Montag, 11. Juni 2012

It's Monday - what are you reading?

This is part of a meme hosted by BOOKJOURNEY.

Here we go:

 The last book I finished reading was

THE NIGHT CIRCUS (2011) by Erin Morgenstern.

Then I posted some reviews about:

(an adorable lady who was so kind to visit this little corner of blogland! I was really overwhelmed!)

MERIDIAN (2009) by Amber Kizer (that's the German cover..)

and also 

THE HELP (2009) by Kathryn Stockett (that's the Polish cover above..)

(this one I reviewed on my film blog and talked a little bit about the film, too)

I am reading now for my "book club"

EMMA (1814) by Jane Austen

and for myself 

A STONE FOR DANNY FISHER (1952) by Harold Robbins

 I hope you all are enjoying a great week filled with
 good friends, good talks, good music, good films and good books!

Thank you very much for visiting!


Mittwoch, 6. Juni 2012

Meridian by Amber Kizer

I pick books for the most strange reasons.. Amber Kizer likes to bake and loves the smell of lilies.. (At least so says a little piece of information about her in the German version of the book I am about to review now..) Well.. Enough reason for me to pick up a book by her which sounded also interesting (Hey - I might be strange but I am not crazy..): MERIDIAN (2009).

On her 16th birthday Meridian learns that it is no coincidence at all that so many animals are dying near to her - she is a Fenestra which means she is a link between life and death. Through her the souls of dying creatures find their way to heaven. (Well.. you might have guessed it since "fenestra" is latin for "window"..) By now it were just small creatures but very soon also the souls of human beings will start to look for a way through her - and as long as she is not fully educated it could kill her. Besides that before her education is finished also the Aternocti could turn her into one of them. They are more kind of a dark fenestra version and who won't be considerate of Meridian's family.. So she leaves her home to live with her grandaunt Merry - who is an old Fenestra and will train her.

That her grandaunt Merry is always near when people die and that a little girl does her last breath in Meridian's arms is more than just annoying religious fanatics - so they call for kind of a witch-hunt. Also not good for Meridian that Merry's own lifetime is close to an end and time is short to finish her training. Lucky for her that gruff Tens and his wolf Custos will look after her.. 

~ The Turkish cover.. I like it.. reminds me of TV series Charmed.. ~

This book is the first of the Fenestra series - but it is also understandable even if you do decide to not read on for it has kind of an end. An open end - but still no cliffhanger.. Which is actually a thing I like about this book for I am not too sure whether I go on reading this series or not.. (I put the follow up on my wish list so universe is going to decide for me.. that's a cheap solution.. but I might say it works.. and just by the way in Germany the second book was just released last year and whether next book will follow or not is yet to see.. ) I was a bit disappointed because I had the feeling one could have get more from that witch hunt plot.. well.. yes.. it is a series.. so maybe I should.. hm... 

Frankly I had a bit trouble to relate to the characters - though I like that Meridian suffers from chronic pain because of the souls going through her. Not because I want her to suffer of course - but there are few heroes/heroines who suffer from chronic pain and so this really was a big plus. And for sure I love the German cover (actually the cover photo is used quite often here.. I found at least two other books using it..) - I think the girl looks a little bit like Penélope Cruz.. What do you think?

~ The German title means: Meridian - dark embrace ~

Again - I am unsure whether I will read this series on or not.. well.. maybe.. at some sunny day..

I read in it 2011 for last years READ OUTSIDE YOUR COMFORT ZONE CHALLENGE - and that it was.. 

Thank you very much for reading!


Samstag, 2. Juni 2012

Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman

SAVING CEECEE HONEYCUTT (2010) is the first novel by Beth Hoffman - let me say that first: I do so hope it is not her last one! I know this review is kind of late - for I read this book last year in March.. But still.. I like it that much that I want to share this with you..

Ohio, 1967. Cecilia "CeeCee" Honeycut is a twelve year old girl. Her mother still thinks she lives in 1951 - when she won a Beauty contest and became Vidalia Onion Queen. She is quite famous for wearing her ball gown or other fancy dresses  and of course her tiara allday long - and blowing kisses to each and everyone she meets in the streets. Not too easy to take for CeeCee - especially since her father is quite busy in his job and seldom in town with his family.

One day  CeeCee's mother is run over by an ice-cream van and dies. So CeeCee moves in at her aunt Tallulah's house in Savannah, Georgia. Aunt Tallulah (called "Tootie"), her cook Olette and several of Tootie's friends take care of CeeCee - who now for the first time spents an almost carefree summer. Just now and then there will be flashbacks of her mother - and that Oletta gets robbed adds some stir, too. 

~ German Cover - the title means: The women of Savannah ~

Actually there is not much to say about this book - besides: I love it!

It's filled with several wacky women, a purple couch (I want such a couch since forever!), a Buddhist - who at times will declare that karma is merely a question of interpretation, a car used as a greenhouse, a guardian angel called Delilah, a bathtub in the garden (another longtime dream of mine..), a traveling bra and lots and lots of flowers.

~ The Norwegian cover - the title means: CeeCee Honeycutt's saving angel ~

Well.. Yes.. There are countles clichées in this book - but these are loveable and friendly clichées. And: I simply adore those names!! 

A very warm-hearted book which will leave you very relaxed - though you will have a hard time making a break while reading it.. It is a little bit like FRIED GREEN TOMATOES AT THE WHISTLE STOP CAFE (1987).. And those of you who (like me..) loved THE MOONFLOWER VINE (1962) - will adore this book, too..

 ~ The Italian cover - the titel means: Flying lessons for beginners ~ 

For me it is one perfect Summer book - and I really want to re-read it soon..

Thank you very much for reading!



Montag, 28. Mai 2012

It's Monday - what are you reading?

This is part of a Meme hosted by BOOK JOURNEY

Last week I reviewed

The last book I finished was

SINFUL WOMAN (1947) by James M. Cain - one of my favourite authors ever 

(highly recommendable if you have a thing going on for 1940's pulp fiction and fictional Hollywood gossip)

I am reading...

... for my book-club:

EMMA (1814) by Jane Austen

 - which I enjoy very, very much.. - as much that I wish we would read faster in the "club".. 

...for myself

THE NIGHT CIRCUS (2011) by Erin Morgenstern

borrowed from the library.. It's good so far..

So - what are you reading? Do you recommend it? 

Hope you have a wonderful week filled with great books!

Thank you very much for reading!


Dienstag, 22. Mai 2012

Bleeding Heart Square by Andrew Taylor

First: I love the cover of BLEEDING HEART SQUARE (2009) by Andrew Taylor. It made me pick that book out of a huge amount of books which were all more of the "chick lit" type at the book store.. Well.. I think this book was a bit lost there - between all those single moms and single career girls with a talent for cupcakes and embarassing moments.. (Nothing bad in that though..) 

You might agree with me that this is no book one would expect there since Andrew Taylor has received several awards for mystery and historical novels - including the 2009 Catier Diamond Dagger which is given by the Crime Writer's Association of Great Britain to "authors who have made an outstanding lifetime's contribution to the genre".. 
Saying that I have to add: I have never read anything by Andrew Taylor before - but I will again. (Of that I am sure.) Let me tell you a bit about the novel, too:

In a nut-shell:

London, 1934: Legend has it that the Bleeding Heart Square came to its name because once the devil danced (and maybe a bit more than that) with a lady and the next morning there was nothing left of her besides her heart at this place.. 

Well.. nevertheless when Lydia Langstone leaves her abusive husband Marcus she decides to move in at her father's home since she is sure (and will be right about that..) that her aristocratic mother does not approve of her daughter leaving her spouse ("Men have their needs" - haven't they?..) Lydia's father, Captain Ingleby-Lewis, is - though he is a kind man - more interested into booze than into his daughter and much money isn't around either - hence he lives in a shabby little flat at (you might have guessed it..) Bleeding Heart Square. So while Lydia has to deal with her financial worries and a jealous husband who also starts to take some interest in the English Fascist Movement, the dodgy landlord (and neighbour) Serridge frequently receives little parcels - which contain nothing but bleeding hearts.. 

Then a new neighbour moves in: Rory Wentwood - a young journalist who just returned from India after five years and is engaged to Fenella Kensley. Maybe no coincidence that Fenella's aunt once owned the house at Bleeding Heart Square until she mysteriously disappeared four years ago and was never heard from again since..  

~ another (and also nice) cover for BLEEDING HEART SQUARE  ~
I enjoyed this book very much. In the beginning I had a little trouble to follow who is who amongst all those people - but I got into it very quickly. It has not one but actually four leading characters - which could give the reader the feeling of being a little ahead of some of the characaters at some points. There was a little twist in the end - which I really loved..  

~ The German cover of the 2011 edition looks a lot like the English one..
The German title means: The death heart ~ 

Andrew Taylor uses some good old clichées here - but it's ok with me. There were about two situations which made me go like "eewww..": I have a little problem when in a book someones eyes are involved in a brawl and when very, very young girls are victims of sexual harassment - well.. okay I hate sexual harassment no matter what age the involved persons are.. 

~ The French version with a title meaning: The devil dances at Bleeding Heart Square ~

The scenes of Lydia's new daily life I did enjoy very much. I loved that she read Virginia Woolf's A ROOM OF ONE'S OWN (1928) and esp. one scene in which her co-worker was talking about her prefering Robert Donat's smile in THE COUNT OF MONTE CHRISTO (1934) to Leslie Howard's in THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL (1934) made my day. 

Robert Donat in THE COUNT OF MONTE CHRISTO (1934) ~

~ Leslie Howard in THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL (1934) ~
I for one would always prefer Leslie Howard - no matter in which film.. So I might be biased here.. 

Sex-appeal: There are a few scenes containing sex. Not very detailed - and at some points you'll have to read "between the lines" to get what you "just saw".. Those scenes are important for the story and not used for some "extra excitement".. 

Potential for Conflicts: Well.. Sexual harassment of an underaged girl, seduction (no violence!) of young teenage girls, punch-ups which at one point lead to one eye missing (*eww..*) - though  the "incidents" are  described not too detailed, the tone of the book is very calm and in the whole really a nice read - if you have major problems with that: better think twice. I am not a tough reader and I enjoyed this book but what you can take you have to decide for yourself - as always..

Thank you very much for reading!



Montag, 21. Mai 2012

It's Monday - what are you reading?

This is part of a meme hosted @ BOOKJOURNEY

The last books I reviewed were

(^ it was a double review for those books were follow-ups.. ^)
(very recommendable if you love everything French..)

The last book I finished was

BLEEDING HEART SQUARE by Andrew Taylor (2009)
(Highly recommendable when you love mysteries set in 1934 London..)

I am reading now...

...for my book club:

EMMA by Jane Austen (1815)

and for myself: 

SINFUL WOMAN by James M. Cain (1947)

Next book might be

by Jonas Jonasson (2009)

 - The English title is: THE HUNDRED-YEAR-OLD MAN

Thank you very much for reading!



Mittwoch, 9. Mai 2012

Duo and Le Toutounier by Colette

First things first: I like Colette. Not only her books but that what I know (or think to know) about her as a person - or is it personality? (When it comes to Colette I guess the second suits her best..) 

How could I not like her when she adored cats? well.. yes.. not really a reason - but a sidenote.. we all tend to like people for the silliest reasons - don't we? I sure do.. She also loved dogs - I am always liking people who are fond of animals..  

~ Colette & a little friend of hers.. ~

Then she was one of the most dazzling personalities of La Belle Époque (- and also of  the years afterwards, of course..)
~ Colette in 1907  - a ravishing woman causing scandals.. ~

Though married three times (one of her husbands was Jewish and she helped him while Nazi occupation in France - though she was bed-ridden because of arthrosis) she also had several (bisexual) affairs - and caused a scandal when she performed on stage of Moulin Rouge in Paris and kissed another woman with whom she had for many years a relationship. It was Mathiled "Missy" de Morny whose father was a halfbrother of Napoleon III. .. Just by the way: When she died in 1954 at age 81 she was the first female to ever receive a state funeral in France. (Though I don't think it mattered to her at that moment..)

~ Colette & "Missy" de Morny on stage ~ 

So.. yes.. Indeed material for a heroine in my book.. Speaking of books - here we go: I am reviewing DUO (1934) and LE TOUTOUNIER (1939) together because both have Alice as the leading lady - and I think these very narrow novels are widely selled in two volume editions.. 

In a nut-shell:

DUO (1934): 
Alice and her husband are spending some time on his cottage way out on the countryside - but they are having some troubles. It is not only with their stubborn servants and with the show they are working on - no: Michel found out that Alice had a (short-lived) affair - and he isn't feeling too well anyway..

~ before going on to read: please be aware that this contains a spoiler because it is the follow-up to DUO.. ~
After Michel's death Alice returns to her sisters who are living a quite moderate life in Paris. While one of the sisters - Bizoute - now has found a husband and lives together with him, virginal Colombe and perky Hermine are still living in the same old flat the girls grew up in. Both are in love with married men - and Alice returns to a live full of meagre meals and wild turbulences..

~ this is how my 1962 German edition looks - don't you just love this, too? ~

For those who never read anything by Colette before: Please be aware that her style is something one has to get used to. She tends to throw her readers into her stories - and some of the information you have to find out on your own - she will give you hints but for sure not pamper you too much.. And she is for sure no romantic in a classic way - this is certainly no Jane Austen novel (of course I adore those, too..). No, Colette's characters are very "modern" when it comes to sex - they will have their affairs without being forced to marry afterwards and besides that at some points they are quite the cynics.. That is something which I enjoy - but not at all times to be true.. 

Anyway: These two novels a real fast reads. I especially loved LE TOUTOUNIER - maybe because of the involved persons and the setting: I am just more into the live of three not too young sisters who are living a bohemian life in Paris then in a married couple having some quarrels.. I am sure that is because I am not and never was married - and when it comes to long lasting relationships... Well.. I just know more about living a bohemian single girl's life.. 

How could I not identify with those girls when they're living mostly of coffee, cigarettes and wine? Well.. yes.. I skipped cigarettes three years ago when I started to live with my heart's delight: Lucy and Mina.. but still: before that my average breakfast was a big cup of coffee, half a grapefruit - and a cigarette.. Healthy, hm?

Oh and before I close this post I have to throw that in: I simply love those names like Bizoute and Colombe.. 

Thank you very much for reading!



(living much more healthier now)