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.

Advertisements

My Reading Month January

A new year and I am still reading less than I want to, but I listen to a lot more audiobooks. My way to work is a little longer and the house work does not seem to decrease, therefore my hours of listening to audiobooks have increased quite a bit this month. In addition, going through all the personal paper work and cleaning those files cabinets out is a lot more bearable with a nice audiobook.
I digress, so let’s get started.

  • Books: 2
  • Audiobook: 8
  • Pages (only books): 736
  • Pages (incl. Audiobooks): 4864
  • Minutes listened: 3404 min. (over 56 hours)

Books:

Martin Wehrle – Sei einzig nicht artig.

This non-fiction book is maybe something like a self-help thing, though it does not tell you how to do anything really. Basically, this book illustrates how many of your choices have been somehow made by other people in your life or by society as a whole and not by yourself. You don’t always (or sometimes never) choose things because you want them or like them but because of what is expected of you – and you don’t even really notice it. Or some things you notice, but it helps that someone else points them out to you again. Anyway, I really enjoyed this read. This does not mean I am going to change my life or my habits or my thought patterns right away, but at least I think a little about it. Sadly, this is written by a German author (yeah for readers who read German), and I doubt this will be translated into English. I am sure, though that there is a similar book on the English-speaking book markets.

dem pharao versprochen

Marliese Arold – Dem Pharao Versprochen

Another German book this month was written by one of my favorite children’s book authors. After I started reading and listening to her magic girls series (about witches, who were exiled into the human world and now have to hide their witch powers so they are not discovered), I came across this story set in Ancient Egypt. Anchesenamun, the sister and wife of Tutanchamun, is a the center of this story as she and her best friend are thrown into the intrigue and politics of the Egyptian court. Not only is she barely teenager, she is also in love with someone else and if that is discovered it could cost them their lives. I enjoyed the setting of the story, since I loved reading novels set in Ancient Egypt when I was younger and I thoroughly enjoy Ancient Egyptian mythology. It was a nice story for young girls, that did lack a little bit of action for me. Since it was more a story dealing with emotions rather than an adventure story, I had a few difficulties to relate to the main character, but then again I am quite a bit older than the intended reader.

Audiobooks:

Kai Meyer – Die Muschelmagier/ The Pirate Emperor (The Wave Walkers #2)

I enjoyed this novel as much as the first in this pirate adventure series. Jolly and Munk continue to save the world, yet their magic and power affects both quite differently. This part follows Jolly a little more and we get to read less about Munk, which I personally did not mind since I was getting on my nerve. However, the narrator was fantastic as always and the story thrilling.

Eva Stachniak – Der Winterpalast/ The Winter Palace: A Novel of Catherine the Great

I have listened to quite a few historical novels, but this is my first set in Russia. The story follows a young girl who works at the royal court and becomes a spy. She also becomes friends with a young and unsure Sophie – later Catherine the Great – whom she is dedicated to, only to learn that there are no friendships at court. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and the setting. I remember some of the historical facts from school, but this made me want to catch up on my Russian history.

Petra Durst-Henning – Die Champagner Königin

Isabelle has married a man her parents did not approve of, when he inherits a vineyard and the move to France. The young woman is enchanted by the landscape and the possibility of a bright future. Yet nothing is a pretty as it seems: a rival is already waiting to destroy them and fate strikes a devastating blow. It was a nice and easy story, that was entertaining and enchanting (I felt a little mesmerized when listening to the descriptions of the landscape). A good audiobook.

Sabine Ebert – Die Entscheidung der Hebamme

The is the third installment in the series about a midwife in the middle ages. Old rivals always return, fate strikes again and again, and cruelty seems to reign supreme. It was a good story, at times it felt a little jumpy as they try to cover quite a large time span. I just need a little break from the series and I am sure the main character would need that too. How much can happen to one poor person.

Der Winterpalast die rebellin

Lena Johannson – Die Ärztin von Rügen

I was in a historical novel mood, as this was my forth in a row. Yet all of them set in different times or at least different countries. This was a rather slower audiobook as this was not so much about action and abuse of the female character (as many novels set in the middle ages are). Anne has lived and worked with her father (a doctor) all her life. But when the train comes to Rugia a lot more doctors come along and not all of them are pleased to see her work as a doctor’s assistant. And then there are two young doctors who do not mind her at all. It was a lovely and slow book, that was entertaining, yet I could see so many things from afar long before she noticed any of it – which made me a little annoyed at her but also took away some of the excitement.

Ursula Niehaus – Das Heiligenspiel

Another novel set towards the end of the middle ages centers around the young woman Anna who is neither pretty nor desirable and surely not loved by her mother. She manages to live a somewhat comfortable and happy life when rumors start to swirl and make her out to be a saint. She tries to explain and rectify those assumptions, yet people don’t believe her. With those rumors and the changes in her life, envy comes crawling out of the woodwork. It was a good read, though I could not relate to Anna and I had difficulties with the development of the story and thus her life. There seem to be too many coincidences that always put her in awkward positions, yet there was nothing she could have done either. I just seem to have difficulties with the lack of control she had and the missing desire to have control.

Ulrike Schweikert – Die Herrin der Burg

I haven’t noticed how historical novel heavy my audiobooks were this month. Another historical novel set in the middle ages centering around two half sisters who are thrown into the turmoil of a brewing war. Though the premise was interesting and the book had good reviews, I had quite some issues to get into the story: to many places, names, and characters. It was confusing and it took me a while to figure out what was happening with whom and who belonged to which side. I can honestly say, that I still don’t know for sure. Maybe I should have read this one instead of listing to it and maybe I should have freshened up on my history lessons from school before starting this novel.

Trudi Canavan – Die Rebellin/ The Magician’s Guild

Trudi Canavan is great. I have read this book some time ago in English and now I listened to the German audiobook version and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was fun, entertaining, and narrated and translated well. I really like Sonea and I could not stop listening, just as I could not stop reading back in the day. The story world is great, the characters likable, the story well constructed. I loved it again.

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.