Bookshelf: 2014 (2/2)

(The original entry can be found here. (German))

Part One.

[Source: tumblr]
SPOILER ALERT: If you haven't seen the last few seasons of Game of Thrones, I recommend leaving them out. On the other hand I recommend reading the books yourself because they're slightly different than the TV show.

Source: Goodreads
A Storm of Swords (#3) by G.R.R. Martin
"Of the five contenders for power, one is dead, another in disfavor, and still the wars rage as alliances are made and broken. Joffrey sits on the Iron Throne, the uneasy ruler of of the Seven Kingdoms. His most bitter rival, Lord Stannis, stands defeated and disgraced, victim of the sorceress who holds him in her thrall. Young Robb still rules the North from the fortress of Riverrun. Meanwhile, making her way across a blood-drenched continent is the exiled queen, Daenerys, mistress of the only three dragons still left in the world. And as opposing forces manoeuver for the final showdown, an army of barbaric wildlings arrives from the outermost limits of civilization, accompanied by a horde of mythical Others—a supernatural army of the living dead whose animated corpses are unstoppable. As the future of the land hangs in the balance, no one will rest until the Seven Kingdoms have exploded in a veritable storm of swords..." [Source: Goodreads]

Score: ★★★★★

Source: Goodreads
See: A Storm of Swords (#3) by G.R.R. Martin

Score: ★★★★★

Source: Goodreads
A Feast for Crows (#4) by G.R.R. Martin

"After centuries of bitter strife, the seven powers dividing the land have beaten one another into an uneasy truce. But it's not long before the survivors, outlaws, renegades, and carrion eaters of the Seven Kingdoms gather. Now, as the human crows assemble over a banquet of ashes, daring new plots and dangerous new alliances are formed while surprising faces—some familiar, others only just appearing—emerge from an ominous twilight of past struggles and chaos to take up the challenges of the terrible times ahead. Nobles and commoners, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and sages, are coming together to stake their fortunes...and their lives. For at a feast for crows, many are the guests—but only a few are the survivors." [Source: Goodreads]

Score: ★★★★★

Source: Goodreads
See: A Feast for Crows (#4) by G.R.R. Martin

Score: ★★★★★

Jamuna by Jamuna Devi
Unfortunately I can't seem to find this book in English. :(
Basically it's about a girl living in Berlin, Neukölln. The same district I live in, so that is probably why it got me from the beginning. It's just pretty cool when you recognise places that really do exist.
The 16 year old girl calls herself Jamuna. She's the daughter of a Libanese father and a German-Persian mother. When her father makes gambling debts, she decides to work as a callgirl.

Score: ★★★★✰

I found this book for 1€ at Tedi. Actually I thought it would include a lot more insight into the life of an escort but it's more superficial. Jamuna's way of reacting to thinks and talking is so Neukölln, it made me smile the whole time. On the other hand her thoughts about life are pretty deep. Something you might would not expect of a girl her age.

Source: Goodreads
Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James
"When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her, too—but on his own terms.
Shocked yet thrilled by Grey’s singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success—his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving family—Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a daring, passionately physical affair, Ana discovers Christian Grey’s secrets and explores her own dark desires.
Erotic, amusing, and deeply moving, the Fifty Shades Trilogy is a tale that will obsess you, possess you, and stay with you forever." [Source: Goodreads]

Score: ✰✰✰✰✰

Yeah, it probably stays with me forever for being one of the worst books I've ever read.
I could write so much about this book but I'm tired of it. Just that much: I've read it in English. And... my English is not the best but even I discovered lots of misspelling and noticed that dull style of writing. On every page Ana blushes twenty times or bites her lips...
Actually I put the book aside for half a year. I just couldn't read it. And usually I force myself through a book even I don't like it. In the end I managed to read all of it and I will read the other books as well. You can't criticise what you don't know.
If I start thinking about how many people think they have a knowledge of BDSM now, how many girls and women are made to believe that stalking rapists are so romantic because of this shitty Twilight fanfic, and that there probably are still two more movies to come, I get sick to my stomach.
Listen to what Laci Green has to say about it.

Bonus: "dramatic reading" of the original fanfic.

Cathy's Book by Jordan Weisman
"Things weren’t so peachy in Cathy’s life before Victor broke up with her. Her father died unexpectedly, she’s failing school, and her best friend is mad at her. But when Cathy decides to investigate Victor’s reasons for ending their relationship, things suddenly go from bad to very, very, very bad as her findings produce more questions than answers. For instance, what does the death of Victor’s co-worker, the strange mark that appeared on Cathy’s arm, and the surreal behavior of several Chinese elders have to do with it?Through Cathy’s unique and irresistible voice-and lots of proof in the form of letters, photographs, date book entries, telephone numbers readers can call, websites they can access, as well as secrets only a careful reader will be able to decipher-readers will enter a strange and fascinating world where things often aren’t how they appear. Two-color illustrations plus supplemental material. " [Source: Goodreads]

Score: ★★✰✰✰

Basically I liked the idea for that kind of book. Right at the back of the board of the book, there's this plastic pocket attached to it that contains proofs. And these come in all kind of shapes. Photos, documents, notes, drawings by Cathy etc. and telephone numbers you actually can call. At first I thought that was just a joke or something but then I tried it. The numbers are not connected anymore though. :( (At least in Germany.)
Honestly I thought the reader would be a lot more involved in the story. Do you know these "Choose Your Own Adventure" kind of books? Yeah, I expected something like that but it was like reading a diary.
Maybe you do ask yourself why I only gave this book a rating of two stars. There are just some problems I had with this book. Things worth criticising harshly. Cathy stalking her "boyfriend" and breaking into his house because she's worried. She lets her best friend down who she is working with on a school project and lets her do all of the work and so on because she is trying to help Viktor. Yes, maybe I could accept all of these things if I would not see this character being so pubertal and impulsive all the time which makes it hard for me to take her concerns and actions serious.
I did like the drawings of her outfits but I just don't want to gratify a book including a sentence like this. No, thanks.

"My tits weren't really measured up to fill the dress properly but it's always cool to be thin, right?"

Source: Goodreads
A Dance with Dragons (#5) by G.R.R. Martin
"In the aftermath of a colossal battle, the future of the Seven Kingdoms hangs in the balance — beset by newly emerging threats from every direction. In the east, Daenerys Targaryen, the last scion of House Targaryen, rules with her three dragons as queen of a city built on dust and death. But Daenerys has thousands of enemies, and many have set out to find her. As they gather, one young man embarks upon his own quest for the queen, with an entirely different goal in mind.
Fleeing from Westeros with a price on his head, Tyrion Lannister, too, is making his way to Daenerys. But his newest allies in this quest are not the rag-tag band they seem, and at their heart lies one who could undo Daenerys's claim to Westeros forever.
Meanwhile, to the north lies the mammoth Wall of ice and stone — a structure only as strong as those guarding it. There, Jon Snow, 998th Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, will face his greatest challenge. For he has powerful foes not only within the Watch but also beyond, in the land of the creatures of ice.
From all corners, bitter conflicts reignite, intimate betrayals are perpetrated, and a grand cast of outlaws and priests, soldiers and skinchangers, nobles and slaves, will face seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Some will fail, others will grow in the strength of darkness. But in a time of rising restlessness, the tides of destiny and politics will lead inevitably to the greatest dance of all." [Source: Goodreads]

Score: ★★★★★

Source: Goodreads
See: A Dance with Dragons (#5) by G.R.R. Martin

Score: ★★★★★

Source: Goodreads
Outsider by Klaire de Lys
"After witnessing the murder of her parents for marrying outside of their race, half-blood Astrid wants nothing more than to be left on her own. Placed in the care of Dag, a forgetful but well-meaning warlock, she vows to never feel as lost and helpless as she did on the day they were killed, and turns her back on the elves and the dwarves for destroying her life. Forty years later, young dwarf Jarl Vorn is certain that his city, Bjargtre, is under threat from an emerging goblin King. When his fears are dismissed, he asks Astrid to help him and his adoptive son, Knud, to reach the capital of Logberg safely, and Astrid finds herself pulled back into a world she never wanted to be a part of again." [Source: Goodreads]

Score: ★★★★✰

This book is only avalaible in English on Amazon as a real copy or ebook.
Maybe you recognise the author's name. I've posted Klaire de Lys's tutorials on my old blog a couple of times. So I wanted to know what she's like as an author and since I'm really into stories about elves, dwarves and such my interest doubled.
Every character has got their own thoughtful and lovely imagined backstory. The length and depth of them are various. Klaire shares her thoughts on the look of her characters and the places they visit. Sometimes she even uploads a drawing or a make up tutorial to one of her characters and has done a video about the map of the world the story takes place in.
There is just one thing that bothers me once in a while. Astrid sometimes seems to be too perfect for my liking. Since she was a kid, she was trained in combat techniques etc, she is a shapeshifter and can do magic... you know what I mean? I'm always for new strong, female characters but looking at the list of things she can already do, I'm afraid she might turn into a Mary Sue. And that's pretty unfair if you think about how much time, detail and love someone put into that story. The love relationship between Astrid and Jarl builds up pretty quickly, Klaire could have given them a bit more time. ;)
On the other hand I know how much she takes constructive criticism to her heart, so I'm looking forward to the next book.

Source: Goodreads
The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling
"When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early forties, the town of Pagford is left in shock.Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war.
Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils ... Pagford is not what it first seems.
And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations?" [Source: Goodreads]

Score: ★★★★★

I read this book in English as well and it bugs me how much time it took me to actually read it. To be honest I was dying to know what an "adult" novel by Queen Joanne would be like.
I was so delighted. Just like you're used to from her books about the boy who lived, she spins her webs and connections like no other. And until the end you walk in the dark, just when you get enlightened and everything makes sence suddenly, like standing infront of Sherlock Holmes's wall of clues.
As always I don't want to spoil the book for you by telling you the end of it. Just that much. It really made me cry, not just because it made me think of someone.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
""It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife."
So begins Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen's witty comedy of manners--one of the most popular novels of all time--that features splendidly civilized sparring between the proud Mr. Darcy and the prejudiced Elizabeth Bennet as they play out their spirited courtship in a series of eighteenth-century drawing-room intrigues." [Source: Goodreads]

Score: ★★★✰✰

From time to time the novel tends to get a bit slow but the story takes place on the country side and looks at the subleties of the society of that time. Things like that can be fatiguing. On the other hand it is very refreshing to read about women of that time who are not characterised as being hysterical and simple-minded or who fall unconscious every ten minutes. (If you have read the Sherlock Holmes stories you know what I mean. At some point every description of a woman made me roll my eyes in annoyance.)

20.000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
"Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea is a classic science fiction novel by French writer Jules Verne published in 1869. It tells the story of Captain Nemo and his submarine Nautilus as seen from the perspective of Professor Pierre Aronnax." [Source: Goodreads]

Score: ★★★✰✰

First and foremost I have to highlight how futuristic this book was for the time it was written. But maybe it's because I have not read that much from that aera (?), even I really like steampunk. (I have some books of that genre on my list though. :D)
Though the book and story is not that long, we accompany its characters on dramatic adventures and fascinating discoveries. The focus is much on Annorax's and Nemo's intelligence and from time to time all the technical data and detailed litany can get pretty annoying but not as plump as in most stories and personally I think it shows how much they both dedicated themselves to the sea. Conseil's dry character is a welcome change and made me smile from time to time. On one hand I feel Nemo's hatred against humand kind and his secret way of living war away from them. On the other hand I don't like his brutality against the inhabitants of the sea. He vents about how brutal and simple-minded all these people on land are. For me he isn't very much different in moments like these.
Definitely a book one should have read.

These were all the books I read in 2014. In 2015 I set my goal for 25 books again but right now I don't remember if I made it, hahaha!
What about you? Are you on Goodreads? Let me know!

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