Saturday, May 27, 2006

Sidney Sheldon and Jilliane Hoffman

I also read Sidney Sheldon's Are You Afraid Of The Dark? and Jilliane Hoffman's Last Witness in May, but I think they deserve their very own post with a short review for various reasons...

Are ou Afraid Of The Dark? got to me through the same book box The Momory Game did. Only this time I didn't know the author had hardly heard anything of him (and if so I most likely didn't pay attention). The backcover blurb sounded really interesting, but there where other books I wanted to read as well. So which books to pick and which books to put back in the box for the others? I decided I would simply start reading the book and decided whether or not I wanted to keep it while reading the first hundred or so pages. It was a bad idea - or amybe a good one? - because the next day I had already finished the book. It was such a thrilling, nerve-tearing, interesting, suspense-ladden mystery/thriller!
It all starts with four deaths in four different cities all over the world. No one really connects the murders, until two widows meet at the office of their deceased husbands' employer. They start to talk and soon they discover they're being followed and someone wants them dead. They only don't know why their husbands had to die and why they're being followed around and attacked. When they discover what happened it is almost too late.
I sinmply couldn't put this book down and had to read on and on. In the end it took me about 24 hours from the first to the last pages - with sleeping and all, well not much of that, but anyway!

With Jilliane Hoffman's Last Witness I knew what I was getting myself into. Having read and loved her first mystery starring C.J. Townsend, I just had to get her second! After C.J. took care of the conviction of William Bantling, supposed to be the serial killer "Cupid", she thinks everything is alright now. Until one night she gets called to a crime scene where a cop has been brutally killed. This cop happened to be one of the few men who knew the secret, who knew what happend during the ivnestigation of Cupid's murders and it's trial. When a second and third cop are killed in the same brutal fashion, C.J. knows she has to do something to protect others from being killed.
I can't really say much more about the book without giving away the story, but let me tell you one thing. If you haven't read Retribution already,but intend to read Last Witness you might want to know that the second builds up on the story of the first. It's pretty much crucial that you read the first one!
These two books are really brutal and the murders and everythign around it explained in a colorful way, so if you can't stand the gory-tpye mysteries you might want to leave Jilliane Hoffman's books out.
What I especially liked about both books was that Jilliane Hoffman could explain things quite good - her being a former proecutor with the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office and working as the Regional Legal Advisor for the FloridaDepartment of Law Enforcement, she knew her business.

Reading...

It's been ages since I last wrote about what I'm reading, but for some reason I just couldn't find enough time to write proper reviews. I'll try to do better from now on, though I can't promise it. Sorry!

Here's what I read since finishing Stephen King's Carrie (my last book for April):

good book
so so book
bad book

Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus - The Nanny Diaries C 306
Janet Evanovich - High Five A- 317
Katherine Applegate - Now Zoey's Alone B- 173
Sidney Sheldon - Are You Afraid Of The Dark? B+ 398
Claire Bret├ęcher - Agrippine en famille A- 61
Katherine Applegate - Don't Forget Lara B 153
Katherine Applegate - Zoey's Broken Heart B- 164
Meg Cabot - Teen Idol B+ 266
Victoria Laurie - Abby Cooper, Psychic Eye A- 295
Nora Roberts - Black Rose C+ 414
Nicci French - The Memory Game F 29/390
Jilliane Hoffman - Last Witness B+ 386
Kate Mosse - Labyrinth F 90/694

Nicci French's The Memory Game and Kate Mosse's Labyrinth are the first two books I just couldn't finish for 2006.
No matter how hard I tried, Labyrinth just seemed to bor me to death. I didn't like that characters, they appeared to be flat, didn't come to live in my mind. Heck, this even happens when I'm reading an interesting case for law school, so I do think I can expect this from a fiction novel as well, don't you? I felt bored throughout the first 90 pages until I decided to dump it. Despite the fact that I was away from the book for about five days (I hoped this would make me want to get back to the book - a complete failure, that I can tell you!), I just couldn't put it up again.
Then The Memory Game - at first it seemed to be interesting. I got it via a book box over at Bookcrossing.com, I wanted to read it, but after the first few pages I knew it just wasn't my book. I'm not sure why, but it didn't grab me, so I decided I would give someone else the chance to read it. Maybe they like it better than me?

Also, The Nanny Diaries and Black Rose were not really my books, but they had something that made me finish them.
The Nanny Diaries is another book I got through Bookcrossing.com. I took part in a book ring and got this book in late April. I've heard ambivalent comments on this book. It appeared as if you either liked it or you didn't care about it. I obviously belong to the latter group. I read the book, it was okay, considering that the authors both worked as nannies for New York Cities upper class there sure might be some true aspects about the book, yet, it is a work of fiction. I assume some of the aspects of life as a nanny they brought up in the novel are true and they gathered them from the various families they had worked for, but during the first 60 or so pages I've already come to hate Grover's parents (the nanny in the book calls the little son Grover). His dad, Mr X, was at work all the time, Mrs X at first appeared to be a caring mother but then the reader discovered she actually is a self-absorbed, rich b*****. No one ever seemed to take care of the son, everyone except the nanny was mean to him or didn't want to talk to him. I don't know whether this is a 1:1 re-telling of life in the upper class, but I also don't really want to know.
Black Rose wasn't a bad book per se, had it been a stand-alone, I most likely would have enjoyed it, but it wasn't. In fact, it is the second in Mrs. Roberts' Garden trilogy revolving around the women (and men) that work at a garden center in the southern states. The women and one of the men (the eldest women's son) all live at the same estate the garden center is at and at the house there's a ghost. Well, I don't have anything against ghosts in books, but if the ghost is a whacko, then that's different. In this case it's the ghost of a younger woman who lived around the turn ov cenutries (1800/1900). At first she only sang to the children, usually teh boys, as long as they are kids. But when the women start to fall in love she does some crazy things (don't want to spoil the book, so I'll leave it at that). Well, the first one was still okay, not too weird, but with the second I had quite some problems. We'll see how this goes for the third. I intend to read it next time I'm at my parents'...

As for the other books - Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series, of which High Five is the third in series, is highly recommended. Stephanie Plum is a lingery buyer gone bounty hunter, erm, bail enforcement agent. In the fifth installment she has to look for her uncle who's gone missing at a shopping tour. Stephanie discovers that he had recently taken pictures of a dead person's body wrapped up in a bag. But where is Steph's uncle? And what did he have to do with the dead body? These books always bring me back to reading, no matter what's going on.
Victoria Laurie's Abby Cooper, Psychic Eye is a paranormal mystery. Abby Cooper used to work as a bank clerk when a clairvoyant came to her with a message from her Grandma. Abby had always had the possibility to see the future of other people. After some thinking Abby decides to give it a try. What I especially liked about the book - bsides the fact that I liked the main character, the mystery aspects, etc. - was that Abby's visions aren't all that clear as most other psychics. She sometimes is wrong with her interpretation, which is one big plus in my eyes.
Claire Bret├ęcher's Agrippine en famille is actually only a book comics, but it is French, so I thought it would be a nice start to get my French back as good as it used to be - and the I want it to get even better! I loved it. Back in school we read some short Agrippine stories to make lessons less boring - and it worked!
The books by Katherine Applegate and Meg Cabot are all young adult books, so I won't specifically comment on those. As you might have seen from the grades I think these books are good reads!

Been there, done that - anyting new?

Well, I was at class yesterday - CrimLaw. And it was sooo boring :-( In fact, we repeated the same stuff about fraud we had been explained the week before, just with three new cases.

The first case, there was this guy, let's call him A, who sold pants (29 Euro a piece) and said they were made of cotton. The pants are made of some other material, they're not cotton, but they are worth the 29 Euro. This, of course, is discovered.

The second case: A places a bet on a certain horse and wins. Before placing the bet A got the information of which horse won so that he could make sure he won. In some way, he got this information before the betting agency, went up to the counter and placed the bet.

The third case: At about 1890 (?), A offers up a herbal medicine against bellyache in a newspaper. Back at that time it was common knowledge that the combination of herbal medicine andbellyache in an offer meant some medication to help with abortion of an unwanted child. In this case, though, A really meant what he was saying, but didn't tell his clients specifically (why should he, anyway?).

Well, we basically discussed the way of how the fraud happened - was it caused by simpl being quite? By actually doing something so that others would believe it? Or by implied action?

So when we had a short break I decided that I would just go and buy some stuff I needed for the evening. After all, I was going to work right from university and there was no food at home. I don't have the money to always buy me some pizza on my way home from work!

But work was interesting. It only got really, really boring when I had like 45 minutes left. All the work that's left for me to do is stuff that takes ages to finish, but you can't really start doing it and then stop right where you are once the time's up. I would have said "who cares" and stayed a little longer, but first, I can't get over a certain amount of time, and then I also had to get the subway at 8:30 in the latest cause afterwards the line wouldn't go all the way north to where I live. It would have meant I had to change from the subway to a bus, after 9 p.m., and that's something I'd rather not do...

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Finally!

Now that I finally have my new glasses (it was a real odyssey to get them but that's a rather longish story, so I'll write it down once I have a little more time), I can read and write again without getting a headache.

I'm with my parents since last Friday evening and I will be with them till at least tomorrow evening. There's been some trouble around here, so I'd rather stay until I know what it's all about.

Until then I won't be able to write as much as I want to - and yes, I've been neglecting this blog far too long, sorry!

I hope to be back 'on track' soon so that I can write as much as I want again. There are quite a few things I want to write down, but I assume they will have to wait. Sorry!

Monday, May 8, 2006

Yes, I am glad...

... that I study law in Germany and not someplace where they have case law!!!

Only a short while ago I discovered some English blawgs (for those of you who don't know this word: that's what blogs on law are called) and am now reading from the very beginning to today. Well, there is this one blawg by Law-Rah... And yes, we are so lucky! About a year ago (plus minus 3 months or so) she was in her second semester, so she should be about as faar as I am now - of course with the difference that she will be done with law school soon while I will have some more semesters to go (we don't have to go to college before we go to university here in Germany). Well, back in January last year she was busy with a certain case (just scroll down till Jan 29th - there unfortunately is no direct link).

What ever happened to names like Mark or Kimberly? That was nothing compared to my favorite:

"Those arrests led ultimately to these appeals by five of the men, Carlos Pagan-San-Miguel, Edgar Gonzalez-Valentin, Raul Lugo-Maya, Rafael Pava-Buelba and Julio Luciano-Mosquera...Oscar Fontalvo arrived in Puerto Rico in January 1991 to organize a scheme to smuggle cocaine into Puerto Rico...Fontalvo enlisted Pagan-San-Miguel and Jose Perez-Perez, who were to be paid in kind with 50 kilograms of cocaine. Pagan-San-Miguel introduced Fontalvo to Luis Soltero-Lopez, who agreed that his boat, the F/V Marlyn, would be used as the mothership. Soltero-Lopez recruited Jonas Castillo-Ramos to be captain, and Castillo-Ramos recruited two crew members for the drug run." U.S. v. Luciano-Mosquera, 63 F.3d 1142 (1st Cir. 1995.)


That speak went on for two more pages and even introduced Columbian watchdog names into the mix. I have no clue who did what, except that some guy was found under a jeep with a gun.


And that's when I was really, really happy to study law in Germany. We get our cases with "names" like A, B, X and W... Thinking about having to read a casewith names like that creps me out. I would certainly get this case on PC so that I could exchange the names in A, B... Don't you get completely insane reading cases like that?!?

Sunday, May 7, 2006

My very busy last two weekends...

Last weekend we, my bf and I, were at the Night of Museums. That's one night a year, when lots of Museums in Frankfurt (plus some in a town about half an hour from the centre) are open for visitors. You actually buy one card and can get into all those museums - plus they have some awesome programs, like musicians, work shops, etc. We saw sooo many museums :-) First we were at the Senckenberg museum (probably the most famous in Frankfurt?) with its dinosaurs, reptiles, etc. It's basically a nature-historical museum with lots of animals, but they had a special exhibition on spiders (which, to be honest, was rather small). I wanted to see it, so my bf (despite his arachnophobia) went with me :-) Then we had to get to this one place in the middle of Frankfurt (Konstablerwache) where they had a huge screen so that everyone could watch a soccer game (Eintracht Frankfurt vs. FC Bayern Munchen - it was a final of the DFB cup, and it's been about 15 years since Frankfurt last had the chance to win it! We didn't win, though - just because of a stupid referee *gr*). Then we went to lots of museums - including the Westhafen Tower, where I work. There you could get to the upper floor to see Frankfurt at night - wich is simply beautiful!!!
On our way back to the center of the city, I unfortunately had to discover that my watch (the one I got from my parents for last Christmas!) was gone... That was the only bad part of the night, though...
And lucky me, I got my watch back just last Thursday. I got to work and stopped right by the entrance where there's always someone taking care of the visitors. I explained that I had lost my watch that night and that it could have been there. So the nice lady called her boss who immediately checked the room. He then came down and told me that he hadn't found it right away, but that they indeed had found something... He then asked whether I could come back another day when the security personel was there. I agreed to check again the next day (I would have been there anyway - I had to work from 4p.m. to 8p.m.). So I got upstairs to work - and guess what... I was just on my way out of the building after work when the guy came out of his office again, saw me and asked whether I am the one who lost the watch. I said yes and he asked me to come with him for a second. On our way he asked whether it was a Fossil and I said yes, a silver one. He must have been right back to search for my watch again and he found it! Apparently, one of the sticks that hold the small pieces of the bracelet of my watch together fell out and that's how my watch could fall off of my hand. I will have it repaired as soon as I get to my parents again (which is as soon as I get a call from my optometrist that my new glasses arrived).

Well, but let me get to this weekend - you know I usually spend the weekend with my bf, but since his Dad will be here on a vacation starting next Saturday and ending the Sunday after, we most likely won't be together. We both love our families and he gets to see his Dad this rarely because of his Dad's job, that I think he should spend the time with him. I'll get to see him at university each day and then most weekends...

So, this weekend, we didn't go to university on Saturday. Instead we were each at our place and got things ready for this weekend. We got tickets for a football game (yes, we have American Football here as well!). It was Frankfurt Galaxy against Dusseldorf RheinFire. To be honest, RheinFire sucks. It's that easy!!! They can't play the game and they should probably try to get back to children's league... But that's the "I livein Frankfurt"-part of me talking ;-) I'm sure you know this from yourself with your fav team and "the Archenemy" *g*
Well, this was my first time ever football game. We got there at around 4p.m. for the "Power Party" - it's like a huge fair! Then we got into the stadion at about 6p.m. (1 hour before the game started) and my bf explained the basic rules to me (he used to play football himself - along with hockey, tennis...;-) ). I've been told that they always have someone perform for a short time before the teams actually are introduced - and this time it was Coolio!!! I first heard one if his songs back in 5th grade, so this was a great thing for me! Then we had a little celebration - first because Galaxy had it's 15th birthday, and second because Mario Bailey (for a pic: http://www.maxwaugh.com/images/ac03/bailey.jpg ) is now part of the Hall of Fame.
Then the game began and it was all really exciting - especially for me as I hardly knew the rules... But I have to admit that after a while I think I understood the system - though, I'm afraid I really got on my bf's nerves with my questions in the middle of the game! (He answered them anyway...)
We got home around 11:30p.m. - not without a short stop at Burger King's to get something to eat.

Today we slept long, had breakfast and watched the Formula 1 (oh how I hate Michael Schumacher - that dumb jerk should retire soon, if you ask me!). A few round before the end I got to the bathroom to get ready. With our ticket of the Night of Museums there was also the entry to the Design Annual. Wow, they have really interesting stuff there - especially those lamps - and not to forget the "smart house-systems, where you can take care of pretty much everything from each room... We got some magazines so that we can look at them again :-)

Right after the Design Annual we got back to the car and my bf drove me home. Would have been too difficult if I got back to his place and then took the train to my place - especially causeit was only 10 minutes from where we parked (instead of 30 minutes+ by train...).

Wednesday, May 3, 2006

Is this an insult?!?

Well, actually I'm not sure whether or not this is an insult... Anyway, maybe some of you know the answer?



Buttercup

Which Princess Bride Character are You?
this quiz was made by mysti

Monday, May 1, 2006

political me...

I just found this test at Mother In Law's blog and thought I should give it a try...

Here's my result:

You are a

Social Liberal
(61% permissive)

and an...

Economic Liberal
(30% permissive)

You are best described as a:

Democrat




Link: The Politics Test on OkCupid Free Online Dating
Also: The OkCupid Dating Persona Test


If you care to take the test, please let me know your results :-)