I like…besides books: TV – Lewis

I am not much of a TV person. Actually I never watch TV. If I watch something it’s always a movie or a TV series on DVD. I never remember what is on at what time, so having it on DVD is better for me.

I like watching English detective series and one of my favourites used to be Morse. Amazingly enough its spin-off Lewis is even better. The reason: the new sidekick. Morse’s sidekick was Lewis, which was nice, but Lewis’ sidekick is Hathaway. And Hathaway is gorgeous. Ah, his voice!

And then the beautiful Oxford location! And it’s not some action filled crap, but quiet and civilized (well, most of the time). Perfect! If you want to spend a cozy evening at home with an mystery, go and watch Lewis – and Hathaway!

This is a nice video with scenes with Lewis and Hathaway to “Ruby” by the Kaiser Chiefs.

 

And here is a trailer for an episode of season 2 with a Germany related plot. As an aside, a question: Why do they never cast Germans for playing Germans? As soon as the supposed Germans start to speak German it makes me cringe.

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The Princess Bride readalong, part 3

princess bride graphic

I have to admit that I speed read this part. Everybody seems to really like learning more about Inigo’s and Fezzik’s background, but to be honest, I am not particularly interested in Fezzik, so I skipped a lot of his story. What those two did while they were apart and lost without Vizzini was ok, but nothing I really wanted to know. Once reunited they made a good team again with Inigo showing that he can make connections and deductions even without Vizzini to rely on.

Poor Westley! I didn’t particularly like the torturing scenes and all that scientific research of the Count. I hate everything violent (unless it is an old fashioned sword fight and such) and torture is something I don’t enjoy reading about. Besides, I can’t help feeling sorry for Westley for another reason as well. Dying for your one true love is all very honourable and noble, but Westley is dying for a woman who is a. shallow and b. stupid to boot.

Yes, Buttercup is stupid. Not only does she believe it when Humperdinck promises her that he will send Westley back to his ship, she also thinks that Humperdinck, the man who wants to marry her and wants to keep her away from Westley at all cost, will send out messengers into all four directions with her love letter to Westley to call him back so she can marry him. Really! How naive and foolish can you be?

So, now, the wedding is imminent, Westley is dead, and it is up to Inigo and Fezzik to save the day. We’ll see how that is going to work out.

Chrisbookarama’s post about part 3 

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The Monkey’s Paw by W. W. Jacob

The Monkey's Paw coverShort blurb:

The story is based on the famous "setup" in which three wishes are granted. In the story, the paw of a dead monkey is a talisman that grants its possessor three wishes, but the wishes come with an enormous price for interfering with fate.

 

My thoughts:

I decided to re-read this very short story for the “Short Story peril” option of the RIP challenge.

There is not much to be said about this story without giving anything away, since it is only ten pages long. It shows the reader very clearly what the saying “Be careful what you wish for” means and that everybody who wishes for things does it at his own peril.

The time frame is about a week and in that one week pretty dreadful things happen to Mr. and Mrs. White and their son. Just shows you that you can never be too careful when expressing a wish. I found it quite interesting to hear that the old fakir who put the spell on the monkey’s paw did so to show “that those who interfered with it [i.e. fate] did so to their sorrow”. Unfortunately it seems that for most people that knowledge comes too late. They don’t listen to sound advice but need to know at first hand – and suffer the consequences as a result.

If you would like to read this story and haven’t got it, it is available as a free e-book at Project Gutenberg as well as a free audio book.

The Monkey’s Paw free e-book

The Monkey’s Paw free audio book

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Reading Shiver in November

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After reading a lot of good about “Shiver” I decided to read it, even though it is not my usual genre. Carin from A little Bookish and Bella from A girl reads a book will read the book along with me. Also Lisa from When she reads has shown interest in joining us.

Is anybody else up for it. It’s going to be a very informal readalong. No required posts or anything, we can talk about it on twitter or on any blog; maybe we will set reading targets, but I’m not sure whether this is going to be necessary. I don’t even know yet how many pages the book has.

But anyway, it is all laid back and completely casual.

If you are interested in joining our little group, please leave a comment. 

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In my mailbox


Hosted by The Story Siren

 

well, I bought one…

  • “Soulless” by Gail Carriger for the Steampunk Challenge
  • “The Telling” by Eden Winters. This is a free book. If you want to get to know this writer, get it!
  • “Unrequited” by Abigail Roux. This was available for free last week at Rainbow e-books.
  • “Eternal” by Zachary Wild. This one is available for free right now at Rainbow e-books.

 

  • Something totally different. “Dinner for busy Moms” by Jeanne Muchnick. I have high hopes for this one. I hope to get organized and save time in the long run with the help of it. However, it doesn’t show well on my Reader, so the experience is slightly spoilt. I might have to read it on the PC, which I hate.
  • “Just a summer fling” by Lily Grace from Torquere Books. Fall is coming, so I went for a summer read. Makes sense. Already reviewed.
  • “And is never shaken” by Alexi Silversmith from Dreamspinner. I liked “Ruby Slippers, apart from the format, so I wanted to give Alexi Silversmith another go. Plus, this one is an age-gap story, which I usually like a lot. Already reviewed.
  • “The Wish” by Eden Winters from Torquere Books. I got that one for review after reading “The Telling”, since I really liked that free story. Already reviewed.
  • “Strange Fortune” by Josh Lanyon for TDB reviews.
  • “Perilous Partnership” by Ariel Tachna, a spin off of her Partnership in blood series. She was good enough to send it to me a couple of days ago. I loved that series and I will certainly enjoy reading about Jean and Raymond again.

What was in your mailbox last week?

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The Princess Bride readalong, part 2

princess bride graphic

This week we read part 5, The Announcement. This is definitely one of my favourite parts, simply because it has a lot of Vizzini in it. I absolutely love Vizzini. Mostly, I think, because I saw the film first and adore Wallace Shawn. He is so great as Vizzini (even though I would never take him for a Sicilian at first sight). The stuff Vizzini comes up with is just awesome. Let me give you an example or two.

“There will be war”, the Sicilian agreed. “We have been paid to start it. It’s a fine line of work to be expert in. If we do this expertly there will be  a continual demand for our services.”

“Well, I don’t like it all that much,” the Spaniard said. “Frankly, I wish you had refused.”

“The offer was too high.”

“I don’t like killing a girl,” the Spaniard said.

“God does it all the time; if it doesn’t bother Him, don’t let it worry you.”

Later, when they are sailing in the channel, they find a man dressed in black following them in a quicker vessel. Vizzini finds that inconceivable. Then the man catches up and eventually follows them up the Cliffs of Insanity. Also inconceivable for Vizzini. So he comes up with this:

“…so when I tell you something, it is not guesswork, it is fact! And the fact is that the man in black is NOT following us. A more logical explanation would be that he is simply an ordinary sailor who dabbles in mountain climbing as a hobby who happens to have the same general final destination as we do. That certainly satisfies me and I hope it satisfies you.”

I can’t resist adding this montage of Vizzini’s “Inconceivable” scenes…

 

Throughout the book Goldman’s irony is just wonderful. Listen to this:

Everyone had told her, since she became a princess-in-training, that she was very likely the most beautiful woman in the world. Now she was going to be the richest and most powerful as well.

Don’t expect too much from life, Buttercup told herself as she rode along. Learn to be satisfied with what you have.

And then later on he does not give us the reunion scene! THAT is inconceivable! The couple is finally reunited and we don’t get to read the reunion scene, unless you write to Ballantine Books, lol. OMG, what a fun idea!

At the end of part 5 there was a surprise waiting for me. Judith mentioned the map in her book and I was disappointed that my issue didn’t have a map in it. However, when I marked the end of part 5 I realized it did have one after all. Just it is in the middle of the book and folds out. I must have completely forgotten about it. Here it is. Doesn’t it look lovely?

Princess Bride map

Chrisbookarama’s post about The Princess Bride this week will be up tomorrow due to the Read-a-thon today. I will link to it as soon as it is up.

Edit: 

Here it is.  

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Comparing covers: Shiver

I had a look at the magazine from Thalia today and came across a Maggie Stiefvater book that immediately caught my eye. I think, but am not certain, that Shiver is a YA book, not my cup of tea usually, but the plot sounded quite good and the amazon reviews are all raving about it.

This is the blurb: Grace is fascinated by the wolves in the woods behind her house; one yellow-eyed wolf in particular. Sam leads two lives. In winter, he stays in the frozen woods. In summer, he has few months to be human. Grace and Sam finally meet and realize they can’t bear to be apart. Sam must fight to stay human – or risk losing himself, and Grace, for ever.

Doesn’t this sound totally romantic? I am melting away here. I’ll have to give it a try. Just for the cover alone I’d love to buy the German translation, but no, I’ll go for the original.

image image image

The German title once more has nothing to do with the original. “Nach dem Sommer” means “After (the) summer”. 

 

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The Wish by Eden Winters

Blurb:

Alex Martin is arrogant, wealthy, spoiled and lonely. His never-ending stream of lovers sees only his wallet. Hiding behind a mask of aloof indifference, he really wants someone who can see past the money, someone who’ll stand up to him as an equal.

Down-to-earth bookstore owner Paul Sinclair insists on making his own way in life. He longs for someone who thinks, works, and doesn’t ask for hand outs: a true partner in every sense of the word.
After years of avoidance they finally meet, and neither is impressed. Though worlds apart they share a common bond: their uncles, Alfred and Byron, are long-term partners. And when the uncles conspire to match-make, a little thing like Byron’s being a ghost isn’t going to stop them.

My thoughts: 

After reading her free novel "The telling" and after hearing a lot of good about "The Wish"I decided to give it a try. I am not too enthusiastic about ghosts so I didn’t know how I would like that aspect of the story.

It starts with a funeral, something not too common. Soon it becomes clear that the deceased and his partner have a plan that needs carrying out. They want to play matchmaker and bring their two nephews together. Not easy, when one of them is a self-indulgent rich "playboy" and the other a serious bookshop owner who strongly dislikes his counterpart.

Alex, the “rich guy” is a mystery to me. He has a good character and is longing for a committed relationship, but is not able to find one, since nobody cares to look behind his facade to discover the real man. That is all nice and good, but seriously…If he is looking for a serious partner instead of one night stands and man sluts maybe he should look at other places than the clubbing scene and change the focus of his activities a bit. Behaving like a promiscuous, money flaunting show-off will mainly result in meeting promiscuous gold-diggers. Moaning about this without changing his way of life is somewhat silly.

Another thing that baffled me was that he so readily discarded his good opinion of his uncle and thought the worst of him. Even though he blamed Paul for "seducing" his uncle the fact remains that his uncle would have had to let himself be seduced. How likely is that after losing his partner of 30 years only a few days before?

The slow development of the relationship between Alex and Paul was nicely done.  Sometimes I found the eternal dancing around each other a bit too much, though. First Alex is the aggressor, then he promises to back off and does just that while Paul starts to wish he wouldn’t. Come on already!Somehow the pace was sometimes too slow and sometimes too fast for me.

Then there is the whole set up with the ghost. I’m undecided on whether I like ghosts or not. Somehow their presence makes things a bit too easy and at the same time too complicated. I believe that even without Byron’s machinations (as a ghost) eventually Alex and Paul would have found each other. The whole jealousy angle only made matters worse in my opinion instead of facilitate them. Then again, IF you want to meddle in affairs of men a ghost is a simple way to achieve this without having to explain a lot.

Towards the end it tends to become a bit too sappy for my taste. No, I worded this wrong, I don’t mind sappy in general, but not in combination with people dying and leaving video messages that leave everybody crying. Of course there is nothing wrong with that, I just don’t like to read about it.

All in all I am ambivalent about this story. I liked the characters, even though I sometimes didn’t understand the reason behind their behaviour, the plot development and the general set up. I am not too fussed about the ghost, all the deaths and the changing pace of the story. But this is all me. A lot of people liked The Wish, so you should definitely give it a try.

 

Title The Wish
Author Eden Winters
Publisher Torquere Books
ISBN 978-1-60370-918-7
Buy link Buy The Wish
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The Princess Bride readalong, part 1

princess bride graphicThe readalong has started and I finally have the time to talk about it. So far we read until part 4, called “The preparations”.

This is a re-read for me so I already knew that all the talk about the book being written by S. Morgenstern and only abridged by William Goldman is all a big ruse.

I have to say that I found the introduction for the 25th Anniversary edition and then the preface or whatever you want to call it slightly lengthy if not boring. I skimmed it and was eager to finally get to “The Bride” part. Then the fun started.

I don’t know about you, but I have to admit that I don’t really like Buttercup very much. She seems to be quite cool with other people and especially condescending with Westley. Her sudden discovery that she loves him is based on jealousy and pretty shallow. Her declaration of love is sudden and totally over the top, and when she considers herself rejected, she turns it all into a joke. I can’t really find anything captivating in her – apart from her beauty, which is only revealed after she’s being told to bloody wash herself. How charming is that?

I love the style of writing with those little jokes that make the setting of time and place rather hard to determine. It is set before Europe, but AFTER America. The country Florin is set between Sweden and Germany, that would basically make it Denmark. Guilder is on the other side of the channel, God knows, what that might be, geographically it would be Sweden probably, but since we are speaking of a time before Europe, who knows. It’s all a bit vague.

Anyway, this is a fun read and I am already looking forward to the next part.

See Chrisbookarama’s post about the first part here.