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Graphic Novel reviews-‘Redlands’ and ‘Wytches’

So I thought to myself, it is nearly midnight, I don’t really want to jump into a new book, I’ll grab a couple of graphic novels which I can start and finish before going to sleep/

Big mistake. HUGE mistake. The above books were both in my to-read pile, I had read Scott Snyder’s ‘American Vampire’ and Jordie Bellaire was new to be but then I never considered myself a wuss until last night…

Both books are ostensibly about witches, ‘Redlands’ is about a town that tried to hang three women, they not only escaped the noose, they burnt the town to the ground then proceeded to run it. The illustrations are lush and beautiful, a sample of which are shown below;

They are hyper real and beautifully layered, the art and lettering are as extraordinary as the writing and story are fierce. But this is gory and nasty as hell, these are no ‘Hocus Pocus’ witches, they are the real deal. I cannot wait to see the direction that Book 2 goes in!(This volume from Image Comics collects Redlands issues 1-6)

Then as if that wasn’t enough, I read Vol 1 of the Scott Snyder led ‘Wytches’. Holy crap. This finished me off and between the two books I got very little sleep (not complaining, it has been a long time since I was as affected by books as this!).

In ‘Wytches’ the art contrasts to ‘Redlands’ in being very dark, very blue based as opposed to the red layering of Jordie Bellaire.

You look at the pages and the details , especially in the woodland scenes, form themselves in to faces and things the longer you look until you aren’t sure that you could be imagining things;

Here, Sailor Rook and her family (mum, wheelchair bound healthcare worker and dad, writer) have relocated to get a fresh start following Sailor’s involvement in the disappearance/murder of her schoolmate. The woods are creepy as hell, there is unease and menace around every corner and you remain unsure as to whether Sailor is imagining these creatures who are coming to eat her or if her life really is in danger. The town they are in was built on bargaining and bloodshed, these witches are like nothing I have ever seen yet entirely different from the ones in ‘Redlands’.

I genuinely hope that anyone reading this might consider reading these, they are for mature readers but the experience is so worth it. I am hopeful that the stories will continue in future volumes for both books.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Redlands-1-Jordie-Bellaire/dp/1534305009/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1534010083&sr=8-1&keywords=redlands

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Wytches-1-Tp-Scott-Snyder/dp/1632153807/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1534010255&sr=8-1&keywords=wytches

Grist Mill Road Blog Tour

Hi! I am super thrilled to be asked to contribute to the ‘Grist Mill Road’ Blog tour….perfect day for anyone thinking of something for the weekend to consider this book, TGIF!

In ‘Grist Mill Road’, Christopher J Yates takes 3 childhood friends, puts them -and you as the reader-through a trauma that resonates throughout the rest of their lives.

Starting with a shocking act of violence, Patrick (known as Tricky and to his best friend Matt and Patch to his wife), Hannah and Matt who have grown up on different sides of the same town collide and nothing is ever the same afterwards.

Flipping both timeframes and narratives, the incident itself appears straight forward and shocking. Patch is the principle narrator to start with followed by Hannah and finally Matt. As the story rockets to its tragic, and inevitable, yet not predictable conclusion, what you think you knew at the beginning is completely turned on its head.

Grist Mill Road is more than a place, it is a state of mind and as a reader I found it very easy to relate to the small mindedness and the roles a town like that allocates to those ‘born on the wrong side of the tracks’. You are never really allowed to forget where you came from, no matter how hard you work to distance yourself from who you were and where you used to live.

I was genuinely surprised to find out that Christopher J Yates was British , his creation of Grist Mill Road has a really authentic Americana feel to it that you would associate with someone who has been resident in the U.S for many years or was even born there.

Nobody likes spoilers so I am trying very hard not give away the plot. The three friends, as  they narrate their presents and reflect on the past , simultaneously unwind the truth of that fateful day as they tie their present day selves into greater knots.

It is hard to believe that this is a debut novel, it reminds me ,tonally, of ‘The Body’ from ‘Different Seasons’ by Stephen King. The truth is not always what it appears to be and long shadows are cast by old sins. Hannah, Patch and Matt all had the same experience but each of them only saw a part of it. Together they made something happen that was ultimately blameless and so sad. When I reached the end I turned back to the start and began again. As the reader, you were piecing the narratives together to make sense before the characters did to ultimately understand they were both blamed AND blameless.

It is a crime, a thriller, a story of friendships built and destroyed, of growing up but not necessarily growing older.

I am so grateful to Headline Books and Netgalley for allowing me to read this in return for an honest review.

https://www.waterstones.com/book/grist-mill-road/christopher-j-yates/9781472258892

https://www.whsmith.co.uk/products/grist-mill-road-three-friends-one-devastating-crime-a-lifetime-of-lies/9781472258885

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‘Vox’ by Christina Dalcher

 

 

I have read some really wonderful books this year but ‘Vox’ has topped them all.
It’s not too hard to envisage a world where America has a president who is seen a joke by the rest of the world,yet manages to systematically take away the rights of the female population.
It starts slowly with the focus on the main character,Jean, a well regarded scientist who was advancing disoveries into cures for a particular strain of dementia. Since the ‘Pure’ movement,however,women have been stripped of their jobs,their roles and their words.
Women ,and gay people have been held accountable for the ills of society and in a attempt to return it to a time when women knew their place and being gay was considered an abomination,the president has eroded their rights and gained the backing of American men and female handmaidens .
Inevitable comparison with the ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ aside,it is sadly all too plausible to buy into the future reality that Christina Dalcher depicts. Gay people are forced into work camps and to share cells with the opposite sex until they ‘see sense’.
Women and girls are made to wear wristbands that count off every word they speak and after 100 words are gone,they cannot speak until sun rise on the next day.
If they do,the punishment is instant and brutal.
So there is no more reading,writing,buying of envelopes,opening the postbox,magazines,nothing that encourages a woman to think freely.
Girls are seperated from.boys as there is no need to educate them

beyond preparing them for wifely duties and motherhood. They cannot leave the country as their passports are invalid. Women and girls are nothing more than commodities to be done with as men wish.
Until the President’s brother has a terrible skiing accident that results in the particular dysphasia that she had been experimenting on.
Suddenly the chance to raise a voice is in Jean’s power.
This is a prescient and timely book that is sadly all too believable.
Many thanks to the publishers and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this wonderful book.

http://christinadalcher.com/

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Vox-gripping-debut-everyones-talking/dp/0008300631/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

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Blog Tour News!!!

So this is my first blog tour!!! I am incredibly excited to have been asked by Headline to promote this amazing novel that is out on the 9th August.

‘Grist Mill Road’ will have a full review , posted here, on the 10th August, until then I will just say this….if you are going to read one book this month, make it this one. You won’t regret it.

It will stay with you long after the final page and I can guarantee you will want to start reading it all over again.

Catch you guys on Friday, hope you’ll join me and if you have any questions about this book or any others, any recommendations or just fancy chatting books, please comment and I’ll get back to you!

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Weekend Reads

Any plans for reading something this weekend? Perfect weather for lazing around on a beach….in a park…in the garden …or if you are like me, and hate the sun, hoping for thunder and rain 🤣
At the moment, I am knee deep in Jennifer Hillier’s ‘Freak’, which apart from adoring the noirish, rainy cover, is also scaring my socks off.
She wrote one of the scariest books I had read in a long time, ‘Wonderland’ and so when I saw ‘Freak in the library I was in two minds whether to pick it up or not.
So glad that I did! It’s not for the faint of heart, and although it’s a follow up to ‘Creep’ you can read it as a stand alone.
She also sends out a wicked newsletter and has a new book out that is frankly terrifying in August called ‘Jar of Hearts’, link to her website below.
If you like races against time, serial killers, psychological thrillers and menace , you definitely need to check her out!

http://jenniferhillierbooks.com/

 

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League of extraordinary Gentlewomen!

 

So I have just finished what is possibly my favourite book of the year so far, ‘The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter’ by Theodora Goss.

This is the first in a trilogy which is wonderful but also doesn’t seem enough room to explore the stories of these extraordinary women.

The story is told as a narrative by Catherine Moreau with interspersed comments from the main characters , adding snippets on how they feel the book is progressing.

It could be distracting from the pace but it actually adds an intimacy to the story as well as tantalising titbits of other adventures that the ‘Athena Club’, as they come to be known, have been embroiled in.

In the midst of trying to solve the mystery of why ‘ladies of the night’ have been found murdered AND missing organs or limbs, Mary Jekyll, the protagonist, is on a quest to find out what happened to drive her mother to madness, how her father died, and who is this half sister, Diana Hyde, that she suddenly inherits on her mother’s death.

She gathers around her women who have been side-lined in literature to adjuncts of the male characters e.g Beatrice Rappaccini and drops in sly winks to gothic literature throughout like Easter Eggs.

It’s a rip-roaring adventure that I would highly recommend, Book 2-European Travels for the Monstrous Gentlewoman-is out in August 2018!

Full Review:https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34728925-the-strange-case-of-the-alchemist-s-daughter

https://www.whsmith.co.uk/products/the-strange-case-of-the-alchemists-daughter-the-extraordinary-adventures-of-the-athena-club-1-export/9781534409637

https://www.whsmith.co.uk/products/european-travel-for-the-monstrous-gentlewoman-the-extraordinary-adventures-of-the-athena-club-2-export/9781534437258

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Netgalley Latest Review-Riley Sager

Early last year the first book by Riley Sager, ‘Final Girls’ was heralded by no less than my all time favourite writer, Stephen King. This made it an automatic must read and I was not disappointed. The follow up, ‘Last Time I lied’, again takes liberties with the rope of the unreliable narrator and places it in a well known horror destination , the haunted summer camp by the lake…but this is no derivative tale but rather a sneaky, twisty, turny thriller that keeps the pulse pounding till the very last page.

Available from all good bookshops in hardback from the 12/07/2018, this is definitely one to watch or pack for your summer holiday reading!

https://www.waterstones.com/book/last-time-i-lied/riley-sager/9781785038396

 

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Lovereading4kids Review

I gratefully received a copy of this book courtesy of Lovereading4kids in return for an honest review.

Here is the link for the review in full

https://www.amazon.co.uk/review/RFOPXXCWFX7LU/ref=pe_1572281_66412651_cm_rv_eml_rv0_rv

Here is the link to buy it

http://www.lovereading4kids.co.uk/book/14925/She-Myself-and-I-by-Emma-Young.html

My next Lovereading4kids is the already making me cry ‘Tender’ by Eve Ainsworth…watch this space for reviews!

If you have read it please comment down below 🙂

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New Book Post!

Book post is almost always the best post (my husband might disagree but currently we are at an impasse…)

Latest arrival chez moi is the new book by Madeline Miller, author of ‘Song of Achilles’, this time she tackles the story of the goddess ‘Circe’, most often known through her role in ‘The Odyssey’ by Homer.

I was lucky enough to study a diploma in Classics at the Open University when my children were younger and one of the modules focussed on the ancient art of storytelling. A life long passion with the classics fully came alive through reading the Odyssey and The Illiad therefore anything concerning Greece or Rome has my antenna twitching.

It’s amazing how she manages to write prose so lyrically it is as though you are reading an epic poem, very easy to get lost in her words and world so definitely a book to pick up whilst there are hours to spare in the day (not just before bed….will never learn not to start a new book at bedtime! Zero self control!)

Here’s my link to my Instagram page and a link to buy the book;

https://www.instagram.com/rachelreadit/

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Space Based bedtime stories!

How cool is this?

Children having bedtime stories from space!!!

Library Directory

https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/astronauts-reading-children-bedtime-stories-international-space-station-youtube-watch-a8308166.html

 

 

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