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review 2018-08-14 12:48
"Bearskin" by James A. McLaughlin - Highly Recommended
Bearskin - James McLaughlin

"Bearskin" is a rare find: a literary thriller that is as lyrical as it is muscular.

 

Instead of choosing between writing a literary book about how a man can surrender himself to the dark sentience of an ancient forest and walk out more himself than he was before or a thriller about a man deeply maimed by violence who, although living an almost invisible life in the wilds, knows his past will catch up with him, James McLaughlinhas written a book that is both a literary achievement and a page-turning, viscerally realistic thriller.

 

Two things caught and kept my attention throughout this book: the development of Rice Moore, the man at the heart of the story and the sometimes total immersion into the ancient Appalachian forest. Either one would have been reason enough to read this book. Together they became compelling.

 

Rice Moore is a great creation. Recent acts of extreme violence against him and by him have left him emotionally scarred and subject to fugues states and hallucinations. A solitary man who no longer entirely trusts himself to play well with others, he seeks isolation, partly to hide from his enemies and partly to avoid people. Alone in the forest, feeling its pulse next to his own, his inability to let go of his territoriality or his instinct for violence, repeatedly draws him into conflict with the people around him.

 

Yet this isn't a one-man-triumphs-against-the-world sort of story. Moore is losing his mind. His fugue states, his obsession with protecting the black bears on the estate he is warden of and his personal ghosts, lead him down a path where he literally puts on another skin and enters a different kind of consciousness. James McLaughlin's ability to help me experience this altering of states as something real and raw was deeply impressive.

 

Even though "Bearskin" is as fast-paced and propulsive as a thriller needs to be, McLaughlin is able to incorporate the forest and its fauna and fauna as a deeply experienced part of the story. Ecology is more than a plot device or a scientific concept here, it is about understanding our place in the world and its rhythms.

 

In addition to these two strong themes, McLaughlin gives us an insight into the poaching of black bears, the vengeance of the Mexican drug cartels and the rules and rituals of outlaw motorcycle clubs and an up-close experience of violence that is hard to look away from.

 

I recommend the audiobook version of "Bearskin" as MacLeod Andrews' narration enhanced my experience of the book.

 

Click on the SoundCloud link below to hear a sample.

 

[soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/441607044" params="color=#ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&show_teaser=true&visual=true" width="100%" height="300" iframe="true" /]

 

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text 2018-08-13 20:10
Summer of Spies - Tracking Post
Who is Vera Kelly? - Rosalie Knecht,Elisabeth Rodgers
Berlin Game - Len Deighton,James Lailey
The Mask of Dimitrios - Eric Ambler,Mark Mazower
Above Suspicion - Helen MacInnes
Blowback - Valerie Plame Wilson,Sarah Lovett,Negin Farsad
The Traveller Returns - Patricia Wentworth
The Spy - Paulo Coelho
Zoo Station - David Downing
The Zhivago Affair: The Kremlin, the CIA, and the Battle Over a Forbidden Book - Simon Vance,Peter Finn,Petra Couvée
Night Soldiers - Alan Furst

Memorial Day Weekend -- Labor Day 2018

 

Finished, to Date:

Fiction

Emmuska Orczy: The Scarlet Pimpernel (revisited on audio, narrated by Stephen Crossly) ****1/2

Agatha Christie: N or M? (revisited on audio, narrated by Samantha Bond) ***

Ian Fleming: Quantum of Solace (short story only; new / audio, narrated by David Rintoul) *1/2

Kate Westbrook: Guardian Angel (new / audio, narrated by Eleanor Bron) ***1/2

Stella Rimington: Secret Asset (new / audio, narrated by Rosalyn Landor) ****

Francine Mathews: The Cutout (new / audio, narrated by Trini Alvarado) **1/2

Jane Thynne: Black Roses (new / audio, narrated by Julie Teal) ****

John le Carré: The Tailor of Panama (revisited on audio, narrated by the author) ****1/2

Graham Greene: Our Man in Havana (audio, narrated by Jeremy Northam) ****1/2

Agatha Christie: They Came to Baghdad (new / audio, narrated by Emilia Fox) ***1/2

Rosalie Knecht: Who Is Vera Kelly? (new / audio, narrated by Elisabeth Rodgers) ***1/2

Len Deighton: Berlin Game (new / audio, narrated by James Lailey) ****

Eric Ambler: The Mask of Dimitrios (new / print) ****

Helen MacInnes: Above Suspicion (new / print) ****1/2

Valerie Plame Wilson, Sarah Lovett: Blowback (new / audio, narrated by Negin Farsad) ***

Patricia Wentworth: The Traveller Returns (new / print) ****

Paulo Coelho: The Spy (new / English print version + German audio, narrated by Luise Helm and Sven Görtz) ***1/2

David Downing: Zoo Station (new / print) ****
 

John Le Carré: George Smiley Cycle

The Spy Who Came in From the Cold (revisited on audio, narrated by the author) *****

The Looking Glass War (new / audio, narrated by Michael Jayston) ***1/2

Smiley's People (revisited on audio, narrated by Michael Jayston) *****

 

 

Nonfiction

Stella Rimington: Open Secret: The Autobiography of the Former Director-General of MI5 (new / print edition) ****

Peter Finn & Petra Couvée: The Zhivago Affair (new / audio, narrated by Simon Vance) **1/2

 
 

Currently Reading:

Alan Furst: Night Soldiers
 

 

 

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text 2018-08-09 17:51
I'm back!
The Maze Runner (Maze Runner, #1) - James Dashner

And, yes, I know no one noticed since I don't do much here.

 

BUT!  This book was intense!

 

The suspense had me on edge and then this popped up:

 

"If someone's going to die every night anyway, we might as well use it to our advantage."

 

Newt frowned.  "Well, ain't that just cheery."

 

I laughed out loud.  Broke the tension just enough.  

 

 

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review 2018-08-09 17:21
Berührender Jugendthirller
Der Tag, an dem Cooper starb - Edith Beleites,Rebecca St. James

Cooper hat sich umgebracht! Seine Freundin Libby kann es nicht fassen, weil er augenscheinlich glücklich war. Nach dem ersten Schock stellt sie Fragen, die Coopers Freunden und seiner Familie unangenehm sind.

"Der Tag, an dem Cooper starb" ist ein Jugendthriller, der nicht nur Spannung verspricht, sondern zugleich gefühlvoll und wunderschön zu lesen ist.

Gleich zu Beginn erlebt man Coopers letzte Sekunden mit und  erfährt seine Gedanken. Allerdings weiß man nicht, was geschehen ist. Dieser Einstieg hat sofort die unheilvolle Stimmung von den Klippen am Meer direkt in mein Wohnzimmer katapultiert. 

Danach wird man gemeinsam mit Libby mit Coopers Selbstmord konfrontiert. In diesem Augenblick habe ich mit Libby gefühlt, schon fast geweint, und wir standen benommen vor der Tatsache, dass sie niemals wieder mit ihm sprechen wird

Libby ist Coopers Freundin. Sie ist ein nettes Mädchen, das sich voll auf ihr Studium konzentriert. Gemeinsam mit ihren Freunden genießt sie die Abende am Strand, überlegt sich Geburtstagsüberraschungen und -geschenke und schaut zuversichtlich ihrer Zukunft entgegen.

Doch dann tritt Cooper in ihr Leben, von dem sie bisher dachte, dass er ein eingebildeter Schnösel sei. Immerhin zählte er schon zu Schulzeiten zu den angesagten Kids und hat sich auf den wilden Partys seines besten Freunds Sebastian einen berüchtigten Namen gemacht.

Berüchtigter als seine Freundin Claire kann er jedoch nicht sein. Denn Claire ist das It-Girl im Partymodus schlechthin. Statt wie Libby ihre Nase in Bücher zu vergraben, zieht sie sich damit eine Line nach der anderen rein, schwebt ständig im Wodka-Himmel und hat sich durch ihre sexuelle Unbeständigkeit um ihre große Liebe Cooper gebracht.

Exquisite Partys sind Sebastians Markenzeichen. Er ist Coopers bester Freund und hat mehr Geld, als man ausgeben kann. Andrerseits ist es mit dem familiären Rückhalt in seiner Familie nicht weit her, und er sieht in Cooper, mehr als einen Freund. 

Die Figuren sind allesamt beeindruckend grauschattiert. Trotz meiner simplen Beschreibung, die eher auf Klischees schließen lässt, hat Rebecca James ein facettenreiches Bild von ihren Figuren gemalt, die man mit jeder Seite besser kennenlernt. Es gefällt mir, wie die Autorin die Motivation ihrer Charaktere langsam einfließen lässt. Sie erklärt, warum Claire eine drogenvernichtende Bitch geworden ist, wie es dazu kommt, dass Sebastian seinem Freund Cooper die neue Liebe nicht gönnt, und den Grund, warum Coopers Selbstmord unerklärlich ist.

Dreh- und Angelpunkt der Figuren und der Handlung ist Libby, die Coopers Selbstmord nicht hinnehmen kann. Sie haben herrlich romantische Stunden verbracht, sie hatten Pläne und depressiv hat ihr Freund beim besten Willen nicht gewirkt. Aber warum ist Cooper tot?

Libbys Stellung wird vor allem durch die Perspektive gestärkt. Insgesamt wird die Handlung von Cooper, Sebastian, Claire und Libby erzählt, dennoch erfährt man Libbys Sicht direkt aus der Ich-Erzählung. Zudem spielt Rebecca James mit den Zeitsträngen, indem sie die Vergangenheit mit ‚Damals‘ zum Leben erweckt und unter ‚Jetzt‘ in der Gegenwart auftaucht. Dieses Perspektivenspiel hat Handlung und Figuren unheimliches Leben und fesselnde Spannung eingehaucht. 

Ich war von der ersten Seite an berührt, weil mich die Trauer um Cooper regelrecht erschlagen hat. Das Leid, die Fassungslosigkeit und der Schock haben sich schwer zwischen die Zeilen gelegt und mich sofort eingefangen. 

Zum Glück ist nicht die ganze Handlung nur von Trauer übersät, weil man unter anderen erfährt, wie aus Libby und Cooper ein Liebespaar geworden ist. Man erlebt glückliche Momente mit ihnen, die beim Lesen vom nahenden Selbstmord überschattet sind.

Für mich ist „Der Tag, an dem Cooper starb“ ein exzellent gelungener Jugend-Thriller, der mit Atmosphäre, zugänglichen Figuren und einer mitreißenden Handlung punktet. Überwältigende Emotionen treffen auf packende Thrillerelemente, die das Buch zum Pageturner machen.

 

Source: zeit-fuer-neue-genres.blogspot.co.at
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review 2018-08-09 10:00
Release Week Review! Racked and Stacked (Blacktop Cowboys #9) Lorelei James!
Racked and Stacked - Lorelei James

 

 

Opposites don't just attract in the West--they sizzle--and Wyoming has never been hotter than in the latest sexy Blacktop Cowboys® novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Hang Tough.

 

Growing up with three older brothers, Larissa "Riss" Thorpe defines the term tomboy--a moniker that never mattered to her until she crossed paths with sexy cowboy playboy, Ike Palmer. His declaration that he prefers his women soft and feminine is the one benefit to becoming his business partner. Since Riss is obviously not his type, there's little chance they'll mix business and pleasure when they're in close quarters on the road together.

 

Former cattle broker Ike Palmer was ready for a new chapter in his life when he partnered with Riss, a contrary redhead who lords her mechanical abilities over him at every turn. Ike raised his three younger sisters; he knows a thing or three about how women work. The problem is...Riss is unlike any woman he's ever met.

With the odds stacked against them, Riss and Ike will have to choose between the stubbornness that keeps them apart and the fiery attraction that could lead to something more...

 


“Racked and Stacked” the ninth book in the “Blacktop Cowboys” series is an entertaining snarky romance where frienemies become lovers despite the stubbornness that keeps them apart.

 

Rissa and Ike are two very strong characters that leap from the pages and grab reader’s attention right from the start and the chemistry between them sizzles with a strong electrical current that singes the pages all while these characters do their best to fight their attraction. Readers can’t help but become caught up in their romance as the characters capture hearts, send sparks flying in every direction and spark spontaneous laughter throughout their very fiery and passionate struggle to out stubborn the other and overcome their issues in order to even begin to think about a relationship.

 

The plot is fast paced and keeps readers on the edge of their seats with anticipation of what Riss and Ike will come up with next and just how will they sabotage themselves again. There is also lots of friends and family to add their opinions to the mix which keeps this couple working hard to overcome the odds and those same friends and families adds to the fun and laughter of the story with their own shenanigans as well. The romance and the characters also has realistic problems that the Riss and Ike will have to overcome which adds depth and makes it easy to connect to these wonderfully lively characters.

 

I thoroughly enjoyed Racked and Stacked and I couldn’t help but feel as if I really got to know Riss and Ike through Lorelei James creative writing that brings the story, the scenery and the characters to vibrant life.

 

 

Racked and Stacked

 

Goodreads - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36604162-racked-and-stacked

 

Author - http://loreleijames.com/books/racked-and-stacked/overview


BookBub - https://www.bookbub.com/books/racked-and-stacked-by-lorelei-james

 

 

is the 9th book in the Blacktop Cowboys series

 

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/series/47701-blacktop-cowboys


Amazon - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B077KCW725?ref=series_rw_dp_labf

 

 

which includes:


1 Corralled
2 Saddled and Spurred
3 Wrangled and Tangled
4 One Night Rodeo
5 Turn and Burn
6 Hillbilly Rockstar
6.5 Roped In
6.6 Stripped Down
7 Wrapped and Strapped
7.5 Strung Up
8 Hang Tough
8.5 Tripped Out
9 Racked and Stacked

 

& also includes a Rough Riders / Blacktop Cowboys® Crossover

 


Racked and Stacked is available in print or ebook at:

 

Penguin - http://www.penguin.com/book/racked-and-stacked-by-lorelei-james/9780399584114

 

Amazon - http://geni.us/tAalzr

 

B&N - http://geni.us/SI4z

 

BaM - http://www.tkqlhce.com/click-8373827-10876509?SID=PRHEFFDF5A7F1--9780399584114&url=http://www.booksamillion.com/p/9780399584114

 

Kobo - http://geni.us/3ksSvEx

 

iBooks - http://geni.us/5hF8

 

GPlay - http://geni.us/HJW4g

 

BaM – http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Racked-Stacked/Lorelei-James/9780399584114?id=7336553342217

 

eBooks – https://www.ebooks.com/95910005/racked-and-stacked/james-lorelei/

 

BookDepository - https://www.bookdepository.com/Racked-and-Stacked/9780399584114

 

 

Lorelei James is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of romances in the Rough Riders series, the Blacktop Cowboys® series, the Mastered series, the Need You series and the Legacy series.

 

Lorelei also writes dark, gritty mysteries under the name Lori Armstrong. Her books in the Julie Collins and Mercy Gunderson series have won Shamus Awards and the Willa Cather Literary Award. Lorelei lives in western South Dakota.


Website - http://www.loreleijames.com/

 

Goodreads - https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/541293.Lorelei_James

 

Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/LoreleiJamesAuthor

 

Twitter - https://twitter.com/loreleijames

 

InstaGram - https://www.instagram.com/loreleijamesauthor/

 

BookBub - https://www.bookbub.com/authors/lorelei-james

 

 

 

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