My Reading Months April and May

It has been quiet on this channel lately. I wish I could just name a good reason or explanation or excuse for it, but none feels good enough. Plain fact: I just didn’t manage to put up content regularly. Life was hectic (but no more than usual), so was work (maybe a little more than usual but it had worse before), but when I had some time off I was relieved that I did not have to look at a computer. There is no excuse, no explanation: I didn’t manage it and I didn’t force myself to do so. Why? I really can’t say.

As I am trying to better myself, I am also trying to get out of some sort of reading slump. Not sure whether this is really a slump or if I don’t have the time. If I won’t to read I don’t have the time to read, but if I have the time I don’t want to. It’s quite the vicious cycle.

Since the reading hasn’t been good in April I decided to wait until May is over in order to get a little bit more content together.

  • Books: 4
  • Audiobook: 4
  • Pages (only books): 1282
  • Pages (incl. Audiobooks): 3186
  • Minutes listened: 1543 min. (over 25,5 hours)

Books:

Katharina M. Mylius – Ein Fehler mit Vergangenheit (Ein Oxford Krimi)

This is a wonderful and entertaining crime novel that is set in Oxford. The two inspectors investigate a death which occurred during a polo match. Though it looked like an accident it was of course murder. But the deceased was threatened by a woman who has disappeared many years ago and was never found. I really enjoyed the story and the intermingling of the cases. The inspectors were likeable and no depressed or gloomy or heavy drinkers – whoop whoop.

Kalaharin Typing School For Men Ein Fehler mit Vergangenheit

Alexander McCall Smith – The Kalahari Typing School for Men (#4)

I thoroughly enjoy the books in The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency Series though I don’t necessarily feel that a lot of detecting is happening really. But the lovely thing is that not a lot of action like things are happening. The characters are keen observers that make the story slow-moving and thus relaxing and enjoyable. It surely is not something for everyone and you have to be in the mood for this.

Maria V. Snyder – Scent of Magic (Healer Trilogy #2)

The Ixia Chronicles are one of my favorite series (at least the first three books in the series, I haven’t made up my mind about the others yet) and I was a little careful to dive into another world, but I did and I loved the first book, so of course I had to continue with the series quite quickly. I loved this one too. The author is capable of creating characters that you can’t help to love. The basic scheme is similar to that of the Ixia chronicles, the action is fast-paced from the start to the very end, I laughed and cried with the characters and I was giddy when I encountered them again.

Maria V. Synder Scent of Magic Maria V. Snyder Taste of Darkness

Maria V. Snyder – Taste of Darkness (Healer Trilogy #3)

After the second book, I had to read the third book right away and I was drawn in from the first page onwards. Again, I thoroughly enjoyed the book, yet it did feel a little more erratic at times, quite jumpy between all the different places and settings and a little rushed. But those things were just slightly nagging feelings yet I could not shut them out.

Audiobooks:

Philip Kerr – Winterpferde/ The Winter Horses

Kalinka has lost everything once the Nazi overrun her town. She manages to flee and hide with the caretaker of a wildlife reserve who has to learn to live with the Nazis who have overrun the reserve. But soon Kalinka is on the run with two rare horses and is desperate to save them and herself from extermination. This is beautiful story about sacrifice, the loyalty of animals and the endurance of the a girl.

Ulrike Schweikert – Das Kreidekreuz

In the Middle Ages Anna marries a councilman to secure her future and shut her family up, yet when the peasant’s revolt comes to her town, so does her childhood sweetheart. Now she is caught between the two sides of the revolt as friends and family make their individual stands and between the two men in her life. This story was interesting, yet as some other stories by the author it could not captivate me. It dragged along and I needed a few breaks in between.

Petra Durst-Benning – Solang die Welt noch schläft

The story about 3 young girlfriends at the turn of the 20th century who all walk different paths in their lives, yet manage to maintain their friendship. I listened to the second book in this series before I even knew it was a series, which I figured out by accident. I really enjoyed the story as it gave an interesting inside into the time and the changing role of women. I also find it quite fascinating that a character that I actually liked in a later story, is incredibly annoying and arrogant in this one. All in all, very entertaining.

Rebecca Martin – Das goldenen Haus

I enjoyed this historical novel which was entertaining, yet the big secret was less big and shocking as I would have anticipated. The novel centers around the family Wessling who opens one of the largest ware houses in Frankfurt. However, the success of the family is build upon betrayal and secrets. Each slowly eats away at the three brothers, who are at the heart of the story, each of them dealing with their past differently. But when Bettina (the oldest brother’s wife) discovers that her marriage is based on a lie this family moves towards an abyss fast.

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Rebecca Martin – Das goldenen Haus (Incl. Short English Review)

This audiobook is written and read in German. For a short English review please see further below.

Das goldene Haus von Rebecca Martin

Hörbuch
Verlag: RandomHouseAudio
Sprecher: Anna Thalbach
Zeit: 6h 58min

Klappentext:

Eine schillernde Kaufhausdynastie, begründet auf Schuld und Verrat
Frankfurt 1901: Bettina Wessling hat ihr Leben dem Aufbau des prächtigsten und modernsten Kaufhauses der Stadt gewidmet. Ihr Ehemann Arnold ist das Oberhaupt der angesehenen Familie. Doch Bettinas heimliche Leidenschaft gilt einem anderen: Sie liebt Richard, Arnolds verfeindeten Bruder, doch sie hält es für ihre Pflicht, ihre Gefühle zu unterdrücken.
Bettina hütet nicht nur dieses Geheimnis. Genauso wie ihre Ehe auf Lügen aufbaut, gründen das Kaufhaus und der Reichtum ihrer Familie auf Schuld und Verrat. Eines Tages kommt ein fremdes junges Mädchen aus Paris zu den Wesslings. Alles droht aufzufliegen, und die Zukunft und das Glück der nachfolgenden Generationen stehen auf dem Spiel …
Anna Thalbach erweckt mit ihrer Stimme die schillernde Kaufhausdynastie der Wesslings zum Leben. (Random House)

In Kürze:

+ Familiengeschichte mit angenehmen Erzähltempo
+ Geheimnisse, welche die Existenz von Generationen bedrohen
+ interessante und gequälte Protagonisten aber auch einige flache Figuren
+ ein Geheimnis, das weniger schrecklich ist als vermutet

Meinung:

Das goldene Haus von Rebecca Martin ist die Familiengeschichte der Wesslings, die mit der Entstehung des Kaufhauses des ältesten Bruders beginnt. Dabei kommen Geheimnisse zum Vorschein, die nicht nur die Ehen und Beziehungen der Brüder gefährden sondern auch die Lebensgrundlage der Familie.

Das Buch beginnt kurz vor der Kaufhauseröffnung an einem Punkt an dem die Vergangenheit ihre Spuren bei allen Brüdern hinterlassen hat und jeder versucht mit den Ereignissen klar zu kommen. Während Arnold seinen Traum von Kaufhaus erfüllt, der jüngeren Bruder Falk seelisch leidet und Richard seinen Bruder Arnold aus tiefstem Herzen hasst, erfährt Bettina Wessling (Arnolds Frau), dass ihre Ehe auf einer Lüge basiert. In dieser emotional geladenen Konstellation scheint es nur eine Frage der Zeit bis die Familie den Abgrund erreicht.

Die Geschichte hat einen gleichbleibendes und angenehmes Erzähltempo. Das Geheimnis ist meiner Meinung nach weniger schrecklich als es vermuten lässt, aber da bin ich wohl durch Reihen wie Game of Thrones schon etwas abgestumpft.
Die Figuren waren interessant und sind mit ihrem inneren Kampf sehr unterschiedlich umgegangen. Dabei blieben einige Charaktere leider etwas flach. Auch hätte ich mir gewünscht, dass sich die Hauptfigur (Bettina) vielleicht mal etwas mehr wehrt, aber auch das war ihr nicht möglich. Daher konnte ich einige ihrer Handlungen nicht immer nachvollziehen.

Die Geschichte spielt in verschiedenen Zeitebenen und Handlungsorten und verfolgt nebenbei noch einen weiteren Handlungsstrang in Frankreich, der später mit dem Hauptstrang zusammengeführt wird. Zudem wird die Erzählung durch Flashbacks durchbrochen, um das Geheimnis langsam aber sicher aufzudecken.

Anna Thalbach liest einfach wunderbar und schafft es durch ihre Interpretation die Leser einzunehmen.

Vielen Dank an Random House Audio für die Bereitstellung des Rezensionsexemplars.

Fazit:

Eine schöne Familiengeschichte mit einer tollen Erzählerin. Es ist kein mitreißendes, spannendes Abenteuer, aber ein Buch, was einen auf eine interessante und schöne Reise mitnimmt.

In English:

This historical novel centers around the family Wessling who opens one of the largest ware houses in Frankfurt. However, the success of the family is build upon betrayal and secrets. Each slowly eats away at the three brothers who are at the heart of the story, each of them dealing with their past differently. But when Bettina (the oldest brother’s wife) discovers that her marriage is based on a lie, this family moves towards an abyss fast.

The story was well-paced, yet the secret around which this story is spun is less gruesome or horrible than I anticipated. The characters are interesting though some remained flat. The story takes place in two different settings (a smaller narrative strand is set in France) and is punctuated by flashbacks revealing the secret of the past.

The narrator is wonderful and drew me into the story, which was overall entertaining, interesing and it was thrilling to see characters and psychological conditions unfold.