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 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 (Landon) m...

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 jumps in time...

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 library and, ...

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 Wizardry” and, ...

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 recommend ...

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 like an arche...

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 the thief of...

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin
Book Review / March 9, 2019

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin Do you like watching glaciers move? Like, in real-time? Are you a German teacher of English? Do you hate someone very much? (You can even combine the last two!)  Congratulations, this book is especially for you!   I actually enjoy a good story, lavishly told in good time. Me possibly drinking coffee or wine and enjoying myself, even losing myself inside a story told slow...

Die ewigen Toten by Simon Beckett
Book Review / March 4, 2019

Die ewigen Toten by Simon Beckett My rating: 3 of 5 stars David “Selbstzweifel” Hunter ist zurück – leider nicht in Bestform Der forensische Anthropologe David Hunter, bekannt aus Becketts früheren Romanen in dieser Reihe, wird diesmal zu einem Leichenfund in einem ehemaligen Krankenhaus, dem St. Jude, gerufen. Dort angekommen wird sehr schnell klar, daß sich ein größeres Geheimnis hinter den abrissreifen und fins...

The Test by Sylvain Neuvel
Book Review / March 1, 2019

The Test by Sylvain Neuvel My rating: 3 of 5 stars The Test – an exercise in superfluousness “The Test” is a short story about an immigrant taking a citizenship test. What he doesn’t know: It’s all simulated. When a group of terrorists takes everyone hostage at the test and they put him into difficult situations, his behaviour is actually being evaluated with respect to suitability for citizenship. The story isn’...

Muttertag by Nele Neuhaus
Book Review / February 28, 2019

Muttertag by Nele Neuhaus My rating: 4 of 5 stars Nele Neuhaus auf dem Weg nach vorgestern Ich war skeptisch, als ich die Lektüre des neuen Krimis um das Ermittler-Duo Bodenstein/Sander (vormals Kirchhoff) begann. Allzu routiniert und lieblos heruntergeschrieben fühlte sich das vorherige Buch „Im Wald“ für mich an. Dies schien sich auch zu bestätigen: Nach kurzer Einführung startet „Muttertag“ mit dem Auffinden der Leiche e...

Mittagsstunde by Dörte Hansen
Book Review / February 20, 2019

Mittagsstunde: Roman by Dörte Hansen My rating: 4 of 5 stars Wieder ein großer Wurf, der an seinen Vorgänger erinnert. Diesmal geht geht es um das Sterben eines Dorfes über Jahrzehnte hinweg. Damit einhergehend sterben aber nicht „nur“ das Dorf und seine Bewohner, sondern eine ganze „Dorf-Kultur“: Mit Flurbereinigung und allgemeiner Urbanisierung gehen Traditionen und manchmal auch Existenzen zugrunde. Hansen glückt es jedo...

Altes Land by Dörte Hansen
Book Review / February 17, 2019

Altes Land by Dörte Hansen My rating: 5 of 5 stars Ein Jahrhundert-Roman Wie ein mächtiger Strom ist „Altes Land“ – mal ruhig und unaufgeregt erzählend von der Familie Eckhoff, Heinrich „Hinni“ Lührs und anderen Bewohnern des alten Landes, dann wieder mitreißend und voller Kraft. Dörte Hansen erzählt mit größtmöglichem Respekt und großer Behutsamkeit von und über ihre Protagonisten. Keiner von ihnen ist frei vo...

You go me on the cookie! by Dana Newman
Book Review / February 14, 2019

You go me on the cookie! by Dana Newman My rating: 2 of 5 stars Dear Dana, I‘ve watched your videos on YouTube and really enjoyed myself – I like your style, your charming, fresh, delightful and funny presentation. It‘s both greatly amusing and relaxing as well as informative and interesting.I’ll never forget the video in which you explain your opinions on the USA and their current administration as it deeply moved me and sh...

Age of War by Michael J. Sullivan
Book Review / August 28, 2018

Age of War by Michael J. Sullivan My rating: 5 of 5 stars Modest underrated genius TLDR; Legends of the First Empire are magical pieces of art but accessible to everyone, created by an amazing author and you don’t want to miss out on any of his books if you even remotely consider reading fantasy. I rarely feel compelled to write a review and it’s actually the first time ever I feel an obligation to write one. Michael J. Sull...

Operation Hail Storm by Brett Arquette
Advance Review Copy (ARC) , Book Review / January 12, 2018

Operation Hail Storm by Brett Arquette My rating: 1 of 5 stars I was given this ebook for free by the author. In short: An eccentric rich guy called Hail kills a North Korean bad guy, the US administration notices, sends Hail on a mission to break stuff and sends a female “supermodel” CIA agent, Kara, with him. The story is lousy and the entire book has tons of useless techno babble in it that should simply have been scrappe...

Rise by Jennifer Anne Davis

Rise by Jennifer Anne Davis My rating: 4 of 5 stars I received this book as part of the Early Reviewers program. As I’ve often received sub-par books, I was somewhat sceptical about this book as well. Turns out I was wrong, to some extent at least. While “Rise” does have quite a few deus-ex-machina moments (a certain rescue comes to mind), even some (more or less) glaring plot holes (what are the “apparitionsR...