My May Wrap-up

Four rainy, but nice days in Dubrovnik. Finally the weather is picking up, I had a very nice and relaxing long Pentecost weekend. My balcony is turning into wilderness, I have all kinds of wild and bee-friendly stuff sprouting—pansies, forget-me-nots, daisies, purple tansies and last but not least some parsley, coriander and three tomatoes… I barely fit… on the downside work is infuriating and I have had an acute rheumatoid arthritis attack in my right ring finger that has been a bitch for the last two weeks. Getting better though. The nice temperatures and sunshine have definitely made life better! Reading…

– The Last Astronaut | My review 🚀🚀🚀🚀¾, ebook, TBR pile, alien spaceship turns out to be more than that. Creepy, but great.
Planet of the Apes | My review 🦍🦧🙈🙊, audible, free with subscription. The classic SF that sailed the whole merchandize.
The Unsettling Stars 🚀🚀½, paper, ST:AOS, set after the first Abrams movie. Meh.
– Ascending | My review 🚀🚀🚀¼, old Netgalley, first contact (light edition), linguistic and cultural struggles.
– Bright Shards 🚀🚀🚀½, KU, direct sequel to Ascending, similarly light on SF, but I enjoyed the third part planetside. The third book is MIA so far.
Lords of Uncreation (Final Architecture #3) 👁️👁️👁️½, audio. Thank goodness, I am done. Too long. Bittersweet ending. Did I mention that this whole trilogy was too long?

Graphic novels/comics
– Fables Vol. 6: Homelands 👺👺👺👺, eComic, Hollywood interlude with unlikable MC and then some Snicker-Snack in the Homelands… I miss the big bad wolf!
– Fables Vol. 7: Arabian Nights 🧞‍♀️🧞‍♂️🧞🧞‍♀️🧞‍♂️ eComic, Sinbad brings a Djinn on his visit. Things go downhill fast. And a great additional short story about wooden soldiers, a forbidden love and the consequences.
– Fables Vol. 8: Wolves (Fables 🐺🐺🐺🐺, Mowgli channels Tarzan, the kids learn to be human kids, Cinderella is the comic relief.
– Fables Vol. 9: Sons of Empire 🍭🐺🐁🎅, the short stories threw off my flow… War, winter, scary plans…
– Fables Vol. 10: The Good Prince (Fables 🐸🤴🏻🧌⚔️¼, the good fight, peacefully…

Shorts stories, novelettes, novellas
– The Puppetmaster by Kemi Ashing-Giwa 👹👹👹👹👹, short, of revenge and demons from another universe. Best guess, inspired by Japanese culture. Short, grim and good. For free here:…
– TO SAIL BEYOND THE BOTNET by Suzanne Palmer, 🤖🤖🤖🤖🤖 with a 🍒 on top! 21920 words, 72 pages. My favourite little bot is back. For free here:…
– BETTER LIVING THROUGH ALGORITHMS by Naomi Kritzer, 📱✍️🚌💐. 5610 words, 18 pages, about a lifestyle app. For free here:…
– THROUGH THE ROOF OF THE WORLD by Harry Turtledove 🐙🦑🐙🦑. 6220 words, 20 pages, story told by a tentacled and shelled mollusk. For free here:…
– LOL, SAID THE SCORPION by Rich Larson 🇵🇹🇵🇹🇵🇹. 2680 words, 10 pages. Near future SF, holiday trip to Portugal, wearing unusual suits. For free:…

currently reading:
– Call of the Reed Warbler, audio, non-fiction, regenerative agriculture in Australia, ongoing, but struggling…
– Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 200, May 2023, eMagazine, ongoing
– Bear Head (Dogs of War #2), KU
– Fables Vol. 11: War and Pieces (Fables, eComic

On the small screen:
– Wild Isles, 🐦🦭🦉🐁🐝, Prime, nature documentary, David Attenborough—enough said! Ongoing… The puffins in Ep. 1 were priceless.
– Still: A Michael J. Fox movie, 🛹🛹🛹🛹🛹, apple TV+, excellent! 
– AntMan and the Wasp: Quantumania 🐜🐜🐜½☆, entertaining, but forgettable. 

Entertaining sword-and-sorcery

by T. KingfisherJesse Vilinsky (Narrator)

Funny! Comfort read! Audio with great accents! Great ideas! I enjoyed this so much that I just kept going and never took any notes. Halla is unintentionally funny, naive, willfully clueless and ever curious—I understand why Sarkis keeps banging his head against inanimate objects. And he has a delightful brogue in the audio. Scottish?

“Sarkis turned around and began to beat his forehead very gently against the wall. “The great god is punishing me,” he said softly, “for my crimes. I cannot go to his hell, and so he has sent a woman to torment me.” 

What is it about? Halla is a 36-year old widow, looking after an elderly collector of curious items. After his death she inherits all of this estate. Her mother-in-law and cousin are having none of it. She is locked up and confronted with a forced marriage to her cousin with the clammy hands. She considers to kill herself with an old sword to avoid that situation and ends up with an enchanted warrior coming out of said sword. Sarkis now has the job of protecting her, as long as she is his wielder. They have to flee her relatives and run into all kinds of trouble whilst trying to figure out how she can get a hold of her inheritance. On the way they pick up a non-binary priest and a gnole—a badger/weasel with a very dry sense of humour. I was enchanted.

Sword-and-sorcery on the somewhat silly side. If you are looking for a light read with some laughs, some snark and a little romance, this could be it. I recommend the audio.

My last two reading relays for Dewey‘s readathon were ok. During the week I always read less. By the time I am done with work, I often opt for watching TV, it‘s easier on the brain. Anyway, I started to read The Last Astronaut. The first 50 pages were good so far! My plans for tomorrow fell through. Not sure yet what else we might do. Potentially I stay home and actually participate in the readathon, I‘ll see.

Review with a spoiler

The Tale of the Body Thief (The Vampire Chronicles, #4)
by Anne Rice

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Ok, this review contains two big spoilers. So if you still want to read this book and do not want to be spoiled, navigate away from this page now, please! On the count of …..




Re-read. Lestat is turned back to human by swapping bodies, stupidly assuming that he can switch back after trying it out. Obviously, the other guy decides to keep Lestat’s body, powers and riches. D-oh. The rest of the book is Lestat trying to get his body back. No, that is not the main spoiler.

I read roughly 270 pages with some light skimming (a little under halfway, 45%). There were some scenes I remembered fondly, namely the part in the Gobi desert—which I had attributed to another part of the series. But overall, it felt dated and lacked tension. Knowing the plot wasn‘t helping, obviously. Too much detail, repetitive bla-bla and over exposition of almost everything. I skimmed quite a bit to get to the body swapping part, but was willing to plod on.

Then the rape happened—I had no recollection of that scene from previous reads. Or maybe I didn‘t understand and didn’t consider it rape before—it has been several decades since I read this last. That scene pretty much killed the book for me. I read on for a little bit, then put the book down with the plan to pick it up again at a later date. It‘s been sitting there for a month, looking at me and I feel absolutely no compunction to pick it up again.

Knowing that Lestat will end up turning David against his will, another sort of rape, didn‘t entice me to continue either. Lestat has no impulse control and no concept of what he is doing. I am not sure how intentional this presentation was from Rice. The rape of the waitress was pretty arbitrary and the point could have been driven home for Lestat without committing it. Or he could have actually felt and shown some guilt for what he clearly understood to have done. The callousness really bothered me. 

Besides that, I was bored with the tone and endless navel-gazing and lost all interest in continuing. I can‘t even be bothered to skim my way to the end. I have the next two books of this on my shelf. I am not sure if I want to continue. At this point I am considering to dump them and call it for this series, I‘ll see.

Spell the month in books — August

I came across this meme last month and thought why not use it to look at some of my owned, unread books as a reminder that I still have them?

Reviews From the Stacks

The goal is to spell the current month with the first letter of book titles, excluding articles such as ‘the’ and ‘a’ as needed. That’s all there is to it! Some months there are theme challenges, such as “books with an orange cover” or books of a particular genre, but for the most part, any book you want to use is fair game!

Long month! No theme though, phew. So…

AAfter the Cure (After the Cure, #1) by Deirdre Gould

„Eight years ago the December Plague swept through the human population of earth. The Infected were driven mad by the disease, becoming violent and cannibalistic, killing even those closest to them without hesitation. Six years ago, the tiny surviving community of Immune humans found a cure, and the Infected began to wake up and realize what they’d done. And what had been done to them. Over time, society began to rebuild itself. Now it is ready to judge those responsible for the Plague.“

I don‘t recall why or how I got a copy of this book. It‘s been on my shelf for a while. It sounds familiar as well, as if there maybe was a movie along those lines? The blurb sounds a bit like a courtroom thriller, which is not really my cup of tea. Not sure I still want to read this.

UAn Unnatural Life by Erin K. Wagner

„The cybernetic organism known as 812-3 is in prison, convicted of murdering a human worker but he claims that he did not do it. With the evidence stacked against him, his lawyer, Aiya Ritsehrer, must determine grounds for an appeal and uncover the true facts of the case. But with artificial life-forms having only recently been awarded legal rights on Earth, the military complex on Europa is resistant to the implementation of these same rights on the Jovian moon.“

This is a fairly recent addition to me shelves. It‘s a novella, if I remember correctly. And I obviously didn‘t listen to myself about not liking courtroom thrillers. I do like to read about AIs though.

GThe Ghost Fleet: The Whole Goddamned Thing
by Donny CatesDaniel Warren Johnson (Illustrator), Lauren Affe (Illustrator), John Hill (Illustrator)

„For the world’s most valuable, dangerous, or secretive cargo, you don’t call just any trucking service…you call THE GHOST FLEET. When one of the world’s most elite combat-trained truckers takes a forbidden peek at his payload, he uncovers a conspiracy that will change his life, and the world, forever!“

This is a comic. I think it was in a Humble bundle of various things. Doesn‘t sound bad actually, maybe I should have a look when I finished my current TWD volume.

UThe Unspoken Name by A.K. Larkwood

„She will climb the mountain, enter the Shrine of the Unspoken, and gain the most honored title: sacrifice. On the day of her foretold death, however, a powerful mage offers her a new fate. Csorwe leaves her home, her destiny, and her god to become the wizard’s loyal sword-hand — stealing, spying, and killing to help him reclaim his seat of power in the homeland from which he was exiled.“

Epic fantasy, a genre I have been delving into again more this year. I usually pick the sword fighters when I play RPGs, so I should like Csorwe.

SSomething to Talk About by Meryl Wilsner

„Hollywood powerhouse Jo is photographed making her assistant Emma laugh on the red carpet, and just like that, the tabloids declare them a couple. The so-called scandal couldn’t come at a worse time – threatening Emma’s promotion and Jo’s new movie.“

Now this sounds like a fun romance romp. How could I have forgotten that I own this? If I wasn‘t reading three other books already, I would have started this already…

TTails of the Apocalypse by Chris Pourteau (Editor)

„The Doomsday siren calls on civilization’s last day. Natural disaster. Nuclear war. Pandemics. These are the ways the world ends. The Walking Dead meets The Incredible Journey in 14 incredible tales of nobility, self-sacrifice, and unconditional love as told by today’s most talented independent authors. Humans will learn an old lesson anew—that animals, the heroes in these tales, might just make the difference in their quest to survive one more day.“

Another short story collection. I do like reading about the apocalypse. So many books, so little time.

Reverse Readathon! July 2022

Well hello there! Welcome to the July 2022 Reverse Readathon! What’s a RR you ask? Well it’s a Readathon that starts at 8pm Eastern time on Friday, …

Reverse Readathon! August 2022 (no, I don‘t know why it says August…)

Opening Survey! 

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today? — Germany, hence the nutty starting time!
2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to? — I will continue with my current read Ship of Magic (Liveship Traders, #1)
by Robin Hobb. I might mix it up with some comics, audio or a novella.

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to? — I don‘t usually snack and don‘t really stock up with snacks for readathons either.
4) Tell us a little something about yourself! — I am so tempted right now to find my opening survey from last time for some copy-and-paste action…. I‘m German, I live close to Stuttgart, I predominantly read in English, mostly specfic with the odd mystery or romance thrown in. Non-fiction tends to be natural sciences.
5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? — sleep more, probably, due to the timing. I am not sure yet if I will use a timer at all. I will probably simply count my pages and minutes via StoryGraph. Here are my stats before the start of the readathon:

The Reverse Readathon starts in a little under an hour, at 2 AM CET, if I calculated that correctly. I wanted to stay up for the start at least, but I am tired. I won‘t last that long anymore. Also, I want to go to the farmer‘s market tomorrow morning or at least to the supermarket for some grocery shopping and don‘t want to get up so late.

I should get some reading done tomorrow evening—I‘ll be house- and dog-sitting all on my lonesome…

Top Ten Tuesday — Authors I Haven’t Read, But Want To…

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Last week‘s topic / April 12: Authors I Haven’t Read, But Want To (Submitted by Deanna @ A Novel Glimpse)

Well, let‘s have a look at the more recent additions to my want-to-read pile and books lingering on my TBR pile of owned books….

(covers are linked to the books in Goodreads)

Seanan McGuire is definitely high on my list of authors I want to read. I have the first five books of Wayward Children lined up and ready to go, I just need to find the opportunity to squeeze them in somewhere…

Another one is Elizabeth Bear. I keep thinking that I have read something by her, alas I can‘t pinpoint what it might have been. I have Ancestral Night on my TBR pile…

A space salvager and her partner make the discovery of a lifetime that just might change the universe in this wild, big-ideas space opera from multi award-winning author Elizabeth Bear.

I own two anthologies where she has contributed as well. And Tor offers some glimpses at her work.

T. Kingfisher has been on my reading pile for a while now as well, mainly because of A Wizard‘s Guide to Defensive Baking. My reading buddies all really liked this book.

Fourteen-year-old Mona isn’t like the wizards charged with defending the city. She can’t control lightning or speak to water. Her familiar is a sourdough starter and her magic only works on bread. She has a comfortable life in her aunt’s bakery making gingerbread men dance.

What‘s not to like about that?

That‘s it for today, back to enjoying the sunshine and reading my vampire book….

March Wrap-up

In February I read less, in March on the other hand I read more than usual. My ratings are not terribly high allover, but I did enjoy myself…

Novels and novellas:

Ring Shout ★★¾☆☆ audio, Klu Klux monsters, Stone Mountain and alternate realities.
Mickey7 ★★★½☆ ebook, Netgalley, Mickey7 dies for the colony, repeatedly. Alien lifeforms and survival.
Ogres ★★★★☆ ebook, Netgalley, another genre bender by Tchaikovsky. Very smartly done.
Gallant, audio, DNF at 51%, haunted house, YA, gothic. Not bad, actually, but didn‘t grab me. Good audiobook narration.
– StoryGraph #1 Even The Wingless ★★★★★, ebook, TBR, shockingly dark and violent offering, but very compelling.
– Moreta: Dragonlady of Pern ★★★★☆ ebook, my Pern re-read. Moreta‘s Ride, I ugly cried!
– Nerilka’s Story & The Coelura ★★★☆☆ ebook, companion piece to Moreta. Same story from a different POV. Only skimmed the added novelette, as it doesn‘t belong to the Dragonriders of Pern and didn‘t interest me

Short fiction:

The Best Science Fiction of the Year: Volume Six (ongoing), short stories:
– AN IMPORTANT FAILURE by Rebecca Campbell, ★★★¾☆, the building of a violin, climate change, loss of physical things and loss of possibilities in our lives.
– THE LONG IAPETAN NIGHT by Julie Nováková, ★★¾☆☆, Earth has gone through two cataclysms, humanity tries to establish footholds elsewhere in the solar system. Horror on a dark ice planet.

Comics / Graphic novels:

– StoryGraph #2 The Walking Dead, Vol. 17: Something to Fear ★★★★★ eComic, TBR, Negan! Lucille is thirsty! 
– The Walking Dead, Vol. 18: What Comes After ★★★½☆ eComic, TBR, more Negan! More of an in-between.
The Complete Angel Catbird ★☆☆☆☆ eComic, Angel Catbird #1-3. Margaret Atwood, what were you thinking?
– Jova’s Harvest #1 Comic Book eComic, DNF after 16 pages, not for me.
– Ham Helsing #1: Vampire Hunter ★★★★★, eComic, adorable! Thanks to whoever recommended this, I had great fun! Two pigs, a werewolf and two rats chase a vampire… so wacky, I loved it!
– Saga #57 ★★★★☆ eComic

And the rest…

Currently reading:
– The Art of Cursive Penmanship: A Personal Handwriting Program for Adults, paper

StoryGraph Reading Randomizer / backlog:
– The Solitaire Mystery, paper, TBR / February StoryGraph #2 

Specfic Movies & TV watched:
– For All Mankind, the rest of S1 and all of S2, finished — 🚀🚀🚀🚀🚀, I wish this was a documentary of real life events! As a whole I liked S1 better, but the finale of S2 was out of this world! Figuratively and literally speaking… Awesome!
– Space Force, S1, finished — 🚀🚀🚀🚀, funny, surprisingly serious topics. It was good, but I doubt that I will watch S2.
– Stowaway, 2021 science-fiction thriller — 🚀🚀🚀
– Finch, apple TV+ original, SF — 🚀🚀🚀, family-friendly dystopia with Tom Hanks raising a robot, it was ok.
– Zack Snyder‘s Justice League — 💣 wtf? Not sure what to make of this. 4 hours! At least they fixed the crappy cover-up of Cavill‘s upper lip from the official movie. A lot of shirtless time with Cavill and Momoa. No idea why that man puts on any tops anyway in that movie.

First blog post

I used to blog about my daily adventures for many years. But eventually real life got busy and I got more interested living it than writing about it. I have been pretty active on goodreads for the past two years and my renewed reading adventures have been a lot of fun. One of the buddy reading groups I am a member off has just started a wordpress blog, so here I am! Again! I might blog book reviews here and I might not. I might write about other things and I might not. Time will tell. Meanwhile you can find my book reviews on goodreads, as soon as I can figure out how to set up links…