Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews My rating: 2 of 5 stars I’ve read this book because it sounded a bit like Jim Butcher’s “Dresden Files” which I like. And, indeed, there are similarities – the most important one for me was that I didn’t really like either series’ respective first book. “Magic Bites” was a confusing read much of which is due to the messy style of storytelling employed here. There’s a knightly order that’s suppose...

Pile of Bones by Michael J. Sullivan My rating: 4 of 5 stars This is a short story about Suri and Minna from Michael’s “The Legends of the First Empire” series which I highly recommend to any fantasy fan. With 36 pages and about 10.000 words it’s a very short piece but it nicely “showcases” some of the “features” of the series which is currently comprised of four full length novels and two more in the making (not like Rothfuss or ...

The Dark Bones by Loreth Anne White My rating: 3 of 5 stars This will be an untypically short review because this book was interesting enough but I had expected so much more: This books predecessor, “A Dark Lure”, was very, very suspenseful and exciting and told a really interesting story. “The Dark Bones” features a few characters from the first book (namely Olivia and her daughter Tori) but deals with the murder of Noah North which his ...

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline My rating: 5 of 5 stars “Being human totally sucks most of the time. Videogames are the only thing that make life bearable. – Anorak’s Almanac, Chapter 91, Verses 1 – 2” Actually, for me, being human doesn’t suck and yet I fully sympathise with the feeling that videogames do add to life – always provided we can agree that books count as well. This book, in fact, made me smile a lot and re...

A Dark Lure by Loreth Anne White My rating: 5 of 5 stars “Survival is a journey. It is the quest that underlies all stories. No matter the geography, or culture, or era, in one form or another, the story of survival is the same story we listen to, riveted, around the flames of the hunter’s fire. Or hear from the mouth of the astronaut returned from a burning spaceship, or from the woman who trumped cancer. We listen in the hopes of learning w...

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini My rating: 5 of 5 stars This was an amazing and deeply touching read. I was born in 1975 and, being the son of rather politically interested parents, I remember the Soviet-Afghan War and the Mujahideen and their respective roles in Afghanistan since about 1985. I intellectually knew about the atrocities committed during that war, during the in-fighting among the Afghan warlords and, later, by the Taliba...

Warden’s Fury: A Sci Fi Adventure by Tony James Slater My rating: 4 of 5 stars This is the third book of the science fiction series “The Ancient Guardians” and – in a good way – it’s more of the same compared to the two earlier books. But this book has a few things going for itself. First and foremost, that’s its author, Tony James Slater: I first learned about Tony when one of his books, the highly recommended “Kamikaze K...

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón My rating: 5 of 5 stars ““Is it true you haven’t read any of these books?” “Books are boring.” “Books are mirrors: you only see in them what you already have inside you,” answered Julián.“ “The Shadow of the Wind” is one of those books that leave me deeply satisfied and in tears. It’s a sweeping epic about Daniel Sempere, a bookseller’s son, who – by accident or pre...

The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager My rating: 4 of 5 stars “Because the lake’s been lowered by drought, the farthest-reaching branches scrape the bottoms of the canoes, sounding like fingernails trying to scratch their way out of a coffin.” Wow, this was an unexpected pleasure! Coming from the background of having read too many difficult books lately, I chose this book because it sounded like an easy, light who-dun-it with an interesting p...

Wilder Girls by Rory Power My rating: 1 of 5 stars “Why me?!”, I asked my wife, “Why do I always have to choose the worst books?!” – with the prettiest covers, I might add. Because this book is a classic example why you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover – which, in this case, is beautiful whereas the contents read like they’ve partly been ripped out of the script to some mediocre horror b-movie and partly been born out of th...

A Walk to Remember, by Nicholas Sparks
Book Review / July 15, 2019

A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks My rating: 4 of 5 stars “As these images were going through my head, my breathing suddenly went still. I looked at Jamie, then up to the ceiling and around the room, doing my best to keep my composure, then back to Jamie again. She smiled at me and I smiled at her and all I could do was wonder how I’d ever fallen in love with a girl like Jamie Sullivan.” The story is as simple as it gets: Boy ...

The Piper’s Son, by Melina Marchetta
Book Review / July 14, 2019

The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta My rating: 1 of 5 stars Let’s face it – I’m not going to finish this weird book. I’m totally confused: I pretty much loved Marchetta’s earlier novel “Saving Francesca”. It was one of the best books I’ve read 2019 so far. Thus, I expected to love “The Piper’s Son” as well but I never got into this book. Somehow, the entire book with its plethora of characters and jum...

The Uncommon Reader, by Alan Bennett
Book Review / July 14, 2019

The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett My rating: 4 of 5 stars “– ‘What’s that?’ ‘A book. I borrowed it.’ – ‘Dead, I suppose.’ ‘Who?’ – ‘The Beaton fellow.’ ‘Oh yes. Everybody’s dead.’ – ‘Good show, though.’ And he went off to bed glumly singing ‘Oh, what a beautiful morning’ as the Queen opened her book.” In this short novella, the Queen herself stumbles upon a travelling lib...

Enchanters’ End Game (The Belgariad, Book 5), by David Eddings
Book Review / July 13, 2019

Enchanters’ End Game by David Eddings My rating: 1 of 5 stars Finally. I’m done with “The Belgariad”. For life. And I’m so happy about it. This epic fantasy adventure started out well with “Pawn of Prophecy”, went slightly downhill in “Queen of Sorcery” due to all the travelling, went straight into a wall when “Magician’s Gambit” turned out to be a lame duck, recovered somewhat during “Castle of Wizardr...

Castle of Wizardry (The Belgariad, Book 4), by David Eddings
Book Review / July 11, 2019

Castle of Wizardry by David Eddings My rating: 4 of 5 stars Finally, we’re (mostly) back on track: Garion gets to know his place in the big picture, Ce’Nedra finally becomes a character and not some one-dimensional caricature and Belgarath shows some human feelings. Whenever we’re not witnessing our heroes travelling but get to know them in their “natural habitat”, things get really interesting. I’m certainly never going to ...

Magician’s Gambit (The Belgariad, Book 3), by David Eddings
Book Review / July 9, 2019

Magician’s Gambit by David Eddings My rating: 2 of 5 stars ““We all have our little shortcomings,” Silk admitted blandly.” This is yet more of the same I’ve read so far in the Belgariad. We’re still travelling, we’re still seeing some fights the result of which is crystal clear from the outset and it’s becoming stale and bland. There’s some character development finally but mostly everyone still feels lik...

Queen of Sorcery (The Belgariad, Book 2), by David Eddings
Book Review / July 5, 2019

Queen of Sorcery by David Eddings My rating: 3 of 5 stars “Don’t think about it, dear,” Aunt Pol said quietly as they left the village and rode south along the highway. “It’s nothing to worry about. I’ll explain it all later.” This second instalment of “The Belgariad” had a lot of dialogue like the above. Our young hero, Garion, is still on the road, travelling south in pursuit of th...

Pawn of Prophecy (The Belgariad, Book 1), by David Eddings
Book Review / July 2, 2019

Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings My rating: 4 of 5 stars Wikipedia defines GrimDark as something that is “particularly dystopian, amoral, or violent” and that’s pretty much the definition of what I do not like in my fantasy books. When I read fantasy, I want the heroes to be good people at their core. I want a world that’s essentially worth saving and not a dystopia that basically deserves going down the drain anyway and wh...

A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles
Book Review / June 29, 2019

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles My rating: 1 of 5 stars “It was suddenly as if the book were not a dining room table at all, but a sort of Sahara. And having emptied his canteen, the Count would soon be crawling across its sentences with the peak of each hard-won page revealing but another page beyond. . . .” This book was a huge let-down. Amazon tells me, its print edition has 378 pages. Those must be metres high and wide beca...

The Suspect (Joseph O’Loughlin #1), by Michael Robotham
Book Review / June 23, 2019

The Suspect by Michael Robotham My rating: 3 of 5 stars This is a pretty standard thriller with nothing special to recommend itself over any other of its kind. Basically, a whiny shrink, Joseph “Joe” O’Loughlin, who keeps making stupid decisions throughout the entire book ends up being man-hunted as the prime suspect in a string of murders, starting with a former patient of his. Very early on, when being asked to help in the i...