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text 2018-12-30 00:02
24 Festive Tasks: Door 19 - Festivus, Task 1 (Airing of Grievances)
The Red Queen - Margaret Drabble
The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: A New History of a Lost World - Stephen Brusatte
Get Well Soon: History's Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them - Jennifer Wright
The Lady Vanishes - Ethel Lina White
The Cutout - Francine Mathews
The Lake District Murder - John Bude
Candy Cane Murder - Leslie Meier,Laura Levine,Joanne Fluke,Suzanne Toren

I've been blessed with a pretty amazing reading year in which disappointments were few and far between -- so it was fortunately not difficult at all to spot the small number of candidates for my "grievances" list when scrolling back through my BookLikes shelves.  They are / were, in no particular order (except for no. 1):

 

Margaret Drabble: The Red Queen

Pretentious, artificial, historically incorrect and, most of all, monumentally self-involved.  If this is the type of book that Drabble's sister A.S. Byatt criticizes under the byword "faction", then I'm with Byatt all the way -- and that statement is far from a given where Byatt's own fiction is concerned.  Someday I'll seek out the actual memoirs of the Crown Princess whose story inspired this poor excuse for a novel.  I doubt I'll go anywhere near Drabble's writing again anytime soon, however.

Original review HERE.

 

Stephen Brusatte: The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs

Speaking of monumentally self-involved, this wasn't much better than Drabble's book in that particular department.  It does contain the actual bit of paleonthological information, but that bit is essentially hidden between tales of Steve the Great and his almost-as-great famous friends and acquaintances, as well as Brusatte's pet theories -- pun not intended -- and a lot of generalization on subjects that don't necessarily lend themselves to same.  (Also, Brusatte obviously loves T-Rex ... and his obsession with the Rex's "puny arms" has me wondering about the wider psychological implications of Brusatte's fascination with the big bad  boys (and girls) of dino-dom.)

Original review HERE.

 

Jennifer Wright: Get Well Soon

Our third candidate under the "monumentally self-involved" header.  Leaving aside that the book's subtitle ("History's Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them") is a complete misnomer, this, too, is chiefly about the bright and sparky Ms. Wright and her opinions, frequently at best shallow research, and largely inappropriate oh-so-clever (NOT) quips, asides, and pop culture references.  At least two of the "plagues" mentioned in the book actually are not epidemics at all (which shows that indeterminate "medical horrors" is what Wright was truly after), and on the epidemics that do get mentioned, entire chapters of medical research and the world-renowned scientists chiefly responsible for that research don't even get so much as a passing mention.  Virtually the book's only saving grace was Wright's stance against anti-vaxxers and similar superstitious nonsense -- the sum total of which, however, would easily have fit into one of the magazine articles that Wright produces when she's not pretending she is a science writer.

Original review HERE.

 

Ethel Lina White: The Lady Vanishes

One of the rare examples where I like the movie adaptation (by the one and only Alfred Hitchcock, no less) vastly better than the literary original.  "Woman in peril" stories aren't my cup of tea to begin with, but leaving aside that I rather like Hitch's spin on the conspiracy at the heart of the book, most of all, the two protagonists (Margaret Lockwood's Iris and her "knight in shining armour", portrayed by Michael Redgrave in the movie) come across as much more likeable and believable in the screen version -- the guy in particular is nothing more than a pretentious prick in the book, for however much he's supposed to be the Hero and Iris's big savior and love interest.  All in all, Hitchcock elevated what seems to amount at best to B movie material on paper into one of his early masterpieces -- no small feat on his part.

Original review HERE.

 

Francine Matthews: The Cutout

Not strictly a disappointment, as I was a bit skeptical going in anyway; however, it had an interesting premise and started well and thus got my hopes up to a certain extent -- only to deflate them pretty thoroughly, alas, before it had really gotten going.  Totalitarian political machinations in a post-collapse-of-the-Wall Europe may have sounded interesting when the book was written in the early 2000s -- and sound even more up-to-date these days, in fact -- but it would have required a different writer to pull this off convincingly.  Matthews has no understanding of Germany, German society and politics, nor that of the Eastern European countries where her book is set (if she ever lived in Berlin or any of the book's other main locations, she obviously had virtually zero interactions with anybody other than her American intelligence colleagues), and unfortunately, name-dropping half a street atlas' worth of names of tourist sites and major traffic arteries is no replacement for a believable reproduction of local atmosphere. Similarly, not one of the characters is anything other than a two-dimensional cipher, and by the time the book reaches its end, it degenerates into the cheapest of cheap spy thriller clichés once and for all.

Original review (of sorts) HERE.

 

Honorable mentions:

(Or would that be "dishonorable mentions"?)

 

John Bude: The Lake District Murder

I already used this for the task of finding something redeeming in an otherwise disappointing book (International Day of Tolerance / Door 6, Task 1), so I won't formally use it again in this particular context -- besides, unlike the five above-mentioned books it didn't actually make me angry ... it just fell flat of what it could have been.

Original review HERE.

 

Joanne Fluke / Laura Levine / Leslie Meier: Candy Cane Murder

A huge disappointment only considering how popular these three ladies' books are (particularly so, Fluke's) -- ultimately, I guess this was nothing more than a confirmation of the fact that cozy mysteries aren't actually my kind of thing (with the sole exception of Donna Andrews's Meg Langslow series).  Of the three entries, Meier's was by far the weakest, but I neither cared particularly for Fluke's nor ultimately for Levine's, either -- though in the sense of "amongst the blind, the one-eyed man is king", Levine's was the strongest entry in an overall weak threesome.

Original review HERE.

 

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review 2018-12-10 00:16
24 Festive Tasks: Door 7 - Mawlid, Book
Candy Cane Murder - Leslie Meier,Laura Levine,Joanne Fluke,Suzanne Toren

Well, let's just say that none of these three ladies is anywhere near Donna Andrews's league when it comes to cozy mysteries, plotting, character creation, dialogue, and a writer's craft in general.  And if I thought Joanna Fluke's entry was disappointing (mediocre plotting and dialogue, character responses that felt forced / didn't make sense, and one of my no-go TSTL behavior tropes as the "big reveal" cue (though I have to hand it to Fluke, the setting and overall scene of the final confrontation with the murderer was inspired)), I'm sorry to have to say that Leslie Meier's contribution did even less for me -- you could scratch off the Hallmark sugar coating with a shovel, virtually NONE of the characters' actions and responses bore even the slightest semblance of realism,  and she managed to make 1980s rural Maine come across as more backward than it probably was even in the 1940s and 1950s (while also looking more dripping-with-saccharine-style-homely than any Norman Rockwell picture -- and for the record, I like Norman Rockwell.  Or at least I like his Christmas pictures.)

 

Laura Levine's entry fared a bit better (I'd call it the book's highlight if such a term were appropriate for a muted glow in the midst of two seriously dulled lights); at least she took me right back to L.A. inside my head and the plotting was halfway decent.  But her story seriously suffered from an overabundance of quirky characters, not-very-subtle hints at the MC's padded waistline and her resolutions to do something about it (in which she predictably fails on every single occasion -- and yes, I know this actually is an L.A. thing; been there and would have bought the T-shirt, too, if I'd found it funny then, but the last thing I want is to have this sort of fad jammed up my nose with a sledgehammer in a book) -- and an equal overabundance of wannabe hipster slang and coloquialisms ... everything from repeated exclamations like "ugh!", "oh golly!" and "drat!" to "bet my bottom cupcake" (and yes, even there she goes again with the calorie stuff).  Oh, and the MC's conversations with her cat and said cat's female-Garfield act got old pretty soon as well.

 

Oh well.  If nothing else, this has made me appreciate the consistently high quality of Donna Andrews's writing even more -- I'll happily be returning to her for my cozy contemporary Christmas mysteries (I just hope she'll reliably continue to produce them for the foreseeable future).

 

I may try some of the recipes included in this book eventually, though.

 

Since the audiobook I listened to has a green cover, I'll be using this as my book for the Mawlid square.

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review 2018-10-19 13:41
Reading out inertia
Leverage in Death - J.D. Robb

Meh.

 

At this point, I figure I keep reading these because they are easy time-killer page-turners.

 

 

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review 2018-10-03 10:58
Katzenbach ist zahm geworden
Der Psychiater: Psychothriller - John Ka... Der Psychiater: Psychothriller - John Katzenbach,Eberhard Kreutzer,Anke Kreutzer

John Katzenbach ist meine erste große Thriller-Liebe. Ich erinnere mich noch genau, wie sehr mich „Die Anstalt“ begeisterte, mein erster Roman aus seiner Feder und meiner Meinung nach der beste, den er je geschrieben hat. Nie zuvor war ich mit einem ähnlichen Level nervenzerfetzender, psychologischer Spannung konfrontiert worden. Katzenbach begründete mit diesem Buch meine ausgedehnte Thriller-Phase. In den folgenden Jahren las ich alles, was der Mann veröffentlichte. Leider verzeichnete ich einen graduellen Qualitätsverlust, gestand ihm jedoch stets eine neue Chance zu. Mein letzter Katzenbach war 2013 „Der Wolf“, den ich insgesamt ziemlich enttäuschend fand. 2017 entdeckte ich, dass er einen neuen Einzelband geschrieben hatte: „Der Psychiater“. Selbstverständlich wollte ich auch diesen lesen.

 

Ohne die Hilfe seines Sponsors, seines Onkels Ed, hätte es der 24-jährige Alkoholiker Timothy „Moth“ Warner niemals geschafft, trocken zu bleiben. Selbst jetzt, nach 100 Tagen der Abstinenz, ist er auf seine Unterstützung angewiesen. Deshalb ist Moth alarmiert, als Ed ein wichtiges Treffen der Anonymen Alkoholiker verpasst. Besorgt fährt er in Eds Praxis. Was er dort vorfindet, lässt das Blut in seinen Adern gefrieren: die Leiche seines Onkels. Alle Spuren deuten auf Suizid hin. Die Polizei schließt den Fall.
Eds Verlust wirft Moth völlig aus der Bahn. Er kann einfach nicht glauben, dass sich sein lebensbejahender, ausgeglichener Onkel selbst getötet haben soll. Schon bald beschleicht Moth ein furchtbarer Verdacht. War es vielleicht gar kein Selbstmord? Aber wer könnte den harmonieorientierten, hilfsbereiten Psychiater tot sehen wollen? Verärgerte er einen Patienten? Verstört und in tiefer Trauer begibt sich Moth auf einen gefährlichen Weg: er ist entschlossen, Eds Mörder zu finden. Unterstützt von seiner Jugendliebe Andy Candy und der Staatsanwältin Susan beginnt er, in Eds Vergangenheit zu graben und bemerkt nicht, dass er längst beobachtet wird…

 

John Katzenbach hat seinen Biss verloren. Ich weiß nicht, wo und wie, aber für mich ist es eindeutig, dass seinen Thrillern seit einigen Jahren der spezielle Nervenkitzel fehlt, den ich in „Die Anstalt“ liebte, der mich an die Seiten fesselte und mich veranlasste, mir die Nächte um die Ohren zu schlagen. Ich empfinde beim Lesen seiner Bücher schon lange keine Anspannung mehr. Katzenbach ist zahm geworden. „Der Psychiater“ ist ein psychologisch anspruchsvolles Katz-und-Maus-Spiel, das für mich leider schnell an Reiz einbüßte. Ich konnte dem Spannungsbogen des Buches einfach nicht folgen und fragte mich lange, was Katzenbach mit dieser Struktur erreichen wollte. Anfangs glaubte ich, es ginge darum, herauszufinden, ob Moth‘ Onkel Ed tatsächlich umgebracht wurde. Diese Frage klärte sich nach einigen Andeutungen endgültig mit dem ersten Kapitel aus der Sicht des Mörders. Danach mutmaßte ich, ich sollte Beweggründe und Identität des Killers erraten. Warum tötete er den liebenswerten Onkel Ed und welche Beziehung hatte er zu ihm? Das Motiv offenbart Katzenbach jedoch ebenfalls recht früh. Hm. Und jetzt? Letztendlich entpuppte sich „Der Psychiater“ als tödliches Wettrennen zwischen Moth und dem Killer. Diese Entwicklung war per se nicht schlecht, aber das Auf und Ab des Spannungsbogens und Katzenbachs Freigiebigkeit frustrierten mich, weil er mich mit jeder geschenkten Information ausschloss. Ich durfte nicht miträtseln, ich durfte nur zuschauen und ein Duell psychologischer Profile beobachten. Dieses Duell arrangierte Katzenbach allerdings vorzüglich. Die Kapitel aus der Perspektive des Mörders faszinierten mich, weil es sich um einen Profi handelt, dessen Disziplin, Kreativität und Präzision beeindrucken. Er ist ein Geist, der die Kunst, unsichtbar in der Gesellschaft zu verschwinden, perfektionierte. Es ist erschreckend, wie gründlich die Spuren einer Existenz sogar im Kommunikationszeitalter ausgelöscht werden können. Sein Kontrahent Moth verkörpert in vielerlei Hinsicht sein Gegenteil. Es war interessant, ihre Unterschiede und Parallelen zu ermitteln. Moth‘ Leben ist von seiner Suchtkrankheit geprägt; er kämpft täglich um Selbstkontrolle. Eds Verlust treibt ihn an den Rand eines Rückfalls und nur sein Entschluss, dessen Mörder aufzuspüren, bewahrt ihn davor. Daher stellte ich mir die spannende Frage, ob Moth fähig gewesen wäre, seine riskante Mission durchzuziehen, wäre er kein Alkoholiker. Ich denke nicht. Ich glaube, wäre er emotional und mental stabil, hätte er die Gefahr gescheut. Im englischen Original heißt das Buch „The Dead Student“, doch ich finde den deutschen Titel „Der Psychiater“ dennoch passend. Nicht nur, weil Ed Psychiater ist, sondern weil Katzenbach seine Leser_innen in die Position eines Psychiaters manövriert: er konfrontiert sie mit zwei erkrankten Persönlichkeiten, die durch Ed eine außergewöhnliche Verbindung teilen und überlässt es ihnen, sie zu analysieren und ihr Verhalten vorauszusagen. Deshalb sehe ich in diesem Roman eher ein psychologisches Spiel als einen mitreißenden Thriller: intellektuell stimulierend, aber leider nicht aufregend.

 

Ich weiß nicht so genau, worauf John Katzenbach mit „Der Psychiater“ hinauswollte. Das Kräftemessen zwischen Moth und dem Mörder seines Onkels erschien mir als handlungstragendes Element nicht ausreichend. Spannung oder gar Nervenkitzel wollten nicht recht aufkommen und da sich Katzenbach nicht bemühte, mich in das tödliche Duell einzubinden, fühlte ich mich zum passiven Zaungast degradiert. Auch über die Nebenfiguren fand ich keinen Zugang, weil ich ihre Rollen in der Geschichte nicht durchschaute. Das Buch spülte über mich hinweg, ohne emotionale Resonanz zu erzeugen. Theoretisch ist es eine ausgefeilte Studie psychischer Abgründe, doch praktisch erreichte es mich einfach nicht. Vielleicht ist es eine adäquate Lektüre für Psychologie-Nerds, für mich war es jedoch erneut eine Enttäuschung.

Source: wortmagieblog.wordpress.com/2018/10/03/john-katzenbach-der-psychiater
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text 2018-07-26 08:45
Earning through candy business - start today at home

Sweet and confectionary business is an ever-green business in all the season across the world. Among those sweet products, candies top them when it comes to more liking and inclination. Children are the most fans of candies. They aspire for the getting of candies when they get pocket money from their parents. The taste of candies is very delicious and sweet. They enjoy eating the candies. The candies business is getting boom due to the high demand of the candies across the world. The business doesn’t need much investment. The only thing that matters much in the candy business is its unique packaging and wrapping that holds the paramount importance to make your business a famous candy brand in the market.

 

Image result for candy business


As there are plenty of candies businesses working in the market, therefore huge competition prevail in the market. Due to the profitability of the business, you can start your own home-based candy business by investing little in the business and make your business boom by making it unique as compared to other candy business. This business can be rewarding, you may need to work long hours in the beginning to maintain steady monthly earnings. In addition to making tasty candy and cake, knowledge of business development and management, customer service and marketing are necessary to help your business grow. We will discuss here the stepwise guide to start a candy business at home.

 

Image result for candy business

 

1. Conducting detailed & profound research


Research the candy industry to evaluate trends and growth. Identify potential competition, which may include other local candy makers, brick-and-mortar candy stores, and online candy stores. After conducting research, you would have ample information about candy business that will help your business working smoothly and effectively.

 

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2. Selection of brand name


In the sweet and cakes items, the name of these items matters a lot because the name indicates the deviousness of the item. Craft a name for your candy making business. Use a creative name that potential customers can easily identify with candy, sweets or the specific type of candy you plan to make.

Image result for brand name

 

 

 
3. Registration of your business


After selecting the brand name of your business, the next step is the getting registering of your business with the local administration. Contact your local Chamber of Commerce for information on registering your business with your state or local office.

 

Image result for Registration of your business

 

 


4. Getting of basic infrastructure


After registration your business with the local administration, the next step is to gain the basic and necessary candy making apparatus that will produce your desired candy type. Make a proper setup and place at home for their proper placement.

 

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5. Unique wrapping and packaging boxes


Children get lured to those products that are attractive and eye-catching. That’s why; the wrapping and packaging boxes for candies hold the paramount importance for the candies. You can make creative templets by getting online designs and printings from packaging blue. Pack your candies into wholesale custom candy boxes with logo manufactured from packaging blue. It makes your products distinguished and unique as compared to other candies in the markets. It will boost-up your sales and profit.

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