March was a great month for us! Our friend Steffi visited us at the beginning of the month, and then we spent a nice day at a nearby zoo. For the second half of the month, we were on vacation, which gave us lots of time to read – finally!
For Maraia’s 30th birthday, we met her parents and grandma in the Caribbean island of Bonaire, her very favorite place. It was Sebastian’s first time there, and fortunately he now loves it as much as Maraia and her family do. We spent two glorious weeks enjoying the warm, sunny weather; eating delicious food and gelato; chatting with the friendly guests at our small hotel; showing Sebastian around the island, and, most importantly, snorkeling. We saw tons of amazing fish and creatures, and Sebastian took full advantage of the underwater camera he got for Christmas. ?
Books & Audiobooks
Heilige Mörderin – Keiko Higashino
Learning who the murder is in the first chapter doesn’t take away from the suspense of this book at all. It was fascinating reading about the investigation of such a well-executed crime. The ending came as a surprise to both of us, but not in an implausible way.
Der Psychopath – Bram Dehouck
What a dud. The best thing we can say about this book is that it was short. The beginning was okay but not exactly what we’d call a thriller. The ending was a boring disappointment. It just sort of ended, without any suspense, especially since we didn’t care about any of the characters.
Not Dead Enough – Peter James
This is another solid edition to the Roy Grace series. It kept us hooked from the very beginning, and even though we guessed the twist fairly early on, we enjoyed watching Grace and his fellow detectives come to the same conclusion we’d already arrived at. Maraia’s only complaint with the book is the repeated sexist and offensive descriptions of women.
You Don’t Know Me – Imran Mahmood
This book wasn’t at all what we expected, unfortunately. The 400-page book is one long closing argument speech, giving by the defendant himself and spanning many days. There’s no dialogue, just narration. We’d be been willing to overlook the implausibility of the entire premise of the book if the end weren’t so utterly disappointing.
Cupido – Jilliane Hoffman
This was a reread for Sebastian, and he loved it the first time, so he was disappointed when Maraia didn’t enjoy it at first, complaining that mystery/thrillers don’t need so many pages. ? After a certain point, though, the story picked up and became quite suspenseful. It’s nice to read a thriller told from a lawyer’s perspective for a change and to see more of the legal aspects of a case after a suspect has already been caught and charged.
Little Boy Blue – M.J. Arlidge
Although we still enjoyed it, this is definitely the weakest book in the series so far. The plot was quite contrived, and it’s getting harder and harder to believe the things that keep happening to the main character. It ended on a major cliffhanger, though, so we’ll definitely be reading on.
Ship of Destiny – Robin Hobb
Ship of Destiny remains Maraia’s favorite Robin Hobb book, at least so far. Rereading it added so many new layers of understanding, and she’s already ready to read it again. Sebastian probably didn’t love the book as much as Maraia but it was definitely his favorite Hobb novel so far (the first 5-star read!) and he’s very happy with how all the storylines came together.
Wenn ich dich hole – Anja Goerz
While the story in this psychological thriller was rather predictable and lacked some suspense I still enjoyed the setting (a small village at the North Sea) and hence the atmosphere and as usual Stefan Kaminski did a great job with the narration. Also the audiobook was rather short with only about 5 hours so even though it wasn’t very suspenseful it also wasn’t long enough to become tedious.
Das Meer – Wolfram Fleischhauer
The dark and bloody cover design made me expect a thriller but now that I’ve finished the book I understand why it didn’t come with a thriller label from the publisher. This story about the criminal overfishing of the oceans definitely had some suspense but wasn’t a typical thriller story. However I enjoyed the audiobook since I found the topic really interesting (and a lot of facts quite shocking) and Johannes Steck’s narration was great as always.
Bis alle Schuld beglichen – Alexander Hartung
This book came with high expectations, being a Kindle bestseller in Germany, but after the first chapters I was a bit disappointed since it seemed like a typical self-publishing thriller which was kept rather simple and not too realistic but later on I really enjoyed the book. The unusual characters grew on me and the story had some interesting twists and a good level of suspense – definitely a series I’m going to continue!
Tempests and Slaughter – Tamora Pierce
I think the only reason that this was enjoyable at all is that I’m a huge Tamora Pierce fan, and I liked seeing Numair as a child. However, the book didn’t have a plot, so its 500 pages dragged quite a bit. I think Tamora Pierce does better when writing from a girl’s perspective, and I miss the girl power so prominent in her earlier books. I also wish there had been more diversity. The diversity that was present was pretty half-hearted.
Through the Woods – Emily Carroll
I don’t usually read graphic novels, but my friend Simon recommended this one, so I decided to give it a try. It’s a collection of short stories that are all very weird and very dark. Aside from the first story, I liked this book a lot! My favorite part is the absolutely gorgeous art.
The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion – Margaret Killjoy
I read this on Lucille’s recommendation and had no idea what it was about, or even which genre it was. Fortunately, she didn’t lead me astray. This is one of the most unique novellas I’ve ever read, and there’s so much to love about it. It’s diverse, it has a great cast of characters, and it features a demon deer that is out for blood. I’m so glad there’s a sequel coming out next month.
Let’s Pretend This Never Happened – Jenny Lawson
I listened to this for the Colour Me Read Challenge (genre: memoir). I I think I’d have enjoyed it more if I’d listened to it before Furiously Happy, Jenny Lawson’s second book. That one made me laugh myself to tears, whereas this one just made me chuckle a bit. From what I’ve gathered from other people who’ve read both, whichever one a person reads first is the one that seems funnier.
Wild Magic / Wolf Speaker / Emperor Mage – Tamora Pierce
After reading Numair’s backstory in Tempests and Slaughter, I was craving a reread of the Immortals quartet. I remember hating the audiobook narration when I listened to them a few years ago, but it must have been a different edition, because I’m quite enjoying it now. Tamora Pierce herself narrates the audiobooks, along with a full cast.
Every Falling Star – Sungju Lee
I decided to read another memoir for the Colour Me Read Challenge, and thought I’d go with one that my friend Chelsea read earlier this year and loved. I didn’t realize that it’s geared towards a YA audience, so that through me off at first, but I learned a lot. I had to keep reminding myself that these horrific events happened (and are still happening) during my lifetime, not some time in the distant past.
Let’s Talk About Love – Claire Kann
I read this in one sitting while on the plane, which I think made me enjoy it more than I might have otherwise. I didn’t have time to stop and really think about things. I later read a negative review written by Chiara and found myself agreeing with many of her points. I’m not sure where that leaves me. I think this is a book people will either love or hate.
American Panda – Gloria Chao
I adore this book. It has everything I look for in contemporary YA: characters who are diverse and realistic, body image positivity, a plot outside of the romance, friendships, and family dynamics. Plus, it’s set in college instead of high school. I would call this New Adult, and it’s what I’d like to see more of in the genre. It even gets bonus points for making me hungry constantly!
Children of Blood and Bone – Tomi Adeyemi
I haven’t been getting along with YA fantasy, but I couldn’t miss one written by a black author, with POC characters and a black girl on the cover. I hope this is only the first of many! I’m torn as to how I actually feel about the book, though. Had it been written by a white author and had white characters, I probably would have DNF’d. It’s not that is bad – it’s quite impressive for a debut novel – but I prefer my fantasy without cheesy, gratuitous romances. I also wish the characters hadn’t filled such stereotypical roles that I’ve seen far too often in YA fantasy. Still, there was plenty to enjoy, from the interesting magic system to the cliffhanger ending.
- HARRY POTTER 1-4: We started rewatching these movies while Steffi was here and decided to keep going. They’re so long that we have to split them up into two days. ? (Maraia thinks they’re all kind of terrible and doesn’t understand how anyone can love them but not like the books. Sebastian actually enjoys them – some of them more, some of them less.)
- THIS IS US: Maraia had been wanting to watch this for ages, but neither of us thought it was something Sebastian would enjoy. Turns out we were wrong! We went through two, sometimes even three episodes a night, it was that good.
- STROMBERG: If this show is good for something, it’s helping Maraia feel sleepy enough to go to bed.
- FRESH OFF THE BOAT: We’ll never get tired of watching this show! It makes us laugh every time.
- THE GOOD PLACE: We’re finally done with season 2 and impatient for more. Once again, the show through us another unexpected twist, and we can’t wait to see where things will go next.
- DIRK GENTLY’S HOLISTIC DETECTIVE AGENCY: We were excited to start season 2 after enjoying the weird but hilarious season 1. Sadly, we didn’t make it past the first episode, which was absolutely terrible. We had no idea what was going on, and it went from enjoyable weird to just bad weird. We’re still not sure if we want to give the second episode a try or not.
- LIFE IN PIECES: It’s hard to believe we love this show so much, considering how awful all of the characters have become. That’s what makes it such a realistic show, though.