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.

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My Reading Month February

I continued to have a reading slump for pretty much the entire month of February which resulted in me reading one book. Yep, one book. However, I did a lot better on the audiobook front and I listened to eight audiobooks – although one was a children’s story that lasted only an hour. But lets start with my book this month.

Patrick Carman – Strengstens Verboten: Willkommen im Hotel Whippet/ Floors

After I finished a six-year project, I had a feeling that I might not be the fastest reader, but I had no idea it would take this long to finish one book. I chose a children’s adventure story because I wanted something easy and fun. Something that just washed over me and it did. I enjoyed the book. The story centers on Leo who lives in a unique hotel in New York which contains secrets floors, a duck elevator, a room with and 800,000 piece puzzle, rooms that have ponds in them or that have robots and many more great things. Leo discovers a box and is told he has about 2 days to solve the task given to him in those boxes. It was really a nice adventure story which is great for boys and girls alike.

Strengstens Verboten

Since I had a lot more patience to listen to audiobooks, I have managed quite a few. Time is never wasted on a train or walking to your next appointment. Anyhow, the audiobooks where a little heavy on the historical novel front and most of them have been written by German authors, but there are also some written by English authors,

Sarah Lark – Die Insel der tausend Quellen & Die Insel der roten Mangroven

This is book one and two in the family saga set in Jamaica right around the time of the slave revolts. It focuses on Nora who leaves her life in London behind after her fiance dies and makes her way to Jamaica, where she disagrees with her new husband’s attitude towards slavery and the slaves, yet succumbs to societal pressures. However, her curiosity and supposed friendliness can easily be misunderstood when the revolt takes place and she is caught in the middle of it all. In no time she looses everything that she has known and slowly starts to lose herself. The second book focuses on the next generation, yet I do not want to go into much detail since it will spoil the first one.
I liked both books. They were beautifully read which captivated my attention. I would not necessarily take anything for face value and since my cultural studies training kicked in, I had to take the story with a little grain of salt, but when I took my background out of the equation, it was good and entertaining.

Oliver Pötzsch – Die Henkerstochter und der König der Bettler

The third installment in series that focuses on an executioner and his daughter in the middle ages, was as good and exciting as the first two books. This is somewhat more of a crime story than a plain historical novel. The executioner is tricked and captured for the murder of his sister and her husband. His daughter comes to his aid and tries to uncover the truth to save her father from being executed. Therefore, they uncover a web of lies and secrets.
It was a great and entertaining audiobook. I thoroughly enjoyed it and could not stop. Great.

Oliver Pötzsch – Die Burg der Könige

Another book by the same author, but this time it had a different topic. Again this is set in the middle ages. A young woman is not compliant with the world around her, yet when her father dies she is forced to marry the man who killed him. Still taunted by dreams that started to appear when her falcon brought her a ring, she decides to uncover the truth behind those dreams and the purpose of the ring.
This an enjoyable book although I had some difficulties following all the different facts and historical figures. I am not that well versed in the history of the middle ages in Europe especially the part that is today’s Germany and France, so I was a little confused at times. Maybe it would have been easier to read this book or at least make a chart of all the names and historical figures. Towards the end I did remember some, yet I really need to brush up on some history.

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

This historical novel was again focusing on crimes and was a little more crime fiction. I really enjoyed to listen to the book. It was again a whole lot of conspiracy to uncover that had not a lot to do with the murder in the first place. While here a midwife investigates, it becomes clear that nearly everybody has some secrets which they want to stay buried. Although to many groups seem to be mixed up in the murder, those intertwined narrative strands are nicely separated towards the end and it all makes sense despite the convoluted mass in the beginning. It was an enjoyable read.

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

Again another crime story in a historical novel. While here a female healer is supposed to determine whether the dead monk was a saint, she uncovers that said monk was murdered. Trying to figure out what happened and what the other monks keep from her, she gets deeper and deeper into a crime that she might not be able to escape. Again a short and entertaining read. Not as good as the other one set in York, yet still good. I had a few problems relating to the main protagonist and to follow the story, but that might have been because I was in a very different head space when I was listening to this.

Die Zeitdetektive – Der Rote Rächer

This is part of a time travel series that focuses on three young kids who have discovered a secret door in the library that takes them to different places in time. This time they are taken to Rome where the gladiator games are taking place. Since the head game maker is attacked, the children try to uncover who the attacker is.
This series is really cute and short. An episode is about an hour-long. It is an adventure with historical facts thrown in between without being to didactic. Really good.

Sophie Jordan – Firelight: Flammende Träne/ Vanish:  A Firelight Novel

This is the second installment in the Firelight series. This series is about Jacinda who is a draki – a descendant of the dragons that can transform into a human. She is caged up in her pack because she is the first fire draki in a long time. While the leader of the pack wants to keep her for breeding (isn’t that charming), she meets a hunter (who hunts her), she falls for the hunter, and breaks many rules. And of course there is a dragon boy as well.
The first book was quite interesting. This one was a little slower and focused way to much on her inner problems, emotions, and turmoil, which was occasionally annoying. A little more action would have helped the book, but it was more of a bridge between book 1 and book 3 since that looks a lot more action driven than this one. But all in all, it was okay.