Winner – World Book Day 2015: Blogger Schenken Lesefreude (Bloggers Give Books)

Hi,

It’s finally time to announce the winner of our giveaway to celebrate World Book Day and our Second Blogiversary. Unfortunately, I had to disqualify one entrant for entering the giveaway multiple times. Did you really think I wouldn’t notice?

Anyways, Rachel, you are the lucky winner of a copy of Donal Ryan’s The Thing About December. I just sent you an e-mail and you have 72 hours to reply.

If you haven’t won, don’t be sad, it’s the weekend. Go on and read a good book. There are many more out there :)

Blogger Schenken Lesefreude

 Donal Ryan The Thing About December
The Thing About December
Image provided by Transworld¹
Synopsis quoted from Transworld¹:

‘He heard Daddy one time saying he was a grand quiet boy to Mother when he thought Johnsey couldn’t hear them talking. Mother must have been giving out about him being a gom and Daddy was defending him. He heard the fondness in Daddy’s voice. But you’d have fondness for an auld eejit of a crossbred pup that should have been drowned at birth.’

While the Celtic Tiger rages, and greed becomes the norm, Johnsey Cunliffe desperately tries to hold on to the familiar, even as he loses those who all his life have protected him from a harsh world. Village bullies and scheming land-grabbers stand in his way, no matter where he turns.
Set over the course of one year of Johnsey’s life, The Thing About December breathes with his grief, bewilderment, humour and agonizing self-doubt. This is a heart-twisting tale of a lonely man struggling to make sense of a world moving faster than he is.

Giveaway – World Book Day 2015: Blogger Schenken Lesefreude (Bloggers Give Books)

Happy World Book Day, Book Lovers!

To celebrate World Book Day and our Second Blogiversary, we’re giving away a copy of The Thing About December by Irish author Donal Ryan. I chose this novel because it is one of the best books I’ve read in 2014 and I would love to share this wonderful story with you. All you have to do is answer one quiz question. The giveaway is international and you have time to enter from today until April 30, 2015. Good luck!

Blogger Schenken Lesefreude

 Donal Ryan The Thing About December
The Thing About December
Image provided by Transworld¹
Synopsis quoted from Transworld¹:

‘He heard Daddy one time saying he was a grand quiet boy to Mother when he thought Johnsey couldn’t hear them talking. Mother must have been giving out about him being a gom and Daddy was defending him. He heard the fondness in Daddy’s voice. But you’d have fondness for an auld eejit of a crossbred pup that should have been drowned at birth.’

While the Celtic Tiger rages, and greed becomes the norm, Johnsey Cunliffe desperately tries to hold on to the familiar, even as he loses those who all his life have protected him from a harsh world. Village bullies and scheming land-grabbers stand in his way, no matter where he turns.
Set over the course of one year of Johnsey’s life, The Thing About December breathes with his grief, bewilderment, humour and agonizing self-doubt. This is a heart-twisting tale of a lonely man struggling to make sense of a world moving faster than he is.

  • You can participate as long as The Book Depository ships to your country for free.
  • You have to be 16 or older to participate.
  • The giveaway runs from April 23, 2015 until April 30, 2015.
  • Be fair! One entry per person/immediate family/household.
  • I am not responsible for lost or damaged items. There will be one winner who will receive one English language paperback copy of Donal Ryan’s The Thing About December, sponsored by All That Magic.
  • You you have to enter through Giveaway Tools.
  • The winner will be selected at random and notified via e-mail. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, another winner will be drawn.
  • The personal information you enter will only be used to contact you in case you win. It will be deleted after the giveaway.
  • I can amend and interpret these official rules at any time, and terminate, suspend or cancel the giveaway at any time for any reason.
  • All decisions are final.
If you want to enter the The Thing About December giveaway, click this link: Entry-Form

Second Blogiversary – Two Years of Magic

Hi There,

I’ve been a little quiet over the past few weeks because writing my thesis is taking up quite some time and energy. I might have to make temporary changes to my review format to be able to publish book reviews on a regular basis up until my graduation. I’ve not stopped reading books, and I won’t stop writing this blog. So please bear with me :)

And now on to the fun part ;)

Blogoversary

It’s All That Magic‘s Second Blogiversary today! Two years of reading, writing, cooking, eating, crafting (in secret [I’ve just sewn a book cover]), taking bad pictures, going to book fairs and making new friends. I wouldn’t want to miss any of that.

Last year was particularly exciting. I got to be part of a cooperation between bloggers and a local bookstore (Rupertus Buchhandlung) and made new friends this way. I went to Frankfurt Book Fair for the second time, met old friends and got acquainted with new ones. I also won 10 Penguin Random House books in a reading challenge for reading 49 English-language books in 2014.

Which brings me to the last part of my blogiversary monologue: I’d like to thank everyone who has supported me so far. The publishers who kindly supply me with review copies, among them Canongate Books and Penguin Random House UK, Rupertus Buchhandlung for the great time I had in the past months, the authors who spend months writing books for us, and I’d like to thank You for stopping by and for reading what I have to say!

P.S.: Like last year, I will run a book giveaway on World Book Day, April 23rd.

Review – The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber

Hi,

In January, I had the chance to read Michel Faber’s latest novel The Book of Strange New Things which Canongate sent me in exchange for an honest review. I can’t thank them enough for this gem of a book – inside and out.

The Book of Strange New Things
Image provided by Canongate¹

When Peter Leigh is chosen to be the new minister on a planet in another galaxy he and his wife Bea are sure that this is the Will of God and a chance to spread The Word. Unfortunately, Bea has to stay on Earth because she didn’t pass the selection process. As Peter’s contract is limited to a few years and the two of them can communicate through a long-distance messaging system, Bea agrees that Peter should go. What the two of them don’t know is that the physical distance is accompanied by an even bigger emotional distance that threatens their relationship.

I was a little concerned about Peter being a Christian missionary, but this book is not about religion. It is about freedom, friendship, and trust. When Peter arrives on Oasis, he is a very obedient Christian who never strays from the path. This also makes him open to embrace other peoples like the Oasans, the natives whose priest he is to become. Soon, Peter decides to live with them and that changes him as well as some of the Oasans.

Speaking of the Oasans: We all know all sorts of aliens from various movies we’ve seen. The Oasans are different and they are very hard to picture, probably because our brains aren’t capable to do so ;). With his description, Michel Faber does the best anyone can do to make them imaginable by the human brain. To Peter’s eyes, and to those of the other humans on Oasis, they all look the same except for their differently-colored robes. They also hardly show any feelings or signs of personality, which basically makes them indistinguishable until you get to know them better. But when the Oasans and Peter finally warm up to each other, Michel Faber’s brilliant characterization of this unique people becomes visible.

Even though The Book of Strange New Things is almost 600 pages long it never feels like it. Michel Faber transports you right into this engaging, gripping and simply mind-blowing story about a man who does something most of us wouldn’t have the guts to do.

5 Star Rating: Recommended

¹ http://www.canongate.tv/the-book-of-strange-new-things-hardback.html

Review – Academy Street by Mary Costello

Hi,

Mary Costello’s novel Academy Street has won the Irish Book Awards Book of the Year 2014 and was shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award 2014. I’d like to thank Canongate for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Academy Street
Image provided by Canongate¹

In the 1960s, Tess, a young Irish woman, emigrates to New York to find her destiny. Her mother passed away when Tess was a small girl and so she grew up on the dreary family farm among her siblings and her gruff father. Like most people, Tess is looking for love, but for an introvert person finding friends can be a challenge. As she tries to build a home in the United States, it isn’t always easy to stay close to those she loves. Although this country enables Tess to live a life that would be impossible in Ireland, she is just as isolated as before.

Academy Street is a slow-moving tale with a main character who is great to identify with. Mary Costello paints a realistic picture of a woman’s life very similar to the lives of many lonely people out there. The novel’s only downside is its ending. Even though it is surprising, I don’t think it very original. All in all, however, Academy Street is a melancholic novel that will make you value your family and think about those less fortunate than yourself.

3 Star Rating: Recommended(3.5 magic beans)

¹ http://www.canongate.tv/academy-street-hardback.html

Review – Etta and Otto and Russell and James by Emma Hooper

Hi,

I’ve been curious about Emma Hooper‘s debut novel Etta and Otto and Russell and James ever since I first heard about it in October. I was over the moon when Penguin Random House UK sent me a review copy. Thank you so much!

Etta and Otto and Russell and James
Image provided by Fig Tree¹

Etta, an eighty-two-year-old woman decides to walk thousands of miles from rural Saskatchewan to the Canadian East coast to see the sea for the very first time. Her understanding husband Otto waits for her and is confident that his wife will succeed, while their friend and neighbor Russell isn’t that patient and fears that Etta might forget who she is.

Taking only the bare necessities with her, Etta starts her walk through the Canadian wilderness, avoiding big cities and roads. Along the way, Emma Hooper paints wonderful pictures of Canada’s diverse landscape and you can certainly imagine walking through fields and along lake shores.

For all her life, Etta has been the one left behind while others went away, now she feels it’s time for her to finally see the rest of Canada. The fact that Etta starts this walk even though she occasionally suffers from memory loss adds tension to the novel and shows how determined Etta is to reach her goal.

In Etta and Otto and Russell and James Emma Hooper makes great use of flashbacks, letters and even recipes to tell Etta’s story and sometimes you can’t be sure if the things happening are real, imagined, or magical. Etta and Otto and Russell and James is not just another novel about an elderly person deciding to go for a very long walk, it has more depth than that. If you like stories that feel as if they were real, this book is for you.

image

¹ http://www.penguin.co.uk/books/etta-and-otto-and-russell-and-james/9780241003329/

Review – Funny Girl by Nick Hornby

Hello,

A couple of weeks ago, I read Nick Hornby‘s latest novel Funny Girl. I was excited because I really liked High Fidelity when I was a teenager and hadn’t read any of his other novels since then. So I’d like to thank Penguin Random House UK for providing me with this book in exchange for an honest review.

Funny Girl
Image provided by Viking¹

In the 1960s, Barbara, a young woman from a seaside town in Northern England decides to move to London to become an actress. Unlike many other women, she’s lucky and is cast for a sitcom that will change her life.

Our main character Barbara, or Sophie as she calls herself later on, doesn’t have more personality than any of the other characters. Her storyline isn’t nearly as engaging as Tony’s, who is one of the scriptwriters struggling to find his true self. But whenever Tony’s plot line becomes interesting it is dropped just like it happens with other plot lines that might become too engaging.

Funny Girl has no climax to speak of, the plot is just slowly flowing along. It seems like Hornby hoped for the story to develop through the process of writing, but, unfortunately, that didn’t work out. All through the book I was waiting for something to happen and it didn’t.

Don’t get me wrong, Funny Girl does address topics like homosexuality and self-discovery and it gives a good overall impression of the British society and television in the 1960s, yet somehow this novel and I aren’t made for each other. So I’d recommend it to die-hard Nick Hornby fans or British-sitcom aficionados, but if you are none of those, I think you’d better pick up High Fidelity.

2.5 Star Rating: Recommended(2.5 magic beans)

¹ http://www.penguin.co.uk/books/funny-girl/9780670922802/