Saturday, 28 December 2013

Beate Maxian: Die Tote vom Naschmarkt

Von ihren Freunden wird die Journalistin Sarah Pauli gerne wegen ihres Aberglaubens gehänselt. Doch dann gehen in der Redaktionspost drei abgetrennte Finger ein, die zur Schwurhand einer Frauenleiche gehören, die am Wiener Naschmarkt gefunden wurde. Die Tote war Entlastungszeugin in einem Vergewaltigungsprozess, den der prominente Anwalt Harald Koban gewonnen hat. In der Nacht nach dem Prozess überfährt Koban eine Katze – tags darauf erhält Sarah wieder Post: das Bild einer schwarzen Katze und eine unheilverkündende Nachricht ...

Interessanter Krimi rund um Wien. Ich war etwas enttäuscht, dass Wien und der Wiener Schmäh zu kurz kommen, aber der Krimi und die Geschichten rund um die Anwälte, waren trotzdem lesenswert.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Jenny Colgan: Meet me at the Cupcake Café

Come and meet Issy Randall, proud owner of The Cupcake Café. Issy Randall can bake. No, more than that - Issy can create stunning, mouth-wateringly divine cakes. After a childhood spent in her beloved Grampa Joe's bakery, she has undoubtedly inherited his talent. When she's made redundant from her safe but dull City job, Issy decides to seize the moment. Armed with recipes from Grampa, and with her best friends and local bank manager fighting her corner, The Cupcake Café opens its doors. But Issy has absolutely no idea what she's let herself in for. It will take all her courage - and confectionery - to avert disaster . . .

A sweet and easy read. Again quite predictable, but the quirky characters were fun to be with.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Gary Barlow: My take

Take That was the original and the best British boy band ever. Their records sold millions, and they sold out arenas in less time than it took to play one of their singles. Gary Barlow was the band's secret weapon: their gifted, down-to-earth front man who not only wrote most of their greatest hits - "Back for Good", "Never Forget", and "A Million Love Songs" - but sang them too. But the band decided to quit at the height of their fame. What followed for Gary is an inspiring journey of highs and lows: from the promising start of his solo career to his crisis in confidence. The public who had once worshipped him almost seemed to forget he existed. Much has been said about Gary but he himself has remained silent until now. For the first time, Gary tells his full story from his childhood in Cheshire to life after Take That: the early start at thirteen working in a social club; a career as a teenager working the northern clubs; and the life-changing moment when he met Nigel Martin-Smith, a Manchester modeling agent who wanted to put together a boy-band. Gary will reveal what life on the road with Take That was really like and the truth behind the rumours of their petty feuding. He will also finally settle the speculation around his painfully public fall-out with Robbie. Throughout his experiences Gary has remained as determined and as positive as he was when he was given his first keyboard at eleven. It is this determination and spirit that has helped him bounce back. He has established himself as a successful songwriter writing for the likes of Blue, Delta Goodrem, and Charlotte Church. And now he's made one of pop's great comebacks with the Take That reunion tour, ten years after the band split up. Gary Barlow and Take That are back centre stage once again - where they belong.

An interesting read about Take That, but also about Gary Barlow's personal life including his experience in the London bombings. A fascinating read! Life is always writing the best stories...

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Jenny Colgan: Welcome to Rosie Hopkins' Sweet Shop of Dreams

Rosie Hopkins thinks leaving her busy London life, and her boyfriend Gerard, to sort out her elderly Aunt Lilian's sweetshop in a small country village is going to be dull. Lilian Hopkins has spent her life running Lipton's sweetshop, through wartime and family feuds. As she struggles with the idea that it might finally be time to settle up, she also wrestles with the secret history hidden behind the jars of beautifully coloured sweets.

Having read the Chocolate Shop in Paris, I read this book about the sweet shop in Derbyshire. Again the storyline is quite predictable, but the humour and the characters made up for the predictability.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Chris Kuzneski: Hunters 1 - The Hunters

The Hunters: Financed by a billionaire philanthropist, this elite team - an ex-soldier, an historian, a computer whiz, a weapons expert, and a thief - is tasked with finding the world's most legendary treasures. The mission: Fearing a German victory in WWI, the Romanian government signed a deal with Russia to guarantee the safety of the country's treasures. In 1916, two trains full of gold and the most precious possessions of the Romanian state - paintings, jewellery, and ancient artefacts - were sent to the underground vaults of the Kremlin. But in the turmoil of war, the treasure was scattered - and lost. Almost a century later, the haul is valued at over 3.5 billion dollars. Despite hundreds of attempts to find it, its location has remained a mystery...

Another thrilling read by Chris Kuzneski with humour and great characters as well as some gripping historical fiction. I also liked the link to Petr Ulster at the end of the novel, which in a way I was hoping for, as the story unfolded. Already looking forward to the next "Payne and Jones" and "Hunters" books.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

S Daniels & M Piechowski: Living with Intensity: Understanding the Sensitivity, Excitability, and Emotional Development

Gifted children and adults are often misunderstood. Their excitement is viewed as excessive, their high energy as hyperactivity, their persistence as nagging, their imagination as not paying attention, their passion as being disruptive, their strong emotions and sensitivity as immaturity, their creativity and self-directedness as oppositional.This resource describes these overexcitabilities and strategies for dealing with children and adults who are experiencing them, and provides essential information about Dabrowski's Theory of Positive Disintegration. Learn practical methods for nurturing sensitivity, intensity, perfectionism, and much more.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Jenny Colgan: The loveliest chocolate shop in Paris

As dawn breaks over the Pont Neuf, and the cobbled alleyways of Paris come to life, Anna Trent is already awake and at work; mixing and stirring the finest, smoothest, richest chocolate; made entirely by hand, it is sold to the grandes dames of Paris. It's a huge shift from the chocolate factory she worked in at home in the north of England. But when an accident changed everything, Anna was thrown back in touch with her French teacher, Claire, who offered her the chance of a lifetime - to work in Paris with her former sweetheart, Thierry, a master chocolatier. With old wounds about to be uncovered and healed, Anna is set to discover more about real chocolate - and herself - than she ever dreamed.

Having struggled to find a gripping read, I stumbled across this book and started dipping in. Although the storyline is quite predictable, the humour and the characters were fascinating and enthralling. The ending to the story's loving couples are realistic and make for an enjoyable women's fiction novel.

Friday, 25 October 2013

CS Lewis: Narnia 4 - Prince Caspian

The Pevensie siblings are back to help a prince denied his rightful throne as he gathers an army in a desperate attempt to rid his land of a false king. But in the end, it is a battle of honour between two men alone that will decide the fate of an entire world. A battle is about to begin in Prince Caspian, the fourth book in C. S. Lewis’s classic fantasy series, which has been enchanting readers of all ages for over sixty years.

Very quick and enjoyable read about the return to Narnia. Somehow I do miss an overarching storyline involving the Pevensie children from previous books, but the story makes for great reading.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Michael Rosen: Fantastic Mr Dahl

Just how did Roald Dahl get into writing? Where did he get his ideas from? What ingredients in his life turned him into the kind of writer he was? Michael Rosen - poet, broadcaster and former Children's Laureate, comes up with some of the answers to these key questions in his lively biography of the world's No.1 storyteller. Full of stories and funny anecdotes from Roald Dahl's school days and family life, Michael Rosen's fascinating observations creates a vivid picture of one of the most famous writers of all time.

A very enjoyable, fascinating and informative biography of one of the world's most influential children's authors. Michael Rosen's approach to interpreting Dahl's letters and actions in a way that they all lead up to him becoming the writer we know is a great way to teach about writing, too. Suddenly, the long sentences with and, but, because are condemned as being unrealistic. A great read for teachers, parents and children alike.

Friday, 20 September 2013

CS Lewis: Narnia 2 - The lion, the witch and the wardrobe

Four adventurous siblings—Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy Pevensie— step through a wardrobe door and into the land of Narnia, a land frozen in eternal winter and enslaved by the power of the White Witch. But when almost all hope is lost, the return of the Great Lion, Aslan, signals a great change . . . and a great sacrifice.

Again, my son and I were co-reading a book to discuss. This time, the book was chosen by school work. In the past I've wanted to read the series, but never found the time until now. It was quite a fast-paced read, although some of the fantastical and magic was a little confusing. For example, why does Lucy not use her potion, when she could have? Enjoyable read, though.

Monday, 9 September 2013

John & Carole E Barrowman: Hollow Earth

Lots of twins have a special connection - being able to finish each other's sentences; sensing what the other is thinking; perhaps even knowing when the other is in trouble or in pain - but for 12-year-old twins, Matt and Emily Calder, the connection is beyond special. Together, the twins have extraordinary powers - they are able to bring art to life, or enter paintings at will. Their abilities are sought by villains trying to access the terrors of Hollow Earth - a place where all the demons, devils and creatures ever imagined lie trapped for eternity. The twins flee with their mother to the security of an island, off the west coast of Scotland, where their grandfather has certain protective powers of his own. But too much is at stake, and the twins aren't safe there either. The villains will stop at nothing to find Hollow Earth and harness the powers within...

I'd started reading this story a few times, but couldn't ever read through it due to time constraints and other books etc. However, I enjoyed this teen fiction, which seems to build on the Inkheart series.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Wendy Green: 50 Things You Can Do Today to Manage Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a debilitating, chronic condition characterised by widespread pain, sleep disturbance, fatigue and other symptoms. In this accessible and informative guide, find out 50 things you can do today to manage fibromyalgia, such as exercising to ease pain, benefiting from a balanced diet and helpful supplements, and finding helpful products and organisations. With a foreword by Alice Theadom of the Fibromyalgia Association UK.

Helpful and full of good advice to read and reread....

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Nicole Förg: Hüttengaudi - ein Alpenkrimi

Kommissarin Irmi Mangold ärgert sich: Warum hat sie sich nur von ihrer Nachbarin zu dieser albernen Schrothkur in Oberstaufen überreden lassen? Und dann steht sie am Urlaubsort plötzlich vor einem Toten, der ihr mehr als bekannt vorkommt: ihrem Exmann Martin Maurer ... Währenddessen hat es Kollegin Kathi Reindl in Garmisch mit dem toten Liftmann Xaver Fischer zu tun, der zu Lebzeiten im Skiklub mitmischte. Ein arger Dorn im Auge war ihm die moderne Skihütte, deren Wirte er so piesackte, dass sie schließlich verkaufen wollten. Zwei Mordfälle an zwei verschiedenen Orten, aber beide Male dieselbe Todesursache – alles nur Zufall?

Unterhaltsamer Krimi mit guter Charakterisierung einiger Figuren, obwohl manche Wendung weit her geholt oder zu offensichtlich und klischehaft waren. Entspannung garantiert!

Sunday, 18 August 2013

James Bowen: Bob - no ordinary cat

A special edition for children age 11 and above, featuring 8 pages of photographs. 'We are all given second chances every day of our lives, but we don't usually take them. Then I met Bob.' James Bowen was a homeless musician, busking on the streets of London to survive. But the moment he met an injured stray cat with ginger fur and big green eyes, his life began to change. Together James and Bob the cat faced the world - and won.

After all the animal stories with horses and dogs, I chose to read yet another story talking about the friendship between animals and their owners and how caring for an animal can change your life. Again, this was a children's and young adult version, but thoroughly enjoyable.

Friday, 16 August 2013

Michael Morpurgo: Born to run

When Patrick saves a litter of greyhound puppies from the canal, he can’t bear to hand them all over to the RSPCA. He pleads with his parents: couldn’t he just keep one of them? But nothing will convince them and Patrick cries himself to sleep – only to be woken by a greyhound puppy licking his face! Patrick christens his puppy Best Mate, and that’s what he becomes. Patrick’s favourite thing is to watch Best Mate running at full stretch on the heath, a speeding bullet, a cheetah-dog. Until one day Best Mate is kidnapped by a greyhound trainer, and begins a new life as a champion race dog. Suzie, the greyhound trainer’s step-daughter, loves Best Mate on first sight and gives him a new name, Bright Eyes. But what will happen when he can’t run any more?

Another emotional story about the friendship between dogs and their owners. Reading this story and discussing it in the family made us wonder, whether we could possibly have such a good friend....

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Allen & Sandra Parton: Endal - How one extraordinary dog brought a family back from the brink

The remarkable story of Endal, voted ‘Dog of the Millennium’, and how, through his remarkable skills, companionship and unstinting devotion, he gave Allen Parton a reason to live again. Allen Parton was seriously injured while serving in the Gulf War. He lost the use of both of his legs, plus all memories of his children and much of his marriage. He was left unable to walk, talk or write - isolated in his own world. After five years of intensive therapy and rehab, he was still angry, bitter and unable to talk. Until a chance encounter with a Labrador puppy - Endal - who had failed his training as an assistance dog on health grounds. They 'adopted' each other, and Endal became Allen's reason to communicate with the outside world, to come to terms with his injuries, and to want to live again. Not content with learning over 200 commands to help Allen complete everyday tasks like getting dressed and going out to the shops in his wheelchair, Endal gave Allen the ability to start living again, and to become a husband and father again in his own special way. This is the incredible story of Allen, his wife Sandra, and his family. And, of course, Endal.

Moving, thrilling, fascinating. An emotional and tearful reading.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Michael Morpurgo: War Horse

A stunning wartime classic. In the deadly chaos of the First World War, one horse witnesses the reality of battle from both sides of the trenches. Bombarded by artillery, with bullets knocking riders from his back, Joey tells a powerful story of the truest friendships surviving in terrible times. One horse has the seen the best and the worst of humanity. The power of war and the beauty of peace. This is his story.

Again, a very popular Michael Morpurgo story that I wanted to read to know what it is all about. Fascinating, gripping and full of emotions.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Katherine Webb: A half-forgotten song

1937. In a village on the Dorset coast, fourteen-year-old Mitzy Hatcher has endured a wild and lonely upbringing - until the arrival of renowned artist Charles Aubrey, his exotic mistress and their daughters, changes everything. Over the next three summers, Mitzy sees a future she had never thought possible, and a powerful love is kindled in her. A love that grows from innocence to obsession; from childish infatuation to something far more complex. Years later, a young man in an art gallery looks at a hastily-drawn portrait and wonders at the intensity of it. The questions he asks lead him to a Dorset village and to the truth about those fevered summers in the 1930s ...

I picked this book up because I had run out of reading materials on my holidays and this book was available. Although I found "The Legacy" fascinating and gripping, this book left me a little disappointed at times, as the author went down the easy route of romance, when there wouldn't have been any in real life. There were some twists and turns relating to the life of Charles Aubrey and his relatives, and so I kept reading on. The novel made for easy reading and solid entertainment.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Jodi Picoult & Samantha Van Leer: Between the lines

Delilah knows it's weird, but she can't stop reading her favourite fairy tale. Other girls her age are dating and cheerleading. But then, other girls are popular. She loves the comfort of the happy ending, and knowing there will be no surprises. Until she gets the biggest surprise of all, when Prince Oliver looks out from the page and speaks to her. Now Delilah must decide: will she do as Oliver asks, and help him to break out of the book? Or is this her chance to escape into happily ever after? Read between the lines for total enchantment . . .

I chose to read the story, as I am a great fan of Jodi Picoult and because she admits to have co-written it with her daughter, who had come up with the main idea. It's a light-hearted young adult novel, which will certainly appeal to daughters and young-at-heart Mums. Although there are some allusions to teenage fears and worries, the story is so fantastical that the book can be read for entertainment only.

Friday, 19 July 2013

Cecelia Ahern: One hundred names

As a journalist, Kitty Logan has spent the past few years chasing the big scoops – no matter the consequences. When she makes a terrible mistake, she finds herself mired in scandal, her career implodes and even her personal relationships are tested to the limits. At a loss, Kitty finds distraction in a list of one hundred names her late mentor and boss has left her. Kitty is to write the story behind the one hundred names as a tribute piece. As she tracks down the people on the list and tries to work out what connects them, Kitty meets some extraordinary people.

An easy, entertaining and uplifting read that teaches us about the importance of individuals and how ordinary people will tell us extraordinary stories if we just take the time to listen carefully enough.

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Donna Leon: Brunetti 22 - The Golden Egg

Commissario Brunetti receives a call from his wife, Paola, who is evidently very upset. The middle-aged deaf mute with the mental age of a child who helped out at the Brunetti's dry cleaners has been found dead. To the neighbourhood he was just the 'boy' who helped out, but nobody knew much about him. That a soul could have lived such a joyless life is too much for Paola to bear, and she asks Guido if he can find out what happened. With the help of Inspector Vianello and the ever-resourceful Signorina Elettra, Brunetti tries to get to the truth and find some measure of solace.

Having accepted that the Brunetti series has somehow changed to account more about the private and public lives of Venetians, I actually enjoyed this story again. Brunetti's pondering during his walks through Venice are intriguing and the fact that he worries about his family makes him a more interesting character. Sometimes there are too many clichés about the North and South divide in Italy, however.

Friday, 28 June 2013

Michael Morpurgo: The Butterfly Lion

Bertie rescues an orphaned white lion cub from the African veld. They are inseparable until Bertie is sent to boarding school far away in England and the lion is sold to a circus. Bertie swears that one day they will see one another again, but it is the butterfly lion which ensures that their friendship will never be forgotten.

Michael Morpurgo is very popular with reading in schools and so I actually wanted to know what his books are about. I had read "Waiting for Anya" a long time ago, but I really enjoyed this story with its twist in the end. It was also lovely to be able to discuss the book with my son.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Sarah Rayner: The Two Week Wait

After a health scare, Brighton-based Lou learns that her time to have a baby is running out. She can’t imagine a future without children, but her partner doesn’t seem to feel the same way. Meanwhile, up in Yorkshire, Cath is longing to start a family with her husband, Rich. No one would be happier to have a child than Rich, but Cath is infertile. Could these two women help each other out?

Some time ago I came across Sarah Rayner's first book and when I discovered that there is another one of hers out, I was keen to get it. The first twenty or so pages I found a little slow, but once the characters were established the storyline really was gripping. I could empathise with all the characters. I also enjoyed the fact that some characters of the previous book were brought into this story. An easy escapist read with feeling....

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

J L Carrell: The Shakespeare Curse

A brutally murdered body is discovered on a remote Scottish hillside - with a mysterious ancient knife beside it. The victim was a beautiful young woman, throat slashed by an unknown assailant. The circumstances of the murder suggest ancient Pagan sacrifice. Then a trench on that same hill is found filled with blood. The shocking discoveries all seem to be linked by the ancient curse of Macbeth. From the streets of New York to the twisting corridors of Hampton Court Palace to a remote loch in the Scottish Highlands, the race is on to stop a deadly modern serial killer who will do anything to uncover priceless ancient treasures....

Having read the Shakespeare Secret I was looking forward to this book, too. However, I found the storyline by far more confusing and less plausible than the Secret. I was a little disappointed with it, and if there ever is a third book I will probably not stick with it to the very end.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Jodi Picoult: The storyteller

When the young baker Sage Singer strikes up an unlikely friendship with Josef Weber, a quiet man old enough to be her grandfather, and respected pillar of the community, she feels that she may have found someone she can open up to. But then Josef tells her the evil secret he's kept for sixty years. Caught between Josef's search for redemption and her shattered illusions, Sage turns to her family history and her own life for answers. As she uncovers the truth from the darkest horrors of war, she must follow a twisting trail between betrayal and forgiveness, love and revenge.

As with all Jodi Picoult stories you cannot put this book down. The storyline is gripping, the characters are fascinating and credible and you end up sympathising with the good and the evil. At times the story was a little predictable, such as the relationship between Sage and Leo, but Minka's story and Ania's story more than make up for the clichés.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Joanne Harris: Peaches for Monsieur le Curé

It isn't often you receive a letter from the dead. When Vianne Rocher receives a letter from beyond the grave, she allows the wind to blow her back to the village in south-west France where, eight years ago, she opened up a chocolate shop. But Lansquenet is different now: women veiled in black, the scent of spices and peppermint tea, and, on the bank of the river Tannes, facing the church: a minaret. Father Reynaud, Vianne's erstwhile adversary, is disgraced and under threat. Could it be that Vianne is the only one who can save him now?

I loved "Chocolat" and the "Lollipop shoes", but this is an even better story than the two previous ones. I'm not sure how good the story would be for someone who hadn't read the other two books, but I can see how the characters have developed over the years and I as a reader have developed, too. The storyline in this sequel is very topical with Father Reynaud sensing a war between the Maghrebins and the Catholic French. I could not put the book down and found myself totally engrossed in Lansquenet.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Donna Leon: Brunetti 20 - Drawing conclusions

A young woman returns from holiday to find her elderly neighbour dead on the floor. A heart attack seems the likely cause, but Commissario Brunetti is not so sure and decides to take a closer look. Soon he discovers that she was part of an organization that cares for abused women and that her apartment was a safe-house. He is drawn into a decades-old story of lies and deceit that has blighted love and ruined lives - and has claimed this innocent woman as its newest victim.

This is a less spectacular case for Brunetti, but it is still a great storyline about love and deceit and corruption in modern-day Italy.

Friday, 3 May 2013

Donna Leon: Brunetti 21 - Beastly things

When a body is found floating in a canal, strangely disfigured and with multiple stab wounds, Commissario Brunetti is called to investigate and is convinced he recognises the man from somewhere. However, with no identification except for the distinctive shoes the man was wearing, and no reports of people missing from the Venice area, the case cannot progress. Brunetti soon realises why he remembers the dead man, and asks Signorina Elettra if she can help him find footage of a farmers' protest the previous autumn. But what was his involvement with the protest, and what does it have to do with his murder? Acting on the fragile lead, Brunetti and Inspector Vianello set out to uncover the man's identity. Their investigation eventually takes them to a slaughterhouse on the mainland, where they discover the origin of the crime, and the world of blackmail and corruption that surrounds it.

Having noticed that I hadn't read the latest two Brunetti cases, I was very keen to get my hands on them again after such a long time, especially as I'm planning to visit Venice again this summer. As always, I enjoyed the Venetian setting and the Italian charm of the crime fiction and I also enjoyed the story line around Dottore Nava. However, I found that this book included more ramblings about politics, corruption and EU policies than any of the previous novels. I wouldn't have minded that too much if it had been part of a character's views, but often this was the narrator's voice and as such actually slowed the story down. A shame...

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Thomas Raab: Der Metzger kommt ins Paradies

Jesolo, Caorle, Bibione, egal, das Fegefeuer ist ein Meer aus Sonnenschirmen und Goldkettchen auf öliger Haut – zumindest für den Restaurator Willibald Adrian Metzger. Entführt und seinem eigenen Untergang nahe, bekommt er es am Ufer der Adria mit einer Ausgrabung zu tun. Einer dermaßen makabren, versteht sich, da scheinen die alles andere als harmonisch urlaubenden Teutonen und Alpenländer, allen voran ein vorlauter Berliner unbekannter Profession, das geringste Übel zu sein, möchte man meinen. Und weil es höchst ungesund ist, vom Liegestuhl aus Dinge zu beobachten, die einen nichts angehen, wird für den Metzger und seine Danjela aus dem Fegefeuer dann die reinste Hölle.

Der Metzger wird von Buch zu Buch lustiger. Die Kriminalgeschichte spricht soziale Ungerechtigkeiten an und ist somit auch lesenswert, aber die Tatsache, dass der Metzger an der Adria an ein paar Piefke gerät, macht den Roman noch um vieles unterhaltsamer. Ich freue mich schon jetzt auf den nächsten Metzger....

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Mary Campisi: A family affair

When Christine Blacksworth's larger-than-life father is killed on an icy road in Magdalena, New York, a hundred miles from the 'getaway' cabin he visited every month, she discovers a secret that threatens everything she's always held to be true. Her father has another family which includes a mistress and a daughter. Determined to uncover the truth behind her father's secret life, Christine heads to Magdalena, prepared to hate the people who have caused her to question everything she thought she knew about her father. But what she finds is a woman who understands her, a half sister who cherishes her, and a man who could love her if she'll let him. The longer she's around them, the more she questions which family is the real one.

An easy read. Initially, I thought there would be more of a mystery, but actually the storyline turned out to be very predictable. It was a relaxing, un-demanding read on the roads; ideal, when you've got an ipod/iphone and can only spare a couple of minutes at a time.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Thomas Raab: Der Metzger bricht das Eis

Restaurator Willibald Adrian Metzger ermittelt wieder – und steigt in die eisigen Höhen eines scheinbar idyllischen Skiörtchens, um einen Blick in die mörderischen Abgründe seiner Bewohner zu werfen. Eisig ist es in dem Park. Trotzdem wird es Willibald Adrian Metzger heiß und kalt. Vor aller Augen droht ein Mädchen zu ersticken. Erst ein rotbärtiger Obdachloser rettet der Kleinen das Leben und verschwindet murmelnd mit den Worten »Jetzt geht das Sterben wieder los, es geht wieder los« zwischen den Sträuchern. Noch in derselben Nacht behält er mit seiner Prophezeiung recht: Eine Frau springt in den Abgrund, ein Mann erfriert in einer Busstation, und dem Metzger wird von seiner Danjela ein erholsamer Zwangsurlaub verordnet – klarerweise genau dort, wohin die einzige Spur führt: in einem kleinen idyllischen Skiörtchen. Von Idylle kann allerdings keine Rede sein. Denn alles,was es für den Metzger dort zu holen gibt, ist der Tod.

Eine sehr spannende Krimigeschichte rund um den Metzger und seine Danjela. Die Schulwartin mit gebrochenem Arm wickelt mit ihrem Charme wohl jeden um den Finger, insbesondere aber die Leser. Die Geschichte war dieses Mal weniger vorhersehbar, was besonders toll war. Und dann sind da die Schilderungen rund um den Winterurlaub, die einen amüsieren, aber auch nachdenklich stimmen. Sehr gelungen und unterhaltsam.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Andreas Englisch: Die Petrusakte

In Ariccia, der Schlossstadt in den Albaner Bergen vor Rom, gerät nach der Ankunft eines jungen Vikars das beschauliche Leben der Kirchengemeinde aus den Fugen. Der Vikar wird schon bald zum Vertrauten einer Übersetzerin, Marion Meiering, die das Buch eines anonymen Autors ins Deutsche übertragen soll.Ein Buch, das rätselhafterweise ihre eigene Lebensgeschichte erzählt und ihren baldigen Tod voraussagt. Bis Marion und der Vikar das Geheimnis der Kirche in Ariccia und des Buches, das auf der so genannten Petrusakte basiert, lösen können, gehen sie durch Himmel und Hölle.

Fesselnder Krimi, der dann doch etwas ins Extreme und Unwahrscheinliche abrutschte. Simon der Zauberer und die Petrusakte waren an sich recht interessant verpackt, aber dass Alessandro an einen Antichrist glaubt, der in Marion einfährt, war etwas an den Haaren herbeigezogen.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Claudia Rossbacher: Steirerkind - Sandra Mohr 03

Zwei Tage vor Beginn der Alpinen Ski-WM in Schladming wird eine Leiche unter der Eisdecke des Steirischen Bodensees gefunden. Es handelt sich um den seit Wochen vermissten Cheftrainer des österreichischen Herrenskiteams. Prompt gerät der prominente Skirennläufer Tobias Autischer unter Mordverdacht. Doch hat der WM-Favorit den Coach, der ihn von Kindheit an gefördert hatte, tatsächlich umgebracht? Sandra Mohr und Sascha Bergmann vom LKA in Graz ermitteln.

Die Geschichte war sehr spannend. Ich mochte auch, dass sich der Mordfall rund um die Ski-WM in Schladming abspielte. Die Figuren Sandra Mohr und Sascha Bergmann sind zeitweise etwas lächerlich, und die Skizzierung des Wiener Weicheis könnte auch genauer sein. Dennoch alles in allem ein unterhaltsamer Alpenkrimi.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Diane Chamberlain: The courage tree

Eight-year-old Sophie Donohue suffers from a rare disease requiring constant treatment, but she wants to be normal. Sophie's mother finally agrees to let her go on a camping trip, but when Sophie goes missing, a full-scale search is launched. Sophie finds refuge in a remote cabin inhabited by Zoe, a reclusive woman protecting her own daughter from the law--and Sophie's presence could ruin everything.

Initially, I didn't quite get into the story, but once I got part the first couple of chapters, I found it quite gripping. Diane Chamberlain is a good storyteller offering mysteries to be solved, but she can't quite compete with Jodi Picoult.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Nicky Gumbel: Questions of life

What is faith? Why pray? If God is there, is he even interested in us? These are all important, profound questions, questions which get to the very heart, the very meaning of life itself. The Alpha Course was started twenty years ago to give people the opportunity to ask and explore questions like these, and since then millions of people around the world have attended one. In Questions of Life Nicky Gumbel uses the talks from the Alpha Course to tackle with honesty and common sense those same questions. This book has become possibly the clearest and best-loved explanation of the Christian faith available.

An interesting read about how you can enhance your faith, why we pray, why and how we should read the bible.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

W Jacobsen & D Coleman: So you don't want to go to church anymore?

What would you do if you met someone you thought just might be one of Jesus' original disciples still living in the 21st Century? That's Jake's dilemma as he meets a man who talks of Jesus as if he had known him personally. This is Jake's compelling journal that chronicles thirteen conversations with his newfound friend over a four-year period and how those exchanges turn Jake's world upside-down. With his help, Jake faces his darkest fears, struggles through brutal circumstances and comes out on the other side in the joy and freedom he always dreamed was possible.Compelling and intensely personal.

I enjoyed the story and the enlightenment about church and religion.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Don Piper: 90 minutes in Heaven

On the way home from a conference, Don Piper's car was crushed by a truck that crossed into his lane. Medical personnel said he died instantly. While his body lay lifeless inside the ruins of his car, Piper experienced the glories of heaven, awed by its beauty and music. 90 minutes after the wreck, while a minister prayed for him, Piper miraculously returned to life. His faith in God was severely tested as he faced an uncertain and gruelling recovery. 90 Minutes in Heaven offers a glimpse into a very real dimension of eternity.

I started reading this book earlier in the evening, and I could not put it down. I found Don Piper's story of heaven and recovery fascinating, gripping and uplifting. I can see what he means, when he himself talks about the reason for his survival and why he got sent back to earth - it is to inspire us. I was a little disappointed that the story wasn't told coherently, as I found the jumps a little confusing at times. But I read until I'd finished the book...

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Wm Paul Young: Cross Roads

Multi-millionaire Anthony Spencer is trapped in a coma and finds himself in a surreal world that reflects the skewed priorities of the life he's lived on earth where he meets a stranger who turns out to be Jesus and a grandmother who is the Holy Spirit. He is sent back to earth to redeem himself. There he must fight to put right the mess he's created, experiencing events through others' eyes before deciding how to use the miraculous gift he's been given.

I absolutely hated Tony and was at the point of giving up on this story, just because I couldn't stand Tony. My eight-year-old son encouraged me to continue the story, as "Tony might become a good person". So I did. And from the point, where Tony meets Cabby and Maggie the storyline was gripping. And I really enjoyed it in the end.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Joyce Meyer: Do Yourself a Favour - Forgive

Forgiveness is easier said than done and is one of the most difficult personal issues to deal with. When people fail to forgive, it damages - often ruins - relationships, causes stress and other health problems and can turn life and work into a prison of the mind. Without forgiveness, anger and bitterness become a cauldron of poison. The anger doesn't go away - it just gets worse.

Very insightful and interesting to read. Probably more difficult to apply, but it makes to work hard on genuinely forgiving others.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Yann Martel: Life of Pi

One boy, one boat, one tiger ...After the tragic sinking of a cargo ship, a solitary lifeboat remains bobbing on the wild, blue Pacific. The only survivors from the wreck are a sixteen year-old boy named Pi, a hyena, a zebra (with a broken leg), a female orang-utan and a 450-pound Royal Bengal tiger. The scene is set for one of the most extraordinary and best-loved works of fiction in recent years.

Although I didn't feel like starting this book initially, it had me gripped. At times it was hard to say, if this was supposed to be fiction, as it was told in such detailed way that it might well have been based on facts. The religious aspect was very interesting indeed, but for my taste it could have been explored more...

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Joyce Meyer: The Penny

One summer in 1955, 14-year-old Jenny Blake picks up a penny imbedded in asphalt, and consequently ends up stopping a robbery, getting a job, and meeting a friend who changes her life forever. Her unexpected relationships with Miss Shaw and the coloured girl Aurelia transform her in ways she could have anticipated. The ripple effect that begins in the summer of the penny goes on to bring new life to the people around her, showing how God works in the smallest details. Even in something as small as a penny.

A most exciting read. The story was quite sad and upsetting due to the family circumstances Jenny lives in. But when she realises the power of The Penny, and when other people return the penny favour, the story is a huge inspiration.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Joyce Meyer: Any minute

Sarah Harper is driven to achieve success no matter what the cost. She wants to do good and not hurt the people she loves - especially children and her husband, Joe -but her desire to succeed in her career too often leaves little time for family. One cold, autumn afternoon, all of that changes when Sarah's car plunges off a bridge and into a river. She is presumed dead by those on the 'outside', but Sarah's spirit is still very much alive. What she discovers on the other side transforms everything about Sarah's view of life - past, present, and future. When Sarah is revived, she is a changed woman. And the unsuspecting world around her will never be the same again.

This was a rather strange read. In a way, it was devastating to see how Sarah doesn't notice her negativity in her hectic family life and how she is being used in her job. And then the storyline was a little flat, too. But in the end some parts of the story were quite uplifting and encouraging and as such I did after all enjoy it...

Friday, 1 February 2013

Wm Paul Young: The Shack

Mackenzie Allen Philips' youngest daughter, Missy, has been abducted during a family vacation and evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Four years later, still trapped in his great sadness, Mack receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him back to that shack.

I read this book approximately a year ago. But still I wanted to re-read it. And I loved it just as much as I did then.

Friday, 11 January 2013

JK Rowling: Casual Vacancy

When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early forties, the town of Pagford is left in shock. Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty facade is a town at war. Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils... Pagford is not what it first seems. And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations?

After all the reviews and critiques I was keen to see for myself, what everyone was talking about. At times the story is hard to take, especially where Krystal and her family are concerned. But Somehow the book was written in such a way that I was keen to find out more about each of the 34 characters in the book. Very different from Harry Potter, but still a great read in my view.