I don’t want to grow up – My love for children’s books seems endless.

I enjoy reading children’s books. I am for sure not the intended audience but I love reading them. Not all of course, but the majority.

Funnily enough I enjoyed reading books from authors like Barbara Wood and others when I was about 13 years old – why I have no idea. During my studies in which I read many classics, I turned to fantasy and during the past say 4 to 5 years I discovered or better rediscovered my love for children’s books. Maybe I liked them because (of)

  • the nostalgic factor of my own childhood,
  • the fact that children are mostly straight forward and don’t hide what they feel,
  • they see things differently maybe even clearer.

Whatever the reason, they are fun, entertaining, usually contain a moral and just beautifully written and thought out.

As the international children’s day has been on June 1st, I just want to share some of my favorite children’s books which some might categorize under different or more specific sub-genres but from me they are still books for children – and in the end, I am still a child and will always be my parents kid no matter how old I am.

   

 

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Marliese Arold – Magic Girls: Gefangen in der Unterwelt (#4) (Incl. Short English Review)

This book is written by a German author and I listened to this audiobook in German as well. For a short English review please see further below.

CIMG0284 Rätsel des Dornenbaums

Hörbuch gelesen von Sabine Falkenberg
Information zum Buch:
Verlag: Arsedition
veröffentlicht: 2009
Seiten 176

Klappentext:

Elena sorgt sich um ihre Hexenfreundin Miranda, die sich ganz plötzlich sehr krank fühlt. Ist etwa der Fluch des Schwarzmagiers Mafaldus Horus daran schuld? Eines Morgens ist Miranda dann auch noch verschwunden. Elena findet heraus, dass sie von zwei geheimnisvollen Kuttenmännern entführt worden ist. Um Miranda zu befreien, muss Elena in die Unterwelt eindringen, wo der schreckliche Herrscher der Dunkelheit regiert. Nur gut, dass nicht nur die Menschenmädchen Nele und Jana Elena bei ihrer schwierigen Aufgabe zur Seite stehen, sondern auch der junge Zauberer Eusebius, in den Miranda ein klitzekleines bisschen verliebt ist. (Amazon)

Meinung:

Handlung: In dem vierten Buch geht es diesmal für alle Beteiligten in die Unterwelt – auch für die Nicht-hexen. Diesmal wird wenig Schnick-schnack um Schulprobleme oder Teenagerthemen gemacht, sondern es geht gleich rasant zur Sache: Miranda wird entführt und ihre Freunde begeben sich an die Rettung.

Charaktere: Die Figuren sind liebenswert, einige auch nervig (Mona), manche nicht anwesend. Besonders das relativ normale Verhalten der Mädchen und die immer aufkeimende Angst, die bekämpft werden muss, machen die Figuren sympathisch und authentisch.

Stil/Sprecher: Die Schreibstil ist sehr angenehm und leicht. Die Erzählweise war für mich aber sehr anstrengend, da ich die Stimmen, die den jeweiligen Figuren von der Erzählerin zugewiesen wurden, doch gelegentlich nervten.

In English:

The fourth novel the two teenage witches, who are banned to live in the human world, are in trouble. Miranda gets kidnapped and Elena and her human friends decide to rescue her.

The story was fast-paced from the beginning and this time all (witches and humans) are traveling into the witch world and even further.

The characters are likeable and don’t pretend to not be afraid. They are scared and have to fight their fears in order to help their friend. It made the girls very relateable.

Though the writing was easy and fluent, the narrator was a little tricky. I did not agree with the voices she assigned to each character which made listening a little annoying.

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.

Marliese Arold – Magic Girls: Das Rätsel des Dornenbaums (#3)

This book is not published in English yet. I have no idea if it ever will be, but I will keep an eye and ear open and let you know. Look further down for a short review in English.

Rätsel des Dornenbaums

Hardcover
Verlag: arsEdition
veröffentlicht 2009
Seiten: 168

Buch (Deutsch)

Klappentext:

Ein rätselhafter Dornenbaum wächst an dem Platz, an dem sich die Schwarzen Zauberkutten versammeln. Um herauszufinden, was sie vorhaben,nehmen die Hexenmädchen Elena, Miranda und der Zauberer Leon Bredov an dem verbotenen Ritual teil. – natürlich getarnt. Plötzlich erscheint im Baum der große Magier Mafaldus Horus, der die Macht in der Hexenwelt an sich reißen will. Das muss Leon Bredov im Auftrag der Obersten Zauberrichter verhindern! Da fliegt ihre Tarnung auf. Elena und Miranda, die das wertvolle Amulett hüten soll, geraten in höchste Gefahr…

In Kürze:

+ 3. Buch in der Magic Girls Reihen
+ spannend und unterhaltsam
+ endlich verbringen wir mehr Zeit in der Hexenwelt
+ sympathische und liebenswerte Figuren

Meinung:

Unsere beiden kleinen Hexilhexen bestehen ihr nächstes Abenteuer. Während die ersten beiden Bücher doch damit beschäftigt waren, die „Abenteuer und Gefahren“ im Menschenland zu behandeln, wird es diesmal richtig spannend.
Wer die ersten Bände noch nicht gelesen hat, sollte hier vielleicht lieber aufhören, da doch das ein oder anderen verraten wird.

Nachdem sich also nun herausgestellt hat, dass Leon Bredov kein Verräter sondern ein Geheimagent ist, der gegen die Schwarzen Zauberkutten ermittelt, sind sich die Hexen unschlüssig wie lange sie noch im Hexil bleiben müssen. Als Elena, Miranda und Daphne ein Wochenende allein verbringen (weil Mona zum Hexenseminar will und die Mutter zur Weiterbildung), meldet sich ausgerechnet Leon Bredov. Er braucht Hilfe. Also machen sich die beiden Mädchen auf den Weg um mit ihm ein geheimes Treffen der Schwarzen Zauberkutten auszuspionieren. Diese wollen den schwarzen Magier Mafaldus Horus auferstehen lassen. Als das Vorhaben gelingt, sind die beiden Hexenmädchen in größter Gefahr.

Diesmal finde ich die Geschichte spannend. Die ersten Bücher waren auch nicht schlecht, aber haben sich meiner Meinung nach viel zu sehr mit der Menschenwelt und der Angst der Entdeckung beschäftigt. Hier wird es nun endlich mal interessant. Auch wenn ich ein wenig genervt von Miranda war, die es irgendwie kaum hinbekam ihre Deckung aufrechtzuerhalten, fand ich das auch wieder sympathisch. Diesmal ist es nicht Miranda (die sowieso alles kann) die einen etwas kühleren Kopf behält, sondern Elena. Auch kann ich verstehen, dass sie etwas neidisch auf Miranda ist, da ihr das Lernen geradezu zufliegt. Das macht Elena aber in keiner weise negativ, sondern menschlich. Es ist nicht schlimm auch mal neidisch zu sein, sondern wie man damit umgeht. Elena missgönnt ihrer Freundin nichts, sie hätte es halt auch nur gerne etwas leichter.

Der Schreibstil was wieder schön, die Gestaltung des Buches ebenfalls. Besonders gefallen mir immer noch die kleinen Lexikoneinträge etc. die besondere hexische Fähigkeiten und Zustände noch einmal erklären.

Fazit:

Ein gelungen und spannendes Abenteuer mit sympathischen Figuren und endlich mehr Zeit inder Hexenwelt.

In English:

After Elena and her family have discovered that her father isn’t a traitor but a secret agent of the wizard ministry, Elena and her friend Miranda are unsure whether they will remain in the human world or can return back home. When the girls are alone on the weekend, Elena’s father contacts the house because he is in need of help. Since nobody else is home the two girls meet up with Leon Bredov to help him in his investigation. All of them spy on the dark magicians who want to resurrect the dark wizard Mafaldus Horus. Will the three of them be discovered and identified as spies and are they able to stop the ceremony before it’s too late?

I really enjoyed this book because it’s the first time the reader is taken into the wizard world. The previous two books were primarily concerned with the human world – with settling in and the danger of being discovered. Now it gets interesting.

Although I was sometimes annoyed with Miranda, who was barely able to hold up her cover, it made her also more sympathetic. The girl, who is always best at everything, is about to loose her cool and it is Elena, who struggles with learning and using magic, that is in control of herself. Although Elena reveals that she is jealous of her friend’s ease with their studies and aquiring knowledge, it does not paint Elena in a negative light. It makes her human, because she is jealous but she doesn’t begrudge her friend’s abilities – she is proud of Miranda’s skills.

The writing is fluent and I especially like the little encyclopedic entries about human behavior and their reasons. Very funny.

Rating:

rating 4

My Reading Month June

It was good!!! 🙂

Trudi Canavan – The Rogue

I started my month of with a little fantasy. This is the second book in the Traitor Spy Trilogy which centers around Sonea who I (and maybe some of you) have met in the Black Magicians Trilogy. I do think that you could read this trilogy without reading the Black Magicians Trilogy first, but maybe it would be better if you started with The Magicians Guild.
But back to the book. I enjoyed this book. It was a while ago that I read the first one in this trilogy, but I got back into the swing of things real fast. The narration itself might have been slower than what I was used too and there were many parallel stories, but I was in the mood for something more complex and little slow. All in all, a good read.

The Rogue Real Murders

Charlaine Harris – Real Murders

Because I was away and did not have the next book in the Traitor Spy Trilogy with me, I started this book. This is the first book in the Aurora Teagarden mystery series about a librarian who is interested in murder and gets caught up in one right away. It was a good, fast and fun read. Less of a mystery than I would have wanted it to be. Aurora did not necessarily investigate in any way, but was more caught in between in all. She was more of a witness. Still good.

Alexandra Pilz – Zurück Nach HollyHill

During the hot days in June I wanted something light, where I did not have to pay too much attention. The book is written by a German author and is not yet translated into English.
Emily receives a letter from her dead mother when she graduates college. She tells her to visit her old home Holly Hill to find out about her past. But the town does not exist. It is not on any map that Emily and her friend look at. Still Emily goes out to find Holly Hill. This was a nice and easy read, light entertainment with lots of weird stuff and little love stuff. Great for hot summer days.

Holly Hill Traitor Queen

Trudi Canavan – The Traitor Queen

Then I finally started the final installment in the Traitor Spy Trilogy. It was a good and solid read. I was entertained, I anticipated and expected the outcome, and there are still some things unsolved that leaves the possibility for the author to return to this world.
This series and this book is not as good as Canavan’s first series. It sometimes even read as if this is not necessarily the finale of the trilogy but more of a middle book. There is a lot to say about this book that would spoil the series, so I leave that for the in-depth review.

Kristen John – Rapunzel, der schüchterne Wolf und die Sache mit dem magischen Zopf

This is the 4th installment of the Mia fairy tales series which is not translated into English. This time Mia and her frog Jakob are drawn into the fairy tale of Rapunzel. Once they arrive, mayhem and fun ensues. This is again a fun and entertaining read. I really recommend this for young readers.

Rapunzel Gold Leather Trousers

Fiona Foden – Life, Death and Gold Leather Trousers

I picked this book up because of the title. This is a middle grade book that I found in our library. I was a little skeptical at first since I am often annoyed with young characters. They often tend to make decisions that I don’t understand. But then again I am old. I loved the story, I could identify with the character and I understood why she acted the way she did. The author was able to draw me into the story, so that even I was as annoyed with Clover’s parents as she was. It was a real good and entertaining read.

Jessica Fletcher & Donald Bain – Murder She Wrote: Murder on the QE2

So after all this magic and those children’s books, I was in the mood for a little murder. Since I didn’t have an Agatha Christie at hand, I took the next best thing: A Murder She Wrote novel. I really enjoy the series and I can watch them over and over again (with a certain amount of time in between so I would forget who the murderer is). This was a good and solid read. I was entertained, the story was interesting, the final culprit maybe a little far-fetched for my taste, and Jessica less involved then I thought. All in all, a good read.

Murder on the QE2 Rätsel des Dornenbaums

Marliese Arold: Magic Girls 3 – Das Rätsel des Dornenbaums

This series about witches, who are exiled to the human world, is really cute and entertaining. This is the third installment in the series and for the first time it got quite exiting and thrilling. Elena’s father is a secret agent wizard and needs help in one of his missions, so his daughter and her best friend Miranda turn up to help. I enjoy that the girls are still girls and occasionally scared and not unreasonable heroic, at the same time they are a little annoying as well. But hey, I am old now, maybe that’s why I feel this way. A really thrilling ride.

Marliese Arold – Magic Girls: Das Magische Amulett (#2)

This book is not published in English yet. I have no idea if it ever will be, but I will keep an eye and ear open and let you know. Look further down for a short review in English.

 CIMG0284

Taschenbuch/paperback
Verlag: Carlsen
veröffentlicht: 2012 (2008)
Seiten: 168

Book on Amazon

Klappentext/Blurb:

Welches dunkle Geheimnis verbirgt sich hinter dem magischen Amulett, das Elena gefunden hat? Das Hexenmädchen und seine Freundin Miranda hoffen, dass es Elenas Vater aus seiner Tiergestalt befreien kann. Doch bald müssen sie erkennen, dass sie den höheren Mächten nicht gewachsen sind. Und Probleme macht den beiden auch Kevin: Ihr Klassenkamerad ist kurz davor, die magische Herkunft der Hexenmädchen aufzudecken!

In Kürze:

+ der 2.Band um Elena’s Abenteuer im Hexil
+ die Geschichte gefällt mir besser als der erste Band
+ Teenagerprobleme aus der Menschenwelt treffen kriminelle Probleme aus der Hexenwelt
+ guter Mix aus sympathischen, lustigen und nervigen Charakteren

Meinung:

Das magische Amulett gefällt mir persönlich besser als Der verhängnisvolle Fluch. Die Geschichte ist mitreißender und spannender. Während der erste Band sich ausschließlich auf die Umsiedlung und die Gefahren in der für die Hexen komplizierten Menschenwelt konzentriert, erweitert die 2. Geschichte ihren Horizont.

Elena und Miranda sehen sich mit einem Liebesbrief konfrontiert und während Elena versucht dieses unbekannte Terrain zu navigieren versuchen die beiden Hexen nebenbei die Bedeutung eines Amuletts herauszufinden, welches sie aus der Hexenwelt heimlich mit ins Hexil geschmuggelt haben. Doch nicht nur das ist eine Nummer zu groß für sie.

Während die Mädchen eine Verschwörung aufdecken und feststellen, dass die Mächte doch zu groß und gefährlich für sie sind, kommt eine andere Gefahr aus dem Menschenlager in Form der verliebten Kevin. Er ist kurz davor das Geheimnis von Elena’s Herkunft herauszufinden und das ist strengstens verboten.

Wie schon gesagt, hat mir diese Geschichte vom Tempo mehr zugesagt und gefallen. Diesmal waren beide Welten mehr präsent und besser miteinander verwoben und konzentrierte sich nicht nur auf die Probleme im Hexil.

Fazit:

Eine schöne, spannende Hexengeschichte auf deren Fortsetzung ich mich schon Freue.

In English:

As I said before this book is not translated into English yet. Maybe it will, maybe not. But I will keep my feelers out and let you know if something changes.

This is the second installment in the series about two little witches who have lived in the witch world and are now forced to move into the human world. Elena (the main protagonist) and her family have been shunned from their world because her father was convicted of conspiring with dark magicians and using dark magic.

He was punished for his crimes and turned into a iguana. To redeem their social position the family moves into the human world to conduct a study on human life and behavior. Elena’s best friend Miranda goes with them.

In the human world they are confronted with a life and „species“ that they know nothing about and Elena and Miranda try to figure out what the secret amulet Elena found really means. Trying to prevent the humans from figuring out what they really are and attempting to transform her father back create many fun and exiting adventures which are told in these stories.

Though the first book was good, I enjoyed the second installment more. Now that the witches are settled in the human world, the story seemed smoother and was more thrilling. The characters are funny, sometimes annoying, and loveable in their own way.
I sure hope they translate this into English because it sure is entertaining.

Rating:

rating 4