Amongst Our Weapons by Ben Aaronovitch My rating: 2 of 5 stars Finally! I’m free of this book! I used to really like this world and its rather unique inhabitants as well as the stories Ben Aaronovitch so expertly told us.This time around, though, I was bored by the lacklustre story at the centre of “Amongst Our Weapons”: An “Angel of Death” is killing the owners of some obscure rings with Lesley being on the hunt for said rings. Peter d...

The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune My rating: 5 of 5 stars »We are who we are not because of our birthright, but because of what we choose to do in this life. It cannot be boiled down to black and white. Not when there is so much in between. You cannot say something is moral or immoral without understanding the nuances behind it.”« From a world obviously different from ours (magic and magical beings exist there!) but closely related ...

Call Us What We Carry by Amanda Gorman My rating: 5 of 5 stars »I am the daughter of Black writers. I am descended from freedom fighters who broke their chains and changed the world. They call me. I carry them always.«(From “Gratitude”) I’m not sure what to say or write about this collection of Amanda Gorman’s poetry. Any words I could find would still fall short to describe how amazing and emotionally moving, intellectually brilliant, ...

When We Cease to Understand the World by Benjamín Labatut My rating: 1 of 5 stars This is one of the very few books I’m not finishing. Let me explain why: The problem with this one is that Benjamín Labatut introduces the history of an invention to us. Let’s take the first story on “Prussian Blue” as an example: Labatut starts by shortly describing the invention itself and what lead to it. He then proceeds to tell us about the inventor(s...

Worms by Paul Auster My rating: 3 of 5 stars A highly metaphorical short story in which an elderly guy is being kind, is being treated kindly himself, gets hurt nevertheless, falls to his knees but gets up once more to reflect on his past and – my first and only guess – is sinking into dementia while considering how the eponymous worms may taste (when he’s gone to his grave), effectively contemplating death. This is so short, devoid...

Planetside by Michael Mammay My rating: 2 of 5 stars This is going to be yet another difficult review. There’s no doubt: “Planetside” is suspenseful and exciting military science fiction. There’s also no doubt there are plot holes, loose ends and an ending that’s extremely problematic. Let’s start at the beginning, though, at which Colonel Carl Butler, semi-retired of Space Command, is sent to the Cappa system by his superior and old ...

Bruno’s Challenge & Other Dordogne Tales by Martin Walker My rating: 3 of 5 stars “Bruno’s Challenge & Other Dordogne Tales” consists of 14 short stories featuring rural French cop Bruno who has already “starred” in 14 previous books.The full-size novels (that I prefer) went on a downward spiral around book 10 and mostly picked up at book 14. So I was curious to see how this short story collection would hold up.This wa...

The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi My rating: 5 of 5 stars This was great escapist fun! This book read like the happy child of Douglas Adams’ “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” and Martha Wells’ “Murderbot” (in tone more than in spirit!) with a bit of Ernest Cline’s “Ready Player One” mixed in for good measure! After so many “mixed reading results” so far this year, this was a much needed blast of fresh, con...

Memorial Drive: A Daughter’s Memoir by Natasha Trethewey My rating: 4 of 5 stars »All those years I thought that I had been running away from my past I had, in fact, been working my way steadily back to it.« This was not easy to read and even less so to review. In “Memorial Drive” Trethewey remembers her childhood, born 1966, in a still very much segregated Gulfport, Mississippi, USA. Her mother black and her father white this clearly...

Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Terry Pratchett My rating: 1 of 5 stars We all know them: Those relatives at family reunions who insist on telling “terrific jokes” that make us cringe. If you don’t, let me put you into the right mood: »When asked if they would have sex with Bill Clinton, 86% of women in D.C. said, “Not again.”« Or this one: »3 men are stranded in a boat with 4 cigarettes...

War in Ukraine
Personal , Politics/ 20. March 2022

On 24 February 2022, Russian armed forces invaded neighbouring Ukraine on the orders of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The pretended reasons of the murderous dictator and war criminal Putin are alleged “numerous crimes committed against the civilian population, including citizens of the Russian Federation”, the demilitarisation and “denazification” of Ukraine, and NATO’s eastward expansion. None of this ...

Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, by Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman
Book Review/ 16. March 2022

Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Terry Pratchett My rating: 1 of 5 stars We all know them: Those relatives at family reunions who insist on telling “terrific jokes” that make us cringe. If you don’t, let me put you into the right mood: »When asked if they would have sex with Bill Clinton, 86% of women in D.C. said, “Not again.”« Or this one: »3 men are stranded in a boat with 4 ...

Detective Kubu Investigates 2, by Michael Stanley
Book Review/ 11. March 2022

Detective Kubu Investigates 2 by Michael Stanley My rating: 2 of 5 stars This was supposed to be another “filler” till I found my “next big read” and it all started well enough. “Shoot to Kill” is an interesting short story featuring Kubu investigating the death of an informant among poachers. It had exactly the right “Kubu vibes” and was a quick and pleasant read. Had all the short stories been this good, the collection...

One Night on the Island, by Josie Silver
Book Review/ 9. March 2022

One Night on the Island by Josie Silver My rating: 2 of 5 stars I just wanted a nice little romance to reset my brain. What I got was a weird mix of hippie crap (self-coupling my arse), commitment issues (Susie, Cleo, the kids, Mack; all suffer, none win). Cleo, a writer for “Women Today”, writes a column about finding what she calls her “flamingo”, meaning her “soul mate”, “forever love”, you name it. In an act of defia...

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Book Review/ 4. March 2022

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid My rating: 4 of 5 stars Oh, well, another difficult review to write… I really did like this book and while writing this very sentence I’m still unsure what my final verdict will be. Evelyn Hugo, fictional Hollywood icon, is – to me – an immensely likeable person: Starting her career in the 1950s she works her way up to become a legend. That alone would already have...

Favours (Alex Verus #6.1), by Benedict Jacka
Book Review/ 26. February 2022

Favours by Benedict Jacka My rating: 4 of 5 stars This is a short story told from Sonder’s perspective, primarily featuring him and Caldera. Alex is only mentioned in passing.Nevertheless, this short story definitely makes you feel right at home back in the Verus universe. I never really liked either Sonder or Caldera and both their behaviours here just firmly cement this antipathy. Sonder is opportunistic and primarily worries about ...

The Maid, by Nita Prose
Book Review/ 25. February 2022

The Maid by Nita Prose My rating: 1 of 5 stars From whatever point of view: This is a disgrace of a book. Let’s look at the story itself first: Molly, usually referred to and sometimes self-referring as “Molly the Maid” (as if that’s all she is), works as a maid in the Regency Grand Hotel.One day, when she’s cleaning a suite she finds the body of Mr. Black, a rich “power magnate”, who stays at the hotel with his second wif...

Foreverland: On the Divine Tedium of Marriage, by Heather Havrilesky
Book Review/ 20. February 2022

Foreverland: On the Divine Tedium of Marriage by Heather Havrilesky My rating: 5 of 5 stars »Forever is two immortal elves, sipping pink champagne by a burbling stream, then exploring the wild, gorgeous woods around them in everlasting harmony. Forever is set in New Zealand, not New Jersey.« It was around Christmas when I came across Heather Havrilesky’s essay “Marriage Requires Amnesia” (which is an adaptation from this book) i...

Breathe Your Last (Detective Josie Quinn #10), by Lisa Regan
Book Review/ 15. February 2022

Breathe Your Last by Lisa Regan My rating: 4 of 5 stars Josie Quinn No. 10. A swimming champion drowns, a firefighter sets his house on fire, some ordinary people try their hand at flying… It soon becomes clear that these are not just cases of truly bad judgement but that a half-crazed serial killer is on the loose in Denton. Sounds good? It is – for what it is. If you like Josie Quinn, you’ll enjoy this instalment. If you don...