Tag: psychological thriller

Book Review: The Taking of Annie Thorne – C. J. Tudor

In today’s post, I am sharing my book review for The Taking of Annie Thorne by C. J. Tudor. I read this book just over a year ago, so it’s well due its five minutes of fame on my blog.

I really enjoyed The Taking of Annie Thorne. Previously, I had read and loved The Chalk Man, also by the same author. It’s for this reason that I wanted to pick this latest book up, and I’m glad I did. This time last year I wasn’t reading anywhere near as much as usual. However, I read this book a lot quicker than I had been managing other books of similar length.

I think that speaks volumes for itself, but in today’s post, I share plenty more reasons why you should read this book for yourself!

 

The Taking of Annie Thorne – C. J. Tudor

Genre: Thriller/Mystery

Pages: 346

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Penguin

Publication Date: 21 Feb 2019

Rating: *****

 

Goodreads – The Taking of Annie Thorne

One night, Annie went missing. Disappeared from her own bed. There were searches, appeals. Everyone thought the worst. And then, miraculously, after forty-eight hours, she came back. But she couldn’t, or wouldn’t, say what had happened to her. Something happened to my sister. I can’t explain what. I just know that when she came back, she wasn’t the same. She wasn’t my Annie. I didn’t want to admit, even to myself, that sometimes I was scared to death of my own little sister.

 

My Thoughts…

With any mystery or thriller, one of the greatest aspects of this kind of narrative is the characters and their backstory. The Taking of Annie Thorne is told in a dual timeline; we learn the history of the characters and what happened in the past, and we see some of those same characters back as adults. If you like this kind of idea, and in particular, if you liked the timeline in the likes of Stephen King’s book, IT, this is very similar.

Given that we are juggling two timelines interspersed within each other, the pacing of the book works really well. Nothing is revealed too early, keeping us on our toes as to what happens – in both timelines! If you are concerned that juggling both at the same time is confusing, I can assure you, I didn’t find this to be the case at all. Each is clearly set out at the beginning of the chapter as to which timeline we are in. The chapters are also not too long, so nothing too chunky happens all at once and we then forget the events of the other timeline.

I particularly liked the characters of Annie and Joe. The story is told from Joe‘s perspective. As Annie’s brother, he is close to the event when she goes missing, and in the subsequent action. I liked both of these characters for different reasons. Annie, after she comes back, is creepy. She definitely has a sinister vibe that defines this mystery novel for me, but adds elements of horror. She is characterised perfectly.

I like Joe for different reasons. He turns out to be a very complex character with very distinct character development between these two timelines. Also, I enjoyed how this was kept consistent throughout the book; at no point did his personalities or perspective merge. It made the reading of each timeline easier to follow, and was very interesting to observe how he has changed outside of the book. Joe turns out to be a character with varying shades of grey when it comes to morality. I really enjoy this element of a book. I like reading a narrative and having to consider whether whatever has happened is true, or whether the perspective is biased or not. Having Joe as a morally grey character really added to the mystery that was already here and present in the book, and I’m all for it!

As I said in my introduction above, I read this book a lot quicker than I was reading other books of a similar length. I was deliberately not taking on anything too ambitious last year, as I experienced a little bit of burnout. Yet, I managed to devour this book in a handful of days at a time when that wasn’t really the norm for me. At about 350 pages, I think this is a book that anybody could pick up at any given time. It’s not too heavy (and I don’t just mean in the literal sense) – it’s a very easy narrative to consume. It is engaging with its interesting mystery with a creepy twist, so this can appeal to a lot of readers.

As a fan of The Chalk Man, I wasn’t disappointed by The Taking of Annie Thorne. I got the narrative style and characterisation of a calibre I was expecting, with a plot twist that I couldn’t anticipate; this was one of my better reads of last year when you consider the five-star rating I gave it, and how quickly I read it!

What are your thoughts on The Taking of Annie Thorne? As always, I would love to hear from you!

 

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Monthly TBR – April 2022

Hello everyone and welcome to my monthly TBR for April. I’m really excited to be sharing the books I plan to pick up within the next few weeks! 

I didn’t get through all of my reading list for March. I did set myself an ambitious list and so I’m neither surprised nor disappointed by this fact. I knew when I prepared the list it was very likely I was going to carry some forward through to April – so most of the books on this month’s list have already been shared on last month’s TBR! 

Let’s see what I’m going to be reading very soon!

 

Fixed Reads

Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows

I will be opening the month with my current read carried over from March, being Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling. I’m currently around halfway through this book and I’m excited to complete my reread of the series! I last read this book around nine years ago now, so I am keen to read this book again and experience it from a more mature perspective!

 

The Thursday Murder Club

I have been loaned a copy of The Thursday Murder Club by my sister’s boyfriend, Chris, to read. I didn’t quite get round to this one last month, but I still cannot wait to pick this up! I’ve heard great things about this book, in particular the characters and the humour!

 

Ravencry & Crowfall

I added Ravencry and Crowfall to my ‘mood read list’ last month, but since I didn’t get round to them I’ve decided I’m adding them to my fixed list for April! I have a couple of other ‘mood reads’ in mind that I’d like to pick up, and so the progression onto my fixed reading list felt natural!

Having recently re-read Blackwing, the first book in the series, I got really excited for the series again. So naturally, I wanted to read it all again as opposed to just the first book! I re-read Blackwing in just a matter of days, and I fully expect Ravencry and Crowfall to be much the same in terms of experience!

 

Mood Reads

The Duke & I

This addition to my TBR is experimental. I’m not sure if it’s a book I’m going to enjoy, however having recently enjoyed watching the second season of the Netflix TV show, there’s no reason why I shouldn’t.

If I do enjoy The Duke and I then I will continue with the book series. However, don’t expect me to suddenly start reading romance all the time; my enjoyment of these books, if indeed I do enjoy them, will be the exception instead of the rule.

What I can say, is having featured this book in a very recent First Lines Friday post, the introduction made a good impression on me! Let’s see how the rest of the book pans out, shall we?

 

The Bone Collector

I’ve also been watching the TV series, Lincoln Rhyme, on Now TV recently. I have a copy of The Bone Collector sat upstairs on my bookshelf, and now feels like the right time to pick this up for myself. I believe my sister has read at least some of this book and enjoyed it. I can’t wait to see how it compares!

 

As in previous months, my indicated mood reads are provisional and I might choose to pick up something else at the time! Last month I didn’t even get round to my mood reads, which is perfectly okay too. I feel like this reading list is a little bit less ambitious, though still plentiful enough to give myself a challenge!

Have you read any of the books on my TBR? What are you reading this month? Let me know in the comments or on social media!

 

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Sunday Summary – 20th March 2022

Hello and welcome to my Sunday Summary update for this week! I hope it’s been a great one for you?

I originally intended to share a book with you at the beginning of this week for Harry Potter and the Philosopher‘s Stone by J. K. Rowling. And I started this post. However, I think I felt a little bit intimidated by the task. This is a fantastic book and series and I got stuck with how to begin. How do you even go about reviewing such a massive series? That’s something I’m going to have to figure out very quickly, because I still plan to share my review with you soon. Apologies it didn’t come when I said it was going to.

I did manage to draft and publish my First Lines Friday post this week. For that post, I set myself the challenge of featuring a book on this month’s TBR and I’m really happy with my choice. I picked up most of the books left on my TBR to gauge the opening lines and see which I thought was best/most interesting. For me, it was a clear winner! If you haven’t checked out that post yet you can do so with the link above, and let me know what you think of the introduction!

 

Books Read

I’m really happy with my reading progress since my last Sunday Summary update post. I had just over 130 pages remaining of Keep You Safe by Rona Halsall, and I said in my post that I was going to make a push this week to read it. The reality is, I started reading this book last Sunday after publishing my post and I finished reading the book at 12:15am that night! I could not put it down – the ending was brilliant and so engaging that going to bed before finishing this book was not an option! It’s an absolutely fantastic psychological thriller and I can’t wait to share my thoughts on the book with you – I cannot recommend it enough!

My next read of this week was a complete 180º – I picked up Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg. This is a non-fiction novel written by Facebook‘s chief operating officer. It looks at women in the workplace and discusses female leadership in the corporate world, what limitations women have in advancing their careers (both internal and external factors) and offers advice on what women can do in order to empower themselves.

This was a recommendation by my sister, who in turn had the book recommended to her by one of her more senior work colleagues. Now, I wouldn’t describe myself as a particularly career driven person, but I am the kind of person who will take on responsibility and accountability in my job. I want to do the best I can, and likewise if I can make things better for other people I also want to do this. Work isn’t my whole life, but I want to do a good job and make a difference as well. Do you see what I mean?

Lean In was an interesting read because it’s not only focuses on limitations that women experience from other people (both men and women, you may be surprised to hear), but also the limitations they set themselves. It is all too easy to focus on the external factors, and very difficult to be introspective and acknowledge that women sometimes hold themselves back. For not shying away from this truth, I feel like Sheryl took a well-rounded approach to the subject and there are some pieces of advice in the book that I’d like to bear in mind going forward for myself.

Whilst I haven’t physically picked it up yet as of writing this post, I plan to start reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows immediately after this blog post goes live. And I’ll be making progress with this one over the next week. Whilst it’s a bit of a chunky book, I find these so easy to read so I don’t expect it will take me too long!

As in last week’s Sunday Summary update post, I am pleased to say that I’ve listened to another couple of chapters of A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin. This is going to take a very long time to get through at this pace, so I’m going to try and make more of a habit of listening to audiobooks again. I confess I’ve fallen off the wagon a little bit here!

 

Books Discovered

There’s some happy dancing going on here this week, because once again there are no new books on my TBR. And, having read and taken a couple off the list this week, the list is going in the right direction!

For now anyway!

 

Coming Up…

I will share my review of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone this week. I WILL share my review of Harry Potter and the Philosopher‘s Stone next week.

How many times do you think I have to say the sentence in order to commit? I’m disappointed that I wasn’t able to get this ready for you as planned this week, so I’m determined to publish this post in the next few days to make up for it.

Friday is my scheduled spot for a Shelf Control post. Last time I did this fortnightly feature I cut five books off my TBR. Whilst I am certainly not planning a ‘massacre’ of that scale again, I do like that this feature gives me the opportunity to review and do this if I feel necessary. It’s also great because I love featuring books that are coming up on my list and I can get excited about them at the same time!

And finally, this time next week I’ll be sharing another Sunday summary post.

Until then, I hope you have a good week, wish you happy reading and I’ll see you in the next post!

 

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Sunday Summary – 13th March 2022

Hello and welcome to today’s Sunday Summary update! As always I hope you’ve had a good week whatever you have been up to?

My blogging week began on Tuesday with a Top Ten Tuesday post. In that post I featured books with my favourite book trope or theme. My chosen trope, as a big reader of fantasy books, was prophecies. Although this is very common in the genre I found that a lot of the books I’ve read are actually part of a series. So, although it feels like I’ve read a lot of them, I actually struggled to come up with 10 completely separate books/series for this post. I managed it though, and if you haven’t checked out that post already there’s a link here so you can go and take a look.

On Friday I shared a Shelf Control post. In this fortnightly series I take a look at the next book on my TBR and share some details of the book, as well as discuss why I want to read it. I was a bit brutal going through my list this week, because I ended up deleting five books off my TBR before I got to this week’s chosen feature. I’m not complaining, because I already have a lot of books on my list. If I’m not feeling it, there are plenty more out there and there is no sense in keeping them on the list!

 

Books Read

Reading progress has been a touch slower this week. I’ve been doing some other bits and pieces; I’m working on knitting a jumper at the moment and I feel like I’ve been stuck in a very similar spot for a while. So, I’ve been making the effort to try and knit at least three or four rows a day and I’m starting to see some reward from the effort! That might not sound like much, but when you’re knitting with sock weight yarn and you are a plus size girl, that’s a lot of stitches per round (360 – I checked).

I’ve also started some study for work. Along the same lines, I’ve been doing a little bit a day and because of this I’ve got myself through the first couple of chapters already. I’m really happy with my progress, so I’m going to be carrying on in much the same way.

Despite all these little extras I’m doing every day, I still managed to read about 100 pages of Keep You Safe by Rona Halsall. It’s a really interesting book and I’m liking where it’s going so far. The timeline flits between present day and the past, and the two seem to be paced quite well in that they tie together nicely.

I’m still not sure on who I’m rooting for in terms of the protagonist or the supposed antagonist. I say supposed to because I’m not sure I trust the perspective of Natalie, which is another thing I’m enjoying. I’m constantly second guessing her and trying to work out what the truth is. It’s one of those narratives where there are three sides of the story, hers, his and the truth. I can’t wait to carry on reading and unpick the rest of this story. The book is just about 330 pages long and I’m coming up to 200 now. I’m going to make a push and try and finish it next week!

I have also been listening to more of A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin this week, and I’ve got another couple of chapters under my belt.

Having considered my position this week, I’ve decided to DNF One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest by Ken Kesey. It’s just not doing it for me, and mentally I went into the beginning of this week wanting to try and pick this up again. However, I just can’t bring myself to do it,. It hasn’t drawn me in and I don’t want to spend my time trying to force myself through it. I read to enjoy myself and I’m not really enjoying this book. So, this is officially my first DNF of 2022.

 

Books Discovered

As I stated at the beginning of this post, my TBR has actually gone down this week! I’ve taken five books off the list and I haven’t added anything either, which is a miracle!

 

Coming Up…

This week I would like to share a book review with you. I am trying to make my way through my ongoing list of books to be reviewed and I’d like to chip away at this list. So, with that in mind, this week I am going to be reviewing Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. It’s saying something when you are starting to review a series that you’re just about to finish reading, and it’s seven books long!

Next week’s Friday feature will be a First Lines Friday post. For this post I am setting myself another challenge, and it’s one that I haven’t done before. For this post, I’m going to be featuring the opening lines of a book on this month’s TBR! My reading progress has been a little bit slow this week, so I’m hoping that preparing this post will psych me up and help me find the motivation to get to some of the later books on my list. We’re already nearly midway through March and I’m still only on my second book on my list!

Last, but not least, I’ll be back the same time next week for another Sunday Summary post!

Until then, I hope you have a good week and I’ll see you in the next one!

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Sunday Summary – 6th March 2022

Hello and welcome to my Sunday summary post!

It’s been a busy week here on the blog! I originally intended to share one post combining my monthly wrap-up for February and my TBR for March. However, when I started drafting that post I quickly realised that this format wasn’t really working for me. Whilst it does make sense to an extent, the post was becoming really long and I didn’t get the opportunity to include all the content I wanted. So, I decided to split these back out. So, my Monthly Wrap-up for February was posted on Tuesday and my Monthly TBR for March was shared on Thursday.

I also shared a First Lines Friday post to wrap-up the working week. In that post, I challenged myself to feature a book I’ve added to my TBR in the last three months. Let’s face it, I’ve added quite a few books in that time period and so I had plenty of scope to choose from. I’m really pleased with the book I selected and I hope you enjoyed the introduction as much as I did!

 

Books Read

When I left you in last week’s Sunday Summary post I was 60% through Blackwing by Ed McDonald. This was the book I picked up at the end of February, having swapped it from One Flew Over the Cuckoo‘s Nest.

I am glad I made the switch. I absolutely devoured reading Blackwing and the escapism fantasy books offer was exactly what I needed! I read this book in a matter of days and I’ve since decided that I’m going to continue with re-reading the trilogy.

Because I still want to read One Flew Over the Cuckoo‘s Nest, I added this to my March TBR and as of this post I am 40% through the book. I’m now doubly glad I made the switch last month because this book isn’t quite what I expected. In all honesty, I’m not sure how I feel about it. It’s perfectly readable but at the same time it’s not grabbing me in the same way either. It’s just something I feel very neutral about.

I decided to pick up a second book this week to give myself a break from it. I have picked up the next book on my TBR, Keep You Safe by Rona Halsall. This is going a lot better! I am enjoying reading this one and I managed to read 75 pages in one sitting yesterday. I expected to go into this book fully rooting for the main character. However, protagonist Natalie is a lot more complex than the synopsis lets on and I’m not sure who I’m rooting for at this point! For anyone like me who loves characters with moral shades of grey, I think it’ll be a good one for you.

I haven’t given up on One Flew Over the Cuckoo‘s Nest just yet. I’m going to continue with this next week and see how I get on. However, if it doesn’t pick up soon then I think this might be my first DNF of the year. We’ll see.

In better news, I started listening to my audiobook of A Storm of Swords again this week! It’s been a few weeks since I last put this on, however I was in the mood and I’ve managed to work my way through a few more chapters! Progress is progress!

 

Books Discovered

No new additions to the TBR for the first time in a few weeks, which is good! I’ve added enough lately, so I’ll have to give it a break if I want to delude myself that I’ll catch up at some point.

Haha, funny right?

 

Coming Up…

Next week I’ll be going back to my regular three post schedule.

It’s been a little while since I shared a Top Ten Tuesday post, and I like the sound of this week’s topic. The topic is Books With Your Favorite Trope/Theme. There are a lot of themes or tropes that could be looked at as a part of this post, so content on the blogosphere is going to be quite varied. My favourite theme for this post is going to be based around my love of fantasy books, and feature books which contain prophecies! It’s a very common thing in fantasy and it’s one of the tropes I don’t hate even though it’s a bit overused.

On Friday it’s the turn of my regular Shelf Control post. I’ll be taking another look at my TBR and sharing with you the next book on my list. I’ll share some details of the book, go into some detail as to why I added it to my list and why I still want to read it now.

Last, but not least, I’ll be back the same time next week for another Sunday Summary update!

Until then, I hope you have a good week and I’ll see you in the next post!

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Monthly TBR – March 2022

Hello everyone and welcome to my Monthly TBR for March. Somehow we are in the third month of the year already and I honestly have no idea where it’s gone!

Last month I decided to combine my wrap-up post for January and my February TBR. And it does make sense, to a degree. However, I thought the post was too long and I didn’t get the chance to include all the content I wanted. So, I’m experimenting with splitting these back out and if you have any feedback on which you prefer I’d love to hear it!

I’m really pleased with last month’s reading progress and I’m keen to keep the momentum going. Therefore, I’ve decided to avoid all historical fiction and non-fiction reads that I’ve had on my radar, mainly because they focus around war. It’s not a particularly pleasant topic at the moment in light of current events, so I’m putting these on hold for a little bit in favour of picking up some alternative topics. I have also chosen books of varying lengths. As some of these reads are a bit shorter, I have more titles on the list this month. 

So, shall we dive into what I am going to be reading?

 

Fixed Reads

One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest

This book was on my mood read list for February, however I decided to swap it out in favour of a fantasy book at the end of the month in order to experience some escapism. It’s for this exact reason that I make time for mood reads now; I’m glad I made the change!

However, I do still want to read this book and as of writing this post I’m currently around 20% through. I’m interested to see where this book is going to take me. Where I am at the moment, I am feeling pretty neutral about it. It’s perfectly readable, but equally it hasn’t grabbed a hold of me in the same way that some of my recent reads have. I’ll continue reading to give it a chance in the hopes it picks up; even still, if it stays the way it is it’s probably going to be a three star read.

 

Keep You Safe

I’ve had this book on my radar for a few years now. Not only does it sound great in its own right, but I also want to read it as it is written by a local author! I am intrigued by the mystery behind the synopsis and the potential for there to be an unreliable narrator, which I think is hinted at. What I also like is that it’s a very approachable length – it’s long enough to invest into but also not so long that I risk getting bogged down in a detailed and convoluted story. Sometimes that’s fine too, but lighter reads are my preference right now. 

I can’t wait to read this and share my thoughts with you!

 

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

I want to conclude my re-read of the Harry Potter series this month. I’ve been enjoying making progress with the latter books in the series and I am looking forward to picking this last instalment up again.

I last read this book 8-10 years ago now. That’s a scary thought for me! I loved it then and I have every confidence that I will again. I wouldn’t go so far as to say this is a ‘lighter’ read, as it’s fairly chunky and the subject matter quite dark for a YA fantasy, but I’m looking forward to it all the same! I still find these books engrossing!

 

Lean In

I want to try and read some non-fiction this month, and my sister recently loaned me a copy of this book. It was recommended to her through one of her more senior work colleagues for the purposes of development and I would also like to take something from this. I find myself in the middle in that I wouldn’t necessarily describe myself as a career woman, but I definitely care about my job. I don’t just turn up to get paid.

I’m sure this book has plenty of content and something that I can take away from it in order to develop myself and maybe even progress further!

 

The Thursday Murder Club

As well as Lean In, I’ve also been loaned a book by my sister’s boyfriend Chris. Not only did The Thursday Murder Club get a great review from him, but I’ve also been hearing great things about it in the wider community and it was already on my radar to add to my TBR and read.

I’m looking forward to picking this up because the protagonists are not from the generation you would expect to be sleuthing. I’ve also heard it’s incredibly funny and I hope it will be as intriguing and lighthearted as I’m expecting it to be.

 

The Original Folk and Fairytales of the Brother’s Grimm

I am also carrying over The Original Folk and Fairytales of the Brothers Grimm again. Whilst I did pick this book up a couple of times in February, I didn’t really make that much progress with it. I stand by my decision to chip away at this one again this month, but I need to find more balance between my current reads and also picking this one up regularly. I will continue to read this into March and even if I don’t finish it, I hope to make a lot more progress with it this month.

 

Mood Reads

Ravencry & Crowfall

I started reading Blackwing, the first book of The Raven’s Mark trilogy, on the 26th February. This was the book I decided to swap with One Flew Over the Cuckoo‘s Nest. Three days later, I’d read all 370ish pages. I devoured this book. It was exactly what I needed at the time; an epic fantasy that I could throw myself into and love all over again.

I read this book back in June 2018, so it’s been a while. Given that I loved it so much, I’ve decided that I want to re-read the rest of the trilogy again. Therefore, these are my mood reads for March! It’s not very often I’ll binge read a series like this – but if it’s good enough, I can engage and I’ll love every second of it!

 

As in previous months, my indicated mood reads aren’t set in stone and like last month, so I might choose to pick up something else at the time! Unlikely, given how much I loved Blackwing in February… but never say never!

Have you read any of the books on my monthly TBR? What are you reading this month? Let me know in the comments or on social media!

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Shelf Control #43 – 25/02/2022

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s Shelf Control post! Shelf Control is a regular feature here on my blog (typically fortnightly on a Friday) and is a meme run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies. It’s a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up!

For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out Lisa’s introductory post.

Today’s feature is a crime fiction novel – something that I don’t think I’ve picked up for a while. I added this to my TBR several years ago, but my interest in this book has not waned over time in the slightest!

So, do you want to find out what today’s book is?

 

99 Red Balloons – Elisabeth Carpenter

Goodreads – 99 Red Balloons

Two girls go missing, decades apart. What would you do if one was your daughter?

When eight-year-old Grace goes missing from a sweetshop on the way home from school, her mother Emma is plunged into a nightmare. Her family rallies around, but as the police hunt begins, cracks begin to emerge.

What are the secret emails sent between Emma’s husband and her sister? Why does her mother take so long to join the search? And is Emma really as innocent as she seems?

Meanwhile, ageing widow Maggie Taylor sees Grace’s picture in the newspaper. It’s a photograph that jolts her from the pain of her existence into a spiralling obsession with another girl – the first girl who disappeared…

 

My Thoughts…

Crime fiction novels are always a great genre for me to turn to. It’s not something I’ve read anything in recently, but it’s for that reason that I’m looking forward to picking this up. I really like reading this style of book and it’s always good to pick up something a little different and diversify every now and then.

What really catches my attention with this book is that the reliability of one of the main characters is called into question. This is an aspect I really like about books. I like how the bias of perspective can alter the way we interpret a storyline and if used effectively, it can provide opportunities for major plot twists!

Naturally, the storyline might not be for everybody. If the idea of children getting hurt or going missing is difficult for you to stomach, then this isn’t necessarily going to be a book for you. However, I don’t shy away from topics like these. Ultimately, this is a fictional narrative. Yes, there is reality that this could happen to somebody child, and that’s the hook that gets you to invest into the story and really feel for the characters involved, but at the end of the day it is just that – a story.

Have you read 99 Red Balloons by Elisabeth Carpenter, or anything like it? Let me know in the comments!

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Sunday Summary – 21st November 2021

Good evening and welcome to my Sunday Summary update this week! As always, I hope you’ve had a good week? I’ve had a great one! Not only have I been off work and spending time with family, but I’ve also been doing a job I’ve been dreading in the garden – cutting down my second hedge to a reasonable height. I thought taking the first one down a couple of weeks ago was bad, but this second one was a whole different ballpark. But, never mind; it has gone now, which I’m a bit relieved about!

Aside from the mundane jobs around the house, and the significantly more exciting spending time with family, I have shared a couple of blog posts with you. My first post of the week was a Top Ten Tuesday post. This week’s subject was Top Ten Books to Read If You Like ‘X’; I chose fantasy as my subject. As I’ve read a lot of the genre I felt it was the most comfortable topic I could talk about. Not only that, but as there are a lot of fantasy books out there, I hope that featuring my favourites helps you find your next one!

On Friday I took part in a blog tour for The Warden by Jon Richter. This is a psychological thriller novel that I agreed to review as part of the tour. If you haven’t checked out my review you can find a handy link here – no spoilers in saying that I enjoyed the book! It is an interesting take on the pandemic and a potential future concept involving technology, and what could happen if we became highly dependent on it and it goes wrong. It was fantastic and I hope you can take a look at the book for yourself!

 

Books Read

As of the beginning of this week I had 25% of The Warden left to read before I could put my thoughts together for my review on Friday. I blitzed through this last hour’s worth of reading after publishing my Sunday Summary post last week. I don’t know how I can do that when I don’t plan to do it, but when I do plan to do it (as I did the week prior) I fail miserably. Never mind – it meant that I have plenty of time to get my thoughts together and draft my review.

I have since gone back to reading Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson. I put this on hold briefly in order to do my reading for the recent blog tours I’ve taken part in (Million Eyes II and The Warden). It only equates to having read 5% of the book this week, but it’s progress. It works out at just over 50 pages, in case you’re interested. 5% doesn’t sound like much; 50 pages sounds better!

I’ve also started listening to a new audiobook this week. Whilst I was knitting the other evening I decided to start listening to Traitor’s Blade by Sebastien de Castell. I’m currently on chapter 2 and the introduction has been great. There is plenty of action to keep me interested but also enough history to get an idea of who our main characters are and their role in society as a whole. I can’t wait to keep listening to this and find out more! All in all, a fabulous start.

 

Books Discovered

No new additions again this week. You might find this report a little bit boring, but I personally am very happy about it. It means I can *pretend* my habit is in control.

 

Coming Up…

I’m all done for blog tours for now. I haven’t signed up to very many of them this year, and while I’ve enjoyed taking part in them, I’m also looking forward to being able to post in my own time.

I’ve been having a think about what I want to share with you and the plan is to share a discussion post with you early next week. The topic I have in mind is to talk about how I juggle writing content for my blog, as well as reading and also all the other bits I like to do. For anyone who doesn’t blog, it may give insight as to how much time it takes. And, for anyone who does, I may be able to offer some time management techniques that you may take away and try to implement yourself!

Later in the week I will be back with my regular Friday feature posts. This week I will be sharing a First Lines Friday post. I really enjoy sharing these and giving myself the opportunity to share a variety of books here on my blog. And for this week’s post I’m going to keep it open (as I set myself a challenge last time I shared this post). I hope you can join me and that you like the sound of the book I ultimately feature.

Then, last but not least, I’ll be back the same time next week with another Sunday Summary update for you.

In the meantime, I hope you have enjoyed today’s post. Have you read any of the books I’m reading? Do any of them appeal to you? Let me know in the comments!

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Blog Tour Review: The Warden – Jon Richter

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s blog tour review of The Warden by Jon Richter, organised by Blackthorn Book Tours. This is the second blog tour post I’ve shared with Blackthorn, and it also happens to be the same author that I’m featuring today!

When I received the invite to read and review The Warden as part of this tour, it was a no-brainer decision! I really enjoyed reading Auxiliary: London 2039, also by Jon Richter, and I loved the sound of The Warden. Whilst it has similar themes to Auxiliary (on the technological side anyway), it’s a completely different narrative and character set. So, I don’t think you don’t have to have read any books by him previously to give this one a go based on my experience.

There are a few topics in the book that some readers may not be comfortable with reading. These are listed below so you can decide whether you’re interested in the book and also on here in my thoughts. I really hope that they don’t put you off however, because it is a fantastic book. I’m not one to shy away and I’m glad that the case, because this book was a pleasure to read!

 

The Warden – Jon Richter

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Print length: 312

Suitable for young adults? This is an adult book but suitable for mature teenagers 16-18

Trigger warnings: Covid references; homicide with some graphic violence; references to medical experimentation on humans; swearing; brief animal cruelty (goldfish left to die); references to suicide and mental illness

Amazon Rating: 4.5 stars

Purchase link: http://mybook.to/theWardenJonRichter

 

Goodreads – The Warden

The year is 2024, and the residents of the Tower, a virus-proof apartment building, live in a state of permanent lockdown. The building is controlled by a state-of-the-art AI named James, who keeps the residents safe but incarcerated. Behind bricked-up front doors, their every need is serviced; they are pampered but remain prisoners.

This suits Eugene just fine. Ravaged by the traumas of his past, the agoraphobic ex-detective has no intention of ever setting foot outside again. But when he finds the Tower’s building manager brutally murdered, his investigator’s instincts won’t allow him to ignore the vicious crime.

What Eugene finds beyond the comfort of his apartment’s walls will turn his sheltered existence upside down. To unravel the Tower’s mysteries, he must confront James… and James takes his role as the Warden very, very seriously.

 

Praise for The Warden

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ I wasn’t sure I wanted to read a book set during a pandemic – but I’m so glad I did. One of my top reads of 2021 – it grabbed me from the start and didn’t let go till the fantastic ending. Part psychological thriller, part horror story, part crime novel – and there’s even a touch of romance – all brought together by superb writing. Amazon review

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Wow, I loved this book! Set in the year 2024, with flashbacks to 2020, it shows an alternative reality to the Covid situation we’re currently living through. The virus has become even more virulent, and people are shut inside their homes, terrified to go out. Amazon review

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Massive 5 stars. Jon Richter is an author I admire – I loved his Rabbit Hole, and it was my number one book for 2020. This one is definitely in the running for being number one in 2021! It is set in Covid times, with some remarkably likeable characters who prove to be anything but… Amazon Review

My Thoughts…

I love the spin of the world and our current circumstances featured in the novel. We are all too familiar with the pandemic at this point. A number of us have had to make changes in our lives and embrace new technologies to help us through it. In this futuristic novel, Covid has advanced even further than our current circumstances. It is highly contagious and to prevent spread, people are sealing themselves inside their homes. The residents of The Tower are fortunate in that they are looked after by James, a highly intelligent AI system that delivers their daily needs, provides all the entertainment they can want and more besides. What could go wrong?

Well, there’s a question…

The thing that makes this narrative so chilling is that it has a stark resemblance to our recent circumstances. The fact that this could be our lives in the not too distant future is scary and all-too-real. We don’t need to imagine what it is like to have to isolate or stay at home. We’ve done that; The only difference is that events in the book a far more extreme than we have had to experience (thankfully!)

If you like science-fiction then this book has aspects for you as well! Alongside the current narrative in 2024, there are flashbacks to the creation of the AI, James, stemming from the beginning of the pandemic. I liked these snippets from the past as they build on the current storyline, but also they have interesting aspects in terms of The creation of the technology and how it has evolved in the few years between timelines. As someone who has read a lot more in the way of science fiction of late, this appeals to me as well.

I love books that combine different genres, and The Warden certainly does that! I enjoyed how the psychological thriller and science-fiction elements came together. They are both well-loved genres on my reading list and to find a book that melded the two together almost seamlessly was perfect. There is a good balance of both to appeal to readers of each genre; but, if like me you enjoyed both then you should love this book as much as I did!

The Warden was everything I hoped it would be. The writing style is effortless to read and the story flows nicely. Changing between the two timelines was clear and effortless to read. I also enjoyed how different chapters were written from the perspective of different characters. It adds a new dimension to any narrative and it’s one of my favourite elements of books of this kind. Each narrative voice is distinct and even if each chapter weren’t clearly labelled with whose perspective it was from, you could easily tell from the style.

All in all, The Warden was a really enjoyable read. With short chapters and a page count of just over 300 pages, it’s a novel that is great for a wide audience… especially those who enjoy their novels on the darker side…

About Jon Richter

Jon Richter writes genre-hopping dark fiction, including his three gripping crime thrillers, Deadly Burial, Never Rest and Rabbit Hole, his cyberpunk noir thriller Auxiliary: London 2039 and his new techno-thriller The Warden, as well as two collections of short horror fiction.

 Jon lives in London and is a self-confessed nerd who loves books, films and video games – basically any way to tell a great story!  He writes whenever he can, and hopes to bring you many more sinister tales in the future.  He also co-hosts the Dark Natter podcast, a fortnightly dissection of the world’s greatest works of dark fiction, available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcast fix.

If you want to chat to him about any of this, you can find him on Twitter @RichterWrites or Instagram @jonrichterwrites.  His website haunts the internet at www.jon-richter.com, and you can find his books available on Amazon here: https://amzn.to/2OXXRVP.

 

Sunday Summary – 14th November 2021

Good evening and welcome to this week’s Sunday Summary update! As always, I hope you’ve had a good week whatever you have been doing?

As for what I’ve been doing, I shared a blog tour review of Million Eyes II: The Unraveller on Wednesday this week. Having taken part in the blog tour for the first book of the series back in January 2020, I was keen to get involved and share my thoughts on this second instalment. If you haven’t yet read my review, you can find a link above. That post also links to my review of the first book of the series, so if you want to catch up from the beginning that’s the place to go. In fact, I’ll pop a handy link to that here as well.

On Friday I shared a Shelf Control post. It’s a regular series here at Reviewsfeed that gives me the opportunity to review the books on my to be read list, whittle out anything I no longer want to read and feature those that I do! This week I featured a book that’s been on my list for a few years. My sister reminded me after I shared this post, she managed to get a copy of it as part of an O2 deal. She had asked if she could read it before she handed it to me, and I never saw it. She had a laugh with me about it after my post went live, and confided that she didn’t finish it herself. However, when she comes to visit at Christmas I’ll get my hands on it!

 

Books Read

 

In last week’s Sunday Summary update I had 15% of Million Eyes II: The Unraveller left to read. I was right on those stats even though I couldn’t cross check against my Kindle. That worked out to be about an hour‘s worth of reading time, however, my plan to read it on Sunday night didn’t work out. I ended up knitting instead…

However, I did go on to read this on Monday evening and at the same time I started my blog post draft while my thoughts were fresh. The ending was very good; it ended up being quite a complex narrative with so many interlinking parts, however it was executed very well. It was a pleasure to read and I’m glad I took part in the blog tour for it!

After this, I started to read The Warden by Jon Richter. I have a read and reviewed a book by Jon Richter previously, Auxiliary: London 2039. I enjoyed this book immensely and I signed up for the blog tour of The Warden ages ago. Well, the time has finally come for me to read this book as my blog tour post for this book is due to go live next Friday.

I have to say, the book is every bit as good as I expected. It’s an action-packed psychological thriller. The majority of the narrative takes place in 2024, with flashbacks to beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The virus in this fictional narrative has mutated exceptionally and humans have to take more and more drastic action in order to avoid contamination. Like sealing themselves into buildings supported predominantly by an AI. But what if something goes wrong? Without going into any detail that’s the crux of the narrative and I’m really enjoying it. Naturally, anyone uncomfortable with the theme of the pandemic being the linchpin of the narrative might not choose to read this one. However, I very rarely shy away from a topic and I think it works really well!

As of this Sunday Summary update post, I am 3/4 of the way through the book. The remaining time left to read is about an hour and so I have plenty of time to get this finished before my blog tour post on Friday. I hope you like the sound of the book based on little snippets I told you and that you can check it out in full on Friday.

 

Books Discovered

Once again, I’m pleased to confirm that my TBR has not gotten any longer. Thankfully!

 

Coming Up…

I’ve decided to take part in this week’s Top Ten Tuesday post. The topic of the post is “Books to Read If You Love ‘X’”. For this topic, I’ve decided to stick with the genre I have read most extensively, which is fantasy. If you love fantasy books as much as me then take the time to check out my list on Tuesday. In that post I will be featuring my favourite books of the genre and why I love them!

As I mentioned above, I will be sharing my thoughts in a blog tour review for The Warden by Jon Richter on Friday. That means my usual Friday feature will be taking a very short break just for this week. I can already tell that this post is going to be a good one. If you like the sound of the book based on my description above I really hope you can check out my full thoughts on Friday. I don’t think you’ll regret it.

As always, I will be rounding off the week with my next Sunday Summary update this time next week.

I hope you have enjoyed today’s post and until next time, happy reading!

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