Category: Discussions & Memes

Waiting on Wednesday

Bonjour tout la monde: For today’s Waiting on Wednesday post, I want to talk about a new series I’ve just discovered written by British author, David Young. The first book in the series is STASI CHILD, featuring Lieutenant Karin Muller of the East German police. The premise alone was enough to get me hooked. I mean, after all, Lt. Muller is working with what we always think of as the bad guys, the Stasi; the State.

What’s more, this is set in an era—the mid 70s—in which I was actually living and working in Germany and had, on several occasions, visited East Berlin, as it was back then. So I instantly felt an affinity with the location and time period of this series.

Book Summary

1975: When Oberleutnant Karin Muller is called to investigate a teenage girl’s body at the foot of the Berlin Wall, she imagines she’s seen it all before. But she soon realizes that this is a death like no other before it—the girl was evidently trying to escape from West Berlin.

As a member of the People’s Police, Muller’s power in East Germany only stretches so far. The Ministry for State Security, the Stasi, assures her the case is closed, all they need to know is the girl’s name. Yet they strongly discourage her from asking questions. The evidence doesn’t add up, and it soon becomes clear the crime scene has been staged. But this regime does not tolerate curious minds, and it takes Müller too long to realize that the trail she’s been following may lead her dangerously close to home.

STASI CHILD
David Young
Minotaur Books
Hardback, 416 pages
Thriller

Top Ten Tuesday

I love me a good challenge but today’s theme for Top Ten Tuesday, from Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl, is what character names might make a good name for a pet and I was like, what? This is nearly as funny as using book titles as song titles. And, to be honest, I had a friend who named his two dogs after Lord of the Rings characters. So I can see how this would already be a ‘thing’ IRL!

I mean, who wouldn’t want a dog called Gollum, or a cat called Cotton Malone. And I’m going to make you work to figure out which character names I’ve chosen are from which books I’ve read … what, that’s cruel okay, I concede, I’ll tell you which book I pillaged the character name from.

So here are my choices from some of my favourite crime fiction characters:

  • GAMACHE — yes, my first pet name, straight out the gate comes from Louise Penny’s great Inspector Gamache series of Three Pines mysteries. This one would work equally as well for a cat or a dog. What do you think, would you yell at your dog Gamache?
  • HARRY BOSCH — from Michael Connelly’s series of books could work too. I think Harry and or Bosch would be another great name for a dog, though I envision a tortoise named Bosch noisily chewing on its lettuce.
  • TEMPERANCE “TEMPE” BRENNAN — you have a choice of all three or individual names from Kathy Reich’s famous character. I mean how about a cat named Temperance, or a bulldog named Brennan, or even a goldfish named Tempe? All sound choices right? Well, maybe.
  • V. I. “VICTORIA” WARSHAWSKI — okay, so maybe it’s a little more difficult to use Sara Paretsky’s famous PIs initials, or even that great Polish surname for anything other than a die-hard fan’s pet python. Not sure screaming Warshawski out the back door to call the dog in wouldn’t go unnoticed by the neighbours.  You might get some funny looks with that one.
  • HERCULE POIROT — but of course I have to have Agatha Christie, and I cannot have Poirot without MISS MARPLE now can I? And these two would make a great dog and cat pairing in my mind.
  • EDDIE FLYNN — so onward to Steve Cavanagh’s character, the ex-con turned lawyer, Eddie Flynn. Flynn is a great name for a pet and works well for a parrot or a budgie or any kind of feathered friend. While Eddie works equally as well for a dog or a cat. Eddie the cat definitely has a ring to it.

And here are my choices from some of my favourite SF and fantasy characters:

  • NEMO — top of my list would be Captain Nemo from Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, especially for a cat or a favourite fish. I mean come on, this is a classic, right?
  • TWEEDLEDEE or TWEEDLEDUM — I would have to choose one or other of these names from the ultimate in literary nonsense, Alice through the Looking Glass, by Lewis Carroll. But again, more for a cat I feel than for any other kind of pet. Though I could see a pair of parrots being named after one or the other.
  • GREEBO — yes, this is, in fact, a fictional cat who appeared in several of Sir Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels, featuring first in, Wyrd Sisters. But while your kitty might be a big softy, Pratchett’s Greebo was a mean one-eyed tom who ate at least 2 vampires (while in bat form). Could be the kind of name to give your favourite white rat, maybe?
  • TWOFLOWER — sticking with Terry Pratchett and the Discworld series of characters, I always had a soft spot for the amicable and out to lunch Twoflower who, while on holiday with the walking luggage, always made me laugh. He would be a fun name for pet. And his companion, RINCEWIND, would make a great pet name if you had a dog with bad flatulence.

A silly, fun set of character names for possibly the weirdest collection of oddly named pets you’re ever likely to come across, but you would definitely remember them. And you, what favourite characters would you choose as your next pet’s name?

WWW Wednesday

Bonjour tout la monde: welcome to WWW Wednesday, a weekly meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words in which we ask three simple questions:

  • What are you currently Reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

So, what have I been up to this last week, I hear you ask? Well, let’s see …

What I’m currently reading:

I started In Plain Sight by Marion Todd and would (should) have finished it by now, but I got interrupted by the other half and was wrangled into building a set of Ikea book shelves, two days later … and In Plain Sight is only half finished. But still, this is an intriguing police procedural with an MC that’s shaping up to be someone of interest. This is the second in a series featuring DI Clare MacKay, and wonderfully set in Fife, Scotland.

What I recently finished:

If you follow this blog regularly then you’ll know I recently finished The Kingdom of the Blind by Louise Penny, which was an outstanding read! One of her best, and certainly, one of the best crime fiction reads for the year, at least, for me it was.

What am I reading next:

Last week I was waiting on book mail that finally came that included my next read—the mystery thriller DEAD STOP by Barbara Nickless. This is the second book in her new series featuring Special Agent Sydney Parnell, a character I really enjoyed in book one, Blood on the Tracks. Not only can Nickless spin a thoroughly absorbing plot, but Sydney is a genuinely unique character both in depth and background.

And you, what are you currently reading, or planning on reading next?

Top Ten Tuesday

So today’s theme for Top Ten Tuesday, from Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl, is what book titles might make good song titles and … whoa, what … come again?

As someone who reads a lot of diverse genre, specifically, crime and science fiction, this one actually had me laughing out loud. No, seriously. I nearly snorted my coffee across the keyboard thinking about the different tiles I just read recently, and how they might appears as a song title.

I mean, who is going to want to sing a lullaby that’s titled THE ABOMINATION (book by Jonathan Holt) or FORCE OF NATURE (book by Jane Harper) though, it is true Force of Nature could, at a squeeze be a song title. Then let’s think of a few SF titles, how about VELOCITY WEAPON (book by Megan O’Keefe), yeah, sure … not unless we’re talking some weird ass heavy metal grunge group going all Mongolian, or something.

Or, how about, CAPTAIN MOXLEY AND THE EMBERS OF THE EMPIRE (book by Dan Hanks), now there’s a catchy title if ever I heard one. Could you image the lyrics to this K-Pop song, sung in French or Korean? No? Nor can I.

But then, who ever thought a song entitled WATERLOO would ever reach the top of the charts across the planet, and go on to make one group of 4 Swedes an international phenomenon!

So where does that leave me?

Probably paddling up a waterfall, in mid-winter, without a chance of ever reaching the top.

But fear not, I’m sat here wracking my last brain cell fuelled on an 11-strength Nespresso capsule and thinking I just might have ten titles that could work. Behold, a miracle:

  1. TATIANA by Martin Cruz Smith — a modern Russian folk ballad
  2. STAR OF THE NORTH by D. B. John — a North Korean Christmas lullaby
  3. SAVING FAITH by David Baldacci — a country & western ballad
  4. THE LONG WAY HOME by Louise Penny — a 60s Quebecois folk song
  5. HARD TIMES by Sara Paretsky — a 50s cowboy love song
  6. FOUR BLIND MICE by James Patterson — a children’s nursery rhyme
  7. FOOLPROOF by Barbara D’Amato — a Motown dance number
  8. THE CUBAN AFFAIR by Nelson deMille — a 50s latino salsa hit
  9. THE BOTTOMS by Joe R. Lansdale — a 1920s flapper hit
  10. THE BEGGAR’S OPERA by Peggy Blair — the latest from Andrew Lloyd Webber & Tim Rice

So, how did I do? Did my choices give you a giggle at least? I hope so. And you, what books have you chosen? I’m sure you have all come up with some better titles than I have. Leave a comment, and your links, and let’s all enjoy!