Books I read in January

One of my most favorite way to spent time is reading. Lucky me has quite a lot of time pockets to fit in a good book too. And as mentioned many times before the ebook reader is my best friend because I always have a library available at my finger tip. While one day I spent fighting of shadows, dragons and dance with magic the next I learn about goal setting or such. But honestly it all keeps blending together and I think that is sad. Often people ask me about the best recent book or what happened where and I have a hard time recollecting. So I will introduce a new monthly topic here and let you in on my monthly book reads. Hope you find some interesting ones to reach for next time you look for a good read. For more book talk you may also come and join me on goodreads.

January started off as a pretty good reading months for me. Honestly the best I ever had as I finished up 11 books in total.

Smoke & Bone Trilogy by Laini Taylor | ★★★★★

What’s it about: An art student being raised by monsters living in Prague and getting a glimpse of the world beyond. Later on the adventure takes of and takes her places she could have never imagined but always had an inkling.
What I thought: This is a wonderful world you will dive in. It’s not black and white and monsters might not be the evil nemesis while angels are not so innocent. Love that crosses lifetimes, friendship that spans universes and humor crossing races. Its a wild ride and oh so fun. It’s a modern story with fresh aspects and peppered with wit and strong characters.
Language: English (also available in German)
Recommend to: Everyone loving a good fantasy epos.

Big Dreams, Daily Joys by Elise Blaha Cripe | ★★★★⭐︎

What’s it about: A lot of compact information on goal setting, prioritizing and list making. It’s structured in five chapters with different focus on the project and goal setting stages. It contains quick exercises and hands-on approaches to get started right away for people with to many ideas or people who need to find the one idea first.
What I thought: It’s a handy guide if you need a kick in the butt, if you never tackled a big project or if you just need to fresh up on a few skills. I loved every advice, it was well written, fun to read and very authentic when you follow Elise online. I was waiting for the big epiphany to hit me. I consider myself pretty good in project management so it wasn’t all new to me however there is a ton of value here. And sometimes you just gotta hear things you already know.
Language: English (also available in Russian soon)
Recommend to: Everyone needing to pick up on some goal setting skills.

Die schönsten Wintermärchen by Gesine Damell | ★★★★⭐︎

What’s it about: A beautiful collection of known and less known fairy tales and short stories. All center around winter, snow, ice and darker season. Feelings and traditions that occur this time of year.
What I thought: When I bought this book I thought it was a bit more christmassy but it was actually not at all. In hindsight I like it this way. I am especially in love with the cover.
Language: German
Recommend to: everyone loving the winter season, liking to sit by the fire reading a nice story maybe reading it to loved ones

Nonviolent Communication by Marshall B Rosenberg | ★★★★⭐︎

What’s it about: It’s THE book about how to communicate in a peaceful and respective way. Rosenberg developed a concept to engage conflicted parties and tested it in diplomatic crises, in gang related fights, in prison, schools and personal relationships. It contains a lot of helpful insight in his yearlong studies and expertise. The chapters are easy enough to read even though scientific based and are lined with examples from his practice. At the end of a chapter you will find a summery and exercises to review the learnings.
What I thought: I see the value of the theory and can see why it had a ripple effect in the academia. However there were a few times where I was left with an uneasy feeling when reading. If I would follow my conversations exactly as described it would leave me rather frustrated and too questioned. It sometimes had a bit of an esoteric feel to it. I am not sure if it was the way it was written, the way and state I read it in or just the way it was supposed to be. Would be curious how you see that. Nevertheless I took a lot of thought and value from it hence my 4 stars.
Language: English (also available in German)
Recommend to: Everyone interested in learning more about communication, interacting with one another, living in a peaceful and more harmonic world.

Die ferne Hoffnung by Ellin Carsta | ★★★⭐︎⭐︎

What’s it about: Historic fiction about a family in Hamburg trading with coffee. After bad investment of the father and his sudden death the three sons have to take over and struggle to bring it back out of bankruptcy. The new colonies in Africa bring hope by branding out and so part of the family is embracing an adventure.
What I thought: It was a quick and joyful read with a few interesting details about German colonialism and Africa around the 19th century. At times I thought it was a bit predictable where the particular storylines were heading but it was still enjoyable. I will probably read the following books.
Language: German (also available in English)
Recommend to: Everyone loving some historic fiction, a good family drama and doesn’t mind reading lots about coffee, cocoa, trade and Vienna coffee culture.

Lucia im Netz der Lügen by Carola Schierz | ★★★⭐︎⭐︎

What’s it about: Fairy tale about a father and daughter who struggle to do the right thing in a time when all around them people choose the easy and financial lucrative way.
What I thought: Compared to other tales written by this author I thought it fell a bit flat. However it might have been because I am not so fond of this whole upper class and downtown abbey kinda setting. And I didn’t feel much connection and fondness towards the main character. Other than that it was well written and easy read.
Language: German
Recommend to: Everyone liking a fairy tale set in a noble household and people who fight for righteousness.

Zitronenhimmel by Monika Detering | ★★★⭐︎⭐︎

What’s it about: A 67 year old widow that decided to move to the Baltic Sea in her camper and start over in life. Her family is not too happy about it. She starts a penpal-ship with her grandchild having deep conversations about death and afterlife while she experiences freedom and new adventures in her new place.
What I thought: I have a tendency to pick up books that don’t shy away from talking about death and sickness and this was a very interesting pick. It was interestingly written and opened my mind to the view of the older generations it was from the point of view of a retired person and the worries and hopes this generation has for their life. It made me think twice about interacting and maybe not dismissing certain things as fast.
Language: German
Recommend to: Everyone wanting to hear another point of view, loving to read about books in books and not afraid to approach the topic of death.

Parrotfish by Ellen Wittlinger | ★★⭐︎⭐︎⭐︎

What’s it about: Angela is born in a girls body but it never felt quite right. Inside she always knew she was a boy and was more interested in boys things too. Gradually she changes her looks in a more masculine way until she declares she will go by the name “Grady” now. That is were we start the story approximately and we will follow along how family, friends, society and system is reacting to that.
What I thought: I was looking forward reading something I have no points of contact with and learn more about thoughts and struggles about life as a transgender person. Unfortunately I think this is the wrong book for that. While the book it self was written well and easy enough to read I thought the whole story fell rather flat. The emotions certain reactions provoked could have been more explored. I hated that it was rather stereotypical most times. I am sorry to say but it felt like the author picked a trend topic to sell books but had no genuine interest in it and did just enough research to get by.
Language: English
Recommend to: I am not sure I would. There are probably better out there to get acquainted with this topic.

Tangled in Blue by Marion Castella | ★★⭐︎⭐︎⭐︎

What’s it about: A teenage boy and his first love. Discovering how it feels to fall in love, be disappointed and hurt. And coming out as a gay.
What I thought: It could have been a really sweet story about falling in love and meeting your first love. Unfortunately the author ruined it by adding a crime story, a celebrity story, Atome addiction and divorce issue. It was all over the place and hence terrible. The positive thing (for me) is that I never really realized it’s a story about a gay couple. Either the author perfectly described that without any weirdness or I just don’t have an issue with it.
Language: English
Recommend to: If you need a quick mindless beach read and there is nothing else it might do.

Now that the year started of this great and I was able to check of a few of books of my reading goals this year already I might up my total a little bit. What books should I add to my list? Let me know in the comments what you favorite read was.

Happy reading

Tobia

2 thoughts on “Books I read in January

  1. What a great reading month for you! You’re starting strong this year! :)
    Thanks for the recommendations. I am particularly intrigued by Elise’s book (I’ve been following her blog and IG for years).

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