Quick Reviews September

quickreviews

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
There will be a “proper” review for this one but I struggle writing said review. There is so much I want to say but there is also so much anxiety about saying it all in the wrong way. (Which is mainly my brain being stupid again but I have to work with what was given to me and that means things might be slow at times when it comes to – gasp! – having and expressing opinions. Sometimes I wonder where my more careless self has vanished to and what happened but that’s for another time/post.)
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After You by JoJo Moyes
I suppose I was lucky that I read “Me Before You” so long ago that a lot of its plot and story has gone missing between then and the time I picked up the sequel. I didn’t walk into the trap of a direct comparison between those two books. Having a snooping around in goodreads’ reviews revealed that many readers had been disappointed that it wasn’t like its predecessor and how could it be what with one of the main characters missing.
I liked the “easy reading” and the characters, despite some of them being walking personifications of their stereotypes.  Enjoyable and a treat for in between but there was the lack of “something” that didn’t make me love this book.
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Quick Reviews August

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Das Dschungelbuch by Rudyard Kipling
(audiobook; read by Stefan Kaminski)
Stefan Kaminski did an incredible job. Every character got their own voice, he made all the animal sounds and it was such a joy to listen to him.
I had some difficulties with the book itself. It’s been quite “unforgiving” at times, if not to say downright brutal. That leaves a bit of a bad taste.
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See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt
I wasn’t familiar with the Borden murder case but read a few articles here and there parallel to the book. It made sense that the author was constantly repeating a few of the minor details. Had I not known about their relevance in the real life events I would have felt unnerved. The writing is fantastic. It’s unique and draws the reader into the mindset of Lizzie. Many thanks to NetGalley and Grove Atlantic for giving me the opportunity to read this ARC. 
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Quick Reviews July

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Burial Rites by Hannah Kent
Haunting. Beautifully written. I like how we get to know Agnes through “sharing” with the family she lives with before the inevitable end of her story. Although it has already been written (so to say) and I read about the historic background there was always the hope that this time the story would take a different turn.
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What Belongs to You by Garth Greenwell
The story comes without the “gay” hammer or “equality” being shoved down the readers’ throats. It shows the oppressive side too but doesn’t focus on it. The book focuses on the characters and their stories and dynamics. It’s a strange atmosphere and, at times, I got incredibly mad with Mitko. At other times I felt sad that things wouldn’t ever change for him; if he’d have tried or not. The writing is fantastic, as well as the character building; the way the atmosphere is created.
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Mind Without A Home: A Memoir of Schizophrenia by Kristina Morgan
Schizophrenia (or paranoid schizophrenia) get so distorted in popular media like films or shows and I have to admit that I walked into that “trap” of stereotyped thinking as well, before I knew better and started to read “first hand” experiences like Kristina Morgan’s book. Despite all the reading I can’t claim to “understand” what it is like to life with this illnesses but thanks to the voices of those who found the courage to write down and publish their experiences I get an idea. There are jumps and time skips (back and fro) in this book but the author informs her readers about this in the introduction. It was a very interesting glimpse inside Kristina Morgan’s mind and life and I’m grateful that I was allowed to read her account. It helps to think outside the box of the stigma surrounding the illness, created by films and other media who didn’t/don’t know better.
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Review: The End We Start From by Megan Hunter

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Book cover, July 2017 (via goodreads.com)

Blurb:
In the midst of a mysterious environmental crisis, as London is submerged below flood waters, a woman gives birth to her first child, Z. Days later, the family is forced to leave their home in search of safety. As they move from place to place, shelter to shelter, their journey traces both fear and wonder as Z’s small fists grasp at the things he sees, as he grows and stretches, thriving and content against all the odds.

This is a story of new motherhood in a terrifying setting: a familiar world made dangerous and unstable, its people forced to become refugees. Startlingly beautiful, Megan Hunter’s The End We Start From is a gripping novel that paints an imagined future as realistic as it is frightening. And yet, though the country is falling apart around them, this family’s world – of new life and new hope – sings with love.


Review: 
As always many thanks to NetGalley and Grove Atlantic for granting me the opportunity to read this ARC.
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Review: The Ghosts of Galway by Ken Bruen

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Book Cover, July 2017 (via goodreads.com)

Blurb:
Jack Taylor is recovering from a mistaken medical diagnosis and a failed suicide attempt. In need of money, and with former cop on his resume, Jack has been hired as a night-shift security guard. But his Ukrainian boss has Jack in mind for some off-the-books work. He wants Jack to find what some claim to be the first true book of heresy, The Red Book, currently in the possession of a rogue priest who is hiding out in Galway after fleeing a position at the Vatican. Despite Jack’s distaste for priests of any stripe, the money is too good to turn down. Em, the many-faced woman who has had a vise on Jack’s heart and mind for the past two years, reappears and turns out to be entangled with the story of The Red Book, too, leading Jack down ever more mysterious and lethal pathways. 
It seems all sides are angling for a piece of Jack Taylor, but as The Ghosts of Galway twists toward a violent end, he is increasingly plagued by ghosts–by the disposable and disposed of in a city filled with as much darkness as the deepest corners of Jack’s own mind.



Review:
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Quick Reviews June

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Forensics: The Anatomy of Crime by Val McDermid

I like it when I can follow and understand the explanations of complex and complicated processes. It was exciting and interesting to read. I learnt a lot of new things and re-learnt facts and procedures. Well written and – as far as I can tell – very well researched. Loved it!
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Ragdoll: Dein letzter Tag (Detective William Fawkes #1) by Daniel Cole
Many thanks to NetGalley Germany for giving me the opportunity to read this book as a sample copy.
When people who worked in this sector (police or ambulance services) and write books taking place in such an environment, their experience always shows. Especially when you look at the characters. They are very skilled in reading people and creating characters following those observations. I love the characters in this book. They don’t quite make developments but they are all unique and fleshed out. It was a joy meeting them. And since, in my opinion, a story lives or doesn’t live with the quality of its characters, I enjoyed this one a lot. So much I got second thoughts about reading more about continuing to read the William Fawkes books. I got a bad case of writer envy. :3
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Ghosts by John Banville
The prose is so beautiful I want to dive into it, bath in it and eat it whole. I wish I could write like that! Unfortunately the storytelling isn’t even remotely as beautiful. If there was a plot it got lost or neglected or it was all so artistic that I failed to grasp it. It also doesn’t help that this is the middle part of a trilogy and my reading the first book was too long ago to remember details. The characters remain flat with little to none background and sidebranches of the story get dropped or neglected and it’s just annoying, really. Such a stunning writing but such a disappointing storytelling.
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Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
I’ve always loved Neil Gaiman’s writing even if I didn’t like the story itself that much. What happened here, though? It didn’t sound like him. I know it’s a sort of retelling the stories but I honestly missed his unique “voice” here. The stories were okay. I only got annoyed with everything being “the best, tallest, cleverest, brightest, prettiest, largest, hugest, strongest” etc etc. Sounded like something written by Steven Moffat. I don’t blame Gaiman for the superlatives. I think it’s the general nature of the stories.
Anyway. I’m a bit disappointed, I have to admit. Perhaps my expectations can be blamed for being a bit too high here.
(On a side note: I did so right to name my cat Loki. She is the feline version of that god!)
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A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
This had been on my to-read pile for a while now and I finally got around to read it.
I didn’t know what I was in for. The only thing I heard about the book beforehand was that it was supposed to be really good.
I wasn’t let down. On the contrary.
Although I’m not a fan of unfinished sentences and half sentences, it made sense and was important for this kind of story and its unraveling. I knew where it would be going after the first two chapters but that wasn’t the point. It didn’t mean to make a mystery of the facts of the story itself.
It’s a beautiful, sad and painful story with a lot of truth in it.
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Quick Reviews May

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Des Nachts im finstren Wald: Dunkle Märchen von Jana Oltersdorff
Einige der Geschichten waren weniger überzeugend oder gut gemacht als andere aber alles in allem durchaus sehr lesenswert.
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Seven Suspects by Renee James
First of all I’d like to thank Netgalley to give me the opportunity to read and review this book.
The writing is really good, it has a flow to it that makes a comfortable, fast read. The characters were good, fleshed out and true personas. But…
The constant repetition of the same facts was incredibly unnerving. Summarising previous books of a series for new readers is one thing but shoving facts down their throats every third page is another. Hadn’t I read beforehand that this was part of an entire series, it would have been clear after the first third. John Strand here, John Strand there but never as much as a further detail. I have a name and two or three facts about the person and that was it. Either you give me the entire thing as an overview (brief and not every ten pages again) or you leave it at that and stop making all those countless references.
I also understand that transgender and trans-persons is a big topic and although I like and appreciate the way the author presented it in this book I think it’s a pity that their protagonist is reduced time and again to just that. The struggles with all of it would have worked with their descriptions alone. I don’t need to be told again and again where the struggles came from. Grant the reader some brain and ability of thinking and understanding. I don’t mean to make the book sound bad. I really liked it but the aforementioned points got annoying.
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