Rachel Gibson - Truly Madly Yours

Publisher: Avon

ISBN: 978-0380801213

My rating: 3/5



WHERE THERE'S A WILL. . .

When pretty hairdresser Delaney Shaw returned home to Truly, Idaho, for the reading of her stepfather's will, she planned on paying her respects and getting out of town. But it seems the will has some unexpected stipulations-like the one that says if Delaney wants her inheritance she needs to stay put and have nothing to so with sexy Nick Allegrezza ... for an entire year!

THERE'S NO WAY
Ten years ago, Nick had swept Delaney off her feet and onto his Harley, and that's when she really let her down her Hair! Back then, he was a love-'em-and-leave-'em man, and Delaney learned the hard way that she was just a fling. But Nick is as irresistible as ever. And when the ladies at Tuesday night Bingo see Nick and Delaney making after-hours whoopee through the window of a local beauty parlor, Delaney knows it's time to decide if Nick I truly, madly the man of her heart. (rachelgibson.com)



My thoughts

I'm a bit torn with this book. I really liked the story of Delany Shaw coming back to a small town in Idaho for her step-father's funeral. She only wanted to stay for a few days, but in order to inherit three million dollars her step-father's will stipulates for her to stay in town for twelve months ... not as easy as it first seems.

It's a romance story with a nice kick. Great characters, nice tension between the two main characters and great dialogues - they were witty and fun to read, which made me sit up late to get through as many chapters as possible. Here and there I felt like scanning through paragraphs because of repetition, but really the only critisism I would add - and that only as a very personal opinion - is that the sex scenes between Delany and (a very hot!) Nick were a tad too detailed for me, but that might just be one of Rachel Gibson's writing style. I might find out if I will read another one - any suggestions ?

All in all - a nice read if you're happy to read about certain details ....

Janet Evanovich - Twelve Sharp

Publisher: St Martin's Press

ISBN: 9780312349486

My rating: 4.5/5


FIRST A STRANGER APPEARS

While chasing down the usual cast of miscreants and weirdos Stephanie discovers that a crazed woman is stalking her.

THEN, THE STRANGER REVEALS HER SECRETS
The woman dresses in black, carries a 9mm GLOCK, has a bad attitude and a mysterious connection to dark and dangerous Carlos Manoso... street name, Ranger.

NEXT, SOMEBODY DIES
The action turns deadly serious, and Stephanie goes from hunting skips to hunting a murderer.

SOON, THE CHASE IS ON
Ranger needs Stephanie for more reasons than he can say. And now, the two are working together to find a killer, rescue a missing child, and stop a lunatic from raising the body count. When Stephanie Plum and Ranger get too close for comfort, Vice Cop Joe Morelli (her on-again, off-again boyfriend) steps in.

Will the ticking clock stop at the stroke of twelve, or will a stranger in the wind find a way to stop Stephanie Plum... forever. Filled with Janet Evanovich's trademark action, non-stop adventure, and sharp humor.




My thoughts

Bingo! “Twelve Sharp” is for me one of the best if not the best so far of the Stephanie Plum series.


Admittingly the book is not quite as funny as the previous ones, but the plot is brilliant and most of the characters have some unusual depth in this book.

First we have the mysterious Carmen following Steph and then Ranger turns out as a suspect to have kidnapped his own daughter. He becomes a “person” in this book with more background about him and emotions.

Steph proclaims her love to Morelli ... and the other man in her life.

And all this with a new file clerk in the office and Lula attempt to be a rock star.

The story is great and interesting, and even though there are a few FTAs to catch, the reader does not get side tracked from the main plot. A few twists and full of emotions.

My favourite quotes come both from Lula

" I'm wearing my best thong. Just 'cause I used to be a 'ho don't mean I'm cheap. Problem is that little thong stringy gets lost in all my derriere."

"They have enough testosterone between them if testosterone were electricity they could light up NYC for the month of August"

Kerstin Gier - Gegensaetze ziehen sich aus

Publisher: Bastei Luebbe Verlag


ISBN: 978-3404154623

Language: German

My rating: 2/5


Was macht Frauen glücklich? Schokolade, die Kraft positiver Gedanken oder schöne Schuhe? ¬- Mit der Boutique Pumps und Pomps kann die MÜTTER-MAFIA, die kreative Gegenbewegung zu allen Super-Muttis, sich bald alle Träume selbst erfüllen. Hier gibt es nicht nur traumhafte Stilettos, wunderschöne Stiefel und köstlichen Cappuccino, sondern auch die besten Tipps in Herzensangelegenheiten. Und die kann Constanze, genannt DIE PATIN, selber gut gebrauchen. Denn die Zukunftspläne ihrer ganz großen Liebe Anton passen leider so gar nicht zu ihren eigenen … Wie groß muss die Liebe sein, um mit anstrengenden Eltern, eifersüchtigen Töchtern und dem Wunsch nach mehr Nähe fertig zu werden? (kerstingier.com)


My thoughts

Number three in the "Constanze the Mothers Mafia" series.

So this one, vaguely translated "opposite attracts", starts where number two finished. I have to say, nope, not much improvement in this one either. We have lots of sex between Constanze and Anton, the "Mutter Mafia" decides to open a shoe shop and Anton meets Constanze's parents - which makes me wonder sometimes about Kerstin Gier's parents, because most of her books have such rotten parents, it's beyond funny and honestly rather sad.

Then we have Constanze to learning how to play golf ... why? I have no idea.

Last, and probably least, what's it with the homepage??

Kerstin Gier - Die Patin

Publisher: Bastei Luebbe Verlag

ISBN: 978-3404154623

Language: German

My rating: 2/5


Wer sagt denn, dass der Pate immer alt, übergewichtig und männlich sein und mit heiserer Stimme sprechen muss? Nichts gegen Marlon Brando, aber warum sollte der Job nicht auch mal von einer Frau gemacht werden? Einer Blondine. Mit langen Beinen. Gestählt durch die Erziehung einer pubertierenden Tochter und eines vierjährigen Sohnes. Und wahnsinnig verliebt in Anton, den bestaussehenden Anwalt der Stadt. Constanze ist „die Patin“ der streng geheimen Mütter-Mafia. Gegen intrigante Super-Mamis, fremdgehende Ehemänner und bösartige Sorgerechtsschmarotzer kommen die Waffen der Frauen zum Einsatz. Ein Angriff auf Ihre Lachmuskulatur. (kerstingier.com)



My thoughts

I read the second one in this series as well ... *sigh*

We start where we finished off with the first book - Constanze and Anton, her lawyer and hopefully soon to be "boy-friend".

I thought this one was much better then the first book - it had a plot and a storyline which I was actually able to follow. The dialogues had improved and the Kerstin Gier had given the characters more depth. Lots of the dialogues were still too far fetched and somewhat similar to book one. (Muetter Mafia)

Because it's been an improvement to the previous book, I will certainly give the last one (at least I think it's the last one) in this series a try as well - after all you've got to finish what you started, right?

Kerstin Gier - Die Muetter Mafia

Publisher: Bastei Luebbe Verlag

ISBN: 978-3404152964

Language: German

My rating: 2/5

Deutschland sucht die Super-Mami! Es gibt sie, die perfekten Mamis und Bilderbuch-Mütter, die sich nur über Kochrezepte, Klavierlehrer und Kinderfrauen austauschen. Doch eigentlich sind sie der Albtraum jeder Vorstadtsiedlung. Dagegen hilft nur eins. Sich zusammenrotten und eine kreative Gegenbewegung gründen: die »Mütter-Mafia«! Ab jetzt müssen sich alle braven Muttertiere warm anziehen (kerstingier.com)


My thoughts

Okay - this is a German book I got from my friend. Literally translated: The Mothers' Mafia.


Not sure about his one. It's about Constanze, whose husband has told her that he doesn't love her anymore and now she's moved into his late mother's house with her two children. That's when it all starts - she gets to know and to like her new neighbour Mimi and Anne, her son's best friend's mother.

All three of them are now taking over Constanze's life, by redecorating the house she's just moved in and organising a lawyer, who ends up as her date as well.

I didn't really like the book. It was flat, the humour was old and the bitching and biting by all of the mums at the kindergarten wasn’t funny, but made me feel odd to say the least that there are people thinking – even though as just a story - this could be funny !

Gemma Halliday - Spying in High Heels

Publisher: Mass Market Paperback

ISBN: 9780843957358

My rating: 2.5/5

L.A. shoe designer, Maddie Springer, lives her life by three rules: Fashion. Fashion. Fashion. But when she stumbles upon the work of a brutal killer, her life takes an unexpected turn from Manolos to murder. And things only get worse when her boyfriend disappears - along with $20 million in embezzled funds - and her every move is suddenly under scrutiny by the LAPD's sexiest cop. With the help of her post-menopausal bridezilla of a mother, a 300 pound psychic and one seriously oversexed best friend, Maddie finds herself stepping out of her stilettos and onto the trail of a murderer. But can she catch a killer before the killer catches up to her... (GemmaHalliday.com)



My thoughts

A friend gave me the book because she knew how much I like the Stephanie Plum series.

So this is more or less the same cliché – female character starts to investigate two murder because the suspect could be the father of her “perhaps” child; add a hunk of a cop, a great friend and voila ...

But, even though a nice story, it just hasn’t got the same touch not to mention the same class as the Plum books. AND I more or less had an idea of who the killer could be half way through the book.

It seemed to me that the main character Maddie was constantly either on some numbered high- or freeway or was eating some take away place, oh, that’s right: or drinking diet coke because she’s “late” late – which in an annoying way everyone seems to emphasise, because she seems to be one of those who are constantly late – as in not on time.

The plot itself is good, though, as I mentioned before, with just too many clichés.

If you haven’t yet read the Plum books, you might enjoy this one for a nice rainy weekend or a light read at the beach.

Janet Evanovich - Eleven on Top

Publisher: St. Martin Press

ISBN: 978-0-312-93622-2

My rating: 4/5

Stephanie Plum is thinking her career as fugitive apprehension agent has run its course. She's been shot at, spat at, cussed at, fire-bombed, mooned, and attacked by dogs. Time for a change, Stephanie thinks. Time to find the kind of job her mother can tell her friends about without making the sign of the cross. So Stephanie Plum quits. Resigns. No looking back. No changing her mind. She wants something safe and normal. As it turns out, jobs that are safe and normal for most people aren't necessarily safe and normal for Stephanie Plum. Trouble follows her, and the kind of trouble she had at the bail bonds office can't compare to the kind of trouble she finds herself facing now. Her past has come back to haunt her. She's stalked by a maniac returned from the grave for the sole purpose of putting her into a burial plot of her own. He's killed before, and he'll kill again if given the chance. Caught between staying far away from the bounty hunter business and staying alive, Stephanie re-examines her life and the possibility that being a bounty hunter is the solution rather than the problem. After disturbingly brief careers at the button factory, Kan Klean Dry Cleaners, and Cluck-in-a-Bucket, Stephanie takes an office position in security, working for Ranger, the sexiest, baddest, bounty hunter and businessman in two continents. It might not be the job she'll keep for the rest of her life, but for now, it gives her the technical access she needs to find her stalker. Tempers and temperatures rise as competition ratchets up between the two men in her life --her off-again, on-again boyfriend, tough Trenton cop, Joe Morelli, and her bad-ass boss, Ranger. Can Stephanie Plum take the heat? Can you?  (http://www.evanovich.com/)


My thoughts

I’m glad to say “Eleven on Top” is an improvement on the previous ones.


Steph quits her job as a bounty hunter. She wants a normal job with a regular income – and gets lucky almost instantly, though she loses the job just as quickly. After a short-lived job at the dry cleaners she ends up in cluck-in-a-bucket – which burns down after only a few days. No luck for Steph to escape the threats and being shot at; there’s someone out there to settle an old score.

What else?
  • Stephanie’s giving up sugar and the withdrawal symptoms are quite funny.
  • Lula is hilarious as she takes over the bounty hunter job, though with a lot of help from Stephanie (eg when Lula gets cuffed naked and rings Steph for help – go figure)
  • Morelli breaks his leg and isn’t all that happy about Steph working at Ranger.
  • There’s a lot of “Babe” and that always makes me happy.

The ending quite surprised me – so: thumps up for “Eleven on Top”.

Sigrid Macdonald - D'amour Road - Interview

Last week I had the pleasure and priviledge of having Sigrid Macdonald on my radio program via audio clip talking about her book "D'amour Road". Because the mp3-thing doesn't work for me, here is a transcript of what she had to say.

Should you be interested in more information about the book, please check here, or if you want to purchase the book you can do so on amazon.com.

Thanks to Sigrid for making the effort, it's been very much appreciated.



Hi Iris, this is Sigrid. Thanks so much for having me on your show today via audio clip. I understand you’re going to talk about my book “D’amour Road” and I wanted to tell you and your listeners a little bit about it. There are two main topics in “D’amour Road”. The first is missing women and the other is midlife crisis.


In terms of missing women I had a very personal interest in that topic, because in 1995 an acquaintance of mine by the name of Louise Ellis went missing and her partner was suspected of harming her. I had known Louise for two years although we had never met in person. We talked on the phone all the time and I was part of the search team that went looking for her. I was really devastated when she disappeared and I don’t want to tell your listeners the end of that story -- what happened to her -- but several years later it seemed to me as there ... that there was almost an epidemic of missing women and young girls, certainly here in North America. One after another we had people like Laci Peterson, Chandra Levy, Elizabeth Smart, women and girls usually – I can’t really remember too many guys -- I ... I think there were one or two, but it was generally a female thing --who were there one minute and gone the next.

And although I knew Louise, we weren’t best friends. So I decided to write, to fictionalise, her story by asking myself what would it have been like if she and I were really close, if she was in my inner circle. How would I have felt then? Because as it ... as it was her disappearance just ... uhm ... haunted me and stayed with me for so many years. But I hypothesized what if it had been my best friend and I created a story between two women who were just about to turn forty, and here’s where we come to the midlife crisis part.

And one of them is named Tara and she’s the protagonist, the story is told from her perspective, and she’s best friends with Lisa, who is kind of Louise Ellis because it’s just ... the story is loosely based on the Louise situation. And I wanted to give Tara some humour, because it could be a dark story to talk about missing women and I didn’t ... I didn’t want that. So I gave her a lot of my own neurosis and my angst and difficulty around turning forty, because when Louise disappeared I was forty-two and I remember reading about her in the newspaper that she was forty-six and I was thinking “Oh, how ancient”. Which, of course, was only a couple of years away from me and now I’m ... I’m long past forty-six.

But when I turned forty I was working at a local university in a women’s collective with all kinds of very, very young women. They were eighteen, nineteen, twenty-one, twenty-two and I adored them, but it made me feel quite ancient and I didn’t want any of them to think of me as their mother, so I pretended to be thirty-nine for three years in a row ... very classic ... ahh ... you know, trouble around the big four-zero – some people have it at forty, other people have it at fifty. I had it very bad at ... at forty.

And so I’ve given Tara an obsession with her hair and there are two reasons for that. One is that she wants, well three actually. One is that she wants to maintain her youthfulness and her attractiveness. Secondly I wanted to, as I said earlier, add a little bit of humour and third, obsessing about her hair, or cutting her hair, or colouring her hair, or whatever she did to her hair was one of the few things she was able to control in her life when other things were spinning out of control.

And that’s pretty much the gist of “D’amour Road”. I hope that your listeners will check it out and thank you again so much for giving me the opportunity to join you on your awesome show. Take care and have a great day.

Sheila O'Flanagan - Someone Special

Publisher: Headline Review

ISBN: 978-0-75533221-2

My rating: 3.5/5


 
Someone Special’s main character is Romy, who is forced to come home from her job as a forensic archaeologist in Australia when her mother, Veronica goes into hospital for a back operation.


Romy is Veronica’s youngest daughter, from her second marriage to Dermot. Veronica also has a son, Darragh, and daughter, Kathryn, from her first marriage to Tom, and she’s recently divorced for the third time (although no children from that one!). Romy and Veronica are very different people. Romy isn’t into glamour and fashion though Veronica loves it – and so does Darragh’s wife, Giselle. Kathryn, Romy’s half-sister, is part of a power-couple and lives and works in New York. She’s very smart and sassy but has problems of her own. Darragh is the managing director of the family company and likes to see himself as a mover and shaker although the company is starting to lose clients.
Romy finds herself caught up in their problems as well as trying to accept her father’s second wife, Larissa and their daughter, Erin, too. Meanwhile she’s missing Australia, her work and her friends, particularly Keith, her best friend, who’s suddenly not as easy to know as he was before! (www.sheilaoflanagan.net


My thougths

Usually when I read a book I already have an idea what to write about half way through the story .... but this time I’m a bit stumped.


My first book by Irish Sheila O’Flanagan is about Romy, an Irish archaeologist currently living in Australia who is suddenly called home by her step brother, Darragh, because their mother is going to have a back operation and will need some help. She has to leave her best friend Keith behind in Sydney and confuses things by kissing him as she says goodbye to him at the airport.

When I finished the book I felt a sense of “not satisfied”. The story in itself was good, the writing was well done with good character descriptions. But it was the characters that I wasn’t able to relate to, though the story would have been very easy for me to do so. At some point Romy said to her sister “I just lost that chip on my shoulder” and I had to re- and re-read the paragraph, but I still don’t understand what had happened or what had been said for her to “lose the chip on her shoulder”.

Also, O’Flanagan has added a lot of backlog, which I believe was necessary so to understand the family members more, but sometimes I felt like flicking through those pages, just to get on with the story.

All in all ... not sure what to say about “Someone special”. Perhaps there’s someone else out there who’s read  the book and would like to add there view of the book ! I'd appreciate it.

Help needed from German immigrants in Australia

Simone Heist from the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany is currently in Sydney and writing a thesis about German immigrants in Australia.

If you're happy to help please click here for more information.

Good luck Simone !

Janet Evanovich - Ten big ones

Publisher: St. Martin Press

ISBN: 978-0-312-93622-2

My rating: 3.5/5

She's accidentally destroyed a dozen cars. She's a target for every psycho and miscreant this side of the Jersey Turnpike. Her mother's convinced she'll end up dead...or worse, without a man. She's Stephanie Plum and she kicks butt for a living (well, she thought it would sound good to put it that way...)

It begins as an innocent trip to the deli-mart, on a quest for nachos. But Stephanie Plum and her partner, Lula, are clearly in the wrong place at the wrong time. A robbery leads to an explosion, which leads to the destruction of yet another car. It would be just another day in the life of Stephanie Plum...except that she becomes the target of a gang. And the target of an even scarier, more dangerous force that comes to Trenton. With super bounty hunter Ranger acting more mysteriously than ever (and the tension with vice cop Joe Morelli getting hotter), Stephanie finds herself with a decision to make: how to protect herself and where to hide while on the hunt for a killer known as the Junkman. There's only one safe place, and it has Ranger's name all over it-if she can find it. And if the Junkman doesn't find her first. With Lula riding shotgun and Grandma Mazur on the loose, Stephanie Plum is racing against the clock in her most suspenseful novel yet. Ten Big Ones is page-turning entertainment and Janet Evanovich is the best there is. (http://www.evanovich.com/)


My thoughts

I have to admit, this one wasn’t one of Evanovich’s best effort!

The story’s not bad – Steph and Lula are at the wrong place at the wrong time and all of a sudden she’s the target of a gang!

I’m not sure where she’s going with the various characters. I like the way Morelli is developed and grows from book to book, though the sex thing is getting a bit boring. Steph is Steph though without her feistiness (I think I already mentioned that in the previous book) and is getting a touch too whiny. Lula – not sure about Lula. She was a great part of every story so far, giving it a down to earth kinda add, but it seems in “Ten” she there, because she’s always been “there”. AND as a big Ranger fan – not sure whether I like to find out all these new details about him.

The ending is well done, though to be really really honest – get this one from the Library.


Vera Bleibtreu - Trauerspiel

Publisher: Knecht Verlag

ISBN: 978-3-7820-0897-6

Language: German

My Rating: 3.5/5


Susanne Hertz, the minister from Mainz, is taken aback when she finds Julia Moll dead in front of her church. What did the 17 year old student want to talk about with Susanne before she was murdered?

Detective Tanja Schmidt comes across quite a few different motives and a few possible suspects - Could there a connection to the a teacher's suicide who used to teach at Julia's school? Did Julia really have an affair with Thorsten Braun, the director at the local theatre? What about Thorsten Braun's jealous wife? What is the deal with the burnt fields of genetic modified corn ? And who anonymously blames Susanne Hertz?

As soon as the detectives figure out who is pulling the strings behind this crime, the minister from Mainz comes up with an idea, which, however, is very daring and dangerous. (translated from http://www.josef-knecht-verlag.de/)


My thoughts

Well - I hope I have grown with my second book as much as Vera did with hers. It was a real pleasure to read "Trauerspiel" (Tradgedy).

Most of the characters have been developed nicely, the plot is a very well thought of idea which is being told smoothly. There's not as much or hardly any backlog like in her firstbook - thus the book gets more "oompf". The writing seems more fluently and thus it's easier to just want to read on.

If you're from the area or want to read something "German" I'd happily recommend this one for a light read. Well done Vera!

Janet Evanovich - To the Nines

Publisher: St. Martin Press

ISBN: 978-0-312-99146-0

My rating: 3.5/5

Stephanie Plum's got rent to pay, people shooting at her, and psychos wanting her dead every day of the week (much to the dismay of her mother, her family, the men in her life, the guy who slices meat at the deli... oh, the list goes on). An ordinary person would cave under the pressure.

But hey, she's from Jersey.
Stephanie Plum may not the best bounty hunter in beautiful downtown Trenton, but she's pretty darn good at turning bad situations her way... and she always gets her man. In TO THE NINES her cousin Vinnie (who's also her boss) has posted bail on Samuel Singh, an illegal immigrant. When the elusive Mr. Singh goes missing, Stephanie is on the case. But what she uncovers is far more sinister than anyone imagines and leads to a group of killers who give new meaning to the word "hunter..."
In a race against time that takes her from the Jersey Turnpike to the Vegas strip, Stephanie Plum is on the chase of her life. The unforgettable characters, non-stop action, high-stakes suspense, and sheer entertainment of TO THE NINES define Janet Evanovich as unique among today's writers. (http://www.evanovich.com/)


My thougths

TO THE NINES !

Stephanie is in trouble again.  The main plot is that she has to find Samuel Singh, a temp worker from India and a computer geek. But there's also someone threatening Steph and killing people around her, which puts Ranger into action to bodyguard her. Last but not least, we have Steph’s unmarried sister who is pregnant with Kloughn being the father. For those out there who like Morelli - the two are getting closer again.

It’s one of the good story again with the new characters that had me chuckle most of the time – esp Singh’s mother, but also my all time favourite Lula with her various diets!

It’s another page turner – PS except the Las Vegas trip, which I thought was a bit too drawn out and hence boring.