Lounging At The Lake Side: My Summer Reading

The 23rd of September has passed, which means that summer has come to its official end. Time to hide the cute bikini tops, buy a few sunglasses on sale and break out the fluffy scarfs. This also means that it is time to round up the books that have kept me entertained through the hot months when I was sat in acclimated trains or lounging at the lake side.

The month of July marked a three week long holiday for me. While this sounds like the perfect opportunity to read a really thick book, I spent a considerable amount of time on the road instead. Sometime between bouncing around between Stuttgart, Ingolstadt, and Spielberg, I have managed to read 9 books and two of them were in German! This had not only left me highly confused but also meant that I managed to keep my promise and read one German book.

The first day of summer began with a new book and it was ...

No Sad Songs

by Frank Morelli

From one day to another Gabe's life completely turns around. Over night he has to go from a carefree teenager with average grades and a crush on the prettiest girl in school to someone who has no parents and has to take care of his grandfather who suffers from Alzheimer's. This situation isn't getting better when Uncle Nick decides the best way to help Gabe is by moving in - but that Uncle Nick has been out of job for years, looks and sometimes acts like a beggar ...

I must admit that when I started reading "No Sad Songs" I had expected a typical Young Adult novel with theme of finding yourself and your way in life, but boy ... was I wrong. Morelli goes into a different direction than other novels - while the usual suspects Love and Friendship are present, the plot remains unique and focuses on Alzheimer's and how it influences the people close to a person with the sickness.

"No Sad Songs" is one of the most emphatic reads that I had held in my hand for a long time. Not only is it touching but it also manages to be funny in places. This leads to a pleasant reading experience while it remains serious about the main plot.

Full review is available here

Die Schützen

by Thomas Mohr

"Die Schützen" is German for "The Archers" and, as you may have guessed, it is the first German book I picked up in OVER a year. So what better choice then to pick a book that had been on my TBR for even longer than that. 

"Die Schützen" is only available in German and is about Timo who has to work through family history for university. He decided to write about his grandfather's experiences in WWII. At first Timo assumes that it won't be anything special but it becomes apparent that his grandfather had a relationship with his commander. Only with the commander did he feel like he had finally found someone he belongs with, only to get news that his wife is expecting a baby. Now Timo tries to uncover the dark details of this story while he has to deal with his own personal issues.

The reason why I picked up "Die Schützen" was because I am still on the hunt of a queer and battle-hardened love story and I had hoped that this might tickle my fancy. While it does not fulfill it 100% my dream wishes, it is a good book. It touches on topics such as how far you should and can go for love, and how big a role circumstance plays.

I liked that the commander was shown as Grandfather's one true love but it made clear that it can never happen - even though, they tried very hard to make it happen - but Timo was given a chance to make things right with his boyfriend because the times have changed.



Heart of Mist

by Helen Scheuerer 

... begins with Bleak - who wishes for nothing more than for her powers to disappear. She does not want to hear people's thoughts anymore. So far only a drink can give her relief. However, Bleak is not the only one concerned with her powers, the King sent out his army to fetch her. This might seal her fate, since the Ashai are hunted without remorse and it never ends well for them.

"Heart of Mist" is the first book in the Oremere trilogy and what a great start into the series it is! In the Helen Scheuerer start to introduce you to the realm and its workings. Furthermore, it has a great array of diverse characters - each of them is three-dimensional which makes the character driven plot even sweeter.

In the end, "Heart of Mist" provides the perfect set up for The Oremere Chronicles and wets your appetite for the second part!

A full review is available here

Out of the Blu

by Vitali Vitaliev

After a turbulent flight the Cs could not be happier to be back in the UK. Now the only thing they want to do is relax in the comforts of home. The plan shatters when they see an almost identical Volvo parked in front of their house, and even worse, they find exact copies of themselves inside. There are only small deviations between the couples, such as the spelling of their names - Victor versus Viktor. It turns out that they ended up in an alternative universe. But neither the Ks nor the Cs feel at home, both realize that there must be a third version. As quickly as possible, they are trying to find a way to return to their respective realities.

The idea from "Out of the Blu" is good as it is the first time that I held a story in my hands in which this freak accident happens to amateurs.

However, comparing it to other books I read this summer, I must admit that it was a bit of a let-down. While reading it, I could not quite shake the feeling that it was published before it was ready. Vitaliev should have revised the whole thing once more and added a few details here and there to make it more gripping.

In the end, I had been left with a feeling that, yes, Vitaliev is on the right track but he still needs to sharpen his tool a bit in the future.

I expressed these thoughts more in detail in the full review.


Reign of Mist

by Helen Scheuerer

After Bleak's escape from the King's Army, she sails into the mist and finds herself ship-wrecked in a strange place. Things become even stranger when she learns that she is in Oremere. It turns out that Oremere is the long lost continent that had been hidden in the mist in order to protect the Ashai. Years ago things took a turn for the worse when Ines came to power through a brutal coup and started a reign of terror. She weaponized the mist - making into a deadly weapon - and she has the unique ability to use other Ashai's powers for her own. Thus, she seeks the strongest and most precious Ashai to make their powers hers. In order to achieve that goal, she works together with King Arden who hunts the Ashai without remorse.

A few Mist Dwellers survived and they have a plan to bring all of these horrors to an end and they can use Bleak's help

Most sequels - may it be books or films - suffer from an effect that they can never quite keep up with the first part or the fan's expectations. Oh boy, is "Reign of Mist" different. It managed the near impossible and is better than the first part!

"Reign of Mist" offers so much action and character development. There are twists you are going to love and twist you are going to love to hate. The ending is horrible - read: perfect. My fingers are already itching for the next part. This book has been given the highest and rarest compliment that I can give: "I am hard-pressed to find a part that had been boring or slower."

Of course, I could not not write a full review. You can find it here! 

The Ship of Brides

by JoJo Moyes

After reading three books that I had to review in a row, my brain needed a bit of a rest from always having to think while reading. Thus I decided that I should find a book that is easy, uncomplicated and where the plot simply flows along without being overly hyped, dramatic or twisty. "The Ship of Brides" was just the right book for the occasion.

It tells the story of four Aussie brides who are on a week long journey from Australia to England in order to be united with their husbands after the WWII. During the journey they strike different bonds with each other, and you get a glimps into the lives they have lead until now.

While this sounds like a boring old-wife's tale, I was surprised by how invested I got in the story. I started to feel for the characters who were not two-dimensional cliches. Then "The Ship of Brides" also touched on topics such a tradition and social-taboos.

This is exactly Moyes forté, she takes a seemingly stereotypical plot and turns it into something with character.


Save Me

by Mona Kasten

Well .... this book can be described with one of my favourite words in the German language: "naja" - which means "so-so" and usually proceeds a not so positive statement. This is what "Save Me" was for me.

I saw various German speaking bloggers mention this book, I saw #bookstagram pictures of it, and then I heard my Mama gush on about it, so I decided that I should have a go but "naja" ....

"Save Me" is about Ruby - a rather unpopular middle-class kid who is forced to work together with James - a very popular upper-class kid with rich parents, who is destined to take over the family's business. There are a few side-plot which have potential to become more thrilling but somehow Kasten forgot all about them and rather focused on the romantic feelings that start to develop between Ruby and James.

This would be fine, hadn't it been done a million times before - it is not an original love story, it's unpopular girl and popular boy fall in love, his parents aren't too happy about it. Furthermore, they are not characters that you can like easily - so it's very hard to get addicted to their chemistry and start to care.

Then there is the ending, it is there for the dramatic effect but for me fall totally flat. In addition, I don't like the implication of "you're the only one who can save him" when the male part of the relationship goes through a mental trauma and acts hurtful, boarder-line abusive and in complete disregard of the - often female -  partner's feelings is somehow romantic. It is 2018, so let's stop romanticizing such toxic concepts.

In the end, Kasten is the opposite of Vitaliev: while Vitaliev does not lack creative ideas but a writing style that really pulls you into the story, Kasten has this writing style but lacks ideas to make a story original and creative.


The Midnight Line

by Lee Child

"The Midnight Line" is another book that has been on my shameful TBR pile for ages. However, just like with "Sharp Objects" and "Die Schützen", I decided to pick up! Avid readers of this small blog know that I am a fan of the Jack Reacher series and that I enjoy it for its simplicity while at the same time it manages to pull you into the story.

The same can be said for "The Midnight Line." It took a bit longer to get into the groove of the story but after 50 pages you knew where you at, and what type of mystery Reacher was going to unravel this time:

He is trying to find the owner of the graduation ring from West Point, the same place Reacher was trained at but in a different year. It would take a lot for someone to give such a ring away, Reacher argues and in the name of honour and duty he wants to fine the owner and help them. In doing so, he stumbles into a network of crime that might even be too big for Reacher.

"The Midnight Line" has a smooth progression with no overly dramatic plot twists. Instead it has a steady curve that keeps rising. It's simple writing that pulls you into the story, and dare I say that this time it is even a bit heart-felt.


Speed Read: Supercar

by Basem Wasef

Every once in a while you need to pick up a non-fiction book as well, and is there a better topic than to read about cars? Or in this particular case: supercars.

"Speed Read: Supercar" sets out to give you a beginner's guide to the realm of supercars. Wasef gives you an overview of the "Groundbreaks" and continues with "Eye For Design", "Tech Revolution", "Modern Mile Stones", the "Sacred Grounds" and "Indie Spirit." While this sounds like heavy reading and a lot of information out into 160 pages, everything is easily explained and written that even a non motoring enthusiast can get into the topic.

A full review is published here! 

While in terms of season autumn is the one I look least forward to, I am looking forward to it as a reading season. There are a few new book releases that I have my eyes on and I can't wait to get them between my greedy fingers. Furthermore, I am so very, very close to beating my goodreads challenge!

Have you read any of those books? And if so, let me know what you thought of them!

21 comments :

  1. Wow, I tried to read Midnight Line and found it wasn't for me. I don't know, maybe I'M not a Reacher fan.

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    1. you're not the first person to tell me that but in the first 50 or so pages I wasn't sure about it either but I knew it would start to make sense soon and that worked out

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  2. This is a fun style, catch-up post and really fun post to read.

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  3. I haven't read any of these - thanx for the info

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  4. Jealous of your 3 weeks off and all that time to read!

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  5. I haven’t read any of these. Thanks for sharing!

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  6. have not heard of any of these.. will check them out to see .. and love the way you have instagrammed your ebooks..

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    1. Thank you! I do try my best with the book photos :)

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  7. great post, i havent heard some of these i will check them out.

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    1. Thanks! Hope you found something that tickles your fancy

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  8. Love your photos by the way! These sound like really interesting books!

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  9. Great Summer summary! (say that fast 10 times :) ) I have not read any of those books.

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  10. Your pictures are beautiful! I need to check out Sad Songs. I have never heard of it!

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    1. Thank you ♥ and please do, it's an really interesting read

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  11. I haven't read any of these, but looks like you had a great summer!

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  12. Great post. We are three weeks into spring and the weather is still a bit nippy. Looking forward to some sunny day reading.

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    1. I love reading on sunny days. It's the best ♥

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  13. I've not read any of your choices. That lake looks gorgeous. Could see myself lounging there all day.

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    1. It's a great place and I try to take myself there as often as possible

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