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One of our Thursdays is Missing (Thursday Next) (English Edition)
One of our Thursdays is Missing (Thursday Next) (English Edition)
Preis: EUR 6,89

4.0 von 5 Sternen Typical Thursday Next, 13. Oktober 2012
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Another typical Thursday Next novel – crazy, wild, sometimes a little confusing and inconsistent, but fun anyway. This time, the story is told from the perspective of the written Thursday, rather than the real one, and takes place almost entirely in the BookWorld. It all starts when the written Thursday is asked to investigate what initially looks like a minor book traffic accident, but turns out to be part of a major conspiracy that may lead to war in the BookWorld. On top of this, the real Thursday is missing, and only she can prevent this war. So the written Thursday sets out to uncover the conspiracy and find her real counterpart before it is too late…

If you enjoyed the other Thursday Next novels, this one is very similar and there won’t be too many surprises. If you are not familiar with the series, I would recommend starting with ‘The Eyre Affair’ before reading this one. Jasper Fforde’s wild imagination and crazy ideas (some clever, some very random) take a little getting used to, and you may be lost without some background on the BookWorld from the previous novels. Worth it though if you are a fan of science fiction / fantasy that doesn’t take itself too seriously, but is just an enjoyable read!


The Long Earth
The Long Earth

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3.0 von 5 Sternen Ok but nothing like other Terry Pratchett books, 15. September 2012
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Rezension bezieht sich auf: The Long Earth (Kindle Edition)
Step Day: The day that mankind finds out that the world consists not just of the one Earth we inhabit, but of an infinite number of parallel Earths, collectively known as the Long Earth. A rush to explore and colonize these new worlds begins, and the novel follows the exploits of Joshua Valiente and his travel companion Lobsang, a computer who believes he is the reincarnation of a Tibetan motorcycle repairman. Joshua and Lobsang set out to discover what lies at the end of the Long Earth, encountering many mysterious creatures and increasingly disturbing incidences along the way. Meanwhile, back on old Earth, social unrests and havoc erupt as people try to cope with the challenges of this new reality…

Maybe I set my expectations too high, but I was a little disappointed in this book. First, for Terry Pratchett fans, it doesn’t feel like a ‘real’ Pratchett - it lacks the satire and sarcastic humor of the Discworld series or other co-authored books like Good Omens (one of my favorites). Mostly it reads like a semi-serious science fiction novel with a few jokes scattered in. Second, the central idea is great and has so much potential, but somehow it feels like this potential is never fully realized. Many good opportunities are left frustratingly untouched, and the ending seems slightly unfinished. Having said this, I did mostly enjoy reading the book; some of the ideas are very clever, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see some variation of this story reappear as a movie somewhere down the road.


The Language of Flowers (English Edition)
The Language of Flowers (English Edition)
Preis: EUR 4,38

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5.0 von 5 Sternen Touching story of a young woman's struggle against adversity, 15. September 2012
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After a traumatic childhood of growing up in abusive foster families and juvenile group homes, Victoria Jones is released from state care on her 18th birthday and left to fend for herself on the streets of San Francisco. Emotionally scarred, aggressive and unable to connect with the people around her, Victoria instead capitalizes on her love for flowers, taking a job in a small flower shop to support herself and survive. As time goes by, Victoria starts to build a tentative friendship with the owner of the flower shop, and, through a surprising coincidence, with characters from one key happy episode of her childhood. However, knowing that she has failed at every other human relationship in the past, she fully expects failure and loneliness now, and she struggles between her desire for family and friendship, and her fear of once again bitterly disappointing those who love her…

When I first came across this book, I was a little put off by the title and cover image; it looked like a silly romance novel to me. This is not the case at all. It is true that the main themes (relationships and friendship, mother-daughter love, flowers, babies and weddings) are more likely to appeal to a female audience, and almost all of the characters (with one necessary exception) are women. However, these are woven into a beautiful and cleverly written account of Victoria’s struggles against adversity, jumping between her present life and her past, offering just enough glimpses into that one particular episode of her childhood to keep the reader in suspense and trying to piece together the puzzle of her life. A very touching story, and as a bonus, you do learn a lot about flowers!


Caleb's Crossing
Caleb's Crossing
Preis: EUR 6,15

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5.0 von 5 Sternen Beautiful historical fiction on life in New England in the 1600s, 26. August 2012
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Rezension bezieht sich auf: Caleb's Crossing (Kindle Edition)
Set in the late 1600s in the nascent New England colonies around Boston, ‘Caleb’s Crossing’ tells the story of two young people struggling against religious dogmatism, intolerance, physical hardship and family tragedy to try and become educated, respected members of society. Bethia is the daughter of a Christian missionary who is attempting to convert the local Wampanoag tribe of Indians to Christianity. As a girl, Bethia is banned from receiving an education, so she secretly listens to and learns from her brother’s lessons to satisfy her intellectual curiosity. Caleb, whose character is based on a real historical figure, is a young Indian who is originally destined to become a spiritual leader and healer for his tribe. When his family is wiped out by a smallpox epidemic, Caleb converts to Christianity and is educated by Bethia’s father. Highly successful at his studies, Caleb is sent to Harvard as one of the first Indian students to prove, against major resistance from the English establishment, that Indians are also capable of great scholarly achievements. Meanwhile Bethia, although equally intelligent, is sent along only as a servant to earn money to finance her brother’s studies…

Written in the style of a diary from Bethia’s perspective, this novel offers a fascinating historical insight into life in the early New England colonies, especially for women. It highlights the difficult relationship between English settlers and native tribal people, and provides an interesting description of life at Harvard during the earliest days of the college. It is also a beautiful and touching fictional story in its own right. If you enjoy historical fiction (and an old-fashioned elegant writing style that fits the subject), I can highly recommend this book.


Defending Jacob (English Edition)
Defending Jacob (English Edition)
Preis: EUR 6,99

5.0 von 5 Sternen Gripping family drama and crime thriller, 26. August 2012
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This is the tragic story of a father and a family confronted with the idea that their son may be a murderer and a psychopath. Andrew Barber is a highly successful lawyer and assistant district attorney in the Boston area. However, when his 14-year-old son Jacob is accused of murdering a classmate, life as they know it ends for the Barber family. Andrew firmly believes that his son is innocent, and in the fight to defend Jacob, he and his wife Laurie lose everything; their jobs, their friends, their money. But worst for the Barbers, and particularly Laurie, is the underlying terrifying uncertainty – is Jacob truly innocent? Or have they unknowingly raised a teenage psychopath who has killed once and may kill again if they succeed in getting him acquitted?

Despite its tragic and horrifying theme, ‘Defending Jacob’ is a grippingly written novel that is at the same time a crime thriller and a psychological account of how far parents will go in their love for their children. The story is sad but fascinating, and the style of writing is not overly sentimental and maudlin, but almost matter-of-fact and neutral as befits a lawyer. This to me makes it all the more powerful and compelling, and I could not put the book down right to the (very unexpected) ending.


Snuff: (Discworld Novel 39) (Discworld Novels)
Snuff: (Discworld Novel 39) (Discworld Novels)
Preis: EUR 6,27

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5.0 von 5 Sternen Classic Sam Vimes novel, 25. August 2012
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Terry Pratchett meets Jane Austen, only with more humor (and a dead body). Sam Vimes, commander of the Ankh Morpork city watch and Duke of Ankh, is forced to take a holiday in the countryside with his wife and young son, much against his will. Even worse, this holiday is to take place on their family estate, surrounded by other aristocratic families, butlers, housemaids, dinner parties and balls, all of which he despises. However, a policeman always finds a crime if he is looking, and soon Vimes is in the middle of a murder investigation. As usual, he manages to upset a lot of important people in the process of solving the mystery…

Another classic Sam Vimes story! The City Watch series is my favorite of the Discworld novels, and I enjoyed this one as much as any of the others. I am looking forward to the next one already!


Swamplandia!
Swamplandia!
Preis: EUR 7,04

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5.0 von 5 Sternen Fast-paced, wild and entertaining, 6. Mai 2012
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Rezension bezieht sich auf: Swamplandia! (Kindle Edition)
Ava, Ossie and Kiwi Bigtree are three siblings who grow up in the isolation of their family's alligator farm and theme park in the swamplands of Florida. When their mother (and star attraction of the theme park) dies, and their father disappears to the mainland to find a way to save their park, the family falls apart and the teenagers are left to their own devices. Kiwi struggles to navigate the unfamiliar mainland social landscape as he attempts to earn money for the family by jobbing at a rival theme park; Ossie takes to spiritualism and falls in love with a ghost; and Ava sets out to rescue her sister when she elopes with her ghost boyfriend to the Underworld. Each of the siblings takes the reader along on their own crazy and chaotic path, and the result is indeed a rollercoaster ride of funny, sad, entertaining, mystical and downright tragic moments. Unlike some of the other reviewers here, I personally didn''t find that the story was too wild or disjointed (although I can see their point). I enjoyed the style in which multiple stories are told from different perspectives in parallel, and I thought that they tied in nicely together at the end. Overall, this was a fast-paced and entertaining book, written from the perspective and in the style of teenagers, but definitely just as enjoyable for older readers!


The Dovekeepers: A Novel
The Dovekeepers: A Novel
Preis: EUR 6,89

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5.0 von 5 Sternen Incredibly fascinating and touching historical fiction, 6. Mai 2012
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Rezension bezieht sich auf: The Dovekeepers: A Novel (Kindle Edition)
What an amazing novel! I wish I could give it six stars. Set in ancient Israel during the first Jewish-Roman war, it tells the story of four Jewish women who flee from Roman brutality and make their way to the last Jewish stronghold in the mountain fortress of Masada. The women are assigned to work as dovekeepers in their new community, tending to the doves to produce eggs and manure. At first, life at the fortress almost resembles the normality of their old existence in Jerusalem, but as the Roman legions close in, the reality and terrors of war return...

'The Dovekeepers' beautifully interweaves historical facts and fiction as it sets to describe what life would have been like for these women in Israel in war and peace almost 2000 years ago. It describes their relationship with their families, children and lovers; their everyday chores; their beliefs; their hopes for the future; and the tragedy and hardship they struggle through on a daily basis. The portrayals are beautifully written and amazingly vivid, and I truly felt as if I were part of their world. As a warning, the book also includes some very disturbing and horrific accounts of the slaughter and bloodshed caused by warriors on all sides. However, these accounts seem necessary and appropriate in the historical context of the novel, and they contribute to what is overall an incredibly touching and fascinating story.


Paper Towns
Paper Towns
Preis: EUR 4,84

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4.0 von 5 Sternen Enjoyable teenage high school story, 5. April 2012
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Rezension bezieht sich auf: Paper Towns (Kindle Edition)
'Paper Towns' reads a little like the written version of an American high school movie. Parties, booze, exams, prom, sex and pranks are the center of life for Quentin, Ben, Radar and Lacey as they move towards graduation from their high school in a small suburban neighborhood in Florida. However, when their friend Margo suddenly disappears, leaving behind a trail of clues for them to follow, they ditch their hometown (and their graduation ceremony) to go on a wild goose chase across America to find and rescue her.

Overall, I found this book entertaining and funny in a goofy teenage kind of way. Not particularly deep, and I didn't find the mystery aspect overly clever or convincing (especially the resolution at the end). But good for some enjoyable light reading, especially for young adults. (3.5 stars for me).


11/22/63: A Novel
11/22/63: A Novel
Preis: EUR 6,68

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5.0 von 5 Sternen Fantastic!, 5. April 2012
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Rezension bezieht sich auf: 11/22/63: A Novel (Kindle Edition)
Jake Epping is an ordinary English teacher who is given the extraordinary chance (and task) to travel back in time more than 50 years to prevent the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963. Since he arrives five years before the assassination, he has plenty of time to experience American life in the 1950s / 60s and to come up with a plan to save JFK. In this time, he travels from Maine to Florida to Texas, saving a few lives on the way, winning bets to make money, and falling in love with both a small Texan town and a woman who lives there. However, the past fights back against his intrusion, and when the big day arrives, things don't turn out exactly as he planned...

This is the first Stephen King novel I've read, so I wasn't sure what to expect, but I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. The plot is thrilling, historically interesting and well structured, and the detailed descriptions really make the past come alive. It is true that the book is pretty long, as other reviews have criticized, and there is not always major action on every page. But in my opinion, all of the detail is important and contributes to building up suspense throughout the story, as well as being interesting in its own right. A great novel all around!


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