Friday Face Off : The Drift by CJ Tudor

Posted On 27 January 2023

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FFO

Today is the second week of a new Friday Face Off  (a meme originally created by Books by Proxy) – similar in many ways to what came before but different going forward.  From 2023 I will no longer be posting prompts or themes to guide cover choices.  Instead, having noticed that many of my most recent reads have had more than one cover,  I thought instead it would be a change to highlight something that I’m keen to shine the focus on. So, if you have a book that has alternative covers, highlight them and choose your favourite.  If you’re taking part it would be great if you leave a link so I can take a look at what you’ve chosen.

My book this week The Drift by CJ Tudor. I’m loving this author’s work and this is no exception.  Really well done indeed.

Here are the covers:

My favourite this week is :

thedrift

It’s really tough to choose a favourite this week because I really like both covers. At the end of the day it comes down to the simple fact that the red cover is so eye catching – it would definitely draw you in if you saw it on the bookshelf.

Join me next week in highlighting one of your reads with different covers.

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Can’t Wait Wednesday : The Book That Wouldn’t Burn by Mark Lawrence

CWW

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme that was originally created by Breaking the Spine.  Unfortunately Breaking the Spine are no longer hosting so I’m now linking my posts up to Wishful Endings Can’t Wait Wednesday. Don’t forget to stop over, link up and check out what books everyone else is waiting for.  If you want to take part, basically, every Wednesday, we highlight a book that we’re really looking forward to.  This week my book is : The Book That Wouldn’t Burn by Mark Lawrence – because – Mark Lawrence!!

Here’s a little bit more info:

hebooke

A boy has lived his whole life trapped within a vast library, older than empires and larger than cities.

A girl has spent hers in a tiny settlement out on the Dust where nightmares stalk and no one goes.

The world has never even noticed them. That’s about to change.

Their stories spiral around each other, across worlds and time. This is a tale of truth and lies and hearts, and the blurring of one into another. A journey on which knowledge erodes certainty, and on which, though the pen may be mightier than the sword, blood will be spilled and cities burned.

Expected publication : May 2023

The Whispering Muse by Laura Purcell

Posted On 24 January 2023

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My Five Word TL: DR Review : I loved everything about this.

WM

It seems that Laura Purcell is not only the Gothic Queen but she also seems unable to do little wrong in terms of her creations.  This is an author that I usually dance a little jig to whenever I discover that she has a new release pending and so far I’ve enjoyed them all – very much.

Set in the theatre this is a dark and atmospheric read.  It revolves around five key plays that reflect the story as it progresses.  It’s a tale involving plenty of drama, unholy deals that come at a price, jealousy, ambition and tragedy.

As the story begins we meet Jenny, she’s fallen on hard times following the betrayal of her own brother which has left Jenny and her siblings in dire straits.  When Jenny is called to meet the wealthy wife of of the Mercury Theatre owner she is intrigued and a little amazed when she’s offered the job of dresser at the theatre – the very place where her brother betrayed not only her but the cast and crew of the theatre itself.  It seems that the lady herself has suspicions about her husband and his leading actress and wishes Jenny to be her inside eyes – a spy no less – and Jenny is desperate enough to take the position.  Of course, when she begins to find out she likes the actress in question, admire her a little even, it doesn’t help her to undertake her new role.

I loved this.  The setting, the plot, the writing, the dark gothic feel, the characters, the strange blending in of theatre and supernatural elements with such a deft touch.  Absolutely loved it and frankly I could read it again.

The theatre setting and Victorian period is perfect and seems to be Purcell’s domain.  The theatres is brought to life beautifully, dilapidated and yet startling when the bright lights shine.  This is a dangerous place and when things start to go wrong, it seems like bad luck has come calling

The leading lady, Lilith Erikson, is a beautiful and passionate woman, full of ambition and determined to grasp the nettle now.  When she comes into possession of a strange watch, one believed to contain dark powers, her troubles begin.  Her performances on stage are magnificent, she lives and breathes the characters, but off stage she loses her will.  Jenny is a great character too and it’s a pleasure to read two such strong female leads.  Jenny is basically good at heart and therefore conflicted with her newfound role as tittle tattle.  She feels bad for spying on Lilith but needs must when the devil vomits into your kettle, she’s basically in between a rock and a hard place and must take any work she’s offered – and this is indeed a lucrative position.

The supernatural elements revolve around a pact with Melpomene, the tragic muse from Greek mythology.  These elements are subtly woven into the story in such a way that I think readers who don’t particularly love supernatural elements will still enjoy.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this.  The writing is fantastic, it provides the perfect balance in all ways, the theatre comes to life and the characters leap off the page.  In a nutshell, I can’t say enough good things about this book.  Put simply I loved it and like a greedy child desperate for more I can’t wait to see what this author comes up with next.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

My rating 5 of 5 stars

All the Blood We Share by Camilla Bruce

My Five Word TL:DR Review : Reimagining of Sinister Serial Killers

Allthe

Well, if it doesn’t sound too hideous to say that I enjoyed a sinister reimagining of a family of serial killers, I will say that this was a very good read.  Perhaps not the kind of read that’s going to bring a smile to your face or give you any laugh out loud moments, but definitely a compelling tale that you read with ever increasing shock that is heightened even more with the realisation that this family really existed and spread misery across the Kansas plains with their low regard for life.

This is a reimagining of real life events penned by a wonderful author who clearly has an interest and has researched the subject well.  It’s positively gripping and a little bit like watching a dreadful trainwreck.

It was a sad day for Cherryvale, Kansas when the Benders came to stay.  Trying to leave a dark past behind they arrive on the prairie where they set up an Inn and dry goods store.  The females of the family are not entirely happy with this new start, wanting to go further afield, but William Bender believes they can make a living being so near to a frequently used trail and so begins a short and bloody spell in America’s history.

The Bender family consist of a young woman, attractive and persuasive, known as Kate.  Her mother Elvira who shares a love/hate relationship with her daughter, Elvira’s new husband William and William’s son John.  Although the four originally intend to keep a low profile in Kansas they soon become impatient with the slow progress of their savings and begin to murder and rob the travellers who stop at their Inn seeking a room or sustenance.  Put bluntly they soon become greedy, Kate, as I mentioned is a persuasive character and convinces her step father that the angels talk to her, her bloodlust needs satisfying and William is happy to be persuaded.  Elvira, whilst not entirely happy with the killings and unkeen to draw attention, is at the same time greedy enough not to make a real stand.  Then we have John.  Besotted with Kate he plays a moody and aggressive character who is capable of shocking violence in order to impress.  Along with the Benders we have an alternative voice in Hanson who lives at the nearby trading post.  He visits the family regularly and gives a great outside perspective, particularly as he goes from the blushing boy who has a crush on his attractive new neighbour, to a frightened boy scared by the killings, to a suspicious boy who doesn’t want to believe the worst.

I’m not going to really go into the plot but look at what worked well for me.

Well, firstly, this is a gripping story, it’s bloody and shocking and doesn’t hold back the punches so be aware of that.  I found it pretty horrific but at the same time unputdownable.  On top of this I think the author does a first rate job of creating a tense atmosphere what with the bloodlust and fear and on top of that the fact that the family don’t absolutely trust each other, definitely makes for an edgy read.  And there’s a great sense of place, the open plains and remoteness all playing into the story and lulling the family into a false sense of security.

Without doubt though I think Kate is the winning element of the story.  She’s so bad.  Always ready with an easy lie and a sweet smile she has no problem wrapping people around her finger and coupled with her constant scheming, dark moments of lust and remarkable lack of empathy she makes for a very strong leading lady.  Happily though, although Kate steals the show the other characters are a strong supporting cast.

Overall this was a quick read, the pacing was really well done and Bruce manages to give you that feeling of ever mounting dread.  The murders themselves are almost coldly and cleanly delivered which probably makes them a bit less gruesome than they already are and the characters create an immediate hook to keep you reading.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

My rating 4 of 5 stars

Booking Ahead/Weekly Wrap Up

Sunday Post

I’m trying to get back into the habit of doing a round-up of the week just completed and also take a look at my plans for the forthcoming week.  I rather got out of the habit of doing so but I would like to reinstate this type of post as I feel it keeps me on track.  So, I’m linking up to The Sunday Post over at Kimberly’s  Caffeinated Reviewer.  Without further ado:

Books read this week:

So, dad is still poorly and still in hospital.  I’m currently looking after mum as it’s difficult for her to cope for this length of time not to mention lonely.  I’ve still managed to do some reading and posting but not much time to actually sit down and blog hop.  Hopefully I will catch up with comments and all your posts soon.

This week I managed to complete The Drift by CJ Tudor which I really enjoyed.  I also read All The Blood We Share by Camilla Bruce.  Another author who I’m a bit fixated on at the moment, this is from the work she seems to be enjoying that gives a fictional account of true life serial killers, the previous novel being In the Garden of Spite (or Triflers Need Not Apply as it’s also known).  I’ve also started All the Dangerous Things by Stacy Willingham which gets off to a very intriguing start.  Look at the covers for last week’s reads – don’t you just love it when your covers conspire together to provide matching colours.

Next Week’s Reads:

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