Maggie Stiefvater – The Raven Boys

17675462© Scholastic Press

Audiobook (German)
Information on the book
Hardcover
publisher: Scholastic Press
published: 2012
pages: 416

Blurb:

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue never sees them–until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks to her.
His name is Gansey, a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.
But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul whose emotions range from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher who notices many things but says very little.
For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She doesn’t believe in true love, and never thought this would be a problem. But as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore. (Amazon)

In Very Short:

+ ley lines, ghosts, premonitions and supernatural occurrences
+ divers group of characters
– the narrative pace was to bumpy and the story did not captivate

My Opinion:

This first installment of the The Raven Boys Cycle introduces the main characters – the Raven Boys – Blue and the search for ley lines and the power that those hold. Not only do they discover some strange, supernatural occurrences, the truth about the past and one of their group, they also get caught up in lots of emotions and future destinies.

It was an interesting story, with a well-developed and even paced story line, which was partially solved towards the end yet left many open questions for future books. Still, at different points in the narration, it felt halted and slowed down before it picked up again. The premise was interesting, yet it lacked the ability to captivate me.

The characters are a divers group of people, most of them being exposed to future troubles and possible destinies yet all determined to fight those visions. The story was already hinting at some kind of love triangle problem – that I am not that thrilled about, but that was not foregrounded either.

The writing was melodic and easy, yet also quite slow. Sometimes attempting to be poetic and thus taking attention away from the narration. It did not add to the story, but it might have been a problem due to the translation.

Bottom Line:

It was a good book and an interesting story line, yet I am not sure whether I should give the English version a try. At this point I am not sure I want to continue the German one either.

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Frank M. Reifenberg & Gina Mayer – Die Schattenbande legt los (Incl. Short English Review)

This book is written by a German author and not yet translated into English. For a short English review please see further below.

Die Schattenbande 1

Hardcover
Verlag: arsEdition
veröffentlicht: 2014
Seiten: 240

Klappentext:

Klara, Otto, Paule, Lina sind: Die Schattenbande!Neugierig, flink und furchtlos sind sie immer da, wo ein Verbrechen Aufklärung fordert … Als Otto verdächtigt wird, eine ehrwürdige Großfürstin umgebracht zu haben, müssen die Schatten handeln! Wer steckt wirklich hinter dem Mord? Welche Bedeutung hat das letzte Wort, das die Großfürstin mit Mühe über die Lippen brachte: Soljanka? Und was sind die sagenumwobenen »Tränen der Zarin«, von denen die Schatten bei ihrer Spurensuche erfahren? Immer tiefer geraten die Kinder in eine Welt voller zwielichtiger Gestalten, wovon eine ihnen letztlich den Weg aus dem Dunkel zeigt: Madame Fatale aus der »Schwarzen Katze« … (Amazon)

In Kürze:

+ ein historische Kinderkrimi
+ ein wunderbar spannendes Abenteuer mit liebenswerten Figuren
+ etwas kriminelles, etwas übernatürliches, etwas menschliches – es ist für jeden was dabei

Meinung:

Dieser wunderbare historische Kinderbuchkrimi war ein wirkliches Highlight. Lina, Paul, Otto und Klara leben in den20ger Jahren in Berlin und überleben mit dem eine oder anderen kleine Diebstahl, Gelegenheitsjobs und einigen wenigen guten Freunden (einigen sehr wenigen). Dabei stolpert Otto über eine Leiche und wird auch gleich des Mordes verdächtigt. Nun liegt es an den Freunden ihn zu entlasten – ohne geschnappt zu werden und zurück ins Waisenhaus zu müssen.

Es war ein schneller, spannender Fall: Juwelendiebe, Verschwörungen und ein Mord. Dazu kommt noch ein wenig Übersinnliches: die grüne Frau, eine immer wieder auftauchende Tür und gelegentlich auch Lina.

Die Figuren sind liebenswert und komplex, behalten etwas kindliches und haben eine Reihe interessanter Randfiguren um sich gescharrt – wie die liebe Wirtin, der einfältige Polizist und ein aberwitziger Reporter. Auch war der eigentliche Täter nicht so leicht zu erkennen, was die Spannung hielt. Der Schreibstil war einfach, flüssig und Kindern angepasst, dabei aber auch immer noch für Erwachsene gedacht.

Fazit:

Ein wirkliches tolles Buch über Freundschaft, Verbrechen und Juwelen.

In English:

Lina, Paul, Otto and Karla are living on the streets of Berlin in 1920. They escaped an orphanage and the occassional odd job and theft as well as the help from some well-meaning people keep them free and somewhat happy. One day Otto comes across a dead body and is accused of murder. His friends now have to do everything to clear his name and keep him from getting caught. Their search for answers drives them deeper into conspiracy theories and the underworld of Berlin.

I really enjoyed this story. The characters were well-developed, likeable, and still remained childlike without being helpless. Their entourage included a wonderful mix of people from lovely ladies, to unique reporters, and rather stupid police officers. The crime story was exiting and included: jewel theft, conspiracies, and murder. Moreover, the story included some supernatural elements such as the green lady, the reappearing door as well as occasionally Lina and her hair.

All in all, this was a fun, fast-paced, thrilling read.

Rating:

rating 4

My Reading Challenges for 2016

I have taken a little time to have a look at my reading challenges from last year and see how or if I might adapt them for this year. But I try not to see me not successfully finishing my challenges as a failure, thus I will keep them for this year and attempt them again. However, I have decided to add an audiobook challenge to my Goodreads challenge. I was thinking about combining them, but that somehow feels like cheating, though it really is not. Therefore, I just made up another one. We’ll see how I will manage this year. Good luck with all your reading or personal challenges in 2016.

1. Goodreads Reading Challenge 2016

2016 Reading Challenge

Goal: 45 books

Last year I did not quite manage to read 45 books, but I will attempt it again this year. I think that will be a tough one especially since there are still more changes about to happen in my life. So there might be quite a few times where I simply don’t have the time or energy, but you never know.

2. Attack on the TBR pile 2016 (personal challenge)

TBR challenge

Goal: 10 books

My TBR pile slowly increases and though I read a bit, there are more incoming books than outgoing especially since my library is so incredibly tempting. But I will try to read some that have been on my TBR pile for a while. The books that add themselves to my TBR pile this year [2016], don’t count here. As I have not managed to achieve my goal in 2015, I will attempt it again this year.

3. Finish Series Challenge 2016 (personal challenge)

The Series Challenge

Goal: finish 5 series

There is a wonderful Finish-Book-Series Challenges out there but their goals are just way to high for me. If I manage to finish 5 series (trilogies, multiple book series etc.) that would be quite an achievement. However, this year I will officially add audiobooks to the list. Thus, when I finish a series that I listen to as audiobooks this year, I will add that as well.

4. Audiobook Challenge 2016

Goal: 30 audiobooks

Since I have discovered the joy of listening to audiobooks, I will also attempt an audiobook challenge. As there are quite some changes coming this year, I am not sure how much time I will actually have. Therefore a goal of 30 audiobooks this years is hopefully manageable. We’ll see 🙂

Report on my Reading Challenges 2015

1. Goodreads Reading Challenge 2015

https://s.gr-assets.com/assets/challenges/2015/reading_challenge_badge-1d630b4e2d13af2e539be9328d0afa68.png

Goal: 45 books
Achieved: 41 books

I did attempt 45 books and managed to read 41. I am quite proud of this though I did not manage to fulfill the goal. Yet, if I would have added audiobooks to my goodreads challenge, I would have managed. Altogether I managed to listen to about a 100 stories over the past year.

1. Thomas Herrmanns – Das Tomatensaft-Mysterium: Fliegen in der Comedy Class
2. Sarah J. Maas – The Assassin and the Pirate Lord
3. Patrick Carman – Strengstens Verboten: Wilkommen im Hotel Whippet
4. Beth Revis – Across the Universe
5. Shawn T. Odyssey – Oona Crate und das dunkle Geheimnis des Orakels
6. Terry Deary – Abgefahrene Ägypter
7. Renée Holler – Das Geheimnis des goldenen Salamanders
8. Charlaine Harris – A Bone To Pick
9. Andreas H. Schmachtl – Hieronymus Frosch: Das hat die Welt noch nicht gesehen
10. John Farman – The Very Bloody History of Britain
11. Derek Landy – Skulduggery Pleasant: Playing with Fire
12. Bette A. Stevens – Amazing Matilda: A Monarch’s Tale
13. Rae Carson – The Crown of Embers
14. Katharina M. Mylius – Bloody Rosemary
15. Jennifer Estep – Touch of Frost
16. Octavia E. Butler – Parable of the Talents
17. Rae Carson – The Bitter Kingdom
18. Grace Draven – Radiance
19. Maria V. Snyder – Storm Glass
20. Grace Draven – Master of Crows
21. Sarah J. Maas – The Assassin and the Desert
22. Nina Blazon – Laqua: Der Fluch der schwarzen Gondel
23. Sarah J. Maas – The Assassin and the Underworld
24. Richard Stark – The Handle
25. Jessica Fletscher and Donald Bain – Coffee, Tea or Murder?
26. Emma Grey – Schuld war nur der Tee
27. Kai Meyer – Seide und Schwert
28. Frank M. Reifenberg und Gina Mayer – Die Schattenbande legt los
29. Josephine Angelini – Goddess
30. M.J. Haag – Depravity
31. Agatha Christie – Sad Cypress
32. Paula Hawkins – Girl on the Train
33. Rick Riordan – Percy Jackson and the Greek Gods
34. Claudia Gray – A Thousand Pieces of You
35. Ursula Neeb – Die Hurenkönigin
36. Rob Reef – Stableford: Ein Golf-Krimi aus Cornwall
37. Peter Gaymann und Andreas Hauffe – Der Weihnachtsmann kann einpacken
38. Kirsten John – Gefährliche Kaninchen feiern Weihnachten
39. Lauren Alleyne – Difficult Fruit
40. Andreas H. Schmachtl – Tilda Apfelkern: Alle warten auf Weihnachten
41. Andreas H. Schmachtl – Tilda Apfelkern:Oh du schöne Weihnachtszeit

2. Attack on the TBR pile 2015 (personal challenge)

TBR challenge

Goal: 10 books
Achieved: 6 books

Most of the books I read this year were borrowed from the library or friends and since I had to get them back in a timely manner, I only picked 6 from my TBR.

1. Renée Holler – Das Geheimnis des goldenen Salamanders
2. Charlaine Harris – A Bone To Pick
3. Andreas H. Schmachtl – Hieronymus Frosch: Das hat die Welt noch nicht gesehen
4. John Farman – The Very Bloody History of Britain
5. Rae Carson – The Crown of Embers
6. Rae Carson – The Bitter Kingdom

3. Finish Series Challenge 2015 (personal challenge)

The Series Challenge

Goal: finish 5 series
Achieved: 3 (when I count only books)
7 (when I include finished audiobook series)

I managed to finish three series in book form. Yet when I count in audiobooks, I have finished 7 series. Some of them will be continued within the next year, but I have caught up with the ones published.

1. Octavia E. Butler – Parable Duology
– Parable of the Sower
– Parable of Talents

2. Rae Carson – Girl of Fire and Thorns Trilogy
– The Girl of Fire and Thorns
– The Crown of Embers
– The Bitter Kingdom

3. Josephine Angelini – Starcrossed Trilogy
– Starcrossed
– Dreamless
– Goddess

4. Iny Lorentz – Auswanderer Saga (Audiobook)
– Das goldene Ufer
– Der weiße Stern
– Das wilde Land

5. Sabine Marin – Henkerin Reihe (Audiobook)
– Die Henkerin
– Die Tränen der Henkerin

6. Rita Falk – Franz Eberhofer Reihe (Stand 2015) (Audiobook)
– Winterkartoffelknödel
– Dampfnudelblues
– Grießnockerlaffäre
– Sauerkrautkoma
– Zwetschgendatschikompott

7. Oliver Pötzsch – Henkerstochter Reihe (Stand 2015) (Audiobook)
– Die Henkerstochter
– Die Henkerstochter und der Schwarze Mönch
– Die Henkerstochter und der König der Bettler
– Der Hexer und die Henkerstochter
– Die Henkerstochter und der Teufel von Bamberg