German Excursion…

Monster 1983: Die komplette 1. Staffel (Monster 1983, #1-10)
by Ivar Leon Menger,  Anette Strohmeyer (Goodreads Author), Raimon WeberNana Spier (Narrator), Erich Räuker (Narrator), Simon Jäger (Narrator), Andreas Fröhlich (Narrator), Benjamin Völz (Narrator) , David Nathan(Narrator), Luise Helm (Narrator), Ekkehardt Belle (Narrator)

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Ich konsumiere meine Bücher und Hörbücher normalerweise nur in Englisch. Diese Hörspiel war umsonst, daher dachte ich mir, ich versuche mal mein Glück! Beim zweiten Anlauf habe ich dann auch bis zum Ende durchgehalten. 


Morde in einer kleinen, beschaulichen Küstenstadt in New England. Ein Sheriff klärt auf. Schlagworte mysteriös und unheimlich. Das Ende war nicht schlecht und könnte mich tatsächlich dazu bewegen, mir die zweite Staffel zu holen. 

Die Wahl des Ortes und des Jahrzehnts haben sich mir nicht erschlossen. „Gruselspaß“ und ein „schrecklich schauriges Hörvergnügen“ — Na ja, es ging so. Obwohl es letzte Nacht im dunklen Schlafzimmer schon kurz etwas gruselig war, für ungefähr 20 Sekunden…


Die Besetzung war in der Tat super. Ich kann mit den Namen zwar nichts anfangen, da ich sehr wenig deutsches TV sehe, aber ein paar der Stimmen kamen mir bekannt vor. Allen voran der Bürgermeister mit der Synchronstimme von Magnum. Und war Fischer die Synchronstimme von Ralph Fiennes?

Ab und zu hatte ich Schwierigkeiten, die Personen auseinander zu halten.

Spannung: ★★☆☆☆

Story insgesamt: ★★★☆☆

Besetzung: ★★★★☆

Insgesamt war es ok. Wenn die zweite Staffel günstig ist, würde ich mir sie anhören. 

Warnung: Auf keinen Fall die Beschreibung der zweiten Staffel lesen, sie verrät zuviel!

I apologize for this review in German-only. The original audiobook is in German as well, so my brain ran in that direction. If the mood strikes me, I might translate it at some point.

Dewey‘s 24h Readathon — Hour 12

So, I am still at it, although my actual reading average per hour is not spectacular. I made good inroads into my audiobook, doing the water in my tricky Venice puzzle at the same time…

So far I am completely clueless, who might have done it. The male voices are a little too similar at times. Some guy had the crazy giggles, he is a strong contender, but I am not sure who he actually was…

Anyway, I will tackle the puzzle‘s sky in the morning. It‘s hard work under artificial light.

It‘s just past 1 a.m. and I am starting to feel knackered. I am going to get a little snack and drink something refreshing and get back to my ebook for a while…

Armchair mystery

Thrones, Dominations (Lord Peter Wimsey/Harriet Vane #1)Thrones, Dominations by Dorothy L. Sayers
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Nice enough. Quaint. Comfortable reunion with characters that I loved fiercely in my younger years. I read and re-read all the Lord Peter Wimsey novels so many times!

I have had this one here sitting on my shelf for quite a while. Yes, nice enough, but not compelling enough to finish. Read half of it and then had it lying around my coffee table for a month. Surmised that I won‘t finish it anymore and proceeded to read the last two chapters for some closure. Loved the Author‘s Note at the end. These characters are like very old, good friends.

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Contagion in Space

GravityGravity by Tess Gerritsen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

About 15 years ago I read the first Rizzoli & Isles thriller, The Surgeon, and liked it. And although I 5-starred it, I never again picked up anything by Gerritsen. Well, space and an infection sounded too tempting to pass up. And after finishing this book, I think I should have picked up something by Gerritsen sooner.

On the book it mentions ER meets Apollo 13. Throw in Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton and we have a deal. And maybe bits of Life and Contagion.

Gordon Obie, known as the Sphinx… that got old eventually. I am also not a massive fan of the whole conspiracy theory shindig and the mysterious grey haired billionaire. And the ending seemed a bit too easy.

Setting that aside, this was a very enjoyable read, full of action and suspense and plenty of gross bodily fluids. Whilst I started slowly, I read the bulk of the book in one day and had a hard time putting it down. Well done!

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Elementary, my dear Wyndham

The Affair of the Mysterious LetterThe Affair of the Mysterious Letter by Alexis Hall
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

A book trying very hard to present a magical Holmes & Watson and using all the right cues. An overly amusing and mocking first person narration by Dr. Watson Captain John Wyndham. A Scandal in Bohemia lurks somewhere in the background.

The amusing tone got old pretty fast. About two hours into the audio narration I started to seriously loose interest. The microscopically small plot barely managed to hold the story together. It was a slog. I only continued, because I wanted to find out who was the culprit.

Actually, on second thought, the plot wasn‘t bad. There was just too much fluff in between.

And really annoying? „Oh, she used a bad, bad word, but my publisher told me not to repeat it!“ Funny the first three times. After that, not so much!

Nice resolution at the end and there was something truly well written just before it that caught my interest.

In summation too much amusing vapor, too little actual story. A lot of talk, trying to create a Sherlock-Holmes-apropriate atmosphere. Some great ideas, smothered in the overly quaint narration. Kudos regarding the cameos of various gothic horror novels. Pretty nice Dracula rendition.

Best part of this novel: The excellent audiobook narrator, Nicholas Boulton. His tone of voice reminded me a bit of Stephen Fry.

The author has written some romance novels that look like they could be fun…. Other than that I will definitely not continue with this, if there should be a sequel. I will look up the audiobook narrator though.

The author on Sherlock Holmes:…

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Armchair mystery

The Cuckoo's Calling (Cormoran Strike, #1)The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Fairly standard crime fare with common tropes. Damaged and struggling detective with high moral code. Trusty sidekick. Unlikely case. Potentially difficult copper.

Cormoran Strike is a likeable character, my favourite was Robin though. I was positively surprised.

Ultimately though this was too sedate for my taste and halfway into the story I started to get a bit cored. Too many lengthy, uneventful interviews. Not a lot of suspense. The unlikely reveal at the end, where the good guy lays it all out for the reader and the bad guy snaps and is caught. I read a version of this many times before. Bordering on armchair mystery in the style of Agatha Christie.

The highlight for me was the audiobook narration. Oddly though, he made Strike sound a bit like Michael Caine. Accents are not this narrators strength, but his narration was still very good.

So, 3 “this-is-okayish“ stars, with some boring stretches. A pretty generic crime story, made a bit more interesting by Strike‘s backstory. I doubt I will get the next book of this series anytime soon. However, I might look up the audiobook narrator.

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Weyrd, but good

Vigil (Verity Fassbinder #1)

Vigil by Angela Slatter

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was pretty good! I was expecting another UF along the usual lines. Tired tropes, a little paranormal romance thrown in… but the setting in Brisbane is refreshing, the Weyrd are mysterious and there is good world building. It is not corny, there is no silly paranormal romance, Verity is kick-ass and snarky. The sleuthing could be a bit more intense—I like my crime to be a bit more procedural. But bottomline pretty darn good.

This actually seems to be UF for grown-ups, what a nice discovery. I liked the short history lesson, how all the Weyrd happened to end up in Brisbane. Lots and lots of potential.

I would have liked more character development for Ziggi and Bela. I have a pretty good idea, what type of Wyrd Bela is (Tepes, D-oh!), but it is never spelled out or strongly hinted at. His powers also don‘t seem to be quite what I thought. He stays a little too episodic and one-dimensional. And does Ziggy really have a third eye in the back of his head or is that a metaphorical eye?

And how fun is it that she doesn‘t end up with the tall, dark and handsome guy?

The only thing that bugged me a little: It feels as if I missed reading an important prequel. Which doesn‘t exist, as far as I can see. And I really looked. I am a little vexed about this strong feeling of having missed something in the FIRST book of a series.

Anyway, good stuff, the next book of the series is downloaded and ready to go.

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Abominable slog

The Abominable

The Abominable by Dan Simmons

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

First things first: This is not a horror novel, regardless of what the book has been categorized as. It‘s a historical adventure yarn, heavy on mountain climbing, with thriller elements.

I went into this book with some hesitation. Ages ago I started reading Hyperion and abandoned it pretty quickly. It‘s been so long, I can‘t even remember, why I gave up. Earlier this year I read Ilium and Olympos. I gave Ilium 5 stars, although I struggled. The scope of the book was just so great and parts of it were enjoyable enough to take me past the not so enjoyable bits. Olympos, the sequel, ended up as another DNF for me. This time the narrative wasn‘t gripping enough to propel me past the boring bits and parts I did not like. The TV adaptation of The Terror was great, but temptation to try Simmons one more time led me to a buddy read of this chunkster.

So…. the introduction immediately dragged. Might be me. I hate prefaces, forewords and the like. The Arctic, Antarctica and Simmon‘s book The Terror are mentioned. The main character as an old man is introduced. Ok, so he‘ll survive the book to tell the tale.

Part 1 introduces us to the other two climbers that will tackle Everest with him. We explore the Matterhorn and some of its climbing history and get some explanations about climbing and Deacon‘s history with Mallory. Picture me skimming the more lengthy sojourns into matters not relating to the main plotline.

I do like how Simmons intertwines real events and characters with ficticious ones. The first 30 pages of Part 1 for example detail the first ascent of the Matterhorn. I also found it interesting to read up on George Mallory and the 1924 Mount Everest expedition that provides the motivation for our three climbers to tackle Everest.

It probably helps with this book to be interested in mountain climbing and the Himalayas.

From the Matterhorn we sojourn to other parts of Europe, ticking off our to-do-list, before actually getting to the main event, Mount Everest. Which takes roughly 240 pages of perfecting their climbing technique, hunting for the perfect gear, getting the perfect gear, testing said gear… There is one scene in Wales, where they climb a vertical ice wall that I really liked a lot. No question, Simmons can write. It just takes him so bloody long to get anywhere!

Finally, finally, we arrive on the appropriate continent, in Calcutta….

“I just wish this Lord Bromley-Whatsis, his serene buggering Highness, had bloody well buggered himself down to Calcutta from the hills and helped us bandobast these buggering great heavy crates to the bloody freight depot a full buggering day earlier, is what I damn well wish. This is his lousy country, his culture where bloody damn venal bribery is necessary everywhere to get the least bloody thing done, and where no one can keep a simple bloody appointment on time. So where is this ‘commander of the expedition’ when we actually need his fat arse?“

Part 2… Close to 300 pages into the book, we finally glimpse Mount Everest.

And, because climbing isn‘t everything: Thanks for the excursion to the war poets of WWI, Siegfried Sasoon et al. Another great amalgamation of fictional and real characters. And a fun side trip to some of my favourite poems and poets… The Soldier by Rupert Brooke, Dulce et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen, etc. Reading about Sassoon makes me want to re-read Regeneration or watch the movie again.

Simmons keeps derailing me with arbitrary stuff like this. I wish he would keep the narrative more on target, instead of taking 50 pages on the minutest detail. It bores me.

By the middle of the book I have pretty much had it. Heavy skimming is the only answer to this.

Part 3, close to 500 pages, starts with some screaming and there is the promise of bloodshed and yetis somewhere downhill… Very heavy skimming to get it over with. So, no more research about real characters or events and links to what I found. I just wanted to get it over with this doorstopper.

The story is actually a good one and Simmons writes well. But this was a horribly over-detailed slog through pages over pages of stuff that did absolutely nothing to bring the plot forward. My goodness. If this had been half the length, it probably would have been a great, suspenseful thriller. As it was, I really struggled to stick with it, even with skimming. I am not exactly glad that I read it, but I appreciate what Simmons did here and therefore give it three stars. But, Dan, seriously, I am done with you for the foreseeable future.

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Steampunk mystery

Lady Mechanika, Vol. 5: Clockwork AssassinLady Mechanika, Vol. 5: Clockwork Assassin by Joe Benítez
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I read Volume 1 some time ago and thought I give this a try. Pretty much the same experience. Pretty nice artwork, if you don‘t mind that the women are built like Barbie and have rubber tire lips. I like the muted colours.

The murder mystery was ok, alas it did not interest me much. There is a twist at the end, but it is not terribly surprising.

If you are into steampunk murder-mysteries with busty women, this might be a great choice.

There is some confusion regrading the numbering. Not quite sure if this is Volume 4 or 5.

I received this free e-copy from the publisher/author via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review, thank you!

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