Author Q and A: Neil Spring (The Lost Village)

22472577_10210258356836153_1434079257_nAs some of you may know, I recently read the latest novel by Neil Spring; The Lost Village. I really enjoyed the book, loving the way that the use of history and the supernatural combined to produce such an atmospheric read. It was certainly a great choice of book to start my October reading with and I would recommend it to anyone looking for something to add to their Halloween reading pile. My review of the book can be seen here.

When I was lucky enough to be offered the chance to ask Neil some questions about his new book, I naturally jumped at the chance, and I am extremely excited to be able to bring you his answers today. So, if you want to hear more about the book from the author himself, read on!

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Review: The Murders In The Rue Morgue and Other Tales by Edgar Allan Poe

IMG_6936The days are getting shorter, the weathers getting colder and the jumpers are already making an appearance; do I need to say once more how much I love Autumn and Winter? After my last few posts I don’t think I really need to, but I’m saying it once more anyway! I always find my Autumn reading is very reflective of the atmosphere produced by the changing seasons and so far this month has been no exception! Once more craving a dark, Gothic and perhaps terrifying read, I decided to opt for none other than the man who is somewhat of a genius in these genres; Edgar Allen Poe. With his penchant for strange stories exploring mysteries and the macabre, he seemed like an extremely fitting option.

I actually studied various short stories of Poe’s when I was at University during a Gothic Fiction module. Understandably his work was incredibly suited to this genre and it was fascinating to see how he took the classic tropes and often adapted them to his own needs. When my boyfriend bought me the gorgeous Penguin English Library edition I was thrilled, and I decided it was finally time to pick it. Now, this edition, titled The Murders In The Rue Morgue and Other Tales is a diverse collection of some of Poe’s short stories. It is filled to the brim with many of the iconic tales which Poe created, but also brings us some of his stories which are perhaps lesser known.

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Review: The Lost Village by Neil Spring

22472577_10210258356836153_1434079257_nI’m not normally one for planning a monthly TBR, preferring instead to let my current mood dictate the next book I plan on reading. Autumn and winter, however, are some what of an exception. When the weather gets colder and my inside reading gets cosier, I always want something to reflect the darker nights, an atmospheric read which I know will sustain my interest. With Halloween fast approaching, I’ve found myself already planning in advance the books I want to get to this month. The Lost Village was one such book. As soon as it arrived in the post, its dark and intriguing premise promising something unsettling, I knew it was this book I wanted to kick of my October reading.

The Lost Village is the second novel by Neil Spring to feature ‘notorious ghost hunter’ Harry Price and his former assistant, Sarah Grey. This time we see the pair reunited as they become involved in the tragic history of a remote English Village called Imber. During the war, soldiers entered the village and forced every inhabitant out, asking for their help in the war efforts by surrendering their homes. Yet many years later, the village remains abandoned, taken over by the army in order to train their soldiers. Each winter, for one night only, the former residents of Imber are allowed to return once more to visit their loved ones buried in the lonely churchyard. This year, however, is different. Strange things are afoot, the army shaken by events which have begun to unfold. The villagers are angry, determined more than ever to reclaim the stolen land that they deem rightfully their. It is this situation which Sarah and Harry must delve into, tasked with discovering the secrets of Imber’s past before tragedy can strike once more.

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Review: The Crow Garden by Alison Littlewood

22071560_136672547066313_6682299295246319616_nYou know that feeling? The one you get when a book sounds completely up your street, fit to bursting with all the things you love and you can’t wait to devour it? You know that consecutive feeling? The one where said book not only lives up to your hopes, but defies them, thrilling and surprising you in equal measure? It’s a feeling many readers strive for, waiting for that next elusive five star book. It’s a feeling I am so completely happy to say I found with Alison Littlewood’s latest novel, The Crow Garden.

As soon as I read the blurb for this book, I knew I had to have it. Having studied English Literature, I can say with a firm resolve that I am a Victorianist through and through. The fact that this book is an historical novel, set in this period, immediately had me intrigued. This setting, combined with the mention of asylums, strange occurrences, doctors who swear by phrenology, mesmerism and the occult, had me coveting this Gothic tale even further. Of course, credit must be given where credit is due for this stunning cover design by Leo Nickolls. It really is a work of art, the eerie quality of the novel reflected beautifully in the cover. Naturally, with Halloween fast approaching, this book really did seem like the perfect atmospheric read. When it arrived in the post for me to review I was ecstatic!

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Review: The Trouble With Goats And Sheep by Joanna Cannon

DSCF1474Before I start this post, I have to make a confession – I actually read this book months ago in the summer, but somehow forgot to post my review. So, rather belatedly, here it is . . .

Regular watchers of ‘BookTube’ will be sure to notice the books which often make the rounds across various channels. They create a buzz amongst readers and watchers, inspiring us to pick up things we might not normally do. Joanna Cannon’s debut novel, The Trouble with Goats and Sheep, was one such novel for me. Despite the beautiful cover which features a goat (I love goats!), I don’t think I would have necessarily picked this one up by myself. With the book praised so frequently on BookTube however, and hearing it so often described as a charming read, I went out and bought the book for myself.

The Trouble with Goats and Sheep in set in Britain in 1976, where a scorching heatwave has attacked the residents of The Avenue. Despite the weather, the neighbours are increasingly active, the streets alive with the whispers of a mystery, for Mrs Creasy is missing. Troubled by the news, ten year olds Grace and Tilly decide to investigate things further, hoping to keep The Avenue safe and bring Mrs Creasy home. Little do they realise the implications of the secrets they might discover, and a past which many wish to bury.

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Review: The Wasp That Brainwashed The Caterpillar by Matt Simon

DSCF1506As a child I was obsessed with factual books about animals, continually boring my parents with recited information about various different creatures and their unique abilities. If that book had colourful pages and beautiful illustrations, all the better! Much of what I learnt has stayed with me even now, often surprising my family still with the strange bits of knowledge I have acquired.

It’s probably easy to guess why I requested Matt Simon’s non-fiction book The Wasp That Brainwashed The Caterpillar: Evolution’s most unbelievable solutions to life’s biggest problems. With a title as strange as that, I was immediately thrown back to my youth, becoming completely enthralled by the bazaar and interesting concept. Essentially this book does what the title suggest, explaining the many crazy, and often disgusting, solutions which nature has come up with through evolution. It looks quite specifically at Darwinism (the classic theory of biological evolution; think survival of the fittest), not only detailing the strange ways so many animals have adapted, but also going some way to explain why exactly. With wasps brainwashing caterpillars, penis fighting worms, and ‘pink fairy armadillos’, this really is a book full of the weird and unique evolution of the animal kingdom.

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