BOOKS I READ IN MARCH

The first quarter of this year is over. It feels like we have already lived through a decade again. When looking back at all the goals and plans for 2020 it’s almost comedic. Life can change within a couple of days. Good thing books are a constant. After struggling through a couple tough ones reading picked up again. However I didn’t find any hidden gems lately. I finished 3 books and one I missed telling you about in February.

kindle book with cherry blossom books I read in march craftaliciousme seeking creative life abalone und das tiegergesicht

Abalone und das Tigergesicht by Christine Li | ★★★⭐︎⭐︎

What’s it about: A young sorceress is supposed to be married off. She’d rather learn fire magic. Disguised as a tiger she is embarking on an adventure during the night where evil spirits are roaming free. A book about growing up and realizing your parents aren’t quiet what you thought them to be.
What I thought: A book so very different from anything I have read. It is an asian fairy tale with magic and and dragons and mystic tales, hope and shadows and all things in between. It did take me a bit to find my footing in this new adventure. And even though I only gave three stars it is a series I look forward continuing to read. I believe it will become stronger in the following books. This was only ground work.
Language: German, not translated yet
Recommend to: If you like fantasy, fairy tales and strong female characters, other cultures and a different approach.

Uncle Toms Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe | ★★★⭐︎⭐︎

What’s it about: The story of Tom a slave in Kentucky who is sold off. Having to leave his family he ends up at a very brutal place. His faiths keeps him going even forgiving his tormentors. A story of slavery and religion. The book that started the Cicil War.
What I thought: This book has been on my reading list for a while. When my mom mentioned it was one of the books that stayed with her it moved up on my list. Oh man did I struggle with this one… I started reading in English. I had to switch to German because I had no f*** clue what was going on. It got mildly better in German. However I didn’t really liked the story. The writing is just horrible to be honest. The story itself is all over the place jumping from one character to the next with no real reason or intention. This way you can hardly like any of the characters. Why did I rate it with three stars you might wonder. Mainly due to the epilogue. This was gold. Placing the story in historic context, giving reason behind by the author herself and seeing the goal she pursued. And this is really something you have to bow to. Considering the time, the place and that the author was female. I am glad I’ve read it. However it was no pleasure.
Language: English and German
Recommend to: Everyone who can manage to get through this writing. It puts things in perspective and I believe knowledge is key to become better humans.

Wir sind Eure Töchter, Nicht eure Ehre by Serap Cilli | ★★★⭐︎⭐︎

What’s it about: The autobiography of Turkish suffragette and her long way to happiness. Forced to marry at the age of 15 after avoiding a previous engagement only through a suicid attempt. After seven years of living in rural Turkey she finally had her parents agree to divorce only to have the next husband lined up in Germany. By breaking with her family and fleeing to a women shelter with her kids she finally managed to start her life.
What I thought: It was very interesting for me to read and get a peek into a totally different culture and lifestyle. Some scenes were really horrible and hard to believe. I always feel like it is not fair to judge an autobiography. The writing wasn’t really good and you could tell that it was often tainted by hurt feelings and wrath. Which is understandable. However it left a sour taste in my mouth specially towards the end when complaining was added.
Language: German, currently no translation
Recommend to: Everyone interested in learning about the struggles of Turkish women and the reality of forced marriage.

She belongs to me by Carmen de Sousa | ★★⭐︎⭐︎⭐︎

What’s it about: Charlotte police officer Jordan Monroe is used to being in control. On a business trip, however, he meets the one person who throws his life into a whirlwind–Jaynee. Five years later, Jordan finds Jaynee on their back porch with a gunshot wound to the head. While Jaynee lies in a coma, Jordan has to go back to their beginning and figure out what went wrong. Did he push his wife to the edge, or has her past come back to haunt them?
What I thought: A very cliché and rather mediocre story. A bit of a waste of time as I was hoping it is more of a suspense novel with a pinch of romance (instead the other way around). Fortunately it got me back into a reading routine.
Language: English
Recommend to: If you like mindless chick-flicks go for it.

It was an ok reading month I guess. Often I was not able to concentrate on the story, my mind wandered and so I had to re-read passages. It’s ok. It will be different.

Now let me know about a good book you can recommend. I have finished up my no-spent-months and I could purchase books again. HA.

Happy reading

Tobia

Becoming a better listener and how I am working towards this goal

Advertising | The copy of this book was provided by the publisher – my thoughts and opinions you read here remain my own.

I’m struggling with not being patient enough to listening closely what people have to tell me for a long time. And it’s been on my resolution lists not once but a few times to become a better listener. I know it’s important to hear other peoples voices, don’t interrupt them and hear what is said. So it’s no wonder it made it on my 101 goals list as well. I was more than happy when I saw this book “Die Macht des Zuhörens” by Dr. Michael P. Nichols hoping to give more insights on how to actually achieve it. Even more happy when I received it as a copy by the publisher for review.

The Lost Art of Listening – What this book is about

Goodreads summery: Why do we often feel cut off when speaking to the people closest to us family members, friends, or colleagues? What is it that keeps so many of us from really listening? Michael P. Nichols answers these questions and more in this thoughtful, witty, and helpful look at the reasons people don’t hear one another. His book, a guide to the secrets of listening and being listened to, is filled with vivid examples that clearly demonstrate easy-to-learn techniques for becoming a better listener. He also illustrates how empathic listening enables us to break through misunderstandings and conflict and to transform our personal and professional relationships. 

The book is structured in four main parts:

  1. Yearning to be Understood → Der Wunsch, verstanden zu werden
  2. The Real Reason People Don’t Listen → Die wahren Gründe für das Nicht-Zuhören
  3. Getting Through To Each Other → Zueinander Durchdringen
  4. Listening in Context → Zuhören im Kontext

Dr. Michael P. Nichols includes a lot of examples from is work as a therapist in this book. This often helps making a point or illustrating a situation. Every once in a while he plays out the same situation from both perspectives giving the reader an example of what it means to “put yourself in the other person s shoes”. I found this concept very helpful. Throughout the whole book it is never to promote his own (perfect) handling of certain situations. (And I have come across other books where the same concept had exactly that feel.) Instead he induces here and there some charm and wit to his writing maybe even some sarcasm when he writes “of course I never fell into that trap, I am a therapist after all”.

A beautiful inside helps on the way to becoming a better listener

Even though this book is a scientific textbook it reads easy enough but not superficial. I read comparable books and they seemed to not getting it right in explaining complex ideas or situations without loosing some of the authority. They somehow tried too much to be easy to read and hence seemed to me superficial. Does that make sense? Not this one fortunately.

Each chapter was about 20-30 pages long. I read approximately one in a sitting and I recommend that. At the end of every chapter there were really approachable and doable exercises. I have only read through them as I didn’t have the patience to wait until I finished them (sometimes it says within the next week…, over the course of the next interaction with family members, etc.). However I think now that I have read the book cover to cover I will take another approach and look at it more as a work-book and do those exercises.

A thing I really enjoyed is the layout of the book. I recently read that the old style of textbooks where you only have chapters divided by paragraphs do not work in our low-attention-spanned society anymore. Books need to read more like social media snippets. And this book really gives you all this. It has a ton of really cool (tweetable) quotes and short summaries braking up the texts. Best about it: the author didn’t just pick a sentences from the previous text and have it set in a different type and font. No it is actually a condensed sentence of the idea or thought previously discussed. Additionally there are text passage with grey background for in depths info making the book even less monotonous.

Becoming a better listener is hard work

Now you might wonder if it is worth reading 300+ pages in a textbook to work on yourself. I’d say yes. This book has given me a better understanding and guideline as “Nonviolent Communications” even though a lot of principals are similar. Michael P Nichols never says it is an easy task to become a good listener though. It is hard work that in the end pays off – in all of life relationships. To convince you to have a look at this book I share some of the underlined text snippets in my copy with you:

  • Most problems of understanding don’t correlate with egoism or bad intentions but the need to say something. We concentrate on what we will reply instead of listening what is said.
  • It needs two people to share a feeling– one who is speaking, one who is listening.
  • When we detect sadness or depression in a person we often assume that something is wrong, something has happened. Maybe the “something” is that no-one is listening to that person.
  • When people don’t listen to us we we automatically look to blame them: They are egoistic and disrespectful. (When we are not listening it is because we are tired or bored or the other person was disrespectful with us.)
  • To show real interest in other people we need to set aside our interest.
  • Real listening is a strenuous and silent process.
  • Our own prejudices are functioning as a filter of what we are hearing and how we react to it.
  • People who have learnt in their childhood to show themself dignity are better listeners.

This is just a few snippets of wisdom. I am sure onces I read through the book again I will mark different passages.

The book in German translation “Die Macht des Zuhörens – Wie man richtiges Zuhören lernt und Beziehungen stärkt” has been published through Narayana Verlag. The original titel is “The Lost Art of Listening – How Learning to Listen Can Improve Relationships” written by Michael P. Nichols.

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

READING GOALS FOR 2020

I recently learnt that a person reads about 2.000 books in a lifetime. My first initial thought was that’s not much. Than I thought I’d like to think I read more. I told my husband and he started immediately calculating. Well… you need to read 50 books for 40 years straight to manage 2.000 book. This might be tough. No, screw that it makes me anxious. Now I start second guessing if it’s really smart to pick up the cheesy romance and third class crime novels if I can only manage so many books in a lifetime.

To make the most of it here are my reading goals for 2020:

Catching up on classics and world literature

There are so many books that won prizes, from renowned authors everyone talks about, classics of world literature I never looked at. Time to cross a few more off of that list and see what it is all about.

  • Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wild – this will be my first book of this author.
  • Uncle Toms Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe – time to close a gap in literary blindness. ✔️ March 2020
  • Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann – I tried Mann many many years ago and always fell asleep after a couple pages. Last chance dear friend.
  • Amerika by Franz Kafka – I guess it can not hurt to have read one Kafka.
  • Deutschstunde by Siegfried Lenz – I’ve stumble across this one since I can read. Time to pick it up.

Tackling my physical TBR list

I currently own close to 50 unread books. I am sure I forgot to count a couple. Time to read a few of them in 2020.

  • The Rabbi by Noah Gordon – I have read a few of his books and was never disappointed. So I look forward to this one.
  • Small Great Things by Jody Picoult – lets’s see what all the fuzz is about. The story does sound interesting too.
  • Parrotfish by Ellen Wittlinger – a book I received through a book swap and it seems a bit out of my usual reading genre but I feel like it’s time to read a story like that. ✔️ January 2020
  • Wir sind eure Töchter nicht eure Ehre by Seraph Çilili – I have no idea how this book came to be on my shelf or if I actually already read it. However it sounds interesting so I want to know more. ✔️ March 2020
  • In Zeiten des abnehmenden Lichts by Eugen Ruge – this was my book for Christmas and it’s won many book prizes. And it’s been hyped as the modern Buddenbrook so it would be good to read them both in one year.

Pleasure reads, fantasy, favorites

  • Smoke and Bone trilogy by Laini Taylor – After last years good experience with this author I really look forward to reading those books. ✔️ Book I, II & III – January 2020
  • A Darker Shade of Magic Trilogy by V.E. Schwab – I’ve come across this trilogy quite a bit recently and I am rather curious to read it now.
  • The Solitaire Mystery by Jostein Gardner – a re-read of one of my most favorite books by one of my favorite authors ever. Do you know it?
  • A book by Madeline Miller – I hear great things and I would like to read either Circe or The Song of Achilles.
  • Die ferne Hoffnung by Ellin Carsta – I love a good historic novel and this one sounds like a good journey. ✔️ January 2020
  • A Christmas Book – not sure which one, recommendations welcome

Challenging books, non-fiction & guidance

Besides lovely stories, epic fantasy worlds and romance novels I like to keep my mind fresh by throwing in a few books that are a bit harder and challenging to read for me. Those usually take a lot of time, I can not read them in a short span of time and I often really have to work through them. Those books are also the ones I prefer to hold in my hand, to leave through, go back and maybe even scribble in the margin.

  • The Creative Habit: Learn stand use it for Life, Twyla Tharp – I have not been able to finish as planned in 2019. I will tackle this longtime reading project in 2020.
  • A Brief History of Time, Stephan Hawkins – I am interested in this topic but at the same time a bit scared it might be too intellectual for me. But I will only know if I read it. That is why it is on the reading list for the second year in the row.
  • Big Dreams, Daily Joy by Elise Blaha Cripe – I love her vibe and her everything so I bought the book just to support. I am curious how much I can still pick up after following for so long. ✔️ January 2020
  • Quran – after reading the Bible in 2019 I move on and will be diving into Islam and it’s culture.
  • The Art of Happiness by The Dalai Lama – you can never not learn about happiness.

Overall I am aiming to read 53 books throughout the year. This is my highest goal I’ve set yet. However I have read 62 in 2019 so I know it’s possible. This reading list only includes 25 books. That leaves room to wiggle and be spontaneous. However my plan is to read lots of books I already own and swap many of those I won’t want to read again.

If you also like to keep track of your reading and love a good recommendation come join me on Goodreads. But be warned as you might find more books than you will ever be able to look at in a lifetime.

Happy reading friends

Tobia

2020 Reading Challenge

2020 Reading Challenge
Tobia has read 7 books toward her goal of 53 books.
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MY FAVORITE BOOKS 2019

As we are coming close to the end of 2019 it’s time to reflect on all the great books I have read. In total I am at xx currently but I believe a few more make the list. Of course I had a few favorite books in 2019 so let’s dive in.

Oremere Chronicles by Helen Scheuerer | ★★★★★

“In a realm where toxic mist sweeps the lands and magic is forbidden, all Bleak wants is a cure for her power.
Still grieving the death of her guardian, still trying to suppress her magic and dangerously self-medicating with alcohol, Bleak is snatched from her home by the commander of the king’s army, and summoned to the capital.”


You might think when reading this premises “I’ve read those stories a million times” and while this might be partly true I found the world it is all set in very interesting and different. Also to me the story felt a bit more grown up. Issues of addition were tackled, the ups and downs of friendship and forgiveness. I enjoyed it immensely and might have shed a tear too.

Daughters of the Dragon by William Andrews | ★★★★★

“During World War II, the Japanese forced 200,000 young Korean women to be sex slaves or “comfort women” for their soldiers. “Daughters of the Dragon” is one woman’s riveting story of strength, courage and promises kept.”

This was an intense read. The first 20 % are tough to go through and heart shattering. After that it gets a bit easier but nevertheless it is not a “pleasure” read. Still I flew through the book and forgot everything around me. 

I was aspecially impressed how graceful the whole topic was told. While it was often brutal and detailed it was never vulgar or pervers. I also felt the feelings of woman were well captured and that is not always the case with male authors. Chapeau.

I highly recommend reading this book. However be aware that it is no beach read.

“If you do not have courage, you will never blossom into the flower you were meant to be.”

Daughters of the Dragon – William Andrews

Dragon Queen by William Andrews | ★★★★★

“As tensions rise on the Korean peninsula, US diplomat Nate Simon is sent to Seoul to gauge the political situation and advise the president. He also needs to find out why someone sent the president an ancient, intricately carved comb with an ivory inlay of a two-headed dragon. Though familiar with Korea’s language and culture, Nate knows little of its troubled history. Beautiful and mysterious embassy aide Anna Carlson believes it’s time he learns, starting with the extraordinary story of Korea’s last queen.”

As the first book “Daughter of the Dragon” it was wonderfully written and swept me away into the world of a proud but grief stricken Korea.
I didn’t much care for the present story of Anna and Nate. But the life of the Dragon Queen was so interesting and engaging. It showed compassion and toughness in a male dominated dynasty. It showed humanity and love. All while quietly education about Koreas culture and history.

“You can wear the crown on your head and sit silently on the throne like the stones in the palace walls. Or you can wear the crown on your heart and be like a dragon who rules the forest. If you choose to be a stone, you must make yourself dead. If you choose to be a dragon, you must be alert and quick because many will want to slay you.”

Dragon Queen – William Andrews

Requiem for a Robin by Carter Bowman | ★★★★★

The haunted world of the Chryssians has crept upon the country of Passerine for the past one hundred years. Today, seventeen-year-old Lily Egret stands at a crossroads: spend the remainder of her days in hiding, or risk exposing the secret that will put her life in jeopardy.  
But something dangerous is growing inside of Lily—something that refuses to hide any longer. With no options left, Lily breaks the rules holding her life together and flees into the ruins of Chryssus, where more than specters wait for her in the shadows. Even safety comes with a price, though. With war on the brink, Lily will have to choose between her new allies and the only home she’s ever known. 


This was a pleasant and surprising read. I am glad I picked this one up.
Great world building and different setting from what I came across so far. The main character is not the smooth I-know-it all-heroine but has flaws and struggles that are actually relatable and believable. Looking forward to read more in the Second Soul series.

Strange the Dreamer Duology by Laini Taylor | ★★★★★

“The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way aroundand Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.
Love and hate, revenge and redemption, destruction and salvation all clash in this astonishing and heart-stopping sequel.”


Laien Taylor was a new to me author and I will definitely check out her other books. Her writing is just amazing, so whimsically crafted and the wording had such a nice flow.
I loved all the characters – they were not flat but had personality, good and evil had depths to it. And of course the storyline line was just beautiful, engaging and magical. A whole new world to discover.
if you like fantasy go read!

“Wishes don’t just come true. They’re only the target you paint around what you want. You still have to hit the bull’s-eye yourself.”

Muse of Nightmare – Laini Taylor

Vergiss kein einziges Wort by Dörthe Binkert | ★★★★⭐︎

Three epochs, three women, three destinies.
It’s the story of Martha, Maria and Magda from small Salesian town Gleiwitz which mirrors the history of the boarder region between Germany, Poland and Chzechia. The life between Christians and Jews, families being formed, families being expelled, families being left and reconnected. This stories takes place between 1920 and 1960 and beautifully portraits area and region and how close joy and sorrow are intertwined.


I immensely enjoyed this read. I struggled a bit to get into the writing style but the story immediately captured me. Even though this book was over 600 pages I would have continued reading to hear more about certain lives.
I especially enjoyed it as my Grandma was born and raised in this region and fled during WWII. It sometimes felt like reading her story.
Also some situations made me wonder about certain parallels to todays politics and situations. It felt very up-todate.
If you enjoy historical fiction this one is for your. Unfortunately it’s only in German but I hear translations are in progress.

The Book Thief by Mark Zusak | ★★★★⭐︎

It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will be busier still.
By her brother’s graveside, Liesel’s life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger’s Handbook, left behind there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery. So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordian-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor’s wife’s library, wherever there are books to be found.


I’ve heard so much about this book that I really wanted to read it. It is beautifully written and is bordering on poetic. I enjoyed that very much. The story itself could have been a bit stronger for me. Don’t get me wrong it was nicely told and had lots of detail and heartbreak. However I was missing something. Maybe I was just very bothered with the German phrases that were included and always translated – so when you understand German it’s a bit annoying. Until the very end it was a 3 star book for me. But then I cried while reading the last pages and since I can not remember the last book doing that to me I upgraded to 4 stars.

“It was one of those moments of perfect tiredness, of having conquered not only the work at hand, but the night who had blocked the way.”

Mark Zusak

Nachtblau by Simone van de Vlugt | ★★★★⭐︎

“Following the sudden death of her husband, twenty-five-year old Catrin leaves her small village and takes a job as a housekeeper to the successful Van Nulandt merchant family. Amsterdam is a city at the peak of its powers: science and art are flourishing in the Golden Age and Dutch ships bring back exotic riches from the Far East. Madam Van Nulandt passes her time taking expensive painting lessons from a local master, Rembrandt van Rigin, and when Catrin takes up a brush to finish some of her mistress’s work, Rembrandt realizes the maid has genuine talent, and encourages her to continue. 
When a figure from her past threatens her new life, Catrin flees to the smaller city of Delft. There, her gift as a painter earns her a chance to earn a living painting pottery at a local workshop. Slowly, the workshop begins to develop a new type of pottery to rival fancy blue-on-white imported Chinese porcelain—and the graceful and coveted Delft Blue designs she creates help revolutionize the industry. But when tragedy strikes, Catrin must decide whether to defend her newfound independence, or return to the village that she’d fled.”


I really enjoyed this story and the setting in the art scene and characters one might know from art class or museums. Mentioned people and paintings do exist. Of course it’s historical fiction but I liked it and it was a entertaining read.

“Wohin fliegt der Seufzer?, fragt er. “Nirgendwohin. Er bleibt hier. Es war ein Seufzer des Glücks.”

Nachtblau – Simone van de Vlugt

This is my selection of favorite books 2019. I’ve read many more and you can find my reviews on Goodreads. Also let’s be friends there to build our TBR pile.

Happy reading

Tobia