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Inara

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Books can change your life - if only you let them!

I´m Inara (Austria) at Goodreads and decided it wouldn´t hurt to have a back-up booksite - just in case...

Angelfall by Susan Ee

Angelfall  - Susan Ee

When I read all these raving reviews about Susan Ee´s „Angelfall“ I thought „Could it really be THAT good?“ Let me tell you: in my opinion it was!

 

First and foremost – I´m not a YA-reader. I´m way beyond all of these teenage dramas and coming-of-age stories. It´s just not important to me anymore. So why did I start reading a book labelled YA? Out of curiosity, I admit. When I started to read this book it had me in its clutches and never let me go till I turned the last page. We are told the story from Penryn´s POV written in present tense. Admittedly this was a bit unusual for me but after a short time of acclimatization it was coherent and didn´t bother me anymore.

 

Set in a post-apocalyptic world seventeen years old Penryn has to take care of her younger sister with a walking disability and schizophrenic mother who has mood swings between halfway normal and creepily crazy. I really liked Penryn. She had to grow-up fast given her family situation and the situation of the world around her but she still is a young girl who sometimes wishes hard for guidance and care of her mother. When angels abduct her sister she sets out to rescue her with the questionable help of an angel who lost his wings.

 

This post-apocalyptic world is downright scary. There´s no safe place for anyone anymore, angels are set to destroy humanity but the reasons are unclear and nobody is sure why this happended. The angels are really vicious, inhuman and terrifying beautiful and seemingly divided in fractions each with their own agenda. Penryn and Raffe – the wingless angel – form a temporary alliance to help each other to achieve their respective goals and I loved to read the slow building of something that I won´t call a relationship at this early stage but a slowly building kind of attraction for each other. I wouldn´t want it any other way. A story without even a hint of romance is a lost case in my opinion and I´m happy that there is hope (albeit I can see star-crossed lovers coming my way :-) ).

 

On their way to get Penryn´s sister and Raffe´s wings back they have a lot of adventures and get caught in human and angel politics. There is a lot of action and horror. Yes, horror. Again one thing I usually don´t read (I´m a bit sensitive in that department) but I was able to deal because the plot was just too captivating to bother with my hypersensitivity…

 

A fast-paced storyline, likeable characters and a hint of romance what could I ask for more? In my opinion this book deserves a five star rating – I was utterly captivated by Penryn and Raffe and can´t wait to read more what fate (a.k.a. Susan Ee) has in store for them in the future…

I´m back ...

Finally my computer is up and running again and my internet hiatus has come to an end  - I´m soo happy! It´s really not funny to take only a quick look at your emails at the office (let´s not even start talking about writing reviews or making comments). Sitting before your screen is much more relaxing when nobody is peeking over your shoulder what you´re doing...

 

But one good thing did come out of my unintentional internet absence - I had much more time to actually read a book than only to read about a book :-)

 

Some of the books I´ve read was "Angelfall" and the follow-up book "World After" by Susan Ee and let me tell you in advance this books are five sparkling stars in my rating. I did never imagine I would enjoy reading YA-books as much as I did  these two books. I rarely read books in this genre because all these teenage problems are really not my cup of tea anymore, I´m really too old for this kind of behavior teenage protagonists display - or so I thought. But Susan Ee really disabused me about my opinion about YA-books I admit...

I´m still polishing up my review for this book. It takes quite some time for me to write a review in a foreign language.

 

Another book I read was "Echo Prophecy" by Lindsey Fairleigh and this book is one imploded star in my rating. The heroine in this book was about six or seven years older than Penryn in "Angelfall" but in her actions and behavior she seemed to be seven years younger than Penryn. No, I shouldn´t compare this two characters but since I read these books in a row I just have to...

Again still polishing up this review too.

 

At least you know now in advance what reviews to expect soon!

 

In case someone noticed...

…..that I´ve gone MIA for quite a time now. The reason is my computer at home gave up and I´m without one at the moment. But rest assured… I`LL BE BACK  (hopefully next week).

I´m writing this message at my office but I really don´t have the time to read and comment very much because there was (and is) much work with our annual statements und preparations for our Joint Commission Certification.

I feel sooo disconnected from the world…lol.

Angel with Attitude by Michelle Rowen

Angel with Attitude - Michelle Rowen

Sitting on her little cloud and innocently playing her harp (okay, I´m kidding) the angel Valerie Grace is suddenly thrown out of heaven and her fall ends in a killer shark tank at Niagara Falls. Confused about being human and seeing no reason why she was kicked out of heaven Valerie tries to adjust to human life. She finds a job at a motel called "Paradise Inn" and her only wish is to go back to heaven. But life is dangerous for a fallen angel, the "other side" in form of the sexy and handsome Tempter Demon Nathaniel isn´t idle to persuade her to change sides and come to hell out of her free will.

One day she learns that she isn´t the only fallen angel around, that her fellow sufferer was given the Key to Heaven and that it was stolen by the evil demon Julian from him. Valerie decides to get the Key back because with its help she´s sure that she can go back home. To achieve this goal she summons with the help of the witch Claire a demon who should be her guide into the underworld. How big is her surprise when Nathaniel appears who is annoyed about her summoning and his failure so far to tempt her to hell and isn´t really enthusiastic about helping her...

It´s a nice book but nothing special. The characters are likeable, even some demons are not the evil villains they should be e.g. one is a romance-writer (well, what shall we think about that fact??). Nathaniel became a demon by accident and isn´t really a bad guy what makes him a bit whiny about his fate in my opinion. I would have preferred a more "demonic" demon to be forced to help Valerie it would have made the victory of love much more interesting.

There was also a bunch of secondary characters like Reggie the man turned into a rat by his jealous witch girlfriend Claire, Lloyd the romance writing demon (under the pseudonym Trixie L´Amour with his own website!), the evil demon Julian, Lucifer´s son who is seeking to raise in his father´s esteem by stealing and using the Key and some more. I liked the sexual tension between Val and Nathaniel and thankfully the main characters in this book didn´t just fall from one bed into another and there are no detailled sex scenes. So if you wait for a big bedroom scene you will be disappointed.

All in all it is a light and entertaining book to spend a quiet evening with reading but don´t expect too much.

Zaubersprüche by Vicky Gabriel

Zaubersprüche. Magische Kräfte für den Alltag nutzen - Vicky Gabriel

"Spells"

 

Although I´m not someone who is really interested in casting spells I bought this book out of curiosity. The problem with most of the suggested spells in this book is that in no way I´m able to get some of the needed objects mentioned for a certain charm. This seems to be a common problem with many books I´ve read about witchcraft. E.g. for a spell against headache I´d need a horseshoe. Where to get one in a town where cars and buses are the predominant means of transportation and not horse-drawn carriages? See? Maybe my headache would be gone by the time I´d found it but in the meantime I think I´ll stick with aspirin… (and acupressure). Nonetheless this book is quite interesting because of the basic explanations how to create a circle or the author speaks about responsibility when casting a spell and the descriptions of old folk magic (although not very useful in your daily life) is sometimes exhilarating.

The Wolf and the Dove by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss

Wolf And The Dove - Kathleen E. Woodiwiss

This was the first book I ever read by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss and it´s still my most loved one. The story between Aislinn the daughter of a Saxon baron and Wulfgar a Norman and how they came to love each other in a time of war, conquest and upheaval makes me still sighing happily and my eyes suspiciously bright. Wulgar is my epitome of a noble knight, kind and strong, tender and yet a great warrior and I almost fell instantly in love with him at the age of 17 when I read this novel for the first time. This book is in my opinion a "classic" in the medieval romance genre and a balm for my romantic heart.

Acupressure´s Potent Points by Michael Reed Gach

Acupressure's Potent Points: A Guide to Self-Care for Common Ailments - Michael Reed Gach

("Heilende Punkte: Akupressur zur Selbstbehandlung von Krankheiten" - German Edition)

 

Acupressure is an old chinese method of treatment where you use your fingers to stimulate certain points on your skin whereby the self-healing powers of your body are activated. The books starts with general instructions and explains how to use acupressure, its possibilities and limits. The symptoms and disorders are listed alphabetically and the points are described on the basis of photos and graphics sometimes complemented by prophylactic exercises. It´s a very recommendable book for self-treatment but in my opinion the quality of the photos could be better. I think it is a bit difficult to locate the right points although I have no problems with that maybe because I attended several courses about acupressure. Otherwise I´m not so sure I could find them so easily only with the help of a book.

Mond, Tanz, Magie by Luisa Francia

Mond, Tanz, Magie - Luisa Francia

This was the first book I ever read by Luisa Francia. Many have followed since then and I have at the moment fourteen books written by her. I´m sure I will buy some more – Luisa is a very busy writer.

Luisa Francia describes in this book a calendar – a thirteen moon calendar. Up to 13 moon phases has a year and for every moon (full moon or new moon) there is a chapter assigned to a mythologic woman e.g. the twelfth moon – Lilith, the thirteenth moon – Salome. To every moon many interesting information are given about goddesses, legends, herbs, animals and the description of a "moon dance" mostly a dance sometimes a ritual. The first moon is around Samhain and is a new moon dance of the dark and dedicated to the old middle-european goddess Percht (or Freya, Frigg in the nordic mythology) the keeper of souls. Her sacred tree is the elder in which her spirit lives. Even today old customs are alive and many people are reluctant to cut down an elder – nobody hurts this tree unpunished – it brings sorrow and illness to your home. Yes, it´s even said you should bow before this tree when passing by to honor the holy goddess. Well, millenium old customs are hard to wipe out..

This book is really an inspiration for me and you don´t have to follow the instructions exactly. Luisa´s motivation is that every woman should find her own power, magic and history.

It´s a pity that this book is only available in German.

Vegan cooking and living

Vegan. Tut gut – schmeckt gut! - Jérôme Eckmeier

Recently I discovered my fondness for vegan cooking. Not that I´m a 100 % vegan or vegetarian but I noticed I wanted to broaden my horizon with this kind of food. I want to cut back on eating meat because it will help getting my cholesterol level back to normal and I´m just feeling better eating more vegetables and fruits.

 

The recipes in this vegan cookbook are just what I was looking for: easy, with good explanations how to exchange conventional products with vegan alternatives and -  very important for me - not too many exotic ingredients I wouldn´t  know where to buy. Every recipe has a photo so I can imagine how this dish should finally look and if mine resembles the original :-)

 

In my opinion a very recommendable book for beginners of vegan cooking!

SPOILER ALERT!

What would Jane Austen do? by Laurie Brown

What Would Jane Austen Do? - Laurie Brown

Usually I´m not really a fan of time travel romances and avoid reading them most of the time. But I thought the premise of this book was interesting and I´ll give it a try. Regrettably I didn´t enjoy reading it as much as I hoped I would and MY prejudice was once again confirmed.

 

Eleanor Pottinger traveled to Hampshire, England to attend a Jane Austen conference and when she arrives at Twixton Manor Inn her room was accidentally assigned to someone else. Only the tower suite is still vacant but this room is said to be haunted by ghosts.Tired and hungry Eleanor agrees to take the suite because she doesn´t believe in ghosts and is not very concerned about ghostly roommates. Of course she´s taken by surprise when she encounters two ghostly sisters whose brother was killed in a duel twohundred years ago. Eleanor is persuaded to help the sisters and travel back in time to prevent this tragic event....

 

The book isn´t very exiting and to "spice up" the boring plot a bit, a spy storyline is involved which didn´t make it more interesting. Eleanor is suspected by Lord Shermont, an "undercover" agent, to be this sought-after spy and of course Eleanor feels very attracted to Shermont and vice versa. What irritated my a bit was the use of expressions which really didn´t fit into the timeline, I know Eleanor is a time traveler from today but nonetheless phrases like this "Shermont looked so yummy standing there in the moonlight" and a James Bond reference (supposed to be funny) made me shudder... The resolution of the story and the happy end for our couple was utterly cheesy and so far-fetched I only could shake my head in amazement. Jane Austen has only a marginal role in this play so don´t expect to read anything interesting about her.

 

All in all it was an okay read but not an outstanding novel and I will again keep my hand´s off of time travel stories for the next years.

My sweet little devil...

Since everybody is sharing pictures of their cats I thought I´ll join in the chorus - and voilá

 

 

meet Maxi my sweet little devil - and don´t be tricked by his innocent look. After all he´s red-haired ...

A Dark God Laughing by Fiona McGavin

A Dark God Laughing - Fiona McGavin, Wendy Darling, Gabriel Strange

I read Fiona McGavin´s "A Dream and a Lie" Series some years ago and since my memory started to get a bit bleary I decided to reread the books to be able to write a review. I wondered if would like these books as much as I liked them when I read them for the first time. In advance: I was still fascinated by the world Fiona McGavin created and these books will stay on my keeper shelf!

 

Alix Reste lives in Zoelon, a Westerman city in the north of Kelvrecki. He´s a refugee who fled to Zoelon after he escaped a slaughter in his childhood. He works in a textile factory and shares a room with three other roommates because he earns very little money and could never afford a room of his own. There are different races in this world, the Westermen, who came across the sea and conquered the land of Kelvrecki and drove away the original inhabitants, the Alari and the enteri from their ancestral homes. And there are the Draels the enemies of the Westermen who live in Gel-Terridar and worship the Triple God, an evil power who wants to take over the world.

 

Alix is a mixture of Alari and Drael and as you can imagine not very popular even with the Alari. He has strange abilities like lightning a fire without matches which some may consider witchcraft, he has visions and is haunted by nightmares from his past. It´s a dangerous thing to be accused a witch because every Wintertide´s Eve witches are burned to cleanse the city from evil. Alix isn´t aware of all his powers and what he is able to do with it, it unfolds in the course of the book. He commits some questionable dark deeds, he´s not a hero without fault as aren´t the other protagonists of this story. He makes the acquaintance of Altair, a young Alari girl who is a refugee too, her home in Gwindor was destroyed and she doesn´t know where her parents are. Furthermore he meets the enteri and especially the enteri Midnight starts to play a prominent role in Alix life. Accused of being a witch and brought to prison, tortured and taken to the river to enforce a judgment of God, Alix activates in his fear his powers and is able to escape. Twilight, an enteri woman who he met before takes Alix to her home in the Slumlands of Zoelon where the enteri have built their hidden city. There he meets Midnight again and the strange fascination Alix always felt for him grows and when Midnight states Alix to be his, Alix doesn´t really put up a fight.

 

Enteri are not human, immortal and beautiful and know the art of spirit dancing, a way to call the spirits from the earth, air, water and fire to do their bidding. But now there aren´t many enteri left who are able to perform this kind of dance. Through spirit dancing enteri can change their gender when they have the wish to do so, so it can happen that a couple suddenly isn´t male/female anymore but male/male or female/female. The enteri don´t really care for gender issues. They don´t have children, being immortal they don´t need them but they often take children from other races as changelings. After driven out from their forest cities they became self-destructive and decadent, Midnight is often drunk and smokes silvertree a kind of drug.

 

The concept of this book is really fascinating and I liked the character of Alix and Midnight although they are far from being perfect.It´s interesting how the author explored the concept of elves being driven out of their forests and how they cope with their fate. They wait for their lost leader Flame who will bring back their former glory and will tell them what to do. Sometimes I thought them to be like children in their quarrels and behaviour. Alix is a lost young man who knows he´s different and is looking for a place or someone to belong to. This book isn´t about ethereal elves doing the good deed, it´s dark and full of religious fanaticism, repression and revenge.

 

Although this book is written in first person - Alix is the narrator of this story - we get glimpses through his dreams and visions what´s happening in other parts of Kelvrecki. I´m really looking forward to reread the next two books of this series and refresh my memory of this amazing story!

The Reckoners by Doranna Durgin

The Reckoners - Doranna Durgin

Although I have no problems following the storyline of other books this book was difficult to read for me because I found the conversations hard to follow. Maybe it´s just my lacking English but the dialogues between the characters were tiresome to comprehend for me.

 

The plot was confusing at times and the added thoughts of a creature called Skylar didn´t enhance the clarity what was going on – or I just didn´t get. I never figured out what kind of creature Skylar was or the bond it shared with Trevarr but maybe that´s better explained in the following books of the series.

 

Trevarr the hero of this book is a mystery-monger to the point of being annoying and I could understand Garrie´s frustration to be left in the dark without information. The blooming attraction between the two main characters was slow and nothing really happened except some steamy kisses. I didn´t mind the slow building of their relationship I even prefer it most of the times but it didn´t ring true for me and I wasn´t really convinced about it. Plus there´s the exciting plotline of a seemingly jealous ex-lover thrown into the mix maybe to make the lovestory a bit more complicated for the future – but that´s just my assumption.

 

Garrie is a tough kick-ass heroine with a big mouth who often doesn´t think before she talks which is a charcater trait I´m not very fond of I admit. That´s surely one of the reasons I couldn´t warm up to her.

 

I suppose this book wasn´t meant for me and I´m not continuing this series because my interest in the characters and their future adventures is only minimal. Not every book is for every reader ...

The Blood Books, Volume II by Tanya Huff

The Blood Books, Volume II - Tanya Huff

Blood Lines
Dr. Elias Rax the Curator of Egyptology at the Royal Ontario Museum takes home an intact sarcophagus with an intact seal. That means only one thing – the mummy must be still inside. Dr. Rax and his team expectantly open the sarcophagus and find a complete mummy secured with seals and charms. Suddenly mysterious deaths happen at the museum and nobody can seemingly remember that there had been a mummy at all..

Blood Pact
Vicky´s mother dies of a heart attack and Vicky has to go to Kingston where her mother lived. At the funeral she discovers that the coffin is empty and the corpse is stolen. Through her investigations Vicky, Mike and Henry discover a hidden laboratory at the university where horrible experiments with corpses are done…

I liked Vicky in Blood Pact a bit more than in the previous ones. It amazes me over and over why I have such difficulties to like Vicky´s character. It seems I can find no access to her stubborn attitude at all. And her love for Henry is something I still cannot fathom but okay that´s just me and I can live with it. I´m not that enthusiastic about these books that it really bothers me. And I still don´t think Henry is the most charismatic vampire I ever read about…
In Blood Pact she´s dealing with her mother´s death and the feeling of guilt not having been there for her enough, something that can happen to everybody when a beloved family member dies. Thankfully she has the support of both her lovers who join forces to help Vicky to solve the mystery of the stolen corpse. I´m really curious what consequences Henry´s desperate deed at the end of the book will have in the future..

Terzah´s Sons by Victoria Copus

Storm Constantine's Wraeththu Mythos 'Terzah's Sons' - Victoria Copus, Storm Constantine, Gabriel Strange

Terzah´s Sons is a novel set in Storm Constantine´s wraeththu world. The main character of this book is the har Terzah from the tribe of Kheops. His consort Zen (a former Varr but now Gelaming) was appointed as an ambassador by the Tigron Pellaz-har-Aralis to a settlement of Megalithica for human refugees. Terzah hates humans and has no scruples about killing a human thief whom he caught stealing in his kafta (the traditional dwelling of the Kheops tribe). This incident sets things in motion Terzahl wouldn´t have dreamed of - involving adopting human children, working together with the humans to defend their community against raiders, being confronted with his consorts dark past and so on.

I just love Terzah. His straight forward manner, his sharp tongue (one of my favorite statements are his first words to Zen when they first met at a party in the Tigron´s palace: "Move it,asshole. You´re standing on my hem." and Zen fell instantly in love with him.). I liked to read how he started to care for the community although he was far from being happy that he and Zen had to move to this settlement and how he tried to be there for his adopted sons.

Maybe, before you read this book you should be at least acquainted with the wraeththu (a new hermaphrodite race on earth) and read Storm´s Wraeththu chronicles and histories. You will either love wraeththu or hate them, it depends on if you can do anything with the concept of hermaphrodites or not. But if you get really into their world like I did you will be fascinated for sure. I´m hooked..

The Ancient Secret of the Flower of Life: Volume 2 by Drunvalo Melchizedek

The Ancient Secret of the Flower of Life: Volume 2 - Drunvalo Melchizedek, Margaret Pinyan

This is the second half of the Flower of Life Workshop and a continuation of the first volume. We learn more about the MerKaBa what I found very interesting. The MerKaBa is an energy field around every person and Drunvalo tells us how to activate it and how to use it for ascension into the next dimensional world. It´s a fascinating concept and again you have to decide for yourself it this book can help you to get more insight into life and hidden universes of if it is just a book destined for your trash can…