Welcome to my October wrap-up post featuring all of the fantastic posts on my blog that I posted during the month of October.
A quiet month on my blog apart from reviews and Music Monday posts and that is how it’ll be for the rest of the year.
My October Posts.
- Ha, nope, not this month!
- Ha, nope, not this month!
- Onslaught of Madness (The Madness Wars #1) by Jesse teller – Guest Post: Building a Style.
- The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden – Guest Post: 10 Things About Me.
Maitland Farm is centuries old and has accrued a history that is ingrained into the very foundations of the house and the soil. It is a place with mysteries to unravel, secrets to reveal and stories to tell. It is like the past is restless, stirring and close. The boundaries between the past and the present are thin and the laws of time are pliable on the farm.
Although set in modern times there is a gothic feel to Mistletoe. There are no jump scares featured and, instead, Littlewood uses plenty of subtle scares throughout the narrative to build the tension, creep you out and unnerve you. The subtle scares are highly effective and along with the ominous air surrounding events on the farm, the isolation of Leah and the winter setting combine to create an atmospheric and haunting story that has a lingering unease to it.
There’s some cool magic, some mystery, some twists, an array of fantastical creatures (shapeshifters, ghouls, imps, draugr, jinn, a retired angel and, of course, Death himself all make appearances with many others mentioned) that appear, some fantastic characters and a whole lot of exhilarating fighting found within the pages of Uncanny Collateral. The story closes off nicely but there are things hinted at, the past, secrets and threads left hanging for potential future books.
The pacing in Uncanny Collateral is fast, the story action-packed, high octane and tightly plotted with a protagonist that packs a mighty punch. Urban fantasy is a genre that I often tend to avoid as I don’t really enjoy it. However, I really enjoyed Uncanny Collateral, it doesn’t take itself too seriously, the story is easy to read, thoroughly bingeable and it is like a 150 page shot of adrenaline to the system, a wild ride and a hell of a lot of fun.
As a setting, The Osthorne Academy of Young Mages is very much an ordinary school. Magic classes are taught along with the normal school curriculum. The school is full of the standard student types, the cliques, the gangs, the popular kids and the weirdos. The school itself is bricks, mortar, classrooms with gum under the desks and corridors filled with lockers. If you read magic school and immediately think of that one beginning with ‘H’ then you will be disappointed with the setting. I wasn’t, I thought it was really cool that the school was exactly the same as any other high school out there and that it is just a school that happens to teach magic and have magically gifted students.
There’s a gulf between the sisters, Ivy, who lacks any magical ability and who has always been an outsider and her sister, Tabitha who has magic and has always been popular. Born to the same parents with the advent of Tabitha’s ability they are now part of different worlds. I really liked the passages where the two sisters tried to get to know each other and overcome the barriers and the obstacles that they have put in place by being estranged from each other. It is like there are oceans between them and the spectres of bygone years, of the departed haunt them both as they try to put the pieces back together and fix what is broken. There was something poignant and rather touching about the sisters trying to reconnect, to re-establish a relationship on the salted earth of their past.
The folklore is well incorporated and adds an ominous air to the story. Deep in winter Fellscar Keep is gripped by the coldness of the season with snow blanketing the area and the setting is very atmospheric. The gloomy, expansive and secluded Fellscar Keep, a castle on an island in the middle of a lake, joined to the land by a causeway, surrounded by a forest and miles away from the nearest village.
There’s a vigour to the storytelling, a zeal to the writing and you can tell that Lovegrove has a genuine love for the iconic duo in his work. The mystery doesn’t disappoint, neither does the setting, the characters, the deductions, the twists or the denouement of the investigation. It is all cleverly plotted, honours and serves to pay homage to the characters of Holmes and Watson by once more bringing them to life in a gripping and highly entertaining mystery that captures the era perfectly and feels deeply reminiscent of a classic Holmes tale.
Violet is written in the first-person from the perspective of Violet with the occasional email written by Carrie to her friends and family. This works well as it means that you get to see inside the minds of both of the girl’s. But, can you trust Violet? Can you trust Carrie for that matter? I have seen the deviousness, the evil within. I know the answer and I know where the cards fall as I’ve read the book. I also know that narrators can be unreliable and that, on occasion, they can have a rather tenuous grip on reality blurring the lines and playing fast and loose with the truth. For Violet, when you are reading you don’t know if you are reading the truth, a version of the truth or if you are being spoon-fed a mouthful of lies by Violet, by Carrie or by them both.
Luckily, I’m not a people person. I won’t go as far as to say that Slipknot had it right with their song ‘People = Shit‘ but, yeah, for many, that sentiment is spot on. Though, I admit, some, in small doses, are OK. I’m antisocial, I’m not a chatty sort and my point is, if you are a talkative person, someone who likes to chew the fat and shoot the breeze with any random
weirdoperson then Violet is a book that will make you question talking to a stranger again…ever. Think about it, who knows what dark secrets could be hidden under the facade of the person that they appear to be? That polite nod and hello could be the start of a new friendship or, it could be the biggest mistake you make.
Nothing Important Happened Today is a thriller. It takes a while for the detective to actually appear but, there is a detective and the police are fervently hunting for the identity of the cult leader and looking for connections between the dead. There are also bountiful references to cults and serial killers from history spread throughout the pages and the book partly reads like a ‘how-to’ guide on how to build a cult. A manifesto, a manual and a cutting commentary on how to create, grow and maintain a cult, the mistakes behind why the cult fails, why the serial killer was caught and the mentality behind cult leaders and serial killers.
The writing is fast-paced and snappy with short chapters that serve to propel the story forward. The story is dark, whip-smart, tackles a sensitive and tough subject, is both uncomfortable and graphic in places and is put together in a very intelligent way.
Survivors is the third book (following on from Defender and Hunted) of four in The Voices series by Todd. The previous book, Hunted left us on the brink, on the precipice of what is sure to be an epic and heart-pounding final volume and culmination of the series as we anticipate, as we await with bated breath to find out the fate of the characters and the world. Yes, you read that right, Hunted, the previous book and not Survivors, this, the latest book. You see, Todd throws us a curveball and changes direction, or, if you will she gives the reader a ‘fuck you, you’re gonna have to wait to see how it all ends‘ book and instead of moving forward with the story, she goes back. Back in time, back to the past, Pilgrim’s past, back before the cornfield, back before the lemonade stand at the side of the dusty road, back before Lacey and back even further with Todd offering a glimpse back to when the world was on the edge, on the tipping point, when the voices started to take hold, to manifest in more and more people and when the tides hadn’t yet turned, when it hadn’t yet all gone to hell, all turned to shit.
Honestly, it is masterfully done, it works well, really fucking well and as a reader and lover of The Voices series, I couldn’t be happier. From the start, I’ve always been intrigued by the mysterious drifter, the closed book, the wanderer that is Pilgrim. Going back, learning about him, about his past life, what he has been running from, what has happened to him and ultimately, finding out who he is is superb. It is like brush strokes upon the canvas, adding colour inside the lines, helping to fill in the whole picture and serves to add an ocean of depth to the character, to the voices and to the world.
Whether he’s playing a heel or a face (bad guy or good guy) in wrestling Jericho has always had a charisma about him. the ability that when he speaks and cuts a promo, you listen. He has a mesmerising way with words that make you take notice and Jericho manages to channel that same charisma he uses for wrestling promos into his writing style. Giving you a book that is easy to read, draws you in and offers some deep, meaningful and educational lessons on life that are all told with an abundance of his own signature style.
I will admit that, at times, you do have to suspend your disbelief, especially when trying to picture the various machines interacting with each other (for one example, a printer talking to a tank) and it can be hard to create an image in your mind. It is definitely best not tax your brain too much over it and instead, just go with the flow and enjoy the ride.
The story in Battle Beyond the Dolestars is barking mad and quirky. But, there are also some shrewd references to the current political climate and the plastic problem that is plaguing the oceans thrown into the mix too.
Sometimes you just need something fun to read that will lighten your mood and make you smile and that’s what Battle Beyond the Dolestars is. McCrudden has crafted a clever but crazy page-turning bonkers story that is full of witty one-liners, puns (admittedly, some bad puns too which are hilarious) and plenty of pop culture references that hits the sweet spot for some absurd escapist fun.
- Ha, don’t be silly! 😉
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