One of my Favorite Cozy Crime Authors – Katharina M. Mylius „Tödliches Blau“ (Review in German and English)

paperback
publisher: Dryas Verlag
published 2017
pages: 256

In (Very) Short:

Der Trainer des Ruderclubs der Universität Oxford treibt tot in der Themse. Zunächst sieht es danach aus, als sei der Mann ertrunken. Doch dann verdichten sich die Hinweise, dass er hinterlistig ermordet wurde. Das Inspektoren-Duo Heidi Green und Frederick Collins ermittelt und findet heraus, dass sich der ehrgeizige Trainer mit seiner harschen Art viele Feinde gemacht hat. Dabei gerät ein Ruderer besonders ins Visier der Ermittler. Wenig später wird jedoch auch er tot aufgefunden…

Inspectors Heidi Green and Frederick Collins are at it again. In their 4th case the trainer of the Oxford rowing team is murdered short before the traditional rowing competition between Oxford and Cambridge. Wondering a little whether the other team wanted to gain an advantage, Green and Collins discover that quite a few people had a grudge (the wives, the children, the replacements, the rowing team itself). Now the inspectors have to navigate their way around a minefield of lies, accusations and hurt egos.

My Opinion:

Ich bin ein großer Fan von Katharina M. Mylius. Ihre wunderbare und bezaubernde Art zu schreiben begeistert mich immer wieder. Die Geschichte ist schnell und spritzig (mir fällt hier wirklich gerade kein besseres Wort ein), die Protagonisten sind sympathisch und liebenswert und das Verbrechen bleibt durchaus rätselhaft auch wenn man den Mörder durchaus schon vor ende erspähen kann. Mylius schafft es aber immer wieder einen auf unterschiedliche Fährten zu locken. Dabei bleiben die Morde zwar grausam und brutal, aber es fühlt sich nicht nach einer überwiegend blutigen Angelegenheit an. Es bleibt für mich immer ein cozy crime.

Zudem bin ich großer Fan der Protagonisten, die, anders als viele andere auch mal ein funktionierendes Privatleben haben und einen angenehmen, teils ironischen Umgang miteinander haben. Dies ist für mich ihr bestes Buch bis jetzt.

I thoroughly enjoy the work of Katharina M. Mylius. She has a wonderful and captivating way to write the story and enthrall her audience. The story is fast-paced, the protagonists are very sympathetic, the crime remains puzzling though you can glimpse who the murderer is. Yet Mylius integrates quite a few red herring and creates quite a few suspects. The murders however are not gruesome. Even when the crime is quite violent, it still does not feel overwhelmingly bloody or even blood thirsty. It remains a cozy crime.

I really enjoy the functioning lives of the detectives that are sprinkled throughout the investigation as well as the connection they have with each other and their colleagues. I think this is one of my favorite books so far.

Bottom Line:

Ein wunderbarer Krimi aus und in Oxford mit sympatischen Figuren und einem wunderbaren Schreibstil.

A wonderful cozy crime, yet only for readers of German. It has not been translated into English – which is a shame.

Rating:

A summer vacation, a spy tortoise and a great adventure – Kerstin Rottland’s Agathe Bond novel

Kerstin Rottland – Agathe Bond: Cool wie das Wasser im Pool
Did you know there is a whole secret world of tortoises that run a spy organization – me neither. But in the deep sees of children’s novel it shouldn’ t really be a surprise. The German author Kerstin Rottland tells a wonderful story that I throroughly enjoyed and recommend. However, the story as far as I know is not yet published in English.

The story

Agathe Bond (that’s the protagonist and yes she is the tortoise and female) is on a mission to catch one of the most notorious gangster tortoises, when one of her gadgets malfuntion at a  critical moment. Thankfully, she is stranded in a human tortoise sanctuary, but someone wanted her dead. With the help of a human boy, she flees the compound and searches for the person responsible for the failed assassination attempt.

The characters

Agathe Bond seems rather on the nose but in combination with some stereotypical themes of the spy genre, it not only seems but is on the nose for the knowledgable reader. Yet she is a wonderful quirky, zynical, grumpy old tortoise I think especially the more mature reader (did not wanna say old here) will enjoy. Jürgen (the human protagonist) is a charming yet slightly shy and unfortunate fellow with rather unique family and view on them. The mix works wonderful.

Kerstin Rottland’s writing

So far I have enjoyed Rottland’s dive into the spy world. The tropes and themes are familiar yet applied for the young reader. More mature readers get their entertainment value out of the story and especially the witty tortoise. She makes the story fun, entertaining, with a morale, taking the reader by the hand without being didactic or lecturing. Still, I wonder: Do children already get the Bond reference from the title? Is Bond a synonym for spy that even children unfamiliar with the canon know what it means or are they learning through these stories? Well, I digress: another topic for another blog post.

All in all, this is a fun and entertaining read for young an old. 

Rae Carson – The Bitter Kingdom

The Bitter Kingdom

paperback
publisher: Greenwillow Books
published 2014
pages: 448

Blurb:

In the deeply satisfying conclusion to the bestselling Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy, seventeen-year-old sorcerer-queen Elisa travels into the unknown realm of the enemy to win back her true love, save her country, and uncover the final secrets of her destiny.
Elisa is a fugitive in her own country. Her enemies have stolen the man she loves in order to lure her to the gate of darkness. As she and her daring companions take one last quest into unknown enemy territory to save Hector, Elisa will face hardships she’s never imagined. And she will discover secrets about herself and her world that could change the course of history. She must rise up as champion—a champion to those who have hated her most. Riveting, surprising, and achingly romantic, Rae Carson has spun a bold and powerful conclusion to her extraordinary trilogy. (Amazon)

In (Very) Short:

+ the final installment and conclusion to the trilogy
+ reuniting with old friends and foes
+ fast-paced story

My Opinion:

Since this is the conclusion to a trilogy, I don’t want to go into too much detail since I don’t want to spoiler the previous books if you haven’t read them yet. Yet I might not be able to avoid them – so beware.

Elisa is now on her way into enemy territory with her trusted and some not so trusted friends. She not only uncovers truths about herself, the countries’ history and her enemies, but she finally becomes the Queen that some people never thought she could become.

This book was as riveting as the previous ones. I adored the dynamic between the little travel group, I also enjoyed the insecurity whether to trust a character or not, I also loved the story and surely the end.

The novel was fast-paced and kept that pace pretty good. The story world became even more complex and wider and I thoroughly reveled in the world creation, the magic system, and the queen’s council.

I was happy to be reunited with characters which I genuinely liked and I was also a little sad to let them go for good.

Bottom Line:

All in all, this was wonderful and satisfying conclusion to an exiting series with a great story world and likeable characters.

Rating:

rating 5

Josephine Angelini – Goddess

Goddess

paperback
publisher: Macmillan Children’s Book
published 2013
pages: 444

Blurb:

She must rise, or they will fall …Helen’s powers are increasing-and so is the distance between her and her mortal friends. To make matters worse, the Oracle reveals that a dangerous traitor is lurking among them, and all fingers point to Orion. Still unsure whether she loves him or Lucas, Helen is forced to make a terrifying decision, or risk all-out war. The final book in this heart-stopping trilogy. (Amazon)

In (Very) Short:

+ the final installment in the trilogy
+ Greek gods, scions, Trojan War – all the good stuff
+ fast-paced, thrilling, enjoyable

My Opinion:

I thoroughly enjoyed the final installment of this trilogy. I couldn’t put it down. If you haven’t read the first books you might not want to continue.

After the last battle with a Myrmidon and the release of the furies, the scions could finally remain in each others company no matter the house they belong to. However, they also freed the gods from their prison who start to roam the world and terrorize the humans. Thus, the final confrontation between gods and scions is inevitable and history seems to repeat itself – remember Troy?!

The story was fast-paced and complex. Since I have read the previous books some time ago (I think it might have been a year or so), I needed some time to get into it and I have to admit that I forgot some things. Therefore, I was so captivated solely by trying to put everyone into context. Just to figure out which person was the reincarnation of what character in Troy and other legends or historical events was thrilling to me.

I could even live with the love relationship problem. I read quite often that the series is somewhat reminiscent of Twilight and though the relationship between the two main protagonists was occasionally challenging, it was always explained due to destiny and since gods were in the mix, it did not bother me.

I enjoyed the interlude with the Trojan War, King Arthur‘s legend and the conversations and histories of the houses. The characters were likeable and I did not necessarily know which side I was one. I could relate to most of them. The writing was fluent and captivating, it read easy, fast and I barely put the book down.

Bottom Line:

I fast-paced, thrilling conclusion to the series. I really enjoyed this trilogy.

Rating:

rating 5

Bette A. Stevens – Amazing Matilda: A Monarch’s Tale

AM Look Inside Cover

eBook
Pages: 34
Bette A. Stevens’ Blog

Blurb:

Unlike her meadowland friends, Matilda doesn’t want
to leap onto ledges or bound across fields, she only wants to fly. At first,
Matilda’s friends laugh at her because she doesn’t have wings. They wonder: How
can a creature without wings ever hope to fly? While Matilda progresses through
the various stages of her metamorphosis from egg to butterfly, her friends
recall how they felt before they were able to do all of the things they had
dreamed of doing and how hard they had to keep trying to do all of those
things. Encouraged by her meadowland friends, MATILDA learns that if she tries
hard enough and long enough, she can do anything that she really wants to do. (Amazon)

In (Very) Short:

+ story about the monarch butterfly Matilda
+ wonderful illustrations
+ great message

My Opinion:

This is a beautiful children’s book about the monarch butterfly Matilda who wants to fly, but she doesn’t have wings yet. All her friends tell her their stories and thus teach her that if she tries hard and long enough and if she is patient, she can do anything.

It is a wonderful story which is beautifully illustrated. I loved the drawings which are done by the author as well and the message of the book. I think this is great to read to kids and I really recommend it.

Rating:

rating 5

 

Shawn T. Odyssey – Oona Crate und das dunkle Geheimnis des Orakels/ Magician’s Tower

Oona Crate 2

Hardcover
Verlag: Thienemann
veröffentlicht 2014
Seiten: 288

Klappentext/Blurb:

In her first big case, Oona Crate was able to solve the mystery of her uncle’s–the wizard of Dark Street–disappearance while exposing Red Martin as a criminal mastermind. Despite her success, Oona’s detective agency has failed to take off. But a new challenge arises to capture her attention – The Magician’s Tower Contest. Held every two years, no one has ever completed the array of dangerous tasks, riddles, and obstacles. Now brave souls–including Oona–from all over Dark Street will enter the contest in hopes of becoming the first successful contestant.
As the contest commences, a new case arises. A punchbowl–one with great magical powers–has disappeared from the carnival surrounding the Magician’s Tower.
If Oona can find the culprit, she could use the bowl to answer her long-standing question about her mother and sister’s death ­was she really at fault? (Amazon)

Alle fünf Jahre wird in der geheimen und magischen Dark Street der Magierturm-Wettstreit ausgerufen. Knifflige Herausforderungen erwarten die Teilnehmer – und dabei gehört ein Ritt auf einem fliegenden Teppich noch zu den leichteren Aufgaben! Auch Oona und ihr sprechender Rabe Deacon lassen sich das natürlich nicht entgehen. Der Fairness halber will sie sogar auf die Anwendung von Zauberei verzichten. Doch dann verschwindet plötzlich ein mysteriöses Orakel, von dem es heißt, dass es jede Frage beantworten kann. Und obwohl der Wettstreit bereits ihre gesamte Konzentration erfordert, erwacht Oonas detektivischer Spürsinn … (Amazon)

In (Very) Short/In Kürze:

+ Oona Crate’s second adventure
+ entertaining and thrilling throughout
+ loveable characters and wickedly wonderful antagonists
+ fantasy story with crime story wrapped in one
+ Oona Crates zweites Abenteuer
+ durchweg spannend, unterhaltsam
+ sympathische Charaktere und wunderbare Antagonisten
+ Kriminalgeschichte und Fantasy Buch in einem

My Opinion/Meinung:

Oona Crate is off to another adventure. After she used her investigative skills in the first book, they are highly requested this time around. The Magician’s Tower Contest takes place every five years and Oona decides to participate. But her concentration on the tournament is diverted once an old oracle, which can predict the future, disappears. And then there is something really off with some of the other contestants. So, Oona starts to investigate…

The story was very well-developed and the arc of suspense increased rapidly but consistently. The characters are old acquaintances and as likeable as the previous time. Oona’s sidekicks are irreplaceable. And Oona’s antagonists (at least one of them) is as annoying as before and I really would have liked to stick my tongue out to her. But since I am a grown up, I refrained from doing that 🙂

The mixture between fantasy story and crime story is very balanced and even after I debated it for a while, I could not definitely categorize the novel clearly as part of one genre. It’s a lovely mixture of both, without one suppressing the other. But since I have spent many years with researching anything crime fiction (in different mediums), I might be that I see a crime story in many things. Others might not agree with me after reading this novel.

Oona Crate begibt sich in ihr nächstes Abenteuer. Nachdem Oona im letzten Band ihren detektivischen Spürsinn einsetzen musste, ist dieser auch in diesem Band wieder gefragt. Alle fünf Jahre findet das Magische Turnier in der Dark Street statt und Oona nimmt ebenfalls daran Teil. Doch kann Oona gewinnen? Das Verschwinden eines alten Orakels zieht Oonas Aufmerksamkeit auf sich und außerdem spielen nicht alle mit offenen Karten. Irgendwas stimmt bei diesem Turnier ganz und gar nicht und Oona beginnt zu ermitteln…

Wieder einmal hat mir die Geschichte sehr gut gefallen, da die Erzählweise spannend und schnell war und der Spannungsbogen sich gleichmäßig aufbaute. Die Charaktere sind altbekannt und genauso liebenswert. Oonas Sidekicks sind einfach unersetzlich. Die Kontrahentin ebenso nervig wie das letzte Mal und ich hätte ihr gerne mal (sehr reif wie man dann ist) die Zunge rausgesteckt.

Die Mischung zwischen „Kriminalroman“ und Fantasy Buch finde ich sehr ausgeglichen, denn ich kann das Buch nach längerer Debatte nicht in eine der Kategorien einordnen. Es ist irgendwie eine Mischung aus allem. Allerdings habe ich mich auch lange genug mit Krimis in jeglicher Form beschäftigt, um vielleicht in vielen Geschichten eine Krimi zu finden. Andere sehen es vielleicht anders, wenn sie Oona Crate lesen.

Bottom Line/Fazit:

A great and entertaining novel with a loveable protagonist and wonderful sidekicks.

Ein gelungenes und spannendes Buch mit einer liebenswerten Protagonistin und tollen Sidekicks.

Ratings:

rating 5

Melanie Welsh – Heart of Stone/ Felicity Gallant und das steinerne Herz

Felicity Gallant und das steinerne Herz

Hardcover
Verlag: Dressler
veröffentlicht 2013
Seiten: 301

Book (German/English)

Klappentext/ Blurb:

Felicity Gallant ist glücklich. Zum ersten Mal in ihrem Leben wünscht sie sich, dass alles genau so bleibt. Doch der Sommer ist kaum vorüber, da stürzen Felicity, Henry und Martha schon in ihr nächstes großes Abenteuer! Tagsüber bricht den Menschen in Wellow buchstäblich der Boden unter den Füßen weg. Die Erde bebt und überall lagert sich feiner bleicher Sand ab. Und in der Nacht werden all von den schrecklichen Albträumen heimgesucht. Aber warum? Können Felicity und ihre Freunde das düstere Geheimnis lüften und Wellow noch retten?

After a wonderful summer sailing, Verity Gallant just wants life to stay the same for ever. But as she should know by now, not everything in life turns out as we would like.
The land is shifting beneath the ancient harbour town of Wellow, causing mysterious caves to appear in cliff faces, terrifying rock falls and dangerous landslides. And the earth isn’t the only thing crumbling… Verity is thrilled that Jeb has returned, but their feelings for each other threaten her friendship with Henry and Martha.
Once again Verity and her friends are embroiled in a tale of evil, intrigue and lost love, as a powerful force works its way towards Wellow, hell-bent on putting an end to all happiness. The Heart of Stone is the key, and the race is on to find it… (Amazon)

In Kürze/ In (Very) Short:

+ 2. Abenteuer von Felicity und ihren Freunden
+ spannend, unterhaltsam und nicht vorhersehbar bis zur letzten Minute
+ Abenteuer, Freundschaft und auch bisschen Liebe
+ flüssig, runder, sehr schöner Schreibstil
+ 2nd adventure with Felicity and her friends
+ exiting, entertaining, and unpredictable
+ adventure, friendship and a little love
+ beautiful writing

Meinung/My Opinion:

Felicity Gallant und ihre Freunde bestreiten diesmal ihr zweites Abenteuer und es ist nicht weniger spannend jedoch komplizierter.

Felicity ist glücklich. Sie hat ihre Freunde, Familie und Segeln. Auch wenn Miranda Blake sie immer noch hänselt, möchte Felicity, dass alles so bleibt wie es ist. Doch dann kommt plötzlich ein weißen feiner Sand nach Wellow und der Boden bricht den Bewohner langsam aber sicher unter den Füßen weg. Während überall Löcher und Risse in den Straßen auftauchen, sucht der Sand sich seinen Weg in die Bibliothek und warum haben die Menschen von Wellow immer mehr Albträume. Was hat das alles miteinander zu tun?

Die Geschichte ist wirklich spannend bis in die letzte Seite und sie hat mir wunderbar gefallen. Der Schreibstil ist rund, flüssig und treibt die Handlung voran. Dabei wird genug beschrieben, jedoch nicht so viel, dass es das Tempo aus dem Erzählung nimmt. Ich denke man könnte das Buch auch lesen, ohne den ersten Band gelesen zu haben.

Es ist immer wieder schön auf alte Bekannte zu treffen. Ich mag Felicity und ihre Freunde einfach gerne, auch wenn ich manchmal mit dem Kopf schütteln musste, ob Felicitys Blindheit bestimmten Situationen gegenüber. Wie schon in dem Buch davor, wird auch hier Freundschaft ein zentrales Thema, auch wenn mit dem langsamen Heranwachsen der Protagonisten natürlich auch andere Themen ihren Weg in das Geschichte finde. Spoiler: Ich bin Team Henry.

Dieses mal sind auch wieder die Piraten aus dem ersten Teil mit von der Partie und natürlich auch wieder etwas Übernatürliches. Eine wirklich sehr schöne Geschichte.

Verity and her friends are onto their second adventure and it is as fascinating as the first although a bit more complex and complicated.

Verity is happy. Her family loves her, she has great friends, and she loves sailing. Although Miranda Blake still bullies her, Verity would like that things remain the way they are right now. But slowly a fine white sand comes to her hometown and the earth starts to crack and break away. Holes and cracks appear everywhere and the sand slowly makes his way into the local library. But why? And why are the people of Wellow tormented by nightmares? How is this all connected?

The story is exiting til the last page and does not loose pace, yet it is not too fast and hectic as other stories with a similar tempo are. The writing draws you in, drives the narrative forward and makes you turn each page a little faster. The author incorporates enough descriptions to keep the story world alive, but not too much to reduce the narrative pace.

I do think that you could read this book without having read the first in the series as this story refers back to the previous novel to understand what is happening.

I really enjoy catching up with old acquaintances. I like Verity and her friends despite the fact that I was shaking my head when it came to Verity’s blind eye towards certain situations. As in the previous book, friendship plays an integral part in the story, while other topics slowly creep into the narrative since the protagonist do get older. Spoiler: I am team Henry.

I not only reunited with the young main protagonists but also with the pirates from the previous installment. And of course their is a little supernatural element to it all. An altogether lovely story.

Fazit/Bottom Line:

Wunderbar, spannendes Abenteuerbuch.

Exiting and wonderful adventure story.

Rating:

rating 5