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review 2018-11-15 00:03
Sometimes loosing everything isn't the end of your life...
Patchwork Paradise - Indra Vaughn,Craig Beck

It's just the beginning of a new one.

 

Oliver and Samuel have it all. Their's is a fairytale existence...until it isn't. It can take a lifetime to find love and a moment to loose it. No one knows this better than Oliver. 

 

'Patchwork Paradise' is the story of one man's struggle to survive the tragedy of loosing the man he loves and rebuilding his life only to discover that while he's lost one love there's another one waiting for him...not to replace what's gone because nothing could ever do that. This love is there waiting to fill it's own place in his heart.

 

I've had this one in my audio library for a while now and when I came across it the other day I decided that it was time so I grabbed my handy box of tissues and hit the play button and barely 30 minutes into the story tissue in hand dabbing at the tears in my eyes...I questioned my sanity and kept right on listening because this isn't a story about loss it's a story about surviving it, about moving forward and about paying tribute to the person you've lost by going on and making a new life for yourself. One that's filled with love, laughter and hope.

 

That's what Ollie (Oliver) did of course he mourned the loss of Sam and rightfully so. Sam was his forever love but unfortunately as we all know life's not fair and nothing ever last forever...but, Sam was the person who taught Ollie how to love so a part of him will live forever. Every step that Ollie takes towards rebuilding his life, every time he puts his heart out there it's because Sam's love showed him that he was worth it, he deserved it and in his heart Ollie knew that the last thing Sam wanted was for his life to end with Sam's.

 

I seriously thought Sam was awesome even though we didn't get a lot of time with him. I think the magnitude of what a wonderful man he was came through because of Ollie. It was his memory of Ollie and how much Sam loved him that gave Ollie the strength to keep trying...to remember even after they're gone how much someone loves us is a pretty powerful indicator of what we meant to them and to be able to open your heart up to the possibility of finding love again shows just how positive that love was.

 

There were some surprising things that happened in this story that for me made it all the more interesting and even though I'm pretty late to the party on this one I'm not going to delve into them to deeply because I'm just guessing that maybe I'm not the only one who hasn't read/listened to this book yet.

 

While Sam and Oliver started out as the MCs in the story there was also a core group of friends who were integral to the story and certain events in particular. Within the boundaries of Sam and Ollie's group of friends we have Ollie's best friend (Cloe), Cloe's boyfriend (Imre) and Thomas (Ollie's friend from work and the man who's quietly loved him for years). There's also Sam''s parents and that'll be enough about them and then there's Ollie's mother (most adorable grandma so far this year). 

 

 

While this was only my second time with a book by the author Indra Vaughn. It's the my fourth time around with the narrator Craig Beck and once again this narrator has done an exceptional job of giving this story added depth and breathing life and emotion into the characters leaving me confident that when I see his name listed as the narrator I'm not going to be disappointed with what I hear.

 

"Patchwork Paradise' is a story of pain, lose, friends, family, comfort, healing, second chances, starting over, strength & courage, finding love, having hope...it's about life...the one we have, the one's we lose and all the things in between that touch them.

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video 2018-11-13 05:32
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review 2018-11-12 19:52
The Return of the Water Spirit by Pepetela
The Return of the Water Spirit - Pepetela

This is a brief novella that takes aim at the hypocrisy and arrogance of Angola’s ruling classes. The political situation is symbolized by a couple: Carmina, a communist youth leader who later embraces exploitative capitalism when political winds shift; and her husband João, a well-meaning but ineffective man who retreats into computer games as the capital city of Luanda crumbles around him – quite literally, as buildings mysteriously collapse, leaving their occupants unharmed.

Knowing nothing about the country going in, I found this a fairly engaging read, and the story is well-translated, but it would likely work better for readers familiar with recent Angolan history. Magical realist and absurdist elements – like the dispossessed protesting by going nude in public – obscure the actual history, leaving the foreign reader wondering what really happened. And while it is difficult to separate the personal from the political in such a short and pointed story, there is this recurring notion that all is right in the home when the husband takes the reins and publicly chastises his wife; I wasn’t sure how much Pepetela finds Carmina’s ruling the roost objectionable simply because she’s a woman, and how much because this specific woman is morally bankrupt.

Nevertheless, this is an interesting book from which I did learn a bit about Angola, and at 100 pages it’s a very quick read.

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review 2018-11-12 05:05
Royale Dachschäden von Klein bis Groß
Habsburgs schräge Vögel - Gabriele Hasmann

Eines gleich vorweg über dieses Habsburger-Sachbuch: Es hat keine historische Struktur, und trotzdem hat es mich hier gar nicht gestört. Die Autorin Gabriele Hasmann präsentiert im Plauderton eine wundervolle Sammlung von teilweise mir bekannten aber auch vielen unbekannten Anekdoten über die Habsburger. Da sie nach der Art des „Dachschadens“ von der kleinen Marotte bis zur ernsthaften pathologischen Störung strukturiert und damit quer durch Jahrhunderte und Verwandtschaftslinien springt, ist somit ein chronologischer Aufbau überhaupt nicht gewährleistet. Für mich war diese etwas schräge Struktur kein Störfaktor bei der Rezeption, denn ich wusste meist ganz genau, wer wann wie mit welcher Verwandtschaft gemeint ist, da ich im österreichischen Geschichtsunterricht ohnehin sehr viele Haupt- aber auch Nebenlinien der kaiserlichen Familie lernen musste.

 

Hasmann präsentiert in einzelnen Kapiteln: Aberglauben, Magie und Hellsicht, Sado-Maso-Persönlichkeiten, echten Wahn und Wahnsinn, Ticks und Zwangsneurosen, Phobien und Süchte, Narzissmus, Dominanz und Fanatismus versus Laissez-faire, Lug, Betrug und Schurkenstücke und schlussendlich auch noch die sexuellen Eskapaden bzw. amourösen Auffälligkeiten.

 

Irgendwie ist das fast so, als könnte der Leser unter dem intellektuellen Deckmantel der historischen Forschung wie ein lüsterner Paparazzo und Boulevardmedienschreiber in die Stuben und Schlafzimmer der gekrönten Häupter schauen und einfach schamlos auch noch darüber tratschen und Witze reißen. Ich gestehe, da ja alle schon tot sind und es keinem mehr schadet, genieße ich mitunter so eine voyeuristische Nabelschau auf ganz tiefem Niveau sehr. Schließlich muss man sich ja auch mit den Schattenseiten der österreichischen Geschichte befassen ;-)

 

Die Anekdoten waren wie gesagt teilweise ganz neu: Zum Beispiel wurde das Geheimnis von 007 gelüftet, der wahre Van Helsing identifiziert (das wusste ich schon) und die amourösen Abenteuer des Mannes von Maria Theresia mit seinem besten Buddy, Giacomo Casanova, durch das Hurenviertel am Spittelberg und durch die Bums-Droschken geschildert, inklusive wütender Gegenmaßnahmen der Ehefrau.

Es gab auch eine derart abgefahrene Story über mehrere afrikanische Menschen (Mohren), die dem Kaiser geschenkt wurden und die infolge der ungewohnten Kost und des Klimas nicht lange überlebten. Der Kaiser ließ ihnen die schwarze Haut abziehen und stellte sie als Figuren gekleidet und geschmückt aus. Da viele starben, hatte er bald eine ganze Rotte von Schwarzen beisammen.

 

Auch die – wie soll ich es höflich formulieren – extrem hässlichen Habsburgermerkmale, die sich durch die andauernde Inzucht gleichsam wie der Wahnsinn in manchen Linien vervielfachten, wurden von der Autorin mit spitzer Zunge erläutert. Im Rahmen des pathologischen Irrsinns war der Wurm schon seit dem 16. Jahrhundert in der Genetik der Familie durch die spanische Linie, respektive durch „Juana la Loca“, verankert.

 

Eine Geschichte hat mich am meisten verblüfft: Maximilian, der Kaiser von Mexiko, wurde offensichtlich nur zum Schein exekutiert, zumindest ist bewiesen, dass die neue Republik nicht seine Leiche überführt hat und ein Bürgerlicher in Salvador namens Justo Armas dieselbe Handschrift hatte.

 

Ach ja, im Kapitel Völlerei gibt es ein Rezept für Krebsgermnudeln, die Leibspeise von Maria Theresia. Das möchte ich unbedingt mal kochen.

 

Fazit: Für Anfänger im Hause Habsburg leider etwas verwirrend, wenn man auf historische Chronologie Wert legt. Für Profis in diesem Bereich und für Royal Watchers, die auf sensationelle Geschichten abzielen, aber doch sehr vergnüglich.

 

P.S.: Eine Kleinigkeit ist mir noch aufgefallen. Der Verlag hat sich beim Coverbild von Leopold I. noch eine kleine Impertinenz einfallen lassen. Die hässlichen, wulstigen Habsburgerlippen wurden mit Folie oder Lack überzogen und springen dadurch dem Leser förmlich ins Auge. Das ist sooo böse und köstlich! :D

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review 2018-11-09 20:54
Sometimes it's not about who did it, it's about why...
Criminal Intentions: Changing Faces - Cole McCade

Ok, I'm going to try and share something new and fresh here but I have to be honest this is book #4 Criminal Intentions Changing Faces, for this series and 'other than "ohmyfreakin'godthisis hella,hellaGOOD" I'm starting to feel like a stuck record but I'll give it a go anyways ok.

 

'Criminal Investigations' is a series with a slightly different form to it. The author's plan is to write this  with a format that more strongly resembles a television show than a book series. As most of us know book series can vary in terms of when and how often they're released.  I've read series where the books have been released almost all at once as was the case with Brent Weeks 'Night Angel' trilogy these books were originally released within weeks of each other (and no that wasn't an intentional play on words) other series may have months between each book or sometimes even years (let's think G.R.R. Martin here and still others have totally erratic release dates). Whereas with a television show we know that basically we're getting 13 episodes per viewing season (it use to be 22 but these days 13 seems to be the average). So the plan for this series as I understand is a possible 5 seasons with 13 episodes per season. So if you're planning on seeing this through to the end, as I and some other souls are want to do it's going to be like making a commitment to G.R.R. Martin himself the endgame is not for those in need of immediate gratification. 

 

In order not to spoil this for anyone with a potential interest in following this series let me just say that...I'm not going to write spoilerish things in my reviews anything that I use that directly pertains to the events in an episode will also be found in the blurb.

 

Ok, so what am I going to talk about well the obvious of course why I'm reading this series. I love a good crime drama story, especially if it has a personal connection to it. With each episode of CI (yep, we're going to save me some typing and refer to this as CI for Criminal Intentions) anyways, with each episode there's a different crime being resolved and by different I don't mean same crime different faces I mean different crime with different faces and here in CI #4 what we were given was a case of domestic violence and while the who and why of who done it was apparent fairly early in the story. I was ok with that because while this was a part of the story it wasn't the focus this time around the focus was more about the impact that the case has on Seong-Jae one of the MCs in this series as he works to resolve the circumstances surrounding the victims murder... because we don't always live in a world of clear absolutes and sometimes upholding the law doesn't always mean adhering to the letter of the law and as an officer of the law Seong-Jae not only has to resolve this murder but he finds he needs to come to terms with that resolution...it's good stuff folks seriously thought provoking stuff because if you've read this and heard any news stories over the past few years I'm sure you'll agree with me that much of this story could have easily come from the pages of any newspaper.

 

And this leads to the next thing that I really like about this series and that's the strong undertone of realism that runs through these stories. This is not a light and fluffy series with sunshine, rainbows and lollipops. These stories deal with the dark side of human nature sometimes the lines between right and wrong become pretty fuzzy...just like in the real world.

 

So now onto my favorite thing about this series or I guess I should say things...Seong-Jae and Malcolm...these two men...sweet baby jebus!!! Let me just say this will test the patience of even the staunchest slow burn fan but it's going to be worth it...of this I feel certain.

 

These two men...I don't even know how to explain the dynamics between them other than to use a very cliche phrase and say 'It's complicated'. Seriously we're 4 books in and we'v basically gotten a couple of kisses that's it but..DAMN!!! I've read full on sex scenes that didn't radiate the heat that these two just begin in the same room...or even on a telephone together.

 

With every story we're given a crime drama that's resolved from start to finish but with each story we're also given a little more about Seong-Jae and Malcolm's past as they continue to dance around each other and there's an overlying storyline that's building and it's the one that keeps me coming back because in spite of the crime that's resolved the author leaves us with just enough answers to pique our interest while also adding just enough questions to tease the readers curiosity.

 

While this was probably the weakest of the stories in terms of the crime that was committed and resolved for me it was in fact one of the better stories from the perspective of personal relationships. It also seems to be a pivotal point as things seem to be changing both for and between Soeng-Jae and Malcolm.

 

I'm not sure what comes next for this series but I do know I'm on board to find out...episode 5 everyone 'It's Witchcraft' and it's happening tomorrow (November 10) and I'm so there! This series...very highly recommended! and definitely best read in order.

 

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A copy of 'Criminal Intentions: Changing Faces' was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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