The Hill We Climb: An Inaugural Poem for the Country by Amanda Gorman My rating: 5 of 5 stars I’m German. I’ve never watched an inauguration of an American president. The one of today’s President Joe Biden was no exception even though I was hoping for something better than what had come before… (“It seems to me that I have been dreaming a horrid dream for four years, and now the nightmare is gone.”) Amanda Gorman’s amazing poem ...

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo My rating: 5 of 5 stars It must have been around 2014 when I was at Mannheim’s (south-western Germany) Paradeplatz (the former parade grounds near Mannheim Palace). I was smoking and watching people when a young woman approached another nearby male smoker – only to be shouted at aggressively. I, in turn, shouted at the guy, went there and he left whereas I proceeded to offer the woman a cigarette ...

What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding by Kristin Newman My rating: 2 of 5 stars This review is going to be quite a bit different from what I expected after eleven of the thirteen chapters this book comprises… Let’s start at another angle, though: I like to read what one of the greatest of the genre, Tony James Slater, likes to call “travel memoirs”. If written by the right person, they’re often funny, interesting and, at times, even ...

My rating: 0 von 5 Sternen Ich fühle mich angewidert und beschmutzt von diesem Buch. Der Autor, der offenbar das letzte Quäntchen Geld aus seinem Namen machen möchte, ist sich für kein rassistisches Klischee zu schade. Gleich zu Beginn lesen wir über Hitler, den der Autor verharmlosend-kumpelhaft als “Adolf” tituliert: »Was zum bis dato größten Krieg der Menschheitsgeschichte führte. Adolf verlor ihn und starb.« Eine der kenianische...

Troubled Blood by Robert Galbraith My rating: 5 of 5 stars To get one thing out of the way right at the beginning: It’s just a disguise. Creed himself says so. Nevertheless, I’ve been informed by my daughter – who tends to be right (woe be me!) – the author proudly presents views the Dark Ages are rightly about to reclaim. Those views of the author are deeply offensive to many – me as well. And, yet, they do not diminish the...

This is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor by Adam Kay My rating: 5 of 5 stars »This morning I delivered little baby Sayton – pronounced Satan, as in King of the Underworld.« Wow, what a ride! Adam Kay, doctor gone writer, describes what he experienced in six years of medical practice in the United Kingdom. In about 10 chapters, Adam first introduces us to the new position or posting he’s in now. He then proceeds to write in u...

A Dead Djinn in Cairo by P. Djèlí Clark My rating: 1 of 5 stars An investigator in an alternative Egypt with ghuls, djinn, angels, other-worldly foes, a plethora of faiths and all set in a steampunk world. The writing is nothing special, the plot still mostly to-be-found at the end of this mercyfully very short novella – this is pretty much the most boring novella I’ve read in years. The most redeeming feature of the simplistically name...

My rating: 2 of 5 stars This was very different from what I expected. I expected a regular trashy romance but what I actually got was some kind of teeny romance… I wrote quite a bit more, originally, but decided not to elaborate because I’d very likely do this book an injustice. 14-year-old me probably would have liked this. Thirty-one years later, I simply found a book I’m too old for. View all my reviews...

The Egg by Andy Weir My rating: 1 of 5 stars I’m not exactly into faith and even less into “intelligent design” which is pretty much the premise of this short story. Moreover, the idea of humanity (and the universe) being “created” to mature a new “god” is, in fact, abhorrent to me: The protagonist is supposed to be both Hitler and the millions he murdered? Maybe I’m overly critical but using the suffer...

The Guest List by Lucy Foley My rating: 4 of 5 stars »The lights go out. In an instant, everything is in darkness. The band stop their playing. Inside the marquee the wedding guests squeal and clutch at one another.« These are the strong, foreshadowing first words of this guilty pleasure of a book… There’s a wedding on a deserted island, several dark (slightly convoluted) mysteries from the past and on this brightest of days, a severe storm...

The Vanishing Half, by Brit Bennett
Book Review / January 23, 2021

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett My rating: 5 of 5 stars I didn’t have the slightest idea about how to write this review. The story still resonates within me; simple, and yet hauntingly beautiful. Soul-devouring and yet hopeful. I still have no idea how to write this review so I’ll start with the characters since those will be who make or break this book for you. Desiree and Stella Vignes, twins, grow up in Mallard; a small town n...

Behind the Book: Making The Death of Dulgath, by Michael J. Sullivan & Robin Sullivan
Book Review / January 22, 2021

Behind the Book: Making The Death of Dulgath by Michael J. Sullivan My rating: 5 of 5 stars I’m not even sure when I got this book. It probably was part of some Kickstarter campaign of Michael’s and Robin’s which I had the honour to participate in. So I simply had to read it! This “Making of” book was simply supposed to answer the age-old questions every author gets asked: »Where do you get your ideas? How long does it take y...

The Secret Life of Bots, by Suzanne Palmer
Book Review / January 17, 2021

The Secret Life of Bots by Suzanne Palmer My rating: 3 of 5 stars That didn’t quite hit the spot: An old derelict ship selected as a last-ditch effort to save humanity from an alien invasion. A fleet of semi-autonomous bots. A single outdated first-generation bot that saves the day. It slightly reminded me of Murderbot but, I’m sorry, it lacks the latter’s innocence and… logical purity. These bots seem logical at fir...

Bretonische Spezialitäten (Kommissar Dupin #9), von Jean-Luc Bannalec
Book Review / January 15, 2021

Bretonische Spezialitäten by Jean-Luc Bannalec My rating: 5 of 5 stars »Dupin spürte, wie eine gewisse Aufregung in ihm aufkam. Er hatte Hunger, ja, aber es war noch mehr: pure lukullische Lust.« Da wären wir also mal wieder – der neunte Bretagne-Krimi um Kommissar Dupin. Wenn eine Buchreihe diesen “Reifegrad” erreicht, dann wird mir bei jedem neuen Band ein wenig “mulmig”, denn allzu oft verliert sich der Autor in de...

Ready Player Two (Ready Player One #2), by Ernest Cline
Book Review / January 10, 2021

Ready Player Two by Ernest Cline My rating: 1 of 5 stars This was the worst disappointment in years… I loved “Ready Player One” and was eagerly awaiting this second instalment. After all, a sequel to an instant classic? What could possibly go wrong?! Turns out the answer is “everything”: Wade Watts was an underdog; orphaned, hunted but optimistic and positive with a great group of friends. In this book, though, he has turned i...

Forged (Alex Verus #11), by Benedict Jacka
Book Review / January 3, 2021

Forged by Benedict Jacka My rating: 5 of 5 stars In this eleventh instalment of Benedict Jacka’s “Alex Verus” series, “Forged” (as aptly titled as ever!), Alex is back at fixing lots of problems. Let’s take a quick look back first, though. In “Fallen” we saw how Alex had to harden and tackle things differently than he used to. He ‘fell’ away from trying to be the nice guy and concentrated on what he felt had to be do...

2020 in books
Personal / January 1, 2021

2020 on Goodreads by Various My rating: 4 of 5 stars If you consider the fact that I usually don’t read books that have an average rating below 4.00 on GoodReads, you’ll find when looking at my year in books that I actually awarded 3.5 stars on average. That makes a lot of sense to me as 2020 has been a difficult year on many levels for me. I read the amazing “Herkunft” by Saša Stanišić, though, and that was definitely one of...

Marion Dönhoff: Ein widerständiges Leben, von Alice Schwarzer
Book Review / December 31, 2020

Marion Dönhoff: Ein Widerständiges Leben by Alice Schwarzer My rating: 5 of 5 stars Ich kam mit Marion Gräfin Dönhoff zum ersten Mal bewußt in Berührung als ich über den 20. Juli 1944 las. Denn bereits zum ersten Jahrestag 1945 schrieb Dönhoff »In Memoriam 20. Juli 1944. Den Freunden zum Gedächtnis« über ihre Freunde aus dem Widerstand gegen Hitler, die von den Nazis ermordet worden waren.Daraus entstand ihr 1994 veröffentl...

Faking Under the Mistletoe, by Ashley Shepherd
Book Review / December 29, 2020

Faking Under the Mistletoe by Ashley Shepherd My rating: 2 of 5 stars This was such a nice idea: A Christmas romance! Ok, the author added “office romance”, “enemies-to-lovers” and “fake dating to evoke jealousy in an ex” but if that actually had worked out, I probably would have loved it. The beginning is very promising even: The banter between our heroine, Olivia, and her grumpy boss, Asher, is amusing, sometimes even witt...

Tuesdays with Morrie, by Mitch Albom
Book Review / December 25, 2020

Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom My rating: 2 of 5 stars When I was around the age of 18 – the age of majority in Germany – I felt like I had broken through some magical barrier to adulthood. (I hadn’t.) Now, I felt, it was my sacred duty (it wasn’t) to find out about – imagine a drum roll if you will – nothing lesser than the meaning of life itself. (Didn’t find it.) Young me contacted the most well-mea...