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review 2017-09-20 15:10
Accessories to Die For: A Mystery (Irene... Accessories to Die For: A Mystery (Irene's Closet) - Paula Paul

Irene had been an Assistant D A in Manhattan but leaves NYC and the job at least temporarily supposedly. Irene left NYC and went to Santa Fe to make her mother Adele happy. Adele is spoiled woman but ran out of husbands and money. So Adele came to Sante Fe to find both but was feeling vulnerable and turned to Irene. Irene makes friends with Juanita who is an Native American and makes handcrafted jewelry to sell to the tourist as they like it.Irene thought she had left corruption and violence were behind her but she was wrong.  But Juanita is concerned about her son Danny who is a drug addict and has disappeared. Juanita is afraid Danny is dead either from drugs or  a man Louis Armand who gets historic relics one way or another. Then Louis goes to auctions to sell the relics. Juanita foretold Of Louis Armand’s murder. Then Louis  Armand is found dead and killed by a specially made bullet and Juanita is arrested. Irene is  .determined to prove her friend is innocent and also find Danny with help from P T Bailey- a criminal lawyer and Ange Irene’s shop clerk. Prize Native American relics are being stolen also in this time frame.

I had mixed feelings about this book. I liked the way the author gave us some information on some Native American beliefs and rituals. I really liked how the author described Santa Fe and its surroundings. This was a fast paced quick to read mystery. But sometimes it was hard to tell who’s POV was being used as the POV changed from Irene and Juanita and back. I would have liked more background and backstory on the characters. Sometimes this book  made no sense to me  like when Irene’s mother called her in a panic and the Irene turned her phone off. I didn’t like that I guessed who the killer was before the book was close to ending. But I did love Irene’s and Adele’s relationship and how they interacted with each other. I love the twists and turns of the story. As I said I had mixed feelings some things I liked and others not so much.

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review 2017-09-13 13:57
Suite Française by Irène Némirovski
Suite Française - Irène Némirovsky,Sandra Smith

"War … yes, everyone knows what war is like. But occupation is more terrible because people get used to one another. We tell ourselves, 'They’re people just like us after all,' but they’re not at all the same."


Irène Némirovski — famed writer, Russian emigre, and woman of Jewish ancestry — in the midst of World War II, and in the hands of the third Reich, began writing a novel. She did not live to see the end of the war or the end of the novel, but what she did write of that novel is what we have here under the title Suite FrançaiseNémirovski's work stands out from World War II stories I have read throughout my life, in particular those popular in America: It is not about America and it is not about the fighting of the war. The focus here is on the French civilians living in the shadow of war, people trying to survive and continue their lives in a world turned upside down.


Némirovski planned to write five parts for her novel, but only produced the first two before she was captured. The story starts in (free) Paris as news arrives that the French army is in retreat and the war is coming. We follow a handful of French citizens trying evacuate the city — specifically the wealthy Péricand family, working class Jeanne and Maurice Michaud, their son Jean-Marie, the author Gabriel Corte, and the rich Charles Langelet. 


Suite Française contains a very human story about the common choices we rarely hear about in the accounts of war. The characters of this book are neither heroic nor villainous in any grand sense. They make small choices that can have big consequences. they are sometimes brave, sometimes cowardly, sometimes decent, often petty. In many cases there is no easy answer at all. The good guys don't always act good and the bad guys aren't always terrible.


In this way, Suite Française feels immediate in a way few war narratives do. The horror of the story is not how alien this world is, but how familiar. Their choices are our choices but heightened. What do you do when you see someone in need? What would you do to others to protect your family? Or just yourself? You wouldn't have to kill someone, just steal gas, or pack your fine linens and drive past a line of people fleeing on foot. And on the other side, acts of kindness like caring for a wounded soldier in your home or helping reconnect children and parents after a bombing. There are many common decisions that suddenly hold the power of life and death in wartime and Némirovski never lets us forget that imperfect humans are the ones having to make these decisions. 


When we move into the second part, "Dolce," things get even more confusing. Invasion has given way to occupation and we get a look through the experiences of two households, each forced to house a German officer. "Dolce" takes place mostly in the summer two years after the invasion. Life is not back to normal, but it looks much more like it. Old grievances are renewed, people bicker and gossip, and we are told, despite numerous proclamations of French solidarity, that the townsfolk were reporting their neighbors to the Germans from the very start. "If we'd taken them all seriously, everyone in the region would be in prison," the German officer says.


Meanwhile, the officers are gentlemanly, polite, kind even and they live in these homes for months, and politeness in return is compulsory. Over months grudge melts into kindness, respect and even affection (thus the epigraph to this essay). We know what the Nazis (as a whole) stood for, what they perpetrated against Jews and other minorities, but one person can be complicated, a soldier, we are reminded several times, does not set the policies. As an abstraction, years later, Nazi's appear as pure evil, but as individuals, in the houses of the protagonists, the image is less clear. In fact, Germans in this town act much like American soldiers later in the war. They give sweets to the kids, offer to help carry groceries, and pay well at the local shops. In this way, Suite Française reveals our humanity both in the capacity to transcend, and our weakness to, the worst parts of ourselves, and in this book it is hard to even know which parts those are.


The tension in "Dolce" seems to pull tighter and tighter until you can't stop reading. The friendship between Lucile and a German officer seems to draw inexorably toward disaster. Némirovski writes at her best at these moments when her characters are torn between what they want and what they know is right and even possible. Quiet, impossible feelings spring up between people despite themselves. It's not a naughty affair, but a tragic affection expressed through a song on the piano, a look at a ring, blanched faces, or a startle when the real world reinserts itself into a quiet moment on the lawn.


Suite Française feels defined almost as much by what is included as by what is not. Hitler is not mentioned at all until very near the end. Jews and concentration camps aren't mentioned at all. This feels very strange if you do not read the appendix that is included with Némirovski's diary entries about the book. I have often skipped afterwords and appendices in recent years, but since this novel was so conspicuously unfinished I decided to read them. Now I wonder at what more this book could have become. Némirovski kept the horrors to the margins while she told us when it must have seem that way to citizens. She invites us to feel as conflicted as many may have felt at the time — and from her notes it appears she too was sympathetic to individual soldiers — before dropping hard truths in the next sections. The reality of the Nazi rule would intrude disastrously on our protagonists and they would find themselves colliding in different ways, trying to survive the new, even more insidious threat of occupation. The final two sections of the novel she never even outlined; they would depend on the outcome of the war.


Unfortunately, Némirovski, and her story, in Auschwitz on August 17, 1942. What remains is written with a rare heart and clarity, untainted by nostalgia, parades, or narratives of heroes and villains. It's a story of ordinary people living in turbulent, dangerous times, and Suite Française is especially charming, and haunting, for that reason. 

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text 2017-06-28 13:05
Blog Tour: More than a Soldier by Irene Onorato with Excerpt and Giveaway
 Today’s stop is for Irene Onorato’s More than a Soldier. We will have info about the book and author, and a great excerpt from the book, plus a great giveaway. Make sure to check everything out and enter the giveaway.
Happy Reading  :) 
There’s more than one way to be a hero . . .
Former Special Forces soldier Hank Fleming is living a safe, quiet life in upstate New York, but there are days he isn’t sure he’s going to make it. The sole survivor of a devastating grenade attack in Afghanistan, he is still scarred, physically and emotionally. He hangs on to his faith and tries to keep moving forward, waiting for the day that something—or someone—can make him feel whole again.
Cindy Giordano is searching too—for her biological family and a fresh start. When her journey to find her brother, Edward, leads to Hank’s front door, she is instantly drawn to Hank . . . and instantly wary. With her ex-fiancé’s betrayal still fresh in her mind, friendship is about all she can muster.
When shadows from Cindy’s past threaten, Hank’s protective instincts shift into high gear, and he realizes everyone has their own battles to fight. But the road to healing would be much sweeter with the right person by his side . . .
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Cindy Giordano hurried across the parking lot, threw open the door to Wallis and Jameson Architectural Designs, and stepped inside. A glance at the wall clock brought a sigh of relief. Even with traffic nearly gridlocked, she’d managed to arrive at work a few minutes early. The receptionist didn’t return her smile. “Good morning, Chloe. I thought I’d be late for sure. A tractor trailer was overturned on Parkview and—” The usually cheerful and perky Chloe sat chewing her bottom lip, and worry lines creased the area between her brows. She strangled a No. 2 pencil with a nervous twisting motion as she rose to her feet. “Is something wrong?” “Ricky said to send you to his office as soon as you got here.” Next to Chloe’s desk, a corridor passed through cubicle city to the far wall where the passageway split into a T. The table that held the coffee urn, stacks of Styrofoam cups, and fixings stood strangely silent. A man peeked over a white partition in her direction but turtled his head back into concealment when their gazes met. “What’s going on? Why is it so quiet back there?” Chloe’s pencil snapped in half with a pop. She flinched. “You’d better go see Ricky.” “Okay, I’ll do that now.” Rick Jameson’s door stood slightly ajar. Cindy gave a light rap with her knuckle and pushed it open more. “You wanted to see me?” “Yes, please come in, close the door, and have a seat.” He motioned to a leather armchair. Cindy sat with hands folded atop her purse. “What’s up, Ricky? Why the hangdog look, and why’s everyone so quiet this morning? It’s like a tomb out there in the cubes.” The boss ran a hand over his salt and pepper hair. “There’s no decent way to segue into this, so I’ll just come out with it. You’re a good kid, and I like you. But, I’ve got to cut back on staff, and I’m going to have to let you go. Sorry, kiddo.” “Have I done something wrong?” “This has nothing to do with your performance. I couldn’t be more pleased. We’re in a bit of a slump and not making enough money right now. We decided to lay off the person with the least seniority. Unfortunately, that happens to be you. Let me know if you need a reference for your next job.” He slid an envelope across the table. Cindy picked it up. “What’s this?” “It’s your final paycheck and a little something extra to let you know how sorry I am.” She tucked the envelope into her purse, stood and extended an arm across the desk. Sadness filled her boss’s eyes as he cupped her hand between his. “Thanks for giving me a job, Ricky. It’s been nice working for you. You’re a good man.” His lips lifted into a frail smile. “Right now, I don’t feel like such a good guy.” “Well, you are.” Cindy went to the door, opened it and looked back before stepping through. “Take care.” 
Irene Onorato was born and raised in Bronx, New York. Her father, a first-generation American whose parents were born in Italy, was an Army veteran who had served with the 178th combat engineers during WWII. He told numerous stories of battles, hardships, tragedies and triumphs. The glimpses he gave into the hearts of many American warriors would later become the inspiration for much of Irene’s writings.
In 1972, a few months after graduating high school, Irene met James Onorato, a soldier who had just returned from Vietnam. After dating two weeks, they married, raised three children, and are still happily married today.
Irene and James, both radiation protection technicians, retired from the nuclear power industry in 2014 and now reside in Louisiana. Readers can visit Irene’s website at ireneonorato.com, and find her on Facebook.
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Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and giveaways!
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review 2017-06-04 18:05
A Feisty Female in Trouble!
Pop-Out Girl - Irene Woodbury

Pop-Out Girl will appeal to fans of women's fiction who look for stories of feisty females in difficult situations and provides the realistic story of a couple challenged when an ex-boyfriend leaves prison and begins stalking them. Jealousy and its dangerous course is one of the primary themes of the story as Jen and Colton face a dangerous convict who still has the idea that Jen is his girlfriend, despite obvious indicators otherwise - and who has no intention of letting her go.


As violent encounters escalate and drag innocents into Zane's quest to regain his position in Jen's life, Jen faces difficult decisions that test her resolve, her future, and her inclination to view the world through the eyes of an optimistic romantic. 


Jen's career, also shelved, was serving as a 'pop-out girl': one who emerges from giant cakes to then sing, dance, and provide a stripper show for special events. This theme - of emergence, daring, and putting on a display - pops up through the story, which foregoes a slow build-up in favor of a vivid kidnapping scene and just keeps escalating from there.


Jen's perspective isn't the only focus to this story: Jen's mother Brandi, who is a cocktail waitress, faces the fact that her first love from long ago, Jen's father, has also inadvertently become part of Zane's dangerous spree, and her involvement and perspective are also developed as one of the strong threads connecting family and love.

From how Jen squeezed a romance with Colton into her busy career as a pop-up girl to the terrors of being stalked by a relentless ex with murderous intentions on his mind, Pop-Out Girl excels in interconnected subplots and in capturing a winning background filled with the glitz and glamour of its Vegas setting.


There were a few lapses in punctuation, for example, a period left off the end of a sentence ending with quotation marks. But these instances do not detract from the overall plot.


Women who look for realistic, powerful stories of love and survival, jealousy and confrontation, and change will find Pop-Out Girl a winning leisure choice that probes troubled relationships, alienation, and the long and rocky path to home.

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review 2017-04-13 17:41
Meisterliches Werk mit über 350 Rezepten und beeindruckenden Fotos im fantastischen Layout
Die Kraft der Kräuter nutzen. 350 Rezepte und Tipps für Wohlbefinden, Schönheit, Küche, Haus und Garten - Irene Hager,Alice Hönigschmid,Astrid Schönweger


Pünktlich zu Ostern und zum Frühlingsanfang möchte ich Euch ein ganz besonderes Buch vorstellen. Es ist nicht nur eine einfache Rezeptesammlung, es ist ein bombastisches Werk rund um Kräuter!

Es ist die lang versprochene Fortsetzung des großartigen Werkes » "Südtiroler Kräuterfrauen" der gleichen Autorinnen.

Das Buch gibt es in zwei Versionen, hat aber exakt den gleichen Inhalt. Ich habe die Version "Die Kraft der Kräuter nutzen", welches im Löwenzahn in der Studienverlag GmbH erschienen ist. Das gleiche Buch gibt es im Südtiroler Athesia/Tappeiner Verlag. Dort lautet der Titel "Die Kraft der Südtiroler Kräuter nutzen".

Auf dem Cover sieht man ein Foto eines angenehmen Durcheinanders von Kräutern, Tigeln und Beeren. Der Titel ist in einer einfachen Sans-Serifen gesetzt bei der die Wörtern Kraft und Kräutern durch fette Schriftzeichen und Glanzlack akzentuiert werden.

Buch-Layout / Haptik:
Das Buch ist nicht nur eine einfache Sammlung, es ist ein dickes Werk mit über 455 Seiten! Der Rücken ist mit Leinen gebunden und verleiht dem Ganzen eine edle Haptik, die durch ein weinrotes Lesebändchen ergänzt wird. Es ist richtig schwer: knappe 2 Kilo wiegt es! Aber auf den Inhalt kommt es an - und der hat es neben der Dicke und dem Gewicht ebenfalls in sich!

Jedes Rezept wird mit mindestens einem Foto begleitet. Markante Seitentitel führen ein Rezept ein. Seitlich in einer übersichtlichen Marginalspalte werden die Zutaten aufgelistet. In abgesetzten Infoboxen mit dekorativen Illustrationen kann man sofort Wissenswertes zu dem Rezept oder Kraut ablesen. Die Zubereitung wird in ordentlichen Absätzen und in klaren Sätzen angeleitet. Alles in allem ist das Layout und der Schriftsatz absolut durchdacht und aufgeräumt. Alles stimmt, die eingesetzte Schrift ist angenehmen zu lesen und durch die verschiedenen Elemente wirkt die Seite aufgeräumt.

Der Inhalt:
Das Buch hat einen wahnsinnig komplexen Inhalt. Ohne Inhaltsangabe am Anfang wäre man wohl aufgeschmissen. Auf die einzelnen kleineren Abschnitte einzugehen, würde hier den Rahmen sprengen. Deswegen führe ich nur die vier großen Bereiche auf:

Alles rund um Kräuter als Mittel für die Hausapotheke wie z.B.: Käutertees, aber auch Sirupe & Honige, Kräuter-Zuckerln, Tinkturen und Schnäpse, Salben, Cremes und und und.

Produkte für Körper- und Schönheitspflege wie z.B.: Haut- und Haarpflegeprodukte, Badezusätze, Deodorants etc.

Das größte Kapitel geht natürlich über Kräuter in der Küche. Angefangen bei Durstlöschern und Getränken, sowie Sirupe und Brote. Selbstverständlich Pestos, Aufstriche und Dips, Suppen. Aber auch ganze Gerichte mit Kräutern als Hauptzutat oder Kräuter als Würzbeilage. Natürlich darf auch der süße Gaumen nicht fehlen mit Marmeladen und Chutneys.

Im Haus und Garten gibt es Rezepte mit Kräutern als Duftspender, Raumsprays, zum Räuchern und Putzen und als Gartenhilfsmittel.

Es ist wirklich alles dabei und so umfangreich. Hier konnte ich wirklich nur einen kleinen Abriss vom ganzen Inhalt wiedergeben.

Zunächst aber wird das Buch nach der Inhaltsangabe mit begleitenden Worten der Autorinnen eingeleitet, in dem sie die vier großen Bereiche erläutern, die Herkunft der gesammelten Rezepte erklären und dem Leser Informationen zur bestmöglichen Nutzung des Buches geben.

Jeder Bereich wird mit einer ausführlichen Einführung eingeleitet und bebildert. Und jeder Unterbereich selber erhält mindestens einführende Worte.

Nach dem riesengroßen Rezeptteil gibt es noch mal eine sehr schöne Auflistung der Kräuterfrauen, von denen die Rezepte stammen.

Ein umfangreiches Quellenverzeichnis, Glossar, und Kräuterregister runden das perfekte Gesamtbild des Buches ab. 

Die Fotos:
Wirklich jede Seite hat mindestens ein Foto. Alle Fotos wurden von Alice Hönigschmid geschossen und in das Layout gebracht. Es ist wahrlich eine Meisterleistung, über 1000 (!) Fotos zunächst erst mal zu erstellen und diese dann auch noch anzupassen. Technisch sind die Fotos einwandfrei, fügen sich auf jeder Seite fantastisch ein und unterstreichen diese. 

Meine Meinung:
Wow, was für ein Buch, was für ein Werk! Es macht Lust in diesem Buch zu blättern und sofort in seinen Garten zu stürmen oder lässt einem das Wasser im Mund laufen. Jede Seite ist so liebevoll gestaltet und wird perfekt durch die ganzen Informationen und Fotos ergänzt. Die vielen zusätzlichen Informationen geben noch weiteres Hintergrundwissen ohne aber zu tief in die Thematik abzudriften. Denn das wäre tatsächlich zu viel für dieses Buch und es gibt schon sehr viele ausführliche Sammlungen, die sich nur mit der Wirkung von Kräutern beschäftigen.

Man darf es allerdings auch nicht mit einem einfachen Büchlein für Hausmittelchen für einfache Wehwechen verwechseln! Vielmehr soll es dazu anregen sich intensiver mit Kräutern und deren möglichen Verwendung zu beschäftigen. Es gibt auch mehr Raum für ausgefallenere Kräuter, die nicht in der üblichen Hausapotheke vorhanden sind - aber vielleicht im heimischen Garten.

Die Rezepte sind alle durchgehend einfach gehalten und für jeden schnell und problemlos nachzumachen, sofern man die Kräuter auch vorrätig und greifbar hat. Die Anleitungen sind ohne kompliziertem Schnick-Schnack klar und deutlich formuliert, dafür aber in der Gesamtheit so vielfältig.

Fazit: Ein absolutes Must-Have für jeden Kräuterliebhaber und Kräuterkenner, der sich insbesondere mit der Verwendung für Kräuter auseinandersetzen möchte. Es regt definitiv an selber mehr auf Kräuter zu achten und in der Küche wieder vermehrt einzusetzen.

Es gibt sonst kein Werk mit so vielen, vielfältigen Rezepten und hübschen Fotos. Es ist in seiner Art einmalig und einzigartig!
Cover: ★★★★★ (5 von 5)
Buchlayout / Haptik: ★★★★★  (5 von 5)
Inhalt / Umfang: ★★★★★  (5 von 5)
Fotos: ★★★★★  (5 von 5)
Machbarkeit der Rezepte: ★★★★☆  (4 von 5)
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