Review: The White Road by Sarah Lotz

DSCF1410A while ago I read my first novel by Sarah Lotz; The Three (review here). I went into the novel completely blind, knowing only what the blurb had told me. As fate would have it, picking up this book was one of my best reading decisions made that year. I absolutely loved it, and was completely submerged in the lingering terror which the author had created.

As you can imagine, I was beyond ecstatic when Hodder & Stoughton very kindly gifted me a copy of Lotz’s latest book, The White Road. My excitement only grew when I realised that a portion of the book is actually focused upon the main character caving in Wales. Being Welsh, and a lover of our fantastic natural locations, I was already sold.

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Review: The House on the Strand by Daphne Du Maurier

DSCF1399Before this, I had only ever read one of Daphne Du Maurier’s works, and, rather unsurprisingly, it was her most famous work; Rebecca. I absolutely loved everything about that book, and despite buying several more of her works, it had been years since I read anything else by her. Not anymore! After randomly selecting the next book I was to read, the result was The House on the Strand. The Du Maurier experience was to finally continue!

*I must admit that I have actually read Jamaica Inn since this (review here), but forgot to post this review at my initial time of reading it!*

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Review: The Loney by Andrew Michael Hurley

DSCF1404Anyone who knows me will appreciate how much I love a well executed and clever thriller or mystery. If something is marketed within this genre, with the added bonus of having won an award or two, then it’s pretty certain that I’ll want to read it. This was definitely the case with Andrew Michael Hurley’s novel, The Loney (not, as I mistakenly kept referring to it as, The Lonely!).  With my edition of the book proudly displaying the fact that it won the Coast Book Awards, I was most definitely intrigued.

The book’s blurb describes this novel as following two brothers, one of whom is mute, the other his ‘lifelong protector’.  Growing up in a family with a very strong faith, the two boys visit the same sacred area on a ‘desolate strip of coastline’ called the Loney, in hopes that their anxious prayers will cure Andrew and give him the gift of speech. Yet, as you can imagine from a place which is described in such atmospheric terms, with a name so close to describing the same loneliness which the land inspires, there is more going on behind the scenes than these people can comprehend. Years later, when the mute brother is a grown, speaking man who no longer needs his brother’s protection, a child’s body is found . . .

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Review: Geek Love by Katherine Dunn

DSCF1397When the back of a book can proudly declare that it is ‘the cult classic’ loved by Kurt Cobain, Courtney Love, Jeff Buckley and Audrey Niffenegger (to name just a few), you know it’s probably going to be a pretty unique read. Having never read anything previously by Katherine Dunn, I was completely unsure what kind of a writer she would turn out to be, especially when such high praise has already been given. Thankfully, having now read the book I can wholeheartedly agree that this book deserves every bit of praise it has been gifted.

I think it is important to understand that in this instance, the word ‘geek’ is actually taken from the definition of a carnival performer whose acts often involves biting the head off live chickens. Using this piece of knowledge, I think in many ways this can capture the essence of the book.

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Review: The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman

DSCF1401I’d never really heard anything about The Light Between Oceans until the film was released not too long ago. Whilst I was not massively keen on the film, I did think that the acting by the main cast members was excellent, especially when the scenes were emotionally demanding. Feeling motivated by this, I really wanted to pick up the original novel by M L Stedman, hoping that the superb acting from the film had stemmed from something even more moving in the book.

For anyone who may not know, The Light Between Oceans, set in Australia, follows Tom Sherbourne. After serving in the war, Tom is somewhat disconnected with life, signing up to look after and manage lighthouses for months, even years, at a time. After meeting his wife, Isabel, the pair start their new life together on Janus, a particularly isolated lighthouse, far away from other people and the normality of society. Yet, after a boat washes up on shore, holding a dead man and a crying baby, the couple must make a decision, and live with the consequences from then on.

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Review: The Witches by Roald Dahl

DSCF1395How do you follow on from a read as complex and challenging as the Man Booker winner, A Brief History of Seven Killings? Well, I went back to basics with an illustrated children’s classic. Yes, that’s right, Roald Dahl’s The Witches, was what I decided to read next.

The Witches was never really one of Dahl’s books which I remember reading much when I was younger. The Twits, Matilda, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The BFG; these were all books I have much more vivid memories of, but none necessarily of The Witches. I was actually pleased by this, and it meant that in many ways it felt like I was reading this book for the first time again, not really having many preconceptions, bare an overarching view of the general plot.

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