Category Archives: Books

New on my bookshelf, and some music stuff

Yes, I know, I know, it has been rather quiet here on the blog, and I hope to change this in the days (weeks) to come.
I have been busy. Doing a lot of stuff on the weekends, like teaching first aid, playing the organ, playing the accordion, going to family gatherings, knitting… and occasionally reading books.
I have read Frank Westworth’s “The corruption of Chastity” and I read “A last act of Charity” to make myself more familiar with the world of JJ Stoner. There’s a separate blog post coming soon where I will also explain why I read the books in the “wrong” order 😉

Recently, Ben Aaronovitch (https://twitter.com/Ben_Aaronovitch), whose books I adore, recommended a new novel (the first?) by Andrew Cartmel (https://twitter.com/andrewcartmel): “The Vinyl Detective”. I finally got round to getting the book and started reading this morning on the train. What should I say, I almost missed my stop because I was immediately hooked. It’s a page turner, at least for me. And it deserves a blog post of its own which I will write when I’m done with the book (I need a few more train rides, though).

Linda MacFadyen (https://twitter.com/LindaMacFadyen), who organised the wonderful “Thin Ice” blog tour, mentioned Natasha Walter’s “A quiet life” which is next on my reading list and already sits on my bookshelf. Well, to be honest, it sits on the kitchen table, but will move onto the bookshelf soon.

What else was I reading? I re-read “Punk Rock People Management: A No-Nonsense Guide to Hiring, Inspiring and Firing Staff” by Peter Cook, “Team Genius: The New Science of High-Performing Organizations” by by Rich Karlgaard and Michael S. Malone, and I read lots of music. 😉

Speaking of music, yesterday evening I had the pleasure of playing a nice small grand piano at a service held by and for women. Men were invited, too, but none came. So we were a female-only congregation, and, as it often happens, I was the youngest.
I played Clara Schumann’s prelude in B flat, an Andante Espressivo by Hedwige Chretien, and another Andante espressivo by Helene Liebmann. Also, I played a piece by Margreeth de Jong, originally for organ, but it was manuals only and sounded quite nice on the piano. And of course I accompanied all the songs we sang during the service.
Afterwards, the pastor came to me and said that the piano hadn’t sounded so good for ages. I accepted the compliment gracefully (I hope!), but wondered at the same time who the other people might be who play that piano regularly. The perfectionist inside me didn’t think my playing was that good, but I made her shut up 🙂

Thanks for coming back to the blog in quiet times, and I hope to see you again soon!

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Bored? Need action? Go read Frank Westworth’s stories

Some people would argue that I read anything that is in front of my nose, but that’s not quite true. I do choose what I read, but what is true is that when I’m asked to read and review something, I seldom say no.
So of course I welcomed the invitation by Rowena of https://murdermayhemandmore.wordpress.com/ to read “First Contract: A JJ Stoner short story” by Frank Westworth.
Those of you who’ve known me for a while might think, hey, what, there she is, suddenly reading e-books? Well, not really. I still don’t own an e-book-reader, but thanks to modern technology, I received a copy of the story that I could read on my PC 🙂
I usually don’t recommend this veeeeery large online book seller, but you don’t get this story anywhere else, so, [insert deep sigh here] if you want to read “First Contract”, go online and do whatever one does to get the data onto the device.

Back to the actual story. It’s certainly not for the chicken-hearted, and not for people who expect their heroes to be heroes but never use swear words. If you like Jack Reacher, you will probably like JJ Stoner. But that’s all you can say for similarity. The two guys are certainly not brothers, and Frank hasn’t written a story that’s simply just another version of a successful concept. JJ Stoner is a man with some rough edges and a mind of his own, and despite the fact that he’s killing people by the dozen, you still get the feeling that you kinda like him. But you would never want to stand in his way.

“First contract” is brisk, rather intense and remarkably well-written. Despite the violence, there’s a humourous streak, and if you like out-of-the-ordinary adventures with interesting twists in the storyline, go for Frank’s stories. And watch this space for future reviews, because there’s more to come. Promised.

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Blog tour: Thin Ice by Quentin Bates

I’ve been a fan of Quentin Bates and his Icelandic crime hero, officer Gunnhildur (Gunna), for a long time. It wasn’t quite love at first sight, considering that I read the somewhat clumsy German translations of “Frozen Out” and “Cold Comfort” first, but I’ve grown to like Gunna and all the others a lot. And I must say that it’s well worth reading the English originals!

So, of course I read all the other books that followed, and because I’m a paper person when it comes to books, I was thrilled that “Thin Ice”, the latest Gunnhildur story, is available not just as an e-book, but as a classic paperback.

You can get the book at any book store, and if you can, please go and buy local. 🙂

Like all of Quentin’s books, Thin Ice combines the best of both worlds, Iceland and Britain. Quentin is an outsider, not living in Iceland at the moment, and an insider at the same time, having family in Iceland, speaking the language, having lived there and being busy translating Icelandic crime stories by other remarkable writers.

The story is very Icelandic, you almost hear someone muttering “Þetta reddast” on every second page, you have the typical weather quirks, you have country people and city people (contrary to popular belief, not every Icelander is an outdoor enthusiast), you have the country side, you have unexpected twists and turns… and it also has a certain “Britishness” about it, most notably in Quentin’s choice of words and phrases.

I love how the story unfolds. Who is victim? Who is villain? Where does the money go? Who is together with whom and why and how long? It’s a bit like driving along a fjord and finding something new after each turn in the winding road. Whenever you think, oh, yes, this is where the story goes, something new happens. You’ll have pleasant surprises until the very end. And I’ve seldom read crime fiction where I felt so much sympathy for the “bad” guys, or at least one of them. Same for the “innocent” people, they’re very human and not always likeable and sometimes I thought, why on earth did the crooks have to kidnap just these two, couldn’t they have taken someone else. But I’m glad Quentin spun his yarn the way he did. It makes Thin Ice a very good read indeed!

If you’re looking for a high number of dead bodies, Thin Ice is not for you. If you’re looking for a diverse story that could have happened in real life and interesting characters and a setting in one of the most picturesque and fascinating places in the world, then Thin Ice is for you. Even if you haven’t read all the other books, Thin Ice is for you. You can easily jump in since you don’t have to know Gunna since she was little to enjoy the story.

I would like to thank Linda MacFadyen who did a great job in organising the blog tour and making sure everyone received their review copy on time. And I hope that Quentin will find the time to write more Gunnhildur stories – and maybe one day there will be another publisher making the books available in German.

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Ein Buch geht auf die Reise: Blogtour für einen Krimi

Heute startet die große Blogtour zum neuen Krimi von Quentin Bates, und ich habe die Ehre, dabei zu sein.
Ich werde aber noch nichts verraten, denn ich bin erst später “dran”.
Wer neugierig ist und schauen will, was die anderen so schreiben, findet hier die Liste der Blogs, die mitmachen:
27.2.
The Welsh Librarian
http://thewelshlibrarian.blogspot.co.uk

28.2.
Reading Room With A View
http://reading-room-with-a-view.blogspot.co.uk

29.2.
Northern Crime
http://northerncrime.wordpress.com

1.3.
Raven Crime Reads
http://ravencrimereads.wordpress.com

2.3.
Euro Drama
http://eurodrama.wordpress.com

3.3.
Café Thinking
http://cafethinking.wordpress.com

4.3.
Liz Loves Books
http://lizlovesbooks.com

5.3.
The Book Bag
http://thebookbag.co.uk

6.3.
Crimeworm
http://crimeworm.wordpress.com

7.3.
Espresso Coco
http://espressococo.wordpress.com

8.3.
Off-the-shelf book reviews
http://off-the-shelfbooks.blogspot.co.uk

9.3.
Shots
http://www.shotsmag.co.uk/

10.3.
Claire Loves to Read
http://claireh18.booklikes.com

11.3.
Blue Book Balloon
http://bluebookballoon.blogspot.co.uk

12.3.
Crime Thriller Girl
http://crimethrillergirl.com

13.3.
Rebecca Bradley
http://rebeccabradleycrime.com

14.3.
Crime Pieces
http://crimepieces.com

15.3.
Orenda Books
http://orendabooks.co.uk/category/blog/

16.3.
Mrs Peabody
http://mrspeabodyinvestigates.wordpress.com/

17.3.
Col’s Criminal Library
http://col2910.blogspot.co.uk

18.3.
Crimespree
http://crimespreemag.com/

19.3.
Criminal Element
http://criminalelement.com

20.3.
Random Things Through My Letterbox
http://randomthingsthroughmyletterbox.blogspot.co.uk/

21.3.
Nordic Noir
http://nordicnoirblog.wordpress.com/

22.3.
A Reading Life
http://christinepoulson.co.uk/a-reading-life/

23.3.
Iceland Defrosted
http://icelanddefrosted.com/

24.3.
Life of Crime
http://lifeofcri.me/

25.3.
Milo’s Rambles
http://www.milorambles.com/

26.3.
Grab this Book
http://grabthisbook.net/

27.3.
Novel Heights
http://novelheights.wordpress.com/

28.3.
Newcastle Noir
http://newcastlenoir.blogspot.co.uk/

29.3.
Torquil MacLeod
http://www.torquilmacleodbooks.com/

30.3.
La Crème de la Crime
http://lacremedelacrime.wordpress.com

31.3.
Andijah’s world
https://andijah.wordpress.com/

1.4.
MurderMayhem&More
http://murdermayhemandmore.net

2.4.
Euro Drama
http://eurodrama.wordpress.com

Ich habe die Liste absichtlich in dieser Form gepostet, damit auch diejenigen unter meinen Lesern, für die das pdf-Poster möglicherweise nicht zugänglich ist, mitlesen können 🙂

THIN ICE BLOG

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Gänsehaut im Sommer…

… oder auch “Summerchill”: Quentin Bates, über dessen Bücher ich schon einmal gebloggt hatte (https://andijah.wordpress.com/2012/09/10/aus-meinem-bucherschrank/), versüßt uns den Start in den Sommer mit einem Kurzroman namens Summerchill. Leider ist das Buch zum einen nur auf englisch erhältlich, und zum anderen nur als e-book, aber ich hatte das Privileg, bereits einen Blick hineinwerfen zu dürfen und kann es wie alle Krimis von Quentin nur wärmstens empfehlen. Wie immer gibt es einige Verwicklungen, es werden aktuelle gesellschaftliche Strömungen aufgegriffen, und auf knapp 80 Seiten entführt uns Quentin auf die schöne, rauhe Insel hoch im Nordatlantik und lässt Gunna den Fall auf ihre übliche direkte Art bearbeiten und lösen.

Was jetzt noch fehlt, ist ein Verlag, der nach “In eisigem Wasser” (Frozen Out) und “Kalter Trost” (Cold Comfort) weitere Gunna-Krimis ins Deutsche übersetzt und herausbringt. Aber wer einigermaßen Englisch kann, dürfte mit den Originalen gut zurechtkommen, und ab sofort lässt sich Summerchill vorbestellen. Weitere Infos gibt es direkt bei Quentin: http://graskeggur.com/blog/140/summerchill

Viel Spaß beim Lesen!

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Aus meinem Bücherschrank: Quentin Bates

Ich liebe Bücher. Geschichten, Gedichte, Romane, Krimis, Thriller, Sachbücher, Fachbücher, Bilderbücher… schon in der Grundschule konnte ich vom Lesen nicht genug bekommen.
Ich erinnere mich, dass ich einmal nach Hause kam und es war niemand da und ich hatte keinen Schlüssel. Auf der Treppe lag jedoch ein Päckchen von meiner Tante an mich. Drinnen war unter anderem ein Buch. Da habe ich mich einfach hingesetzt und gelesen und habe mich so intensiv in die Geschichte entführen lassen, dass ich richtig erschrak, als meine Mutter plötzlich vor mir stand und fragte, ob ich nicht mit ihr ins Haus kommen wollte.

Besonders gerne lese ich Krimis. Klassiker von Dorothy L. Sayers und Agatha Christie ebenso wie Bücher von Deborah Crombie oder Yrsa Sigurðardóttir. Und weil ich auch Island mag, lese ich so einiges, was unter dem Stichwort Islandkrimi in die Regale kommt. Neben isländischen Autoren haben in letzter Zeit auch andere das Genre entdeckt. Einer ist z.B. Michael Ridpath, bekannt geworden mit Thrillern aus der Finanzwelt, aber über den wollte ich heute gar nicht erzählen. Ein anderes Mal.

Heute möchte ich von Quentin Bates sprechen, vielmehr von seinen Büchern. Quentin Bates, Journalist und Schriftsteller, mit dem passenden Spitznamen Gráskeggur, ein intimer Kenner Islands. Mehr zu ihm unter http://graskeggur.com/biography/

Quentin hat zwei lesenswerte Islandkrimis geschrieben, die deutschen Titel lauten “In eisigem Wasser” und “Kalter Trost”. Die Hauptfigur Gunna ist erfrischend normal – zumindest so normal, wie es eine Polizistin und alleinerziehende Mutter eben sein kann. Die Geschichten sind aus dem Leben gegriffen. Wer die Entwicklung der isländischen Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft in den letzten Jahren verfolgt hat, wird einige der Hintergründe, die in Quentins Büchern auftauchen, wiedererkennen. Trotzdem sind die Geschichten reine Fiktion, und haben alles, was gute Krimis ausmacht: Charaktere mit Ecken und Kanten, jede Menge Verwicklungen, einen Haufen Verdächtiger und natürlich auch eine Auflösung. Die ist jedoch nie vorhersehbar, und es bleibt in beiden Büchern bis zum Schluss spannend.
Die Bücher spielen in der Hauptsache im Südwesten Islands, z.B. in der fiktiven Hafenstadt namens Hvalvík, und natürlich in Reykjavík – an der Hauptstadt kommt man einfach nicht vorbei.
Die Lebensbedingungen auf der großen Insel im Nordatlantik spielen immer eine Rolle, ebenso wie die Natur, doch nie drängen sie sich in den Vordergrund der Geschichten. Quentin versteht es bestens, den Blick von außen und den Blick von innen zusammenzubringen und hat zwei hervorragende Krimis geschaffen, die zeigen, dass das Thema Islandkrimi noch längst nicht ausgelutscht ist.

Quentins Krimis machen Lust auf mehr, und da ist es gut, dass er derzeit am dritten Roman schreibt. Ich freue mich schon darauf, auch diesen in meinen Bücherschrank zu stellen, natürlich nicht, ohne ihn vorher ausgiebig gelesen zu haben.

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