Witty Little Knitter

Student. Reader. Knitter. Not necessarily in that order.
I read fantasy, crime, true crime, lgbt-romance and books written by my favourite comedians. List not necessarily complete.

Reading progress update: I've read 20%.

Twenty Years After - Alexandre Dumas père

I'm almost happier to see all the servants again than the Musketeers. Which might or might not be blamed on the fact that I have been on a Musketeer-film-binge over the last few weeks (if you're following me on other soicial media and witnessed that first hand I apologize again) and most of them write out the servants completely or just keep Planchet, so YAY for Grimaud and Co ♥

Review: The Nicholas Feast

The Nicholas Feast (Gil Cunningham Murder Mystery) (A Gil Cunningham Murder Mystery) - Pat McIntosh

I could more or less copy my review for the first in the series here. The mystery plot was good (and actually less predictable than the first) and the author is really good at writing historical novels that make you feel that this book can only be set at this time in this place because plot and the 'background' are so intertwined with each other. The author is also really good at giving just enough information in dialogue and narration that also readers who are somewhat unfamiliar with 15th century Scotland know what's going on, without massive infodumps. However it's still only just enough, I can guess sort of what happened and how the Scottish legal system at this time worked but an afterword where the author explains a bit more would have been awesome.
I still love the relationship between Gil and Alys. At first it was instant attraction but not love and now you can see it developing into something more. They stil learn new things about each other and discover similarities (and I might have gone 'awwwwwwwwwwww' at one point) and these parts are really beautifully written.

Review: This House is Haunted

This House is Haunted - John Boyne

A nice read that could have been a great one if the author had put more effort in it.

Reading progress update: I've read 60%.

This House is Haunted - John Boyne

I swear Eliza has the memory of a goldfish.

/Name gets mentioned/

Five pages later: name pops up again

Eliza: Oh that name seemed vaguely familiar, I wondered if perhaps I had heard it before.

 

She also loves keeping things from the reader, e.g. a chapter ends on a revelation/cliff-hanger and then the next chapter starts as if nothing happened and only halfway through Eliza has the decency to mention what exactly happened.

It is so annoying...even more than in Boyne's Absolutist where it at least made in-universe sense that the narrator is reluctant to talk about certain topics (and that was frustrating anyway). Eliza has no reason to trip around topics the way she does.

Reading progress update: I've read 7%.

This House is Haunted - John Boyne

Boyne's prose is really good but he will also start his book with the heroine looking in a mirror and describing herself.

Reading progress update: I've read 3%.

Twenty Years After - Alexandre Dumas père

loved The Three Musketeers when I was younger. (Well, I still do, the love just began very early). It was among the first "grown-up" books I read. However I somehow missed that it also had sequels (not sure how, as I just re-read TTM and our copy has a short note at the end that talks about Dumas and it mentions the sequels). When I learned about them much later I went 'yeah, I need to read these...somewhen'.

Now I have caught the Musketeer-fever badly (Thank you BBC and your ridiculous show featuring hot men in leather and lots of costume-porn 

 

)

 

So what better time to start than now?

Let's do this!

Review: Habsburgs Schwarze Schafe

Habsburgs schwarze Schafe: Über Sonderlinge, Rebellen und Wahnsinnige im kaiserlichen Hause - Christian Dickinger

Die Auswahl der „schwarzen Schafe“ ist schon einmal interessant. Zum einen werden nur Personen aus den letzten knapp 100 Jahren der Regierungszeit der Habsburger beschrieben. Davor gab es wohl keine „Sonderlinge, Rebellen und Wahnsinnige“. Zum anderen stellt sich die Frage was der Autor eigentlich unter einem „schwarzen Schaf“ versteht. Natürlich gibt es da die Klassiker: Kronprinz Rudolf mit seinen politischen Einstellungen und unglücklichem Ende, ein paar Erzherzöge die nicht standesgemäß geheiratet haben, einen anderen mit Vorliebe für Frauenkleider usw. Genauso ist aber Franz-Josef im Buch vertreten und der war aus Sicht der Habsburger sicher kein schwarzes Schaf, nur aus Sicht Außenstehender lässt sich so einiges an ihm finden was alles andere als begeistert. Auch finden sich in dem Buch nur gebürtige Habsburger...und Kaiserin Elisabeth.

Trotzdem muss man dem Autor hoch anrechnen, dass er die Beschriebenen nicht vorführt. Gleich zu Beginn wird klargestellt, dass Generationen von Inzucht, die bei den Habsburgern (wie bei allen anderen europäischen Königshäusern auch) üblich waren selten zu Gutem führt. Das in Kombination mit sehr archaischen Erziehungsmethoden die sich seit Gründung des Hauses kaum geändert zu haben scheinen bringt nun mal selten gesunde und psychisch ausgeglichene Menschen hervor. Und während das Buch durchaus amüsant geschrieben ist gleitet es nie ins Bösartige ab.

Leider aber gelegentlich ins Langweilige. Es scheint fast als ob der Autor dachte ein Buch nur über exzentrische Habsburger allein wäre nicht seriös genug, weswegen er sich verpflichtet gefühlt hat noch viel zu viel historischen Kontext unterzubringen. Bis zu einem gewissen Grad ist der sicher notwendig aber manche Kapitel enthalten mehr Informationen über die politischen Umstände zur Zeit der beschriebenen Person als Anekdoten über sie. Dazu kommt, dass das Buch ein gewisses Grundwissen über die österreichische Geschichte voraussetzt, was schnell verwirrend werden kann für Leser die darin wenig bewandert sind...nicht-Österreicher zum Beispiel. Da liegt die Schuld natürlich nicht unbedingt beim Autor, ein Deutscher würde in seinen Büchern auch kaum Dinge wiederkauen wenn er weiß, dass das Thema im Schulunterricht ausführlich behandelt wird. Das ändert aber nichts daran, dass ich recht dankbar dafür war, dass ich dank einem Radetzkimarsch-Hörspiel zumindest schon mal von Solferino und Königgrätz gehört hatte.

 

Alles in allem bleibt man mit dem Gefühl zurück, dass das Buch nicht wirklich hält was es verspricht. Manche Kapitel wirken ein bisschen zu lieblos zusammengewürfelt, z.B. erfährt man in dem über Ludwig-Viktor mehr über die Ansichten über Homosexuelle im Allgemeinen als über ihn. Das Kapitel über Erzherzog Otto verspricht etwas über „eines der schwärzesten Schafe Habsburgs“ zu erzählen. Was man dann erfährt ist, dass er viel getrunken und sich im Suff wohl durchaus auch unangemessen verhalten hat und die Nächte selten im eigenen Ehebett verbracht hat. Nicht gerade shocking.

 

 

The Three Musketeers Prequel Web Series

It will start somewhen this spring. There is still not too much info available and some things appear a bit odd but I have seen worse (much worse) when it comes to The Three Musketeers. (Milady sacrificing her child to Satan springs to mind)

DNF: Review: No Boundaries

No Boundaries - Donna K. Ford

I made it 12% into this. Let me sum up what happened up to that point:

 

Andi: I have moved in this little town in the middle of nowhere because of a Traumatic Experience(TM) in my past. I will not go into further detail about this, yet.

 

Gwen: I am just moving in this little town in the middle of nowhere because back home bad things happened in my last relationship and my girlfriend betrayed my horribly. I will also talk about how I didn't really look for anything serious and had lots of one-night-stands. How does this fit together? Who cares?

 

Gwen moves in. Gwen has a huge dog. Andi is going for a walk and passes Glen's house where the dog, who is just hunting a squirrel knocks her down.

Gwen: Oh shit. I am so sorry. Just let me see if you've got any bad injuries and treat the scratches you got from falling down.

Gwen's and Andi's hands touch. The touch is so awesome that a horde of unicorns materializes, three rainbows appear in the sky, violins start playing and Andi almost orgasms.

 

Gwen and Andi: Wow!

Gwen: I am really sorry about my dog. Also I would like to make it up to you and invite you to a drink or something like that. 

Andi: OH NO! I CANNOT HAVE CLOSENESS WITH ANYBODY BECAUSE OF REASONS! I must act like a jerk and tell her that I don't want to have anything to do with her!

Gwen: WTF? Look, I'm sorry if I did anything wrong but that was really only meant as an apology and because I don't know anybody here and would like to meet people.

Andi: Oh that was all so hot but I only bring bad things to people I'm close to and I cannot risk this. I will act like a jerk again.

Gwen: WTF? Well, all-right, if you don't want to just go.

 

*~*

 

Andi and Gwen meet again.

Gwen: Hi, I still have not quite grasped the meaning of the word 'No' and so I will try to apologize again and ask you out again.

Andi: Fuck off! (Even though it hurts to say that! LOOK AT ME SUFFERING!)

Gwen: So you're not interested, then?

Andi: I will tell you to fuck off again, while I'm secretly angsting like crazy because of reasons I still don't want to explain.

 

Then there's a strange community-thing where basically the whole town meets up and clears out some of the trash from the streets/forest/nature. A wild cardboard-cutout appears!

CC: Hello! I'm vaguely related to one of the people who life here. I will now go and hit on Gwen.

Gwen: Oh. I totally wanted to leave the life of one-night stands behind me and search for twu luv, so I'm not going to react to her flirting.

Andi: OH NO! That is CC! She will jump on anybody who's not fast enough and now she's hitting on Gwen! Oh why does watching that hurt so much? Oh woe is me!

Gwen: literally 5 minutes ago I said I wasn't interested but now I have suddenly changed my mind and won't do anything to discourage her from flirting with me.

Andi: Oh woe is me!

Almost the right name

 

Of course CC and Gwen end up in the same trash-collecting group and Andi has to be the leader. They go somewhere, everybody gets a whistle, they should blow if they run in any trouble.

 

Andi: Angsting

A whistle is blown

Andi: OH MY GOD!!! MY SPIDEY SENSES ARE TELLING ME THAT THIS HAS TO COME FROM GWEN! Oh she is probably dead or dying somewhere! Oh I should have taken more care. The fact that it could be something like a twisted ankle where she would need help but is not in any mortal danger won't even cross my mind (or that I could have come from somebody else)

But of course it is Gwen, well it's Gwen blowing the whistle because CC stepped on some bees and got stung.

CC: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

Andi: Are you allergic to bees?

CC: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

Andi: Calm down, are you allergic?

CC: eh...no actually. It just really hurts.

Andi: OMG GWEN YOU ALSO GOT STUNG

Gwen: Oh. Right.

Andi: OMG ARE YOU ALLERGIC? LET ME RIP OF YOUR SHIRT AND CARE FOR THE STITCHES

Gwen: *hyperventilating*

Andi: OH NO YOU ARE ALLERGIC

Gwen: Nope, it's just you touched me and I'm one step away from an orgasm

CC: Is anybody still thinking about me?

 

*~*a bit later*~*

Gwen: Oh no! You were stung as well! And it's swollen quite a lot! Are you allergic?

Andi: Only a bit. It will pass soon.

Gwen: OH MY GOD. ANDI IS ALLERGIC TO BEES BUT SHE STILL WENT THERE AND SAVED US. SHE TOTALLY RISKED HER LIFE FOR US. ANDI IS SO AWESOME!

 

 

And that, dear reader, was the moment I stopped. I came here because I had been promised a mystery/crime story, not a love-story puked out by a drama-lama. Yes, the book was marked as mystery & romance and it's not the first time I'm reading a crime-story that is very heavy on the romance but the first time I read so far and barely got a hint from the crime/mystery plot (the blurb promises that Andi's Traumatic Past (TM) will catch up with her but if I hadn't been told that I would probably not have guessed it) but only the cheapest and most ridiculous drama-for-the-sake-of-drama love-story clichés.

Thanks but no thanks.

 

ARC from Netgalley, received in exchange for a honest review.

Review: Great Little Gifts to Knit

Great Little Gifts to Knit - Jean Moss

Quick (gift) projects are something many knitters are interested in hence there are quite a number of books with patterns for those. Sadly Quick Little Gifts lacks anything that distinguishes it from the many other books with the same subject. Some easy intarsia for mittens and small pillows, fingerless lace-gloves, a cabled beanie, socks...The patterns are all quite easy, as they need to be for the 'Quick'-part but that also means that when going through the book you soon get a feeling of 'I've seen this before'. There are a few nice and original patterns but the majority are things I have already seen similarly in magazines or online (for free). (There's a placemat in plain stockinette with a garter stitch border...who needs a pattern for that?)

For new knitters the book certainly isn't bad as they can practise new techniques on small projects but there's nothing that scream 'pick me over all the other Quick Gifts books' that probably have the same advantage for beginners.

 

ARC provided by NetGalley

Reading progress update: I've read 20%.

The Nicholas Feast (Gil Cunningham Murder Mystery) (A Gil Cunningham Murder Mystery) - Pat McIntosh

Perhaps you would have a drop of aqua-vita or usquebae for him, maister?

 

Wait, what?

Thanks to my teenage obsession with everything vaguely Celtic I still know that usquebae translates as life-water (unless Scottish and Irish are very different here) and means Whisky...just aqua-vita also means life-water so...what's that then?

Free today and tomorrow on ARe!

Reblogged from Mandy, I read obsessively :
Widdershins (Whyborne & Griffin) (Volume 1) - Jordan L. Hawk

Considering I dislike historical books, I was reluctant to read this one. 

But let me say, I LOVED it and went and bought the next one and the Valentines short the very next day. 

Grab it free now! :)

Great piece by Ceilidh at Bibliodaze: "Say No to James Frey: Why I'm Boycotting Full Fathom Five"

Reblogged from TezMillerOz:

Reading progress update: I've read 3%.

The Nicholas Feast (Gil Cunningham Murder Mystery) (A Gil Cunningham Murder Mystery) - Pat McIntosh

Hey! This books doesn't seem to have quite as much random Scots as the first one perhaps I will get through this one with less googling...

 

haivers

gars

strunts

driddle

 

 

Or maybe not.

 

Review: Todesnacht

Todesnacht: Island-Thriller - Ragnar Jonasson

„Überfrachtet“ beschreibt das Buch wohl am ehesten. Gleich zu Beginn wird die Leiche gefunden aber anstatt darauf gleich die Ermittlungen folgen zu lassen wird erst einmal die Lebensgeschichte mehrerer Personen erzählt: die ermittelnden Polizisten, eine Journalistin die darüber berichtet und mehrere Personen die das Opfer gekannt haben. Nur wenig davon ist relevant für den Fall, vieles hätte komplett weggelassen oder zumindest wesentlich kürzer dargestellt werden können.

Unglücklicherweise ist nicht nur in den ersten Kapiteln der Fall. Jedes mal wenn man als Leser dachte jetzt würde die Ermittlungsarbeit wirklich beginnen wird der Fluss wieder unterbrochen und man erfährt mehr nicht wirklich Fall-relevantes aus dem Leben der Figuren oder wird mit Rückblenden zu Ereignissen die teilweise Jahrzehnte zurückliegen beglückt.

Da der Fall nur stückchenweise und mit ständigen Unterbrechungen präsentiert wird, fällt es schwer wirklich mitzufiebern. Genauso verhindert die Erzählweise aber auch, dass man mit den Charakteren wirklich mitfühlen kann. Zwar erfährt man viel über ihre Vergangenheit aber man sieht sie nur selten handeln. Man bekommt erzählt wie sie sich führen, sieht aber kaum welche Auswirkungen es auf sie hat.

Das alles ist schade, denn das Buch hat durchaus Potential. Wenn dem Fall mehr, und den Nebenfiguren weniger Seiten gewidmet worden wären, hätte es um einiges interessanter sein können.

Review: From Whitechapel

From Whitechapel - Melanie Clegg

You know how I hate almost all the Jack the Ripper fiction I read?

I really enjoyed this one. Read why on Bibliodaze

Currently reading

Four Sisters:The Lost Lives of the Romanov Grand Duchesses by Helen Rappaport
Progress: 4%
Twenty Years After by Alexandre Dumas père
Progress: 20%
Krieg und Frieden by Leo Tolstoy, Michael Grusemann
Progress: 414/1024pages
Stephen and Matilda (Sutton Illustrated History Paperbacks) by Jim Bradbury
Progress: 52/262pages