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.

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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.

Reading Habits and Rituals #3 with Katja

This next installment of my reading-habits-and-rituals interviews is with my friend and the academic crime fiction goddess Katja. There is almost nothing she does not know about crime fiction and she talks about this genre with so much passion, that as a listener you can’t help but feel exited and giddy. Thank you so much for your time, Katja.
As usual, I will introduce her quickly before the interview starts. Have fun and enjoy.

  • name: Katja
  • city of residence: Leipzig
  • job: university job
  • age: 40-50
  • blog: tba
1. Where do you like to read? Do you have a special place?

For “mandatory reading” (for work, etc.) I prefer my desk (or a bed); for leisure reading: sofa, floor, bed, wherever I feel like…

favorite reading place&view  © Katja

favorite reading place&view
© Katja

2. When do you read the most? On vacation, before you go to bed?

Exactly: on vacation and before I go to bed. My day is usually packed, so I really crave for at least a few reading minutes.

3. Why do you grab a book?

Because people recommend them to me, because I have to (for work), because I like the author, in order to learn something or simply to “lose myself,” …

4. Are you a mood reader or a season reader?

I’d call myself an obsessive reader and book collector, I’ve never been without books. They have always surrounded me, as long as I can remember. My parents used to reprimand me “Can’t you ever be without books?” No, I can’t:-) I usually carry one or two books (and my Kindle, sorry) with me.

5. What do you need around when your read or what don’t you need around you? Do you grab food and drink, do you want people around, does music play in the background?

When I was a kid I used to eat (candy) when I read. Today, I don’t need anything around, except for a pencil maybe.

6. Did you read a lot when you were a teenager? If yes, did you keep it a secret?

I practically devoured books, and everybody knew about it. My family (especially my grandmother), friends, and schoolmates (even my teachers, they fostered reading and our interest in all sorts of genres) all read a lot, and we kept exchanging ideas after we read a certain book or story. Also, my mother kept bringing books from the library at her workplace, and when on vacation very often our first way was to the camping site or hotel library.

7. Do you tell your friends what kind of genres you read or do you keep them to yourself?

As you get older you become a lot more relaxed about letting people know about your habits. So yes, my friends know about my guilty pleasures 🙂

8. Would you reveal to us what your most embarrassing books/genre is you enjoy?

Maybe the Helen Fielding-Hera Lind-Marian Keyes kind of writing, and Dan Brown’s fiction – I don’t know if this is embarrassing enough… Even though I believe that it doesn’t matter so much what you read but how you read it.

9. What are your favorite genres?

Crime fiction/thriller (all kinds) and “science-in-fiction”: not what we usually call science fiction, but novels that are written in a rather realist mode and still have science, especially medical science, as their major element, such as Michael Crichton, Robin Cook, Kathy Reichs, … To some extent I like historical and adventure novels as well as biographies and popular science. And I adore Woody Allen’s short prose.

10. Has your work, studies or school influenced your reading and how?

It was more the other way around: I first became addicted to books and then was lucky enough to largely shape my “professional life” according to this passion.