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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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

Naming Jack the Ripper

Naming Jack the Ripper - Russell Edwards

We found the true identity of Jack the Ripper. Again. You should all read how Lyndsay Faye (who is an awesome author) rips through the latest theory.

Review: The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of The Brothers Grimm

The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm: The Complete First Edition - Jacob Grimm, Wilhelm Grimm

A great book. The translation is modern and accessible without loosing the original spirit of the tales. (The rhyming spells etc. might sound a bit odd at times but then it is hard to translate rhymes). Additionally there is an extensive introduction about the background of the brothers and the fairy-tale collection that offers a lot of insight in the process of collecting and writing down the tales.

The book is perfect, no matter if you just want to read the tales (yourself or to somebody) or if you're interested in fairy-tales in general and want to learn more about them (in that case the book also has an extensive bibliography for further reading but it's mostly German)

 

 

ARC Provided by Netgalley

Reading progress update: I've read 22%.

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

Has anybody ever read a Holmes.story where actual magic was involved? Because there was just one and I'm not sure what to think of it. It just seems to go against everything that is Holmes...or it's just the fact that Holmes is not at all surprised by the fact that black magic is involved and just goes 'yeah of course, I expected the bad guy to be a shape-changer'.

Reading progress update: I've read 2%.

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

First story:

if I'm reading a Holmes-pastiche (even if it's one where Holmes...eh Haus is a fortune-teller at a carnival and his companion is called Jim Walker) I expect:

  • a mystery at the beginning, be it a disappearance of somebody or something, a murder or just somebody having a weird feeling
  • Holmes/Haus/however he may be called doing some investigating
  • the mystery gets solved

You can not distract me from the fact that the second part is half and the third part is completely missing by throwing dozens of references to the original canon at me.

This reads like the first chapter from a book, not like a short-story

Reblogged from Kate says:

I. Can. Not. Stop. Laughing. 

 

Have you heard?!? New Kindle Helps Readers Show Off By Shouting Title Of Book Loudly And Repeatedly

 

 

Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDBzQkWeQ5g#t=111

So that's my current NetGalley-Shelf. And this month I will manage to read and review books without requesting new titles. Really.

Books Read in August

Sword & Blood: The Vampire Musketeers - Sarah Marqués Jackaby - Raymond William Ritter;William Ritter Masks - E M Prazeman Manga Classics: Les Miserables Softcover - Victor Hugo How to Ruin a Queen: Marie Antoinette and the Diamond Necklace Affair - Jonathan Beckman Versunkene Gräber: Kriminalroman - Elisabeth Herrmann Death of a Musketeer - Sarah D'Almeida

Not a bad month. I did dnf Masks and Death of a Musketeer but I did get several review-copies done. I was also really happy with Versunkene Gräber. While it had some flaws it was much better than the previous in the series.

I think I enjoyed How to Ruin a Queen most and that's why I'm now reading Alexandre Dumas' The Queen's Necklace. To see a fictional take on the subject.

Next month I also want to read 221 Baker Streets a Holes-Pastiche short story collection I have a review-copy of (and in general continue working on my NetGalley-ratio)

Review: Heat Rises

Heat Rises - Richard Castle

I can't quite figure out why I'm more embarrassed to admit that I read weird Cop-show not-really!tie-ins than erotic Three Musketeers-fanfiction with vampires but somehow I am. There was I thinking my time for reading books that are inspired by TV-shows are over but apparently they aren't. 
I enjoy the Nikki Heat books. They have the same humour as the show and were clearly written by someone who knows the canon (both point against Max Allan Collins being behind the pseudonym). Additionally the relationship between Rook and Nikki is refreshingly without 'let's make this drama bigger than it is because we refuse to talk to/listen to each other'. In the first two books the cases were also entertaining enough.
This however is the third book and here the case was...meh. Admittedly I'm not a big fan of major conspiracies in which people higher up than the lead-detective try everything to stop her (or him) from solving the case. Did I say 'not a big fan'? I meant 'hate with a burning passion'. So this book and I weren't really off to a good start and it didn't get better when a certain person turned up with a big flashy neon-sign over their head saying 'I DID IT'

Review: Versunkene Gräber

Versunkene Gräber: Kriminalroman - Elisabeth Herrmann

Mit den ersten Kapiteln habe ich mir noch sehr schwer getan. Vernau wirkte auf einmal recht unsympathisch und der ganze Plot war doch sehr verworren. Das war aber bald überstanden und ich war wieder gebannt. 
Wie in den vorherigen Bänden liegt auch hier das Motiv tief in der Vergangenheit begraben (hier der deutsch-polnischen) und Elisabeth Herrmann gelingt es einfach solche Themen aufzugreifen und steht dabei weder mit dem erhobenen Zeigefinger daneben noch beschönigt sie irgendetwas. Damals gab es Opfer, Täter und unzählige die ein bisschen von beidem waren.
Erfreulich ist auch, dass Jaczek und Frau Huth (die Lebensabschnittsmitbewohnerin von Vernaus Mutter) die in den bisherigen Bänden ein bisschen sehr nahe am Klischee standen endlich ein bisschen mehr Tiefgang bekommen.
All das war so gut gemacht das ich fast bereit gewesen wäre den holprigen Anfang zu vergessen und das Buch trotzdem mit 4-5 Sternen zu bewerten. Fast. Denn leider finden sich in dem Buch auch Dinge die ich so gar nicht ausstehen kann und über die ich bei einer sonst so guten Autorin doppelt enttäuscht bin. Zum einen der Wechsel zwischen erster und dritter Person. Der geht für mich gar nicht und bisher musste ich mich damit nur in schlechten Lokalkrimis und Selfpubs herumschlagen. Das andere ist ein Cliffhanger gegen Ende der unglaublich künstlich in die Länge gezogen wird. Beides sind Dinge die mich bei Büchern normal ganz schnell in die entgegengesetzte Richtung rennen lassen und die ich nicht einfach vergeben kann.
Deswegen bleibt es dann doch bei 3-4 Sternen.

Review: How to Ruin a Queen

How to Ruin a Queen: Marie Antoinette and the Diamond Necklace Affair - Jonathan Beckman

If there was a less cliched way to describe the Affair of the Diamond Necklace I would but it's simply a story you couldn't make up. A Jeanne La Motte, a countess who is a close confidant of Marie Antoinette, approaches Cardinal Rohan and asks him to purchase an expensive diamond necklace in the name of the queen. Rohan was only to eager to oblige as this meant he was back in favour with her. (Marie Antoinette strongly disliked him since he displeased her mother during his time at the Court of Vienna). He hoped that by helping the queen he would also help his own political ambitions.

 

However, things weren't that simple. Marie Antoinette didn't even know that Jeanne existed, let alone consider her a friend. She had never asked her to find somebody to purchase the necklace for her and had no interest in it.
Jeanne had taken advantage from the fact that Rohan was desperate to get back in favour with the queen and had spun a complex web of deceit around him. It involved countless forged letters, supposedly from Marie Antoinette and even a meeting between Rohan and the queen - played by a prostitute who looked a bit like her. Once Rohan had given the necklace to Jeanne she and her husband tried to sell the single diamonds.

Of course the jewelers noticed that no payment from the queen was forthcoming and the whole plot unraveled. As Jeanne hadn't been to subtle about her newfound wealth she was soon discovered and arrested. And so was Rohan - on the basis that nobody could be as stupid as he claimed to have been and so must have been a co-conspirator. But in the subsequent trial he was acquitted, while Jeanne and her husband were found guilty.

How to Ruin a Queen tells not only this story but also discusses the consequences the whole affair had. The court also found Marie Antoinette innocent from any knowledge of the plot but her hatred for Rohan was well-known. People suspected that she was behind the whole thing in an attempt to get rid of Rohan. Sympathies for the queen began to chill considerably afterwards and most historians assumed that without the affair the French Revolution might have ended less tragic for the French Royals.

Jonathan Beckman gives a good description of the affair itself but also doesn't forget to discuss the consequences. In less detail of course but enough to understand why it was such a big deal.

 

The book is well-researched, in so far this is possible. Obviously none of the people involved was too keen on keeping anything that might implicate them so many documents were destroyed.
That leaves the author with accounts from people that weren't directly involved (who also might not know the truth) or things like Jeanne's memoirs. In which she was also more than economical with the truth and tried very much to paint herself as a victim.
Beckmann does point that out and most of the time he puts them into perspective but on some occasions I found he was not clear enough on which claims were to be taken with a grain of salt and which might have been true.


Somewhere in the middle were also two chapters that didn't bring much new information. Instead they discussed Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Twelfth Night and The Marriage of Figaro and speculated on whether any of the people involved had read or seen them and match the characters from the stories with the real ones involved in the affair. If that was (at that length) really necessary is questionable but that doesn't take much away.
If you're interested in French history that book is definitely reccomended.

Review: Les Miserables (Manga)

Manga Classics: Les Miserables Softcover - Victor Hugo

This just didn't really work for me. It felt too short, more like a illustrated summary than a proper story. Even Jean Valjean's backstory felt rushed and it was worse with the rest of the characters. The revolution seems to come out of nowhere and it didn't really feel like it was important to any of the participants. 

I liked the drawing-style well enough and perhaps if it had been longer and the characters had been given more depth I could have enjoyed the book more but this way I really couldn't bring myself to care about any of them.

Discworld Cover Quiz

 

It's fun. And even if you had different editions (as I did) you should get quite far if you know what happens in the books ;)

 

Currently reading

Das Halsband der Königin. by Alexandre Dumas
Progress: 66%
Krieg und Frieden by Leo Tolstoy, Michael Grusemann
Progress: 520/1024pages
From Hell by Alan Moore, Eddie Campbell, Pete Mullins
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Stephen and Matilda by Jim Bradbury
Progress: 52/262pages