Kuhstedtermoor – Helen Waldron

Kuhstedtermoor by Helen Waldron is certainly a book that is different than what I would normally read. At least I thought so at first. I was unsure what to expect when reading a story set in Germany, with some German words and dialect thrown in, as I am not familiar with Germany, per-se.

Kuhstedtermoor in the Winter. Courtesy of Helen Waldron.
Kuhstedtermoor in the Winter. Courtesy of Helen Waldron.

I was very pleasantly surprised as I was at the beginning of the story, and kept saying to myself, “just one more chapter!” It pulled me in right from the start, and it took some chaotic Christmas holiday events and personal family issues to make me put the story down for more than a day.

This story is written in the first-person, but you also get to experience the intertwining lives of the people in this small German town on a very personal level. On the outside, it appears as any regular run-of-the-mill small town where everyone knows everybody, including their secrets. But not all of their secrets.

Each character is intertwined with the next, but it did not feel cluttered or complicated. It felt like I was observing the people of Kuhstedtermoor from the outside, looking in. A silent watcher of the personal triumphs and tragedies of the townspeople, like seeing someone on the wrong path that you know you cannot help.

My almost-strict rule of no spoilers holds true for this story, but I will give you the scenario. A woman, new to Kuhstedtermoor, slowly gets to know the residents, even though she feels like an outsider; so very different from everyone else who lives there. As one young girl goes missing, the town gathers to search for her. With no trace or clues, the woman continues to watch, observe, and try to fit in. Gossip is idle, and contagious, and then girl #2 disappears.

You hope for the best, while expecting the worst, and will be turning pages until you get to the ending! At 22 chapters, this is a quick read (minus any personal-life interruptions!) and you will be glad you spent your time getting to know the residents of Kuhstedtermoor.

Kuhstedtermoor is the first part of The History Lovers trilogy and Helen Waldron’s first novel.

Helen Waldron Portrait light 6

Helen works as an English Language Coach in Hamburg and has created a blog about the day-to-day business of two such language professionals which can be found here: http://speakeasyandwritewell.wordpress.com/.

Goodreads Choice Awards 2014

I received my annual email recently that Goodreads was opening up their voting for the 2014 Goodreads Choice Awards. I like to go through all of the books and see if there are ones I have read, any of my new favorite authors, or something that catches my eye that I may want to read.

Goodreads Choice 2014 Logo

So I was curious as to how many of you do the same thing. Do you actively use Goodreads? I have been much better about logging in on a regular basis, and need to get to the point that I am checking in every day; which as of late, I have been.

The voting tends to be a long, tedious process, at least with my internet connection. Lately everything is long and tedious and I do not know if it is the 2 laptops we use in my house or the internet service. When I am trying to do my MBA homework, help my daughter with her homeschooling, write book reviews, update my blogs, check email…you get the picture…I have been wanting to chuck my laptop right in the garbage.

Sorry; I got off track.

So the voting has everything in their own categories, so it does keep it nice and organized. You also have the option of writing in a book, and I honestly have a couple books in mind that I may do this for, because I read them this year and they were fantastic, and deserve to be in this competition.

Do you vote? Have you written in a book you loved and wanted it recognized? Have you ever known one of the authors on the list? Have you been on the list?

What do you do for the categories that you do not read, such as if you do not read science fiction, or romance? Do you just pick one that you like the looks of the cover or the title? Do you think that is fair to the authors? (I am just curious, I have no hard-and-fast rules or feelings about this platform of voting for books).

I think Goodreads is a great resource for readers and writers alike, and will likely be adding some books I come across to my bookshelf.

I Tried, But I Just Can’t Do It! James Potter #2

You will see why I could not read another word of this second book of fan fiction. I also think I am done with fan fiction. Just not my cup of tea.

So, I started the 2nd book, and after the first couple chapters, I have decided to keep reading it. I say this because very early on in the story, there are 2 people who tracked down a goblin to fix a painting. A moving painting, of course. A painting of Voldemort that is basically in shreds, but can still communicate.

Really? REALLY? I actually said to myself “Come on! You’ve got to be kidding me.” Sorry Mr. Lippert, I just personally feel that this is a ridiculous way to take a story line, even if it is fan fiction. And yes, it is strictly my opinion, and not worth a can of pork-and-beans, but I find this almost comical.

 

Be aware, spoilers are ahead, and likely quite a few of them.

The first one being….

Arthur Weasley is dead. Yep, he had a heart attack. Killed him off, right at the beginning of the book. During his surprise 78 ½ birthday party. That’s probably normal for wizards, right? Molly said it was the only chance they had to surprise him, and he still got one over on them.

So we have the funeral, Draco and his wife show up, James gets his 1st pair of glasses, and he is NOT happy, and there is some type of shadow stalking him and causing all kinds of ruckus.

Then it is off to school for James’s 2nd year at Hogwarts, and Albus’s 1st year. Of course he is a nervous wreck, convinced he will get sorted into Slytherin, and James of course teasing him about it. An interesting fact, Albus Sirius Potter, ASP, is one of the most poisonous snakes in the world. This of course is why he is getting teased as bad as he is. I thought it was quite the coincidence that his initials worked out like that, when JK was the one who gave him the name. Was there a reason for it?

So, on the train, James and Albus both see the shadow again, and chase it throughout the train. Having it cornered, and it trying to remove the pin holding the cars together, James prepares to stun the shadow, just as Merlin grabs his arm and points it upward, telling James he shouldn’t do that to the Borley. Yes. The Borley. A form of Shade; shadow creatures. Completely magical beings. They grow from magic, so when someone does magic in front of them, they grow larger and stronger. What do they grow into? Wait for it….

Dementors.

Albus manages to get in a squabble with Scorpius, Draco Malfoy’s son. Soon enough, they reach Hogwarts, and are sorted. Scorpius Malfoy is a Gryffindor, and Albus Potter is a Slytherin.

So, I left off with Albus in Slytherin, and Scorpius in Gryffindor.  Back in the common rooms, the 1st years of Gryffindor refuse to let Scorpius bunk with them, so he goes into the 2nd year’s room and takes James bed. James goes back to the common room, where he gets to be a look out for who knows what kind of trouble these kids are about to get in to. They won’t even tell James, letting him know that this way he can honestly plead ignorance.

Merlin asks for assistance from James, Ralph, and whomever else James chooses. James chooses Rose, and they go on a journey to retrieve some of Merlin’s belongings. (I am sure this will be important later).

As the school year gets to a start, the 2nd years seem less than impressed with their new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, Kendrick DeBellows. He is teaching class in the gymnasium (apparently none of the students knew Hogwarts had a gymnasium either) and requiring everyone to get into fit shape before learning the spells.

Albus seems to be taking to the Slytherins rather sportingly, and I am not quite sure if he told his parents yet. He has every intention of trying out for the Quidditch team, an idea that James is none too thrilled about.

Professor DeBellows is not teaching D.A.D.A. spells to the younger students, which has many asking James to form a group like back in his father’s day, when Umbridge wouldn’t let them use spells, and they formed Dumbledore’s Army. James bright idea on who to teach it? The ghost of Cedric Diggory. Yes, he is still floating around the castle, not sure why he is still there, and not sure where he is expected to go.

And this just takes the cake, and I cannot finish this story. While James Sirius Potter is talking to a painting, who is about to tell him some very, very juicy information, he gets a stabbing pain in his forehead, the same spot that has been itching for weeks. What is this, the scar we couldn’t see? Cedric the Ghost can see it; it glows green. Way to be original. And with that, folks, I am done. If you want to know how this ends, if is called James Potter and the Curse of the Gatekeeper. It’s free (It would have to be!), and you can find it on Goodreads.com

I apologize, but I can only handle so much ridiculousness. And yes, this is strictly my own opinion.