Saturday, November 30, 2013

My Life...

Monthly Rewind

My Pic of November
At the end of November we had the first snow this winter and if you look closely you can see the flakes dancing at the top of the picture.
November in One Sentence
Full of New Releases
At the beginning of November so many great books were released. 
Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Carriger
Step Back In Time by Ali McNamara
Raising Steam by Terry Pratchett
I waited so long for the releases of those three books and started counting down the days.
I won Step Back In Time at a Giveaway hosted by the lovely Jana from That Artsy Reader Girl, already read it and adored it. I didn't preorder Raising Steam and learned my lesson. I went into a bookstore to buy it on the day of its release and it wasn't available due to delivery problems. So I had to wait for almost a week till it arrived but now it looks so pretty on my bookshelf. 

4 Things that Happened in November
  • All of my students had exams in November so I worked a lot. 
  • I also spent some time doing course work for one of my seminars at university. It was a seminar about classroom management and we had three sessions each and every one eight hours long and we learned so much. It was one of the best courses about teaching I ever had and I met some nice colleagues with whom I will definitely meet again. 
  • After almost a year three good friends and I managed to meet again all four of us. We are all swamped with work and two started a new job in that year. It is really hard finding a day where four girls are free but we managed, went for a drink and talked so much. I really hope it won't take so long till we see each other again. 
  • My grandma celebrated her brithday and we had a nice family lunch with my mum's side of the family. 
A Song that Was Popular on My I-Pod
Compass by Lady Antebellum

Books I Read this Month 
  • Gail Carriger - Curtsies & Conspiracies
  • Ally Carter - United We Spy
  • Marni Bates - Decked With Holly
  • Anne George - Murder Runs The Family
  • Ali McNamara - Step Back In Time
  • Jill Shalvis - Under the Mistletoe
  • Amy Spalding - The Reece Malcom List 
  • Angie Stanton - Snowed Over
  • Jenny Colgan - Christmas at Rosie Hopkins' Sweetshop 
  • Janet Evanovich - Twelve Sharp 
  • Shannon Stacey - Holiday Sparks
11 books
 2923 pages 
A TV series I liked this month
I have a soft spot for crime series and I think my absolutely favorite is Castle.
Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic - a dream team!
Richard Castle is a mystery writer, looking for a muse for his new book series, finding it in Kate Beckett, a New York cop in the homicide department. Kate's two colleagues Kevin Ryan and Javier Esposito complete the fabulous four. I'm pretty sure I know almost all episodes that are out in Austria and I often know who the killer is after some minutes but if I have a chance I watch the episode when it's on TV. Honestly, crime series are my guilty pleasure.   

Things I'm Looking Forward to in December
  • Christmas!
  • Meeting with my old school friends and our teacher for mulled wine and food. A tradition we started right after we graduated high school and did ever since. 
  • Going shopping for presents. I love looking for just the right present or just browsing the shops, knowing that I have all my presents at home while all the others are hurrying and are stressed out. Yes, I am cruel like that!
  • Visiting Christmas markets with friends and family. 
  • The Christmas party from work - always nice to meet all the other teachers and share "war stories". 
  • Christmas break!
  • Getting into a festive mood, listening to Christmas music, baking cookies and enjoying the Christmas season. 
  • Blogmas! (which starts tomorrow!)

Felix in November
You can cuddle with this cutie for hours every evening. He will never object.

Thursday, November 28, 2013 pictures

Winter officially arrived in Vienna!

When it comes to snow I am still like a small kid and get all excited. I love snow and the first snow is something that gets me really into the Christmas mood. On Tuesday the first snow hit Vienna and I took some pictures. A friend of mine also commented that I walk around the city smiling just because I love those tiny flakes of snow landing on my head so much.

 the kids built the first snowman

On Wednesday most of the snow already thawed but the day was beautiful and sunny, we didn't have sunshine in almost two weeks, and walking Felix was so nice. Soaking up the sun and walking over the last bits of crisp snow.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013 books

Murder on a Bad Hair Day
by Anne George

Murder on a Bad Hair Day is the second book in the Southern Sisters Mystery series
and I would highly recommend reading Murder on a Girl's Night Out first!

First sentences:
I tell you, Patricia Anne, I'm sick and tired of always being some man's sex slave.” Mary Alice shut the kitchen door firmly and headed for the stove. “Is this fresh coffee?”

It's hard to believe practical, petite ex-schoolteacher Patricia Anne and amiable, ample-bodied, and outrageous Mary Alice are sisters, yet sibling rivalry has survived decades of good-natured disagreement about everything from husbands to hair color. No sooner do the Southern sisters discover a common interest in some local art, when they're arguing the artistic merits of some well-coiffured heads at a gallery opening. A few hours later, one of those pretty ladies ends up dead with not a hair out of place. The other shows up on Patricia Anne's doorstep dazed, disheveled, and telling a wild tale of a narrow escape from some deadly cuts. Now the sisters are once again combing for clues to catch a killer with a bizarre style in art and murder.
source: Goodreads

My opinion:
Murder on a Bad Hair Day is the second book in the Southern Sisters Mystery series by Anne George and perfect sequel to Murder on a Girl's Night Out.

In this novel Mary Alice and her sister Patricia Anne go to an art gallery opening and shorty after they left the owner of the gallery gets murdered and her assistant and Patricia Anne's former student appears at Patricia Anne's door and begs for help before collapsing.

In the middle of the Christmas rush the two sisters need to solve another murder and during their investigation they find themselves in some really funny situations and get into tricky ones too.

Murder on a Bad Hair Day is a funny, thrilling and entertaining read and perfect for the holiday season (as perfect as a mystery can be before Christmas). If you like witty conversations, awesome characters, a wonderful storyline and a fast paced book you should check out Anne George's books. I could not put Murder on a Bad Hair Day down and had to laugh so hard while reading.

The books in the Southern Sisters Mystery series are:
  • Murder on A Girls' Night Out (read my review here)
  • Murder on A Bad Hair Day
  • Murder Runs in the Family
  • Murder Makes Waves
  • Murder Gets A Life
  • Murder Shoots the Bull
  • Murder Carries A Torch
  • Murder Boogies with Elvis
For more information about Anne George visit her Homepage.

Monday, November 25, 2013 pictures

This week's topic will be: 
Twisting / Kurvig

Please link you post to mine in time. 
Submission period is between the 25th of November and the 2nd of December
(11:59 pm CET).

Tuesday, November 19, 2013 books

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish.
This week the girls want to know my
Top Ten Books I'd Recommend To A Reader Who's Reluctant To Reading Adult Books

Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella
There is no ghost I love more than great-aunt Sadie! For all of you who only know Sophie Kinsella as the author of the Shopaholic series go check out her standalone novels.
They are soooooo amazing!

Simply Irresistible by Jill Shalvis
Simply Irresistible is the first book in the Lucky Harbour series.
I adore this series and if I would allow it to myself I would have read all of them in one sitting.
I love Jill's writing style, the characters, the setting, …
Currently eight books are out and I have read five of them and cannot wait to read the next one.

I am a list-maker!
The Single Girl's To-Do List tells the story of Rachel dealing with the break-up from her boyfriend with the help of a to-do list and her two best friends.

If you never read any Jenny Colgan book and you love cooking and baking – read it!

A Taste For It by Monica McInerney
A Taste For It was the first of Monica's books I read.
I love it so much that I have a well-loved German version, an equally well-loved English version and a signed copy sent to me by Monica, which I treasure since it is one of my favorite contemporary novels and was the first signed book I ever received!

Breakfast At Darcy's by Ali McNamara
Breakfast at Darcy's is Ali's second book and my absolute favorite.
I discovered Ali's books in late 2010 and fell in love with her writing immediately.
If you are looking for a wonderful story with fantastic characters give her books a try.

Rescue Me by Rachel Gibson
I was introduced to Rachel Gibson's books through a friend who gave me one of her books as a birthday present (yes, my friends still dare to give me books) and it turned out to be a mixture of adult and mystery and I if you know me a bit you will know that I love cozy mysteries so this was the perfect book for me. Rescue Me is the story of Sadie who returns back home to Lovett, Texas and needs to fight against the ghosts of her past.

Exclusively Yours by Shannon Stacey
Exclusively Yours is the first book in the Kowalski Family series.
I can also highly recommend the other books in the series.

Spin the Bottle by Monica McInerney
Spin the Bottle is a bit deeper than your normal contemporary novel and tells the story of Lainey and her family who live in Melbourne but inherit a B&B in Ireland. Since Lainey is the only member of her family able to go away for a year she is forced to move overseas by her family.
The book follows the struggles she encounters along the way.
As usual with Monica's books it it heartwarming, lovely but heartbreaking too!

Friendship Bread by Darien Gee
Friendship Bread is also a heartwarming but heartbreaking story of a whole town and the lives of the inhabitants.

Monday, November 18, 2013 pictures

This week's topic will be: 
Brown / Braun

Please link you post to mine in time. 
Submission period is between the 18th and the 25th of November 
(11:59 pm CET).

Sunday, November 17, 2013 books

Showcase Sunday is weekly meme hosted by Vicky at Books, Biscuits & Tea which was inspired by In My Mailbox from Kristie at The Story Siren.
It is a possibility for us to show what amazing books we got during the week.
It's been a while since my last Showcase Sunday and I've been really good at not buying books but recently there were so many awesome releases that I've been waiting for for almost a year. So I bought some books over the last weeks and want to show them to you today. 

 Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Carriger 
(Book 2 in the Finishing School series)

Raising Steam by Terry Pratchett
Step Back In Time by Ali McNamara

Calling Mrs. Christmas by Carole Matthews
Christmas at Claridge's by Karen Swan 

Friday, November 15, 2013 books

Murder on a Girls' Night Out
by Anne George

First sentence:
Mary Alice flung her purse on my kitchen table, where it landed with a crash, pulled a stool over to the counter and perched on it.

Patricia Anne, a suburban housewife, is plagued by sibling rivalries in the form of her sister, Mary Alice. Both in their sixties, these sisters are total opposites. Blood ties prove strong when Patricia Anne joins Mary Alice in surveying her most recent purchase - a country western bar. Before the final papers are signed, the owner is murdered and the sisters investigate.

My opinion:
I have stumbled over one of the books of this series in the German translation many years ago in my local library and after reading the first chapter I knew that I had to buy the whole series in English.

Murder on a Girls' Night Out is the story of the two very different 60+ year old sisters Mary Alice, who just bought a country western bar, and Patricia Anne, a retired high school teacher. Mary Alice is the loud, outgoing, crazy, adventurous, three times widowed, rich sister who is always on the look-out for fun and new things while Patricia Anne is the calmer, not as impulsive sister, happily married to her husband Fred. However Mary Alice manages to bring Patricia Anne in crazy, slightly dangerous situations all the time which annoys not only Patricia Anne but also her husband.

Murder on a Girls' Night Out starts with Mary Alice buying a country western bar but unfortunately the current owner is found dead in the wishing well. Somehow the two sisters start to investigate and get sucked deeper into danger with every question they ask.

During their “investigations” they meet Bonnie Blue Butler, who was a waitress at the Skoot 'n' Boot, Mary Alice's bar, and is a spitting image of Mary Alice despite the fact that she's black and Henry, the cook, who is a former student of Patricia Anne.

Murder on a Girl's Night Out is the perfect introduction to a wonderful cozy mystery series. I laughed so hard that tears streamed down my face, tried to solve the mystery before the end (one of my hobbies – I also do this when watching crime series with my mum) and could not put it down.

I can highly recommend this mystery novel to all of you out there who like reading cozy mysteries or want a sneak peak into this genre.

The books in the Southern Sisters Mystery series are:
  • Murder on A Girls' Night Out
  • Murder on A Bad Hair Day
  • Murder Runs in the Family
  • Murder Makes Waves
  • Murder Gets A Life
  • Murder Shoots the Bull
  • Murder Carries A Torch
  • Murder Boogies with Elvis
For more information about Anne George visit her Homepage.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013 books

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish.
This week the girls want to know my
Top Ten Covers I Wish I Could Redesign
Book covers I would redesign completely
 Little Women and Me by Lauren Baratz-Lougsted

Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill

Reunited by Hilary Weisman Graham

Decked with Holly by Marni Bates

 When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle

 God Save the Queen by Kate Locke

I'm The Vampire That's Why by Michele Bardsley
Kiss & Blog by Alyson Noel

Book where I prefer the German cover:
 Phoenix Rising by Pip Ballantine & Tee Morris

Reckless by Cornelia Funke

Monday, November 11, 2013 pictures

This week's topic will be: 
Fun / Spaß

Please link you post to mine in time. 

Submission period is between the 11th and the 18th of November

(11:59 pm CET).

Friday, November 8, 2013 books

City of Bones
by Cassandra Clare

First sentence:
You've got to be kidding me,” the bouncer said, folding his arms across his massive chest.

When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder – much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It's hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing -- not even a smear of blood – to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary's first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It's also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace's world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know....
source: Goodreads

My opinion:
City of Bones was the first Cassandra Clare book I read and I really enjoyed it.

It seems as if Clary, the main character, is unintentionally involved in the whole Shadowhunter scene when she witnesses a murder in a club in New York City but quickly it becomes clear that she is somehow interconnected with the Shadowhunters and that her mother kept a big part of her former life secret from Clary to keep her safe. With her mother disappearing and Clary being attacked by a demon she tries to find out as much as possible about her mother's past and with the help of Jace, a Shadowhunter, and her best friend Simon soon discovers that her life is not as it seemed.

Jace, an arrogant Shadowhunter who lives in the New York Institute, a safe place for all Shadowhunters, with the siblings Isabelle and Alec Lightwood and their mentor Hodge, takes Clary to the institute after she was attacked by a demon in her own home and slowly starts to develop interest in her story and wants to help her solve the mysteries involving her mother's disappearance even though Alec and Isabelle are against bringing a mundane into the institute.

Over the last years many great YA books were published and the market was floated with paranormal, fantasy, werewolf, vampire stories. Many of those, including City of Bones, were really hyped up, which is something I personally don't like. I usually avoid reading those books and when I finally read them the hype usually died down a bit. I also try not to expect too much from books because there always is the possibility of not liking it. City of Bones was really hyped up when it was first published and even over the years the excitement over Cassandra Clare's writing never died down.

I first read City of Bones in January 2012 and was not able to find the right words for a review but after reading this urban fantasy novel again this year I was at least able to find some words to describe it.

The characters are portrayed really well and I was able to see the story evolve before my inner eye and even after reading lots of paranormal, urban fantasy stories over the last year(s) the storyline is still unique and the concept of Shadowhunters fascinates me every time.

I can highly recommend City of Bones and I am looking forward to continuing this series as well as reading The Infernal Devices series.

The books in The Mortal Instruments series are:
  • City of Bones
  • City of Ashes
  • City of Glass
  • City of Fallen Angles
  • City of Lost Souls
  • City of Heavenly Fire (expected publication: May 6th 2014)

For more information about Cassandra Clare visit her Homepage, Blog, Facebook or Twitter page.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 books

Curtsies & Conspiracies
by Gail Carriger

Curtsies & Conspiracies is the second book in Gail Carriger's Finishing School series!
You don't have to read Etiquette &Espionage before reading this one 
but I highly recommend it!

First sentences:
Miss Temminnick. Miss Plumleigh-Teignmott. With me, please, ladies.” Sophronia glanced up from her household sums. She was glad of the distraction.

Does one need four fully-grown foxgloves for decorating a dinner table for six guests? Or is it six foxgloves to kill four fully-grown guests? Sophronia's first year at school has certainly been rousing. First, her finishing school is training her to be a spy (won't Mumsy be surprised!). Secondly, she gets mixed up in an intrigue over a stolen device and has a cheese pie thrown at her. Now, as Sophronia sneaks around the dirigible school, eavesdropping on the teachers' quarters and making clandestine climbs to the ship's boiler room, she learns that there may be more to a school trip to London than at first appears ...

Vampires, werewolves, and humans are all after the prototype Sophronia recovered in Etiquette & Espionage, which has the potential to alter human and supernatural travel. Sophronia must try to uncover who is behind a dangerous plot to control the prototype as well as survive the London season with a full dance card.
source: Goodreads

My opinion:
Curtsies & Conspiracies is the second book in the Finishing School series by Gail Carriger and as good as the all of her other books. The official publication date was November 5th, 2013 but I found it at my bookstore on October 31st and had to buy it. I might have done a little happy dance as well.

The book starts with Sophronia, Dimity and their friends being at Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality for six months now. Every student has to undertake a test after this time period which decides if are allowed to stay at school or not. Sophronia solves the test with her usual knowledge and unconventional way of thinking but as she is declared the best of her little group of friends the girls start avoiding her and she can't figure out what she did to annoy them so much. Even Dimity, her best friend and roommate ignores her. Shortly after this incident it is announced that their school will travel to London which excites the girls tremendously.

Curtsies & Conspiracies is a wonderful sequel to Etiquette & Espionage and written in Gail Carriger's typical witty, funny and engaging style which I love so much.
Sophronia is a headstrong and ambitious lady who not only enjoys her education and her nightly trips to the sooties, especially Soap, but would do everything for her friends.
Dimity, Sophronia's best friend, is a typical lady and familiar with all ladylike behaviour, including fainting, flirting and blushing but is always there to help her friend when she needs someone to distract the people surrounding them or fashion advice.
Soap is one of my personal favorites. He is a sootie at Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality and even though he thinks he stands beneath Sorphonia she sees him as one of her best friends. She can always count on Soap and I think he is the one who keeps Sophronia grounded at prevents her from becoming a lady (which is good, don't get me wrong here).

With Curtsies & Conspiracies Gail Carriger managed to created a wonderful sequel in a highly addicting Steampunk series and I highly recommend it for Steampunk lovers and those who are looking for a soft entry into this genre. Sophronia’s story is set before the Parasol Protectorate series telling the story of Alexia Tarabotti but we meet some already well known characters in the Finishing School series.

I cannot wait for Waistcoats & Weaponry to be published so that I can continue this amazing journey with Sophronia and all the others at Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.

The books in the Finishing School series are:
  • Etiquette & Espionage (read my review here)
  • Curtsies & Conspiracies
  • Waistcoats & Weaponry (expected publication: 2014)
  • Manners & Mutiny (no publication date given yet)

For more information about Gail Carriger visit her Homepage, her Blog and her Facebook and Twitter page.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 books

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish.
This week the girls want to know my 
Top Ten Sequels I Can't Wait To Get My Hands On

Awaiting publication:
Raising Steam by Terry Pratchett 
(expected publication: November 7th, 2013)
Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Carriger 
 (expected publication: November 5th, 2013)

Waistcoats & Weaponry by Gail Carriger
(expected publication: 2014)
Manners & Mutiny by Gail Carriger
(expected publication: non found)
Silent Night by Jack Sheffield
(expected publication: December 5th, 2013)
The Unbound by Victoria Schwab
(expected publication: January 28th, 2014)

The Chase by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg
(expected publication: February 25th, 2014)
Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
(expected publication: May 13th, 2014)
Already published:
Always on my Mind by Jill Shalvis