Tag Archives: Books

From my bookshelf: Yesterday by Felicia Yap

This summer has so far been way too hot for new knitting projects, but there’s always time to read a book.
Recently, I was looking for a book to read on the train. I like browsing through the shops and often don’t really know what I will end up with.
Yes, I quite like crime stories and thrillers and seldom buy romantic novels, but I don’t always plan on buying a specific book.

I bought a paperback: Yesterday by Felicia Yap. The book was published last year and I’ve since discovered that there was a blog tour promoting it (which I missed – must’ve been in the “wrong” filter bubble), but I guess any good book can do with additional reviews even if it’s not brand new. 😉

So, what’s the story?
When reviewing books, it’s important not to give away too much to keep potential readers interested, but of course you need to say something about the contents.

Felicia Yap makes this rather hard for any reviewer, because of the cleverly woven background for the story. It’s a murder mystery, set in modern Britain, but it’s not the modern Britain you know. There are basically two classes of people in the world: the “Monos” and the “Duos”. Adult Monos can remember only yesterday, and Duos can remember one additional day, the day before yesterday. Everyone’s using an electronic device (iDiary) to write down what they did during the day and if they are asked a question, they will use the search function of their little helper and then give you the answer. Now imagine you’re a police officer trying to solve a crime in this world – your task being made even more difficult by your own specific challenges and problems.

The setting is both intriguing and disturbing. Whom can you trust? Who’s telling the truth? What is the truth anyway?

The story is told from different perspectives which makes it quite entertaining, but I couldn’t say that there’s one character I especially liked or grew fond of. They’re all a tad weird. But then again, they live in a weird world and just try to live their lives the best they can.

The book is great if you like both crime stories and a bit of science fiction, and it was perfect for my train journey and will remain on my bookshelf to be read again in a while.

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Spring is coming, and so is a new JJ stoner adventure

Well, spring might be round the corner, and still a bit shy, but the latest JJ stoner story by Frank Westworth is already out and worth reading.

If it’s not your first visit to my blog, you might know that I wrote about JJ Stoner before, and you can choose between shorter stories and some damn good full-length books (the “Killing Sisters” series).

I have to be honest.
I seldom “met” a main character (here: JJ Stoner) whom I love and loath at the same time. You’re kept on your toes all the time, and can never be sure who’s who, who’s ally, friend or enemy. And everytime friendly, likeable characters are introduced, you start fearing for their lives.

True, it takes a while to get used to Frank’s way of writing, of moving to and fro through time, flashbacks, now and then, but once you do, you’ll enjoy it enormously. You could start reading any of the short stories, they work quite well as standalones. If you want to start reading the books, I recommend starting with “A last act of Charity” because otherwise you’d be too confused. And believe me, you will be confused anyway. But in a nice, exciting way.

(Oh, and in case you’re wondering, I still don’t own an ebook reader. The review copy of “Six strings” has kindly been made available to me by Murder, Mayhem and more.)

So, now that you’re done reading this short blog post, go and get the story, and I hope you’ll like it as much as I do!



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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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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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