Welcome to my January wrap-up post featuring all of the fantastic posts on my blog that I posted during the month of January.
My January Posts.
- Def Leppard: Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad?
- All That Remains ft. Danny Worsnop: Just Tell Me Something.
- Through Fire: Listen To Your Heart (Roxette cover).
- Hammerfall feat. Noora Louhimo: Second to One.
- Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated Book Releases for the First Half of 2020.
- Waiting on Wednesday: The Shadow Friend by Alex North.
- December 2019 monthly wrap-up.
- My Reading Year in Book Covers for 2019.
- My Top 20 Books of 2019.
- The 16 Best Science Fiction Books of All Time Infographic by Global English Editing.
- My Latest Book Haul.
- the Light by Jim Alexander Guest Post and Book Excerpt.
Since that fateful night, where Gabe’s world fell apart he has given up on his old life, abandoning his home, his job and everything that he was. He is heartbroken, shattered into a million pieces, tormented by the loss, stricken and he can’t let go. The loss is consuming him, like an illness sapping his body of its vitality and he now spends his days, his nights, every hour available to him lost in an eternal nightmare and in his camper van searching. His entire being, his sole purpose revolves around the only thing that matters, finding out what happened to Izzy as he drives endless miles, travelling the M1 motorway over and over again in search of the car, in search of his daughter and in search of the truth.
The story unfolds through three perspectives, that of Gabe and then two others, Fran and Katie. Fran is accompanied by Alice, her seven-year-old daughter who suffers from narcolepsy and is plagued by visions. Fran is on the run and has spent years trying to stay safe, moving from place to place and running from dangerous people. And, Katie who works as a waitress at a service station that Gabe often visits, who knows him in passing due to serving him, who refers to him as ‘the thin man‘ due to his gaunt, emaciated and hollow look, like he is stretched too thin, like his essence is being consumed. And, who shares an affinity with him as she too knows the pain of loss, the heartbreak of tragedy and has also lost someone.
There are past and present timelines in The Other People which Tudor utilities to perfection, expertly weaving them together along with the three perspectives that make up the complete story. Narratives that, at first seem separate but, that are intertwined, that are linked and that will all ultimately join together, lifting up the veil, pulling back the mask and revealing the whole truth as the story travels down some stygian roads to its climax.
Over the course of Beast, Scott King speaks to six people all with ties to Elizabeth, the killers and Ergarth. Each individual account and each perspective adds to the overall story. Pulling back the mask, lifting up the veil and revealing the face beneath, for both Elizabeth and for the convicted trio. Looking at those involved, at Elizabeth, her online persona and who she really was, making you question if they are the same or not. At the killers, who they are, their backgrounds, the relationship between the three and what ties they had to Elizabeth. And, finally, the legend of the Ergarth Vampire, what it was born from and how it impacts the town.
Interspersed with the six podcast episodes you also get to see the research that Scott has done on the case and snippets of Elizabeth and her YouTube channel too.
The addition of social media to the story makes Beast relevant to today’s society. How we fall under its spell, how people are desperate for attention, how they will do anything to be famous, striving for their five minutes of Internet fame and how they push the boundaries ever further in their pursuit of comments, likes, follows, subscribers and the adoration, the validation of strangers. How ruthless they can be in their goal of getting to the top, how they control people, use and manipulate them. The Internet crazes that are prevalent in today’s society, that are rife in the youth culture amongst the attention junkies who crave their next fix of fleeting fame. You see how far a person is willing to go to be popular and to be seen to fit in by participating in whatever is deemed to be the latest ‘cool‘ Internet craze.
The setting and the sense of place that you get whilst reading Beast is tremendous and you are transported to the rundown coastal town of Ergarth. Ergarth is a claustrophobic small town where Tankerville Tower ‘The Vampire Tower’ a decaying monolith on the outskirts casts a forbidding shadow over the whole town. It is an area that has been forgotten by the government with no money and no jobs available. It is a place where life has been drained, leeched away, bleak and drab where the colour is muted and has turned to grey. It is a community where everyone knows each other and where gossip and rumours are rife. It is a town with history, the Ergarth Vampire a story that has been passed down through the centuries and from one generation to the next.
As the disturbing darkness unfolds you have the old and the new, local legend, fable, folklore and myth of the Ergarth Vampire combined with social media, perverse Internet games, modern life and real-world issues in an unholy union.
With Beast it is like the line between fiction and reality is blurred, like you are standing on the boundary between two worlds and have one foot on the side of ‘story‘ and the other on the side of ‘it’s real‘. It’s a book, a story, a work of unsettling fiction, you know that, a stone-cold and sinister creation from the Dark Prince of Orenda Books. But, at the same time, you have a feeling that you can’t shake, a spectre that whispers in your ear that what you are reading is real, that those souls tangled in the story are real and that it all really happened. Due to that, after finishing and when you have turned the final page you are left with an overriding sense of poignancy and of sadness for those involved in the powerful and tragic tale. That is something very special and that is the talent of an exceptional storyteller.
Along with characters Charley can also bring objects out of books too, not the mundane, everyday type of items. But, items and objects that have meaning and that are important to the story in the book that he is reading. The character that Charley brings out of the book is the character with their core, their personality and their traits remaining the same as those written by the author and their creator. But, at the same time, they are also shaped by Charley’s own perception of them. I thought that this was extremely well done and a nice little touch by Parry. We know that as a reader that we all view a character (and, for that matter, a story too) slightly differently from another reader. That we develop our own individual impression of the characters visualising their appearances, certain aspects of their personality and their traits that to the reader might be more or less pronounced than intended and written by the author. And, even if we see them exactly as the author intended we are still reading them, seeing them through our own eyes.
The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep is weird, wonderful, funny and at times, emotional. A delightfully entertaining romp where the fictional and the real world collide merging together adventure and mystery. It is a bibliophile’s paradise, a treasure trove of literary characters, of references, a book that celebrates the bond that is created between a reader and a book and the perfect book for readers everywhere regardless of their favoured genre.
There are themes of ambition, greed, love, loss, obsession, jealousy and betrayal to be found in the story. A feeling of tension runs through the unfolding story in I Am Dust, a disquiet and unease for what is yet to come and, for what will come to pass. It is a captivating story that is saturated in atmosphere and is highly atmospheric throughout. In places it is sinister, sinistrous in a grounded, understated and subtle way that crawls, that creeps under your skin with some sublime imagery that sets you on edge. The Dean Wilson theatre and the old church are both characters and more than the mere locations where the story takes place. There’s no overembellishment or added dramatics to the haunting of the theatre or when the trio are sat in the darkened church, simply, they aren’t needed. Within the theatre, the ghostly occurrences are spooky with, if you will pardon the pun no theatrics. For the church, the minimal and sparse setting, the three candles flickering in the dying light of the day upon the stage where the Ouija board is set is all that is needed and it is chilling as they commune with the dead.
I Am Dust is beautifully written, evocative and powerful. Humour also has a place in the story thanks to Chester, a co-worker of Chloe’s at the Dean Wilson Theatre and a terrible gossip. There is an emotional undercurrent to the story, the type of emotion that ignites, that sparks, that courses through the pages like electricity, that is charged and the words are layered with depth and significance. They are the base, the core, the foundation, the heart and the soul and they mean everything. With Beech, there is magic at play in Chloe, in the story and in the words that she has written. You aren’t just reading a story, you are transported, you are with the characters living their story. There is something heartbreaking about the story, that rends, that tears at you, that moves you, that touches your soul and that leaves you brittle from what you have just experienced. I’m not going to lie, as I turned the final page of I Am Dust I had a tear in my eye.
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