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Rezensionen verfasst von
Gail Cooke (TX, USA)

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Fun, Funky and Fabulous: New Orleans' Casual Restaurant Recipes
Fun, Funky and Fabulous: New Orleans' Casual Restaurant Recipes
von Jyl Benson
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 24,22

5.0 von 5 Sternen A PLEASURE TO BROWSE AND TO USE, 29. April 2015
What would you title a book that’s unique, a bit outre, fun to browse and full of delicious recipes that make you want to run to your kitchen? (That is if you can’t hop a quick flight to New Orleans!) Fun, Funky and Fabulous is more than apropos for this delightful tour of affordable restaurants in the Crescent City (?) There’s also a bit of history thrown in and F, F and F also serves as a handy guide to various neighborhoods and where to eat in each of them.

Now, the dining is always casual but the dishes are more than delicious - you’ll find MoPho, Purtoo, Toup’s Meatery, Juan’sFlying Burrito and more. Ever tempting, always changing, innovative and exciting these recipes are unlike any others you’re apt to find.

Benson knows her territory well and describes it with affection. She has worked with the New Orleans Times-Picayune, and served as a regional reporter covering the southeastern United States for both the New York Times and Time Magazine.

Each section is headed by some of the most charming folk art to be found by Simon Hardeveld who is known as Simon of New Orleans. Originally from France his illustrations are unique and memorable.

Originally from London and now resident New Orleans photographer Sam Hanna’s photographs are so luscious that you want to pick up a fork and dig in. There are over 50 color photos - each mouth watering.

Fun, Funky and Fabulous is a pleasure to browse as well as to use given to us by three who quite obviously love their city and its cuisine.

Enjoy!

- Gail Cooke


Past Crimes: A Van Shaw Mystery (English Edition)
Past Crimes: A Van Shaw Mystery (English Edition)
Preis: EUR 7,49

4.0 von 5 Sternen A PROMISING DEBUT, 24. April 2015
With his debut novel the author introduces us to a new hero as tough and savvy as they come - Van Shaw is a combat veteran recovering from random shrapnel injuries when he receives a letter from his grandfather, Dono, simply saying, “Come home if you can.” Van understands the “if you can” coming from his grandfather to mean please, a word not often used by Dono, and why now? The two had been estranged for a number of years and Dono was a thief, albeit a gifted one.

Van had been raised by Dono to follow in the old man’s footsteps and he was an apt pupil. But at the age of 18 he’d left that life behind him by joining the Army. Now, after ten years he returns to find that Dono has been shot and is near death. Outside of the fact that due to the known tension between the two men he might become the primary suspect Van wants to find out who would shoot Dono and why. In order to do this Van must reconnect with Dono’s old cronies and use every bit of skill he had learned as a criminal not only to find the shooter but to survive.

With Seattle and its waters as a backdrop the story develops in two narratives - the current investigation into Dono’s assault and memories of Van’s time as a lawbreaker. In order to solve the mystery Van must discover what Dono has been doing that might lead to this. Along the way we meet some exciting ancillary characters who may be a bit nefarious but still don’t want Dono dead. Now, mix in a bit of romance and a cache of diamonds and you have a stay-up-all-night thriller.

Kudos to Glen Erik Hamilton for a well crafted thriller, and looking forward to more.

Enjoy!

- Gail Cooke


Hot Pursuit (Stone Barrington, Band 33)
Hot Pursuit (Stone Barrington, Band 33)
von Stuart Woods
  Audio CD
Preis: EUR 37,20

5.0 von 5 Sternen STONE BARRINGTON - ONE OF MY FAVORITE FICTIONAL CHARACTERS, 14. April 2015
Stone Barrington, one of this author’s most exciting and enduring series characters returns in a can’t-stop-listening-to mix of thrills, danger and surprises. Acclaimed screen and TV actor Tony Roberts gives topnotch voice to this action filled tale as Stone faces down terrorists and thugs alike.

Hard to believe this is Edgar winner Woods’s 33rd Barrington tale yet it has not lost one drop of its vinegar - nonetheless, ‘tis true. It begins with Stone taking possession of a new Citation M2 jet at a Kansas airfield. No surprise that the jet’s copilot is a really good looking gal, Pat Frank, with whom Stone soon finds much in common. When her ex-boyfriend who happens to be a stalker shows up they skedaddle to London.

Of course, things aren’t quiet in D.C. as Stone’s good friend President Katharine Rule Lee is top of the list for some terrorist assassins. Nor is all well on the international scene. However, once back in New York Stone accept a senatorial invite to join a tony club, and Pat’s former boyfriend seems adept at making big trouble - two tenants in a building just deeded to Pat are murdered.

Does Stone have enough on his plate? Of course, but that’s the pleasure in reading one of his tales and vicariously enjoying his luxe but dangerous life style.

Enjoy!

- Gail Cooke


Not Quite Nice
Not Quite Nice
Preis: EUR 9,09

5.0 von 5 Sternen DELIGHTFULLY DROLL, 5. April 2015
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Not Quite Nice (Kindle Edition)
Yes, even the title is fun once you realize that Bellevue-sur-Mer is a more than picture/climate perfect town just outside of Nice where a group of older ex-pats have settled to reinvent themselves. And that they do with wit, grit and some glasses of lovely wine. There are new friends to be made, a few assignations, careers to be pursued, crime, and the happy reminder that it’s never too late - especially if you’re in the beautiful French Riviera.

Imrie has crafted a warm, funny, true debut that’s not to be missed. I only wish I hadn’t finished the book because it’s such a delight one never wants it to end. Mayhaps I’ll just read it again!

For starters we’re introduced to Theresa whose life is interrupted only by babysitting thoroughly obnoxious grandchildren and ungrateful harangues from an unappreciative daughter. She sells her London home and moves to Bellevue-sure-Mer imagining a life of peace and relaxation - little did she know!

Once settling herself into her new home Theresa begins to meet the band of foreigners who have joined together - seldom has such an array of eccentric folks been introduced. There is impeccably groomed, glamorous Carol and her devoted husband, David; former British TV star Sally; dangerous Sian and her wandering poet husband; Zoe who possesses an amazingly young face, and the urbane Brian who catches more than Theresa’s eye.

Of course, there are financial and family concerns, and secrets revealed. (Theresa is a terrific cook and Imrie includes some of her recipes, so if you can’t get to Bellevue-sur-Mer you can eat well and pretend.)

Enjoy!

- Gail Cooke


The Red Horseman (Jake Grafton)
The Red Horseman (Jake Grafton)
von Stephen Coonts
  MP3 CD
Preis: EUR 11,33

5.0 von 5 Sternen A COMPELLING THRILLER, 12. März 2015
Rezension bezieht sich auf: The Red Horseman (Jake Grafton) (MP3 CD)
This author’s creation of Jake Grafton gave us one of the most exciting good guys in contemporary adventure literature. Now (following Under Siege) we meet Grafton as a rear admiral and deputy director of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), a position that shoots the stakes up even higher when the future of our country and perhaps the world are involved.

Grafton is informed by a Mossad hitwoman that a Jewish media giant, Keren, was killed via poisoning thanks to the CIA. The same fate could be waiting for Grafton and his reliable friend, “Toad” Tarkington. As if that weren’t enough just as they are being sent to Moscow to oversee the dismantling of the Russian nuclear arsenal they find bugs in the DIA offices. Apparently this arsenal could be taken by mercenaries or even insane Russian nationalists. Grafton must stop this, but there are those, very dangerous ones who don’t want him to be able to do so.

So begins a thrilling adventure that takes us across continents, and into the minds of some of the world’s most vaunted and complex leaders.

Author/voice performer Benjamin L. Darcie delivers one more 5 star narration of one of the most compelling thrillers to be found.

Enjoy!

- Gail Cooke


Just Kids from the Bronx: Telling It the Way It Was: An Oral History
Just Kids from the Bronx: Telling It the Way It Was: An Oral History
von Arlene Alda
  Gebundene Ausgabe
Preis: EUR 27,52

5.0 von 5 Sternen SHEER DELIGHT, 6. März 2015
Reading this oral history as told by some who grew up in the Bronx makes one wish to have been born there. After all, as Mary Higgins Clark said, “There are only three places that have a ‘the’ in front of their name: the Vatican, The Hague and the Bronx.” Alda interviewed more than 60 Bronx natives and each has warm, down-to-earth, happy memories of growing up in those few blocks of New York.. And perhaps even more important than their rags to riches stories is the reminder that in America all things are possible.

This author must be a sincere, sympathetic listener for folks have told her all kinds of stories which she shares with us whether it be Carl Reiner’s father who is described as not being a joiner so they weren’t members of a synagogue yet he talked a rabbi into renting a synagogue in a poor neighborhood for Carl’s bar mitzvah - attended only by his father, mother, brother and a group of old bearded strangers.

The aforementioned Mary Higgins Clark lived on the same block as Jake LaMotta and a fellow down the block who was envied because his son had a “snappy roadster.” Turns out the envied fellow was on the “Ten Most Wanted List.”

Whether it be Regis Philbin, Colin Powell, Al Pacino or a host of others including the enterprising young fellow who made pin money by answering the phone in the neighborhood candy store then running down the block to tell someone they had a phone call. (Most people before the war didn’t have phones.) So, the boy would simply pick up the phone with, “Who do you want to talk to?’ Then ascertain the address and apartment number. He says if he was lucky he only had to run down the block and up two flights. Yes, tipping was hoped for - two pennies was a weak tip, a nickel a good tip and a dime was pure gold!

Don’t miss Just Kids From the Bronx - sheer delight!

- Gail Cooke


Menswear Illustration
Menswear Illustration
von Richard Kilroy
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 22,95

5.0 von 5 Sternen THE LATEST BY THE BEST, 1. März 2015
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Menswear Illustration (Taschenbuch)
These are not your grandfather’s idea of menswear illustrations, not your father’s and perhaps not even yours...yet. However, you’ll be amazed, amused and hooked by the 290 illustrations chosen by fashion illustrator Richard Kilroy. True, as the author notes there are a number of recent books focusing on contemporary menswear but precious few devoted entirely to contemporary menswear illustration - here’s yours! Actually, for this reader it’s a book whose time has come. Unless you live on an isolated island you’ve become aware of the phenomenal growth of menswear sales. (Just take a look at the companion growth of men’s toiletries.) Men are having a grand time expressing themselves through the clothing they wear, and women are enjoying the parade.

Kilroy has featured over 200 images by 40 topnotch artists and designers - these are visuals such as we’ve not seen before. Some are drawn in pencil, others found in a sketchbook or digitally rendered. All capture the eye and imagination whether they are the sketches of Richard Haines which are taken from the streets of New York or the more delicate drawings of Cedric Rivrain for Lanvin.

Featured artists include established names as well as promising newcomers. Each is introduced by a short bit about their background and influences followed by selections of their recent work.

Suggest you add Menswear Illustration to your collection of coffee table books and see the response of your guests - enthusiasm and conversation unlimited!

- Gail Cooke


There Must Be Some Mistake: A Novel
There Must Be Some Mistake: A Novel
von Frederick Barthelme
  Gebundene Ausgabe
Preis: EUR 24,60

5.0 von 5 Sternen PURE PLEASURE, 18. Februar 2015
Someone once called Barthelme a “Kmart realist” - couldn’t have said it better meself and wish I’d said. This author stands alone in American literature as he captures the beauty of the mundane, the strangeness of our contemporary life, and does it all with a wry, wonderful warmth and humor. If you’re looking for a book that’s going to tell a story and then wrap it all up neatly at the end this is not it. But, if you’d like a delightful journey that is brilliantly narrated and genuinely atmospheric this is it.

We meet Wallace Webster, a 50+ fellow who lives alone in a condo development called Forgetful Bay in Kemah, Texas. (Barthelme’s take on the residents meetings is more than worth the price of admission.) Wallace’s solitary life is interrupted by visits from his college-age daughter, Morgan, (the offspring of a previous failed marriage. And, yes, we are introduced to his former wife. Another visitor is Jilly, a younger former colleague who we may think has Wallace’s number, but then who really does?

Unlikely as it may sound a string of apparently accidental deaths occur at Forgetful Bay, and Wallace becomes involved with Chantal who hasn’t a very squeaky clean history. Diversions may be dinners at an Olive Garden where the food was “execrable in the best possible way, as usual,” or desserts - ice cream bars at a gas station. All of this Barthelme recounts with affection, optimism and robust good humor.

There Must Be Some Mistake is pure pleasure, filled with comments you’ll find yourself repeating to friends, neighbors, anyone who will listen.

Enjoy!

- Gail Cooke


Blood Infernal (Blood Gospel)
Blood Infernal (Blood Gospel)
von James Rollins
  Gebundene Ausgabe
Preis: EUR 18,55

5.0 von 5 Sternen TALES LIKE THIS DON'T OFTEN COME ALONG...., 14. Februar 2015
We’ve been waiting for it, and here it is - the epic conclusion to the groundbreaking trilogy created by James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell. Their mix of ancient history, gothic mystery, religion, and modern science hooked millions with first Blood Gospel (2013), and then Innocent Blood (2014), which left us waiting for the final battle between good and evil. For me Blood Infernal stands alone, the first two need not be read to thoroughly enjoy the last. However, for an exciting full reading experience I would suggest all three. Tales such as these don’t often come along.

Opening with a stunner Blood Infernal begins with a series of dreadful murders, and finding archaeologist Erin Granger having to uncover the meaning behind a long lost prophecy, the word of Christ written in his own blood. There is evil abroad and she along with Sergeant Jordan Stone and Father Rhum Korza must stop it before the world is lost and Lucifer reigns.

However, their foes are staggering including Legion, a demon on earth who wears many guises and has great power - strength enough to crumble the walls of the Vatican. Erin must muster all of her knowledge to try to discover what happened immediately following man’s departure from the Garden of Eden. She and the others must cross time lines and search throughout the world from the Vatican’s musty archives to medieval laboratories, homes of ancient alchemies. Their pursuit is dogged by creatures with strange other worldly gifts.

There are numerous riddles, clues, arduous tests only to discover the monumental cost of victory - can it be paid?

Harrowing, hypnotic Blood Infernal is not to be missed.

- Gail Cooke


Big Cats: In Search of Lions, Leopards, Cheetahs, and Tigers
Big Cats: In Search of Lions, Leopards, Cheetahs, and Tigers
von Steve Bloom
  Gebundene Ausgabe
Preis: EUR 15,86

5.0 von 5 Sternen A MUST FOR ANIMAL LOVERS, 6. Februar 2015
Few of us ever have the pleasure of going on safari and seeing some of the most beautiful animals in the world in their natural habitats. However, even if we were able to do that in all probability we would not see them as closely as we do in these incomparable photographs taken by natural-history photographer Steve Bloom. He traveled the world to capture the lives of big cats, their family structures, methods of hunting, and how they manage to survive in the most challenging conditions.

While this book is recommended for children adults will not be able to resist it - 48 pages filled with amazing photographs as well as notes re a particular animal.

For instance, the female cheetah usually has three to five cubs at a time. She spends two years teaching them the skills they’ll need to survive and then they’re on their own in the wild. When they’re young she often leaves her cubs hidden in the tall grass (their spotted fur helps to hide them) while she goes hunting. She is always alert, listening for any threatening noise, and moves her cubs at regular intervals to keep them safe. She is to put it succinctly a terrific mom.

Leopards, lions, tigers, they’re all here regal in their beauty, aware thanks to their amazing senses, and ferocious to protect themselves and their families.

Steve Bloom’s photos are truly astounding - his double page close-up of a tiger’s face is unforgettable. Big Cats is a must for animal lovers of all ages.

Enjoy!

- Gail Cooke


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