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.

My Reading Month July

It took a while but here it is. I am still not in the mood to pick up physical books but I think I have my audiobook groove back. 🙂

  • Books: 1
  • Audiobook: 5
  • Pages (only books): 480
  • Pages (incl. Audiobooks): 3344
  • Minutes listened: 2057 min. (over 34 hours)

Books:

Bill Bryson – It’s teatime my dear: Wieder reif für die Insel/ The Road to Little Dribbling: More Notes from a Small Island

After reading and thoroughly loving the first book, I had quite high expectations. They did not match but I enjoyed this book. It was a little like reminiscing in the good old times and yet accompanying a grumpy old man. I still laughed a lot while reading and sadly had to agree with some of the rather idiotic idiosyncrasies. A really good read, though not my favorite of his books.

Its teatime my dear von Bill Bryson

Audiobooks:

Iny Lorentz – Die steinerne Schlange

This historical novel was set right outside the borders of the Roman Empire when the Romans tried to capture, occupy and enslave Germanic tribes. A young woman of the tribe fights for her own freedom as she does not want to be „sold“ to the Roman leader and sets off a chain of events that will change her life, the life of her tribe as well as history. It was an interesting and captivating story that was set in another time that then middle ages – which I really appreciated. And though the story used some common and slightly predictable tropes, it was a joy to listen to.

Philip Rock – Abingdon Hall: Der letzte Sommer/ The Passing Bells

Abingdon Hall – the seat of the Grevilles – is full of parties and social events, but even here the beginning of the First World War cannot be ignored forever. The book follows the children and their friends as they spread across Europe. It was an interesting and compelling setting yet I have to admit that I don’t remember the story that well. Mainly because I had difficulties to distinguish the characters by name and sometimes lost track of who was who and where in Europe they were.

Danielle Hawkins – Dinner mit Rose/ Dinner at Rose’s

After Josie discovers that her boyfriend is cheating on her, she escapes to the New Zealand countryside to live with her aunt for a while in order to try to figure out her life and herself. She not only meets her first love but is confronted with another difficult situation as her aunt gets sick. This was a really lovely story. The narration was a wonderful combination of a serious and sad topic (without dragging the reader down or making light of the situation) with a light and funny love story. It was really a charming and enchanting audiobook.

Jutta Wilke – Holundermond

I read this book a few years ago and I just felt like diving into the story again. The young girl Nele accompanies her father to Vienna, who investigates the theft of artifacts from a church. Soon her father disappears and she has to find out what happened to him and what her father’s ominous colleague has to do with this. This was a wonderful adventure story for children with a supernatural touch and a lot of interesting facts about churches and a particular part of Vienna’s history (can’t really say cause afraid I might spoil it for some).

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Sarah Lark – Das Land der weißen Wolke

Two women begin their journey from London to New Zealand where they are being married to two men they barely know. Both their lives will intertwine for ever, both will have to face obstacles, and both will have to survive. Though I don’t always remember the storylines in Sarah Lark’s books, they are captivating. I cannot put them down and I just have to know how the story continues.

Audiobook Review/Kurzrezi: Sarah Lark – Die Insel der tausend Quellen & Die Insel der roten Mangroven

The following audiobook is written by a German author and read in German, so the review will be in German as well. I don’t think this book will be published in English at all. Both novels are set in Jamaica and are two parts of a family saga. The first begins with the main protagonists move from London to Jamaica and her life on that island, the second installment focuses on her daughter Deirdre.

Sarah Lark – Die Insel der tausend Quellen

Klappentext:

London, 1732: Nach dem Tod ihrer ersten großen Liebe geht die Kaufmannstochter Nora eine Vernunftehe mit einem verwitweten Zuckerrohrpflanzer auf Jamaika ein. Aber das Leben in der Karibik gestaltet sich nicht so, wie Nora es sich ertäumt hat. Der Umgang der Plantagenbesitzer mit den Sklaven schockiert sie zutiefst, und sie entschließt sich, auf ihrer Zuckerrohrfarm manches zum Besseren zu wenden. Überraschend unterstützt sie dabei ihr erwachsener Stiefsohn Doug, als er aus Europa anreist. Allerdings versetzt seine Rückkehr manches in Aufruhr – vor allem Noras Gefühle. Doch dann verliert Nora durch ein tragisches Ereignis plötzlich alles, bis auf ihr Leben…(Amazon)

Meinung:

Diesmal verschlägt es den Leser oder aber Zuhörer nach Jamaika. Nora verlässt London als Ehefrau eines Plantagenbesitzers und macht sich auf nach Jamaika um ihren Erinnerungen und der Trauer um ihren verstorbenen Verlobten zu entkommen. Ihre Einstellung zu Sklaverei unterscheidet sich sehr von der ihres Mannes, aber sie ist sich ihrer Position bewusst und rebelliert nicht offen gegen ihren Mann. Dabei kann ihre Freundlichkeit und ihr Interesse auch deutlich missverstanden werden. Während der Sklavenaufstände verliert Nora über Nacht alles was sie gekannt hat und kämpft um ihr überleben.
Die Geschichte ist interessant und unterhaltsam. Der Schreibstil war einnehmend und flüssig. Die Charaktere waren unterschiedlich stark und gut entwickelt.
Ich habe zu den meisten eine Bindung aufbauen können auch wenn dies in totaler Antipathie endete, aber es gab auch einige deren Handlungen und Entscheidungen ich nicht nachvollziehen konnte. Die Geschichte brauchte lange bis sie in Gang kam und die Spannung steigerte sich erst zum Ende des Buches. Die Zeit war dann doch etwas gerafft. Ob dies nun an der Lesefassung lag oder aber auch im Buch so ist, kann ich leider nicht sagen.
Yara Blümel ist ein sehr gute Sprecherin und hat mich sofort in dieses Buch gezogen. Trotz der Längen habe ich es rasch hintereinander gehört und das lag mit Sicherheit an ihr.

Sarah Lark – Die Insel der roten Mangroven

Klappentext:

Jamaika, 1753: Deirdre, die Tochter der Engländerin Nora Fortnam und des Sklaven Akwasi, lebt behütet auf der Plantage ihrer Mutter und ihres Stiefvaters. Die jungen Männer der Insel umschwärmen sie trotz ihrer anrüchigen Herkunft. Doch Deirdre zeigt an keinem Interesse – bis der junge Arzt Victor Dufresne um ihre Hand anhält. Nach einer prunkvollen Hochzeitsfeier schiffen sich Victor und Deirdre ein nach Saint-Domingue auf der Insel Hispaniola – und was dort geschehen wird, soll alles verändern.(Amazon)

Meinung:

Der zweite Teil der Jamaika Saga erzählt die Geschichte der nächsten Generation. Hierbei verfolgt der Leser die Geschichte von Nora’s Tochter Deirdre und ihrem Halbbruder Jeffe. Ich werde nicht weiter auf den Inhalt eingehen, da ich sonst das erste Buch spoilern würde.
Die Geschichte war gut, vielleicht sogar etwas spannender. Leider konnte ich nicht wirklich eine Beziehung zu den beiden Hauptfiguren aufbauen. Ich fand sowohl Deirdre als auch Jeffe streckenweise furchtbar. Sie waren egoistisch und einfach nur kindlich. Es hätte nur noch gefehlt, dass sie beide mit dem Fuß aufstampfen. Sie waren nicht in der Lage über ihren Tellerrand hinaus zu blicken und ich hätte sie gerne geohrfeigt.
Wieder einmal hat Yara Blümel dafür gesorgt, dass ich weitergehört habe. Wieder einmal wunderbar gelesen.

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.

My Reading Month January

My reading year did start a little turbulent. I have put my back out and could not move very well. I finally finished my project and handed that in and ever since that I am not the same anymore. Everybody always said that you will fall into a hole and I always believed that I will be so relieved to have time to read and will do nothing else. But I haven’t finished a book since I am done. I cannot sit down and concentrate. I feel restless most of the time. Thankfully, I still enjoy and can concentrate on audiobooks but only because I am constantly on the move while doing that. Hence my reading month was not successful at all.

Thomas Hermanns – Das Tomatensaft-Mysterium: Fliegen in der Comedy Class

This was the first book that I finished in 2015 and it was a nice read. A German comedian wrote about his endless experiences flying in Germany. We accompany him from booking to flying and he points out the weird, the funny, and the plain crazy about the flight experience. It was entertaining and it made me laugh a few times. Entertaining read but not breath-taking.

the assassin and the pirate lord

Sarah J. Maas – The Assassin and the Pirate Lord

This is the first novella set in the Throne of Glass series and it shows how Celaena Sardothien, now the kings assassin, has lived before she was captured and “won” her place at the palace. I enjoyed the story because it connected me back to the world and I thought it was interesting to see what kind of person she was and what she did prior to the Throne of Glass novel where we met her. Good read.

Sadly this was it concerning my reading month, but since I don’t want this post to be super short, I just add the audiobooks that I listened to this month. All of them were read in German. Three were written by German authors and two where written by English-speaking authors. I will also add the English title below.

Alison Goodman – Eona: Drachentochter/ Eon – The Rise of the Dragoneye

I have already read this book some time ago and really enjoyed it. I wanted to know what it would be like in German and it did not disappoint. Eon is a potential candidate to become the next Dragoneye, but he is crippled and he is really a girl. Eona. But it is forbidden for girls to be a Dragoneye. When the Mirror Dragon, who has disappeared 500 years ago, suddenly returns and chooses Eon as its Dragoneye, plans, intrigues, and secret plots take on a live of its own. Wonderful story, still trying to get my hands on the next part.

Sarah Lark – Die Zeit der Feuerblüten

A historical novel set in New Zealand and combining the narrative strands of many characters that slowly intertwine. It was very entertaining. Something about Sarah Larks writing and story telling hooks me and I have to know how it continues. Really good.

Eva Völler – Zeitenzauber: Die Magische Gondel

A young adult time travel story. I really enjoyed the premise and the story. Young girl travels in time, cannot go back because of some weird rule, has to stop a horrible event from happening to save the future, has to uncover some conspiracy to do all that and be allowed back into her own time. It might sound cliché or a little convoluted, but it was a great story. I really liked it.

Hilke Rosenboom – Die Teeprinzessin

A young adult historical novel about a young girl, who knows and loves tea, but is not allowed to work as anything else than a maid. After many trials and tribulations, she finally gets her chance to travel to China and India to buy tea and is entangled in even more adventure. Although I was a little annoyed with the protagonist at times, it was again entertaining and interesting. I surely appreciate my tea a lot more now.

Jessica Khoury – Die Einzige/ Origin

The last audio book is again a young adult novel. I must have been on a roll since it was again really good. Somewhere in the Amazon lives a girl who cannot die. She has never left the compound she was born in, she was bred to withstand disease and even death and she is lonely. After she has to chance to escape for a little bit, she learns a lot more about the world, herself, and the people who have created her and how she was created. The story started a little slow but picked up pace in the second half. I really liked the protagonist and I was able to understand why she acted the way she did. Again a very good audio book.