Throwback Thursday : Jamaica Inn by Daphne DuMaurier

Throwback Thursday, is a new feature created by Tenacious Reader with the aim of  highlighting books from the past. This can be virtually anything, a book from your past that you loved, a book that you want to highlight again, maybe it’s a book in a series and the next book is due out shortly so you want to focus some attention on the series.   Anything goes – so long as your book isn’t a current release as there are already plenty of ways to highlight the latest books.  

The book I’d like to highlight this week is : Jamaica Inn by Daphne DuMaurier

Perhaps not as well known as DuMaurier’s Rebecca but an excellent read with a very dark secret at its heart.  I loved this book when I originally read it – in fact after reading Rebecca I had something of a binge read of many of her books.  This was pre blog and so I have no review – perhaps I should have a reread!  I love DuMaurier’s writing style and the fact that she uses the Cornish coastline as inspiration for many of her novels.  She’s a wonderful storyteller and I heartily recommend this book.

JamaicaInn.jpgThe coachman tried to warn her away from the ruined, forbidding place on the rainswept Cornish coast. But young Mary Yellan chose instead to honor her mother’s dying request that she join her frightened Aunt Patience and huge, hulking Uncle Joss Merlyn at Jamaica Inn. From her first glimpse on that raw November eve, she could sense the inn’s dark power. But never did Mary dream that she would become hopelessly ensnared in the vile, villainous schemes being hatched within its crumbling walls — or that a handsome, mysterious stranger would so incite her passions … tempting her to love a man whom she dares not trust.

 

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White Stag (Permafrost #1) by Kara Barbieri

Posted On 21 February 2019

Filed under Book Reviews
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whitestagI have so many mixed feelings with White Stag that it’s really difficult to know where to begin.  My head is totally mashed up and so I’m going to go with a slightly different style of review this time,  Firstly, I’m not going to outline the plot.  The synopsis on Goodreads is perfectly good enough in that respect and because I don’t want to cause you any discomfort jumping around I’ve copied it belownfor your ease of reference (you’re welcome). 😀

The first book in a brutally stunning series where a young girl finds herself becoming more monster than human and must uncover dangerous truths about who she is and the place that has become her home.

As the last child in a family of daughters, seventeen-year-old Janneke was raised to be the male heir. While her sisters were becoming wives and mothers, she was taught to hunt, track, and fight. On the day her village was burned to the ground, Janneke—as the only survivor—was taken captive by the malicious Lydian and eventually sent to work for his nephew Soren.

Janneke’s survival in the court of merciless monsters has come at the cost of her connection to the human world. And when the Goblin King’s death ignites an ancient hunt for the next king, Soren senses an opportunity for her to finally fully accept the ways of the brutal Permafrost. But every action he takes to bring her deeper into his world only shows him that a little humanity isn’t bad—especially when it comes to those you care about.

Through every battle they survive, Janneke’s loyalty to Soren deepens. After dangerous truths are revealed, Janneke must choose between holding on or letting go of her last connections to a world she no longer belongs to. She must make the right choice to save the only thing keeping both worlds from crumbling.

My Thoughts.

I will start by saying that I didn’t dislike White Stag, in fact I found it a relatively quick read if I’m going to be perfectly frank, but, I had a few real issues and I’m going to go with those first.

Why goblins?  I wanted to read this as the fae and in fact that’s the way that it comes across.  Beautiful, scheming, cannot lie, can’t create, use humans as thralls – I mean, come on, this is fae in all it’s glorious, devious, underhanded-manipulative scheming.  And yet it’s not.  It’s goblins.  Why though? You see the thing for me is I have a mental block in this respect and an author telling me about a studley-hench hunk of goblin sexyness – it just doesn’t compute.  In my head goblin doesn’t = ethereal beauty  but rather wickedness, evil, dark and pretty much monstrous.  But why can’t this author decide to change this up?  She can, of course she can, the problem is that I’m so entrenched in the goblins are hideous monsters train of thought that it’s really difficult to drag myself out of it and I also can’t help wondering why not simply use fae?  Was this a goblin world simply to be different – and if so, then maybe it should have felt really different.  As it was this felt like the fae with goblins transposed over the top.  Again, I can’t argue with the author going for something different in fact I have a lot of respect for it and to be honest – they’re all freaking made up creatures so why can’t they be whatever the author wants?  I don’t know the answer to that one – maybe I’m too stubborn to see the goblins differently.  I mean, the other thing that occurs to me – with Janneke actually starting to change herself maybe that’s why she sees Soren as beautiful and sexy – maybe if she was still fully human she wouldn’t think so??

The second thing I struggled with a little were Janneke and Soren – neither of them comes across as the age they’re supposed to be.  Okay,  I’m not literally talking about the aging process here particularly as they’re both quite long lived.  Soren is hundreds of years old and Janneke has spent about 100 years as a captive in the permafrost.  Why then does she come across so angsty.  I could say she comes over like a sulky teenager but I think that would be a little unfair.  She was stolen from her village, her friends and family massacred and was treated atrociously when she was first abducted – and in fact until she was given to Soren – and, btw be aware of trigger warnings for rape and torture.  They’re not part of the story in terms of taking place on the page but they play a huge part in terms of Janneke’s character.  What I’m trying to get at here, in a rather roundabout fashion is that they had no maturity at all.  I don’t know whether that’s because the book is going for a YA audience, although with some of the content I wouldn’t think so, but I just wanted to feel less angst somehow.

Other smaller issues I had – the hunt, I wanted to really feel like I was inside the hunt, get a feel for it – but that doesn’t really happen.

Now, this all feels very critical so I’m going to point out my ‘likes’.

I loved this dark and brutal goblin world.  It felt cold and unwelcoming, there was a constant edge of tension and it felt like any moment things could break out into turmoil.

The writing was good and there’s a really strong focus on the central characters which I enjoyed – although of course this focus made the world vision feel much smaller.

There’s no instantaneous romance.  It feels inevitable that the two main characters will become involved but it doesn’t happen immediately.  I enjoyed the tension between the two and let’s just be serious, they share some great chemistry that leads to some sizzling on the page.

On top of this, there’s plenty of imagination and threats as the story progresses  Maybe even too many threats in some respects but nonetheless a lot of entertaining action.

I also couldn’t help thinking that there was a fairytale at the centre of this story, just waiting to break out, the references to Janneke having been in the permafrost for around 100 years, the constant mention of monsters – but I don’t think that was the case – more me just wanting it to be so.

On the whole, I had some strong issues with this, I think what really perplexes me though is that in spite of those issue I still found this a relatively easy read and at this stage I would read the next instalment – although that could be make or break territory for me.

So there we have it.  A smorgasbord of feelings that probably makes little sense as it spewed forth like a stream of consciousness.  Apologies.  I don’t know whether to say you should read this or not, I would probably rate it 2.5/3 out of 5 on Goodreads but I would probably still be tempted to pick up the second book. I’m still not convinced about the beautiful goblins but I remain prepared to be convinced.  I’d really like to see the characters mature, I’d like a better feel for the goblin world and its politics, maybe less a mixed up feel of all sorts of myths and folklores.  Let’s just see what happens next.

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

 

 

Can’t Wait Wednesday : Council (Helga Finnsdottir #2) by Snorri Kristjansson

Can't Wait Wednesday

“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 : Council (Helga Finnsdottir #2) by Snorri Kristjansson.  This is the second book in the series, I really enjoyed the first book, Kin and my review is here.  Vikings and murder mystery – sign me up for that please

CouncilAfter five years on the road, Helga has finally settled near King Eirik’s court in Uppsala, where she’s well-regarded as a healer. She’s even in a relationship, of sorts.

But life is about to get a bit more exciting, for King Eirik has summoned all those who owe him fealty to the King’s Council and tempers are already flaring. The body of an unknown boy is found near the river, but with delegations from all over the country arriving and rumours of an imminent attack, there are more important things to attend to than the death of a nobody . . .

Only Helga suspects murder, until a second body makes it clear that someone is intent on breaking up the King’s Council – and that a traitor walks among them . .

Publication: May 2019

Hear ye, hear ye

ttt

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme where every Tuesday we look at a particular topic for discussion and use various (or more to the point ten) bookish examples to demonstrate that particular topic.  Top Ten Tuesday (created and hosted by  The Broke and Bookish) is now being hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl and future week’s topics can be found here.  This week’s topic is:

Books I LOVED with Fewer than 2,000 Ratings on Goodreads

So, I’ve gone for the most recent reads from my shelves and the books below are all 4.5 or 5 star reads (my reviews are all linked and GR ratings in brackets).  I loved them all and I’m always happy to shout from the rooftops about books I loved.  If you need some recommendations here they be.  Let’s topple some TBRs:

The Wolf in the Whale by Jordanna Max Brodsky  (247)

wolfinthewhale

Creatures: The Legacy of Frankenstein by David Thomas Moore (Goodreads Author) (Editor), Emma Newman (Goodreads Author), Tade Thompson (Goodreads Author), Paul Meloy, Kaaron Warren (Goodreads Author), Rose Biggin – (35)

Creatures

Paternus: Wrath of Gods (Paternus Trilogy #2) by Dyrk Ashton – (378)

Wrath.jpg

You Die When You Die (West of West #1) – (430)

You die.jpg

The Last Sun (The Tarot Sequence #1) by K.D. Edwards – (793)

the last sun

Age of Assassins (The Wounded Kingdom #1) by R.J. Barker (1758)

Age of.jpg

A Time of Dread (Of Blood and Bone #1) by John Gwynne (1323)

atimeofdread.jpg

The Nine (Thieves of Fate #1) by Tracy Townsend (227)

thenine.jpg

A Pocketful of Crows by Joanne M. Harris, (1182)

apocket.jpg

An Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors (The Risen Kingdoms #1) by Curtis Craddock (813)

Alchemy.jpg

The Taking of Annie Thorne by C.J. Tudor

This book is being marketed under two different titles/covers and so for the avoidance of doubt you might also know this book as The Hiding Place.

The Taking of Annie Thorne is a tense thriller that gave me a serious case of the heebie jeebies.  This is a dark tale, narrated skillfully by an undoubtedly gifted storyteller that will, from the unexpected and rather bloody prologue, worm it’s sneaky little fingernails under your skin until it has a firm hold.

So, let’s start at the beginning, the prologue is incredibly gripping and one that sets the tone well for the rest of the book.  This is tense, the sort of tense  that makes you afraid to turn the pages.  Much like the two police characters who unwittingly stumbled onto this opening crime scene, I simply didn’t know what to expect, I just knew it was going to be bad.  A murder scene with a cryptic message left in bold red letters on the wall.

Meanwhile, an unknown man attends an interview for a teaching job at the secondary school in Arnhill. His CV is a little creative to say the least but he’s quite charming and manages to secure the post.  Not only will he be stepping into the footsteps of a dead woman but he’ll also be occupying the cottage that was left abandoned following the crime scene at the start of the book.  Most people being too squeamish to want to live there it has remained unsurprisingly empty.

The new teacher at the high school is Joe Thorne.  He grew up in Arnhill.  He was bullied at school and in fact eventually joined the gang of bullies himself.  Joe was one of the few who managed to escape Arnhill but now he’s come home, called back to address issues from his past that seem to be repeating themselves and unfortunately, living something of a troubled life in the present, unwanted elements are about to follow him home.

The setting, Arnhill, formerly a mining town, brought low by the pit closure.  Arnhill is a shadow of its former self.  The place has a claustrophobic feel, riddled with unhappy histories between many of the residents and blighted by what feels like a constant stream of bad luck.  This is a place leached of colour and happiness and sat on its outskirts, like a festering sore, is the colliery that once provided a livelihood but now haunts the place.

Now, putting something off limits is often like a red rag to a bull so although the mine has been constantly a no go zone you just know that the young people of the area flock to it like moths to a flame.  Joe and his friends made a discovery there  in their teenage years and although more stringent measures have since been put in place the teenagers of Arnhill are still finding hidden mysterious tunnels into the darkness. Because who wouldn’t want to go down into the scary dark places with the tiny tunnels, suffocating spaces and skittering noises.

Joe is a character with a history.  His sister went missing all those years ago, she returned the day after, but she was never the same and Joe has been suppressing the memories of what really took place.  Coming back to Arnhill is going to bring back painful recollections.  On top of that Joe has been gambling and running up bad debts with the sort of people who take kneecaps first and ask questions later.

This is a story that takes a little time to reveal its secrets but in spite of that there was no dull moments and I found myself glued to the page waiting for the reveals.

In terms of criticisms.  Well, not really criticisms so much as things worth a quick mention. For a mystery/thriller this book contains fantasy aspects and no doubt that will be unpalatable to those wanting a no nonsense book from the genre, my advice would be to give it a shot anyway – I think the book is worth it.  Secondly, it took me a little while to warm up towards Joe, not that I disliked him, just that I wasn’t immediately on board but he undoubtedly has a good character arc and I can’t deny that I fairly quickly started to feel incredibly sorry for him.  My giddy aunt – do not annoy this author, she will write you into one of her stories and make you suffer. I kid you not.  Now, the real elephant in the room (and don’t you dare all look at me) is this book has been touted as very Stephen King-like and yes, I can see that.  Is that a problem – not for me personally but I can’t speak for others.  Without doubt this brought two King classics to mind – but I can’t tell you which because therein lies the land of spoilers.  I apologise that this review is rather vague on the whole but the nature of a mystery is, well, just that, and it wouldn’t be very mysterious if I start dishing out the spoilers.

Anyway, long story short.  This was good.  Stop reading this review and go and read the book instead.

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

 

 

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