Battle Ground by Jim Butcher My rating: 2 of 5 stars Wow, this was a huge let-down for me. I’ve never been the greatest Dresden fan but with Harry being a character one can relate to, I always found something to actually really like. Not so in this book. Basically, we’re reading about a huge battle during which everyone and (sometimes literally) their dog makes an appearance – oftentimes just for the sake of appearing and showing that, ...

All the Devils Are Here by Louise Penny My rating: 3 of 5 stars I’m writing this review with a heavy heart because I’ve been a fan of Armand Gamache since the very first book. Gamache is the most human investigator I’ve had the pleasure to “accompany” him through 16 books now. His cases were never easy or clear-cut. There were rarely any truly, irredeemable evil perpetrators.Gamache himself wasn’t always the knight in shining armour b...

Gebrauchsanweisung für die Pfalz by Christian Habekost My rating: 4 of 5 stars (To my English-speaking audience: There’s a Google-Translate button at the bottom of each page and the next review will be in English again.) “Es ist ein spielerisches, ritualisiertes Hin- und Hergezerrtsein zwischen Minderwertigkeitskomplex und Hybris.”(Der Autor über die Pfalz) Vor gar nicht langer Zeit schrieb ich bereits darüber, wie gern ich mittlerweile ...

Ich bleibe hier, von Marco Balzano Es ist keine 24 Stunden her, als ich tief seufzend neben meiner Frau ins Bett sank und mein Schicksal beklagte, schon wieder ein… komisches… Buch zu lesen. “Über Südtirol”, sagte ich und meine Frau antwortete, “Oh, nein, Südtirol – Faschismus und Nationalsozialismus, lies doch etwas Leichteres…” Sie hatte – wie (fast) immer Recht – und Unrecht zugleich. Ja, die Geschichte ist n...

Solutions and Other Problems by Allie Brosh My rating: 5 of 5 stars In 2014, I came across Allie Brosh’s first book “Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened”. Apart from funny stories from Allie’s life, it contained the story of her experiences with depression. Reading about that in what amounts to a crude comic was a singular experience for me – despite sufferin...

Fox 8 by George Saunders My rating: 2 of 5 stars For Fox’ Sake – what a disaster! What an unholy mess of a novella! Our protagonist, Fox 8, who is, you guessed it, a fox, gets a quick glance of what humanity is capable of.This is a promising premise and, if excitedly well, could lead to an interesting story. Unfortunately, it turns out foxes don’t “speak” English very well and I don’t have much patience for sentences like this: ...

Die Bagage by Monika Helfer My rating: 3 of 5 stars Der Literaturkritiker Denis Scheck hat dieses Buch empfohlen (“Auf nur 160 Seiten entfaltet die Autorin Monika Helfer eine beeindruckende und gehaltvolle Geschichte über Familienstrukturen und Beziehungen.”) und sein Wort hat für mich Gewicht. Wie so oft, wenn’s dem Esel zu wohl wird, naja, Ihr wißt schon… Das Problem dieses kurzen Büchleins ist, daß es die einerseits sehr persönli...

Cibola Burn by James S.A. Corey My rating: 3 of 5 stars Oh, well, this will be a difficult review to write, I guess. I really like this series and its ideas, its wonderful characters, the brilliant writing, etc. etc. Along came “Cibola Burn”: We find ourselves accompanying Holden and his crew through one of the rings into the great unknown – into which a band of settlers from Ganymede made it before him and pretty much started colonisin...

Hamster im hinteren Stromgebiet by Joachim Meyerhoff My rating: 4 of 5 stars Einer meiner Lieblingsschriftsteller ist von Beruf Schauspieler. Nach vier großartigen, teils autobiographischen, Romanen bedarf Joachim Meyerhoff keiner großen Vorstellung mehr. Wenn also Meyerhoff ein neues Buch geschrieben hat, dann muß bei mir literarisch alles andere hintanstehen. Das ist nichts Neues. Neu für mich persönlich ist allerdings, daß ich dieses Buc...

Abaddon’s Gate by James S.A. Corey My rating: 5 of 5 stars Wow, what a ride! After the excellent “Leviathan Wakes” and the almost equally great “Caliban’s War” here I’m sitting and wondering what to write about this more than worthy successor… When I first encountered the “The Expanse” series, I was sceptical: – I do not like science fiction literature.– I do not like soap operas (so why would I lik...

Abaddon’s Gate (The Expanse #3), by James S.A. Corey
Book Review / August 26, 2020

Abaddon’s Gate by James S.A. Corey My rating: 5 of 5 stars Wow, what a ride! After the excellent “Leviathan Wakes” and the almost equally great “Caliban’s War” here I’m sitting and wondering what to write about this more than worthy successor… When I first encountered the “The Expanse” series, I was sceptical: – I do not like science fiction literature.– I do not like soap operas (so why w...

Leviathan Wakes (The Expanse #1), by James S.A. Corey
Book Review / July 31, 2020

Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey My rating: 5 of 5 stars This was a tricky one for me… I have tried reading science fiction before and (usually) didn’t like it. It was all too often dark, gritty and bleak, set in a dystopian universe in which pretty much everyone acts completely self-absorbed. Thus, I disavowed science fiction in books because I’m a closet optimist: I’ve subscribed early on to the philosophy, the idealism and...

Black Bear Alibi (A Rockfish Island Mystery, #1), by J.C. Fuller
Book Review / July 26, 2020

Black Bear Alibi by J.C. Fuller My rating: 4 of 5 stars I have no idea how this book actually made it onto my to-read list. Anyway, it was a quick and sufficiently satisfying read. It’s a rather simple mystery with an interesting premise: A ranger, our local hero Philip, finds the mangled corpse of a young local woman. Together with the new sheriff, Lane, he tries to find out what happened. This is a topic we’ve often read about bef...

Lock Every Door, by Riley Sager
Book Review / July 25, 2020

Lock Every Door by Riley Sager My rating: 3 of 5 stars I came to this book immediately after having read Sager’s “Home Before Dark” which I devoured breathlessly. Sadly, “Lock Every Door” didn’t live up to my expectations. It starts out interesting enough: Jules, 25, has lost her parents some years ago, now she has just lost her job and left her boyfriend because he cheated. While she tries to put her life back together,...

Home Before Dark, by Riley Sager
Book Review / July 23, 2020

Home Before Dark by Riley Sager My rating: 4 of 5 stars “I freeze, my sense of relief gone in an instant. Because although their words differ, my parents’ message is the same. Never go back there. It’s not safe there. Not for you.” Damn, this was good! I knew Riley Sager from his second book, “The Last Time I Lied”, which I really liked. This one is even better! “Home Before Dark” tells the story of the Holt family who m...

Peace Talks (The Dresden Files #16), by Jim Butcher
Book Review / July 21, 2020

Peace Talks by Jim Butcher My rating: 4 of 5 stars Here we go again… Yet another Harry Dresden and yet it’s both more of the same as well as different. The first nine books were all mediocre to me – three stars because I felt generous – and ridiculously stupid for reading nine ok’ish books in a row till the Stockholm Syndrome set fully in with book 10. So, we’re at number 16 (!) now and most series have become bland,...

Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert
Book Review / July 15, 2020

Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert My rating: 1 of 5 stars Wow, this was such an annoying read! Chloe Sophia Brown comes across as a pampered, snobby whiny, weak damsel in distress who needs rescuing. From this outset, I already didn’t like her. Someone who describes herself like this… “This mind-blowing bore had zero friends, hadn’t traveled in a decade despite plenty of opportunity, liked to code on the weekends, and nev...

Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng
Book Review / July 13, 2020

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng My rating: 5 of 5 stars Celeste Ng hit me unexpectedly hard with her debut novel “Everything I Never Told You”. I was blown away by that book and afraid I might not like this one as much. That fear was completely unfounded as I loved this book as much as its predecessor. Maybe a little more even since Ng has improved upon both her writing style (which I already liked the first time!) and her sto...

Everything I Never Told You, by Celeste Ng
Book Review / July 6, 2020

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng My rating: 5 of 5 stars “Lydia is dead.”, these three words mark the beginning of Lydia’s journey which we’re about to embark upon. These three words make you think it cannot possibly get worse. Right until it gets worse. A lot worse. I can relate to this book on so many levels: First and foremost, I’m a father. I’m not prone to nightmares but there’s one that has haunted me countl...

Hemmersmoor, von Stefan Kiesbye
Book Review / July 4, 2020

Hemmersmoor by Stefan Kiesbye My rating: 1 of 5 stars “Hemmersmoor ist der Eingang zur Hölle.”, so endet der Klappentext und genau so ist mein Eindruck nach der Lektüre dieser Ansammlung von lose miteinander verwobenen Erzählungen über das fiktive Dorf Hemmersmoor und seine mehr als eigenartigen Bewohner. Leider ist die hier heraufbeschworene “Hölle” jedoch eine literarische, denn im Grunde ist das, was Kiesbye sich hier au...