The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin My rating: 1 of 5 stars I’m not sure what this was supposed to be: A mystery? There’s nothing really mysterious here apart from the fact who Westing and his ex-wife might be. The “bomber” (whose motives I never fully understood)? That’s just plainly revealed at some point. The writing itself might be a mystery because at times I felt like I read in some truly foreign language because the story as told by...

The Untold Story by Genevieve Cogman My rating: 5 of 5 stars »And here in the Library, even if our outer layer is order, we have an inner heart of chaos. We read too much for it to be anything else.« When I first encountered “The Invisible Library” I was intrigued: A library beyond space and time; an autonomous realm that sends out its spies to “acquire” unique books in order to safeguard the balance between chaos and order not in just ...

The Drowning Girls by Lisa Regan My rating: 4 of 5 stars Phew… After the disappointing book 12 I was afraid I might have had a fatal overdose of Josie Quinn. This thirteenth book in the series was firmly on-track again, though, and mostly free of the overbearing ghost of you-know-who. In fact, despite the fact this is a mass-produced series, the premise is interesting enough (notoriously good girl vanishes, her and her family’s dirty laundry ...

Her Deadly Touch by Lisa Regan My rating: 2 of 5 stars Josie whines about her dead granny.Josie finds a body.Josie whines again about her dead granny.People vanish. Joise: “My poor dead granny!”Josie is in the morgue, sees a body and, yes, you guessed it…And so forth till the very end. (Don’t get me wrong: Practically everyone from previous generations of my extended family are dead. Four during the last three years alone. I know grief bu...

2021 on Goodreads by Various My rating: 4 of 5 stars As I look back on reading in 2021 I find another mixed bag: Just like in 2020, my average rating was a mere 3.5 Goodreads tells me and that feels about right. The year started on a high and hopeful note when Amanda Gorman recited her poem “The Hill We Climb: An Inaugural Poem for the Country” at Biden’s inauguration. If Gorman’s ideas took hold, we’d really “raise this wounded world...

Hush Little Girl by Lisa Regan My rating: 4 of 5 stars An isolated, hidden house in the woods, half a family murdered, a cancelled wedding, lots of suspense, a major personal loss… “Hush Little Girl” is one more mystery/thriller from Regan’s production line – she writes three to four books in this series per year. Thus, it cannot really surprise anyone that while these books are fairly entertaining, they’re all derived from the sa...

Risen by Benedict Jacka My rating: 4 of 5 stars In this final instalment of the Alex Verus series, we accompany Alex on his “farewell tour” and the final siege that will decide the fate of all mages – Dark and White – in Great Britain. Over the run of the previous 11 (!) books Alex has had a formidable run: From a former Dark apprentice and shop owner he has risen to become a major force among mages in Britain. He has made a few f...

A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik My rating: 4 of 5 stars Well, this was a fairly mixed bag of a read… A school for kids learning to control their magic, surrounded by hostile creatures and even the school making life as hard as possible for its pupils. Pupils who are left entirely on their own – no teachers, hardly any protection and a deadly competition for resources, power and the arcane… It sounds all so well and, indeed, I was draw...

Das Ereignis by Annie Ernaux My rating: 5 of 5 stars »(Vielleicht wirkt diese Beschreibung irritierend oder abstoßend, oder sie mag als geschmacklos empfunden werden. Etwas erlebt zu haben, egal, was es ist, verleiht einem das unveräußerliche Recht, darüber zu schreiben. Es gibt keine minderwertige Wahrheit. Wenn ich diese Erfahrung nicht im Detail erzähle, trage ich dazu bei, die Lebenswirklichkeit von Frauen zu verschleiern, und mache mic...

The Madness of Crowds by Louise Penny My rating: 5 of 5 stars I’ve long been a fan of Louise Penny’s series about Chief Inspector Armand Gamache. Satisfyingly, Penny is more than capable of writing thrilling mysteries but additionally she has never been shy to address the major topics of our time (this book being no exception…). Then there is the almost mystical village of Three Pines in which most of the novels play out and which features ...

Love is Make-Believe, by Riham Adly

Love is Make-Believe by Riham Adly My rating: 3 of 5 stars I was approached directly by the author, Riham Adly, who told me about her collection of “Flash fiction” – something I hadn’t heard about before. In Riham’s own words: “Flash is so flexible, it sometimes reads like a traditional short and sometimes like a poem with a narrative arc and sometimes it’s very experimental; it lends structure from other forms lik...

Blaue Frau, von Antje Rávik Strubel
Book Review/ 1. November 2021

Blaue Frau by Antje Rávik Strubel My rating: 5 of 5 stars Aufwühlend, bewegend, anstrengend, schwer „verdaulich“, unbedingt lesenswert und wichtig! »Es braucht klare Ansagen, wenn die, die ihre jahrhundertealte Meinungshoheit verlieren, diesen Verlust zum Ende der Meinungsfreiheit erklären.« Ursprünglich aufmerksam auf “Blaue Frau” wurde ich durch die Vorstellung des Buches und dem Interview Denis Schecks mit Antje Rávik ...

When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit (Out of the Hitler Time #1), by Judith Kerr
Book Review/ 24. October 2021

When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit by Judith Kerr My rating: 5 of 5 stars This is the second time I’m reading “When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit”. The first time was when it was compulsory reading at school more than 30 years ago. I don’t remember much of my reading experience back then but that I felt with Anna, the protagonist and narrator, who had to leave Pink Rabbit back in Germany when her family emigrated to escape the rising Nazi...

A Spindle Splintered (Fractured Fables #1), by Alix E. Harrow
Book Review/ 18. October 2021

A Spindle Splintered by Alix E. Harrow My rating: 4 of 5 stars In this modern spin of “Sleeping Beauty” we meet Zinnia “Zin” Gray who is suffering from a rare condition which usually leads to death before the 22nd birthday – and Zin has just turned 21… Since Zin is obsessed with the fairy tale “Sleeping Beauty” her best friend, Charm, throws her a themed birthday party during which Zin pricks herself with a spindle. ...

What Abigail Did That Summer (Rivers of London #5.3), by Ben Aaronovitch
Book Review/ 16. October 2021

What Abigail Did That Summer by Ben Aaronovitch My rating: 4 of 5 stars This is one for the fans of Ben Aaronovitch’s “Rivers of London”. This novella firmly establishes Abigail as an important character in that reading universe. Abigail investigates the (temporary) disappearance of teenagers (including a friend of hers!) and in the course of said investigation finds a mysterious house in which something has been left over… Sadl...

Der Vorleser, von Bernhard Schlink
Book Review/ 9. October 2021

Der Vorleser by Bernhard Schlink My rating: 5 of 5 stars Vor vielleicht einem Jahr kam meine Tochter auf mich zu und fragte, ob wir eine Ausgabe von Schlinks “Der Vorleser” besäßen. Sie brauche es für den Deutsch-Leistungskurs in der Schule. Ein Vierteljahrhundert vorher war Schlinks Roman gerade erschienen und machte Furore. Meine damalige Freundin schenkte es mir 1995 zum 20. Geburtstag und ich habe es verschlungen und geliebt....

The Push, by Ashley Audrain
Book Review/ 6. October 2021

The Push by Ashley Audrain My rating: 5 of 5 stars Blythe, mother to Violet and Sam, comes from two generations of dysfunctional families: Blythe’s mother, Cecilia left her husband and her child when Blythe was eleven. Blythe only ever saw her mother twice later on and never in a positive way. Cecilia’s mother Etta (»born on the very same day World War II began«) – Blythe’s grandmother – suffered from a severe psycho...

Tales from the Folly: A Rivers of London Short Story Collection, by by Ben Aaronovitch
Book Review/ 3. October 2021

Tales from the Folly: A Rivers of London Short Story Collection by Ben Aaronovitch My rating: 5 of 5 stars I was actually wary of reading this – I don’t generally enjoy short stories and, even worse, the latest instalment in this series, False Value, was a severe disappointment. Thus, I was happy to find out that these short stories feature the same dry humour and sarcasm that made especially the first books such a joy to read. ...

Turn the Ship Around: A True Story of Turning Followers into Leaders, by L. David Marquet
Book Review/ 29. September 2021

Turn the Ship Around!: A True Story of Turning Followers into Leaders by L. David Marquet My rating: 5 of 5 stars I rarely read this kind of “professional career guide” type of book. They’re all too often fairly dry, are strongly dependant on the cultural and social environment they’re based upon (e. g. US/Europe) and, honestly, range from “difficult to apply” to “impossible to adapt”. Luckily, this book is completely di...

Such a Fun Age, by Kiley Reid
Book Review/ 14. September 2021

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid My rating: 3 of 5 stars Well, this was a light read, indeed. The pages flew by and I felt entertained but, sadly, on a very, very shallow level despite the topics of racism, privilege and “class” differences. After a rushed ending, it feels like the author simply bit off too much for her debut novel. Emira, our black protagonist, came across as devoid of any ambition, drifting mostly with the flow. She w...