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BTW I like books

I'm here to Read, not to Lead.

Reading progress update: I've read 144 out of 310 pages.

Awoken - Serra Elinsen

I still can't figure out if this is meant as satire on the YA genre or it Ellinsen really thought a romance book with freaking CTHULHU would make any sense.

In that case you completely missed the mark. Cthulhu is not a slightly uptight, but hot teenage boy....

Shinju by Laura Joh Rowland

Der Kirschblütenmord Sano Ichirōs Erster Fall ; Historischer Kriminalroman - Laura Joh Rowland, Wolfgang Neuhaus

Source: Library

Language: German (Original Language: English)

Original Title: Shinju

 

I love everything Japanese (I even lived there for a year), so I thought this would be epic win for me.

It has Edo-period Japan (set in first year of Genroku or 1688) and a samurai police detective, so what could go wrong?

 

Here is what went wrong: This book is too damn long. 150 pages less and this would have been a 4 or even 5 star rating.

Sano (the detective) spends way too many pages travelling back and forth to places and doubting himself and his actions. I understand his conflicts about what he wants to do and what the samurai codex would want him to do (obey your superiors, honor your family, don't step out of line etc.) but how am I supposed to connect to him when he's not sure at all if he is doing the right thing or not?

 

Rowland did a lot of research and I enjoyed the short descriptions of houses, clothes, people and different castes. The atmosphere was really Japanese and didn't just felt like a book that happens to be set in Japan.

She also did a great job setting up the next book in the series. I actually really want to read the next one (Bundori), though I definitely will read that one in English. I sometimes felt the writing was a little bit wooden, but suspect that's the fault of the German translation and not the original writing.

 

The Man Who Watched The World End

The Man Who Watched the World End - Chris Dietzel

Source: Free on Kindle

Language: English

 

This book had such a great take on the end of the world. If you always thought the world would end with a bang or a horde of zombies, you were wrong.

 

Written in form of the diary of one of the last men on earth, it was a great but rather depressing read. Though not that much happened I couldn't put it down. But whenever I had to, I felt so sad and sorry for the narrator.

The Secret Garden of boredom

The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett

Source: free on Kindle

Language: English

 

I read "A Little Princess" last year and loved it! I hoped I could repeat that experience with another Alcott book, but unfortunately was disappointed.

 

The book was very repetetive and thus boring. The garden was described again and again and again, Dickon was praised again and again and again (seriously, how can a boy be so perfect? Is there anything he can't do or doesn't know?)

The change in the characters was a very easy way out... All Mary needed was a little bit of fresh air and suddenly she's the most agreeable child ever? 

 

But the most annoying thing was that Yorkshire dialect! I dislike reading in dialect, especially when it's so heavy like in this one. At some point I just skipped conversation in Yorkshire. Everything was repeated so often that I got what's going on anyway...

 

Two star rating because it was cute at some points, but was a pain to get through.

Reading progress update: I've read 52 out of 547 pages.

Der Kirschblütenmord Sano Ichirōs Erster Fall ; Historischer Kriminalroman - Laura Joh Rowland, Wolfgang Neuhaus

I get that Ito would honour an eta (lowest caste in Edo-Japans system) because he's pictured as a rather "modern" character. But Sano calling Ito -san instead of -sensei? It would be the correct way to adress a doctor. 

Jeremy's Choice

Jeremy's Choice - Iain Rob Wright

Source: free on Kindle

Language: English

 

I love reading about pandemic (which sounds macabre...), especially when the deceased don't return as zombies. I find it fascinating to read about the isolation of the survivors and the constant thread of getting sick as well. It's also the most realistic end of the world scenario to me that could actually happen.

(Have you seen the movie "Contagion"? Absolutely brilliant!)

 

The Peeling is a novella trilogy about the same named pandemic that's going to kill more than half of the world population. "Jeremy's Choice" pictures the beginning of the pandemic and follows a security guard whose wife is already infected.

It had a great set-up and atmosphere and I look forward to read the other two parts in the series.

 

(Yuck, I just noticed how disgusting the cover looks up close) 

Peter und der Werwolf

Peter und der Werwolf - Eine Halloweengeschichte - Hannah Siebern

 

Source: was free on Kindle

Language: German

 

Nice novella about a Halloween night, a young boy / werwolf puppy and an Anita Blake-type heroine with a demonic love interest.

 

I liked the first half of the book, with Peters story arch in focus and especially the witch's ritual interlude. But after that it got predictable and boring. If the author would have just left out the love story and those sudden "Omg, suddenly I realize I loved you all those years!" revelations...

 

Siebern is kind of a new author (she has a supernatural romance series called "Nubila", but the blurbs on Amazon sound horrible), and her style is somewhat simple and unpolished. She also kept using the same sentences to build tension, but it just got very repetetive.

 

Lots of nice ideas and world-building, but lacked in execution.

Mammoth Book of Best New Horror 19

The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror 19 - Stephen Jones, Michael Marshall Smith, Simon Kurt Unsworth, Christopher Fowler

Source: Kindle ebook I originally bought for my vacation in august (but didn't start until october xD)

Language: English

 

This was one of the weaker volumes in the Best New Horror series (I've read 4 other volumes so far). Most stories were not particularly scary or creepy, about a quarter were not even Horror, but more like Fantasy or Dark Fantasy.

 

It had some really nice stories though. My Highlights:

~ Peep by Ramsey Campbell (creepy!)

~ From Around Here by Tim Pratt (nice fantasy, I would like to read more about the main character - an island god who lots his island and travels around)

~ Thumbprint by Joe Hill (gruesome)

~ The Ape's Wife by Caitlin R. Kiernan

 

And Honorable Mentions:

~ The Other Village by Simon Strantzas

~ Lancashire by Nicholas Royle

~ The Children of Monte Rosa by Reggie Oliver

because the three of them felt like the Geisterschocker Horror comics I used to read in elementary school.

 

The ending of most stories were disappointing though. Often anti-climatic, unsatisfying or just an easy way out.

 

I was disappointed that the Neil Gaiman story (The Witch's Headstone) was just a chapter from his The Graveyard Book. I don't want to read excerpts from books, I want to read original short stories (even some of the stories in this collection were published before anyway...)

 

Sometimes it's good to know when to stop. I DNFed the last story (Cold Snap by Kim Newman), but still I'm still shelfing it read, because I read all the other stories.

It was a short story based on Newman's Diogenes Club series and as I haven't read any of his other stories I had no idea who all the characters were or what their background is. No fun...

Krabat

Krabat - Otfried Preußler

Source: borrowed from a friend 

Language: German 

 

"Krabat" is a German childrens classic known as "The Satanic Mill" in English. 

 

I can see why it is a much loved book for children. The writing is fairy tale-esque and easy to understand. The characters are likeable, there is magic und the borders between good and evil are well defined. It also has some dark aspects and easy to understand morals. 

Also a big plus were the rather short chapters. If you plan to read this to your kid as a bedtimestory, each chapter won't take you longer than 20 min. (it might be a little too dark for younger children though) 

 

Without a kid to enjoy it with and without any nostalgia as I haven't read this as a child, it lacked depth to me. 

The fairy tale writing was somewhat simple, the sentences short and with any embellishments. I would have liked Krabat to be a bit more curious about the why and how magic exactly works, about the intentions of the other characters and especially the Masters motives for his pact with the devil. 

The ending was very abrupt, the climax wasn't even 3 paragraphs long. I would have loved to know what happened to the boys after their time at the mill and what became of the Master. 

 

All in all it was an enjoyable read that I will keep in mind when i have children (a loooong time from now on) 

 

PS: what happened to all the flour they milled? Nowhere is montioned if they sell it and to who. Where do they get their wheat and barley from? 

October Reads Re-Cap

The Man in the Brown Suit - Agatha Christie Perry Rhodan Neo 7: Flucht aus Terrania (German Edition) - Arndt Ellmer Winterkartoffelknödel - Rita Falk Winter's Heat - Denise Domning A Game of Thrones  - George R.R. Martin

Because I'm way to lazy to review all the books I've read, here's a quick overview of what I read last month.

 

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A Game of Thrones

(A GAME OF THRONES) BY MARTIN, GEORGE R. R.(AUTHOR)Paperback Aug-1997 - George R. R. Martin

Wow, this was great!


It took me quite a bit to get through this. Not only because it's over 800 pages long, but also because there's only a certain amount of drama and intrigue I can take.

 

It was very impressive that the author decided to let bad things happen to the "good" characters and that he killed of some people you never thought would die. But that makes it more believable. The world Martin built is hard and cruel :(

 

I loved Daenerys. To me she's the strongest character, the biggest fighter and she had the most interesting story. Her love for Khal Drogo moved me and her last chapter was just O___O

 

I want to go and get the next book as soon as possible. Martin did a good job to built in cliffhangers for every important character in the story so no matter who is you favorite, you want to read the next volume.

Winter's Heat

Winter's Heat - Denise Domning

Normally I like Historical Romance, but I think I should stick to Regency Romance and forget about medieval...

 

The heroine didn't know when to shut her mouth, which is not a good idea if you have a choleric husband. The first 50% of the book consisted of them yelling at each other. And of them having sex, because the heroine thought she could make her husband appreciate her more. That just drove me crazy. You try to make your heroine strong and with a mind of her own, but then she's all like "Oh if I sleep with him, he will start to like me and won't kick me out, even though I keep on bickering and oppose every single word he's saying in front of his servants."

And suddenly they love each other! When did that happen? They never even talked to each other, except for the fighting. You don't just fall in love with someone because he's nice to his servants and is good in bed! There was no relationship-development AT ALL!

 

The second half finally had some kind of plot, but it was hard to get through all the sudden love-talk and "caressing the gentle curve of her face/cheek/body".

Because I couldn't understand why they suddenly had feelings for each other, it got really annoying that every second page was filled with how much they care for each other or him staring at the heroine and getting horny.

 

While reading I got so annoyed that I just cross-read the last chapters to know what would happen. And of course it there was some lame excuse of a cliff-hanger for a second book...

SPOILER ALERT!

Flucht aus Terrania (Perry Rhodan NEO 7)

Perry Rhodan Neo 7: Flucht aus Terrania (German Edition) - Arndt Ellmer

The first few parts of the Perry Rhodan NEO series were veeery slow and now finally some action happens. Still I think they could push the story a little bit more. Things are still happening at a slow pace, pages are wasted with descriptions of helicopter search parties and long walks over Venus...

 

I'm glad the "ressurected" Thora and that she's part of the plot again. Though stubborn and short-tempered I think she is one of the most interesting characters in the series.

I also liked Rhodans and Bulls short trip to Australia (Bull built the new aircraft out of the wrecked parts of the STARDUST? Really? It was bombed be the Chinese army, crashed into the desert and nearly completly burnt. Yet still the magic Arkonoid-motor is still intact?). It would have been nice if the religious maniac Hillbilly part would have been longer. I was not satisfied with how fast Rhodan got safed once more.

 

Generally things were happening way too smooth for Rhodan and consorts. They get saved just in time, survive insane Atomic Bomb explosions, bad guys turn into good guys whenever convinient. That was annoying and takes away most of the suspense.

Especially how Bai Jun turned into the biggest Terrania-supporter ever while being Rhodans biggest opponent in the last book....

 

And what was that super short chapter about Merchant all about? Did they really have to put it in there?

It did nothing for the story line and it would have been better to save that for the next part. To me it seemed that the writers just wanted to show that they didn't forget about that story arch.

 

All in all I liked this part. It didn't feel like the filling material that _Schule der Mutanten_ (part 5) was mostly and _Die dunklen Zwillinge_ was half of the book.

Give me more Thora! And finally get Rhodan into space!

Brought these two books back from Dresden with me.

I'm really exited about the letter-collection by Jane Austen, seems like a fairly new release. I love to write letters myself and Jane Austen is my favorite classic author, so I had to get this book!