Hi guys and welcome back to another book review post! Today I am sharing my thoughts with you about The Chalk Man by C. J. Tudor. I actually read this at the end of July this year, so I had to pull my copy out to refresh myself on some of the details.
I have plenty to say though about this read, so shall we jump into my review?
In 1986, Eddie and his friends are just kids on the verge of adolescence. They spend their days biking around their sleepy English village and looking for any taste of excitement they can get. The chalk men are their secret code: little chalk stick figures they leave for one another as messages only they can understand. But then a mysterious chalk man leads them right to a dismembered body, and nothing is ever the same.
In 2016, Eddie is fully grown, and thinks he’s put his past behind him. But then he gets a letter in the mail, containing a single chalk stick figure. When it turns out that his friends got the same message, they think it could be a prank . . . until one of them turns up dead.
That’s when Eddie realizes that saving himself means finally figuring out what really happened all those years ago.
First and foremost, how does this book only have 3.7 stars on Goodreads?! I demand to know because EVERY SINGLE blogger review I have read has raved about this book. And I get that too, I loved it! I think it’s a fantastic read! That I read this from cover to cover in three days is a testament to that fact. I’m pretty sure I had a good go at enthusiastically ranting about it to my parents too.
C . J. Tudor does a brilliant job of drawing you into the book from the very beginning. The dramatic events in the prologue and an accident at the fair in 1986 occur within the first 20 pages. From there, the story unravels in two timelines; continuing on from the fair in 1986 and the second thirty years on in 2016.
I really enjoy dual-timeline structured narratives. When written well, as The Chalk Man is, they interweave and spur you on to read the next chapter, and the next to see what more you can uncover. It also serves well to keep the narrative fresh. It works as a second perspective, even when you are using the same pool of characters to tell the story. I did not want to put this book down. I was captivated by the story and the unnerving events that haunt Eddie, Fat Gav, Mickey, Hoppo and Nicky from their childhood.
The re-emergence of the chalk men after thirty years is a mystery begging to be solved, especially when the murders begin. It’s a race against time to find the killer. The conclusion of the novel is brilliant and was totally unexpected! I have a bit of a gripe with thriller novels that claim I won’t see the epic plot twist. If you tell me that, I’m going to expect one! Half the fun is trying to follow the clues and make your own mind up without knowing ANYTHING about the ending. If I try to deduce the killer and I‘m wrong, or come up short, then even better! You know you succeeded in your plot twist. The Chalk Man makes no such claim so I had no idea what to expect!
The Chalk Man is definitely up there in my top reads of the year. I’ll be recommending it to anyone in the market for horror/thriller/mystery book recommendations!
If you haven’t read it already, seriously, please do! If you have, tell me what you thought of the book! I would love to hear from you!!
Good morning readers! I hope you are having a thrilling day?
This post is my second book review and blog tour post of the week – today, I am featuring To Snare a Witch by Jay Raven. I read and reviewed a series of short stories also written by Jay Raven, called Game of Crones, earlier this year. Whereas Game of Crones is a collection of short stories, To Snare a Witch is more of a novella. At about 80 pages long, I found it to be a really easy read to get into and finish quickly.
Would you like to find out more?
To Snare A Witch: Book One – Bell, Book and Candle
A Chilling historical tale of lust, sorcery and devastating revenge
No female dares spurn the lecherous advances of Sir Henry Cruttendon, 17th Century England’s most reviled nobleman. To do so risks a retribution that would terrify the Devil himself.
But Elizabeth Fiennes is no ordinary woman, blessed with stunning beauty, intelligence and guile. Coming from an influential family, she believes she is safe.
What she doesn’t understand is that the Earl is determined to satisfy his lust and plans to use the wave of witch trials, fear and superstition sweeping the countryside to force her into his clutches.
And as he springs his malicious trap it triggers a chain of unholy events plunging hunter and prey into a maelstrom of deceit, terror and depravity – leaving them both staring into the face of true evil…
I’m not in the habit of reading short stories or novellas, but I have really enjoyed reading those by Jay Raven. To Snare a Witch is a novella as opposed to a short story, giving you ample time to invest in the characters whilst still keeping things short and fresh.
I read this book practically in one sitting at the beginning of the month. The Gothic nature of this tale makes it very appropriate reading for the season, as it is the eve of Halloween (or Hop Tu Naa locally) today. The themes of the dark arts and witchcraft and their history in society are all incorporated into this sinister tale of blackmail. The horror element of the tale stems from the atrocious behaviour some are willing to go to in order to manipulate others to their desires.
This book definitely has adult themes, without going into too much detail. I wasn’t perturbed by it. In fact, I went into this with a very open mind and without really knowing how this tale was going to unravel. I was definitely surprised by some of the developments (in a good way!), which kept me on my toes and wondering what was going to happen next. This was far from a fairy tale or predictable read, which I really enjoyed!
Jay Raven has written and co-authored a number of books and having read Game of Crones and To Snare A Witch, I’ll definitely be reading more of his work in future!
Jay Raven is the author of Gothic chillers and historical horror reminding readers that the past is a dangerous place to venture, full of monsters and murderous men. He blames his fascination with vampires, witches and werewolves on the Hammer Horror films he watched as a teenager, but living in a creepy old house on the edge of a 500-acre wood may have something to do with it.
If you would like to be informed of new releases, enjoy free short stories and access exclusive giveways and competitions, please subscribe to Jay’s monthly newsletter on his website at www.jayraven.co.uk
Hello spooky friends! It’s time to share this month’s reading list – and it’s a bumper one! I am going on holiday with my lovely sister a little later this month and I’m crossing my fingers for lovely sunshine and some R&R – reading and relaxation time!
A combination of blog tours and a few reads of my own choice to check off the list make for a busy month. In order to keep up with this list, I am looking at having to read an average of 59 pages a day. Combine this with taking part in Blogtober, and you’ll see that I don’t like to make my life easy!
It’s a good job I like a challenge right? Are you ready to check out the books on this month’s TBR?
Hallowed Ground: The Mystery of the African Fairy Circles – Paul Twivy
This magical story is inspired by the most haunting and least explored country in the world – Namibia – with its foggy Skeleton Coast, buried goldmines, shocking secrets and awe-inspiring sand dunes.
Spread across the face of its deserts are hundreds of miles of ‘fairy circles’ : vast enough to be seen from space. They grow and die with the same lifespan as humans, yet no-one has been able to explain why or how they appear.
Then one day, three teenagers and their families arrive from different parts of the globe. Helped by bushmen, the buried possessions of a Victorian explorer, and a golden leopard, they solve the mystery of the African Circles. What will be discovered beneath the hallowed ground? And how will it change the future of the planet above it?
My blog tour post isn’t until the end of the month, but I am prioritising reading these books first.
The synopsis is both unusual and intriguing for this book; it’s what drew my attention to it. The blog tour has been extended too, so it has grabbed a lot of bloggers attention. The book also has some sci-fi elements to it, so I can’t wait to see how this ties into the book!
To Snare a Witch: Book 1 – Bell, Book and Candle – Jay Raven
A chilling historical tale of lust, sorcery and devastating revenge.
No female dares spurn the lecherous advances of Sir Henry Cruttendon, 17th Century England’s most reviled nobleman. To do so risks a retribution that would terrify the Devil himself.
But Elizabeth Fiennes is no ordinary woman, blessed with stunning beauty, intelligence and guile. Coming from an influential family, she believes she is safe. What she doesn’t understand is that the Earl is determined to satisfy his lust at any cost and plans to use the wave of witch trials, fear and superstition sweeping the countryside to force her into his clutches.
And as he springs his malicious trap it triggers a chain of unholy events plunging hunter and prey into a maelstrom of deceit, terror and depravity – leaving them both staring into the face of true evil…
I am reading this novella for a blog tour as well, one day after Hallowed Ground. The end of the month is packed with reviews – four in four days!
At 85 pages, this one is comparatively short so I can probably read it in one sitting. I really enjoyed reading Game of Crones, also by Jay Raven earlier this year. The writing style of Game of Crones suited me really well and I devoured it quickly. I trust I will be able to read To Snare a Witch in good time too.
If you were given the chance to become a powerful sorceress, would you leave behind everything you thought you knew?
When Addison is offered the position of her dreams through a mysterious phone call, she rises to the occasion and moves to the Florida Keys to a mansion called Paradise House.
Footsteps from playful ghosts, a room of killer dolls, and an all too intelligent owl lead her to the mysteries that lie within the walls, to reveal the true reason behind her invitation. When dark forces get a hold of her and her patient, Addison is left with no choice but to take extreme measures to protect the ones she loves.
Will Addison be able to acquire the necessary skills fast enough in order to protect her patient, and defeat the evil entities that thrive in the mansion?
I have the pleasure of reviewing this mystical, arcane novel on none other than Halloween (or Hop Tu Naa here). It feels very appropriate to be reading books with spooky and sinister goings-on this month. How could I refuse this blog tour spot?
RAVAGED BY WAR …AD 71. After the battle at Whorl, Brennus of Garrigill is irrevocably changed. Returning to Marske, Ineda finds her grandmother dead, though Brennus is not. Snared by a Roman patrol, they are marched to Witton where he is forced to labour for the Roman IX Legion. Embracing his new identity as Bran, Brennus vows to avert Roman occupation of northernmost Brigantia. Ineda becomes his doughty spying accomplice, though sometimes she’s too impetuous. Trading with the Romans lends excellent opportunities for information gathering. Over time, Bran’s feelings for Ineda mar with his loyalty to Ineda’s father. When she disappears, and cannot be found, Bran enters direct service with Venutius, King of the Brigantes.
If I want a rest after Blogtober then I have to go a few days longer before I can get it! After Whorl Bran Reborn is my last blog tour read of the month, with a tour date of 1st November. I recently read the first book in the series, The Beltane Choice. I enjoyed reading about a completely new period in British history. This book picks up after the events of the first book and I cannot wait to see how the story progresses.
In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child—not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power—the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.
Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus.
But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians. To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.
I first took an interest in Greek Mythology earlier this year, reading Mythos by Stephen Fry. There are a lot of good reviews of Circe, and it won a Goodreads Choice award last year. I bought a physical copy of the book earlier this year and I am taking this on holiday with me. Given the choice, I like a mix of e-books and physical ones – it’s not so large that it’ll compromise my luggage space.
Around the world, black hand prints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.
In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.
And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherworldly war.
Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”, she speaks many languages – not all of them human – and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.
When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?
I bought my copy of Daughter of Smoke and Bone at the same time as Circe. Laini Taylor’s Strange the Dreamer duology was absolutely fantastic! I wouldn’t describe myself as a champion of YA literature; I don’t read all that much of it, but I adored these! Based on my love of those, it was a no-brainer decision to try her other books. This also isn’t too large, so it’s coming away with me!
We can swallow our fear or let our fear swallow us.
Single mother Kate Reese is on the run. Determined to improve life for her and her son, Christopher, she flees an abusive relationship in the middle of the night with Christopher at her side. Together, they find themselves drawn to the tight-knit community of Mill Grove, Pennsylvania. It’s as far off the beaten track as they can get. Just one highway in, one highway out.
At first, it seems like the perfect place to finally settle down. Then Christopher vanishes. For six awful days, no one can find him. Until Christopher emerges from the woods at the edge of town, unharmed but not unchanged. He returns with a voice in his head only he can hear, with a mission only he can complete: Build a tree house in the woods by Christmas, or his mother and everyone in the town will never be the same again.
Soon Kate and Christopher find themselves in the fight of their lives, caught in the middle of a war playing out between good and evil, with their small town as the battleground.
Christopher is seven years old. Christopher is the new kid in town. Christopher has an imaginary friend. The epic work of literary horror from the #1 bestselling author of THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER.
I won a Netgalley download of Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky. Given the nature of the book, it’s appropriate to wrap up with this book for Hop Tu Naa. Doesn’t it sound really creepy?! It reminds me a little of Stephen King’s Pet Sematary with the whole small town and sinister forest vibe. I loved that book. I wonder how it will compare.
So, seven books… I think that’s got to be one of the longest reading lists I have set for myself. Have you read any of these books? What spooky reads are you reading this autumn?
Hello everyone and welcome to today’s blog tour post for Simon Says by Jo Wesley! I have absolutely loved this book and I’ve been eager to share my thoughts with you all! Well, today is the day my friends!
Her life may not be perfect but she’s happy. Until she makes a terrible decision – and learns the hard way that home is not a place of refuge.
Not while Simon lurks in every shadow.
He groomed her as a teen: terrorised her into fleeing, leaving her baby behind. Now the man who destroyed her childhood has become the perfect father to her teenage daughter. And her return threatens his future.
A desperate man is a dangerous one.
Simon says she must leave or suffer the consequences. She refuses.
Now it’s his move. Because it’s not enough to face your demons.
As soon as I finished reading this book I rated it the second-best I have read this year. Out of just over 50 books, that’s no mean feat. My regular readers will know just how much of a fan I am of Margaret Atwood and I have been raving about getting and reading The Testaments. It is probably THE THING I have been looking forward to the most this year. I picked up my copy of The Testaments on the 10th September, fully expecting to set all other books aside to devour it. But I couldn’t. I had to know how the story and events of Simon Says panned out. I consciously CHOSE to keep reading this magnificent psychological thriller. Let me tell you why.
You know in your gut what happened to this poor girl from the very beginning… why she was forced away from her home and her family to start again. Cindy, aka Karis is very much down on her luck. After surviving a close shave with death, she takes her children to the only other place she knows – her old family home. Back where it all happened, Cindy is forced to face her demons, the neighbours, and Simon.
The narrative is split in two; half the chapters narrate the story of Cindy as a fourteen year old girl and the other half in present day. Each timeline unfolds in a way that spurs you on to read the next chapter to find out what happens next. It is horrifying to watch Simon manipulate Cindy by buying her trust, pushing the boundaries further and further until he does the unthinkable. It’s awful and disgusting to know what happened to her… but you can’t help reading more. Thankfully, we are spared some details of the event, but we know exactly how it made Cindy feel once she realised what had happened later on.
What is more harrowing is that this happens to people, anyone, but especially children. When families don’t believe (or don’t want to believe) the truth then the victim suffers all the more. This book takes you on a real rollercoaster ride of emotions – upset, anger, pity and a lust for vengeance and justice on Cindy’s behalf.
I was captivated from start to finish. You would hope that very few people could ever have been in Cindy’s position and lived through the abuse and torment she has. That said, she is completely relatable as a woman. The trauma she has experienced in her life hasn’t affected her so much that it serves to alienate her. If anything, it has empowered her. Over ten years have passed since the fateful event, but becoming a mother has brought out a strength in her that she didn’t have back then – the desire to protect her own children from the man that ruined her life.
I cannot stress enough just how fantastic this book is! It’s on my list of books to re-read and I’ll definitely read more books by Jo Wesley. I hate that the subject matter of the book is even a thing, but it is handled so well. I love the book!
SIMON SAYS isn’t my first thriller. Several unpublished novels went before it, but there was something about this story that made me come back to it time-and-time again. Although it was written in 2015, recently a few author friends encouraged me to publish it as they remembered reading it years before.
I used to work in an office where the wider team comprised people working with drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence and general community safety. I wrote SIMON SAYS during this period and my team provided information and advice. Also, the Red Watch team at the local fire station read my first chapter during their tea break and advised on a couple of points to make it more accurate (I thought it would be one person, not the whole team reading it!).
Currently, I am completing a novel in another genre but I really enjoy writing thrillers, so I am planning my next one.
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl.
The thing I enjoy the most about blogging and reading blogs is book recommendations. Whether giving them myself or getting them by reading reviews online, it’s fun. I’m always looking to increase my reading repertoire. I hadn’t ventured into reading horror books until I started my blog and up until that point, I have missed out on enjoying a wide range of authors!
Today I am taking the opportunity to give YOU some book recommendations, but if you have any for me based on my list, then I would love to hear some of your recommendations in the comments!
I’m going to keep this list short and snappy so you can scan through if you want. Where I have reviewed a book on the list, I’ll provide a link to my review in the title. That way you can choose whether you wish to read it or not. I mean OBVIOUSLY, you do… but hey, I want all the views I can get haha!
I would only recommend this for fans of fantasy who aren’t intimidated by larger books and complex plot lines. Isn’t that a given? I think the largest books I read are typically part of the fantasy genre. There are a couple of notable exceptions though. It’s worth the time though – this is by far my favourite series of all time and I will recommend this book again and again until I am blue in the face.
This was the first horror I read of Stephen King’s. It wasn’t the first of his books I read – that accolade goes to The Green Mile. This was the first in the horror genre though. Since then I have gone on to read IT and listen to The Stand and add many other books to the list.
The Discworld Series – Terry Pratchett
What is great about the Discworld series is that it doesn’t matter how many of these you read. You could read them all if you want to, (a feat I am slowly creeping towards), or you could just pick up one to enjoy. The stories are all largely independent of each other and so you’re not committed to a mass reading expedition trying these. They have characters, places and comical themes in common, but they stand alone too. I have read too many of these books to link here, and some before my blogging days. Please search on my blog if you’re interested.
As with A Game of Thrones, this is another epic read worth the investment. I have only read the first book so far, but the fact that I am willing to recommend the series based on that should say it all…
If this book doesn’t make you ball your eyes out … ahem, upset, then you are not human. I was introduced to the film many years ago but due to the nature of the topics concerned, I hadn’t really watched it in full. The book is even more profound than the film and it is one I will re-visit again and again.
The Last Kingdom (series) – Bernard Cornwell
This is a recommendation for anyone who enjoys reading historical fiction. Again, it’s tricky to link the reviews. I love the characters and the narrative is so well written… these books are easy to get lost in. I have read the first three books of the series so far in addition to having watched the first two seasons of the TV adaptation. Muppet here has only JUST realised that Season 3 was released in November last year, but only on Netflix. I’ll have to buy the DVD for it. Next month…
Raven’s Mark series – Ed McDonald
Another fantasy series I know, but wow! I love Ryhalt and his sassiness; I relate to his sarcastic outlook, I really do. Ryhalt is almost a bit of an anti-hero – the kind of guy that does what he does to save his own skin MOST of the time. There is a glimmer of humanity in there somewhere though. We need to see more of these characters in books. Let’s face it, not many people are as altruistic as book heroes are!
This book makes it to the list for the comedy factor. It has a blend of fantasy in there too, but my favourite part by far is how it handled the, erm… saucy bits. As a general rule, I don’t like books that go into that much detail in THAT regard. I find it cringe-worthy. So was this one in its own way, but that somehow made it funnier? I couldn’t have “read” this in the traditional way. I listened to the audiobook and the narrator did a fabulous job. It made the story.
Strange the Dreamer (series) – Laini Taylor
I recommend this duology for anyone who enjoys magic, YA style. I’m not a huge reader of YA on the whole, but I really enjoyed these. Sometimes I can find the characters immature, but the storyline behind them “finding themselves” after their world is turned upside down both makes sense and drives the plot nicely. There’s a little bit of a romance which is kind of cute. Again, I’m not really a HUGE fan generally but it isn’t overplayed.
I want to recommend this historical fiction book to anyone who loves this genre because I did NOT see the plot twist in this one coming. Not only is the character engaging, but we are able to sympathise with her predicament. The level of detail is fantastic and I was blown away by the ending!
I’ve tried to vary up my recommendations based on different genres, although Fantasy does prevail a little here! Have you read any of these books?
The first time I read Frankenstein, I absolutely hated it.
Reading the book was part of the school curriculum for my class, and my fourteen-year-old-self did not appreciate it at all.
In hindsight, I attribute that to the particular teacher I had. Teachers, you do a fabulous, grueling and hard-working job. Most of you are very good at what you do and I wouldn’t be the same person if not for your influence. This one though… she has to be the most unpleasant teacher I have ever had.
Anyway, no need for more of that negativity here. It is a regular occurrence though; all the books I read for school, I didn’t like…. almost. I think the only exceptions are Stone Cold by Robert Swindells (there’s a story for THAT teacher too) and Of Mice and Men – eventually. I didn’t take to it straightaway, but came to love it by the time we had finished studying it.
Books should be read and appreciated without being analysed to death, okay? If ANYONE thinks that’s fun, they need their head read.
Mary Shelley began writing Frankenstein when she was only eighteen. At once a Gothic thriller, a passionate romance, and a cautionary tale about the dangers of science, Frankenstein tells the story of committed science student Victor Frankenstein. Obsessed with discovering the cause of generation and life and bestowing animation upon lifeless matter, Frankenstein assembles a human being from stolen body parts but; upon bringing it to life, he recoils in horror at the creature’s hideousness. Tormented by isolation and loneliness, the once-innocent creature turns to evil and unleashes a campaign of murderous revenge against his creator, Frankenstein.
Frankenstein, an instant bestseller and an important ancestor of both the horror and science fiction genres, not only tells a terrifying story, but also raises profound, disturbing questions about the very nature of life and the place of humankind within the cosmos: What does it mean to be human? What responsibilities do we have to each other? How far can we go in tampering with Nature? In our age, filled with news of organ donation genetic engineering, and bio-terrorism, these questions are more relevant than ever.
I was inspired to pick this book up again after watching an event held during the Manx Litfest. A re-telling of Frankenstein was performed by Ben Haggarty and Sianed Jones – and an excellent performance it was! So much so, I picked up the book as soon as I got home.
Regardless of how much you read into the story – it is an enjoyable one. That everyone knows of Frankenstein’s monster and the basic story speaks volumes about the success of this book. I enjoyed reading it this time around, unlike my first experience with this book. If you haven’t read the book before, then I really must insist you do! If there is a bucket list of books, this ought to be on it!
Some of the ideas brought to the table are philosophically sophisticated, which is astounding considering Mary Shelley was so young when she wrote this book! I can’t say I walked away from the book debating the nature of life and science, but hey, you can if you want to. I guess this is what makes the book a favourite for school curriculum’s… if not students!
I’ll admit attending the re-telling made the book more approachable. Ban Haggarty narrated the story in a way that everyone can understand. The book itself, due to its age and (the style of literature at the time), is grammatically more complex than modern text. I did struggle with this a little at times, particularly once I had been reading for a while. Frequent breaks helped me get over this though, so it isn’t a huge stumbling block.
I definitely appreciate the book now I am older and reading it for my own enjoyment. Studying books is just soul crushing… okay? Why do we force kids to do it?! Whether I enjoyed studying the **** out of this book or not, there is plenty of food for thought.
A couple of weeks ago now I attended a fantastic event – a re-telling of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein by Ben Haggarty and Sianed Jones.
About the Book
We all know the story. Frankenstein, in his fascination for creating “perfect life” through his love of science, accidentally creates a monster. Horrified, he shuns the monster which flees and goes into hiding.
Frankenstein’s monster gradually evolves from a base-instinct creature to something more human by learning from them secretly. But humans don’t accept him; they reject him for his horrifying appearance. Therefore, his loneliness and rage for the contempt shown make him a bitter, twisted creature. Frankenstein comes to rue the day of the monster’s creation.
The event was held as part of the Manx LitFest in September. The first Manx LitFest took place in September 2012. So, this year was the seventh such festival.
In addition, as this year marks the 200th anniversary of the publication of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, organisers approached Ben Haggarty for the event. Ben is the leader of the Crick Crack Club, a successful performance storytelling group in the UK. He has performed at the Manx LitFest in previous years and they appealed to him (not for the first time) to perform Frankenstein. This year, he agreed.
The Gaiety Theatre was the ideal location. Constructed at the end of the Victorian era and opened to the public in July 1900, it is an old theatre. Historically, it has undergone extensive restoration work to preserve the building as close to the original design as possible. As a result, the ornate Victorian architecture of the building itself truly set the tone before the performance even began.
Fun fact: The Gaiety Theatre is one of the few remaining theatres in the world to have a functioning Corsican Trap.
I also had the benefit of a central seat in the third row… and I confess I turned up quite early. So, I spent a while admiring the place whilst I waited. It’s not that I have never been before; I have never been on my own before. You notice quite a lot of things when there aren’t distractions to keep you from them!
Ben Haggarty (as the primary storyteller) and Sianed Jones (multi-instrumental and vocal accompaniment) performed Frankenstein very well. The musical pieces performed by Sianed are the perfect counterpart to Ben’s narration. At times the music helps to build the atmosphere and tension. In others, it serves to break up the narration and keeps the performance flowing. As a result, it added the right atmosphere to an already haunting tale.
The storytelling itself was excellent. Ben has a real talent for conducting himself on stage and consequently keeping the audience engaged. No word was left unpolished and no gesture unplanned. Consequently, he portrayed each of the characters clearly and perfectly. Naturally, Ben has to embody a number of roles at any given time and he switches between them effortlessly! The dialogue in which Frankenstein and the monster confront each other is intense and very well executed.
The fact that I rushed home and picked up the book straightaway is a testament to how much I enjoyed this performance. This was the first time that I attended an event like this… and I am glad I did!
I’m writing my Sunday Summary. That means another weekend is over. Seriously… they go WAY TOO FAST!!
Not to rub it in… Okay, I am totally rubbing it in, but I have some long overdue time off coming up! So, next week is a really short one for me work-wise. Hopefully my next Sunday Summary will be chock-a-block with progress. I’m going to stay optimistic on that point, okay? We’ll see!
So, back to this week – what has happened? Well, I shared this month’s reading list with you all! I have some exciting books on the list, so if you haven’t taken a look yet, please do! On Friday I took part in a much-anticipated blog tour for A Stain on the Soul by Elizabeth Davies. This is the second book of the Caitlin series. In a few weeks time, I’ll be reviewing the next book – Another Kind of Magic. I received my copy on Monday and I cannot wait to read it at last! A Stain on the Soul leaves us on quite a cliffhanger; I cannot imagine how things are going to pick up.
There is also a little something that didn’t happen – sorry guys! I promised a post about the recent re-telling of Frankenstein on Friday. I’m going to make that up to you next week. If I am entirely honest, I had planned that for Friday, forgetting that was my blog tour date. Next week, I promise!
Now, onto a more positive note: what books have I been reading this week?
It is hardly surprising that after re-kindling my love for the tale of Frankenstein, I picked up the book. Is it on my reading list? Nope. Oh well, the heart wants what the heart wants. I cannot and will not deny myself. I finished the second half of the book this week, with a little less fire and enthusiasm I’ll admit, but I am glad I read it. It isn’t the easiest book to read, but not having to analyse it to death like I did when I was fourteen is a huge help!
School really knows how to be a killjoy when it comes to reading.
This weekend, I moved on to Muse of Nightmares! I picked this book up on Tuesday after work. I practically ran… but only PRACTICALLY. I don’t run. I was fast walking at a push, really.
But anyway, I got it, and I started reading this on Friday and have pretty much been flying through it since! Even though I have been out a lot of the day today, I am still 75% through it. I’ll be highly surprised if I haven’t finished it by this time tomorrow night. I know what I am like, after all…
Technically I acquired my copy of Muse of Nightmares this week, after a long wait, so I’ll include it here. As I’ve already talked about that above, I won’t linger on it here!
I also purchased a copy of The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories. Not only is this appropriate for the time of year, but it also features stories from authors I like. George R. R. Martin, Neil Gaiman, and Stephen King are just three of the contributors. I’ll look forward to reading these!
So, what posts can you expect to come up next week?
Well, as promised, I’ll be writing a post about the recent event I attended, a re-telling of the story of Frankenstein. It was amazing and I thoroughly enjoyed it!
I am also determined to finish the Mystery Blogger post I started several weeks ago! Now, I’ll have the time to mull it over, so I am going to finish it… even if it kills me. Overdramatic much!
I am also using my free time to do some work in the background. Most of it probably won’t even be noticed, but I have some tidying up to do. I experienced some gremlins when I migrated by blog a few months ago, so I’ll be batting them over the head with a stick, figuratively speaking of course. I am also hoping to make a slight change to the appearance of my blog, but fixing the problems are priority… and there’s a few of them.
Any reader will tell you that over time, you will discover favourite authors.
Whether entrusting them to guide you through a lesser favoured genre, or you love their writing style, every author and their novels are different experiences for each of us.
I have been reading for many years, branching out more recently to try new books, authors and genres. Based on that, here are my Top Ten Favourite Authors:-
The Green Mile was the first book I picked up by Stephen King… and it kindled a real love for his writing. I have since gone on to read Pet Sematary, IT, The Gunslinger (book 1) and listen to The Stand as an audiobook. I have loved each and every one. Obviously The Green Mile is a little different to the majority of his writing. If anything, introducing myself to this author with this book made it easier for me to step into reading horror. It’s a genre I never thought I would like, but I have been proven wrong.
It would have been criminal not to include J K Rowling on this list. I grew up with the Harry Potter books. They will forever be cemented as a part of my childhood/teen years. I read the last book of the series on holiday as a teenager – I think it was the last year I took physical books on holiday. I must have had four or five books in the suitcase (at least two were hardback; the weight must have been half books). This was the last book I was reading, and it was so good, I physically couldn’t put it down to pack the case to go home.
These will definitely need a re-read in the future!
Having read and LOVED the first Mistborn trilogy, I went on to read The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archives). I thought it would be difficult for Sanderson to best those books, but he did. It is taking all my efforts not to binge read the other two books that begin the series. Otherwise, I will be in for a VERY LONG WAIT for the remaining seven.
I am at the point now where I have added more of his books, just because they are his. I don’t know too much about them, but I am willing to give them a try regardless.
I have only read one of Laini Taylor’s books so far. I think it speaks volumes that I read the book outside of my TBR… and very quickly. I’ve also pre-ordered Muse of Nightmares ready for its release in October. Her writing is beautiful, her characters adorable and I just want more! I’ve also added Daughter of Smoke and Bone to the reading list because I loved Strange the Dreamer so much. This book also seems to have a lot of love, so I can’t wait to read this!
I have become a Discworld nerd… that’s for sure. One of my friends in particular had read Pratchett’s work and raved about him a lot. I didn’t really get into the idea… but I think that is because she usually talked about it to one of her other friends. Let’s just say the friendship isn’t mutual and leave it there.
It’s bad that I let that reason put me off trying the books. I regret it now… but better late to the party than never, yes?
I began reading the Sword of Truth series as a teenager, thanks to stumbling across Wizard’s First Rule in the school library. I’ll admit, since leaving school I haven’t really made much further progress with these books. That doesn’t mean I don’t intend to though! I love the characters and the world-building, but most importantly, the writing style. I think I am part way through book 5 of the series. I’ll have to give myself a re-cap and start that one again probably.
It is one of the rare occasions in which I had watched The Last Kingdom before I discovered it was based on a book series. When unveiling this “grand revelation” to a colleague who I knew had also watched the series… it turned out not to be a revelation to her at all. My disappointment at her knowing this already was short-lived, however, as she loaned me a copy of the book.
The rest, as they say, is history. Excuse the pun.
I have only read the first four books of the series so far, but Bernard Cornwell has plenty of other works. Irrespective of whether I have an established interest in the historical period they are based in already, I’ll read them anyway.
J. R. R. Tolkien
I don’t think I need to go into any particular detail when telling you which books this author is famous for. If you don’t know, then I wonder which rock you have lived under all your life.
I have read the most famous books of his, with the exception of The Silmarillion. There are an ample number of books that are based about the characters and history of the main series though. I hope to go on to read some of those. Unlike the other authors, his work is a little less diverse, but that is no criticism. It must have taken a lot of time and effort to develop Middle Earth to be the fantastical realm it is today.
George R R Martin
George R. R. Martin has written many works in his time. Most notably is he known for the Song of Ice & Fire series, (aka A Game of Thrones to those not familiar), he developed a lot of his writing skill in producing short stories.
I read A Game of Thrones first, before I realised many of his short stories were in anthologies and other publications. I went on to read those based on my love of this series. All I knew was that he wrote science-fiction, and not much else. I love some of those stories though – the first that comes to mind is Sand Kings.
If there is one thing I have learned, it is that I will read pretty much anything this God of literature sees fit to put on paper. Whether my genre or not, I’ve enjoyed reading his works so far. Long may it continue!
I cannot tell you how much I love this man’s series, The Kingkiller Chronicles. The narrative is beautiful. He is a master storyteller through and through.
I haven’t yet read anything else other than the above series… but the principle is the same. Patrick Rothfuss is basically an “auto buy” author. It doesn’t matter what he writes, I want it.
I’m quite intrigued by The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle series. These are in the format of children’s books… but are NOT children’s books. I am lead to believe they are quite dark, which I am curious to see. I must be a not-so-secret sadistic person!
Whose books do you love? Are there any authors you auto purchase books for? Let me know in the comments!
How do you even go about choosing your top summer reads when there are just SO MANY books out there?! It’s a tough one to call! In order to tackle the problem, I’ve decided to split this column into two main sections, with a final section including the books I hope to read during the sunny season.
Everyone has different tastes as well, so the books I choose are probably different from yours. I hope to cover as many genres as I can so that something appeals to you, dear reader – so without further adieu, let’s get started!
Light / Humorous Books
The Queen & I – Sue Townsend
My mum recommended this book to me years and years ago – and I actually have it downloaded on my kindle. I started reading the first few chapters all those aeons ago, but I haven’t finished the book. I used to be very selective about the books I read, (once upon a time) and I found it difficult to read anything that wasn’t Fantasy. Were I to re-visit this now, I think I would appreciate it a lot more! There’s just something about the idea of the Queen being forced to live on a council estate that spells humorous disaster!
The Rag Nymph – Catherine Cookson
I have included this book here because the narrative is easy to read. I have Yorkshire influence in my family too, so “Raggie Aggie” reminds me of mum when I was growing up. The fond memories I have and the familiarity of her character must play its part in my choosing this book. Set in 1854, this book will appeal to fans of historical fiction. This novel does have mature themes, however; if you are looking for something lighthearted I would point you in another direction.
I Don’t Know How She Does It – Allison Pearson
Please don’t think I am discriminating here guys – but in this section, I’m giving a nod to a book categorised as “chick lit”. That’s not to say you can’t read this book – for the most part, I wouldn’t describe this as my genre either.
This entry is another in which I have read part of the book, but not finished. Again, it was years ago I first found myself laughing at Allison’s take on the trials and tribulations of “the working mum”. Whilst the expectations of a mother may be a little out of date now, the book is laugh-out-loud funny. Allison made a rip-roaring return to the series by publishing How Hard Can It Be? last year, proving that there is still the demand to laugh at (and relate to) Kate Reddy’s parenthood troubles.
The Last Kingdom – Bernard Cornwell
Maybe you prefer to sit down with a heavier book – perhaps you want to be transported to another world/universe entirely. Let the sun, sea and sand melt away and the riotous clash of swords fade in. Going abroad was never a peaceful affair in times past. If you’d like to reminisce on those English shores many moons ago, then The Last Kingdom (aka The Saxon Chronicles) may be your cup of tea.
IT – Stephen King
Looking for a challenge? Are you happy to dedicate your soul to one book? Do you like horror? Then I challenge you to read IT by Stephen King. I read this book back in October last year – in time for Halloween (or Hop Tu Naa locally). The book was unnerving rather than scary, in my opinion, so I wouldn’t say it was unapproachable for anyone. That is, unless you are intimidated by clowns or the page count. At approximately 1,370 pages, it will keep you occupied for some time… or hiding under the covers.
The Way of Kings – Brandon Sanderson
If a series based with its own established Universe, complete with a unique magic system appeals to you, then The Way of Kings is my recommendation for you.
The depth of history and world-building in this epic series will have you in awe, my friends. If it weren’t for the fact that Brandon Sanderson has only published the third book of the series just recently, I would have binge-read the entire thing by now! I am forcibly restraining myself – trust me.
Empire of Silence – Christopher Ruocchio
Here is one for fans of science-fiction.
I was floored by this when I read it… and soon you can too! With a publishing date of the 5th July, I have high hopes that this book will soar in popularity this summer. Whether you are a veteran sci-fi fan or a relative newbie, this can be enjoyed by all.
If you want to decide if this is for you or not, you can find my recent review of the book here.
My Summer Reads
So, which books am I planning on reading this summer? There are lots to choose from and an inevitably never-ending TBR list! It’s taken some time to narrow it down, but here are three of my much-anticipated summer reads:-
Daughter of Smoke & Bone – Laini Taylor
I loved Strange the Dreamer… and I cannot wait until October until the release of Muse of Nightmares!
I’m serious – I cannot wait… and so this is why I have decided to pick up the first book of this series! I love Laini Taylor’s writing style – so much so that genres or themes I would normally not show a preference for can basically get away with murder.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
I have wanted to read this book for such a long time… and now it is well overdue.
Not long ago I read The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and really enjoyed reading a narrative written from a child’s perspective. The added bonus with this is hopefully learning how people on the autistic spectrum perceive the world (or at least one interpretation of, anyway).
A Darker Shade of Magic – V.E Schwab
Considering I was supposed to read this in February this year… I have absolutely no excuse to put off A Darker Shade of Magic anymore. This is a hugely popular book and I have yet to see whether I love it as much as the hype would indicate I should.
I’ll admit I always take things like that with a pinch of salt, becuase we all have different opinions and tastes in books. I would be lying though if I said I wasn’t curious.
So – have any of the above books made your list? Perhaps you have read them already! Either way, I would love if you could drop me a like or a comment about what you are doing this summer.
Your devoted blogger,
What book blogger wouldn’t proclaim themselves an avid reader?
If found without a book in hand, send for medical aid!
My name is Rebecca; welcome to my humble little blog.