Happy World Book Day 2018

Hello there!

Happy World Book Day everyone! Yes, it’s me and yes, I’m still alive and breathing.
Those who have been following me for a while now will also know that World Book Day usually also means that it’s Blogiversary time and that is why I couldn’t keep silent much longer 😉 It’s our fifth Blogiversary this month and even though there won’t be a huge celebration, I wanted to write a little update.

Some of you might have noticed that little notification on the right where it says that I’m working on my thesis and that there will be fewer blog posts these days; Well, that’s absolutely true! When I’m not working on my thesis, I’m trying to relax while sewing, doing jigsaw puzzles, visiting the local zoo or reading just for pure pleasure! I hope you can forgive me if writing a book review isn’t the first thing I’d like to do after spending time with my thesis.Volumes of books

If you are interested in what I’m reading, my Goodreads profile is always up to date. The only thing I usually don’t do when I’m planning on maybe someday reviewing a book, is rating it. But if you see something that I’ve read and would like my opinion on it you can always ask me. 🙂

Of the books that I’ve read since last summer, there were a few books that stood out:

What have you read and really enjoyed in the past months? I’m always looking for an awesome read!

Anyways, I hope you’re enjoying World Book Day in style today.
Have a great day! I will be back 😉

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

Review – Please Look After Mother by Kyung-sook Shin

Happy Mother’s Day everyone!

Today I have a guest blogger on All That Magic and it’s my mom 😀 She usually blogs on Leise Sohlen, so if you speak German, you might as well have a look at her blog.

Kyung-sook Shin Please Look After Mother

My daughter gave me this precious book for my birthday. I am very thankful for it.

Please Look After Mom
Image provided by Orion¹

An elderly couple are on their way from the countryside to visit their children in Seoul. So-nyo, 69-years old, isn’t quick enough to jump into a metro wagon – only her husband makes it inside. From this moment of separation, So-nyo is missing.

The whole family starts a search that lasts for months. With every modern tool they try to find their mother. During this time, every family member becomes part of the novel. So-nyo’s daughters, her very beloved son, her husband and auntie think about So-nyo, her live, her habits, and her love in first-person narrative. Also missing So-nyo gets a voice – she looks back at her life and you get a glimpse into her situation as a missing person.

The novel is set in contemporary Korea. Kyung-sook Shin, an Asian literary prize winner, manages to achieve insight into poor Korea, the countryside, and the hardworking people who try to find a better way of life for their children.

When teenage So-nyo and her husband got married, he was a stranger to her. Living in a very poor situation, she gave birth to her children at home, she was a very diligent person, who could build something out of nothing. She saw to it that all her children could attend school, university, and leave home to live in the world, which was very strange for their mother. So-nyo never had support from her husband, she was an invisible person, even to her family, up until the day she went missing.

Although the story is set in a different cultural context than ours, the relationship between a child and their mother is basically the same around the world. During So-nyo’s absence, long-kept secrets and private sorrows begin to surface, the family gets a chance to reunite and tighten their bonds and finally they realize that So-nyo is more than just a mother – that she’s a person.

This novel is very touching, because even though our own history with our mom is different, the feelings of a child towards their mom will always be the same. Reading Please Look After Mother will make you reflect on your own relationship with your mother.

¹ https://www.orionbooks.co.uk/books/detail.page?isbn=9780753828182

Review – Summertime by Vanessa Lafaye

Hi,

We’ve had some hot summer days recently and so Vanessa Lafaye‘s Summertime was the perfect companion to get me through a couple of thunderstorms.

Summertime
Image provided by Orion¹

In 1935, Heron Key, Florida is a typical Southern town with the exception that many of its new residents are war veterans who are there to build a bridge. While almost everyone prepares for the Independence Day celebrations, Jenson Mitchell, owner of the town’s general store, watches the barometer with concern. There is news of a storm that hit the Bahamas and it could very well head their way. Heron Key’s residents are used to hurricanes, but the veterans don’t know what they are facing.

In the dramatic few hours before and during the storm, Missy, a young woman working as a domestic help for a white family, and Henry, who has finally returned home after his 18-year absence, have to find out if they are still close to each other while trying to save their and many other lives.

Summertime is loosely based on the events during the 1935 Labor Day hurricane², which was the strongest landfalling hurricane in the Atlantic Basin and the US in recorded history. This knowledge gives the fast-paced novel an even more dramatic aspect. The characters are mostly predictable but that doesn’t spoil the read. If you want to get a feeling for what being in one of the biggest storms in history must have been like, and you don’t shy away from the ugly details of a catastrophe like this, Summertime is the book for you.

4 Star Rating: Recommended

Orion Books provided me with a copy of Summertime in exchange for an honest review.

¹ https://www.orionbooks.co.uk/books/detail.page?isbn=9781409155393

² Changed to Independence Day because of the date’s patriotic significance for the veterans.

Review – Moon Over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch

Hi,

Right after finishing Rivers of London, I had to continue with book number two in Ben Aaronovitch‘ Peter Grant series, Moon Over Soho. And here is what I think about it.

Moon Over Soho
Image provided by Orion Publishing Group¹
Synopsis quoted from Orion Publishing Group¹:

I was my dad’s vinyl-wallah: I changed his records while he lounged around drinking tea, and that’s how I know my Argo from my Tempo. And it’s why, when Dr Walid called me to the morgue to listen to a corpse, I recognised the tune it was playing. Something violently supernatural had happened to the victim, strong enough to leave its imprint like a wax cylinder recording. Cyrus Wilkinson, part-time jazz saxophonist and full-time accountant, had apparently dropped dead of a heart attack just after finishing a gig in a Soho jazz club. He wasn’t the first.

No one was going to let me exhume corpses to see if they were playing my tune, so it was back to old-fashioned legwork, starting in Soho, the heart of the scene. I didn’t trust the lovely Simone, Cyrus’ ex-lover, professional jazz kitten and as inviting as a Rubens’ portrait, but I needed her help: there were monsters stalking Soho, creatures feeding off that special gift that separates the great musician from someone who can raise a decent tune. What they take is beauty. What they leave behind is sickness, failure and broken lives.

And as I hunted them, my investigation got tangled up in another story: a brilliant trumpet player, Richard ‘Lord’ Grant – my father – who managed to destroy his own career, twice. That’s the thing about policing: most of the time you’re doing it to maintain public order. Occasionally you’re doing it for justice. And maybe once in a career, you’re doing it for revenge.

My Thoughts:

In Moon Over Soho, we’re back in present-day London and author Ben Aaronovitch still helps us to create vivid images of the book’s setting in our minds. However, the history and architecture that impressed me in Rivers of London now fade into the background.

My favorite character shares this fate. In Moon Over Soho, Inspector Nightingale is a secondary character like many others in the book. Most of the time, he stands on the sidelines and doesn’t even watch what’s going on around the main character Peter Grant, who slowly turns into a testosterone-driven guy, unable to think clearly.

The plot of Moon Over Soho is quite engaging with an unhurried pace. The book picks up right where Rivers of London left off and it doesn’t flood you with information that you already have if you’ve read Rivers. If you aren’t that big a fan of Inspector Nightingale and historical facts, I’m sure this book will please you. For me, these two are important elements that make the series worthwhile. Moon Over Soho is a solid read, but cannot live up to Rivers of London.

3beans

¹ https://www.orionbooks.co.uk/books/detail.page?isbn=9780575097629

Review – Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch

Hello,

Last Saturday, I was finding myself in a post-exam void, so it was the perfect time for me to finally raid my dad’s bookshelf and grab his copy of Ben Aaronovitch‘s Rivers of London. And this is what happened:

I was instantly hooked. After years of reading gazillions of vampire series that had started mixing up in my mind, I had sworn myself not to start another series for at least another year. But then there was my dad reading Ben Aaronovitch, telling me that the Peter Grant series was fun and clever. After my exam I needed something light and so I couldn’t resist any longer.

Rivers of London
Image provided by Orion Publishing Group¹
Synopsis quoted from Orion Publishing Group¹:

My name is Peter Grant and until January I was just probationary constable in that mighty army for justice known to all right-thinking people as the Metropolitan Police Service (and as the Filth to everybody else). My only concerns in life were how to avoid a transfer to the Case Progression Unit – we do paperwork so real coppers don’t have to – and finding a way to climb into the panties of the outrageously perky WPC Leslie May. Then one night, in pursuance of a murder inquiry, I tried to take a witness statement from someone who was dead but disturbingly voluable, and that brought me to the attention of Inspector Nightingale, the last wizard in England.

Now I’m a Detective Constable and a trainee wizard, the first apprentice in fifty years, and my world has become somewhat more complicated: nests of vampires in Purley, negotiating a truce between the warring god and goddess of the Thames, and digging up graves in Covent Garden . . . and there’s something festering at the heart of the city I love, a malicious vengeful spirit that takes ordinary Londoners and twists them into grotesque mannequins to act out its drama of violence and despair.

The spirit of riot and rebellion has awakened in the city, and it’s falling to me to bring order out of chaos – or die trying.

My Thoughts:

Rivers of London is mainly set in present day London but those of us who have a soft spot for dated architecture won’t be disappointed. There’s enough of it in this book to make your heart beat faster. Did I mention that Mr Aaronovitch even gives us a library? An old one. Actually there is more than one, but he describes one of them in enough detail for me to fall in love with it. (Okay I’m a bookaholic and a history student, I might not be a reliable source in those matters.)

Peter Grant, our main character, is an apprentice wizard and police constable. He is a very likable fellow and great to be around. You really want to be friends with him. There is, however, another character in Rivers of London that I felt more drawn to: Inspector Nightingale. Inspector Nightingale, who likes to dress in an old-fashioned way, is clever and mysterious which somehow seems to make him attractive.

Rivers of London takes you on a fast-paced hunt for a mysterious murderer. As a matter of fact, the novel’s pace sometimes gets so fast I had to reread certain passages to make sense of what was happening. Rivers of London combines a great sense of humor with loads of interesting facts about English history and architecture and this is what makes the novel special. If you are interested in history, but you’d like to try urban fantasy for a change, Rivers of London might just be the book for you.

4beans

¹ https://www.orionbooks.co.uk/books/detail.page?isbn=9780575097582