You Let Me In by Camilla Bruce

Posted On 19 March 2020

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This book was brilliant. I loved it utterly and completely and frankly I’m flabbergasted that it’s a debut – it’s just so impressive and I can’t fault it at all.  That being said, you’ll have to decide whether this is something for you and I’ll try my best to help with this review but I really don’t want to give away spoilers so let’s see how that plays out.

I didn’t really know what to expect going into this and from the description was expecting something more akin to a mystery.  I guess this is a mystery in it’s own way, although maybe not of the traditional style that I was expecting.  What this actually delivers is a stunning and beautifully written tale within a tale and, frankly, there’s no clear cut decision to tell you which is truth and which is fabrication. I know what I think was going on here but I’m guessing this book will have different mileage depending on the reader.

So, what we know.

Cass, had a troubled childhood.  One of three children she had a picture postcard perfect sister and a quiet and withdrawn brother.  She was different than other children, didn’t make friends easily and seemed abrasive or confrontational – in fact other children were frightened by her and she was constantly at war with her mother, who seemed to be an angry, thin lipped woman.

As she grew into adulthood she seemed to have a brief respite, an interlude of ‘normality’ if you will, marrying a handsome man and becoming the perfect housewife – to the outside world at least.  Until everything ended in blood.

Cassandra Tipp is a famous and reclusive novelist. As the story begins she has been missing a year.  No body has been found but she is assumed dead and her wealth and property have been left to her niece and nephew upon condition that they read her final manuscript. Given Cass’s past you better believe that they’ll be reading this manuscript – anything to find out some answers to the strange  history that brought such death to this particular family.

Those are the things I can tell you without any potential spoilers.  I will try to keep my thoughts organised and give away as little as possible for the rest of this review.

I mentioned that Cass had a troubled childhood and this is one of the elements that plays into the ‘is it real’ or is it a figment of Cass’s imagination elements.  Cass has an unseen friend – not your usual ‘imaginary friend’ but a fae person who she calls The Pepper Man. This is an unusual relationship and sometimes quite uncomfortable to read about as Cass’s narrative starts from a relatively young age.  However, this is a consistent part of her life and leads her to make other fae ‘friends’ who dwell in the Mound within the woods.  I can’t deny that I loved this aspect of the story.  It’s so well written, so well imagined and makes for absolutely compelling reading.  These fae are definitely not relatives to Disney fae.  They are unusual looking and they feed off those they become attached to.  They operate on a totally different moral compass to humans but at the same time do form attachments. The relationship between Cass and the Pepper Man being a perfect example of such.  Both become dependent on the other even if it’s not always totally healthy.

The writing here is stunning.  I have to say that I was pretty much hooked from the beginning, I admit that I have a tendency to love stories where I’m reading a narrative style like the one here.  Here Cassandra is talking to her niece and nephew through the pages of a manuscript and relaying to them the story of her life.  If they choose, at the end of the narrative, to continue with the inheritance then they will have at least been warned of the potential consequences.  Sorry, went off track there a little.  I was talking about the writing – it’s beautiful, it’s evocative and it was perfect for me.  This is one of those books that is totally immersive.  I went in and couldn’t get back out.  Sometimes I was angry, sometimes I was sad, but I was always fascinated and couldn’t gobble up the words quickly enough.  And, on top of this everything was perfectly imagined in my mind’s eye.  There were no little irritabilities that sometimes pull you out of the story. I simply loved it and this is an author that I will now watch with great interest.

The characters – well, Cass is the main character and you’ll need to decide if she’s an unreliable narrator or not.  Personally, I don’t really think she’s unreliable in a certain respect – because she believes with all her heart the story she’s telling.  You, the reader, will have to decide what else lies between the lines on the page and reach your own conclusion in that respect.

The only other thing I would mention here is that there is a sense of discomfort at certain points during this read.  Admittedly, nothing here is written for shock value and in fact everything that the author writes is necessary to the story.  Just be aware that some of the aspects to this are dark and they may be triggers for some readers.

To conclude.  I’m not sure if I’ve really spread any light on this novel or whether or not you might want to pick it up – I think the only thing I could say is this could be a very dark tale of the fae, or it could be a tale of a young girl with mental health problems brought on my trauma.

That being said I absolutely loved this book. I could literally read it again right now and I’m desperate to talk to everyone about it.

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

My rating 5 out of 5*

 

Can’t Wait Wednesday : The Thief on the Winged Horse by Kate Mascarenhas

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 : The Thief on the Winged Horse by Kate Mascarenhas. Check out this intriguing blurb:

TheThiefThe Kendrick family have been making world-famous dolls since the early 1800s. But their dolls aren’t coveted for the craftmanship alone. Each one has a specific emotion laid on it by its creator. A magic that can make you feel bucolic bliss or consuming paranoia at a single touch. Though founded by sisters, now only men may know the secrets of the workshop.

Persephone Kendrick longs to break tradition and learn the family craft, and when a handsome stranger arrives claiming doll-making talent and a blood tie to the Kendricks, she sees a chance to grasp all she desires.

But then, one night, the family’s most valuable doll is stolen. Only someone with knowledge of magic could have taken her. Only a Kendrick could have committed this crime…

Expected publication : August 2020

Top Ten Tuesday : My Spring TBR

Posted On 17 March 2020

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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 :

Spring 2020 TBR

Okay, I’m using books on my schedule that are April, May and June – although these may not be the exact Spring dates I think this works okay. So, here’s my Spring schedule and oh my days this is an excellent list of books (I may have gone over very slightly):

  1. A Time of Courage by John Gwynne
  2. Chosen Ones by Veronica Roth
  3. The Book of Koli by M. R. Carey
  4. The Girl and the Stars by Mark Lawrence
  5. The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel
  6. Goldilocks by Laura Lam
  7. Kingdom of  Liars by Nick Martell
  8. Deal with the Devil by Kit Rocha
  9. The Doors of Eden by Adrian Tchaikovsky
  10. The Court of Miraclesby Kester Grant
  11. The Graves of Whitechapelby Claire Evans

Weekly Wrap Up : 15th March 2020

Posted On 15 March 2020

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Well, this has been a very odd week, not very conducive to reading or blogging or anything else really.  I hope you’re all doing everything you can to stay safe.  In my reading plans.  I started Rage of Dragons but was struggling a little to get into the story so I’ve put that down for now. I think it’s probably just a mood thing.  I read Smoke Bitten which was a really good instalment in the Mercy Thompson series. Keep Him Close – I’ve decided to DNF this one.  It’s not a bad book so please don’t be put off by me, I just don’t think I was in the right frame of mind for this one, it’s more drama than mystery.  I’ve now picked up You Let Me In which is good so far and I’m also about 2/3 into The God of Gnomes which I should complete in the next few days.

  1. Smoke Bitten by Patricia Briggs
  2. Keep Him Close by Emily Koch DNF

What I’m reading next week:

  1. The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter
  2. You Let Me in by Camilia Bruce
  3. Night Of The Dragon by Julie Kagawa

Upcoming Reviews:

  1. King of the Road by RS Belcher
  2. The Absinthe Earl by Sharon Lynn Fisher
  3. King of Assassins by RJ Barker
  4. Starsight by Brandon Sanderson (audio) – I have made progress and I’m really enjoying it so should finish it probably Monday.

I’d love to know what you’re reading this week.

Friday Face Off : ‘That which yields, is not always weak”

FFO

Here we are again with the Friday Face Off meme created by Books by Proxy .  This is a great opportunity to feature some of your favourite book covers.  The rules are fairly simple each week, following a predetermined theme (list below) choose a book (this doesn’t have to be a book that you’ve read), compare a couple of the different covers available for that particular book and choose your favourite.   Future week’s themes are listed below – if you have a cover in mind that you’re really wanting to share then feel free to leave a comment about a future suggested theme.  I’ve also listed events that take place during the year, that I’m aware of, so you can link up your covers – if you’re aware of any events that you think I should include then give me a shout.  This week’s theme:

Exotic – ‘That which yields, is not always weak”– anything that represents something from distant lands.

A lot of the new themes are open to interpretation which might make choosing the covers and seeing other’s choices very interesting.  I can’t stress enough that this is all about your own interpretation and hopefully this new open feel to the meme will bring a larger selection of books and covers.  It’s not supposed to be hard work, there are no rules, just enjoy yourself.

I’m not sure what I had in mind for this week’s theme but sitting here and thinking about it ‘exotic’ means something from a far or distant land therefore, strictly speaking, where I come from, the North of the UK is exotic to somebody from the other side of the world (funny but you never think of your own place as being exotic)? And, therefore, given that I predominantly read fantasy books – all the locations are exotic!  But, that being said, and because I’m a northern lass, I tend to think of somewhere exotic as being somewhere warm – probably because I’d like a bit of that lovely sunshine.  So, this week I’ve gone for The Daevabad Trilogy by S.A. Chakraborty and I’m highlighting two complete sets:

vs

At first I was convinced that the topset was my favourite.  I love the way the covers are framed by that, is it a door or a window?  I’m not sure, but I love the idea and the notion of it opening into a world that’s completely unique and one that I’m eager to explore.

But, seeing the second set all together like this, the colours are so vibrant – I would definitely be drawn to this set of covers.  The fantastic details and the consistency.

Basically, I’m torn, but having given it a lot of thought I’m going with the first set.  And this is based purely on the fact that the colours feel to me to be in the right order.  I know, that probably sounds really odd but it makes sense to me.  I feel like the middle cover of the second set should be green and I’m basing that on very little – other than copper usually becomes green with age – it’s a strange line of reasoning but there it is and I can’t get my head around it.

Which is your favourite?

I’ll be updating the list in order to include forthcoming events that I’m aware of so that you can perhaps link your themes up where possible (if you know of an event you’d like to share then let me know in the comments).  As always, if you wish to submit an idea then leave me a comment – or if you’d like to host a week then simply let me know 😀

Next week –  Brown

Future themes: (if you’re struggling with any of these themes then use a ‘freebie’ or one of your favourite covers) (I’ve added some new themes – some of these are slightly different, in order to avoid too much repetition I’m trying to make the themes more of a suggestion that everyone can interpret how they like.  

2019

20th March – Brown – a cover or covers that are brown

27th March – Freebie – choose one of your favourite covers

3rd April Fools – a trick of the eye – a cover that is more than meets the eye.

10th April – Moody – a cover that is atmospheric,

17th April – out of focus – double vision or all a blur

24th April – Armour – ‘“Pretty armour doesn’t make a warrior.”

1st May – Canine – “And then there were cats, thought Dog.:

8th May – graphic novel cover – “Love belongs to Desire, and Desire is always cruel”

15th May – pink – as pink as cotton candy – any cover that is pink

22nd May – Sorrow – a cover that makes you feel sad

29th May – Silhouette – an island, a person, anything you like

5th June – Flight – any type of flight – to flee, to fly

12th June – The bodice ripper – exactly as it seems

19th June – Time – time waits for no one

26th June – Windows – windows to the soul?

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