What a year! 2017 brought with it a lot of change, and despite the fact that it was kind of a crappy year on global scale, for us personally it was one of our best years ever. We finally got to be together, we traveled to and explored so many new places, we ate and cooked delicious food (does anyone need some chocolate? We have plenty to spare ?), Maraia became a co-blogger instead of just a guest blogger, and of course we read lots of great books. We ended the year with a great Christmas holiday with Sebastian’s family and a low-key New Year’s Eve – just the two of us on the couch, watching Rogue One and eating snacks. ?

Books & Audiobooks

Paradox Bound – Peter Clines
We’re not sure if Peter Clines can ever write something as epic as 14 or The Fold, but Paradox Bound definitely isn’t it. Still, we did enjoy reading it, and the story is both interesting and unique. It just doesn’t have the mind-blowing factor of Clines‘ previous books, and the ending is a bit anti-climactic.

Artemis – Andy Weir
We knew it would be hard to live up to The Martian, and we were right. Sebastian thought it was quite entertaining, even though the last third was a bit too boring and technical. Maraia, however, was very disappointed by how poorly Weir wrote his female main character and by his portrayal of Islam in the book.

Phatom – Jo Nesbø
This wasn’t the best Harry Hole book, as drugs are far from our favorite topic, but it was still a solid and addictive addition to this fantastic series. It might also have been the most depressing one yet, which is really saying something.

Hessen zuerst – Dietrich Faber
Sebastian had already followed the Henning Bröhmann series, a German crime comedy, from the very first book and would never have thought that Maraia might enjoy these stories since they’re heavy on cliches and can be a bit goofy. But Sebastian was really surprised and impressed by how suspenseful this story turned out to be and also by how well the author approached the difficult refugee topic so he thought that Maraia might give it a try as well – and she enjoyed it just as much, also because the audiobooks are very well narrated by the author himself.

The Harvest Man – Alex Grecian
It was about time we continue the Murder Squad series! This is just as easy to read as the others, and it was so nice to see our favorite characters again. We’re a little worried after the major cliffhanger of an ending, though.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – J.K. Rowling
We successfully managed to read this book at the same time, each one of us holding a side. It wasn’t the most comfortable way to read, but it was really nice to read this familiar and comforting book together and see all the amazing illustrations for the first time.

Elephants Can Remember – Agatha Christie
We already know that we’ve read the best and worst Agatha Christie novels, and this one falls solidly in the middle. It isn’t nearly as boring as Passenger to Frankfurt, but there is also a lot of unnecessary chatter, as well as spoilers for several of the Poirot books we haven’t read yet.

Totentanz für Dr. Siri (Disco for the Departed) – Colin Cotterill
I’m only slowly making progress with the Dr. Siri series because they’re rather cozy mysteries and don’t provide the thrill I usually seek but from time to time it’s still nice to take a trip to the exotic country of Laos and solve a weird case with the unconventional investigator and his unusual team. And this third Dr. Siri novel might even have been my favorite yet.

Der talentierte Mörder (The Steel Kiss) – Jeffery Deaver
While I was a little bit disappointed by the murder case since I had expected a bit more charismatic killer I still enjoyed this new Lincoln Rhyme case, especially because the side plots were really interesting since quite a lot was happening in Lincoln’s and Amelia’s lives.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – Alexander Freed
After the the disaster that was the German audiobook edition of The Force Awakens, I hadn’t planned on trying any more Star Wars novelizations. Holly and Corey’s frequent praise for Rogue One finally convinced me to give this one a try, and I’m so glad. It added a lot to the story we get from the movie, and the narration was fantastic, complete with sound effects and different voices.

The Stone Sky – N.K. Jemisin
Although I mostly enjoyed this series, I also found it very tedious to read, and I was still not entirely sure what was going on, even in the last book. I’m glad I read it, but I think it’s one that really need to be reread to fully appreciate.

Dear Martin – Nic Stone
I don’t understand why this book isn’t getting as much attention as The Hate U Give. Like THUG, it deals with social injustice in America, and it’s an incredibly powerful story that I recommend everyone read.

The Blade Itself – Joe Abercrombie
I finally started the First Law trilogy, after having been recommended it by just about everyone on bookstagram. I’m not sure if I would have liked it as much if I’d read a paper copy, but the audiobook narrator won me over in about five minutes. Narration aside, though, it was a great start to what I can tell will become a new favorite series.

The Book of Dust – Philip Pullman
I was so excited by a new Philip Pullman book that I didn’t bother to read the blurb and was therefore completely surprised that it was not, in fact, a sequel, as I’d assumed, but rather a prequel. As a result, it took me a while to get into the story, but eventually I found my way back into Pullman’s world. The story itself was a bit unnecessary, but the writing felt so familiar and comforting that I enjoyed it anyway.

Eliza and her Monsters – Francesca Zappia
This turned out to be one of my biggest disappointments of the year. I loved about 80% of the book and was ready to recommend it to everyone I know for its nerdiness and great social anxiety representation, until it took a bad turn, ruining the entire thing. I’m still so angry about what happened, but I can’t talk about any of it because of spoilers. It makes me frustrated that I can’t in good conscience recommend this book. The positive message it sends teens doesn’t outweigh the very harmful message it also sends.

Movies

  

  • STAR WARS – THE FORCE AWAKENS: Duuh duuh da da da duuh duuh da da daduuh duuh dun-dun-dun-duuuuh
  • STAR WARS – THE LAST JEDI: We both loved this movie. It was a bit long, true, but it was nice to see our old and new favorite characters, it was emotional, it was diverse, and it had a healthy dose of humor. Chuck Wendig wrote a great blog post about it that we encourage you to read (if you’ve already seen the movie).
  • ROGUE ONE: What a perfect way to end the year with this heartbreaking but beautiful film. In the end, its message is one of hope for the future.

   

  • THE SANTA CLAUSE: Our Christmas movie marathon began with this classic, which is definitely cheesy but also hard not to love.
  • NATIONAL LAMPOON’S CHRISTMAS VACATION: This was a first for both of us, and it was even more cheesy than The Santa Clause but still entertaining.
  • RUDOLPH, THE RED-NOSED REINDEER: This was new to Sebastian but one of the few things Maraia was allowed to watch on TV growing up. It’s super old and some of the lines made us groan at how politically incorrect they are, but it’s such a classic.
  • PASTEWKAS WEIHNACHTSGESCHICHTE: Oh, how we’d missed headdesking while watching Pastewka. This was as absurd as ever but also hilarious.

   

  • HOME ALONE: It had been years since we’d seen this movie, and we both enjoyed our re-watch. There’s something satisfying about seeing a little kid outsmart and take down a pair of asshole criminals.
  • THE HOLIDAY: This is one of Maraia’s favorite Christmas movies that she’s watched many times with her parents, but Sebastian was not impressed (Sorry.).
  • LOVE ACTUALLY: We finally got to watch our absolute favorite Christmas movie together, which made it even better.
  • A CHRISTMAS STORY: We gave this to Sebastian’s dad for Christmas and watched it as a family the day after Christmas. It’s as heartwarming and cheesy as ever. Just don’t shoot your eye out 😛

TV Shows

    

  • CRIMINAL MINDS: There were lots and twists and turns in season 6, but we’re glad things seem to be getting back to normal – or at least as normal as things ever are in the BAU.
  • THE BIG BANG THEORY: Nothing much new here, which means we’re still enjoying it.
  • THE GOOD PLACE: Several people recommended this to us, but at first we were quite skeptical. The characters and the story grew on us, but then the season 1 finale completely threw us off, and now we don’t know what to think again.
  • DESIGNATED SURVIVOR: This has got to be one of the most painful mid-season finales ever.
  • STROMBERG: *headdesks*
  • DARK: This is basically the German version of Stranger Things, and we haven’t watched enough to have strong feelings about it, but we definitely want to keep watching, despite the fact that we’ve yet to meet a character we actually like.

How was your December?
How did you ring in the new year?


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