Friday, 4 September 2015

Gayle Foreman: If I stay

A cold February morning...a snowy road....and suddenly all of Mia's choices are gone. Except one. As alone as she''ll ever be, Mia must make the most difficult choice of all.

A fantastic read! This is a young adult novel, but it was so well-written that all adults would enjoy it. Moving, sad, but at the same time life-affirming and positive. In fact, I enjoyed it so much I went out to get the sequel, as I wanted to know how Adam's and Mia's story would continue.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Herbert Dutzler: Letzter Applaus

Wieder muss Gasperlmeier ermitteln, aber dieses Mal ist die Frau Doktor Kohlross eigentlich in Karenz und so sollte er selbständiger werden. Wird er aber nicht. Seine Gruppeninspektorin Manuela fällt ihm häufig ins Wort und er selbst plagt sich nun gleich mit mehreren Frauen, mit der Frau Doktor, seiner Frau Christine, seiner Tochter Katharina und Manuela. Nur Friedrich Kahlß, vormaliger Chef und jetzt Pensionist, stärkt ihm den Rücken. Der Fall selbst ist weithergeholt und handelt um Industriespionage, Marketingstrategien und Tourismuskampagnen. Das Narzissenfest ist ein interessanter Hintergrund, aber dennoch ist dies wohl der enttäuschenste Gasperlmeier, da ich mir erwarter hätte, dass sich die Hauptfigur weiterentwickelt und sich nicht noch weiter zurückzieht.

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Jojo Moyes: The Girl you left behind

Usually, I am not a fan of books about wars, however, this story about Sophie Lefevre was so gripping that I could not put the book down and wanted to find out more about the people living in St Peronne during the German occupation of the First World War. The second part of the story around Olivia Halston and Paul McCafferty made for light relief in the middle of the gruesome details of the Lefevres. The story around Liv and Paul was predictable, but Sophie's and Edouard's story and the story of the painting took a few twists and turns that made for an interesting read. I really enjoyed this book...

Saturday, 1 August 2015

I've got your number

A lovely and easy and light-hearted read with two hugely likeable main characters. The storyline around Poppy and Sam is quite predictable, nevertheless the witty and profound insights into other people's lives when we fail to analyse our own are well developed and make for great reading.

Thursday, 30 July 2015

The time of my life

I had this book on my shelf for a while and the summer holidays seemed to be a good time to pick it up. The blurb was written in a way that I would have expected to find out more about meeting Life and what it means to have an appointment with Life, but then her books often are a little strange and full of imaginative happenings. The storyline was quite predictable, which really makes this a relaxing, easy beach read.

Monday, 27 July 2015

Gone Girl

what a fantastic read! I picked this book up in a local charity shop because I had heard quite a bit about it already and it did not disappoint. The two sides to the story are not quite as predictable as I expected at first and my thoughts and feelings for the characters changed constantly. A very enjoyable  read even though some of it becomes a little too construed, it kept me going back and wanting to find out mroe.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Monday, 18 May 2015

Rowan Coleman: The memory book

When Claire starts to write her Memory Book, she already knows that this scrapbook of mementoes will soon be all her daughters and husband have of her. But how can she hold onto the past when her future is slipping through her fingers...?

A heart-breaking story about how a family is affected by early onset Alzheimer's disease. It tells the story from several characters' perspectives and shows how distraught a patient is, when life seems to slip away. A lovely story about love and motherhood.

Friday, 1 May 2015

Denis Avey: The man who broke into Auschwitz

This is the extraordinary true story of a British soldier who marched willingly into Buna-Monowitz, the concentration camp known as Auschwitz III. In the summer of 1944, Denis Avey was being held in a POW labour camp, E715, near Auschwitz III. He had heard of the brutality meted out to the prisoners there and he was determined to witness what he could. He hatched a plan to swap places with a Jewish inmate and smuggled himself into his sector of the camp. He spent the night there on two occasions and experienced at first-hand the cruelty of a place where slave workers, had been sentenced to death through labour. Astonishingly, he survived to witness the aftermath of the Death March where thousands of prisoners were murdered by the Nazis as the Soviet Army advanced. After his own long trek right across central Europe he was repatriated to Britain. For decades he couldn't bring himself to revisit the past, but now Denis Avey feels able to tell the full story - a tale as gripping as it is moving - which offers us a unique insight into the mind of an ordinary man whose moral and physical courage are almost beyond belief.


Thursday, 16 April 2015

Volker Klüpfel & Michael Kobr: Laienspiel - Kluftingers vierter Fall

Lodenbacher, der Chef von Kommissar Kluftinger, tobt. Ausgerechnet bei ihnen im schönen Allgäu hat sich ein Unbekannter auf der Flucht vor der österreichischen Polizei erschossen. Verdacht: Er plante einen terroristischen Anschlag. Bloß wo? Nun muss Kluftinger nicht nur mit Spezialisten des BKA, sondern auch noch mit den Kollegen aus Österreich zusammenarbeiten. Doch das ist nicht sein einziges Problem. Er soll mit seiner Frau Erika und dem Ehepaar Langhammer einen Tanzkurs absolvieren. Gleichzeitig steckt er mitten in den Endproben für die große Freilichtspiel-Inszenierung von »Wilhelm Tell«...

Dieser Fall bringt Kluftinger in neue Sphären, und er muss in einer Task Force im War Room arbeiten. Faruk Yildrim, der Österreicher Bydlinksi und Frau Lahm sind mit von der Partie. Richie Meier wird überheblich und Kluftinger lässt ihn mehrmals auflaufen. Obwohl Teile der Geschichte vorhersehbar waren, war der Wortwitz zwischen Kluftinger und den anderen Ermittlern sehr unterhaltsam. Und sogar Kluftingers Vater und Sohn halten ihn für einen "wilden Hund"...

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Volker Klüpfel & Michael Kobr: Seegrund - Kluftingers dritter Fall

Am Alatsee bei Füssen macht der Allgäuer Kommissar Kluftinger eine schreckliche Entdeckung – am Ufer liegt ein Taucher in einer riesigen roten Lache. Was zunächst aussieht wie Blut, entpuppt sich als eine seltene organische Substanz aus dem Bergsee. Kluftinger, der diesmal bei den Ermittlungen sehr zu seinem Missfallen weibliche Unterstützung erhält, tappt lange im Dunkeln. Der Schlüssel zur Lösung des Falles muss tief auf dem Grund des sagenumwobenen Sees liegen

Kluftinger in seiner üblichen Liebenswertigkeit, aber er wird aufgeschlossener, benützt sogar eBay und geht Sushi essen, um die Freundin seines Sohnes Markus zu beeindrucken. Wie immer lustig. Auch die Friedl Marx und Frau Lahm vom BKA sind eine Bereicherung. Kluftingers Verhältnis zu Dr. Langhammer, sowie das zu seinen Kollegen Hefele, Strobl und Maier sind immer wieder gut für Verwirrungen und humorvollen Situationen. Ein gelungenes Lesevergnügen...

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Cecelia Ahern: How to fall in love

Christine Rose is crossing the Ha’penny Bridge in Dublin late one night when she sees a stranger, Adam, poised to jump. Desperate to help, she talks him into a reckless deal: if he gives her two weeks – till his 35th birthday – she’ll prove that life is worth living. But as the clock ticks and the two of them embark on late-night escapades and romantic adventures, what Christine has really promised seems impossible...

An easy bath-tub read about falling in love when you least expect it. The story about Christine and Adam is a little predictable, but the conversations between Christine and her friends and family are written well, so that they do make for funny and relaxing reading. A very quick read and lovely chick-flick by Ahern again.

Monday, 16 March 2015

Karen Perry: The boy that never was

Three-year-old Dillon vanished in the middle of the night. His father Harry can't forgive himself for not protecting his only child. Yet Harry isn't blamed by his wife Robin: she bares her own secret guilt. Five years later, thousands of miles away, Harry spots an eight-year-old boy in a crowd - a boy he is convinced is Dillon. Desperate to find his missing son, Harry's obsession tears apart his marriage, exposing shameful secrets and shattering the one thing he and Robin had left - trust. Why won't Robin believe Harry? What is she hiding? Can the boy really be Dillon? And how far will Harry go to find their lost son?

This is another story about communication or the lack thereof in a relationship. Both Harry and Robin have their secrets and actually tear their relationship apart rather than attempting to fix it. The story is told from Robin's and Harry's perspective so that the reader can identify with both quite easily. I must admit that I do not really like Harry for his unfaithfulness, but his conviction and obsession to find the dead boy is amazing. Interesting story.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Emma Healey: Elizabeth is missing

Meet Maud. Maud is forgetful. She makes a cup of tea and doesn't remember to drink it. She goes to the shops and forgets why she went. Sometimes her home is unrecognizable - or her daughter Helen seems a total stranger. But there's one thing Maud is sure of: her friend Elizabeth is missing. The note in her pocket tells her so. And no matter who tells her to stop going on about it, to leave it alone, to shut up, Maud will get to the bottom of it. Because somewhere in Maud's damaged mind lies the answer to an unsolved seventy-year-old mystery. One everyone has forgotten about. Everyone, except Maud...

This was a fantastic story. Maud is a loveable character and her difficulties with her memory cause her and thus the reader great distress. The storyline is gripping, and as a reader I was keen to find out more about Elizabeth and why she is missing. The way the story is written is unique and it actually makes the reader feel as if you were the one that has got dementia, which is somehow a little disturbing, as it shows how other people around you will react to you, and how you feel when you are lost like Maud. A fantastic read!

Monday, 9 March 2015

Celeste Ng: Everything I never told you

Lydia is the favourite child of Marilyn and James Lee; a girl who inherited her mother's bright blue eyes and her father's jet-black hair. Her parents are determined that Lydia will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue. When Lydia's body is found in the local lake, James is consumed by guilt, Marilyn is determined to make someone accountable, Lydia's older brother, Nathan, is convinced that local bad boy Jack is somehow involved. But it's the youngest in the family - Hannah - who observes far more than anyone realises and who may be the only one who knows what really happened.

This is an interesting story about a family whose members keep their own wishes, wants and needs secret from everybody else. And so it happens that wishes are imposed on others and actions are interpreted wrongly, which in turn leads to further complications. A heart-felt story about communicating with your loved ones and how important it is to stay true to yourself. Hannah, who is the youngest and therefore not quite as adept at playing emotional games, turns out to be the most perceptive and honest character of them all. But then she also doesn't struggle to fit in, unlike Nath and Lydia whose looks make them stand out quite prominently. A great story.

Friday, 6 March 2015

Karen Joy Fowler: We are completely beside ourselves

This is the story of an American family, middle class in middle America, ordinary in every way. Meet the Cooke family: Mother and Dad, brother Lowell, sister Fern, and our narrator, Rosemary, who begins her story in the middle. She has her reasons...

I was ready to give up on this story. I had gotten to page 75 or so, and I still couldn't really understand why this book had been praised so much recently. Well on page 77 came the revelation and this changed the nature of the book so that actually I was eager to find out the full story about Rosemary, Lowell and Fern. A fantastic read and I would love to be able to discuss this with a range of people in a book club or so.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Claudia Rossbacher: Steirerland - Sandra Mohr 05

Mord im Vulkanland Sandra Mohrs Auszeit nach ihrem Zusammenbruch neigt sich dem Ende zu, als sie der Ruf des Chefinspektors Sascha Bergmann zu einem Leichenfund ereilt. Diensteifrig folgt die LKA-Ermittlerin diesem und findet sich wenig später in einem Waldstück nahe Straden wieder. Dem toten Mann im Graben wurden beide Hände abgetrennt. Von Bergmann erfährt Sandra, dass es erst vor Kurzem einen ähnlichen Fund ganz in der Nähe gegeben hat. Dem ermordeten Jungwinzer aus der Region waren die Unterschenkel amputiert worden. Auch damals fehlte von den Gliedmaßen jede Spur. Trotz einiger Verdachtsmomente und Mordmotive im Umfeld der Opfer tappen die Ermittler lange Zeit im Dunkeln. Und schließlich trifft ihre schlimmste Befürchtung ein: Eine weitere verstümmelte Leiche wird auf einem Acker gefunden...

Ich konnte mich zwar nicht mehr ganz genau erinnern, warum Sandra eine Auszeit brauchte, und dass sie an Burnout gelitten hatte, aber das tat der Geschichte keinen Abbruch. Zuerst meint man schon zu wissen, wohin die Geschichte führt, dann kommt aber doch alles etwas anders. Unterhaltsam und schnell zu lesen. Ein weiterer gelungener Teil in der Steirer-Reihe.

Friday, 20 February 2015

Erica James: Precious Time

In order to spend more time with her four-year-old son Ned, Clara Costello trades in her secure, well-paid job and two-seater sports car for a camper van called Winnie, and the three of them set off on a mystery tour of England. Of course, her friends and family think she's gone mad. But when they arrive in Deaconsbridge, a small market town on the edge of the Peak District, Clara and Ned become drawn into the lives of the locals. Two in particular seem destined to get under Clara's skin: Gabriel Liberty, a cranky widower who terrifies his family; and Archie Merryman, a local dealer in second-hand furniture who possesses a heart of gold.

A very pleasant and easy read. It's quite predictable, but the dialogues and funny jokes running between Clara and Gabriel make for entertainment anyway.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Roisin McAuley: Singing Bird

Twenty-seven years after she adopted her baby in Ireland, Lena Molloy receives a call from the nun who set up the adoption. Sister Monica claims that she wants merely to tie up loose ends in her old age, but Lena becomes frightened that something more threatening lies behind the call, and she sets off on a journey to Ireland, with her best friend, to find her daughter's birth parents - little knowing the extraordinary truths which she will uncover.

Although I initially thought this was going to be a somehow boring story, I was soon taken by it and could not wait to find out more about the Molloy's adoption story. It does get quite unlikely at times, but nevertheless a heart-rendering, inspiring and uplifting story about asking too many questions and not quite getting the answers you might expect.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Edi Graf: Kriminalpolka

Tatort Konzertbühne Ein Giftpfeil beendet die Karriere des erfolgreichen Posaunisten Langfried Schieber. Na ja, einer weniger, mag mancher denken, doch die massige Sängerin Constanze Voorte-Sing will es genau wissen und setzt den berühmten Kommissar Rainer Tsuval auf den Täter an. Bei seinen Ermittlungen stößt er auf Zyanid im Posaunenmundstück, und bald geschehen weitere merkwürdige Morde.

Eine lustige Geschichte Rund um Kommissar Rainer Tsuval, der dann auch noch undercover in einer Kapelle ermitteln muss. Der Wortwitz und Charakterisierungen sind gut ausgefeilt, aber die Geschichte und Handlung selber sind etwas eigenartig und dennoch überraschend. Der Sprachfehler des Inspektors macht das Lesen etwas schwierig, aber unterhaltsam.

Friday, 13 February 2015

Karen Swan: Christmas in the snow

In London, the snow is falling and Christmas is just around the corner - but Allegra Fisher barely has time to notice. She's pitching for the biggest deal of her career and can't afford to fail. And when she meets attractive stranger, Sam Kemp, on the plane to the meeting, she can't afford to lose her focus either. She learned to shut off her emotions long ago and only her sister and best friend Isobel knows why. But when Allegra finds herself up against Sam for the bid, their passion quickly turns sour. In Zermatt in the Swiss Alps, a long-lost mountain hut is discovered in the snow after sixty years and the last person expecting to become involved is Allegra - she hasn't even heard of the woman they found inside. But it soon becomes clear the two women are linked and, as she and Iz travel out to make sense of the mystery, hearts thaw and dark secrets are uncovered, long buried by the snow.

This is a great story as a women's fiction story, but quite predictable at times. The few phrases that were translated into German were quite infuriatingly badly translated - Google translator? Other than that, the descriptions of Zermatt and the life in Switzerland were quite well thought through. A good bath-tub read...

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Sheila Hocken: Emma & I - The beautiful labrador who saved my life

As a girl, Sheila never let her gradual descent into blindness prevent her from trying to do everything a sighted person could do. Then at 17, unable to see to find her way around the house she grew up in, she found herself dreading her future in an 'ever darkening vacuum'. But then the remarkable Emma enters her life, and Sheila begins a journey that brings her the independence, love and happiness she never dreamed possible. Emma and I is the moving and inspirational story of the unique bond between Sheila and her dog, and shows that, sometimes, miracles do happen.

This was a great memoir and I was able to read it at a time, when I myself was physically weak and considering the acquisition of an assistance dog in the future. I learnt about the processes of assistance dogs and was very impressed in that respect to "see" with the help of a guide-dog.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Herbert Dutzler: Letzte Bootsfahrt - 03

Aus mit Ruhe und Gemütlichkeit! Da kann selbst einem erfahrenen Dorfpolizisten der Appetit vergehen: In pikanter Pose wird die Leiche eines Geschäftsmannes gefunden. Schnell kommen dubiose Details ans Licht. Bestechung, unseriöse Grundstücksdeals - hinter der idyllischen Kulisse des Ausseerlandes geht nicht alles mit rechten Dingen zu. Der sympathisch-tollpatschige Gasperlmaier verlässt sich in seinem dritten Fall so lange auf sein Bauchgefühl, bis ihm flau im Magen wird: Auch seine Mutter scheint nämlich in den Fall verwickelt zu sein.

Wie immer sehr unterhaltsam! Jetzt macht auch Sinn, warum Gasperlmaiers Mutter bei ihm einziehen muss. Und wie immer macht Gasperlmaier Fehler, weil er wieder einmal eine Leiche verändert, und dann hat er seine Schwierigkeiten diese Faux-Pas seiner Vorgesetzten zu gestehen. Aber langfristig verdirbt ihm nichts seinen Appetit....

Saturday, 3 January 2015