Witty Little Knitter

I read fantasy, crime, true crime, lgbt-romance and books written by my favourite comedians. List not necessarily complete.
Sometimes I write for Bibliodaze
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Olga Filina of The Rights Factory Threatens Legal Action to Silence Me

Reblogged from Kaia:

Yesterday, I made a post about my rather unfortunate experiences as the client of one Olga Filina of the Rights Factory. Today, I received a rather unsettling email. Behold:

 

 

That's right, "legal options." I'm not entirely sure what she could justifiably sue me for, but that's not the point.

 

The point is that my immediate reaction was fear, and that's what this email is about. Look how she brings up my career and how I could "sabotage" it. (Note: Shotgun submissions can sabotage a person's career. Having your damn manuscript in the hands of fifty people at once can sabotage a person's career. You'll excuse me if I don't really think her concern is for me here.) 

 

What she wants is for me to be silent. To retract my post. To hide the truth. I'm not going to lie; this scares the bejeezus out of me. We don't have the money to deal with a lawsuit. I suppose I could just fold, just let her censor me. But no one ever speaks out against TRF's behavior. We're all afraid of exactly this, and not only do I not want people to have that kind of power over me, but I don't think I could live with myself if I went silent and allowed other people to put themselves in the line of fire. Because my silence means other people will be treated this way by TRF. 

 

I won't let other writers be hurt, no matter what the consequences for me. Hell, I'm not sure I want much to do with the industry after this, anyway. 

 

I have to wonder, what is she so afraid of? What did I say that could possibly bring TRF's law department down on me? After all, I'm just some nobody on the internet. 

 

This is a warning for all writers. Avoid The Rights Factory. One thing is for damn sure: They don't give a flying fuck about your rights.

 

(If you have the time and inclination, please signal boost. Writers deserve to know what sort of shenanigans are going on here.)

Reading progress update: I've read 5%.

A Poisoned Season - Tasha Alexander

And it's about Marie Antoinette's necklace...well at least it got mentioned and I wouldn't be surprised if it will play a bigger role.

 

And unrelated to Marie Antoinette: I am rather fond of Emily being fond of Greek art. (Cozy)-MCs often have pretty common hobbies or you get whole cozy-subgenres dedicated to certain hobbies: crochet, baking, candle-making etc. that usually  are especially aimed at readers who share that hobby (and often even have recipes, patterns and so on as extra). The way most of these are marketed does not make me want to pick up one about a hobby I don't share because quilting/gardening/[insert almost anything] seems to be such a huge part of them. (Also: the few knitting and baking mysteries I read were mostly crap but that's another issue).

Now: I don't care that much about Greek art. I was fascinated by Ancient Greece when I was younger and some of that stuck but mostly it's resting. I'm also not really a art-person in general. I mean I enjoy looking at nice pictures/sculptures occasionally but I'm not a frequent museum-visitor.

But: in these books it doesn't matter. Emily's love for the subject is an important part of the books and helps making her character more three-dimensional but it's not done in so much detail that it bores me or distracts from the actual plot.

I want more hero(ines) with more exotic hobbies. I actually learn some cool stuff with them.

 

On a side-note: I'm still alive (as proven by this entry), but I just moved and still have a really crappy internet-connection there which makes browsing most sites a chore. Basically I check my emails and am on Twitter but nothing more. I hope that will finally be resolved in the next few days.

Review: Anthem for Doomed Youth

Anthem For Doomed Youth (Daisy Dalrymple Mystery #19) - Carola Dunn

Despite all the dead bodies that usually fill the pages of cozy-mysteries they usually are quite light-hearted. As you can guess a book that takes its title from a gritty anti-war poem can't be that fluffy and light-hearted. You could say it's a darker and edgier cozy but it does work. (Or perhaps I should say it works a lot better than in the Phryne Fisher Mysteries where the author also tries Cozy: Darker and Edgier and fails). It's not perfect but overall the balance between admitting that this is somewhat darker than usual without suddenly turning the series in some psychological noir thriller works quite well. I'm curious if Dunn will try somewhat darker topics again in the future books.

 

Now the problems I had with this book had nothing to do with the fact that the case wasn't what I am used to but how Daisy got involved in it. It required such an ridiculous amount of coincidences that I simply couldn't buy it. (And that means something coming from somebody who has zero problems with the fact that the woman fell over bodies 18 times already...) Going into more details would spoil too much but it simply didn't work for me at all.

Review: Sheer Folly

Sheer Folly (Daisy Dalrymple, #18) - Carola Dunn

I'm running out of things to say about this series. I still enjoy it a lot (with very few exceptions but this is not one of those). The 'various people meet in a large house and then one gets murdered' is one of my favourite set-ups and it's very well done here. Perhaps Rhino was a bit too over the top horrid on occasions but in a way that's part of the 'rules' for a cozy anyway.

Review: Die Schatten von La Rochelle

Die Schatten von La Rochelle - Tanja Kinkel

Das Buch begann mittelmäßig aber nicht so, dass ich jegliche Hoffnung verloren hätte. Dann ging es einfach nur unglaublich langweilig weiter. Vor lauter Rückblicken und Personen deren Relevanz für den Plot absolut nicht ersichtlich war hatte ich beinahe vergessen worum es eigentlich ging. Das ganze wurde nur übertroffen vom Schluss der...nun ja...sagen wir es mal so: Verbotene Liebe hatte realistischere Handlungsstränge.

 

Und damit ist schon das meiste gesagt. Ein Roman über eine der Verschwörungen gegen Richelieu hätte interessant werden können aber da der historisch interessierte Leser nun mal weiß, dass der Kardinal relativ friedlich im Bett gestorben ist kann man nicht so tun als wäre das Spannende 'wird es den Verschwörern gelingen oder nicht?'. Man muss die auftretenden Charaktere so sympathisch (oder vielleicht auch unsympathisch) machen, dass es egal ist ob man weiß was aus ihnen wird oder ein paar nicht-historische Charaktere dazuschmeißen um die sich der Leser sorgen kann. 

Kinkel macht beides aber beides gelingt nicht. Marie (Richelieus Nichte) zeigt ein paar gute Ansätze aber die meiste Zeit war sie nur nervtötend und ihre Entscheidungen nicht nachvollziehbar. Die nicht-historischen Charaktere...da war Charlotte die absolut keinen Einfluss auf die Handlung hatte [spoiler]außer um sich am Ende um Maries uneheliches Kind zu kümmern[/spoiler] und die auch nicht dreidimensional genug wurde, dass ich mich um sie gekümmert hätte. Außerdem gab es noch Paul & Raoul, wobei letzterer hätte auch durch eine formschöne Topfpflanze ersetzt werden können (außer am Ende...aber da wäre er auch nicht nötig gewesen wenn Marie nicht spontan alle Gehirnzellen verloren hätte). Und Paul...sprechen wir nicht über ihn. Das ist das beste.

 

Des weiteren gibt es noch zwei Schiffskapitäne in Nebenrollen. Ihre Namen: Jean-Luc Picard und Riker. Warum? In einem eher humorvollen Roman wäre das eine amüsante Anspielung aber in einem Roman der gerne ernst genommen werden möchte dachte ich nur

 

Ansonsten kann ich es auch überhaupt nicht ausstehen wenn Französische Phrasen in Dialoge eingestreut werden wenn das Buch sowieso in Frankreich spielt und die Figuren dementsprechend sowieso Französisch sprechen...eigentlich dachte ich das wäre eine Fanfiction-Unart aber wie alles Schlechte nimmt es wohl auch veröffentlichte Bücher in Besitz.

 

Reading progress update: I've read 172 out of 412 pages.

Die Schatten von La Rochelle - Tanja Kinkel

There is  a ship-captain called Jean-Luc Picard.

Yes, I know it's a perfectly ordinary French name so why wouldn't a guy in the 17th century be called like that but...

 

It's also one of those books with random French phrases in the dialogue. You know in a book set in France...I sort of assume that they speak French anyway so I do wonder what language I'm supposed to imagine when Richelieu calls Marie 'ma nièce'. Double-French? Klingon?

Read in September

Two Hundred and Twenty-One Baker Streets: An Anthology of Holmesian Tales Across Time and Space - Kasey Lansdale, Glen Mehn, Guy Adams Murder Tightly Knit (An Amish Village Mystery) - Vannetta Chapman Das Halsband der Königin. - Alexandre Dumas And Only to Deceive (Lady Emily) - Tasha Alexander Black Ship - Carola Dunn I Think I Can See Where You're Going Wrong: And Other Wise and Witty Comments from Guardian Readers - Marc Burrows, Tom Gauld

Again I feel like I did read more than those books but again it's only six (one of which was a DNF) but at least this month I can explain it with The Queen's Necklace being quite a doorstopper (and all those fanfics I read...)

Overall not a bad month, as said one was a DNF but I quite enjoyed the rest.

Review: Black Ship

Black Ship - Carola Dunn

This wasn't so much a bad book as one with a topic that didn't interest me that much. I just never cared very much about prohibition-era-themed stories and Black Ship (even though it's set in England) deals with the prohibition so I was just sitting there going 'meh'. The case itself was also quite easy to see through. However the characters were lovely as always and I hope we'll see more of the Jessups in the following books. 
I could have done without the random and very forced bringing up of the IRA (Mrs Jessup is Irish and one very annoying gossipy neighbour brings up the IRA without any substantial proof for it. Daisy dismisses it immediately as plain malicious gossip...over and over again because she herself keeps bringing it up several times just to dismiss it again immediately) and the repeated mentions of Mrs Jessup having been an actress and the possibility that she's just acting when she claims to be shocked etc. Every time somebody talked to her it was again mentioned, my memory isn't that bad and I doubt any reader's is.
Still that's overall only minor annoyances, overall the book was enjoyable as almost all Lady Daisy-mysteries are.

My NetGalley diet works really well

Winter Siege - Ariana Franklin, Samantha Norman 1,411 QI Facts to Knock You Sideways - John Lloyd, John Mitchinson I Think I Can See Where You're Going Wrong: And Other Wise and Witty Comments from Guardian Readers - Marc Burrows, Tom Gauld

 

(on a side-note: I don't quite get the amount of books I'm getting approved of that have 'only for Commonwealth countries' in the publisher's description...I always check my NG-profile after that but it says that I'm German XD)

 

Oh well...at least the Guardian and the QI-book seem to be quick reads. 

Winter Siege is by Arianna Franlin who also wrote the Mistress of the Art of Death series of which I am actually not that fond but I couldn't resist when I saw that it was about the war between Stephen and Maud (and really...when we look at books set in that time-period...it can only be better than Pillars of the Earth)

Review: And Only To Deceive

And Only to Deceive (Lady Emily) - Tasha Alexander

With Lady Emily we get a heroine who isn’t just somebody with present-day opinions that got transported back in the Victorian era. In fact her views were pretty much time-apropriate for most of her life. They are only beginning to change at the start of the book after she enjoyed some freedom after the unexpected death of her husband. But despite that she doesn’t suddenly throw all society-conventions over board. Emily experiments to see how far she is comfortable going (and on at least one occasion regrets doing something). Emily is a believable character and even though I did not all her decisions I could still understand why she acted that way.

The other characters are lovely as well and I am looking forward to seeing most of them again in the following volumes. The only exception is Emily’s mother who often verges too much into the ‘overbearing mother who tries to control every aspect of her child’s life’-sterotype. (Why is that so popular in cozies?). Of course to an extend that is necessary for Emily’s story-arc to work but it soon got too much. I would have preferred it if she hadn’t visited Emily quite as often as she did because every visit is the same. Her mother is angry about something Emily did, Emily tries to find a more or less polite way to say that she doesn’t care, mother gets angrier, nothing is resolved.

The mystery itself is admittedly not that mysterious. Unless this is your very first crime-novel you will be able to guess a good deal of the solution. But I did not care too much about this as I was so fond of the characters and the setting.

I told myself to stay away from Netgalley...

Thinking About it Only Makes it Worse: And Other Lessons from Modern Life - David Mitchell In These Times: Living in Britain Through Napoleon's Wars, 1793-1815 - Jenny Uglow

it's working tremendously well. Really. I also didn't apply for three more for which I might or might not get approved. *sighs*

 

Review: The Queen's Nacklace

Das Halsband der Königin. - Alexandre Dumas

First it should be noted that this is the second book in a series (Memoirs of a Physician/The Marie Antoinette Romances) and it's certainly a good idea to read them in order. You don't have to as each contains a separate story but there is the occasional allusion to events from the past book that can be confusing.

Shortly before I read this one I read a non-fiction on the diamond necklace affair (How to Ruin a Queen: Marie Antoinette and the Diamond Necklace Affair. Highly recommendable by the way) and I am not sure if it was a good idea. It's definitely not necessary to know the true story to understand the book as it's not accurate at all. (Which I assume is down to a combination of Dumas not knowing all the facts and not caring about those he knew). So all it did for me was having me go 'But that's not how it happened' every few pages. It is interesting to compare fact and fiction but if I had the choice again I might do it the other way round.

The book itself has many of the things you expect from Dumas. There is lots of falling in love on first sight (basically everybody does so with the Queen...), many intertwined side-plots (soap-operas have nothing on him) and perhaps a few more coincidences than are believeable. However, especially compared to The Three Musketeers it's a lot darker. Understandably so as the diamond necklace affair is by many considered to be the first step to the revolution that cost Marie Antoinette and Louis their lives. This impending doom is an almost constant presence in the book. Even though Dumas' Marie Antoinette of course knows about this as little as the real one, she is aware that the affair will have wider consequences. Marie Antoinette has more depth and feels more like a real character than Anne ever did in The Three Musketeers or Ten Years After (to be fair she wasn't a main-character in either).
This book isn't a swasbuckling adventure and also nothing like The Count of Monte Cristo (except perhaps for the number of sideplots...why did we even need the fake Portugese thieves?) but it's still an entertaining read (that could have been a bit shorter).

DNF: Murder Tightly Knit

Murder Tightly Knit (An Amish Village Mystery) - Vannetta Chapman

Some of the problems with this book can certainly be blamed on the fact that it's the second in a series and I didn't read the first one. There are frequent allusions to events that happened in the first book and it's hard to understand them completely without knowing what exactly happened there.

there are also a lot of characters and it was really hard to keep them apart and this can't be blamed just on the fact that I don't know the first book. The characters simply had no depth...I can't even tell you the name of the amateur-sleuth. It might be Hannah or she might just be a close friend of the sleuth and I already forgot her name again because all the characters seem more or less interchangeable anyway. (This wasn't helped by the sudden POV-changes without warning but perhaps the formatting will be changed a bit in the final copy so there'll at least be some breaks between the POV-switches).

 

The random Amish phrases that were used in the book also seemed off to me. Or rather how they were used. All the Amish in the book would talk English (with each other and with outsiders) with the occasional Amish phrase (for words like yes, no, mother, prayer etc.) thrown in. I don't know much about Amish but after some time on Wikipedia I figured (correct me if I'm wrong) that Amish usually speak Pennsylvania Dutch with each other and English with outsiders and while bilingual people obviously will occasionally mix up languages it seems unlikely that this means they use bruder instead of brother every single time). The language didn't seem very authentic to me but more like a bad fanfiction in which the author says 'This character is French so he now will say merci instead of thanks'.

 

The case itself was something I might have been content with if the other things hadn't bothered me that much but it was also mediocre at best. There was a very obvious suspect who won't have done it because it's never the obvious one (after the 30% I managed I have no idea who really did it so I give the book that much). 

 

ARC provided by NetGalley.

Review: wo Hundred and Twenty-One Baker Streets

Two Hundred and Twenty-One Baker Streets: An Anthology of Holmesian Tales Across Time and Space - Kasey Lansdale, Glen Mehn, Guy Adams

That could have been better, some stories were good but I wouldn't recommend getting the book just for those.

Review on Bibliodaze

Reading progress update: I've read 30%.

Murder Tightly Knit (An Amish Village Mystery) - Vannetta Chapman

I love cozies while also having a very low tolerance for bullshit in them. I am aware that any series with an amateur-sleuth can hardly be that realistic but there is 'I can led this slide' and 'no human being would ever act like this'.

So it is suspected that the victim had something to do with preppers (the strange guys who are constantly preparing for the end of the world/nuclear war/whatever). The heroine and her friend are in a store to get a new first aid kid where they meet a woman who knows a lot about first aid. They get talking and eventually they learn that she and her husband are giving survival-courses. 

Friend's first reaction: oh survival-training? That's like preppers. We should stay away from them, that might be connected to Owen's death.

No this is not an exaggeration, She actually said that. While the couple could hear them...and oddly their reaction wasn't 'we're going to back away slowly from these strange people' no they happily exchanged addresses and promised to keep in contact.

Yes. Logic works like this.

 

I'm going to sleep over it and then decide if I can continue.

 

Dear Authors on Twitter

You got me. I often tweet about books. (when I'm not retweeting bad puns, lifve-tweet TV-shows or football-matches or yell about bad Jack the Ripper theories...) I also follow a lot of authors on Twitter but let me tell you a secret:

I probably have never read a single book of more than half of the authors I'm following (I often plan to somewhen but looking at my tbr-pile that won't be happening anytime soon) and I'm also following some authors whose books I have read but found a bit...meh.

Why am I doing this?

Because all those authors are interesting people and tweet cool stuff. They comment on current issues or just make bad puns I can retweet (often both actually). Of course they also talk about their work and announce new books, special offers and such but they aren't doing it all the time. (Just like e.g. the actors and comedians I follow don't just tweet about their upcoming appearances)

 

In short: of course you can follow me but if I check out who you are and find that your twitter-bio is just praise for your latest novel and your latest tweets are you telling random people to check out your novel chances that I follow you back are...unlikely.

(And if I notice that you keep following and unfollowing me probably in the hope that one day I will follow back I will block you*)

 

(Yes this post is in reaction to a certain author doing that recently but as they weren't the first to do it I'm not naming anybody as it would be unfair to single one person out)

 

*that has happened only once so far and that was ages ago but I'm still annoyed

Currently reading

A Poisoned Season by Tasha Alexander
Progress: 5%
Krieg und Frieden by Leo Tolstoy, Michael Grusemann
Progress: 520/1024pages
From Hell by Alan Moore, Eddie Campbell, Pete Mullins
Progress: 40/539pages
Stephen and Matilda by Jim Bradbury
Progress: 52/262pages