Our month started off with a short but sweet visit from Celine. Despite two trains being canceled on her, she did eventually make it, and we spent a relaxing day and a half binging Criminal Minds, taking walks in between all the rain, and starting an extremely challenging 2000-piece puzzle. (A puzzle that still isn’t finished, despite the fact that we’ve worked on it nearly every day since then. :P)

On the last Saturday of the month, we met Sandy and Anja in Düsseldorf for the Büchermeile, which was a ton of fun! We hadn’t planned on buying any books, but somehow we ended up with three by the end of the day (which is mostly to blame on Sebastian). 😀 We also walked around the city and finished our day with a delicious meal at Sattgrün.

Books & Audiobooks

An Evil Mind – Chris Carter
It’s really impressive how even the weaker books of the Robert Hunter series are still better than most of the rest of thriller genre. The title of the book was definitely appropriate and even though we kinda missed an actual investigation in the first half of the book it was still super addictive and the author definitely knows how to shock his readers – we already can’t wait to read the next book of the series!

Bruderlüge – Kristina Ohlsson
When we started the second book of the Martin Benner duology we weren’t really sure how Kristina Ohlsson would be able to stretch this story over the length of another novel but Bruderlüge was maybe even better than the first book and had us hooked from the first minute until the final showdown. We were pretty sure we saw the ending coming for a long time but were still surprised by Ohlsson’s conclusion.

The Wolf Road – Beth Lewis
This got off to a rough start but ended up being one of our favorite books of the month! It’s told in first person with a heavy dialect, so it was slow going at first, and it reminded us a lot of True Grit. Fortunately, our persistence paid off, and the ending was both surprising and disturbing. We also grew to love the narrator, Elka, who is fierce and resourceful, as well as kinder than she pretends, despite her young age and rough upbringing.

The Gunslinger – Stephen King
We knew this book wouldn’t make much sense and would be quite boring (especially since Sebastian had already had some bad experiences with the German audiobook), but it was still a bit surprising to what extent both of these expectations came true. If it weren’t for the promise that the rest of the series is drastically better, we wouldn’t see much point in continuing.

Die Moortochter – Karen Dionne
This ended up to be less of a thriller than we expected, and very little actually happened in the book, and yet somehow it managed to be both interesting and addictive. The setting in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (and the author’s obvious familiarity with the area) is one of the book’s strongest points, as is the disturbing and fascinating relationship between the main character and her kidnapper-rapist father.

The Fourth Monkey – J.D. Barker
We officially have a new favorite thriller of the year! This book hooked us from the very first page, and it didn’t let up for a second. The characters are great, there’s a surprising amount of humor for such a dark book, and it’s every bit as messed up as promised. We can’t wait to read more!

The Snowman – Jo Nesbø
Each book in the Harry Hole series has been better than the last, and The Snowman is no exception. The murder mystery was creepy and the resolution surprising. We watched the trailer for the upcoming film adaptation as soon as we’d finished the book, before we’d had a chance to forget the details, and it’s obvious that they’ve changed quite a bit. Hopefully it will still be as addictive as the book!

Killgame – Andreas Winkelmann
This book was so mediocre that we’ve already forgotten most of the plot – and if we remember something it’s probably only the dumb characters who either acted like complete jerks or were so stupid that they absolutely deserved to die. However we always enjoy Simon Jäger’s narration (although Maraia always cringed when he pronounced „Nova Scotia“) and Canada always makes for a great setting, so at least there’s that.

Three Times A Lady – Jon Osborne
Book 1 of the Dana Whitestone series is still one of my all-time favorite thrillers – unfortunately book 2 was such a disaster that the author apparently had to self-publish the next sequels which kept me from picking the series up again for years. I eventually decided to give these books one final try and am glad that I did – Three Times a Lady is far away from being a masterpiece and it was obvious that the novel didn’t get a professional editing but I still find the protagonist interesting and the story was interesting enough to make me want to continue the series.

Nil Remembered – Lynne Matson
This novella was the final step of our Nil binge-read and while Maraia decided to pass on it my inner Monk just had to completely finish the series. I’m glad the book only took me about an hour to read since it was mostly a repetition of what was already mentioned in the main trilogy but I appreciated the little drawings – overall it was a nice bonus for hardcore Nil fans but you definitely don’t miss anything if you just skip this book.

Blutiges Eis („The Delicate Storm“) – Giles Blunt
While Maraia gave up on the book halfway I decided to fight through this book until the end and looking back on the novel I’m not so sure that was a smart decision. Half the time I had no idea what was going on since I don’t know anything about Canadian politics of the 1970s and 1980s and since the conclusion also wasn’t very satisfying I decided to not continue the John Cardinal and Lise Delorme series.

Schweigepflicht – Markus Heitz
I was attracted to this short story by the elevator setting and got a weird horror story that I found definitely interesting – I was just disappointed that it ended way too early and left me with too many unanswered questions.

Here Lies Daniel Tate – Cristin Terrill
I loved Cristin Terrill’s debut novel, and I’d just about given up hope of her ever publishing another one when I heard the news about Here Lies Daniel Tate. It’s a thriller instead of a time-travel sci-fi, but it’s just as good. It kept me guessing until the very end. I can’t wait to see what she writes next!

The Tiger’s Daughter – K. Arsenault Rivera
I was expecting this to be a favorite of the year, but I was sorely disappointed. I loved the setting, the diversity, and the girl power, but the second person narration was too jarring for me to truly enjoy the story. I also wasn’t clear what the plot was heading towards the entire time, so the end felt anti-climactic when nothing actually happened.

Zoe’s Tale – John Scalzi
I’m not sure why John Scalzi decided to write this novel. It follows the same story as the previous book in the series (which I did enjoy), but told from another character’s perspective. That combined with the narrator’s young age made Zoe’s Tale feel as if Scalzi were writing fanfic of his own book.

Saints and Misfits – S.K. Ali
I didn’t read the blurb ahead of time, so I was pleasantly surprised to find that Saints and Misfits isn’t your average fluffy contemporary but a story with real substance. It’s a fantastic #ownvoices debut novel told from a perspective we don’t see enough of in YA, and I highly recommend it. My only complaint is that the end felt rushed and anti-climactic.

The Last Mortal Bond – Brian Staveley
I can’t believe this series is over! The story is amazing, the narration is amazing, and I will miss the characters. Fortunately my favorite character has her own series coming up, or so I’ve heard. This is a long book, especially on audio, but I wasn’t bored at any point. Highly recommended!

Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day – Seanan McGuire
Novellas are hit-or-miss for me, but Seanan McGuire seems to be one author I can rely on to write fantastic novellas that I love. This one is totally bizarre, as I’ve come to expect from McGuire, and I really enjoyed it. It’s a story with both ghosts and witches, but it’s different from anything else I’ve read.

River of Teeth – Sarah Gailey
River of Teeth is an alternative history in which the US government released savage hippos into the Louisiana bayou. It’s about a crew of mercenary hippo wranglers, and based on the premise, I was sure I was going to love it. Unfortunately, it has nearly an identical plot to the novella I read last month, The Builders, and that took away half the fun. I think I’ll still read the sequel, though.

 

Movies

   

  • WONDER WOMAN: THIS MOVIE. It was definitely worth seeing it in theaters, and in English. It was impossible not to leave the theater without feeling empowered after seeing all those fierce women kicking ass. Also the soundtrack was pretty epic.
  • DESPICABLE ME: While Sebastian watched this movie for the third or fourth time already it was Maraia’s first encounter with Gru and his Minions and fortunately we both (still) enjoyed it!
  • DESPICABLE ME 2: We also managed to watch this sequel before the third movie came out and while it was a bit weaker than the first one it was still funny and entertaining.
  • DESPICABLE ME 3: We ended our „Despicable Me“ marathon by seeing part 3 in the movie theater and eventually agreed that it was our least favorite movie of the three (especially because Gru’s brother was a pain in the ass with his high-pitched voice and by being completely over the edge all the time) but we probably won’t ever get enough of Agnes‘ cuteness 😀

TV Shows

   

  • CRIMINAL MINDS: Once we started watching season 4, we couldn’t stop. This show is just so good.
  • DEAR WHITE PEOPLE: This show is often uncomfortable to watch, and many of the characters are hard to like, but the truth is often uncomfortable, and this show shares an important truth.
  • THE KILLING: We finally finished this show, which started with two excellent seasons and then got increasingly boring and irritating. By the end, I don’t think we liked any of the characters anymore.
  • STROMBERG: We’re making very slow progress on this show (mostly because it’s too painful for Maraia to watch) but we haven’t given up yet! 😀

  

  • FRESH OFF THE BOAT: This comedy series came highly recommended by Sana, and we’re happy to report that it delivered. This show is hilarious, and we definitely recommend it. The only thing we don’t like is that the episodes are only 20 minutes long, we need more!
  • HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER: We finally watched season 3, and maybe our expectations were too high, but the first half of the season was a struggle to watch. Fortunately, it did pick up eventually, but then the end was disappointing. Still, we’re looking forward to the next season (How can this mess get even worse?).
  • MARCELLA: Thank god this show was only 8 episodes long, because it was a huge disappointment. The last couple episodes were admittedly more interesting, but we’re not in a rush to watch a potential second season.

Reviews

     

Other blog posts

How was your July?
Did you read any good books?


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