Fell – Jenn Ashworth

cover88658-mediumAnnette Clifford returns to her childhood home to find the building falling apart, undermined by two huge sycamore trees. Her arrival has awoken the spirits of her parents, Jack and Netty, who watch over her as she tries to organise the house. But when Jack and Netty start to remember the past, when Netty was sick (dying of cancer) and a strange man with seemingly magical healing powers moved in and stole all their attention from Annette, they become desperate to make amends in any way they can.

Fell is quite well written. Some scenes are very vivid (particularly when Netty is throwing up seawater – don’t ask), with strong imagery. However, a lot of this didn’t seem to add anything much to the plot, which was mainly about Netty’s illness and the stranger’s apparent resistance to give her any actual help.

I usually love a ghost-based story, but the ghost thing didn’t really work here to be honest. We follow the story from Jack and Netty’s perspective, but it jumps awkwardly from present to past which was abrupt and confusing. The story itself left a lot to be desired and, though I’m sure some people will say it’s marvellous (it’s one of those books where you can see that others would love it), it really just didn’t do it for me. I found the whole thing uncomfortable to read, and rather boring.

I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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The Light of the Fireflies – Paul Pen

There’s no creature more amazing than one that can make its own light.

28802599The boy has lived in the basement his whole life. His family were all disfigured in a fire, his sister wears a mask to cover her hideous face, and they can never go into the world outside. But the boy doesn’t know why.

Beautifully written and very mysterious, The Light of the Fireflies is translated from Spanish (although you wouldn’t know it – the English flows perfectly). The haunting story of a young boy living in a basement with his family, slowly untying their lies with his growing curiosity about the world above.

What’s wrong with the boy’s brother? Who is the father of his sister’s baby? What’s really behind her mask? Who is the cricket man? There are so many layers to this story, and so many possible reasons for the strange things that go on in the basement. Names are never given for any of the characters, and in this book that really works. Some of the content is pretty unpleasant, but not graphic at all which makes it bearable and all the more intriguing. Everything comes together as secrets are revealed, with a poignant and moving climax.

Those unwilling to look beyond their own little world will be left in the dark.

If I gave star ratings, this would get them all.

Local Girl Missing – Claire Douglas

cover92123-mediumI started reading this book expecting the usual formula for a women’s mystery thriller – woman returns home after years away, secrets from the past are revealed, a romance happens – but I was wrong. Local Girl Missing has so much more.

Twenty years ago, Frankie’s best friend, Sophie, disappeared. Now her body has been found and Sophie’s brother wants Frankie to return to the town of her childhood to help him uncover what really happened. Once back, Frankie is faced with unfriendly faces and ghosts from her past.

The plot is fantastic. There’s so much going on, with mystery upon mystery being piled up. What really happened to Sophie? Who is threatening Frankie? Why does Sophie’s ghost seem to be haunting her? What’s going on with Frankie’s dad? What secret were the two girls keeping?

To begin with, I didn’t much like Frankie (or any of the characters), but as the story progressed and I was able to understand her better, she really grew on me. And then: plot twists galore. All questions are answered but in the most unexpected ways. Even though I thought I’d guessed the answers to some of the mysteries, I was shocked and hooked to the very end.

The story is written from Frankie’s point of view, as a sort of letter to Sophie, which gave the book a unique flair. Alternating chapters are written from Sophie’s perspective, filling in the blanks of the past. Claire Douglas’ writing is smooth and engaging. She really drew me in and I literally couldn’t put the book down. READ IT. Seriously.

I received this copy from Penguin UK Michael Joseph via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. (Thanks!)

The Breedling & the City in the Garden – Kimberlee Ann Bastian

cover95123-mediumBartholomew, an immortal soulcatcher, is on a mission which forces him to rebel against his masters and leads him to the human world, where he finds himself reliant on 17-year-old Charlie to help him navigate the streets of 1930s Chicago. Unclear on how to proceed with his mission, Bartholomew finds himself forming a bond with Charlie – one that could prove to be of massive significance.

The Breedling & The City in The Garden is the first book in The Element Odysseys and, as such, doesn’t have a terribly eventful plot. It seems largely to be setting up the story for the rest of the series, so it’s difficult to say much on the storyline so far, and absolutely nothing is answered or resolved by the end of the book. However, dedicating the first book to the setting-up of the series means that the characters are solidly established with their backstories nicely explained and the history of the world around them given. (The creation story was one of my favourite aspects of the book. The mythology is an original concept, with some magical and religious aspects thrown in for safe measure).

During the first half, I have to admit I wasn’t enthralled. The pace was slow and the writing style was far too essay-like, making the story run less smoothly. But then towards the second half the pace picked up and I found myself being really drawn in to the characters, their personal struggles, and the intrigue of the story. Now, I can’t wait for the next book.

The Breedling & the City in the Garden is due for publication in late September 2016. I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

WWW Wednesday

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WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On a World of Words. All you need to do is answer three questions and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to check out.

The 3 W’s:

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

Currently Reading:

cover95123-mediumI’m currently reading The Breedling & The City In The Garden by Kimberlee Ann Bastian, which I received for review from the publisher via NetGalley. I’m about halfway through, and enjoying it so far (although I have limited idea of what’s actually going on). My only qualm so far is that the writing style is quite essay-like which makes the reading less smooth.

28802599I’ve also started the first couple of chapters of The Light of the Fireflies by Paul Pen, which I’m really looking forward to carrying on with, because it’s super intriguing so far.

 

 

Recently Finished:

Dark+MatterThe last book I finished was Dark Matter by Blake Crouch. It was heavier sci-fi than I usually go for (very sciencey) but I enjoyed it anyway. You can find my full review in my recent posts…

 

 

 

Reading Next:

I’ve just received a free copy of Fell by Jenn Ashworth for review, and I still have Thrill! and Hush Hush on my TBR from last time I did WWW Wednesday (oops – new books keep popping up!) I also picked up a free copy of  Buan: The Perfect Mortals on Amazon.


If you want to join in, leave a comment with a link to your post so I (and others) can take a look and share our thoughts!

Dark Matter – Blake Crouch

Dark+MatterWhat if alternate worlds existed?

In this complex sci-fi thriller, we follow Jason Dessen as his life is stolen from him by an alternative version of himself. (Not much more can be said about the plot without giving away too many spoilers.) Waking up in a world that is so similar to his own, and yet so very different, Jason does everything he can to get home to his wife, his son, and his life.

The characters aren’t very complex, but that’s okay because the storyline is. I’m not too sure how plausible the science behind the whole alternate universe idea is, but as someone with limited scientific knowledge, I found it both confusing yet believable (Crouch also made the wise decision not to include an explanation of the actual scientific methods used, making it difficult to pull apart). Crouch’s writing style is smooth and very easy to read. Although Dark Matter contains pretty confusing concepts, the whole story was easy to understand and completely engaging. Jason’s character wasn’t the most likeable of men in my opinion, but I sympathised with him and shared his fears as he started to doubt all he knew in his desperation to get back to his life.

The main themes (beside the alternate universe thing) are of family, and the lengths we will go to for the ones we love – which is something I think most of us can relate to. Although not a romance in the typical sense, Dark Matter is definitely a love story as well as an exciting sci-fi romp, so don’t dismiss it if sci-fi isn’t your favourite genre (it’s not mine and I really enjoyed this).

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

The Lord of The Rings – J.R.R.Tolkien

LOTR111Yes, I know, I’m a little late to this party. But I absolutely adore the films and decided it was about time I gave the books a go. And I’m glad I did (although they took a long time so now I’m behind on my other reading). You probably know the story: Frodo the Hobbit inherits a magical ring from his uncle, Bilbo, and ends up travelling on a long and dangerous journey in order to destroy the ring in the fires of Mount Doom to defeat Sauron, the Dark Lord.

I was pleasantly surprised with just how true to the books the films are. Too often adaptations leave out huge details of the story, but the only things in the books that are missing from the films are really not integral to the story (or not that exciting). Also, despite being written yonks ago, The Lord of The Rings has not become at all outdated. The language still makes sense and, I guess because it’s set in a magical world, the content doesn’t feel out-of-date or irrelevant. I have to say though, it’s a miracle any of the characters actually got anything done with the amount of singing they do (particularly in the first book). They could have saved Middle Earth a lot quicker if they quit the singing and actually got on with things.

I had some problems reading the final book, The Return of The King, because it really started to feel like the story was dragging on and then when Frodo destroyed the ring – oops, spoiler – and I was only 40% through the book I was starting to get really frustrated. Turns out the last 45% was appendices and maps, so the story was a lot shorter than it looked. Huge sense of achievement having finished the trilogy, and definitely worth the time it takes. Tolkien’s storytelling is fantastic, The Lord of The Rings is an ageless trilogy, and the books are every bit as good as the films (which are brilliant).