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review 2017-08-28 02:37
Heavy Timber Structures by Anthony F. Zaya and Tim Diener
Heavy Timber Structures: Creating Comfort in Public Spaces - Anthony F. Zaya,Tim Diener

This stunning book of photos is from the Lancaster Co. Timber Frames Inc. It is a small compilation of some of their projects over the years.  The Lancaster Co Timber Farms build amazing wooden buildings from churches to historical reconstructions.  The pictures in the books show the different buildings they have had a hand in. Along with the finished pictures you get what I will call a blueprint of the wood they placed or used in building the structures.  There are also pictures of the construction. It is a very interesting book to look at and read.  The reading part is very short, so it only takes a couple of hours to get through the book. 

 

I received this book from the Author or Publisher via Netgalley.com to read and review.

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review 2017-08-15 11:07
Lieber der Teufel, den man kennt
Circus of the Damned - Laurell K. Hamilton

Die „Anita Blake“-Reihe ist der umfangreichste Mehrteiler, den ich kenne. Laurell K. Hamilton schreibt seit 24 Jahren daran. Im Schnitt erscheint jedes Jahr ein neuer Band. Mittlerweile besteht die Hauptreihe aus 25 Bänden, Nummer 26 befindet sich aktuell im Lektorat und soll 2018 erscheinen. Rechnet man die Kurzgeschichten hinzu, bewegen wir uns steil auf ein Gesamtwerk von 30 Bänden zu. Ich weiß ehrlich nicht, wie Hamilton das macht. Hat sie denn nie genug von Anita? Ich liebe Anita sehr, aber ich kann mir nicht vorstellen, mich ein Vierteljahrhundert lang ständig mit ihr zu beschäftigen. Glücklicherweise muss ich das auch nicht, sondern kann sie besuchen, wann immer mir danach ist.

 

Eine blutleere Leiche im Morgengrauen zu untersuchen, gehört nicht gerade zu Anita Blakes bevorzugten Arten, einen neuen Tag zu beginnen. Die Bissspuren am Körper des Toten deuten darauf hin, dass dieser das Opfer von fünf Vampiren wurde: ein Meister und seine Gefolgschaft. Hält sich ein neuer Meister in St. Louis auf, weiß der Meister der Stadt darüber Bescheid. Anita muss mit Jean-Claude sprechen, obwohl sie sich lieber den rechten Arm abhacken würde, als ihn aufzusuchen, seit sie von seinem Plan weiß, sie zu seiner menschlichen Dienerin zu machen. Sie ist die einzige, die Informationen aus ihm herauskitzeln kann, um weitere Morde zu verhindern. Keinesfalls darf er den Gewissenskonflikt bemerken, der in ihr tobt. Denn nur Stunden zuvor wurde sie bedrängt, Jean-Claudes Identität und Schlafplatz einer radikalen Anti-Vampir-Bewegung preiszugeben. Sie weigerte sich, doch die Zweifel nagen an ihr. Ohne Jean-Claude wäre sie frei. Kann sie es verantworten, ihn aus persönlichen Gründen ans Messer zu liefern?

 

Viele Leser_innen waren von „Circus of the Damned“ enttäuscht. Das wird deutlich, liest man die Rezensionen auf Goodreads. Ich kann die Kritik verstehen, bin allerdings anderer Meinung. Ich halte diesen dritten Band für extrem wichtig hinsichtlich der Etablierung und Ausarbeitung des Universums. Nachdem Laurell K. Hamilton im letzten Band „The Laughing Corpse“ einen Ausflug in Anitas Fachgebiet, die Totenerweckung, wagte, stehen in „Circus of the Damned“ nun wieder die Vampire im Vordergrund. Ein unbekannter Meister mordet sich munter durch St. Louis‘ Straßen. Die Blutspur, die er hinterlässt, ist eine direkte Beleidigung und Herausforderung für den Meister der Stadt. Es obliegt Jean-Claude, ihn zu stoppen und seine Position zu verteidigen. Laurell K. Hamilton nutzt das Eindringen des neuen Meisters in Jean-Claudes Revier demzufolge geschickt, um die Hierarchie und Strukturen der Vampirgemeinschaft zu verdeutlichen. An Anitas Seite lernen die Leser_innen, dass unter den Blutsaugern ein permanenter Machtkampf wütet und Jean-Claude noch ein vergleichsweise kleines Übel ist. Oh, es könnte viel, viel schlimmer sein. Leider ist er weder der älteste, noch der mächtigste Vampir, der unter dem Nachthimmel dahinschreitet, weshalb sein Status ständig in Frage gestellt wird. Er kann sich nur aus einem einzigen Grund an der Spitze halten: er ist ein verdammt cleverer Mistkerl. Er weiß, wie er sich vorteilhaft in Szene setzt, was die gewiefte, medienwirksame Vermarktung der Übernatürlichen in St. Louis beweist und wählt seine Allianzen sorgsam. Deshalb will er Anita als menschliche Dienerin. Natürlich verhält er sich unerträglich aufdringlich, bevormundend und besitzergreifend, aber ich muss zugeben, dass ich mich hin und wieder bei dem Gedanken erwischte, dass eine Verbindung zu ihm vielleicht nicht das Schlechteste für Anita wäre. Selbst sie erkennt die Verlockung dieses Angebots. Ihr Geplänkel ist meines Erachtens nach eher darin begründet als in der sexuellen Anziehungskraft, die zwischen ihnen herrscht. Als menschliche Dienerin wäre sie sehr schwer zu töten und einem normalen Menschen in allen Belangen überlegen. Gar nicht so übel, muss man zum Beispiel gegen eine unsterbliche Lamia und ihren Meister, einen Millionen Jahre alten Vampir, antreten. Ich fand nicht, dass dieser unvorstellbar alte Vampir nicht beängstigend genug ist, was von einigen Leser_innen bemängelt wurde. Meiner Ansicht nach sind seine scheinbare Passivität und seine indirekten Manipulationen vollkommen plausibel. Er ist ein Puppenspieler, kein Frontsoldat und dadurch umso bedrohlicher.
Anita begegnet in „Circus of the Damned“ jedoch nicht nur neuen Bösewichten, sondern auch neuen Gefährten. Außer ihrem neuen Kollegen Larry, den sie mehr schlecht als recht ausbildet, trifft sie eine der wichtigsten Figuren der ganzen Reihe: Richard Zeeman. Ich hatte fast vergessen, was für ein interessanter, witziger, schlagfertiger und charmanter Mann Richard anfangs war. Es knisterte herrlich zwischen ihnen. Unglücklicherweise weiß ich, dass es so nicht bleiben wird. Aber das ist eine Geschichte für einen anderen Tag.

 

All die Kritikpunkte, die andere Leser_innen an „Circus of the Damned“ stören, empfinde ich als Stärken dieses dritten Bandes. Das Tauziehen zwischen Anita und Jean-Claude ist wichtig für die Entwicklung ihrer Beziehung und die Vorstellung eines Feindes, der so mächtig ist, dass er Anita zum Narren hält und nicht einmal mehr selbst in Erscheinung treten muss, um seine Pläne zu verwirklichen, hebt die Geschichte auf ein neues Level. Er ist älter, kultivierter und anpassungsfähiger, ein Vampir 2.0 und eine Vision dessen, was Jean-Claude eines Tages werden könnte. Ich finde das wahnsinnig aufregend und bewundere Laurell K. Hamilton für die weitsichtigen Perspektiven, die sie in „Circus of the Damned“ beleuchtet. Natürlich eröffnet mir der Reread andere Betrachtungsweisen und vielleicht weiß ich deshalb zu schätzen, was andere verteufeln. Woran auch immer es liegt, ich hatte viel Spaß mit diesem actionreichen, rasanten dritten Band und ich freue mich auf die Fortsetzung „The Lunatic Cafe“. Schließlich weiß ich, dass es jetzt erst so richtig interessant wird.

Source: wortmagieblog.wordpress.com/2017/08/15/laurell-k-hamilton-circus-of-the-damned
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text 2017-02-14 18:52
A Dangerous Madness by Michelle Diener Free!
A Dangerous Madness - Michelle Diener

The Duke of Wittaker has been living a lie...

He’s been spying on the dissolute, discontented noblemen of the ton, pretending to share their views. Now he’s ready to step out of the shadows and start living a real life...but when the prime minister of England is assassinated, he's asked to go back to being the rake-hell duke everyone still believes he is to find out more.

Miss Phoebe Hillier has been living a lie, too...

All her life she's played the game, hiding her fierce intelligence and love of life behind a docile and decorous mask. All it's gotten her is jilted by her betrothed, a man she thought a fool, but a harmless one. But when she discovers her former fiancé was involved in the plot against the prime minister, and that he's been murdered, she realizes he wasn't so harmless after all.

And now the killers have set their sights on her...

The only man who can help her is the Duke of Wittaker--a man she knows she shouldn't trust. And she soon realizes he's hiding behind a mask as careful as her own. As the assassin steadfastly vows he acted alone, and as the clock ticks down to his trial, the pair scramble to uncover the real conspiracy. And as the pressure and the danger mounts, Phoebe and Wittaker shed their disguises, layer by layer, to discover something more precious than either imagined–something that could last forever. Unless the conspirators desperate to hide their tracks get to them first.

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review 2017-01-23 00:00
Dark Horse
Dark Horse - Michelle Diener The first time I read this, I stayed up until 3am before accepting that I needed to stop reading and actually get some sleep.

The second time around, I stayed up until 6am before crashing and spent most of the morning drooling on my Kindle and dreaming about being an AI in outerspace. Woke up and immediately finished reading.

I FUCKING LOVE THIS BOOK.

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text 2017-01-20 17:34
Cat's Best Romance Reads of 2016
Moonshadow - Thea Harrison
First Step Forward (The Grand Valley Series Book 1) - Liora Blake
Her Naughty Holiday (Men at Work) - Tiffany Reisz
Beard Science (Winston Brothers Book 3) (Volume 3) - Penny Reid
Bittersweet (True North Book 1) - Sarina Bowen
Dark Deeds (Class 5 Series Book 2) - Michelle Diener
The Wall of Winnipeg and Me - Mariana Zapata
The Bird and the Sword - Amy Harmon
A Promise of Fire - Amanda Bouchet
Fall (Hold Book 3) - Claire Kent

I had a great reading year with so many 5 Star reads.  And I needed it with so much going wrong. Here is a little sweet to ease the sour of this day. 

 

Here are my best Romance Reads of 2016 (published in 2016) in no particular order.. 

 

1. Dark Deeds by Michelle Diener Excellent Science Fiction Romance. 

 

Rescue might just be the death of her.

Far from home . . .
Fiona Russell has been snatched from Earth, imprisoned and used as slave labor, but nothing about her abduction makes sense. When she's rescued by the Grih, she realizes there's a much bigger game in play than she could ever have imagined, and she's right in the middle of it.

Far from safe . . .
Battleship captain Hal Vakeri is chasing down pirates when he stumbles across a woman abducted from Earth. She's the second one the Grih have found in two months, and her presence is potentially explosive in the Grih's ongoing negotiations with their enemies, the Tecran. The Tecran and the Grih are on the cusp of war, and Fiona might just tip the balance.

Far from done . . .
Fiona has had to bide her time while she's been a prisoner, pretending to be less than she is, but when the chance comes for her to forge her own destiny in the new world she's found herself in, she grabs it with both hands. After all, actions speak louder than words.

 

2. The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata Watching them fall in love is the best slow burn. 

 

Vanessa Mazur knows she's doing the right thing. She shouldn't feel bad for quitting. Being an assistant/housekeeper/fairy godmother to the top defensive end in the National Football Organization was always supposed to be temporary. She has plans and none of them include washing extra-large underwear longer than necessary.

But when Aiden Graves shows up at her door wanting her to come back, she's beyond shocked.

For two years, the man known as The Wall of Winnipeg couldn't find it in him to tell her good morning or congratulate her on her birthday. Now? He's asking for the unthinkable.

What do you say to the man who is used to getting everything he wants?

 

3.The Bird and the Sword by Amy Harmon Excellent magic world building. 

 

Swallow, daughter, pull them in, those words that sit upon your lips. Lock them deep inside your soul, hide them ‘til they’ve time to grow. Close your mouth upon the power, curse not, cure not, ‘til the hour. You won’t speak and you won’t tell, you won’t call on heaven or hell. You will learn and you will thrive. Silence, daughter. Stay alive.


The day my mother was killed, she told my father I wouldn’t speak again, and she told him if I died, he would die too. Then she predicted the king would sell his soul and lose his son to the sky.
My father has a claim to the throne, and he is waiting in the shadows for all of my mother’s words to come to pass. He wants desperately to be king, and I just want to be free.


But freedom will require escape, and I’m a prisoner of my mother’s curse and my father’s greed. I can’t speak or make a sound, and I can’t wield a sword or beguile a king. In a land purged of enchantment, love might be the only magic left, and who could ever love . . . a bird?

 

4. A Promise of Fire  by Amanda Bouchet A great adventure romance with magic! 

 

Catalia "Cat" Fisa lives disguised as a soothsayer in a traveling circus. She is perfectly content avoiding the danger and destiny the Gods-and her homicidal mother-have saddled her with. That is, until Griffin, an ambitious warlord from the magic-deprived south, fixes her with his steely gaze and upsets her illusion of safety forever.

 

Griffin knows Cat is the Kingmaker, the woman who divines the truth through lies. He wants her as a powerful weapon for his newly conquered realm-until he realizes he wants her for much more than her magic. Cat fights him at every turn, but Griffin's fairness, loyalty, and smoldering advances make him increasingly hard to resist and leave her wondering if life really does have to be short, and lived alone

 

5. Let It Shine by Alyssa Cole  Perfect. Loved every moment. 5 Stars.

 

Sofronia Wallis knows that proper Black women don’t court trouble by upending the status quo, but it’s 1961 and the Civil Rights movement is in full swing. Sofie’s spent half her life being prim, proper, and reserved—as if that could bring her mother back—but the nonviolent protests happening across the South bring out her inner agitator.

Ivan Friedman has devoted his life to boxing, loving the finesse of a well-delivered punch and the penance of receiving one. His family escaped from Europe before the horrors of WWII, and Ivan decides to help fight injustice in their new country, even if it goes against all his instincts as a fighter.

When Ivan and Sofie meet, they realize that their pasts are intertwined and—with the sparks that fly between them—perhaps their futures will be too. With everything in their society lined up against them, will Sofie and Ivan be able to beat the odds? Or will their chance at love be destroyed by the tumultuous times they live in?

 

6. Bittersweet by Sarina Bowen A great second chance romance.  5 Stars.

 

The last person Griffin Shipley expects to find stuck in a ditch on his Vermont country road is his ex-hookup. Five years ago they’d shared a couple of steamy nights together. But that was a lifetime ago.

At twenty-seven, Griff is now the accidental patriarch of his family farm. Even his enormous shoulders feel the strain of supporting his mother, three siblings and a dotty grandfather. He doesn’t have time for the sorority girl who’s shown up expecting to buy his harvest at half price.

Vermont was never in Audrey Kidder’s travel plans. Neither was Griff Shipley. But she needs a second chance with the restaurant conglomerate employing her. Okay—a fifth chance. And no self-righteous lumbersexual farmer will stand in her way.

They’re adversaries. They want entirely different things from life. Too bad their sexual chemistry is as hot as Audrey’s top secret enchilada sauce, and then some.

 
 

 

7. Beard Science by Penny Reid A delight in every way. I would marry Cletus. No joke but I love Jennifer. 5 Stars!

 

Make a deal with the devil and you might get what you want, but will it be what you need?

Jennifer Sylvester wants one thing, and that one thing is NOT to be Tennessee’s reigning Banana Cake Queen. Ever the perpetual good girl and obedient daughter, Jennifer is buckling under the weight of her social media celebrity, her mother’s ambitions, and her father’s puritanical mandates. Jennifer is officially desperate.

And desperate times call for Cletus Winston.

Cletus Winston is a puzzle wrapped in a mystery covered in conundrum sauce, and now he’s in a pickle. Despite being convinced of his own omniscience, extortion by the exalted Banana Cake Queen of Green Valley has taken him completely by surprise. So... what’s a maniacal mastermind to do?

Likely, the last thing you expect.

 

8. Her Naughty Holiday by Tiffany Reisz The perfect morsel of a book. 5 Stars.

 

Clover Greene would sooner crawl into her oven than host family for Thanksgiving dinner. Yet another annual ritual of too much food, served with a side of criticism over "Clover's Bad Life Choices." This year, she needs to distract them all—with a handsome fake boyfriend. And she has the perfect guy in mind. 

 

Contractor Erick Fields is the poster boy for sexy single dads, and Clover has been secretly crushing on him for ages. She certainly wasn't expecting Erick to agree to her insane charade…or to add lots of hot, wicked sex to the deal. If they can pull it off, the worst Thanksgiving ever might give them something to be really thankful for!

 
 


9. First Step Forward by Liora Blake Opposites Attract doesn't get better than this. 5 Stars. 

 

Pro-football player Cooper Lowry is off the field and into some trouble—in the form of a very alluring, very free-spirited apple orchard owner named Whitney Reed—in the first installment in Liora Blake’s all new Grand Valley series.

After eight seasons playing pro-football, Cooper Lowry knows all the right answers.

Is he stubborn, short-tempered, and impatient? Yes. Are jersey chasers more trouble than they’re worth? Absolutely. Has he ever imagined a life beyond the game? Nope.

Cooper has built an enviable career—the result of staying focused, working hard, and keeping his head on straight—even as his body takes the brunt. So when a hard hit during a Sunday home game leaves him in a dazed heap on the field, it’s nothing more than another day at the office. The only thing that’s different about this Sunday is a chance encounter with a certain fascinating, beautiful free-spirited woman. And some sternly-worded instructions from his coach to take a little time off and give his body the TLC it craves—before he does lasting damage.

Whitney Reed is a few months away from losing the organic fruit orchard she bought three years ago in the tiny town of Hotchkiss, Colorado. At the time, she was just looking for a place to get lost. Instead, she found a home, somewhere she could finally put down roots. Now foreclosure is knocking on her door—along with a grumpy, gorgeous football player who might be just what she never knew she needed.

 

10. Moonshadow by Thea Harrison An amazing heroine! 5 Stars! 

 

Her past is a blank, her future uncertain….

Recovering from a shooting, LAPD witch consultant Sophie Ross leaves her job and travels to the U.K. to search for answers about her childhood. When she encounters a Daoine Sidhe knight of the Dark Court, she becomes entangled in an ancient hatred between two arcane forces.

He has given his body and soul to fight for his people….

Barred from his homeland along with his surviving brother knights, Nikolas Sevigny is embroiled in a conflict that threatens everything he holds dear. Only by uniting his people’s resources can they hope to prevail against Isabeau, the deadly Queen of the Light Court. He will do anything and use anyone to return home to Lyonesse.

When Nikolas encounters Sophie, he sees a tool to be used. The insouciant witch might be the key to unlocking every passageway that has been barred to the knights of the Dark Court, even as a fascination for her takes root in what’s left of his soul.

Sophie has no intention of becoming anyone’s pawn, yet the fierce Nikolas is so compelling, she can’t deny the temptation that endangers her guarded heart.

As magic threatens Lyonesse, Queen Isabeau unleashes her merciless Hounds, and Nikolas and Sophie become embroiled in a race for survival. Meanwhile, the passion that ignites between them burns too hot to be denied and quickly turns into obsession.

Thank goodness they both know better than to fall in love…

 

 

Honorable Mentions! 

 

1. Wait for It by Mariana Zapata

2. Hail Mary by Nicola Rendell

3. Fall by Claire Kent

4. Hold Me by Courtney Milan

5. Mercy by Catherine Miller

 

What were your favorite reads of the year? 

 

 

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