November was yet another month that flew by, leaving us wondering what happened with all our time. We had several socializing events (that’s a lot for us ?), including dinner and walk through a Christmas market with our friends Sandy and Anja. We hosted Thanksgiving for Sebastian’s family, all of whom celebrated for the first time. (They were pretty skeptical of the pumpkin pie, but it ended up being a success ?) We also worked on getting Christmas presents together, although that’s an ongoing effort. We even managed to read quite a lot and are happy that we buddy read/listened to TEN books!

Books & Audiobooks

Hex – Thomas Olde Heuvelt
We went into Hex knowing next to nothing about it, and for the first few chapters, all we could think was “what is going on here?!” Unfortunately, neither of us found the book at all scary, and the ending was a bit disappointing. Still, it’s an exciting and unique horror novel with a creepy premise. We liked how the author incorporated modern technology into the story and even made Harry Potter references! It’s a solid a Halloween read, especially if you skip the blurb and go in with no expectations.

The Surgeon – Tess Gerristen
This was a reread for Sebastian and a new read for Maraia, but we both enjoyed it a lot. Maraia was frustrated that, despite being written by a women, the book still has so many of the sexist clichés we see in almost every thriller. Aside from that, however, this book was really addictive even though we were surprised that the two protagonists of the Rizzoli & Isles series were a) not presented in the best light (Rizzoli) and b) didn’t even have an appearance in the whole story (Isles)…

The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye – David Lagercrantz
Despite being a bit disappointed that the previous Millennium book by David Lagercrantz didn’t hold true to the spirit of Stieg Larsson’s badass characters, The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye was one of our most anticipated books of the year. Fortunately, it didn’t disappoint! It was almost like reading the original trilogy again. We love watching Lisbeth and Mikael take down the bad guys, and we hope their story is far from over.

The Night Season – Chelsea Cain
The thing that really makes this series special is the fascinating relationship between detective Archie Sheridan and serial killer Gretchen Lowell. Unfortunately, Gretchen’s absence from this book meant that it didn’t have the same addiction factor as the previous books. It’s still a solid thriller, but it isn’t special.

Flugangst: 7A – Sebastian Fitzek
After enjoying AchtNacht, we had high hopes for Fluganst: 7A, but sadly our expectations weren’t quite met. As is typical of Fitzek’s more recent books, this one is filled with unrealistic scenario after unrealistic scenario. While it’s undeniably a page-turner, it’s so far from the realm of plausibility that it fails to be truly thrilling or suspenseful.

Murder on the Orient Express – Agatha Christie
After loving And Then There Were None, we had high hopes for this one, and it more than lived up to expectations. In fact, we thought it was even better than And Then There Were None. Murder on the Orient Express is old-school murder investigation at its finest. We enjoyed following along as Poirot solved the cased, and the ending was quite satisfying.

Der Lebkuchenmann (Whiskey Sour) – J.A. Konrath
Konrath wrote in the foreword that he wanted to combine humor with mystery, and that’s exactly what he delivered. There’s nothing groundbreaking about this novel, and it’s often quite exaggerated, but it’s definitely entertaining.

The Drawing of the Three – Stephen King
We’re now two-sevenths of the way through Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, which is quite an accomplishment considering the disaster that is book one. Fortunately, The Drawing of the Three is indeed better, but it isn’t quite as fantastic as promised. It has a plot that we could mostly follow and characters who are interesting, if not likeable, but we’re still left wondering what the point of the whole thing is.

Monster 1983: Staffel 2 – Ivar Leon Menger
We can’t get enough of this amazing audio drama! We finished our re-listen of season two, and now start long-awaited season three. We’ve said it before, but if you like Stranger Things and 80s culture, you should definitely give this a listen.

Passagier nach Frankfurt – Agatha Christie
This is only our third Agatha Christie so far, but we’re confident that it’s her worst. (At least we certainly hope so.) Supposedly this is a mystery, just like the rest of Christie’s novels, but the only suspense was whether or not we’d fall asleep while reading it. We’re glad we didn’t start with this one, as it would most certainly have been our last.

QualityLand – Marc-Uwe King
I absolutely loved Kling’s hilarious Kangaroo trilogy but was quite skeptical a) how a full-length novel would work out compared to the sketch-based Kangaroo books and b) if the author could still be as funny without said Kangaroo. While the first two or three hours were entertaining but felt a bit random the story really picked up afterwards and became not only funny but really interesting and even thought-provoking and I’m definitely going to visit „QualityLand“ again some day!

Durch Nacht und Wind – Stefan Lehnberg
I went into this book without any expectations and was quite surprised how much I enjoyed listening to this audiobook. The novel was basically a Sherlock Holmes mystery but with Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller as Sherlock and Watson. An interesting and tricky murder case, likable protagonists and a nice dose of humor – I definitely want more Goethe/Schiller mysteries (and this comes from someone who absolutely hates poetry…)!

The Fifth Season – N.K. Jemisin
This is one of the most unique fantasy-science fiction combos I’ve ever read, but although I enjoyed a lot, I feel as if I should have enjoyed it more. I spent most of the book being completely confused, and while I don’t need to know all the answers, I do like to have at least some understanding of what’s going on. I’m glad I read this with a group of friends, as there are endless theories to discuss and questions to ask.

The Golden Compass / The Subtle Knife / The Amber Spyglass – Philip Pullman
I reread (re-listened, actually) to this trilogy for the umpteenth time in preparation for the newly released Book of Dust. I don’t love the books quite as much as I did as a kid, but I tried to pay more attention to the audiobooks than I did during my last listen, and therefore I enjoyed them much more. Pullman’s narration really is fantastic, and the ship is one of my favorites.

Everything All At Once – Katrina Leno
This was a reread, and I’d forgotten just how painful this book it. It hit a little close to home this time around, but Katrina Leno’s words are as powerful as ever and her characters as relatable. I wish I’d had books like this growing up.

The Accusation – Bandi
I’ve been searching for this at the library since Anja and Ann highly recommended it on Bookstagram, and I finally found an audiobook copy. It’s a collection of short stories from North Korea, and given the subject matter, I should have been prepared, but it’s so much more depressing than I expected. I can’t even imagine living in a place where every single action you make is carefully scrutinized and could have serious consequences. It you like a good dystopian novel, this one is basically dystopian reality.

Movies

 

  • THE SNOWMAN: We enjoyed this movie, but we can also see why it got such poor reviews. If you haven’t read the book, there’s a good chance you won’t have any idea what’s going on, as very little background information is given. Since we are familiar with the book, we were able to enjoy seeing Harry Hole come to life and the beautiful Norwegian scenery. And Michael Fassbender is close to perfect for the Harry Hole role!
  • THOR: This was a re-watch for both of us, and while it’s not the most mind-blowing film of all time, it’s certainly entertaining and enjoyable. It made us even more excited for the newest Thor movie.

TV Shows

    

  • STRANGER THINGS: THIS SHOW ? The last two episodes were just perfect, and we’re not sure how season 3 can possibly top season 2. Needless to say, we think everyone should watch this delightfully nerdy show. The characters are the best.
  • FRESH OFF THE BOAT: It’s still weird to see (and most of all hear) Eddie hitting puberty and we’ll probably never stop thinking of him as the middle brother but the show is funny as usual and we’re glad things start going back to normal for the Huangs 😀
  • DESIGNATED SURVIVOR: We’re a little bit worried about the low ratings of this show which is really sad because it definitely deserves a bigger audience. It’s still really comforting to see that American presidents don’t necessarily have to be f***ing assholes.
  • BROOKLYN NINE-NINE: One of our favorite comedy shows is finally back and just as good as usual. It’s kinda nice to get a break from Gina and now we’re desperately hoping that this most annoying character (I think we all know whom we’re talking about…) is finally gone for good.
  • MINDHUNTER: We’d heard so many great this about this show, but we’re still wondering what we missed. The first episode was almost painfully boring (as is the intro), and although the rest of the episodes were at least somewhat more interesting, we never felt hooked. There wasn’t much of an overarching plot or case to solve, and it just sort of ended without any conclusion. It’s both surprising and disappointing that a show about serial (or let’s say sequence^^) killers can have so little suspense.

   

  • MODERN FAMILY: Phil and Claire are as painful to watch as ever, but it’s hard not to love them. We’re definitely not sick of laughing at and with this family.
  • AND THEN THERE WERE NONE: Having read the book so recently, we were easily able to point out differences, of which there were many. Aside from the unnecessary addition of sex, we were quite pleased with this adaptation, despite the changes. It was fun seeing the characters come to life! Our main question is whether the killer is as obvious to people who haven’t read the book as (s)he was to us.
  • CRIMINAL MINDS: This show is as good as ever, but we swear the characters‘ haircuts get worse every season. ? We’re also a bit sad about a certain event, but it’s amazing how quickly you can get used to major changes in TV shows.
  • THE BIG BANG THEORY: After season 10 ended on a major cliffhanger, season 11 started off with a bang (ha ha). Even after so many seasons, this show is still hilarious.

How was your November?
Did you read any good books and are you already in the mood for Christmas?


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