Kindred (Octavia E. Butler)

Kindred is a novel by Octavia E. Butler.
Finished on: 20.2.2018

Plot:
On her 26th birthday, Dana is supposed to celebrate with her white husband Kevin. Instead, Dana is pulled back in time to the 19th century. She sees a boy drowning and saves his life before she comes back to the present. But she can barely process what happened before she gets pulled back again to find the boy a little older. Somehow her fate seems to be intertwined with his. But a black woman on an antebellum plantation is in a precarious position to say the least.

Kindred is a fascinating, well-written, smart book that really takes the system of slavery apart – and in a way that makes for an amazing page-turner.

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Die Judenbuche [The Jew’s Beech] (Annette von Droste-Hülshoff)

Die Judenbuche is a novella by Annette von Droste-Hülshoff.
Finished on: 2.2.2018

Plot:
Friedrich grows up under tough circumstances with an alcoholic, abusive father. Even after his father dies and he is adopted by his uncle Simon, Friedrich grows up to become a very hard man who is followed around everywhere by Johannes, Simon’s illegitimate son. When a group of wood thieves turn more violent, Friedrich is involved. And when a Jewish man, Aaron, is murderd, Friedrich is also implicated.

Die Judenbuche is an interesting novella that I think could have even profited from being expanded into a novel. In any case the slim volume does carry quite a punch already.

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Behind the Mask: A Superhero Anthology (Ed. by Tricia Reeks and Kyle Richardson)

Behind the Mask is an anthology of superhero stories edited by Tricia Reeks and Kyle Richardson.
Finished on: 29.1.2018
[I won this book as an uncorrected ARC in a Librarything Early Reviewer giveaway.]

Behind the Mask is a very entertaining anthology. Of course, there are stories that worked better for me than others, but overall, I had a lot of fun with the various takes on superheroes in this, stretching from origin stories to questions of inheritance, from every day obstacles to big fights.

After the jump, there’s more about each of the stories separately.

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Wrought Gothic and Other Scenes (Steph Swainston)

Wrought Gothic and Other Scenes is a collection of moments, scenes and vignettes that are part of the Fourlands Series by Steph Swainston.
[Here are my reviews of the other books.]
Finished on: 29.1.2017

“Plot”:
Wrought Gothic collects various glimpses into the background of the Fourlands in differing forms. There are some outtakes, a few descriptions from a tour guide, a history essay by Simoon, and a look at Jant’s past.

Wrought Gothic and Other Scenes provides us with some nice background information of the world of the Fourlands and some of its characters, but not everything worked all that well for me. Still, as a supplement of this complex world, it was nice.

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Aftermath (Steph Swainston)

Aftermath is kind of a novella in the Fourlands Series by Steph Swainston. It’s actually a first look at the next novel in the Series, The Savant and the Snake which hasn’t been released yet, and includes some bonus material.
[Here are my reviews of the other books.]
Finished on: 27.1.2017

Plot:
After the events of Fair Rebel, there are a lot of pieces to be picked up. When Gayle, the Castle’s Lawyer, wakes up from her injuries, Simoon, the Castle’s Treasurer, is already waiting for her. He is deeply unsettled by events and tries to find his footing again. He talks things through with Gayle, trying to figure out how to go on from there.

Aftermath is short and probably mostly for more committed fans of the series, with the background information and the glimps of what’s to come it provides. I really enjoyed it.

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Silver Silence (Nalini Singh)

Silver Silence is the first novel of the Psy-Changeling Trinity Series (or the 16th novel of the Psy-Changeling Series) by Nalini Singh.
Finished on: 21.1.2018
[Here are my reviews of the other books in the Psy-Changeling series.]

Plot:
Psy, changelings and humans have come together under the Trinity Accords. The peace and cooperation treaty is still in its infancy, but Silver Mercant plays a central part as the coordinator of a joint emergency response network. That’s exactly why somebody tries to kill her. It’s only due to chance (and his growing obsession with her) that Valentin, alpha of the bear changelings, catches wind of the attempt. He knows that Silver needs a place to lie low and he can give it to her. And maybe he can give her even more.

Silver Silence is the start of a new story arc of the Psy-Changeling books – officially the start of Season 2. Having followed the series from the beginning, I can’t say that I feel much of a break between Season 1 and Season 2, but that doesn’t matter because it achieves again what I’ve come to expect and love from the series.

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Krambambuli und andere Erzählungen [Krambambuli and Other Stories] (Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach)

Krambambuli und andere Erzählungen is a collection of short stories by Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach.
Finished on: 2.12.2017

There are three of Ebner-Eschenbach’s short stories in this collection, all revolving around dogs and/or loyalty, and all designed to extract the maximum amount of tears from me. The stories and her writing are really good, but you gotta be in the right mood to want to cry this much.

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A Wrinkle in Time (Madeleine L’Engle)

A Wrinkle in Time is the first novel in the Time Quintet by Madeleine L’Engle.
Finished on: 30.11.2017

Plot:
Meg Murry is an unusual child from an unusual family. Her mother Katherine is a scientist, as is her father Alexander – who has been missing for a while. He was working on tesseracts – and their new neighbor Mrs Whatsit seems to know more about the topic. When Meg goes to investigate a haunted house with her school mate Calvin and her genius brother Charles, she encounters Mrs Whatsit again – together with Mrs Who and Mrs Which. They prompt her to go looking for her father – all through the universe.

A Wrinkle in Time is a nice read that didn’t completely win me over – I’m still on the fence about whether I want to continue reading the series. That being said, there is a lot that can be enjoyed about the book, even when you didn’t grow up with it.

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The Mill on the Floss (George Eliot)

The Mill on the Floss is a novel by George Eliot.
Finished on: 26.11.2017

Plot:
Siblings Tom and Maggie Tulliver grow up in the mill their father owns. But things don’t go too well and their father is indebted and keeps fighting with his creditor, Mr. Wakem, forcing pragmatic, serious Tom to quit school and work at the mill. Meanwhile the more idealistic Maggie becomes friends with Philip Wakem, the son of the creditor. But their friendship cannot stand in the face of the antipathy between families and puts Maggie at odds with Tom. Years later, Philip and Maggie meet again at the house of her friend Lucy Deane. Another guest there is Lucy’s fiancé Stephen Guest who starts to pay more attention to Maggie.

It was a fight for me to get through this book, but by the end it had gripped me and then it frustrated me again with the ending. Nevertheless, it’s well-written enough that I will definitely try another Eliot in the future.

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Big Night Out (Ed. by Jessica Adams, Maggie Alderson, Nick Earls, Imogen Edwards-Jones)

Big Night Out is a collection of short stories, recipes, song lists, illustrations and edited by Jessica Adams, Maggie Alderson, Nick Earls and Imogen Edwards-Jones. It was published to benefit the War Child charity.
Finished on: 25.11.2017

Big Night Out isn’t your typical short story collection. There really is a lot here that isn’t a short story at all, although the biggest part are short stories. I grabbed it for those (well, I grabbed it mostly for Jasper Fforde‘s short story in it), so I mostly skimmed through the other things, even though some very big names contributed various things (INXSSteve Coogan, and Nick Hornby recommending songs? Anthony Stewart Head sharing a cocktail recipe? Joan Collins‘ beauty tips? Gordon Ramsay, Jamie Oliver, and Boy George detailing hangover cures? It’s all there). I did feel that the selection was made on the basis of the people in any case and not necessarily for the quality of their content. But hey, it is for charity after all. If you don’t buy it for the stories, but for the good deed, you’ll get what you expect.

After the jump, I will talk about the short stories in the collection separately and you can find the table of contents so you can see what else is in there.

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