Saturday, October 31, 2009

blaming blogger

I'm desperately playing catch up with my poor Google reader right now, but it seems it's not doing me any good. My wish list is growing as I'm writing this! (Maybe even as I'm sleeping...) And as if the enormous backlog is not enough, my blog is moving - no, not this one, my German one, as I've definitely had it with wordpress! I don't have the patience to spend half an hour just to include one picture that links back to another page.

But back to the growing wish list!

Bloggers I would like to blame are:

Teddyree from The Eclectic Reader for Claudia Gray's Evernight, a YA vampire novel she herself didn't absolutely love. But still, she somehow made it sound like an awesome book, so I'm curious!

Kathy from bermudaonion, who talked about Masha Hamilton's 31 Hours and was very secretive about the plot, but from what I know about her taste in books, this might just be the one for me!

Lenore from Presenting Lenore, who reviewed Andromeda Klein by Frank Portman. This seems like such a fun book to read! She also talked about Carla Buckley's The Things That Keep Us Here - I seem to be into apocalyptic lit lately, which is pretty unusual for me.

My long-time friend Lesa from Lesa's Book Critiques, who reviewed Mennonite In A Little Black Dress by Rhoda Janzen, and it sounds awesome!

Kailana from The Written World, who talked about James A. Levine's The Blue Notebook, a novel about an Indian child prostitute, which seems to be intriguing, if sad!

Kathy from Kittling: Books, who reviewed The Writing Class by Jincy Willett, which seems to be a book about a murderer in a writing class.

Marie from The Boston Bibliophile recently presented The Lost Tribe: Jewish Fiction in her Friday Finds. It is an anthology of contemporary writers and seems interesting.

Alyce from At Home With Books, who found Gang Leader For A Day by Sudhir Venkatesh, a non-fiction recounting of Venkatesh's years with a gang as an observer.

Well, now I'm about half way through the back log, so I've done enough procrastinating! I'm off to read a bit and then, tomorrow, I will actually work on moving part of my (German) blog!

Thursday, October 29, 2009


Jay Asher
320 pages
ISBN: 978-1-595-14171-2

When Clay Jensen finds a mysterious package addressed to him on his door step when he returns from school, he doesn't know what to think of it, but when he finds 7 cassettes in it and starts to play the first he is shocked. The voice on the tapes belongs to Hannah Baker, his classmate who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah explains, that he is one of thirteen people to get these cassettes to listen to the thirteen reasons why she finally decided to end her life. That night, Clay takes a tour of his hometown to all the places Hannah leads him to, while listening to her story.

As I had mentioned during the read-a-thon, this book was awesome, but also hard to read. All the things that happened to Hannah, that she had to deal with!

Asher took care of getting into the minds of both Hannah and Clay. They are so different, yet they seem to connect so much through the tapes! While Clay is popular, a good student and tries to do everything he can to be allowed to speak at the graduation ceremony. Hannah, on the other hand, is the „new girl“ as her parents moved into town a while ago to be the new owners of a shoe shop. At first, she hung out with the two other new students, but soon things changed.

Over the course of 13 Reasons Why we find out what happened to Hannah and how seemingly innocent actions and words can cause great pain. Actions and words that would not do much to one person can seriously affect another person that already has trouble, pain or has been harmed otherwise in the past.

Asher’s carefully depicted voices of both Hannah and Clay make for a compelling and awesome novel that was hard to put down – and thus a perfect read for the read-a-thon.

Rating: 5/5

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

three - no, four in one!

First off, thanks so much, LadyTink for helping me out with Dr. Pete. That's indeed his name. I'll send you my giveaway list to pick a book as soon as possible! (Isn't she awesome? Supposed to recover and relax, but here she is finding the name of my werewolf...)

Now, I'm still recovering from the read-a-thon last weekend, and so, apparently, is my poor Google reader. I started the weekend with about 300 unread blog posts (mostly Thursday and Friday's blog posts), but now it constantly creeps past the magic 1,000! I try to read them all, but it will definitely take some time, so bear with me.
The read-a-thon was a real challenge for me this time around, but I didn't fall asleep. Instead, I finished 4 books - which means four more reviews I have not yet written *sigh* That's the second read-a-thon challenge.

Speaking of challenges, I accidentally won two of the mini-challenges. How did that happen? I'm really excited about that because I'm not usually that lucky.

Oh, reading on your blogs, I realized that next week *yikes* starts the NaNoWriMo! Nooooo! I can't do it, it's too soon! I have no idea for a story to write, so it will likely be a desaster like my very first NaNo in ... 2004??? I can't remember. Selective memory is great!


D.D. Barant
320 pages
St. Martins
ISBN: 978-0-312-94258-8

With her debut novel, D.D. Barrant brings FBI profiler Jace Valchek into a parallel universe. Or, more exactly, David Cassius, the Vampire NSA chief brings Jace into this parallel universe, where vampires and werewolves are the leading race, with golems being a large third group - and humans a mere minority. Jace's presence, Cassius explains to her, is required because a serial killer is on the loose, and, being unaffected by mental disease, the supernatural beings have no experience in finding the killer called The Impaler. In fact, Cassius informs Jace, finding The Impaler is Jace’s only chance to be sent back into her universe.

While vampires are commonly described as hunters of the night, blood suckers and pure evil (exceptions, of course, exist!), Barrant created vampires that are the majority, leading race in an alternate universe. They have special suits to walk in day light, don’t always drink blood (even though some of the humans left serve as “sheep“), and can be found in leading positions.

The werewolves are mostly family- or pack-oriented creatures who can change in and out of their were-form, and only have to be in their were-form the three days of full moon, as we learn from Dr. Pete who is not only Jace's doctor for the time of her stay in this universe, but also a werewolf.

The golems are creatures made of sand and some additives depending on their jobs. This is also indicated by their color. The first golem we meet, Charlie, for example is black, for he was created to “protect & defend“ and – if necessary – give his life for the person he is protecting.

This first – and hopefully not last – installment in the Bloodhound Files, introduces us to a whole new world, including its history. It is a fascinating and rather new approach to vampire and werewolf stories combined with mystery and a hint of romance. What intrigued me most were the relationships that were formed and reformed during the events, the history of this other universe, that is so close to ours, yet so different, and the characters, Jace Valchek, David Cassius, Charlie and Dr. Pete.

Rating: 5/5

The first person to remind me of the name of the werewolf doctor will get to choose one book from my giveaway stack! So, if you know the name (or have more patience than I do searching for it, let me know!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

a look back at the Read-A-Thon

hours read: 22 hours and 5 minutes (1325 minutes)

pages read: 825

books read:
Undead and Unreturnable by MaryJanice Davidson
13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher
The Spirit by Will Eisner
The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett

parts of:
Reliquary by Douglas Preston & Lee Child
Stake That by Mari Mancusi

minutes spent doing other things: 1 hour and 55 minutes (115 minutes)

I'm exhausted! I really am, but I'm also hungry, so I guess shower, food, packing my stuff will be the next things I have to do...

End of Event meme

1. Which hour was most daunting for you?

Basically every hour since Hour 17... But if you really want me to decide Hour 23.

2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?

The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett
13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher

3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?

What is there to improve? it's perfect, you're doing an awesome job!

4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?

As usually I loved the mini-challenges.

5. How many books did you read?

Finished 4.

6. What were the names of the books you read?

MaryJanice Davidson: Undead and Unreturnable
Jay Asher: 13 Reasons Why
Will Eisner: The Spirit
Alan Bennett: The Uncommon Reader

7. Which book did you enjoy most?

??? No clue! I loved them all so much for different reasons...

8. Which did you enjoy least?

See question #7

9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?

I was a reader.

10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?

Definitely! Now off to more reading and then calculating how much I'm donating!

still reading

No worries, I'm still awake reading. I put down Stake That and am now reading The Uncommon Reader. I've marked so many scenes and sentences already, it's amazing!
So, back to reading now, I'll be back in a bit!

book #4 - and two WTF's

I'm so not sure my current book was money spent in a good way... It's Mari Mancusi's Stake That and so far I've had two scenes that made me want to shout WTF!

Scene #1:
Once in every generation, a girl is born, whose destiny is to hunt vampires."
(roughly translated by sleep-deprived me)

WTF #1:
Every generation, there is one slayer? Hello? Buffy anyone? Copy that one pretty nice, I think!

Scene #2:
When you were born, an employee of Slayer Inc, who worked at the Mercy Hospital, injected you a sleeping nano virus. If you refuse to fulfil your destiny, you will die a painful death, I'm afraid.
(again, roughly translated by sleep-deprived me)

WTF #2:
A sleeping nano virus? Who are you kidding anyway?

Now, would you continue reading or would you grab another book?

Take a Break mini-challenge

Gail from Ticket To Anywhere hosts this wonderful challenge.

So here's my stack of finished books and part of my snacks (the other package is already in the trash)...

My three books I finished (MaryJanice Davidson's Undead and Unreturnable, Jay Asher's 13 Reasons Why and Will Eisner's The Spirit) and the left overs of my home-made muffins...

Read-A-Thon update #15

hours read so far: 20 and some

pages read so far: 621 (plus 2 hours of my audio book)

book of the hour: just finished #3, Will Eisner's The Spirit

minutes spent doing other things: maybe 3 talking to Mom who brought up the cat

CD of the hour: Grease Soundtrack

Read-A-Thon update #14

hours read so far: 19 and some (back with a complete calculation once the read-a-thon is over)

pages read so far: 555

book of the hour: after finishing MaryJanice Davidson's Undead and Unreturnable and Jay Asher's 13 Reasons Why, on to Will Eisner's The Spirit

minutes spent doing other things: none

CD of the hour: Notting Hill soundtrack & some P!nk

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Read-A-Thon update #13

hours read so far: 17 and some

pages read so far: 496

book of the hour: still 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher

minutes spent doing other things: maybe 5 for writing a blog post

CD of the hour: Nelly Furtado: Loose


I never had the chance to meet Dewey. Thinking of this now makes me sad because she was such an engaged blogger. Active to build a community, always there for great book reviews and host to awesome blogging and reading events.
I am always at a loss about how to say what I want to say. In my mind, I have a picture, but "on the paper" it never looks as good.

We all (probably, hopefully) know that she created the Weekly Geeks,an event I never participate in because I'm no good with regular events. Nonetheless, I try to check out some of the blog posts relating to it. It is great, informative and I still meet some new-to-me bloggers through this (however you do this, guys, because I seriously think my Google reader is bursting with blogs I subscribe to!).

The Bookworms Carnival is another of Dewey's babies. The varying themes bring together bloggers all over the world and are educating! If I would check out the Carnival posts regularly, I would end up with an even bigger "want to buy" list than I already have, but it is hard to restrain...

And then, there is the Read-A-Thon. My beloved Read-A-Thon, for which everything and everyone (with the exception of my cats) has to leave me alone, so that I have a quiet, comfortable place to read without any real interruptions (such as work for university). In fact, what I haven't accomplished until an hour before the Read-A-Thon likely will have to wait until after, because I prepare my snacks during that one hour before the Read-A-Thon!

I can't put down how much I appreciate Dewey's work and ideas, her inspiration and passion stays with us, even though she is gone. Rest in peace, Dewey, but know you're missed and we'll keep you in our minds!

Read-A-Thon update #12

hours read so far: 16 and some

pages read so far: 431 pages and 2 hours of Reliquary by Douglas Preston & Lee Child

book of the hour: back to 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher now, needed Reliquary to relax my eyes

minutes spent doing other things: max. 15 playing with the cat

CD of the hour: Lordi: The Arockalypse

Quite a change from my music before, huh? But now that I have relaxed my eyes I need to wake up my mind again.

Read-A-Thon update #11

hours read so far: 13 and some

pages read so far: 431

book of the hour: still 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher - thought-provoking read, that one!

minutes spent doing other things: besides reading I was deep in thought about the book, no clue how long!

CD of the hour: Leann Rimes

I love the song and the movie is the candy on top :-P

Read-A-Thon update #10

hours read so far: 12 and some

pages read so far: 411

book of the hour: 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher

minutes spent doing other things: no clue - sorry, didn't keep track this time around, but besides wondering about sunlight savings time I didn't do anything but read

CD of the hour: Jordin Sparks and then Leann Rimes

mid-event survey

1. What are you reading right now?

Still on 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher!

2. How many books have you read so far?

finished one, am half way through the second

3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon?

finishing book #2, more reading, no more artificial light (in about 5 hours)

4. Did you have to make any special arrangements to free up your whole day?

not really, just told the people who might contact me & my family that I'm doing the read-a-thon and wouldn't be much help

5. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?

not many, just the usual - the cats, once to approve comments, otherwise only blogging, if that counts as an interruption

6. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far?

I'm doing better than the last time!

7. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?

I would pick more short books, make sure the batteries are full to get milk foam (how do you call that stuff anyway? is it really milk foam?)

8. What would you do differently, as a Reader or a Cheerleader, if you were to do this again next year?

more healthy snack!

9. Are you getting tired yet?

yes, definitely! it's almost 3am here and I've been up since 9am yesterday...

10. Do you have any tips for other Readers or Cheerleaders, something you think is working well for you that others may not have discovered?

have fun, pick short books, stay warm (but not too warm as that most likely makes you sleepy) and have snacks and drinks close by so you don't have to run around too often!

Read-A-Thon update #9

hours read so far: 10 and some

pages read so far: 337 (including the 17 pages of Girl Genius)

book of the hour: 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher

minutes spent doing other things: 50 approving comments, writing blog posts and commenting at other blogs

CD of the hour: none - it's been all quiet for the past hour

semi-update plus Time For Comics

I have spent 40 minutes of the past hour approving comments, so much for "no distractions" LOL

So let me tell you about Girl Genius, the online comic a friend told me about. Diane, said friend, is a great person, and when I saw her Facebook comment on Girl Genius I had no clue what it was all about, so she told me and included a link to the website where you can read it online (see link above).

Here's what wiki says about Girl Genius:
Girl Genius has the tagline of "Adventure, Romance, MAD SCIENCE!". It features a female lead character in an alternate-history Victorian-style "steampunk" setting, although elements veer from what is usually thought of as steampunk. Kaja Foglio, one of the co-creators, describes it as "gaslamp fantasy" instead to suggest its more fantastic style.

This fits! It's a great description without giving too much away (and I wouldn't want to, because I'm still early on and have no clue what is going to happen next. It's such a great story, though, that I try to read it whenever I have a couple minutes at hand - so it's no wonder I took up Nymeth's Time for Comics mini-challenge to read a bit more. I think I managed to read about 15 minutes total before the comment flood set it (at least for my small blog it was a real flood!)...

If you have some time at hand, check out Girl Genius (and tell me how you like it!)...

side notes

Thanks to Chris of Stuff As Dreams Are Made On I just heard I'm one of the readers of the hour for the Read-A-Thon. How did that happen?

Chris, did I mention you're my hero? I just love your blog!

Maria wondered how I could have 0 minutes of distraction. My cat's sleeping, the other cat is somewhere else in the house, I'm in my room with music and don't take part in every mini-challenge. Plus, while really, really sad, 13 Reasons Why is a great read. And then, my food and drinks are all right beside me - no getting up or searching needed. One hand reaching out while having my eyes glued to the book works pretty well. Just have to work on my method to not spill any water all over the place!

And with my answer above I almost answered Serena's question as well. Not "no" mini-challenges, but only some, carefully selected mini-challenges. Otherwise I'm indeed dedicated to reading

And my current song:

Now, I'm back to reading!

Read-A-Thon update #8

It's now October 25 here, so the difficult hours are coming closer for me... Wish me luck! Last time I sucked at around 3, 4 am.

hours read so far: 10

pages read so far: 320

book of the hour: 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher

minutes spent doing other things: 0

CD of the hour: Crescent by Gackt

re-reading mini-challenge

Erika at Reading With Momma has a great mini-challenge on re-reads.

Here's her question:

What book or books do you return to read again and again and why?

I re-read pretty much anything by Susan Elizabeth Philipps. She writes awesome, wonderful, cute, cuddly, feel-good romance novels with humor. Lots of humor! And the occasional "feeling ashamed for someone else" thrown in - yes, I sometimes feel ashamed for character's actions! I admit it...

Whenever I need a quick fix of love, the happily ever after kind where trouble are overcome by the heroine and the hero and they end up together for the rest of their lives. My life doesn't hold that kind of love in store for me right now, so SEP's novels do the trick. Because trust me, German universities are not the place to look for love. All we get are 1) sissies, 2) machos, 3) metrosexuals who need more time in the bathroom than I do, or 4) gays (we all love you, but face it, you can't fill in for the "happily ever after" kind of love ;-)

What happened to the heroes?

Thirteen Reasons Why...

I'm having a hard time here right now with my current book, 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher.

Granted, the story is written in an awesome, compelling way. But it is also sad. On top of that, Hannah's story brings back memories I really don't need to revisit. To put it in a blunt way, I was the victim of bullying, emotional abuse for 12 out or 14 years at school. It was no fun and I'm glad I now have friends (other than my books) whom I trust, love and who support me no matter what. I didn't have that at school. All I had was my books! Maybe that's why I have become a book lover, a bookaholic, a voracious reader. I don't know.

I have lived with these memories neatly packed in the back of my mind, only breaking out when someone seriously hurts me, for almost 7 years now, but Jay Asher's 13 Reasons Why brought them out again, all at once. I can already tell writing a review for that one is not going to be easy!

Read-A-Thon update #7

hours read so far: 8

pages read so far: 280

book of the hour: 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher

minutes spent doing other things: 5 - Mom brought the cats up because one of them played macho cat and attacked the poor dog of Dad's cousin's girlfriend

CD of the hour: more like song of the hour:

Note for those who haven't watched "Biscuit Teacher And Star Candy" (yet): She is the teacher and he's one of her students.

Read-A-Thon update #6

hours read so far: 7

pages read so far: 250

book of the hour: 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher (yes, I finished Undead and Unreturnable - great, fun read! and just the right thing for the read-a-thon)

minutes spent doing other things: 0

CD of the hour: first Arashi, then Ashlee Simpson's Autobiography

finished book #1

I finally finished the first book for the read-a-thon. Now should I read Thirteen Reasons Why or Lalala by Mian Mian? Difficult questions at 9pm... Weigh in now, which I take both books downstairs with me to brew some tea! I'll be back soon!

Read-A-Thon update #5

hours read so far: 6

pages read so far: 212

book of the hour: still Undead and Unreturnable

minutes spent doing other things: 10 spent with blogging and tweeting!

CD of the hour: AniV'Ata (more like the YouTube videos, though!)

eat to read mini-challenge

Beth from Beth Fish Reads has a fun new mini-challenge this hour!

I have "Honig-Printen", which is in theory a Christmas snack, gingerbread-like with chocolate covering. Delicious!

Then I have muffins with chocolate chips and real vanilla. Haven't eaten a single one yet, but according to my brother's girlfriend they're delicious - as usually! (Yay me! ;-) )

Then I have some oatmeal cookies (wherever they are LOL).

I still haven't prepared the carrots I bought yesterday - or more exactly Mom bought them for me.

For lunch & dinner tomorrow I'll have: chili con carne which my brother is going to prepare while I'm sitting there reading AND giving him instructions (he can't really cook, but wants to cook for his girlfriend as tomorrow is their 6 month anniversary) and then I have quick to prepare package of something called "Steakhouse Pfanne" with meat, vegetables and I'll add some green onions - yummie!

Somewhere around is also some yoghurt.

Mes chers cheerleaders!

A big fat thank you to our cheerleaders! I love you guys!!! I'm sorry I'm not (yet) replying individually, but I'm busy reading. The book is great, even though I'm a bit slow :-) I'll reply individually later - promise!

Pic: SUMO Blog

mini-challenge #6

Opicana is hosting another mini-challenge for the read-a-thon:

Challenge: Name three books that are told from a different world view, a different perspective, that you have read and enjoyed. Give a one sentence summary of the book, and another sentence that explains how the book shares a unique perspective. The prize books are great examples of this different perspective. In “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time”, the story is told from the perspective of a book who has autism- he sees the world very differently than someone without autism. “A Prayer for Owen Meany” tells the story of Owen Meany- a boy with a entirely unshakeable certainty about the future…he knows his own ultimate fate, and sees things in a whole different light because of it.

Here are my 3 books:

Sushi For One (Camy Tang) is the story of one of a number of Christian Japanese-American cousins searching for love while dealing with their non-Christian family.

Gemma (Petra Last) is the story of a young woman in 18th century England who, after her father’s death, has to deal with mean family and a trip to America in the disguise of a ship’s boy.

Disobedience (Naomi Alderman) deals with a young woman who grew up in an Orthodox Jewish community, but left for the US in order to live a secular life, but comes back for her father’s funeral.

Read-A-Thon update #4

hours read so far: 5

pages read so far: 184

book of the hour: still Unread and Unreturnable - but I like it and it's coming to an end!

minutes spent doing other things: 4 trying to warm up rolls for dinner and put some other stuff on them

CD of the hour: still Ana Free

Read-A-Thon update #3

hours read so far: 4

pages read so far: 162

book of the hour: still (!!!) Undead and Unreturnable by MaryJanice Davidson

minutes spent doing other things: 0

CD of the hour: Ana Free

Read-A-Thon update #2

hours read so far: 3

pages read so far: 111

book of the hour: Undead and Unreturnable by MaryJanice Davidson

minutes spent doing other things: 10 thanks to the semi-dead mouse my cat brought in - screaming, squeeking, meowing, we've had it all!

CD of the hour: Anastacia

hour 2 meme

Thanks so much for this idea, Word Lily!

Here's my Twitter screenshot:

Read-A-Thon update #1

hours read so far: 1

pages read so far: 43

book of the hour: Undead and Unreturnable by MaryJanice Davidson

minutes spent doing other things: 3 mins for blogging - maybe 4

CD of the hour: AC/DC

Hour 1 meme

I'm reading from a small town in Germany. No need telling you where I am, you don't know it anyway ;-)

3 facts about me:
1) I'm a student majoring in American studies (with Romance studies and comparative religious studies as minors) - once I've completed this I will have my MA.
2) My music taste is "eclectic" - which I think is just a nice way to say I listen to so many different, even opposing genres, you wouldn't be able to keep track anyway.
3) I have never been outside of Europe, but plan my big trip to the USA for next summer.

My TBR pile for the next 24 hours contains 11 books, but if I don't find what I want to read on there I'll just browse the other 337 books I have on Mt. TBR.

I don't have any goals, but a few more comments on my blog would be nice ;-)

I did my first read-a-thon earlier this year and it is great. If your eyes are falling shut, relax a bit. Drink lots of fluids and HAVE FUN!

And thus it begins...

I'm so excited about the read-a-thon and I'm off to reading now. Wish me luck!

I would like to apologize about my not so fancy blog posts right away, but last time I spent so much time on uploading pictures etc., I just want this to be about reading - plus my phone and the computer wouldn't work together yesterday, so I won't even try today. (That's also the reason why I still haven't posted about last weekend's Frankfurt Book Fair!)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Zut alors, I accidentally gave away the title of the ARC I picked up at the Book Fair! If you read it and remember it, enjoy it, if not, I'm sure I'll tell you pretty soon LOL

Dewey's 24 Hour Read-A-Thon - my tentative reading stack

Oops! I completely forgot to create a reading stack for the 24 Hour Read-A-Thon. How embarrassing...

Anyway, here is a tentative stack, changes possible, maybe even very likely:

Mari Mancusi: Stake That
the ARC I picked up at the book fair
Jay Asher: Thirteen Reasons Why
Cassandra Clare: City of Bones
MaryJanice Davidson: Undead and Unreturnable
Mian Mian: Lalala
Jill Shalvis: Double Play or Instant Gratification
Cynthia Smith: Noblesse Oblige
Alan Bennett: An Uncommon Reader
John Boyne: The Boy In The Striped Pajamas

Sunday, October 18, 2009

back home from the book fair

I have to come clean about something... You remember my book buying ban, right? Well, so do I. I swear!!!

Nonetheless, I added a couple books to Mt. TBR. Some - most - of them were added because a very generous acquaintance from one of the forums I'm at brought some books :-) They're all in Germany and are related to China in one way or another and I can't wait to read them. (Thanks again, in case you're reading this!)

Then I got an ARC from the Randomhouse booth when they finally opened their "gates". It's a YA book with some magic that will be out in April 2010, so I'll leave you guessing for a bit (I'm not being mean, am I?)

And then I bought (yes, you read that right, I bought, despite the book buying ban - it was the annual Frankfurt book fair after all!) two books (I remember the past years and back then I bought over 10 books): Isabel Abedi's latest (at least for us Germans), Lucian, and Mari Mancusi's Stake This, the second in the series about twins Rayne and Sunshine. Both are YA books and I might even read them for next weekend's 24 Hour Mystery Read-A-Thon!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Book Fair

No posting about the book fair today. My feet hurt, I'm tired and I have to figure out my course of action for tomorrow (which authors will be there, which publishers do I want to check out, what other cool events are there etc.).

Let me just tell you I had a blast today and I can't wait to be back again tomorrow.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Frankfurt Book Fair

Some of you might now it already, but if not, you've been informed as of the end of this blog post!

The Frankfurt Book Fair started on Thursday, October 15, and will end on Sunday, October 18, and I'm a regular there. I spend as much time there as I can, so this will also hold true for the current one. I'll spend Saturday there with some other people interested in China, this year's guest country, and Sunday I will be there with some friends.

I don't know what I would do without the book fair, but then, if it didn't exist, I probably wouldn't know what I'm missing!

Anyway let me give you a brief summary of the history of the book fair (information from the official website, translation by me):

In the 14th century, Johannes Gutenberg first printed a book not far from Frankfurt. Frankfurt has been a "book city" up until the 16th century, but during teh 17th century, things around here shifted and Leipzig took over that role. In 1949, though, the tradition of the book fair was re-established in Frankfurt and 205 German book sellers came to the fair which took place at the Paulskirche (it's a building with so much history, I had to share a link - if you ever come to Frankfurt, make sure you visit the Paulskirche!). 60 years later, the Frankfurt Book Fair is the biggest book fair in the entire world!

I don't remember when I first attended the book fair, but it has been a few years now and ever since that first time I have missed maybe 1 book fair. It traditionally starts with the first two days for publishers, book sellers and authors, but the last two days, during the weekend, it's open to the public.

On Sunday, you can actually buy books (sales are not allowed during the first few days!), there's even a competition for the cosplayers (people who dress up as manga and/or anime characters, to keep the explanation short).

Throughout the book fair, there are many other events that revolve around the book fair, so it's always worth a visit.

Now, I will be at the book fair both days it is open to the pubic, so I will keep you posted.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Patricia Davids: A MILITARY MATCH

Patricia David
218 pages
Steeple Hills
ISBN: 978-0-373-87506-1

Private Avery Barnes grew up with money, but no love, and everone thinks he's just a wealthy playboy. Everyone, that includes his estranged grandfather. But the military taught him to cherish and value honor and love. To prove to his grandfather that he is made of more than everyone thinks, he plans to win the top prize at a cavalery competition. For this, he needs the help of Jennifer Grant, a local who is exceptionally good at riding. Jennifer, having grown up on the "other side of the tracks", is wary about Avery's commitment to both the competition and her.

I have to admit something. I'm not Christian and I usually am very wary of Christian literature, no matter what genre. But Patricia Davids' books are wonderful reads that I enjoy a lot! I had been waiting for Avery's story ever since I read Military Daddy in January. I had hoped to learn more about him and Patricia Davids made my wish and hope come true (Thanks a lot!). So, it was a much anticipated story, and I was not disappointed! Avery and Jennifer have a history and Jennifer is not too happy about seeing him again, but first her job and then their obligations bring them back together. Ms. Davids chose a clever way to bring them back together and once again created likeable characters. I hope to find a copy of the first book about the men and women of the Commanding Feneral's Mounted Color Guard, just to complete the story - but I still hope there will be more books coming!

Rating: 4/5

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Dani Sinclair
250 pages
ISBN: 0-373-22827-9

Trying to save her brother leaves Melanie Andrews with a dead body at her hands and a killer at her heels. Her only chance to escape was Roderick Laughlin. After he helped her out of the ballroom and out of the killer's sight, she kisses him goodbye and thinks she will never see him again. She has gotten mixed up in a deadly game and the only one who can protect her is Roderick.

Talk about breath-taking! This story was such a rollercoaster ride over the course of approximately 48 hours, I couldn't put it down. Melanie is trying to save her brother, who called her in fear for his life. They both grew up in a family of con-artists and thieves, so they know the family trade even though both are trying to lead an honorable life. But when her brother is in danger, Melanie leaves everything behind. Little did she know she was deep in a dangerous game of which she didn't know the rules. Dani Sinclair created an awesome storyline and I'm shocked to see that I haven't read any of the Harlequin Intrigue books before Mystique and this one!

Rating: 5/5

Monday, October 12, 2009

Charlotte Douglas: MYSTIQUE

Charlotte Douglas
250 pages
ISBN: 0-373-22852-X

Unfortunately, this book was first published in 2005, so it might be really difficult to acquire this book. You've been warned :-)

When her sister Debra disappears, Trish Devlin changes her name to go undercover at the Endless Sky resort, an exclusive vacation resort for the super-rich. But not only Debra's disappearance is mysterious, so is the owner of the resort, who leads a reclusive, secretive life (to a degree where there is no photo of him anywhere), and the resident manager of the Endless Sky resort has its own secrets as well.

This story was classified as a gothic romance and you might well add mystery to the list. It is intriguing, capured me from the start, has great characters and it is dark (and like two days ago, I am biased because of the setting)! The cast of characters is rather big, but there is a list with short description in the front of the book, so it is easy to keep the people straight. If you're up for gothic AND romance, go ahead and try to find a copy - it's definitely worth it!

Rating: 4.5/5

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Jill Shalvis: FLASHBACK

Jill Shalvis
211 pages
ISBN: 978-0-373-79420-1

When I read the holiday short story compilation earlier this year I knew I had to read the other books Jill Shalvis was writing about the men and women of the fire department in Santa Rey, a small town in California.

We're now in for a treat with firefighter Aidan Donnelly's story. He has been with Mackenzie Stafford, sister to Blake Stafford who died in the previous book, Flashpoint, before, but Mackenzie can't forgive him for thinking Blake really did what he is accused of. When Aidan sees that Kenzie won't give up, he decides to help her and make sure she is (and stays) safe.

I'm having problems here with the review, because everything I'd love to say would spoil the first one, Flashpoint, so I'm going to make this short. I really, really hated the cover. Sorry, but the guy is everything but what I would imagine the "hottest firefighter in Santa Rey" to look like! Otherwise, I enjoyed the story and the characters. If you read Flashpoint, you need to read this one, as it finished the story very well. You're in for a surprise, I dare say!

Rating: 4/5

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Janice Kay Johnson: SNOWBOUND

Janice Kay Johnson
276 pages
ISBN: 978-0-373-71454-4 (for the paperback - I read the e-version)

Fiona MacPherson and her students are on their way home from the Knowledge Champs competition when a blizzard strands them in Oregon's Cascade Mountains. In order to survive, they seek shelter at Thunder Mountain Lodge. There she meets their host, John Fallon, a war veteran with secrets and scars that may never heal. How can the two overcome the obstacles?

I was slightly biased when I read this book, I admit that. I would love to spend a vacation snowed in in a cabin somewhere. Of course with enough food and some other people (or at least some good books to read). The only reason I didn't rate this book 5/5 was the long part in the lodge compared with the rather short part in which Fiona and John get together. It would have been even better if Janice Kay Johnson would have spent some more time on John's decision to do something to deal with his past. All in all, though, it was such a well-rounded story that kept me hooked.

Rating: 4/5

back in a way

I think I might be back - sort of! I am writing a few reviews now to distract myself from other work I have to do and hope to finish a few until I go to bed tonight.
I still have more on my plate than I can (or want to) deal with, but I need this here *g*
See you in a bit with a review!

By the way, I finally resolved to put some sort of disclaimer in the side bar where you can see that all the pics of book covers are straight from Amazon and clicking on a book cover will lead you to it's Amazon page. That way I don't have to remember to write it in every review I write.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

it's a mess, guys, a real mess

Please forgive me for not being around much lately. Things have been really crazy around here and I'm not feeling too well. No health problems and the family's okay as well, so no worries there! It just came very unexpected and sucks big time right now. Life just isn't being nice to me right now ;-) I'm trying to remember that there are many other people who have more problems than I do, but you know how it is - it just doesn't help that much... I'm annoyed and it seems I want to be annoyed right now. So be it :-P

On top of that, classes start again next Monday and I have 1) no schedule yet, 2) no clue which books to get and 3) what to read for the first couple lessons.

I'll still read my mails, though and read books and hang around a bit, so no worries. I might just need a bit :-)

See you in a bit with reviews and a much, much better mood!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Book-buying ban!

I'm afraid, but it is again time for a book-buying ban! My heart is bleeding, but there's no other way. I have been trying to put myself under a ban, but each time I kinda - well, sucked at it.

By now I have 341 books on Mt. TBR with 4 more in the mail and another one pre-ordered. I spend lots of money on books and I don't mind supporting the publishing industry, but it has also kept me from saving up some money for something I've been dreaming of for years already. For a student, it's not always easy to save up money, but I'm determined to do it until next summer. Oh, right, I'm saving money for a vacation. The first in then three years...

Except for the already ordered books, the only books to find their way into Mt. TBR will be Bookcrossing books that I "swap" in virtual book boxes. Oh, well and of course the books I need for university...

Now, if you see me buying any more books, rip them out of my hands, chide me, shout at me - do anything to keep me from buying another book. You have the official permission to do so!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Well, I'm German and I can definitely live with the results! LOL

Your result for The Commonly Confused Words Test...


You scored 93% Beginner, 93% Intermediate, 93% Advanced, and 73% Expert!

You have an extremely good understanding of beginner, intermediate, and advanced level commonly confused English words, getting at least 75% of each of these three levels' questions correct. This is an exceptional score. Remember, these are commonly confused English words, which means most people don't use them properly. You got an extremely respectable score.

Thank you so much for taking my test. I hope you enjoyed it!

For the complete Answer Key, visit my blog:

Take The Commonly Confused Words Test at HelloQuizzy

Nick Sagan: IDLEWILD

Nick Sagan
276 pages
ISBN: 978-0-451-46198-8

I bought this book based on the recommendation of a friend from university with whom I was book shopping about two months ago. Usually, this is definitely not in my comfort zone, but I absolutely loved Idlewild.

A few teenagers attend at a prestigious virtual reality boarding school, Idlewild Immersive Virtual Reality Academy. Their parents sent them there in order to be prepared for medical school at an ivy league school. One of the students is Halloween, who interacts with his fellow students, while his body sleeps. All this happens under the supervision of Maestro, an enigmatic artificial intelligence. When an inexplicable energy surge leaves Halloween with a memory loss. Hal, as Halloween is sometimes called, believes this energy surge to have been deliberately triggered to kill him. But in a world ruled by virtual reality, what is in fact real and what isn't? This is part of what Hal has to find out.

I really bought this book on a whim, completely relying on Julia's recommendation, and it paid off. Nick Sagan drew me right into the story with Hal's memory loss and his desperate search for what is true and what isn't. I'm not very savvy when it comes to technology and computers etc, which my brother would happily attest to, but that didn't matter much. Sagan described the details short, but easy to understand, simply by having the basics explained to the students in flashbacks to when Hal first arrived at the Idlewild IVR Academy.

With lots of twists and turns, Idlewild kept me on the edge throughout the entire book. Maybe it is because I'm no pro when it comes to reading sci-fi, but I would never have expected the outcome of many of those twists, but I sure was surprised - flashbacks or not!

There are two more books revolving around Hal, Edenborn and Everfree, and I will definitely get them - for my days off in December at the latest!

Rating: 5/5

reviews, oh those many unwritten reviews...

We all know I'm horribly behind on reviews, so I've come to a conclusion. No, I'm not just going to ignore those unwritten, I will write them - eventually! But I will sort the books by genre. Next up (after the review of Idlewild, which almost shouted "review me!") will be a few more romance/chick lit reviews. After that, I will do the two or three university books left (by Cormac McCarthy, Karen Tei Yamashita and Philip Roth). Please bear with me!

Dewey's 24 Hour Read-A-Thon

I now officially signed up for Dewey's 24 Hour Read-A-Thon in October. The read-a-thon takes part right at the beginning of the new semester, so I hope I won't be too busy yet.

The read-a-thon starts October 24th at 5am Pacific (1pm GMT). I hope you'll join in!

Friday, October 2, 2009

September summary

September has been the worst month so far. I have been busy with work and with having one of my wisdom teeth extracted. The first part was very necessary, because my old computer didn't really work anymore. Now I have a new one, though! And the second was no fun at all!

Anyway, back to reading:

114) Dan Brown - The Lost Symbol
115) Rhonda Nelson - The Hell-Raiser
116) Lisa Kleypas - Mine Till Midnight
117) Rachel Caine - Midnight Alley
118) Benyamin Cohen - My Jesus Year: A Rabbi's Son Wanders the Bible Belt in Search of His Own Faith
119) Tanya Huff - Blood Trail
120) Amanda Quick - I Thee Wed (Bookcrossing)

82) Nick Sagan - Idlewild
83) D.D. Barrant - Dying Bites

So, you see it was a really, really bad month!