The Books I Read in April 2017

I’ve recently read many books. In April especially because I spent two weeks on the beach or at the pool. To me there is hardly anything better than lying in the sun and reading, well, and drinking cocktails and cooling off every now and then either in the sea or in the pool.


Cecelia Ahern: “Flawed”, EUR 11,99If you break the rules, you will be punished. Celestine North lives a perfect life. She’s a model daughter and sister and she’s well-liked by her classmates and teachers. She’s also a girl of logic. To Celestine, every problem has a solution. Every action is either right, or wrong. Celestine has always known about the Flawed, second-class citizens who are branded as punishment for their crimes. And she always thought they must deserve their punishment. But everything changes when Celestine witnesses the mistreatment of a Flawed man, and steps up to help him. But in helping him, she reveals that she is imperfect. And in Celestine’s society, imperfection is punished. She is imprisoned. She is branded. She is flawed.

I loved this book because the plot is suspense-packed and the topic tangible. A dystopian society is depicted, but without any fantasy elements. Basically, it is our world, but one country has this strange guild to punish everybody who is morally flawed. Since no human being is perfect, this, of course, means that the system is purely arbitrary. I sympathize with Celestine and couldn’t wait for the second part to be published.

Jenny Colgan: “The Bookshop on the Corner”, EUR 13,55Nina is a literary matchmaker. Pairing a reader with that perfect book is her passion… and also her job. Or at least it was. Until yesterday, she was a librarian in the hectic city. But now the job she loved is no more. Determined to make a new life for herself, Nina moves to a sleepy village many miles away. There she buys a van and transforms it into a bookmobile — a mobile bookshop that she drives from neighborhood to neighborhood, changing one life after another with the power of storytelling. From helping her grumpy landlord deliver a lamb, to sharing picnics with a charming train conductor who serenades her with poetry, Nina discovers there’s plenty of adventure, magic, and soul in a place that’s beginning to feel like home… a place where she just might be able to write her own happy ending.

This is one of the novels I love reading on the beach. It is more or less clear what is going to happen, but it is nice to read it nevertheless. It even made me want to go to Scotland and explore those small villages and towns where Nina moves to.

Jojo Moyes: “Me Before You”, EUR 8,49Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has barely been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex–Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is. Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.

I had heard of the book many times before, but didn’t really know what it was about. I liked it because I feel that the topic of voluntary active euthanasia isn’t discussed enough. But I found the developing love story somewhat shallow. I believe that not every story needs love to make a lasting impression.

Stieg Larsson: “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, EUR 8,49Harriet Vanger, a scion of one of Sweden’s wealthiest families disappeared over forty years ago. All these years later, her aged uncle continues to seek the truth. He hires Mikael Blomkvist, a crusading journalist recently trapped by a libel conviction, to investigate. He is aided by the pierced and tattooed punk prodigy Lisbeth Salander. Together they tap into a vein of unfathomable iniquity and astonishing corruption.

This was a big surprise for me. I never wanted to read the Millenium trilogy because I thought it was a thriller – when it actually is a crime novel. But then a student gave the first book to me saying: “I’m sure you’ll like it. Take it on your vacation.” And because I at least wanted to give it a try, I started reading and couldn’t stop until I finished the book. I love how the plot is spun, everything makes sense, every element turns up again. The main characters are round, they have great and not so good character traits, which I appreciate.

Stieg Larsson: “The Girl Who Played with Fire”, EUR 7,99Mikael Blomkvist, crusading publisher of the magazine Millennium, has decided to run a story that will expose an extensive sex trafficking operation. On the eve of its publication, the two reporters responsible for the article are murdered, and the fingerprints found on the murder weapon belong to his friend, the troubled genius hacker Lisbeth Salander. Blomkvist, convinced of Salander’s innocence, plunges into an investigation. Meanwhile, Salander herself is drawn into a murderous game of cat and mouse, which forces her to face her dark past.

After finishing the first part, I checked my public library for the next two volumes as ebooks. I was lucky and could immediately download them. To my mind, the second part is the weakest of the three, but that is probably because the story is somewhere in the middle. It obviously can’t reach a satisfying ending here.

Stieg Larsson: “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest”, EUR 7,99In the third volume of the Millennium series, Lisbeth Salander lies in critical condition in a Swedish hospital, a bullet in her head. But she’s fighting for her life in more ways than one: if and when she recovers, she’ll stand trial for three murders. With the help of Mikael Blomkvist, she’ll need to identify those in authority who have allowed the vulnerable, like herself, to suffer abuse and violence. And, on her own, she’ll seek revenge–against the man who tried to killer her and against the corrupt government institutions that nearly destroyed her life.

The final part is like a grand finale. All plot lines meet here and eventually become resolved. It becomes obvious how throrougly thought through the whole story is, and, again, how each character, each event have a role to play. When I read it, I couldn’t even go to sleep before finishing the novel. Sometimes it is absolutely worth to read something I’d normally wouldn’t.

Gabriella Engelmann: “Inzelzauber”, EUR 9,99„Dumme Kuh“, „arrogante Zicke“ – so der Eindruck, den Lissy und Nele bei ihrer ersten Begegnung voneinander haben. Die zwei unterschiedlichen Frauen haben jedoch mehr gemeinsam, als sie ahnen: Das Leben meint es mit ihnen beiden derzeit nicht besonders gut. Neles Café steht kurz vor dem Konkurs, und Lissy wurde von ihrem Freund verlassen und flüchtete deshalb auf die Insel Sylt, um dort für drei Monate ihre Tante in deren Buchhandlung zu vertreten. Doch bald schon stellen die beiden fest, dass man zusammen stärker ist als allein. Der Inselzauber tut sein Übriges. Zwischen blauem Himmel, Dünen und Meer bekommen Träume Flügel und auf einmal scheint alles möglich …

Another of those easy reads. It is typical chicklit and therefore entertaining. The female main characters are likeable, and in a way this novel is a great advertisement for the German island of Sylt. But if you never read it in your life, you also won’t miss out.

Kerstin Cantz: “Die Schmetterlingsjägerin”, Hier auf Amazon.deNele, die junge Kaufmannstochter aus Bremen, segelt 1824 mit Mutter und Schwester einem großen Abenteuer entgegen: Brasilien, ein Land voller Zauber, in dem sie ihre Studien über Schmetterlinge fortsetzen kann. Noch ahnt Nele nicht, dass die Reise sie an den brasilianischen Hof führen wird, wo dunkle Machenschaften ihr Schicksal mit dem der unglücklichen Kaiserin verbinden …

I can’t recommend this book. Somebody had left it behind in the hotel, and I know why. This book is absolutely boring, although the description sounded exciting. But the plot is deadly dull, the characters remain flat. On the other hand, the writer gives too many details about everything going on in Germany and Brazil at that time. Better save your time and read something worthwhile!

Cecelia Ahern: “The Time of My Life”, EUR 6,99Lucy Silchester keeps receiving this strange appointment card and sweeping its gold embossed envelope under the rug. Literally. She busies herself with a job she doesn’t like, helping out friends, fixing her car, feeding her cat, and devoting her time to her family’s dramas. But Lucy is about to find out that this is one appointment she can’t miss, when Life shows up at her door, in the form of a sloppy but determined man. Life follows her everywhere – from the office, to the bar, and to her bedroom – and Lucy learns that some of the choices she has made and the stories she has told aren’t what they seem. Now her half-truths are about to be revealed, unless Lucy tells the truth about what really matters to her.

It is a gripping idea to anthropomorphize life. That there really is somebody who’d take care of us and rescue us when everything goes awry. This is why I enjoyed reading the story about Lucy. I’d have liked to know more about that life person because even in the novel only very few people seem to meet their own. Also, I sometimes thought the plot was a little too shallow for a great idea like this. There is basically only one event that triggered everything else in Lucy’s life – and I just can’t find this reaction chain very plausible.

© janavar

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