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review 2018-10-16 00:28
My review of How the Dukes Stole Christmas by Tessa Dare, Sarah MacLean, Sophie Jordan & Joanna Shupe
How the Dukes Stole Christmas: A Holiday Romance Anthology - Sarah MacLean,Tessa Dare,Joanna Shupe,sophie jordan

How the Dukes Stole Christmas: A Holiday Romance Anthology - Sarah MacLean,Tessa Dare,Joanna Shupe,sophie jordan 

 

For starters, DUKES! I don’t care how many make-believe dukes have been created, I’ll read them for as long as they keep writing them. Secondly, Christmas! I’ll admit that I prefer to read dark, scary, paranormal stories during the month of October, but c’mon, who can say no to Christmas stories, specially when they are written by some of your favorite authors and they all come together in one pretty package!
And that actually brings me to say that thirdly, it’s freaking Tessa Dare, Sarah MacLean, Sophie Jordan, and Joanna Shupe, what?! If you haven’t read books by them then let me tell you, you are missing out on some serious awesomeness. And in case you haven’t noticed, I’m a super fan of all of these ladies so forgive me if I gush too much.

 

Tessa Dare’s Meet Me in Mayfair was clever, funny, and oh, so romantic. It probably is one of the most charming and memorable “date” nights I have ever read.

Sarah MacLean’s The Duke of Christmas Present is a second-chance love story. There were some serious tug-at-your-heart scenes, specially when the heroine returns “home.” It was kind of hard for me to understand the reasoning behind both the hero and heroine’s actions but once I got to the end, everything made complete sense.

 

Sophie Jordan’s Heiress Alone was another great example of how chemistry between hero and heroine affects a story, even if it’s a short one and even if the romance happens rather quickly.

 

Joanna Shupe’s Christmas in Central Park had me worrying and suffering along with the poor heroine, and had me wanting to slap the hero upside the head for acting like a spoiled brat that just had to have his way. Their love story may had been full of funny and cringe-worthy moments but the way their forgive and reach their HEA made it all worth it.

 

In short, four different settings, four different kinds of delicious dukes, four great Christmas stories, and one happy reader that recommends this set to all historical romance lovers. Even if Christmas is not your cup of tea, the romance alone make this a perfect read. 4.5 stars.

 

*I received this book at no cost to me and I volunteered to read it; this is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher**

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review 2018-09-30 16:33
England's Lane - Emma Woolf

As advertised, "ENGLAND'S LANE" is a modern love story, with London by and large figuring prominently as the backdrop. The reader is witness to an affair and its effects on all persons involved. The novel also showcases the highs and lows of love, loss, betrayal, the bonds of family and friendship --- as well as redemption and love rediscovered. I'm glad I took the journey.

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review 2018-09-30 14:48
Cambridge by Susanna Kaysen
Cambridge - Susanna Kaysen

London, Florence, Athens: Susanna, a precocious young girl growing up in 1950s Cambridge, would rather be home than in any of these places. Uprooted from the streets around Harvard Square, she feels lost and excluded in all the far-flung cities to which her father’s career takes the family. She always comes home with relief—but soon enough wonders if outsiderness may be her permanent condition. Written with a sharp eye for the pretensions—and charms—of the intellectual classes, Cambridge captures the mores of an era now past, the ordinary lives of extraordinary people in a singular part of America, and the ways we can—and cannot—go home.

Amazon.com

 

 

 

 

Kaysen takes the confusing route and writes a novel featuring a protagonist with the author's name, so keep in mind when reading this -- the Susanna of this story is fictional (but kind of not...wow, I'm not helping here, am I? LOL)

 

At the novel's start, 1950s era fictional Susanna is the precocious, book loving daughter of an economics professor and a former professional pianist. The family relocates often, but wherever they set up home base always seems to be a house full of music, learning, and comedic matchmaking attempts among the house staff. Even young Susanna comments that home life is such a warm and fun environment, she dreads time spent having to attend school. Kaysen offers so many heartwarming interactions within this family, the reader almost begins to feel cheated they're not a member themselves!

 

Even though the child version of our protagonist clearly displays a dreamer's soul early on, full of curiosity about the world, part of her also longs for a stable, established place to call home once and for all. This yearning becomes the basis for her attachment to the college town of Cambridge, Massachusetts. But as she moves beyond childhood into adulthood, she comes to find that even such a town as this with, its picturesque exterior, is not guaranteed to have all the answers her soul craves. 

 

There's no clear-cut, linear progression, per say, to this novel's plot, more like  strung-together episodes of the character's remembrances over a lifetime. What this book does really well is illustrate that sense of nostalgia that people tend to develop when they become increasingly distanced from their memories over the years. Hard disappointments, given enough time, tend to morph into these glowing vignettes that have the older you smirking, "Those were the days."

 

There is something in Susanna (the character) that rings very relatable to many: boredom with school, struggles with math, a love of books. Readers even get a bit of a crash course in Ancient Greek history! There's one section I found especially charming, where little Susanna offers her nine year old perspective on things after her first experiences with reading Greek mythology. 

 

Where the story gets a bit bogged down is in the background minutiae ... great at first, but in some portions of the story the richness turns to overindulgence and ultimately "reader bellyache". Examples: Susanna's teen years -- the description of her first period went on for several pages. Then the environmental details. At first, it's lovely. Especially for any readers enamored with all the best of Massachusetts life: walks around Cambridge parks, vacations on Cape Cod, etc. But after so many pages of it with not much else going on, it can border on tedious. Though this could be argued as a case of reader preferences and what you're in the mood for when you dive into this book. 

 

Cambridge is not the easiest book to explain or class, and it might not be for everyone, but I'd argue there is a definite audience for it. There are for sure some great take away lines I was noting, such as a pessimist being "a disappointed optimist" or the Daria-esque "my long, agonizing apprenticeship in failure had begun." LOL  

 

University town setting, bookish references... a bluestocking's dream! The opening sequence alone -- that first whole page of an artistic deconstruction of the novel's first line -- just screams " word nerds unite!"

 

 

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review 2018-09-06 05:13
Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
Northanger Abbey - Jane Austen,Marilyn Butler,Claire Lamont

This book was lovely, unexpected fun. After reading Mansfield Park and Persuasion in recent years, I concluded that Jane Austen’s work was not for me: their characters seemed bloodless, their heroines prim and infallible, their subject matter a tedious catalogue of the social lives of the independently wealthy. But I may have fallen into the trap of judging an author by her worst works, having read her three most popular books while too immature a reader to judge them. Northanger Abbey, now: this book is just fun, a lively tale of a teenage girl discovering the world outside her town for the first time, falling in with some of the wrong people, having a bit of an adventure, all while the book pokes fun at melodramatic Gothic novels of the period.

Discussion of this book generally seems to revolve around Catherine’s wilder fantasies about Northanger Abbey, the home of some of her new friends, so I was surprised to find that this section is the smaller part of the book – most of which takes place in Bath – and the least convincing. Up to that point, Catherine is portrayed as a sensible if inexperienced girl, raised by an endearingly sensible mother (whose reaction to Catherine’s being sent on a sudden road trip alone by post is “well, that was strange and uncivil behavior on your host’s part, but now you’ve had to rely on yourself and managed, which is good for you"). On arriving at the abbey she abruptly throws common sense to the winds, only to regain it just as rapidly after a talking-to, the gist of which is “be sensible, those terrible things couldn’t happen here in England.”

That said, I enjoyed Catherine as a protagonist; she’s a naïve but appealing teenage girl, capable of standing up for herself and going after what she wants and not intended to be a paragon. The secondary cast is also strong, with believable and incisive characterization despite the book’s relatively short length. And I found Austen’s wit genuinely humorous, particularly enjoying the passages contrasting the characters’ real-life behavior with novelistic expectations. Here, for instance, is Catherine encountering her crush in public:

“He looked as handsome and as lively as ever, and was talking with interest to a fashionable and pleasing-looking young woman, who leant on his arm, and whom Catherine immediately guessed to be his sister; thus unthinkingly throwing away a fair opportunity of considering him lost to her for ever, by being married already.”

This book may be 200 years old, but it sped by for me. Life is an adventure for Catherine, and that energy seems to transmit itself to the pages. Perhaps I should be giving Austen more credit.

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review 2018-08-12 06:37
Die Meistermagier - Die Magier (3) | Charlie N. Holmberg

180811 Meistermagier1

Autorin: Charlie N. HolmbergTitel: Die MeistermagierReihe: Die Magier (3)Übersetzerin: Nadja SchuhmacherGenre: Fantasy, Magie, JugendbuchVerlag: 47North, [02.05.2017]Kindle-Edition: 236 Seiten, ASIN: B06XRFZGHJauch im TB-Format erschienenhier: gelesen auf dem Kindle Paperwhiteklick zu Amazon.de

Inhaltsangabe (Amazon):

Als Magierin in der Ausbildung sehnt Ceony Twill ihre Abschlussprüfung herbei, die sie endlich zum vollwertigen Mitglied der magischen Gemeinschaft machen wird. Denn erst dann kann sie ihrem geliebten Mentor Emery Thane offenbaren, dass sie auch mit Materialien außer ihrem eigenen, dem Papier, arbeiten kann – eine Fähigkeit, die kaum ein anderer Magier besitzt. Doch während Ceony mit Hochdruck für ihre Examen lernt, muss sie erfahren, dass der Mörder Saraj aus dem Gefängnis entkommen ist. Der Verbrecher hat Ceony und ihre Lieben wieder ins Visier genommen und Rache geschworen. Auch ohne die Prüfung abgelegt zu haben, muss die junge Magierin sich Saraj stellen, der die einzige Magie beherrscht, die ihr verwehrt ist. Doch ist Ceony stark genug, um sich dem Bösen entgegenzustellen?

Meine Meinung:

 

Ich bin begeistert, habe das Buch in einem Rutsch durchgelesen und freue mich über die Erfolge, die die beiden Liebenden erzielen konnten, trotz aller Strapazen, Hindernisse und aller Gefahr. Mir gefallen diese Arten von Magie und die Möglichkeiten, die sie bieten, ich mag das komplette Konzept. Zwar hat mich Ceony manchmal etwas genervt, aber ohne ihre Denkweise wäre ihr Leben wohl viel langweiliger verlaufen und das Buch bei weitem nicht so spannend.

 

Für mich zählt die Reihe zu den Jugendbüchern, auch wenn es nicht so aufgeführt ist, aber zum einen geschieht außer ein paar Küssen nichts in dieser Richtung und zum Anderen sind auch die Gruselszenen mit den Verbrechern nicht zu brutal gestaltet. Ceony ist 19, als sie die Lehre zur Papiermagierin beginnt und in ihrem Wesen immer noch kurzentschlossen, ohne über die Folgen nachzudenken. Ein Aspekt der Jugend, vieles unerschrocken auszuprobieren, ohne die Folgen wirklich abzuwägen.

 

Eine der schönsten magischen Reihen, die ich gelesen habe, hat mit diesem Buch seinen Abschluss gefunden. Im Englischen, habe ich gesehen, gibt es dazwischen wohl noch ein oder zwei Bücher, in welchen die anderen Magien neben der Papiermagie und der Glasmagie weiter ausgebaut werden, ob diese wohl auch noch ins Deutsche übersetzt werden?

 

Dieses Buch erhält zum Abschluss die volle Punktzahl, und ich spreche eine Leseempfehlung für die ganze Reihe aus.

 

Zitat:

“Ich weiß nicht, wie ich dich sonst hätte finden sollen. Um Himmels Willen, du bist mir ja sogar an die Haustür geliefert worden.”
Kapitel 19, S. 234/235, bei 100 %


180811 Meistermagier2

 

Bücher der Reihe:

 

1. Der Papiermagier – beendet 01.08.2018 – 09/10 Punkte
2. Der Glasmagier – beendet 10.08.2018 – 09/10 Punkte
3. Die Meistermagier – beendet 11.08.2018 – 10/10 Punkte

 

Die Meistermagier (Die Magier 3) - Charlie N. Holmberg,Nadja Schuhmacher 

Source: sunsys-blog.blogspot.com/2018/08/gelesen-die-meistermagier-charlie-n.html
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