My Reading Month August

I know it is very late for a reading month August since it is already October, but what the hell…here goes nothing. 🙂 Slowly I feel that I have my reading groove back at least I had it back for a short time due to late summer nights on my balcony and a nice stress level at work that made me grab an audiobook or two. Yet the groove to publish content more regularly has not yet returned in full force. But I am happy about a little force as well. All in all, I am quite happy with the month of August.

  • Books: 4
  • Audiobooks: 6
  • Pages (only books): 956
  • Pages (incl. Audiobooks): 4300
  • Minutes listened: 6779min. (almost 13 hours)

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Books:

Maggie Stiefvater and Jackson Pearce – Pip Bartlett und die magischen Tiere: Die brandgefährliche Fussels/ Pip Bartlett*s Guide to Magical Creatures

My first read this month is also the book that has gotten me out of my little low. This book is such a lovely story with a wonderful and rich world of magical creatures and great ideas. I enjoyed every minute of the story as well as the beautiful illustrations. A great children’s adventure story about magical creatures and a girl who can talk to them.

Kerstin Rottland – Agathe Bond: Cool wie das Wasser im Pool

Another fantastic and adventurous read is this spy novel with a tortoise as the main protagonist and major spy. A hilarious and fantastic story with beautiful illustrations, quite some adventure and a lot of spy equipment hidden in one small tortoise-shell.

Dora Heldt – Jetzt mal anders

This collection of columns written by a well-known German author were entertaining, sweat, and short. I did not feel the pressure of having to read the book cover to cover but pick it up when I felt like it. The stories cover a wide range of everyday topics and observations.

Martina Sahler – Matilda und die Sommersonneninsel

This young adult book or early teen book – whatever age range this is supposed to cover – is a wonderful summer read for young girls as the story centers around a group of young girls and their long summer vacation. Short, sweat, and entertaining.

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Audiobooks:

Kirstin Cashore – Die Flammende / Fire

I have read this book some years ago and I enjoyed every page of it. The same holds true for the audiobook. It was as riveting and exiting as I remembered the book to be. A wonderful fantasy novel with a great protagonist. I thoroughly enjoyed the read.

Eve Chase – Black Rabbit Hall

A family drama with two different timelines that intertwine towards the end. Though I felt like I could predict what was going to happen, the author had the uncanny ability to make me doubt my previously made decisions. The story kept my on my toes and was an entertaining and thrilling audiobook. A great read or better a great listen.

Frauke Scheunemann – Ziemlich unverhofft

The second book centering around the protagonist Nicola was another entertaining and fun audiobook. I returned to the world, the people, and a similar chaotic life of the protagonist with pleasure and passion. Though I was a little annoyed by the story line with her neighbor Tiziano and this attempt at some sort of love triangle thing…the remainder of the story was great.

Lucinda Riley – Der Lavendelgarten/ The Lavender Garden

My second Riley novel was another audiobook for the win column. The story was set in two different times (as seems to be the case with Mrs. Riley) and follows the family history of Emily de la Martiniere – her struggle to maintain a family legacy and the struggles of her family in WWII. The story was riveting, the characters were sympathetic and likeable, both story lines drew the reader in yet were slow enough to enjoy the beauty of the scenery the narrative was set in as well as the writing.

Sarah Lark – Das Lied der Maori (#2) / Der Ruf des Kiwis (#3)

These two audiobooks are the second and third installment in a family tale. I enjoyed the first immensely and wanted to continue with the narrator and the author and the family story. We follow the descendants of the two women that came to New Zealand in the first book – trying to survive in a world and situation that they cannot escape and if they do, they have to endure a lot of pain and suffering.
Though I think you could have listened to these audio books individually without a specific order in mind, I was happy that I listened to them how it was intended. The books were a little more intense than the previous one especially the third installment. This is not necessarily for times when you as a reader are in emotional distress or more vulnerable because the story includes quite an ordeal of abuse and rape into these books. I had to stop on occasion. Despite those scenes the books were very good.

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Frauke Scheunemann – Ziemlich Unverhofft: Eine Familienkomödie (Incl. Short English Review)

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

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Klappentext:

Der ganz normale Wahnsinn, jeden Tag
Nikola Petersen, Anwältin und allein erziehende Mutter in Hamburg, hat ihr Leben fest im Griff. Na gut, manchmal ist es auch ein wenig chaotisch. Zum Beispiel jetzt gerade: Schwiegermutter Gisela, ihres Zeichens Chefbabysitterin im Hause Petersen, will auf Kreuzfahrt gehen – natürlich ohne Nikolas Kinder. Dabei türmen sich im Büro die Akten, und Nikola hätte gern ein wenig Zeit, um den vielversprechenden Flirt mit ihrem Kollegen Simon Rupprecht auszubauen. Getreu dem Motto „Schlimmer geht’s immer“ muss sie dann auch noch die Avancen ihres Nachbarn Tiziano abwehren, der Nikola aus unerfindlichen Gründen seiner Mutter als neue Freundin präsentiert zu haben scheint. (der Hörverlag)

In Kürze:

+ 2. Geschichte um Nikola Peters und ihre Familie
+ leichte, luftige, unterhaltsame Lektüre, ideal für schöne Sommertage
+ liebenswerte Charaktere wenn auch nicht mit zu viel Tiefgang

Meinung:

Ziemlich Unverhofft ist die zweite Geschichte um Nikola Petersen. Nikola ist Anwältin und alleinerziehende Mutter. Die Geschichte entführt uns in einen etwas chaotischen Abschnitt von Nikolas Leben: ihre Schwiegermutter geht als Chefbabysitterin kurzfristig in den Urlaub, ihr Nachbar verwickelt sie in eine Lüge, ihre Freundin lässt sich gerade von ihrem Ehemann scheiden, der sie mit allen Mitteln über den Tisch ziehen will und dann sind da noch Nikolas alter und neuer Kollege.

Diese sehr unterhaltsame Geschichte war leicht, luftig, lustig und genau das richtige für den Sommer. Ich habe die Geschichte sehr genossen, die Figuren waren angenehm, wenn auch nicht mit all zu viel Tiefgang. Gelegentlich gingen mir einige der Charakter auf die Nerven – besonders Tiziano und auch die Kollegen von Nikola – aber die Geschichte um die Scheidung und den betrügenden Ehemann war interessant und hielt die Spannung. Auch der zweite juristische Handlungsstrang mit der Scheinehe gefiel mir sehr gut und hätte meiner Meinung nach durchaus vertieft werden können.

Der Schreibstil war wie die Geschichte seicht, fließend und sehr angenehm und die Sprecherin – Marie Bierstedt – hat es ganz wunderbar gelesen.

Vielen Dank an der Hörverlag für die Bereitstellung des Rezensionsexemplars.

Fazit:

Ein wirklich gelungenes, unterhaltsames Sommerbuch mit einer angenehmen Protagonistin, chaotischen Familiensituationen und interessanten Rechtsfällen.

Autor:

Frauke Scheunemann, geboren 1969 in Düsseldorf, ist promovierte Juristin. Sie absolvierte ein Volontariat beim NDR und arbeitete anschließend als Journalistin und Pressesprecherin. Seit 2002 ist sie freie Autorin. Ihre Romane um den kleinen Dackel Herkules waren monatelang auf der SPIEGEL-Bestsellerliste. Frauke Scheunemann ist verheiratet und lebt mit ihrem Mann, ihren vier Kindern und dem kleinen Hund Elmo in Hamburg.

In English:

This is the second novel focusing on Nikola’s life – the lawyer and single mother of two is suddenly left in the middle of quite a huge chaos. Her mother-in-law – the head babysitter – decides to go on a cruise leaving Nikola in desperate need as the kindergarten closes for a few weeks, her neighbor entangles her in an uncomfortable lie, her best friend gets a divorce from the seedy husband who would do anything so he doesn’t have to pay money and then there are Nikola’s two colleagues.
This novel was a charming, light, entertaining and fluffy read and are wonderful for those nice summer days. I enjoyed the story especially Nikola’s cases as they were not only entertaining but also kept the tension high. The writing was very comfortable, light, and fluffy yet captivating without being to flowery and overwhelming. The characters were very likeable especially the main protagonist Nikola but lacked depth and a few were just plain annoying. But it fitted the chick lit formula quite well, although this might be chick lit for chicks past their mid to end thirties.

My Reading Month December

My last reading month this year was nice and relaxing though I barely managed to read anything during the holidays. Somehow, I was visiting relatives and friends or spending time baking and decorating or simply on the phone using the off time to catch up with the ones I could not see in person. But still, I managed to listen and to read a fair amount of books, though I will not finish my reading challenge this year. But more on that in another post. Let’s start with some numbers.

  • Books: 6 (though many short ones)
  • Audiobook: 5
  • Pages (only books): 728
  • Pages (incl. Audiobooks): 1227
  • Minutes listened: 1950 min. (over 32 hours)

Books:

Rob Reef – Stableford ( Ein Golf-Krimi aus Cornwall)

This whodunit novel was a well structured and entertaining read, with an interesting protagonist, obvious and not so obvious clues, a group of suspects, and a report by the amateur detective at the end. A detailed review is already on this blog (here).

Stableford Ein Elch packt aus

Peter Gaymann, Andreas Hauffe – Der Weihnachtsmann kann einpacken. Ein Elch packt aus

This Christmas book is a short and fun read about Santa Clause’s character traits reported by a more or less sober reindeer. Cute.

Kirsten John – Gefährliche Kaninchen feiern Weihnachten

What is going to happen when the dad meets mom’s new boyfriend – chaos ensues and Christmas is about to be cancelled. But then again it is Christmas and there are some miracles about to happen…or at least some common sense.

Gefährliche Kaninchen feiern Weihnachnte Tilda Adventskalender

Andreas H. Schmachtl – Tilda Apfelkern: Alle warten auf Weihnachten

This is an advent calendar in stories. Each day has a short and sweet story that is somehow related to the one before and after, yet stand alone. I just love Tilda, the white mouse.

Andreas H. Schmachtl – Tilda Apfelkern: Oh du schöne Weihnachtszeit

This is the bigger version of an advent calendar. The book contains 24 stories building up to Christmas that can be read completely alone but again build a whole story. Each story is followed by either a Christmas poem or song and a recipe or an instruction for some handicraft to do with you children. It is beautifully illustrated and there are some nice recipes and ideas in here.

difficult fruit Tilda Apfelkern - Oh du schöne Weihnachtszeit

Lauren Alleyne – Difficult Fruit

This collection of poems is just stunning and wonderful. I have never been the greatest poetry fan and I was a little reluctant at first. But this was just fantastic (and maybe even more fantastic because I have met the author and she is wonderful, hilarious and charming – and incredibly talented).

Audiobooks:

Rita Mae Brown – Claws and Effect: A Mrs. Murphy Mystery/ Mord auf Rezept

This is one of the Murphy Brown stories. I have never read one before but since I really enjoy crime novels with animal investigators, I had to pick this up and give it a go. I really enjoyed the story, the narrator was really good, and it did not bother me that this book is somewhat later in the series. I might not have understood all the relationships between the human characters that well, but again this did not bother me.

Frauke Scheunemann – Ziemlich Unverbesserlich: Eine Familienkommödie

This German book deals with a widowed female lawyer who has a unique and interesting case load, two children, a meddling but loving and supportive mother-in-law, two italian neighbors, a weed plantation, and a little bit of investigation. It was a lovely and heart-warming story that made me laugh and sometimes cringe. Great entertainment.

Petra Durst-Henning – Die Russische Herzogin

The historical novel deals with the part of the Romanov family tree that was married and shipped to Germany. Olga is married to Karl and fairly unhappy as is her niece Wera, who is shipped of to live with her aunt in Germany. Both have to get used to a different country as well as bury many of the hopes and dreams yet their friendship helps create some form of happiness for themselves.

Iny Lorentz – Das Vermächtnis der Wanderhure

This is the third installment in the series about a (former) prostitute in the middle ages in Germany. After everything seems to finally settle down for Marie and her family, fate strikes yet again. Interesting and nice story and a wonderful narrator. She could read anything to me really.

Sabine Martin – Die Tränen der Henkerin

This is the second book about a female executioner – her past and her lies catch up to her and her past wants revenge. I enjoyed the story, though I wholeheartedly disliked her husband.