The Tall Man – Phoebe Locke

35442765In 1990, three girls devote themselves to a sinister figure.
In the year 2000, a young mother disappears, leaving behind her husband and baby daughter.
In 2018, a teenage girl is charged with murder.

The Tall Man is filled to the brim with intrigue, with aspects of the mystery being referred to but never fully explained for the majority of the book. Although this does build suspense and interest, there was a bit too much. It was over 40% of the book before anything started to be explained and, by that point, I was more fed up than intrigued.

However, it is still a very good story. I really liked the way it was told: through the filming of a documentary about Amber Banner and what she did (which you don’t get to find out until a good three quarters of the way through).

This story was not as creepy as I would have liked. I am a bit of a horror-freak, so I was looking for something closer to a properly dark thriller instead of the suspense/murder-mystery that it is.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads | Amazon

Literary Book Gifts

Book lovers!

I have a very special treat for you today: Melissa, the artistic genius behind literarybookgifts.com, has very kindly agreed to offer a 20% discount through my blog.

http://www.literarybookgifts.com

Melissa puts together all the designs and products herself, and they are beautiful. Here are a few of my favourites:

So, if you’d like 20% off any of the stunning bookish items at Literary Book Gifts, simply add the promo code THESTORYCOLLECTOR20 at the checkout for 20% off!

THESTORYCOLLECTOR20

Blog Tour: Wrecker – Noel O’Reilly

Hello and welcome to the final stop of the blog tour for Wrecker by Noel O’Reilly. Don’t forget to go back and take a look at the other stops on this tour!

thumbnail_Wrecker Banner.png


35436024Shipwrecks are a part of life on the coast of Cornwall. In the remote village of Porthmorvoren, things are no different. Bounty and corpses wash up on the beaches regularly, and the locals take what they can. On one such day, Mary Blight helps herself to a fine pair of boots from the body of a dead noblewoman, not realising that she has set herself up as the prime suspect for biting off the woman’s earlobes to steal her earrings. As word spreads of the so-called ‘Porthmorvoren Cannibal’, Mary’s safety becomes less and less certain. The arrival of a handsome Methodist minister to the village only makes matters worse.

Wrecker is the perfect book for fans of Poldark. The story itself isn’t particularly exciting. It’s a detailed snapshot of a time in Mary’s life where some unfortunate things happen to her, but nothing overly dramatic. There is no big adventure, no gruesome murder to solve, no epic romance. Just some interesting stuff happening to a pretty unlucky woman.

The quality of the writing is what brings this story up. I didn’t like the characters very much – especially Mary – but I still found myself caring about her. To be honest, she deserved a lot of the bad things that happened to her, but I was rooting for her nonetheless. My main takeaway from this book was that I felt really, really sorry for Johnenry.

My favourite thing about Wrecker was that it is written using old Cornish dialect (which is much easier to understand if you have watched Poldark). The character voices were so realistic and so full of attitude that, even though I found the story a teeny bit boring, it was a pleasure to read.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads | Amazon

 

 

Balam, Spring – Travis M. Riddle

38322372.jpgIn the quiet town of Balam, people are dying. Following the loss of the town’s resident white mage, Aava – fresh from the mage academy – is sent to find the cause of the unknown illness and create a cure before the rest of the town becomes infected. When strange insectoid creatures start invading the town, seemingly attracted by the bodies of the illness’ victims, Aava seeks help from ex-mercenary Ryckert to get to the bottom of the mystery, before there is nobody left alive in Balam.

The story is a little bit slow. It’s a kind of cross between a cosy mystery story and a fantasy adventure. Overall, not that much actually happens, but it’s a good read nonetheless. The characters are likeable, and we get to know them quite well. There are a couple of lesbian/gay/bisexual characters, and these relationships are treated very casually and as not at all unusual in this world, which was nice to see.

My very favourite thing about Travis’ writing is that he invents his own new fantasy worlds and creatures. Balam, Spring is fully immersive and filled with fantasy beings, but not ‘common’ things like elves, dragons, and the other usual creatures. Instead, we meet Rocyans and Jeornish, and other original critters. Because of the immersive nature of the writing, the characters and settings are easy to picture, without ever being over-described or explained in excessive detail.

It’s a good, solid, fantasy/mystery about a small town filled with well-developed and lovable characters.

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads | Amazon

The Illumination of Ursula Flight – Anna-Marie Crowhurst

39284560.jpgUrsula Flight was born on the night of a bad-luck comet. Educated by her father, she discovers a love of writing and develops a dream of becoming a famous playwright. However, she is expected to marry and live the way it is believed that a woman should. Trapped in a loveless marriage, Ursula decides to fight for her dreams. But freedom comes at a price.

The Illumination of Ursula Flight is a very inventive book, written in an unusual style. Sections of the story are told through Ursula’s play scripts, lists, letters and private diary entries. The reading experience is broken up with refreshing insertions which really helped to connect the reader with the character – I really loved it.

Ursula is a very relatable character. She’s a woman with her own thoughts and desires, in a time when she isn’t expected to have any. Her witty and ballsy personality is captured brilliantly, in a way that doesn’t follow the typical ‘feisty heroine’ tropes. A host of equally wonderful, amusing and sometimes repulsive characters make up Ursula’s fellow cast members.

I enjoyed the story. It covers a long period of time, with serious issues broached alongside the general humour of the story. It was really nice to follow Ursula’s progression from a dream-fuelled child to a gutsy and ambitious woman as she grew up.

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

Goodreads | Amazon

Home – Amanda Berriman

38457392Jesika is four and a half. She lives in a flat with her little brother, Toby, and her mum, who is struggling to make ends meet. Jesika struggles to understand everything that’s going on, and has to deal with a lot when her mum and Toby get ill. All she knows is that she loves her mummy and doesn’t want to live anywhere but with her.

Home is a very special book. It is written entirely from Jesika’s point of view, which is brilliantly done. Her thoughts and feelings are entirely realistic and it’s really easy to understand why she reacts to things the way she does. The writing really feels like it’s coming from the mouth of a 4-year-old. I loved the touch of misspelled words to enhance the experience of reading from a child’s perspective.

I loved Jesika’s personality. She is a sweet and brave little girl, and impossible not to love. At times, it was kind of frustrating to read because, being so young, Jesika doesn’t understand everything that’s happening and doesn’t tell the adults. She comes so close a few times and I was practically yelling out at the book when she forgot or got too scared. I can’t remember the last time I was so emotionally invested in a story.

Trigger warning: this is a very emotional story and one thread involves child sexual abuse, but it isn’t graphic or descriptive and, though upsetting, I didn’t find it too difficult to read.

Home is completely addictive and fantastically well written. Quite possibly the best book I’ve read this year.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchage for an honest review.

Goodreads | Amazon