My Reading Month June/July

Since I did not manage to write a monthly summary for June, I have combined both June and July this time and I was surprised how much I read and listened to in these months.

During the past months, I listened to more audiobooks than I read physical ones and I have to admit, that I did start to enjoy to watch an occasional TV series again – I have limited my TV watching due to my project worked which focused on TV series. But now, I spent some time with the good old Star Trek Next Gen – which I loved when I was younger and still love. Oh the good old times. But back to business.

In June, I read two books and I listened to six audiobooks – two of them being children’s stories about an hour long.

Books:

Octavia Butler – Parable of the Talents

This is the second book in a duology and it was a good and interesting read. I really enjoy Butler’s writing. I don’t want to spoil so I will refrain from summarizing and it is quite complicated to do anyway. As I said, the story was good, but I could not relate to either the protagonist nor her daughter.

Rae Carson – The Bitter Kingdom

The last book in the series was as fast-paced and exiting as the ones before. I really enjoyed the story, the characters and their developing relationships and the new characters. I did not see some of it coming and I always waiting for some twists that never came. Great conclusion.

The Bitter KingdomStorm Glass

Audiobooks:

Oliver Pötzsch – Die Hexer und die Henkerstochter

The fourth book (or audiobook) in the series. A historic crime novel centering around murder and is solved by a grumpy executioner. It was interesting, fascinating (I really enjoy all the middle age day-to-day facts), thrilling, sometimes funny, and sometimes a little sad. Great book.

Rick Riordan – Percy Jackson: Die Schlacht ums Labyrinth

I have read the books several times and I came across this audiobook in German, so I picked it up. I wanted to see if I like the story translated into German and I enjoyed it. I have to say that I like the original a little better (at least the book version) but that is maybe due to my familiarity with it. Translations are always tricky. But it was done really well.

Bibi Blocksberg wird Prinzessin

Bibi is one of my childhood friends, and the audiobooks centering around this characters are the ones that I listened to repeatedly. This time the little witch (the main character Bibi) is suddenly turned into a princess and has to find her way back to her time line. Fun and entertaining.

Sabine Martin – Die Henkerin

Another historical novel: this time a young woman witnesses the murder of her family and in order save herself she hides as a boy living with and learning to be an executioner. But than she meets the person who murdered her family and she has sworn to avenge them. It was a good read, though it was a little jumpy between different perspectives and times, it was still good to follow and interesting.

Die Zeitdetektive – Freiheit für Richard Löwenherz

The story about 3 time traveling friends who visit different times in order to learn more but then get caught up in an adventure. This is always fun and filled with interesting historical facts that I have either learned in school and long forgotten or that I really did not know. Well done and I think really great for kids.

Kai Meyer – Die Wellenläufer

The last audiobook this month is a fantasy adventure about pirates and two children who can walk on water. This is again another wonderful story that is great for children and that was fast-paced and fascinating. Who does not love pirates and who wouldn’t want to walk on water. Really enjoyable.

Master of Crows Radiance

So, after a quite successful June I had an even better July. It took me a little to get into the swing of things. I did not start to read until well into the month and I managed to read most of the books within a little more than a week. A little time off is something really beautiful. Well, in July I managed to read 7 books (two of them novellas) and listened to 4 audiobooks. A great month.

Books:

Grace Draven – Radiance

I have been circling this book for a while as it had great reviews so far. I was in the mood for some fantasy and I really enjoyed the story. Two people of different species were married in order to ensure peace and trade agreements between their two courts and both think the others are extremely strange and hideous to look at. The story was nicely paced, entertaining and the characters were not flat, though not fully developed either. Towards the end it was quite sexually explicit (which surprised me a little since I did not read anything before going into this book) but it was only short and did not dominate nor hinder the stories fluidity.

Maria V. Snyder – Storm Glass

I have loved the Study trilogy with Yelena and Valek. Now this trilogy focuses on Opal a character from the first trilogy. It was a good read, though it was a lot more annoying that Opal just seemed to stumble from one incident and accident into the next. She never saw things coming and her naivety was getting onto my nerves a little. Still, it was interesting and I am curious to see how it continues.

Grace Draven – Master of Crows

After Radiance was an enjoyable read and this e-book was quite a bargain, I started to read this. The story was OK, and the premise interesting. I liked the world creation, though I would have liked some more build up. However, this one was very explicit and centered a little too much around any form of procreation. If you are still under aged: don’t.

the assassin and the pirate lord The Assassin and the Desert

Sarah J. Maas – The Assassin and the Desert

I finally continued to read some Celaena Sardothien stories. Since the stories/novellas build on each other, I will not talk about the content. It was an interesting story with a few more or less surprising twist and turns. You could see them coming, but they were not obvious. It is interesting to see how she develops after what happened with the Pirate Lord and how things slowly change.

Nina Blazon – Laqua: Der Fluch der schwarzen Gondel

I needed some children’s adventure story and I picked up this gem by a German author. Two children have to spend time at their grandmothers in Venice and strange and evil things start to happen. An old force is trying to possess the children’s aunt. Can they stop worse from happening? A fun and entertaining read that made me want to go to Venice and start reading more adventure books set in Venice, yet I did not have any with me at the time.

Richard Stark – The Handle

This is a crime novel that was recommended and gifted to me by one of the members of my committee who attended the defense of my dissertation and since that was about crime series, we started to talk about crime fiction and the Parker novels. It was an interesting read from the perspective of the criminal. It was short, quick, entertaining, a little hard-boiled-esque, and a great in between novel. If you like the hard-boiled writers, give this one a try.

Sarah J. Maas – The Assassin and the Underworld

The next novella in the Throne of Glass series was as entertaining and again build up on the ones before. It was interesting to also see the emotional and personal struggle of Celaena to come to terms with who she has become and who Aborynn really is.

The Handle Nina Blazon - Fluch der schwarzen Gondel

Audiobooks:

Bastian Bielendorfer – Mutter ruft an

This book is somewhat of an experience report about the authors unique and yet sometimes surreal mother. It was a good book, although it took me some time to warm up to him. A nice audiobook for in between.

Marliese Arold – Magic Girls: Gefangen in der Unterwelt

I have read the first books in physical form and now I have come across the third book as audiobook. The story was captivating and thrilling (even more than the previous ones), there was a lot of mystery that is not yet solved, and it is closely connected to the previous book. I only had some issues with the reading – the voices in which some of the characters were read, were quite annoying.

Iny Lorentz – Die Kastellanin

This is also a second book in a series written by a German author or better a duo. It is a historical novel focusing on adventure, political conspiracies and murder. It was beautifully read and thus captivating. Enjoyed it very much.

Sabine Weigand – Die Seelen im Feuer

Another historical novel that centers around the witch burning mania in the middle ages. It was interesting to see how and why they were accused and burned. Sometimes it was a little descriptive for me, but I am very sensitive. So it might not bother someone with a tougher skin or stomach :)

So this is or better was my very long monthly summary or summaries in this blog. I am quite happy. I hope the next one will be as successful and I hope that I finally manage to get my blog up to speed again. I am currently also working on another project and it is a lot more complicated to keep track of things.

Audiobook Reviews/ Kurzrezi: Oliver Pötzsch – Die Henkerstochter und der König der Bettler & Die Burg der Könige

The following audiobooks are written by a German author and read in German, so the review will be in German as well. I don’t think this book will be published in English at all. The first book is a historical crime novel centering around an executioner and his family in the Middle Ages, who solve mysteries and murders. It is the third book in this series.
The second books is written by the same author but centers around political power struggles in a different place and time.

Oliver Pötzsch – Die Henkerstochter und der König der Bettler

Klappentext:

Ein Brief lockt den Schongauer Henker Jakob Kuisl nach Regensburg. Dort findet er seine Schwester und seinen Schwager tot in der Badestube. Sofort verhaftet ihn die Stadtwache als Verdächtigen. Kuisl ist in eine Falle getappt. Nun drohen dem Henker selbst Folter und Hinrichtung. Fieberhaft suchen seine Tochter Magdalena und der Medicus Simon nach dem wahren Täter … (Amazon)

Meinung:

Handlung: Diesmal sitzt der Schongauer Henker selber in der Falle. Er wird beschuldigt seine Schwester und seinen Schwager ermordet zu haben. Nun soll er gefoltert und hingerichtet werden. Seine Tochter ist die einzige die ihm noch helfen kann und sie und Simon machen sich an die Ermittlungen. Die Handlung ist wieder spannend, die Verwirrungen viele und die vielen Wendungen weisen auf eine Verschwörung größeren Ausmaßes hin. Der Spannungsbogen entwickelt sich langsam aber gleichmäßig und die Geschichte verliert nicht an Spannung.

Charaktere: Liebenswerte Figuren, die einem schon aus früheren Hörbüchern bekannt sind und interessante neue Charaktere, die aber leider etwas flach bleiben. Dafür erfahren wir hier mehr über die Vergangenheit des Henkers, die schon früher immer angedeutet wurde.

Fazit: Ein unterhaltsamer und spannender historische Krimi mit einen wunderbaren Sprecher.

Oliver Pötzsch – Die Burg der Könige

Klappentext:

1524. Die deutschen Lande werden von den Bauernkriegen zerrissen. Dem Adel droht der Verlust der Macht, dem Volk Hunger und Tod. Vier Menschen suchen ihre Bestimmung: Agnes, die Burgherrin der einst mächtigen Stauferburg Trifels, will ihr Erbe bewahren. Mathis, Sohn eines Burgschmieds, träumt von der Gleichheit der Menschen und schließt sich aufständischen Bauern an. König Franz von Frankreich strebt nach der Kaiserkrone. Karl V., gewählter deutscher König und selbst ernannter Kaiser, sieht seine Macht bedroht. Vier Menschen, vier Leben. Und ein Ort, der den Schlüssel zu ihrem Schicksal birgt: der Trifels. Legendäre Burg der Staufer. (Amazon)

Meinung:

Handlung: Diesmal nicht die Geschichte des Henkers sondern die der Tochter eines Burgherrin und Sohn eines Schmiedes in den Wirren eines Machtkampfes zwischen König Franz und Kaiser Karl V.
Auch hier ist die Handlung spannend und der Spannungsbogen entwickelt sich gleichmäßig aber stetig steigend. Dabei verliert die Geschichte trotz ihrer langsamen Entwicklung nicht an Fahrt.

Charaktere: Agnes und Mathis sind sympathisch und interessante Figuren und auch beide gut konstruiert. Beide stehen hinter ihren Entscheidungen und ihren Überzeugungen. Die Antagonisten sind überraschend, bleiben aber flache Figuren.

Fazit: Ein spannende Geschichte, die mir wieder einmal die Geschichte etwas näher bringt. Es ist schon erstaunlich wie viel man vergessen hat.

Celia L. Grace – Saintly Murders (Die Heilerin und die Bruderschaft des Todes)


© St. Martins Press

Blurb:

Medieval physician Kathryn Swinbrooke is brought back to the town of Canterbury, this time to investigate a recent plague of rats. Whether or not their visitation is the result of the town’s moral or spiritual lack is unclear, but when miracles begin to surround the local beatified friar’s corpse Kathryn suspects that something more threatening is afoot. She soon discovers that the friar was in fact murdered, and what began as a search for the town’s ills becomes a desperate search for a killer. (Amazon)

In (Very) Short:

+ a historical crime novel
+ it is a book in a series, it might be better to read the others beforehand to understand the protagonist
+ interesting setting and premise of the story
– characters felt a little flat

My Opinion:

This is quite an old book and I don’t think it is even in print anymore. Or at least I only found it used on Amazon. I came across this audiobook in the library and since I really enjoyed Sam Thomas’ novel, I picked this up.

This is a relatively short novel and again it is a historical crime novel. Katherine Swinbrooke, who is a medieval physician or healer, is confronted with miracles surrounding the death of one of the friars. When she discovers that he was murdered, she begins her investigation which is lined with more deaths and secrets that are better not uncovered. Can Katherine find the true killer and can she evade his deadly grip?

The story was nice, well-paced, and short. I liked the setting and the premise of the novel. Still, I would not have minded if the story was a little longer and a bit more detailed. I felt occasionally rushed. I realized only after I finished listening to the book that this was the fifth book in the Katherine Swinbrooke series and I think that explains my difficulties with the story. The personal life of Katherine was always mentioned in between, but I was unable to really grasp why it was mentioned. Since I was missing the context and the previous stories, I was unable to properly comprehend and relate the information. Therefore, I might have missed some facts that could have been entertaining otherwise.

Though the crime story and the conspiracy that surrounded the murder were interesting and entertaining and made me enjoy the story, the characters felt rather flat. I could not relate to the main protagonist nor to the other characters. It was a little weird that she had so much power and was never once put in her place, while the female protagonist in Sam Thomas’s novel was constantly confronted with the limits due to her sex.

The writing was good, the historical facts were few, which was fine, and the premise of the story was good as well. I think this story could have taken place in many other settings and therefore the lack of historical facts was not noticeable or took attention away from the storyline.

Bottom Line:

All in all, it was good, yet lacked relatable and round characters.

Sam Thomas – The Midwife’s Tale (Die Hebamme und das Rätsel von York)

© Minotaur Books

Blurb:

It is 1644, and Parliament’s armies have risen against the King and laid siege to the city of York. Even as the city suffers at the rebels’ hands, midwife Bridget Hodgson becomes embroiled in a different sort of rebellion. One of Bridget’s friends, Esther Cooper, has been convicted of murdering her husband and sentenced to be burnt alive. Convinced that her friend is innocent, Bridget sets out to find the real killer.
Bridget joins forces with Martha Hawkins, a servant who’s far more skilled with a knife than any respectable woman ought to be. To save Esther from the stake, they must dodge rebel artillery, confront a murderous figure from Martha’s past, and capture a brutal killer who will stop at nothing to cover his tracks. The investigation takes Bridget and Martha from the homes of the city’s most powerful families to the alleyways of its poorest neighborhoods. As they delve into the life of Esther’s murdered husband, they discover that his ostentatious Puritanism hid a deeply sinister secret life, and that far too often tyranny and treason go hand in hand. (Amazon)

In (Very) Short:

+ historical crime novel set in 17th century York
+ well-paced, interesting and relatable characters
+ story full of murder, conspiracy, and revenge

My Opinion:

Since I did not seem to have the patience to sit down and read, listening to audiobooks increased quite a bit on the past months. I was able to still do other things (e.g. sport, housework etc.) while an audiobook was playing in the background. Somehow it was easier for me to concentrate. Weird as that may be. Lately, I start to prefer historical novels. Maybe because reading those long descriptions might not be my thing at the moment, but when I listen to them they appear way more interesting. Again I listen to most of my audiobooks in German, but since the physical book is also available in English, I will review this in English.

The Midwife’s Tale seemed to be more of a murder mystery in 17th century York. Bridget Hodgson is one of the midwives of York, and after we get to know a little bit about her story and life, her friend Esther Cooper is arrested for the murder of her husband. Bridget does not believe that her friend committed the crime, so she starts to investigate with the help of her new maid Martha. During her investigation she uncovers dark and dirty secrets that not only threaten her life, but the safety of the city. The murderer stops at nothing to cover his/her tracks and to top it all of Martha’s past seems to catch up to her and threaten her and her mistress’ life in the process.

It was a really entertaining and thrilling book. Many people wanted to stop Bridget from further investigating because she would uncover and expose secrets. There seemed to be a murderer around every corner. The story was well-paced, the characters were nicely developed still leaving some mystery. I appreciated that Bridget was scared and not the perfect heroine, I thoroughly enjoyed her rivalry with another/former midwife. I also liked her compassion for others. Martha and Bridget’s nephew were good and capable sidekicks that either lightened the mood or driven the action within the story.

The writing was fluent and historical facts seeped through without dominating or overpowering the story. Yet I would not have minded a little more. I still remember some historical facts from my studies, but then again I do get older and tend to forget things. Thus, I would have enjoyed a few more details. But again one can look them up, if one is interested.

The narrator was German so I can only speak for this version of the audiobook, but I really enjoyed Dana Geissler. Her reading was flawless and she drew me in right from the start.

Bottom Line:

A very good historical crime novel filled with murder, conspiracy, and revenge.

Rating:

rating 4

Combined Review: Sophie Jordan – Firelight (#1) & Vanish: a Firelight Novel (#2)

As this is a review of the first two books in the series, I will try to be as spoiler free as I can and will only publish the Blurb of the first novel as not to spoil too much.

Firelight

 

Blurb:

A hidden truth.
Mortal enemies.
Doomed love.
With her rare ability to breathe fire, Jacinda is special even among the draki—the descendants of dragons who can shift between human and dragon forms. But when Jacinda’s rebelliousness forces her family to flee into the human world, she struggles to adapt, even as her draki spirit fades. The one thing that revives it is the gorgeous, elusive Will, whose family hunts her kind. Jacinda can’t resist getting closer to him, even though she knows she’s risking not only her life but the draki’s most closely guarded secret.
Mythical powers and breathtaking romance ignite in this story of a girl who defies all expectations and whose love crosses an ancient divide. (Amazon)

In (Very) Short:

+ an entertaining fantasy novel with dragons
+ relatable main character
– little more action and less emotional turmoil would have been appreciated

My Opinion:

Jacinda is a draki, who can shift between human and dragon form. When her mother wants to escape the pack, she takes her two daughters into a small town in a dry place where Jacinda’s draki would finally fade and the family would be free. But first of all Jacinda does not want her draki to fade and second meeting Will encourages her draki. Yet the most important rule of their race is to never reveal their ability to the humans especially not the hunters…and Will is just that.

I enjoyed the first book in the series. It was an interesting take on the dragon myth, it was well written, fluent, and entertaining. The pace of the story was not to fast and occasionally I wished it was a little faster. I could empathize with Jacinda and even her mother, but I was thoroughly annoyed with Jacinda’s sister Tamara. She was annoying, childish, and often too much teenager for me, blaming all and everything on her sister.
The love story was OK, yet not too much, but it was all a matter of time until everything blew up in their faces. I enjoyed the revelations about the draki and would have loved to learn more. There was just too much focus on Jacinda and her love life.

The second book was sadly even slower and sometimes a little to focused on Jacinda’s feelings and turmoil. A little more action would have been better which definitely picked up towards the end to lead us to the final installment. This part seemed to just bridge book 1 and book 3 and set up the whole love triangle schematic. However, this time around I related to Tamara a lot more and I enjoyed when she finally showed some backbone.

Bottom Line:

All in all, a good series so far. The first book was really entertaining, the second a little slow, but I am hoping for more action in the third installment.

I am free …

…I think, but I don’t really feel it yet. I have finally, officially finished by biggest project of the last years and defended my dissertation in front of a committee. Now, I am done and it still feels very surreal.

The past months and weeks have been quite a hectic mess and once I was done, I tried to catch up on all the things that suffer and that I neglected for a longer time…foremost family, friends, and my desperate need for sunshine. Hence the long silence over the past weeks. I have a lot of catching up to do on my blog and I will try my very best.

I will combine my monthly reviews of June and July, so June is still coming (only late) and I am trying to put together a book haul post. I have bought some books over the past months, but I have lost track completely. I try to be back on a regular schedule soon.

CIMG0058

Thanks for sticking with me.

eBook-Aktion: Gitta Edelmann – Canterbury Requiem

Currently, I am a little bit in a tight space when it comes to time for this blog. But I hope that will be resolved some times soon. I try to upload post more or less regularly, but that’s far from what I wanted or did do in the past months. I’ll try to be back regularly as soon as possible.

However, there is a great sale for a great book but that is written in German. So, if you speak German and you want to read  it, please do. It is really a good and entertaining read.

Until August 13th you can go the publisher’s website and purchase the e-book for only 3,49 € (click here to get to the sale)

For a my review click here.
For more information on the publisher click here.
For more information on the author click here.

Canterbury eBook-Aktion_1

Der Goldfinch Verlag hat ein wunderbares Angebot: Bis zum 13.8. kann man das eBook Canterbury Requiem von Gitta Edelmann für 3,49 € anstatt 6,99 € kaufen. (Hier geht es zum Angebot.) Es ist ein sehr schönes Buch und ich kann es wirklich nur empfehlen.

Meine Rezension findet ihr hier.
Mehr Informationen zum Verlag findet ihr hier.
Mehr Informationen zur Autorin findet ihr hier.