Update on My Reading Challenges

So half a year is gone already. I hate to say it, but it sure went fast. And since so much time has flown by, I thought, I just give a short overview of my challenge achievements so far.

The Goodreads Reading Challenge is well underway and I have managed to read half of the books I hope to have read by the end of the year.

My Classic Challenge is really not going well, but when I try to force myself it really just doesn’t flow. So, thus far I have managed only 1 book.

The same is sadly true for my Attack on the TBR Pile. That one seems to increase instead of decrease. But since I do stop by at the library quite often, there are just so many books that I need to borrow and read then. It’s not suppose to be an excuse rather a statement of facts. 😉

My Finish The Series Challenge is going quite well. I have finished 3 already and I think I will manage a couple more this year. So yeah.

Goodreads Reading Challenge 2014 (65 books)

1. Marissa Meyer: Scarlet
2. Marcus Sedgwick: Flut und FangzÀhne
3. Jennifer E. Smith: Die Statistische Wahrscheinlichkeit von Liebe auf den Ersten Blick
4. Agatha Christie: Cat Among the Pigeons
5. Uschi Flacke: Das MĂ€dchen mit den Seidenraupen
6. Rick Riordan: Percy Jackson and the Sword of Hades/ Horrible Histories: Groovy Greeks
7. Melanie Welsh: Fellicity Gallant und das Auge des Sturms
8. Alan Bennett: The Uncommon Reader
9. Kirsten John: Dornröschen, der MĂ€rchenprinz und meine total verrĂŒckte Tante
10. Kirsten John: Schneewittchen, der Nervzwerg und die verflixte Schokotorte
11. Kirsten John: Aschenputtel, der goldene Schuh und der Prinz mit der Beule
12. Alison Goodman: Eon – The Rise of the Dragoneye
13. Alyson Noel: Fated
14. Adam Gidwitz: Eine Dunkle und Grimmige Geschichte
15. Jesse Andrews: Ich und Earl und das sterbende MĂ€dchen
16. Annelie Wendeberg: The Devil’s Grin
17. Dieter Nuhr: Nuhr auf Sendung
18. Marie Lu: Legend
19. Anna Regeniter: Ein Jahr in London
20. George Orwell: Animal Farm
21. Agatha Christie: The 13 Problems
22. Kate Klise: Friedhofstraße 43 – Gespensterspuk in Hollywood
23. Rick Riordan: The Read Pyramid
24. Julica JungehĂŒlsing – Ein Jahr in Australien
25. Shawn T. Odyssey – Oona Crate und das Geheimnis des Schwarzen Turms
26. Trudi Canavan – The Rogue
27. Charlaine Harris – Real Murders
28. Alexandra Pilz – ZurĂŒck nach Holly Hill
29. Trudi Canavan – The Traitor Queen
30. Kirsten John – Rapunzel, der schĂŒchterne Wolf und die Sache mit dem magischen Zopf
31. Fiona Foden – Life, Death and Gold Leather Trousers
32. Jessica Fletcher & Donald Bain – Murder She Wrote: Murder on the QE2
33. Marliese Arold – Magic Girls: Das RĂ€tsel um den Dornenbaum

Classic Challenge 2014 (6 books)

1. George Orwell: Animal Farm

Attack on the TBR pile 2014 (12 books)

1. Agatha Christie: Cat Among the Pigeons
2. Alison Goodman: Eon – The Rise of the Dragoneye
3. Marie Lu – Legend
4. George Orwell – Animal Farm
5. Rick Riordan – The Read Pyramid
6. Trudi Canavan – The Rogue
7. Charlaine Harris – Real Murders

Finish Series Challenge 2014 (5 series)

1. Kate Klise & Sarah M.Klise: Friedhofstraße 43/ 43 Old Cemetery Road (as far as has been published in German so far)

  • Gespenster gibt es doch/ Dying to Meet You
  • Nur ĂŒber meine Leiche/ Over My Dead Body
  • Ein Gespenst kommt selten allein/ Till Death Do Us Bark
  • Das Phantom in Postamt/ The Phantom of the Post Office
  • Gespensterspuk in Hollywood/ Hollywood, Dead Ahead

2. Kirsten John – Mia Reihe

  • Dornröschen, der MĂ€rchenprinz und meine total verrĂŒckte Tante (Mia #1)
  • Schneewittchen, der Nervzwerg und die verflixte Schokotorte (Mia #2)
  • Aschenputtel, der goldene Schuh und der Prinz mit der Beule (Mia #3)
  • Rapunzel, der schĂŒchterne Wolf und die Sache mit dem magischen Zopf (Mia #4)

3. Trudi Canvan – Traitor Spy Trilogy

  • The Ambassador’s Mission
  • The Rogue
  • The Traitor Queen
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Kate Klise, M. Sarah Klise – Friedhofstraße 43/ 43 Old Cemetery Road (#5)

Gespensterspuk in Hollywood/ Hollywood Dead Ahead

Gespensterspuk in Hollywood

Hardcover
Verlag: Gerstenberg Verlag
veröffentlicht 2013
Seiten: 136

Book (Deutsch/English)

Klappentext/Blurb:

Großartige Neuheiten: Die Friedhofstraße 43 wird verfilmt! Autor Ignaz Griesgram, Gespenst Olivia und der elfjĂ€hrige Severin machen sich auf den Weg nach Hollywood. Dort stellt sich jedoch heraus, dass nur Ignaz in dem Film mitspielen soll. Severin nimmt daraufhin unter falschem Namen am Casting teil und wird prompt fĂŒr seine eigene Rolle engagiert. Filmlegende Ivana Oscar ĂŒbernimmt die Hauptrolle. Leider hat die alte Dame ihren Vertrag nicht gelesen und ahnt nichts von der darin enthaltenen Sterbeklausel…

In this fifth volume from 43 Old Cemetery Road, the trio at Spence Mansion leaves Ghastly for Hollywood, California . . . and for a shot at stardom!
The film producer Moe Block Busters wants to make the 43 Old Cemetery Road story into a movie—and he promises it will be a sure-fire hit! Lured by the lights of Tinseltown, Ignatius B. Grumply, Olive C. Spence, and Seymour Hope pack their suitcases. But when they arrive in Hollywood, Olive has a sure-fire fit when she discovers how quickly fame changes Iggy and Seymour. Even worse, Olive has been written out of the script! “Little old lady ghosts are so yesterday,” says Moe. “What America wants is a terrifying ghost named Evilo.” Well, if it’s Evilo they want, it’s Evilo they’ll get. And Olive knows just the femme fatale to help her scare Hollywood’s most despicable director half to death. (Quelle)

In KĂŒrze/ In (Very) Short:

+ 5. Band der Reihe Friedhofstraße 43
+ Wiedersehen mit alten Bekannten und Kennenlernen liebenswerter Figuren
+ spannend, unterhaltsam, lustig, gelungen wie immer
+ eine schöne Variante des Briefromans
+ 5th installment of 43 Old Cemetery Road
+ reunion with old friends and new lovable characters
+ fun, entertaining, exiting, good as always
+ a lovely version of the epistolary novel

Meinung/My Opinion:

Das 5. Buch in der Reihe Friedhofstraße 43 ist, wie auch seine VorgĂ€nger, wieder sehr schön und unterhaltsam. Ich bin einfach ein großer Fan der ErzĂ€hlweise und der Gestaltung – eine Geschichte in Briefen und Zeitungsartikeln zu erzĂ€hlen, ist einfach eine tolle Idee und die Illustrationen untermalen den Charme dieser Reihe.

Diesmal zieht es unsere drei lieb gewonnen Figuren nach Hollywood. Ein vielleicht etwas schmieriger Produzent möchte die Friedhofstraße gerne verfilmen und auch wenn Ignaz dagegen ist, freuen sich Severin und Olivia ungemein. Da Severin und Ignaz dem Glanz und Ruhm Hollywoods verfallen und nicht mitbekommen, was der Produzent wirklich alles vor hat, liegt es an Olivia die Produktion vor einer Katastrophe zu retten.

Wieder einmal ist es den Autorinnen gelungen eine spannende ErzĂ€hlung zu erschaffen, die mit Humor erzĂ€hlt und mit kleinen Seitenhieben auf die Filmindustrie gespickt ist. Der Schreibstil ist wie immer flĂŒssig, die Illustrationen und Gestaltung wunderschön, die Charaktere noch immer liebenswert und verschroben und die Friedhofstraße gewinnt neue und sympathische Figuren hinzu. Wirklich gelungen.

The 5th installment of 43 Old Cemetery Road is just as fun and entertaining as its predecessors. I am a huge fan of the narrative style and the composition. To tell a story through letters and newspaper articles is a beautiful idea and the illustrations are wonderful as always.

This time our three friends are about to conquer Hollywood. A sleazy producer wants to adapt their story into a movie, which Olive and Seymour are thrilled about (Iggy not so much). While Iggy and Seymour succumb to the glitz and glamor, and are unaware of the shady intentions of the producer, it is up to Olive to prevent a catastrophe.
The authors have created an exiting, humorous story that is studded with comments on the film industry. The writing is fluent, the illustrations and the composition of the book is beautiful, the characters are lovable and quirky and the series gains new and sympathetic characters. A great read.

Fazit/Bottom Line:

Eine spannende und unterhaltsame Geschichte wie man es aus dieser Reihen gewohnt ist.

As always a thrilling, fun, and entertaining read.

Rating:

rating 4

Rick Riordan – The Red Pyramid

The Red Pyramid

paperback
publisher: Puffin Books
published 2011
pages: 514

Book on Amazon

Blurb:

„I Guess it started the night our dad blew up the British Museum…“
Carter and Sadie Kane’s dad is a brilliant Egyptologist with a secret plan that goes horribly wrong. An explosion shatters the ancient Rosetta Stone and unleashes Set, the evil god of chaos…
Set imprisons Dr Kane in a golden coffin, and Carter and Sadie are forced to run for their lives. To save their dad, they must embark on a terrifying quest from Cairo and Paris to the American South-west and discover the truth about their family’s connection to the House of Life: an Egyptian temple of magic that has existed for thousands of years.
The Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt are far from dead and buried. And so, unfortunately, are their gods…

In (Very) Short:

+ the start to a new children’s/young adult series
+ story centering around Egyptian Gods and Myths
+ chapters are told from either of the siblings point of view – changing “narrator”
– I did not get along with the main characters (Sadie and Carter)
– difficult to differentiate between the two voices

My Opinion:

I really, really loved Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series by Rick Riordan and I was nervous to start anything new by the same author. Though I have heard good things about the series, I knew my expectations were very high and I could be easily disappointed. A plus: I love Egyptian mythology when I was in school and it is surprising how much I remembered.

Sadie and Carter Kane watch their father blow up the Rosetta Stone and by doing that releasing Ancient Egyptian Gods. After he disappears and is supposedly held prisoner, his children try to save him and the world in the process. But not only do they have to fight some Egyptian Gods and stop them from destroying the world, they also have to be aware of the House of Life – a magician organization destined to fight the Gods and anyone with royal blood. So they should help Sadie and Carter right? So, you think…

The book is an entertaining read. The chapters are told from either Sadie’s or Carter’s point of view (which alternates). However, I had difficulties differentiating between the voices at times so I had to look at the top of the page to remind myself who was narrating at the time.

The mythology is incorporated into the story, as it has been in Percy Jackson, and creates a wonderful story. The narrative is fast paced and the writing is fluent. The incorporation and the world creation of the secret Egyptian world (unknown to us mere mortals) is one of Riordan’s great talents.

But I could hardly warm up to the main characters while I was reading. Although I got used to them in the end and I might even be a little fond of them, they were just too annoying at times. The bickering, the attempt of being funny and sarcastic (which failed in my opinion) – they were just plain unsympathetic in my eyes. While reading, however, I started to see where Riordan was going with this and why they are the way they are. Percy, I understood. Sadie and Carter, not so much.

Bottom Line:

A fun and entertaining read where the reader can learn about Egyptian mythology. A good book, but not one of his best works.

Rating:

rating 3

Junica JungehĂŒlsing – Ein Jahr in Australien: Reise in den Alltag

This book has only appeared in German and is part of a book series that is somewhat of an experience report – people move from Germany into other parts of the world and describe their experience, „adventures“, and cultural quirks. In this book the author describes her life in Australia (over the time span of a year).

Ein Jahr in Australien

Hardcover
Verlag: Herder Spektrum
veröffentlicht 2007
Seiten: 190

Book on Amazon

Klappentext:

Von diesem Moment hatte ich getrĂ€umt, seit Monaten, wahrscheinlich seit Jahre. Ich griff mein Brett, zog die TĂŒr hinter mir zu, steckte den SchlĂŒssel in den Klettverschluss und lief die Treppen runter. Dann ging ich barfuß mit dem Board die Straße entlang zum Strand. Ganz normal. Wie alle anderen Menschen in Bondi Beach auch.

In KĂŒrze:

+ ein weiterer Teil der “Ein Jahr in…” Reihe, die uns diesmal Australien nĂ€her bringen soll
+ Erfahrungsbericht einer deutschen Journalistin, die nach Bondi Beach zieht
– man erfĂ€hrt leider nicht viel ĂŒber Australien
– die Autorin erzĂ€hlt einem stĂ€ndig, wie toll sie doch ist, wie sehr sie schon Australierin ist und wie die Touristen nerven

Meinung:

Mit dem ersten Band der “Ein Jahr in Reihe…” (Ein Jahr in London von Anna Regeniter) habe ich einen Volltreffer gelandet und habe mir dann gleich den nĂ€chsten Band aus der Bibliothek geholt. Diesmal wollte ich nach Australien und habe mich schon gefreut viel ĂŒber das Land zu lesen. Auch wenn ich jetzt sicher einiges ĂŒber die Eigenschaften der Australier weiß, bin ich doch etwas enttĂ€uscht von diesem Buch. Ich habe mehr erwartet. Das lag sicherlich auch am irrefĂŒhrenden Titel.

Leider haben wir relative wenig ĂŒber Australien erfahren. Ich wĂ€re vielleicht auch nicht mit solchen Erwartungen ans Buch gegangen, wenn der Titel etwas eingegrenzter gewesen wĂ€ren. Ein Jahr in Sydney wĂ€re etwas prĂ€ziser gewesen. Allerdings habe wir auch nicht viel ĂŒber Sydney erfahren, denn wir sind mit der Autorin zumeist in Bondi Beach gewesen und sind zwischen ihrem Apartment und dem Strand hin und her gewechselt.

Es gab auch AusflĂŒge nach Sydney und in den Australischen Busch, aber das war in wenigen Seiten abgehandelt. Viel lieber beschĂ€ftigte sich die Autorin damit, wie toll und cool sie denn jetzt ist, wie sehr sie doch schon Australierin ist (und so fast gar nicht mehr Deutsche – was ja eh alles ganz furchtbar ist) und wie nervig und schrecklich alle anderen, vor allem alle die nicht in Bondi wohnten, sind.

Leider erhĂ€lt man keine Geheimtipps ĂŒber Sydney oder irgendwelche anderen Gegenden von Australien: weder Perth oder Melbourne, noch das Great Barrier Reef oder Tasmanien. Man bleibt in Bondi stecken und lĂ€uft zwischen Meer und Bar hin und her. Schade eigentlich.

Fazit:

Ein enttĂ€uschendes Buch in dem wir herzlich wenig ĂŒber Australien erfahren.

Rating:

rating 2

 

April/May Book Haul

I have been quite good with not buying to many books lately and in April I only got one (which was a present), so I did not see the point in making a haul. With May being over now there have at least been some more, so that I actually felt okay posting them. So here goes nothing.

Paul Stanford – Die wahre Geschichte der PĂ€pstin Johanna

Wer war die PĂ€pstin Johanna?
Die Figur der PĂ€pstin Johanna gab lange Zeit zu immer neuen Legenden Anlass. Die katholische Kirche will bis heute nichts von einer PĂ€pstin wissen, doch ihre Spuren sind an vielen Orten offenkundig. Peter Standford, ein renommierter britischer Journalist, hat sich in Rom, Siena und Fulda umgesehen und bringt Licht in das Dunkel einer abenteuerlichen Geschichte. (Blurb)

I have read the book Pope Joan by Donna Woolfalk Cross a long time ago. I think I was still in high school. (Back then I used to read historical novels and such, today I read young adult and children’s books – well, seems like I tend to do things backwards 🙂 ) Anyway, I or better my mother came across this book and it is a supposedly historical account of the legend of Pope Joan. The author researches the phenomenon and uncovers what is fact and what has become the legend.
It sounds interesting and its never bad to learn something.

Jasper Fforde – The Song of the Quarkbeast

I work in the magic industry. I think you’ll agree it’s pretty glamorous: a life full of spells, potions and whispered enchantments; of levitation, vanishing and alchemy. Of titanic fights to the death with the powers of darkness, of conjuring up blizzards and quelling storms at sea; of casting lighting bolts from mountains, and bringing statues to life in order to vanquish troublesome foes. (Blurb)
If Only.

The second installment in the dragon slayer trilogy is part of the first series for children that Jasper Fforde has written and it was The Last Dragonslayer (the first novel in this trilogy) was the first Fforde I have read so far. It was a good and solid read (as far as I remember since it’s been a while) and I got this second book for a bargain. The third book has been published already, so I don’t have to wait to continue if I want to.

april may haul

Margaret Lane – The Tale of Beatrix Potter

Another non-fiction book this month. I love the books and illustrations of Beatrix Potter. They are just adorable and wonderful, so when I saw this biography of her (and this is out of print – at least in this edition) I had to have it. I am reading the biography of Jane Austen at the moment and I really enjoyed it. So, I though why not read one of one of my favorite authors.

Sophie Barnes – How Miss Rutherford Got Her Groove Back

Emily Rutherford is having a very bad day.
Of course, having the man you’ve loved forever announce his engagement to your (now very former) best friend will do that.
Emily is sure nothing good could possibly come out of this horrid situation. But she lets her sisters – along with Francis Riley, the delectable but brooding Earl of Dunhurst – convince her that a season in London will be just the thing.
Now Emily has a choice:sulk in a corner while her sisters enjoy the glitter of the ton…become the belle of the ball, dazzling everyone on an earl’s arm. But as Francis helps Emily get back on her feet, she quickly realizes that a childhood crush compared to the power of true love. (Blurb)

While rummaging through eBay’s English book lists (I really shouldn’t because I find so much and it just adds to my every continuing TBR pile), I found this novel. It sounded like a light and fun read and I was in the mood for some historical romance and since I was reading about Austen and been watching the cinematic versions of her novels, I couldn’t resist. This story sounds like it would fit right in.

Agatha Christie – The Thirteen Problems

The 13 Problems

paperback
publisher: Harper Collins Publisher
published 2002
pages: 315

Book on Amazon

Blurb:
One Tuesday evening a group gathers at Miss Marple’s house and the conversation turns to unsolved crimes…
As each of her guests is mystified by the sinister tales they tell one another, the company is inclined to forget their elderly host. Bit there is a ruthless precision in Miss Marple’s pursuit of the killers in each tale… and a few surprises in store for ‘The Tuesday Night Club’.

In (Very) Short:

+ Miss Marple mystery
+ a great Christie read: fun and entertaining
+ 13 different stories within one book – not coherent mystery novel, yet they are connected
+ I love Agatha Christie and I love Miss Marple

My Opinion:

After I read quite a few (almost all) Miss Marple mysteries, it is a little bit of a challenge to review a Christie novel. I love them. They are nice, easy, fun reads and are still brain teasers. I always try to figure out what really happened or who was the murderer.

In this book Miss Marple’s nephew Raymond puts together a little gathering with a couple of people, who will each tell a puzzle story. The others will try to solve the puzzle. This is called ‘The Tuesday Night Club’ and are the reason for roughly the first half of the stories to be told. Then the latter part of the stories are told within a different constellation of people, this time all familiar to St. Mary Mead (Miss Marple’s home town).

Each of the stories include either murder or blackmail or an other mystery that the other members of those parties try to solve. However, only Miss Marple is able to solve all of them by drawing comparisons to her village life.
Again this was a fun and entertaining book. I especially liked that it contained several different mysteries that were each dealt with and concluded during one chapter. Thus, I could read a chapter in bed before falling asleep and I did not have the feeling like I was missing something. I felt comfortable when I put the book down.

Bottom Line:

A fun and entertaining book containing 13 different mysteries surrounding our beloved and knitting Miss Marple.

Rating:

rating 4

My Reading Month May

Since the last reading months have been quite slow, this one has picked up a little bit. Though most of the books have been short, I did manage to read 5 books again.

Julica JungehĂŒlsing – Ein Jahr in Australien: Reise in den Alltag

I started this reading month with another experience report, this time the author began her live in Australia. It was an interesting read, but it was also a little annoying. The author constantly reminded the reader how cool she is and how much of an Australian she is now. The book should have been called “A Year in Bondi Beach” because we do not get to know a lot about Australia, but more about her wonderful surfer life in Bondi Beach and how close her new apartment is to the ocean. An ok read, but not great.

 Ein Jahr in AustralienThe 13 Problems

Agatha Christie – The 13 Problems

Well, what can I say, a good old Christie makes my day. It has been quite slow at the reading front the past months, so I thought I can do nothing wrong with a Christie novel. The great thing about The 13 Problems is that this is not one continuous storyline, but rather 13 individual stories. These stories are presented among a group of people (of whom Miss Marple is part) and they all try to solve those “problems”. Basically the book is made up of 13 short stories, which is great for reading at night. I could read a chapter and go to sleep. It was an entertaining and funny read…as usual.

Rick Riordan – The Red Pyramid

I finally started another Rick Riordan series. I love the Percy Jackson series. It is one of my favorite because they are wonderfully sarcastic, funny, entertaining, thrilling, and there are Greek gods. I don’t need anything more. This time Riordan is taking us into the world of Egyptian Gods and Goddesses. I used to love those myths when I was younger, so I was really exited. However, it took me a while to get into the book. Sadie and Carter Kane witness their dad releasing the ancient gods, and some of them are out to destroy the world.
Again it is a great adventure story, the mythology is wonderfully incorporated and adapted (and I still remembered quite a lot), but somehow it took some time to warm up to it. I had difficulties identifying with the characters. Unlike Percy Jackson, this time a sibling couple are at the center of the story and I just didn’t get a long with them. But as the story progresses I did grew a little fonder of them. Overall, a good and entertaining book.

The Red Pyramid Gespensterspuk in Hollywood

Kate Klise – Friedhofstraße 43: Gespensterspuk in Hollywood

This is the fifth installment of Old Cemetery Road 43 and this time the three lovable characters are going to Hollywood to become movie stars. Again, I really enjoyed this story. I loved being reunited with the characters, the story is funny and exiting, the illustrations are beautiful and I really appreciated and enjoy that the story is told through letters and newspapers. A fun and wonderful read.

Oona Crate

Shawn T. Odyssey – Oona Crate: Das RĂ€tsel um den Schwarzen Turm

My reading month ended with another children’s book. Oona Crate is a 13-year-old girl who does not want to be a magicians apprentice anymore, but who rather becomes a private detective. When her uncle disappears, she has a chance to show her worth. Convinced that he is not dead, Oona has to find out what happened to him quickly. Before it is too late.
This story is made up like a classical whodunit story (locked room mystery with a certain number of suspects) mixed with magic, different worlds, and speaking animals. It was thoroughly entertaining and got me out of my reading slump. Funny and cute, albeit stereotypical at times.