Soul Taker on ‘Indie California’

I got wonderful news! I was informed that Soul Taker is available in “Indie California’! Read more about it below – I am so very excited!! Please, help me spread the word! Thank you!

 

See the message I got here below


Aurora Jean Alexander,

Congratulations, you have successfully moved into the library space!

Your book, Soul Taker, is now available in Indie California, a collection of books from local indie authors available exclusively on the BiblioBoard Library mobile and web platform. This collection is available to patrons of participating libraries all across your state/region. That’s right, your book is now available with just one click of a button to thousands of new readers in your state/region!

Your Book

http://library.biblioboard.com/content/229d87e0-0c88-40d4-9374-db20647b52e1

Sister Sebastiana – A Heartbreaking Loss

Today, our Good Lord has called his daughter

Sister Sebastiana

and has taken her home after four years of serious illness.

My Aunt, my late Dad’s youngest sister, passed away at 81.

Sister Sebastiana grew up as the youngest of eight children on a farm with a connected restaurant. Like her siblings, she had to start helping in her parent’s businesses quite early.

When she was 24 years old, she decided to dedicate her life to God. After her novitiate, she first became a kindergarten teacher and later decided to go back to her congregation when they called her for help.

She always beamed and laughed when she told stories from her kindergarten children. Sister Sebastiana had hearty, infectious laughter and shared her youngest brother’s, my Dad’s, humor. Maybe that’s one of the reasons why I liked her so much.

When she got ill four years ago, she gathered courage and continued her life with God and continued her work. But the illness was stronger than her strength of life. Very calmly, Sister Sebastiana accepted her diagnosis and faced death with admirable faith in God. She carried the suffering of her illness with impressive patience and lost the fight yesterday when she closed her eyes forever.

Our entire family is going to miss her terribly. She was always a rock in the ocean of our lives. But we know she is with her Creator now and, as heavy as my heart is, I know her soul is with God.

Picture courtesy of https://www.loveliveson.com/funeral-poems-for-aunt/

 

The Oscars 2020 – Fashion post


It’s February 9, 2020 – ‘Oscar’ Sunday. For hours everyone with a name in Hollywood is walking the red carpet. I enjoyed the event enormously. Since I’m not an expert, I will definitely not criticize any of the academy’s decision. I don’t have the right to do that… many excellent actors and actresses, film artists, and Academy members have done their best in these decisions.

But what I’m sure going to do, is saying a word or two to the wardrobe some of the famous Hollywood Elite wore today. Of course, I cannot show every single participant and wardrobe here. But I picked the ones that triggered the most reaction in me. I promise one thing I’ll do my best. All these comments are strictly my personal opinion and my own taste. I hope you’ll enjoy the pictures, the comments, and if you agree or disagree with me, let me know in the comments.


We have a few nice, impressive and safe dresses here with some of our beloved Hollywood actresses, Renee Zellweger, Natalie Portman, Salma Hayek, and Scarlet Johansson

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We also have a nicely and safely dressed Mindy Kaling, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Kelly Ripa, and America Ferrera, who is glowing, thanks to her pregnancy. Congratulations, America.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


I hope very much you’ll forgive me for interrupting the ‘Ladie’s Oscar Night’ for a few pictures of very well dressed  (and other) gentlemen. We have, of course, the very well classically dressed tuxedo participants: Brad Pitt, Keanu Reeves (here with his date: his Mom), Taika Waititi, Tom Hanks, Leo DiCaprio, and Rami Malek.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course, we have two more gentlemen that need to be mentioned, our all-time-favorites, Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino, one of them in a classic tux while Al Pacino looks his typical self, a bit ragged, a bit disheveled, just as we all love him.

And then, of course, two to mention whose choice of wardrobe (or stylist), I, unfortunately, cannot understand:  Timothée Chalamet and Billy Porter. It is one thing to be yourself, it’s another thing to look completely out of place and out of space. To me, that’s a no-go, sorry.

 

 

 

 

 


We have breathtaking dress picks, like Laura Dern, Sigourney Weaver, Sandra Oh, and Cynthia Erivo. I know, I read in some places, Sandra Oh belonged to the worst dressed actresses, but I don’t agree. I think she looks fresh and beautiful in her golden ruffled Ellie Saab dress. Also, I heard comments that Laura Dern’s dress is horrible, I don’t think so. I’m quoting my sister here: ‘Normally I don’t like black and pink mixed, but that is not classic pink, it’s more a discreet powder tone which makes her look classic and gorgeous.’. To me, Sigourney Weaver’s forest green dress is a timeless classic, simple but elegant, and makes her look beautiful. And of course, Cynthia’s dress, even as unusual it is, it’s still elegant and makes her look regal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


We have a few memorable, classically beautiful, even breathtaking wardrobe choices, for example, Regina King, Beanie Feldstein, Margot Robbie, Charlize Theron, Penelope Cruz, and Rebel Wilson. In my opinion, well chosen, well done.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Now, let’s get to those participants, who I think, were a bit unlucky in their choice of wardrobe (or stylist). I’m very much into staying true to oneself, but that doesn’t mean, that ‘oneself’ is the center of the universe, and no adaption whatsoever is necessary. Not everything classic is bad or simply old-fashioned. Sometimes it’s beautiful and breathtaking! ‘Taking risks’ in my book, doesn’t mean looking like you got lost and should actually be at another event.

Zazie Beetz, I’m sorry, but for the most important award of the year, this is just insufficient. It’s beautiful, no doubt, but it’s not enough. Next time, please, upgrade!

Saoirse Ronan, I know it’s Gucci, but I’m afraid, even though the top looks amazing, the frills in the middle and the entire bottom don’t. That dress looks like you’re wearing two or three unfinished dresses hastily sewn together. I’m sure, next time, your choice will be much better.

Kristen Wiig… I’m sorry, but no… This looks a bit like the curtain in the bathroom of an old German castle… In an emergency, it also can serve as a table cloth on Christmas with these frills on the side, or – it may also be a tomato ravioli… depending on how hungry one is while looking at it.  You have this absolutely breathtaking body – deciding on this sausage peel wasn’t necessary!

Olivia Coleman – far better than the Golden Globe dress, but not good enough for you. Three colors weren’t necessary – a nice simple black and white dress would have been beautiful on you – and that awkward sleeve-do on the dress once again adds width and weight to your frame. Still, room for improvement.

Little Julia Butters… my-oh-my. Young girls can look so cute on the red carpet. Some stylists manage to display the presentiment of future beauty and talent by dressing their young clients. This stylist – didn’t. Julia Butters looks like she’s wearing the dress in which Miss Piggy exploded. I hope from the bottom of my heart, next time someone keeps an eye on that girl!

 

Blac Chyna… I’m not sure what exactly your contribution to the Hollywood acting community is. I’m just wondering why you are showing up on the red carpet of the most important Award of the year, looking like you actually planned to go to the porn awards. Got lost? If not, maybe you should…

Billie Eilish – really? Sorry, Chanel or not – I think nothing on this look is the least bit positive. You have such a gorgeous face – that hair color is completely blocking your entire look, no matter if it’s fluorescent. The hawk-like claws aren’t helping. They look cheap. The entire oversized outfit makes you look like a meth bong. No-no…


On A Personal Note:

In a post like this one, I would normally not adding any kind of statement. It should just show my opinion about the fashion, it should make people look at the pictures, giggle a bit about my descriptions, agree or disagree with me and have fun. But today I was a bit surprised – and also a bit sad.

In today’s Oscar Memoriam Tribute, one actor, who was even featured in one of the shown pictures, “Once Upon A Time In Hollywood”, was left out: Luke Perry.

Luke Perry, our favorite ‘Beverly Hills 90210’ star, passed away on March 4, 2019, after suffering a stroke at the age of 52. His passing came one week after the 2019 Academy Awards, so it would actually be ‘logical’ to have him mentioned in the 2019 tribute. But he was famously missing.

That’s why I mentioned him here once again. R. I. P. Luke Perry.

Picture courtesy of USmagazine.com

All pictures courtesy of Google.com unless mentioned differently.

A Little Bit Of Sarcasm – And Weddings

Lately, I heard about the wedding of one of my former boyfriends. Well, it took him quite long to decide, even though his new fiance/wife was not exactly innocent… considering she got pregnant just before his famous ‘level 4’.

Well… the groom and I were… once… you know… quite close. We liked each other – just at one point, he needed distance. After about two years, the distance was that big, we decided not to continue the relationship. It didn’t make sense.

Now… what are some weddings nowadays? 150 guests. Like a mass-wedding, I am indeed glad I’m not part of. However, once invited you can barely stay away since, of course, the newlyweds expect many presents… or presents in monetary-form, of course. Even though once I read on a wedding announcement, “Money presents are uninspired, particularly small ones.”

Why not just giving the account number where we can transfer the money to? Then the guests can do that… for the closest family member, a few breadsticks and a glass of cheap bubble water – and then the couple can take the money and go to their honeymoon.

But no… it always has to be something like a  Hollywood wedding but a wedding somewhere out in the countryside, where the utmost symbol of ‘good taste’ is the several thousand dollar-bridal gown which, according to the bride ALWAYS is very modest! While it’s created with Wite-out colored hundreds of yards of tulle and a huge bow on the bride’s ass, which makes her look like a mix of a Barbie doll and a Bavarian beer tent.

Courtesy of Google.com

Of course, there are a few other things that cannot go missing like white doves, flower girls with lace dresses, bows in the front, and frills in the back… and I’m asking myself why the entire effort? In five years, they’ll be divorced anyway.

But however… one has to go – which makes me happy I now live too far away to participate in that feast of waste. I know the woman… she’s a living nightmare in bows – but he doesn’t need my help – one day he’ll find it out anyway.

I can’t stand this kind of wedding. Whenever I went to one in the past few years, there were always this handful of old aunts and their second and third cousins around, elbowing me in the ribs and winking at me “You’re the next – you’ll be the next.” That behavior only stopped when I started doing the same thing at funerals.

Now, I found out that there are things on Earth that are simply a ‘fairy tale.’ Downright lies. Like the big and only love… A made-up story by Hollywood to make sure we true believers in true love are running to the movie theater to watch Pretty Woman or Titanic…

You know… maybe there is this true love – but it’s rare – very, very rare. There might be the one or other couple that loves each other and rarely ever argues or discusses something. – Lately, I saw an interview with a couple that had celebrated their 50th anniversary! That is quite an achievement! They asked the husband if he never ever considered a divorce – and he said: “A divorce? No – but murder – yes.”

That’s reality – and not three-story wedding cakes and chubby-cheeked flower kids. One day, the bride wakes up and realizes, the wedding cake is gone, the chubby-cheeked flower kids have turned into a bunch of snotty junkies, and since the wedding, the husband has never given her flowers – or compliments anymore and what they now laugh about most are his burbs… or other body functions, and she asks herself if that is going on like that for the next thirty years.

A smart woman once said: “A good man knows to die on time to make sure his wife has at least a few years she still can enjoy. The advantage of a widow is that she always knows where her husband lies.”

Oh well… I figure at times I’m glad I never was a bride. Maybe I just got my expectations too high and my imagination of a wedding too low. LOL

However – after writing this very sarcastic blog post – I might consider going around the corner to that Italian restaurant I discovered, with the singing guitar player… about 106 years old – but still smiling (or at least trying to smile). The waiter is not the sexy Italian dark-eyed romantic girl everyone expects, but a Neapolitan former docker, about as wide as high with so much chest hair that you have to send a search party for his gold chain…

Just one more thing… don’t take it all too seriously, have a good laugh and an amazing day.

My Favorite 10 Books Of All Times III

Picture courtesy of unsplash.com

Continued…

I once owned many, many books – shelves full of books. But lately, things have changed for me. I moved – and if I had taken everything with me, only my loads and loads of books would probably have filled an entire shipping container. I, therefore, decided on a handful of my favorites, and I donated the rest of them. (that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re lost, after all, I have most of them electronically on my e-reader).
But a few books had to travel with me – books that are antiques – books that would have been lost if I hadn’t taken them… favorite books – MY favorite books, to be precise. Let me tell you what books I’m talking about – and why…

Death on the Nile – Agatha Christie

Blurb

Beloved detective Hercule Poirot embarks on a journey to Egypt in one of Agatha Christies most famous mysteries, Death on the Nile. The tranquility of a cruise along the Nile was shattered by the discovery that Linnet Ridgeway had been shot through the head. She was young, stylish, and beautiful. A girl who had everything . . . until she lost her life. Hercule Poirot recalled an earlier outburst by a fellow passenger: I’d like to put my dear little pistol against her head and just press the trigger. Yet in this exotic setting, nothing is ever quite what it seems.

My opinion

I admit I cut a little bit away from the blurb because I thought it doesn’t belong into a book blurb, to mention that it will be turned in a movie, following the ‘Orient-Express’ movie that was so successful, ect. etc. etc. If I think about Hercule Poirot, there is only one actor I always see right in front of my eyes: The great Peter Ustinov! But that isn’t what I wanted to say. To me, Death On The Nile is a wonderful example of many surprising and amazing detective stories Agatha Christie wrote. And still, this single adventure is apart, unique and maybe to me, it’s the tropical places in the story, the obvious killer who isn’t the murderer and the possibilities because, theoretically everybody on the ship could have done it – and had a reason… I’m usually convinced Agatha Christie is such a beloved author that the entire world knows who the murderer actually is – but I’ll be nice and won’t tell it here – just in case…


The Name of the Rose – Umberto Eco

Blurb

The year is 1327. Benedictines in a wealthy Italian abbey are suspected of heresy, and Brother William of Baskerville arrives to investigate. When his delicate mission is suddenly overshadowed by seven bizarre deaths, Brother William turns detective. His tools are the logic of Aristotle, the theology of Aquinas, the empirical insights of Roger Bacon—all sharpened to a glistening edge by wry humor and a ferocious curiosity. He collects evidence, deciphers secret symbols and coded manuscripts, and digs into the eerie labyrinth of the abbey, where “the most interesting things happen at night.”

My opinion

I had difficulties to read the book, even though I heard so much about it and was fascinated by the place and time of the book. It took me about three or four times until I finally got into the story. But then, once really starting, I fell in love with the little vanities of William of Baskerville, and of course, the dark secrets, the political intrigues, and of course, the past of some of the monks. How did they get there? What made them their calling? And I realized, back then, it wasn’t a calling to become a monk and a priest… it often was the family’s decision – or just the necessity to have a roof over the head and something to eat. Also, some of them liked the respect they earned as a man of God. And still, these men were not free of sin – as can be read in that book. The darkness of and secrets in the monastery is intimidating and, at times, unsettling. The author uses clear words and doesn’t spare us with blood and murder. William of Baskerville seems a strong and calm pillar within the sinful world of these monks… and then came the inquisition… The name of the Rose is a phenomenal book written by a great author.


Cheaper By The Dozen And Bells On their Toes – Frank B. Gilbreth Jr. & Ernestine Gilbreth-Carey

Blurb

Cheaper by the Dozen: Made into two classic movies—one starring Clifton Webb and the other starring Steve Martin—and translated into more than fifty languages, Cheaper by the Dozen is an amusing, endearing, and unforgettable memoir of the Gilbreth clan as told by siblings Frank Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth.

Mother and Dad are world-renowned efficiency experts, helping factories fine-tune their assembly lines for maximum output at minimum cost. At home, the Gilbreths themselves have cranked out twelve kids, and Dad is out to prove that efficiency principles can apply to family as well as the workplace—with riotous results.

“A touching family portrait that also happens to be very, very funny.” —Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post

Belles on Their Toes: With twelve kids, life at the Gilbreth house has always been a big project. But after their father passes away, there are more challenges than ever. As their resourceful mother works to keep the family business running, the kids tackle the adventures of raising themselves and running a household.

With the irrepressible blend of humor and good cheer characteristic of one of the most beloved families in America, the Gilbreths rise to every occasion and find a way to keep it all together. Belles on Their Toes was also made into a movie with Myrna Loy and Jeanne Crain reprising their roles.

“There is a sincere and heartwarming atmosphere in this second volume that makes it almost better reading, if possible, than the first.” —Library Journal

My opinion

I got this book as a birthday present when I was about twelve years old. I started reading – and was immediately hooked. The book made me laugh, cry, and feel! I was connected to that family, like probably thousands of readers before me. Ernestine Gilbreth Carey and Frank B. Gilbreth Jr. touched millions of hearts by telling their childhood stories touchingly and humorously.

Lilian Moller Gilbreth and Frank Gilbreth sr. Planned an extended family, right after they got married – six boys and six girls. After seventeen years, they finally reached their goal. The two family members describe their life within the family so entertaining and humorous, it’s fun to read the book. I keep reading it about once a year, and it never gets boring.

However, there are a few little things I had to query. I realized that Mary, the second child, after Anne, was only mentioned one single time and never again in the entire book. What happened to her? The first boy, Frank B. (one of the authors), was born as the fifth child, after Anne, Mary, Ernestine, and Martha, but we don’t read anything else about Mary after that information. I had to do intense research to find out more. (Jane Lancaster who wrote a biography about the career woman Lilian Moller-Gilbreth) According to Jane Lancaster, Mary died from diphtheria. I wondered why the authors of the family books never mentioned it. I can only guess that they didn’t want to add too much sadness to this very humorous and cheerful family story. Also, they concealed another fact: apparently, their mother conceived another child but lost it. It appears that the family could not, as described in the book, stay together after the passing of the father, Frank B. Gilbreth sr. According to Jane Lancaster, at least one of the children was sent to the grandparents to California to grow up.

Maybe I shouldn’t be so very fussy about these details… maybe including these facts, the book would not have become what it did. It is a bewitching classic book, full of life, emotions, and laughter, something everyone needs once in a while!

My Favorite 10 Books Of All Times II

Picture courtesy of unsplash.com

Continued…

I once owned many, many books – shelves full of books. But lately, things have changed for me. I moved – and if I had taken everything with me, only my loads and loads of books would probably have filled an entire shipping container. I, therefore, decided on a handful of my favorites and I donated the rest of them. (that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re lost, after all, I have most of them electronically on my e-reader).
But a few books had to travel with me – books that are antiques – books that would have been lost if I hadn’t taken them… favorite books – MY favorite books, to be precise. Let me tell you what books I’m talking about – and why…

Lord of The Rings – J. R. R. Tolkien

Blurb

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them

In ancient times the Rings of Power were crafted by the Elven-smiths, and Sauron, the Dark Lord, forged the One Ring, filling it with his own power so that he could rule all others. But the One Ring was taken from him, and though he sought it throughout Middle-earth, it remained lost to him. After many ages it fell by chance into the hands of the hobbit Bilbo Baggins.

From Sauron’s fastness in the Dark Tower of Mordor, his power spread far and wide. Sauron gathered all the Great Rings to him, but always he searched for the One Ring that would complete his dominion.

When Bilbo reached his eleventy-first birthday he disappeared, bequeathing to his young cousin Frodo the Ruling Ring and a perilous quest: to journey across Middle-earth, deep into the shadow of the Dark Lord, and destroy the Ring by casting it into the Cracks of Doom.

The Lord of the Rings tells of the great quest undertaken by Frodo and the Fellowship of the Ring: Gandalf the Wizard; the hobbits Merry, Pippin, and Sam; Gimli the Dwarf; Legolas the Elf; Boromir of Gondor; and a tall, mysterious stranger called Strider.

This new edition includes the fiftieth-anniversary fully corrected text setting and, for the first time, an extensive new index.

J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973), beloved throughout the world as the creator of The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion, was a professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford, a fellow of Pembroke College, and a fellow of Merton College until his retirement in 1959. His chief interest was the linguistic aspects of the early English written tradition, but while he studied classic works of the past, he was creating a set of his own.

My opinion

Like everybody else who adores the J. R. R. Tolkien books, I’m a big fan of this huge fantasy epos. I read the three old books, The Fellowship Of The Ring, The Two Towers and The Return Of The King and loved them. This book includes all three of them. I had never thought these books could be made into a film – and Peter Jackson surprised me to no end. I love the films too.

I admit, I love the Lord Of The Rings more than the Hobbit-books – but that’s only me. I heard other Tolkien-fans loving all of them or preferring the Hobbit books… However, we do have an excellent author with a never-again reached fantasy book series, unique worldwide. No wonder these books belong to my personal favorites of all time.


Phantom – Susan Kay

Blurb

Phantom of the Opera fans no longer need to ponder what was in Erik’s past, as Kay has created one for him in this deeply moving, poignant story. . . This sad, but beautiful, novel will be especially popular with [those] who have enjoyed the current musical . . . ” – School Library Journal “A MUST READ! Haunting and riveting.”– Rave Reviews “Do we really need another spin-off of Gaston Leroux’s horror tale, The Phantom of the Opera? IF IT’S AS GOOD AS SUSAN KAY’S PHANTOM, YOU BET WE DO! – The Times Picayune “A VICTORY! STAYS WITH YOU AFTER THE LAST PAGE IS TURNED . . .” – Palm Beach Post Phantom From birth, Erik is disfigured, at once blessed and cursed. Inborn genius lifts him to the heights of the mind, but a horrible deformity denies him both his mother’s love and any chance at recognition. He escapes imprisonment to live a life on the run; he kills to be free. Finally, at the Paris Opera House, he encounters beautiful, talented Christine and defies the world and himself in a desperate attempt to love and be loved.

My opinion

I’m very tempted to admit what I had thought when I got this book as a present once. I looked at it and thought: ‘Oh Shit – not fanfiction again’… I know now that I thought the worst thing possible – and I was wrong. I had read Gaston Leroux’ Phantom of the Opera and I had seen the musical. I loved them dearly. Did I spend more than a fleeting thought on Erik’s past? Yes, I did. I wondered why he was hiding and what had happened to him that he apparently was as hurt, distrustful and dangerous as he was… But then I forgot to think about him. Until I got Susan Kay’s book. I thought I’d do my friend a favor. After all, she knows I’m an avid reader and I expected her to ask if I read her book. I would have been ashamed to say no. I read the first five pages – and was caught in a story that was more adventurous, unique – and unexpected than I thought it possible. Susan Kay starts with Erik’s birth and childhood. The reader grows up with him, is constantly at Erik’s side and starts to understand his development, his character and his mannerisms… We become the guardians of Erik’s secrets and their fiercest defendants. We know him, we know why he is the way he is – and we still love him… And that is why this is one of my favorite books.


Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen

Blurb

Pride and Prejudice is a novel of manners by Jane Austen, first published in 1813. The story follows the main character, Elizabeth Bennet, as she deals with issues of manners, upbringing, morality, education, and marriage in the society of the landed gentry of the British Regency. Elizabeth is the second of five daughters of a country gentleman living near the fictional town of Meryton in Hertfordshire, near London.Page 2 of a letter from Jane Austen to her sister Cassandra (11 June 1799) in which she first mentions Pride and Prejudice, using its working title First Impressions. Set in England in the early 19th century, Pride and Prejudice tells the story of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet’s five unmarried daughters after the rich and eligible Mr. Bingley and his status-conscious friend, Mr. Darcy, have moved into their neighborhood. While Bingley takes an immediate liking to the eldest Bennet daughter, Jane, Darcy has difficulty adapting to local society and repeatedly clashes with the second-eldest Bennet daughter, Elizabeth. Though Austen set the story at the turn of the 19th century, it retains a fascination for modern readers, continuing near the top of lists of “most loved books.” It has become one of the most popular novels in English literature, selling over 20 million copies, and receives considerable attention from literary scholars. Modern interest in the book has resulted in a number of dramatic adaptations and an abundance of novels and stories imitating Austen’s memorable characters or themes.

My opinion

Of course, like so many others, I love Pride and Prejudice, written by Jane Austen, who does, indeed, have experience in the mannerism of the times she writes about. Also, she paints with words, sceneries of cheerful liveliness impress her readers and I’m not surprised to hear, I wasn’t the only female reader falling in love with Mr. Bingley – at least a little bit, until finding out what a fine specimen Mr. Darcy actually is – and that he’s far not as arrogant and contempt as Elizabeth thinks… We know Bingley is wonderful – and badly influenced and we know he’ll be fine with Jane. She is a well mannered educated and smart lady, after all – but Mr. Darcy… “sigh”

 

My Favorite 10 Books Of All Times I

Picture courtesy of unsplash.com

I once owned many, many books – shelves full of books. But lately, things have changed for me. I moved – and if I had taken everything with me, only my loads and loads of books would probably have filled an entire shipping container. I, therefore, decided on a handful of my favorites and I donated the rest of them. (that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re lost, after all, I have most of them electronically on my e-reader).

But a few books had to travel with me – books that are antiques – books that would have been lost if I hadn’t taken them… favorite books – MY favorite books, to be precise. Let me tell you what books I’m talking about – and why…


Shogun – James Clavell

Blurb

After Englishman John Blackthorne is lost at sea, he awakens in a place few Europeans know of and even fewer have seen–Nippon. Thrust into the closed society that is seventeenth-century Japan, a land where the line between life and death is razor-thin, Blackthorne must negotiate not only a foreign people, with unknown customs and language, but also his own definitions of morality, truth, and freedom. As internal political strife and a clash of cultures lead to seemingly inevitable conflict, Blackthorne’s loyalty and strength of character are tested by both passion and loss, and he is torn between two worlds that will each be forever changed.

My opinion

Shogun is considered one of the best books ever written and I agree. John Blackthorne is a strong and still sensitive character, adjustable and interesting, fascinating and still steady… each of the characters within this book are thrilling… they all have a dangerous and deadly side – no matter how fragile they seem to be. The book descriptions are detailed, the character development is impressive and the adventures, ‘The Anjin-san’ has to go through are changing him and the ones who meet him. Life and death, joy and sadness, plans, counter-plans, and the deepest secrets are that close together, they are tangled in a web of silk and makeup… It’s easy to read why I love that book so much, isn’t it?


Winnetou – Karl May

Blurb

Complete Winnetou Trilogy – 3-volume edition. The adventures of Old Shatterhand, the young German adventurer, and Winnetou, the young Apache chief. During his first journey into the Wild West, a young greenhorn—Karl May, the adventurer—meets a young Apache, called Winnetou, while performing his job as a railroad surveyor in the Wild West. The first encounter is not at all amicable and during a violent Indian attack, the young German is near-fatally wounded. He is taken to the Apache pueblo to be nursed back to health, destined to die by torture at the stake…

My opinion

I particularly picked the entire Winnetou Trilogy, which means Winnetou I, II and III. I grew up with these books. (Actually, I grew up with the movies, but I’ll get to them later).  The Winnetou adventures were written by German author Karl May. I loved the Winnetou and Old Shatterhand adventures when I was a kid. They were very fantastic and still, these two heroes, weren’t they just made to dream? They probably were. Winnetou, a young Apache chief meets his German friend in the first book. Not that they were friends from the beginning, they fought, before their friendship. Once they are ‘brothers’ they have to go through many adventures.

I only found out many years later that the movies I grew up with, were ‘loosely’ based on the Karl-May-books. I, very carefully, say loosely, because looking back, the books are quite good, even though they are not ‘only’ fiction – they are simply fantasy… the movies are simply craptastic!

I read the books and loved it – later on, I did some research about Karl May’s life and learned that my ‘far-traveled’ author-hero had never seen the United States when he started writing the Winnetou-books. This trilogy, by the way, doesn’t hold the only Winnetou-adventures. He wrote 18 Winnetou and Old Shatterhand adventures. Now: not only did Karl May never see the Wild West but he also had the outrageous impudence to write the books in the first person – as the ‘German Adventurer’ and makes himself ‘Sharlih’ – Winnetous brother and hero of the books. This, and parts of his inglorious life turned my high opinion about this author into a slight contempt… but I admit, my reluctance towards the author did not make me love the book characters less.


The Long Masquerade – Madeleine Brent

Blurb

It is 1897, and a small ship sails the Caribbean, trading between the islands. This is the only home of a man and a girl who are runaways bearing false names, living constantly in fear of arrest for murder.
It was in a very different life that the girl, Casey, formerly known as Emma Delaney, married Oliver Foy and so became mistress of Diabolo Hall, one of the great houses of Jamaica. She found it a house well named, for indeed a devil dwelt there, a devil who meant to break her to his will.
Her beloved servant and retainer, Daniel Choong, put an end to that sinister marriage on the night of a great storm, and throughout the long sea-gypsy wanderings that followed, Casey has learnt the skills on which survival depends.
But this life is also to end in disaster, and Casey is brought penniless to England, there to meet again the man who is her friend’s enemy, the man who gambles, the man who possesses what voodoo believers fear as the ‘evil eye’. How love comes to Casey, and with it new danger and agonising decisions, is told in this latest Madeleine Brent story of mystery, romance and high adventure.

My opinion

I picked this one book of the existing Madeleine Brent books for no particular reason. I love them all. Madeleine Brent, which was long one of the best-guarded secrets in the literary world, is the pseudonym of British author Peter O’Donnell.

His Madeleine Brent books were ‘Historical’ English Romance books, the heroines are young English ladies in unusual life situations who have to go through all kinds of adventures – until at the end a huge surprise turns everything into a Happy End. Oh – and there is quite a nice romance involved as well. The perfect cute books to read… unfortunately they don’t exist as e-books but only as mass paperbacks, paperbacks and hardcovers. But I love them because they’re entertaining, smart, tangled and romantic and cute to read. When I read about the author’s secret I could hardly believe the books were really written by a man.

Madeleine Brent books:

The Capricorn Stone

Tregaron’s Daughter

The Long Masquerade

A Heritage Of Shadows

Kirkby’s Changeling  (Stranger at Wildings)

Stormswift

Moonraker’s Bride

Golden Urchin

Moonraker’s Bride


Deceptions – Judith Michael

Book Blurb

In a glittering world of lazy luxury, Sabrina reigns supreme. Invited to the most elegant parties, pursued by the most desirable men, she yearned for something more. . . . Her twin, Stephanie, is safely married with two adorable children and has everything in life that Sabrina lacks. But Stephanie longs to live like her rich and carefree sister. Changing places was to be their little secret. The game was never meant to get out of control. Neither of them dreamed how easy it would be to get lost in a maze of deceptions. . . .

My opinion

Deceptions is an excellently written book about twin sisters switching their lives for a ‘fleeting moment’ and then get caught in their own game. When I read the book I was very surprised how detailed not only the fun part of the adventure was described, but also the guilt, the inner conflicts and the motivations within the twin sisters. Of course, they didn’t want to hurt anyone. But this is a secret; a secret only the sisters know about… it is a given that others get hurt in the process… The story is perfect the way it is and I love it. By the way: There’s also a movie about this story – with Stephanie Powers as Stephanie and Sabrina. Let me say it this way: Read the book and save yourself the time and nerves it needs to watch that movie. Stephanie Powers is wonderful! – But the rest of the movie is a waste of time.