Every Day Is for the Thief (Teju Cole)

Every Day Is for the Thief is a novel by Teju Cole.
Finished on: 1.4.2020

Plot:
After 15 years, a young man returns to Lagos from the USA for the first time after having left Nigeria as a child. As he reconnects with his family, he also re-discovers Nigeria. But his relationship with the country and his own roots is fraught and he doesn’t quite know how he can fit.

Every Day Is for the Thief is a beautiful novel that examines a sometimes parted, sometimes doubled identity in an evocative way. Even if you – like me – don’t have a family history that involves two continents, I’m sure that Every Day Is for the Thief will resonate with you. It certainly did with me.

The book cover showing a man running on a street next to a car.
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Rock Hard (Nalini Singh)

Rock Hard is the second novel in the Rock Kiss series by Nalini Singh, though it also ties in with her Hard Play series.
Finished on: 26.3.2020
[Here’s my review of the rest of the series.]

Content Note: abusive relationship, stalking (not in the main couple)

Plot:
Charlie works as a record keeper in a company and just got a new boss, former professional football player and known corporate hard-ass Gabriel Bishop. Their first meeting isn’t very great when he suprises her at the office when she thinks she is alone, her shock and subsequent mortification further increasing her already strong shyness. But Gabriel soon realizes that Charlie is an exceptional worker and promotes her to his personal assistant. As they work together more and more, Gabriel knows that he is falling for Charlie. But Charlie has demons haunting her from the past that may keep her from going for romance.

Charlie and Gabriel’s story is hinted at in Rock Addiction and was the main reason I wanted to continue with this series. And hot damn, it absolutely fulfilled my hopes in being a wonderful read with intriguing characters. I blazed through it.

The book cover showing a guy in a suit, tie undone, shirt open, holding an American football.
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Mermaid’s Key (Amanda Mahan)

Mermaid’s Key is the first novel in a coming series written by Amanda Mahan.
Finished on: 25.3.2020
[I won this book in a LibraryThing Early Reviewer Giveaway.]

Plot:
Evan has traveled a lot with his parents and his brother Ross as their parents work as anthropological/archaeological journalists. At the moment they are in Florida. There on the beach, Evan stumbles upon a key that looks very important. When he tells his parents, they want to give it to a colleague for analysis – much to Evan’s chagrin, who always feels at odds with his level-headed, practical family. But when they get stranded on one of the islands in the Florida Keys during a storm and Evan stumbles upon Maera, a softly bioluminiscent, telepathic and infinitely fascinating girl who knows about the key, Evan knows that he has to do something.

Mermaid’s Key is cute in a way that is definitely aimed at younger audiences. I do enjoy young adult novels, but I felt that I was too much of an adult for this one. It’s flaws may be more easily forgiven by a twelve-year-old, but I couldn’t look past a lot of them.

The book cover showing various sea debris (shells, corals, teeth) on a blue background.
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Rock Courtship (Nalini Singh)

Rock Courtship is a novella set between the first and second novel in the Rock Kiss series by Nalini Singh.
Finished on: 15.3.2020
[Here’s my review of the first novel in the series.]

Plot:
David, drummer of the band Schoolboy Choir, has been in love with their publicist Thea since about forever. His first attempt to ask her out, though, was a catastrophe: she blocked him off so cooly, he barely recovered. When Thea’s half-sister Molly advises him to write her a memo, he decides it’s worth a chance. And his memo does have a great effect on Thea – the question is, can she look past their professional relationship as well as her recent bad break-up to take the plunge with him?

Rock Courtship is a sweet, quick read. In fact, it could have been a little longer – I think it suffered a little from the fact that it was only a novella. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it.

The book cover showing the back of a guy in a shirt, holding drum sticks.
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Ancillary Justice (Ann Leckie)

Ancillary Justice is the first novel in the Imperial Radch trilogy by Ann Leckie.
Finished on: 11.3.2020

Plot:
Breq is what remains of the spaceship Justice of Toren‘s Artificial Intelligence – an ancillary, a fragment of the AI in a human body. Justice of Toren was one of many warships that were used in the conquest of all of the human plantes to bring the into the Radch empire. Now Breq, haunted by memories of her last Lieutenant and the entire ship, is alone on a remote, icy planet where she stumbles upon Seivarden, former Captain, who was lost for a thousand years. Seivarden is on the brink of death and Breq can’t bring herself to leave him, even if it might hamper her plans. Because Breq definitely has a plan.

Ancillary Justice is such a good read, building from a great concept to draw you into its complex world and then just not letting you go. It’s not the easiest of SciFi, but it’s more than just worth it.

The book vocer showing two spaceships over a moon.
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The Nine Lands (Marie Brennan)

The Nine Lands is a short story collection by Marie Brennan.
Finished on: 28.2.2020
[I won this book in a librarything Early Reviewer give-away.]

The Nine Lands collects seven short stories that are all set in the same world, but other than that aren’t really connected. I really enjoyed the stories. They are well-written and show a great variety of ideas without feeling disparate. I have had my eye on Brennan’s Lady Trent series for a while, I will most definitely will give it a go now.

On a more technical note, they really made the most of this being an e-book – with author’s notes linked to every story and making it easy to jump between the stories and the notes. Awesome.

The book cover showing a pencil-drawn map.

Read more about each of the stories after the jump.

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Floating in the Neversink (Andrea Simon)

Floating in the Neversink is a novel by Andrea Simon.
Finished on: 25.2.2020
[I won this book in a librarything Early Reviewer give-away.]

Content Note: child sexual abuse

Plot:
Amanda grows up in New York in the 50s. Her best friends are Francine, the only other Jewish girl in her neighborhood, and her cousin Laura, even though she is a year younger than her. The summer brings her to the countryside, away from Francine, but closer to Laura. Navigating her friendship with those two girls is almost as difficult as navigating her family. As Mandy grows older, she encounters moments of betrayal, but also of true friendship and love.

Floating in the Neversink is an evocative novel that draws on Simon’s own childhood to ground it in a sense of realism that’s devoid of nostalgia. I really enjoyed it.

The book cover showing a bridge over a river with a black old-time driving over it.
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Engel des Vergessens [Angel of Oblivion] (Maja Haderlap)

Engel des Vergessens is a (autobiographical) novel by Maja Haderlap.
Finished on: 21.2.2020

Plot:
A Slovenian farming family in Carinthia, Austria who pick up the pieces after World War II. The grandfather was a partisan fighter, the grandmother was interned in a concentration camp where many of their neighbors, friends and also family died. The father was himself a child at the time, but that didn’t save him from being drawn into the fighting. His daughter, still a child, is now trying to piece together her own family’s history, to understand what happened while the Nazis were in power – and also afterwards, tracing the many scars left from their regime.

Engel des Vergessens sheds light on a little discussed chapter of World War II in a highly personal way. Haderlap has a beautiful way with language and conjures an extremley vivid image of what it must have been like to grow up at the time and in that area of Austria.

The book cover showing the ladder from a chicken coop crossing in front of a barred window.
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P.S. I Still Love You (Jenny Han)

P.S. I Still Love You is the second novel in the To All the Boys series by Jenny Han.
Finished on: 7.2.2020
[Here’s my review of the first novel.]

Plot:
Lara Jean has a love letter to deliver – this time on purpose. And it brings the wanted result: Peter actually wants to be with her. But their new relationship (this time for real!) is shaken when a video of the two of them kissing in a hot tub makes the rounds at school, quickly turning into a story of how the two of them had sex and into a meme. Lara Jean suspects Peter’s ex-girlfriend Genvieve of spreading the video and fears that Peter will take Gen’s side. And then a letter arrives, a reply to one of the letters she wrote that were sent out against her will and that got lost for a while: John Ambrose McClaren soon becomes a regular pen pal for Lara Jean.

P.S. I Still Love You is an entirely satisfying sequel and just a wonderful novel that I really didn’t want to put down and practically didn’t. It’s supersweet.

The book cover showing a girl leaning against a reading nook.
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Re-Read: The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)

The Master and Margarita is a novel by Mikhail Bulgakov. I read the German translation (Der Meister und Margarita) by Thomas Reschke.
Finished on: 5.2.2020
[Here’s my last review.]

Plot:
Moscow, 1930. The writers Berlioz and Besdomny are in the middle of a discussion about the existence, or better yet actual non-existence of Jesus, when they are interrupted by a stranger who tells them a story of how he was present during Pontius Pilate’s trial of Jesus. Then the stranger goes on to predict Berlioz rather gruesome death, which promptly happens. Turns out, said stranger is actually the devil. In the guise of the black magician Voland, he and his associates came to wreak havoc in Moscow.

This is actually the third time I read Master and Margarita, and it’s probably the time it worked best for me. But I’d still say, it’s far from being a favorite of mine and it will probably really have been the last time I read it. (Why did I read it three times ? Well, the first time I was too young, so I wanted to read it a second time to really get it. And the third time now was for a Soviet lit class at uni.)

The book cover showing the shadowy profile of a cat.
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