Je suis Charlie

Je suis Charlie

Dienstag, 29. November 2016

Ondine - Heather Graham

 Ondine by Heather Graham



When handsome Lord Chatham rescued the golden-haired Ondine from England’s gallows, he demanded only one thing in return . . . her hand in marriage. In gratitude, Ondine consented to his plans—yet refused his touch.

Though his smoldering desire aroused her own secret longings, Ondine defied her mysterious husband. Until suddenly, in the notorious court of Charles II, the sapphire-eyed beauty was plunged into a web of danger and desire, jealousy, and romance. As secrets exploded, and swords clashed in vengeance, the strangers in marriage became partners in passion, and lovers on fire . . .

When I wrote my review for Heather Graham's book "When we touch", my last sentence was that this "was the first but definitely not the last book by Heather Graham that I have read". After having read "Ondine" I know that this sentence is still true - and that I'll definitely have to read her earlier books as well.

"Ondine" was a book that I rarely put down because it captivated me from the first page on.
Warwick, the fierce and hard Lord of Chatham captured my heart right at the beginning - and tested my patience almost till the end. Rough, hard but honorable to the core even when I just wanted to kick him because, you know, sometimes it is advisable to open your eyes instead of suffering for nothing just because it seems the honorable thing to do. Talking might help as well  of course but hey, he is a man.  Guess, that says it all, doesn't it?
Nymph or gallow's bride - or both? Ondine barely escaped the hangman's noose at Tyburn Tree and she should be grateful for that and concede to her husband's wishes as it is little enough that he expects from her in exchange for her rescue. If it weren't for her own secrets and her own history it might have been easier, certainly the role he expected her to play was easy enough to play but when feelings interfere and old wrongs have to be righted, well, then things definitely get much more complicated!

Like "When we touch" , this book is also much more complex than I had expected it to be. Once again I found a wonderful, thrilling and captivating story full of suspense with complex, interesting and authentic characters and a great story line. When I browsed through the book while writing this review, I found myself engrossed in it once more.
I really really enjoyed reading this book and I know that I'm already looking forward to future books from Heather Graham!


Montag, 28. November 2016

Sweetest Regret by Meredith Duran


At a house party in the countryside, the joyful spirit of the Christmas season threatens to sweep Georgiana Trent under the mistletoe—and back into the arms of the dashing rogue who broke her heart two years ago. Little does she know that Lucas Godwin has no intention of leaving until he has reclaimed her as his own.

Alright, I loved this novella but I must admit that there were times when I was so furious when I was reading it that I almost threw my kindle at the wall. How can somebody be so calculating, ruthless and so mean and so...argh.
Okay, okay, right, I mean, it is a christmas story so I was sure that I'd get my HEA for Georgiana and Lucas but it wasn't that easy to get there, believe me.

Of course it is never easy to meet a former love especially if the parting was rather abrupt and left many questions open and even more if you should just by some umwelcome twist of fate find yourself and said former love as co-hosts to a bunch of very important strangers.
Right, exactly what happened to Georgiana and Lucas one not that very wonderful christmas. At least in the beginning it wasn't that wonderful but fortunately after a rather rough start the two of them start to talk to each other and discover some  answers to those aforementioned questions.

I loved that the hero and the heroine really talk to each other and don't jump from one misunderstanding to the next and I loved that they found their way back to what they had two years ago and that they still care for each other the way they did.
This is a very nice and sweet christmas story, well written with loveable characters that I really enjoyed.


Dienstag, 22. November 2016

Campbell's Redemption: A Highland Pride Novel (Highland Pride #3) by Sharon Cullen


With Cait Campbell hiding Scottish fugitives from the British crown, who should arrive wearing his English-style coat but Iain Campbell, the traitorous clan leader and the man responsible for her husband's death. Iain seeks a healer for his fallen kinsman, and out of a sense of duty Cait is obliged to help. Her uncanny ability to read people is powerless against his dark, impassive gaze, yet Iain is kind in a way that moves her.

In Cait's company, Iain is overcome by painful memories of his best friend, her husband, who died protecting him. But grief shows weakness—a luxury he cannot permit, because Iain is playing a dangerous game with the British army. One small misstep and he could be branded a traitor or executed as a spy. But even with political tensions mounting to a fever pitch, Iain can't get Cait out of his mind. What he doesn't know is that Cait is playing a deep and deadly game of her own, and their love could put everything—even Scotland itself—in peril.

As much as I loved MacLean's Passion, the second book in the Highland Pride Series by Sharon Cullen, I must admit that this third book, Campbell's Redemption is even better! Once started, I couldn't put the book down and I enjoyed every single page of it right from the beginning right up to the last page.

The Campbell and I - well, I wasn't really sure what to think of him, when I read MacLean's Passion and I wasn't sure whether "we" could trust him or not but in this book and its story he really redeems himself and all his actions.
I felt with him, when things went bad, I fought my tears, I smiled and I was furious while I read this wonderful and well written story about the Campbell and Cait, the widow of his former first. Reading how Cait slowly starts to trust life, reading about Ian's love for her - how could I have put the book down before knowing that everythins truly and really ends well?!? Well, as well as one can expect in such times.

That was another thing that I loved about this book. It is not just a love story even though that story and its characters are amazing but it also tells a bit more about the English and their rule in Scotland after Culloden.

Usually we are almost exclusively made aware of the horrible losses and the terrible treatment of the Scots at the hands of the English. You can find all of that in this book as well, you read about the injustice, the horror, the refugees and the helplessness of the people but in this book you also get an idea what other possiblities there might have been, an idea how the Scots might even have profited from a cooperation with the English, at least on a small scale, how further tragedies might have been avoided - all the time knowing that in the end the worst happened and the clans were demolished and the Scots' weapons were taken.
Nevertheless,  it was good to get another perspective that never tried to minimize the horror and the loss but that tried to give hope.

Well written and well plotted, amazing, complex characters - this book has it all and I can whole-heartedly recommend it!


Montag, 21. November 2016

Perfektion: Die Wissenschaft des guten Kochens, Band 3: Backen


Wussten Sie, dass Cookies, die mit braunem Zucker gebacken werden, weicher und saftiger sind als die mit weißem Zucker? Oder dass Kuchen mit 16 °C kalter und schaumiger Butter perfekt aufgeht? Backen ist Kunst und Wissenschaft zugleich. Hier erfahren Sie, welches Mehl für zarte Kuchen das beste ist, welche Schokolade den verführerischsten Geschmack zaubert, wie Backpulver funktioniert - und warum manchmal auch ein Wodka die Lösung für einen mürben Kuchenteig ist. Freuen Sie sich auf mehr als 100 Rezepte und interessante Tipps zum Backen von Brot, Kuchen, Cupcakes und Co. Die wissenschaftlichen Grundlagen werden einfach und praxisbezogen dargestellt - mit vielen Fotos, Infografiken und Ergebnistabellen. So werden auch Sie zum Meisterbäcker!

Wow, dieses Buch hat mich echt überrascht! So ganz sicher war ich mir nicht, worauf ich mich da einlasse, auch wenn Rezepte drin sein sollten und so, aber es klang vom Waschzettel her schon fast zu theoretisch. Tja, Theorie gibt es auch ganz viel, sozusagen viele, viele nützliche und hilfreiche Tipps zum Backen, sowie andere interessante Fakten rund ums Backen, Lebensmittel und deren Zubereitung.

Manches Mal habe ich ja schon auch geschmunzelt, wenn ich las, dass man beispielsweise für wissenschaftliche Zwecke herumgefragt und bei jemandem im Schrank ein seit drei Jahren abgelaufenes Vanillearoma und eins, das seit zehn Jahren abgelaufen ist, gefunden und im Dienste der Wissenschaft verbacken hat. Dabei fiel mir übrigens ein, dass ich auch dringend mal wieder alles durchgucken sollte, ob bei mir in den Schränken noch alles aktuell ist oder ob sich da auch noch irgendwelche wissenschaftsfördernde Bestände tummeln...

Was fügt man dem Baiser zu, damit er beim Backen schön seine Form behält, wie wenig Zucker darf man verwenden, kommt beim Sahneschlagen erst der Zucker zur Sahne oder vielleicht doch lieber anders herum, Rührmaschine oder vielleicht doch lieber der Handrührer und was um alles ist der Unterschied zwischen natürlichem und alkalischem Kakao?

Alles Fragen, die dieses Buch umfassend beantwortet und noch viele, viele mehr. Es bringt Spaß, einfach in dem Buch zu stöbern und die Kästen mit diesem Wissen, die als "Praktische Wissenschaft" betitelt sind, durchzugehen und hier und da den einen oder anderen Tipp mitzunehmen oder diverse Informationen im Vorbeigucken zu speichern. Prägnant und auf den Punkt gebracht und trotz des sachlichen Inhalts nie langweilig und trocken, prägen sich diese kleinen Wissenshappen nämlich sehr gut ein.

Aber auch sonst gibt es unwahrscheinliche praktische, meist sehr einfach umzusetzende Tipps samt der dazugehörigen Informationen, warum das so ist und wie das funktioniert, beispielsweise, wenn es darum geht, wie man eine gute Brotkruste erzielt oder warum Brötchen im sehr heiß vorgeheizten Ofen besser gehen, Beispiele für eine Glutenminimierung (Kein glutenfreies Backen, hierzu bietet das Buch keine Informationen!) oder Informationen über Mehl und wie man es am Besten einsetzt, um auch hier nur ein paar der vielen Beispiele zu nennen.

All diese sehr sachlich erscheinenden Punkte sind eingebettet in Rezepte, die einfach nur Lust machen, den Ofen anzuschmeißen und loszubacken. Die Rezepte werden von ansprechenden, äußerst appetitanregenden Fotos begleitet, die allerdings passend zum Rest des Buches nicht in Hochglanz gehalten, sondern auf mattem Papier gedruckt sind, was aber insgesamt passt, auch wenn das bei Kochbüchern ja seltener der Fall ist, da es den etwas sachlicheren Charakter des Buches noch betont.

Dieses Buch werde ich mit Sicherheit noch oft wieder zur Hand nehmen, wahlweise, um Informationen nachzulesen oder einfach nur leckere Sachen nachzubacken. Und wer jetzt zum Beispiel wissen möchte, wie man das schönste Kakaoaroma beim Kochen heißer Schokolade erzielen kann, ob mit Kakaopulver, Bitterschokolade oder vielleicht doch eher mit ungesüßter Schokolade...tja, der sollte sich dieses Buch kaufen, es wird diese und alle anderen Fragen, die einem so einfallen könnten, beantworten!


Mittwoch, 16. November 2016

Manga Classics: Jane Eyre - Stacy King


As an orphaned child, Jane Eyre is first cruelly abused by her aunt, then cast out and sent to a charity school. Though she meets with further abuse, she receives an education, and eventually takes a job as a governess at the estate of Edward Rochester. Jane and Rochester begin to bond, but his dark moods trouble her. When Jane uncovers the terrible secret Rochester has been hiding, she flees and finds temporary refuge at the home of St. John Rivers.

My teenaged daughter loves Manga and we love british classics so this Manga obviously was a must. The first thing my daughter said was that it was really sweet. It is a Manga alright but it captures the essence and the story of the book very well. Despite the story being a classic, in this form it is fresh and lively and fun to read.

I have read many classics, including the original "Jane Eyre" but I always love to read good adaptions of a book that I enjoyed. Another perspective, another media in this case as well and it feels familiar and brand-new at the same time.

This adaption is a wonderful way to get to know the story for those who don't like to read the original story by Charlotte Bronte but would like to know more than just the movie all the same. Classics are not everybody's cup of tea and if you don't like the style or just can't get into it, it is nice to have an alternative. This Manga is indeed an alternative in such a case but it is also a wonderful addition if you already know the original and liked the story.
The drawings are well done and beautiful, my daughter and I both enjoyed them and the whole book immensely!

If you love classics, if you love Manga or if you just want to know if you could love the classics, this book and  - I dare say - this whole Manga Classics Series is definitely worth a look!




Dienstag, 15. November 2016

The Viscount's Mistress by Claire DuLac


Lawrence Sutherland, Royal Navy Captain and the Viscount of Glenrith, has just struck a devil’s bargain. To save his family from financial ruin, he needs the help of his closest childhood friend, Violette. They must work together so he can gain the hand of her wealthy but spoiled heiress cousin and make a mutually beneficial marriage—a sound business arrangement for them both. In return for her help, Lawrence offers Violette the one thing she covets most—freedom. With his help, she can leave England and her cruel family behind.

But there is a vital flaw in this near-perfect plan. Violette Pélet de Castelmarou is secretly in love with Lawrence and has hidden it for years. Yet now she finds herself feeding him lines and coaching him through sticky social situations in order to win over her cousin. But when emotions get involved, hearts become inextricably entangled.

When the time comes, will Lawrence be able to say goodbye to Violette or will he compromise her virtue and make her his forever?

I'm not completely sure how much I like this book.
I was so furious sometimes because the hero just behaved like an insensitive, egoistical ...erm, let's say... idiot. Yes, an idiot because he is so convinced to do the right thing and that he has to suffer just to help and that he has to act selflessly and in the end, well, right, he loves her, that's why he hurt her with his stupid, absolutely egoistical and ...argh...well, idiotic ways. There's nothing selfless and just suffering because you behaved like a boar doesn't make it better. I might have thought better of him if at least in the end it would have been totally clear that it is the love for the heroine that gets him to use his brain again but that's only a part of it. He just realises what he doesn't want and what is not worth his interest and that it might be better to pursue the one he loves. Well done, right? NO.
It might have been easier to deal with all this, if I hadn't taken Violette to my heart almost from the moment I "met" her. Violette is so sweet and life has been so hard for her that I just wanted to protect her because the one she loved and who supposedly loved her, our friend and hero Lawrence, didn't really do a good job of it.
Well, all is well, that ends well, isn't it? So I guess, on the whole the book is good. It is well written and despite being a bit (more) upset every now and then, I really enjoyed reading it.


Dark Ruby by Laura Landon


To escape the memory of a horrific kidnapping that he barely survived, Alexander Linscott, Marquess of Halverston, flees to one of his country estates determined to master his demons. But when Mrs. Daisy Moore arrives on his doorstep applying for the position of housekeeper, he knows his life has taken an unexpected turn. She is clearly not who she pretends to be.
Lady Isobel Culver has no intention of falling in love. She’s on the run and can’t afford to risk giving her heart to anyone, especially a man as tortured as the Marquess of Halverston. But when fate intervenes and brings her to the altar with the murderous villain her father intends for her to marry, Alexander becomes the only man who can save her. If loving her doesn’t cost him his life first.

I read the other books of this series already and loved them and I read many many other books by Laura Landon as well so it wasn't such a big surprise that I also loved "Dark Ruby" and have already reread this book as well as the other books of this series.

It is not just the interesting and varying stories and the wonderful, multi-facetted characters that I love but also the way those characters interact, how they care for each other how they help each other and how authentic and unique each of them is.

This book is about Alexander, the Marquess of Halverston, whose kidnapping was part of "Ransomed Jewels", the first book of the series. While Claire and Barnaby along with Major Bennett tried everything to get him out of there alive, they couldn't prevent him to suffer horribly at the hands of his kidnappers. Hoping that some distance and peace will help him fight his demons, he flees to one of his estate where he meets Daisy Moore, his new housekeeper - and a woman who is running from her own demons.

It is wonderful to see how slowly those two start to trust and to help each other and how love helps them overcome their demons. Again Claire, Major Bennett and Barnaby are there to lend their support and to do whatever is necessary to help those they love.

I really really enjoyed reading this book and couldn't put it down - and when I read the last page I just started to reread the whole series.