Friday Face Off : Daddy Dearest – a book with a strong father role

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’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.

I’ve added themes in below. For information, I’m trying out some new ideas so along with coming up with particular items for book covers I thought we could also look for certain elements contained within the book or that play a large part in the story – this really broadens things out because I have plenty of more ideas with this – I’ve gone for a few of the Tough Travel Themes (so a book with that theme – just choose any book – the theme isn’t necessarily on the cover, then compare covers), also, I’ve thrown in some genres and some colours.  Hopefully this will open things out a little and give us some more freedom to come up with new books.

This week’s theme:

Daddy Dearest – a book with a strong father role

Well, I struggled with this one – I just couldn’t find a lot of books with a strong father role – no doubt lots will spring to mind as soon as this post goes live.  I had a couple of ideas that I eventually picked up but then a scroll back through my shelves eventually pulled out a book, in fact a series, that I really enjoyed and is perfect for this week’s theme.  The Mancer series by Ferrett Steinmetz.  Flex, The Flux and Fix.  In this series a desperate father goes to extreme measures to help his injured daughter.  There aren’t a range of covers for this one so I’m going to compare the three book covers in the series instead.

Here are the covers:

2022

Jul  
1st Genre – epic – any book that fits into the genre
8th Hazy and hot – a cover that is predominantly orange
15th Tough Travel Tropes – Snarky sidekick
22nd Off the TBR
29th Gigantic – monsters, giants, buildings,insects – anything at all
August
5th Tough Travel Tropes – out for summer – school or academic setting
12th Dark/sky/navy  – a cover that is blue
19th Scantily Dressed
26th Tough Travel Tropes – Vacation time – the quest
September RIP
2nd Fallen leaves – covers that are brown
9th Armour/Protection
16th Rage against the machine – anything, cogs, clockwork, AI
23rd Tough Travel Tropes – Coming of Age
30th Genre – horror
October – Horror/Dark
7th Guess who’s back?  – Vampires – popular again?
14th Witches vs warlocks
21st Tough Travel Tropes – Good vs evil
28th  Covers that are black
November – Scifi Month
4th Red skies at night – Covers that are red
11th Tough Travel Tropes – The gang
18th Genre – Swords and Sorcery
25th Genre – And they all lived happily ever after – fairy tales retold
December
2nd Tough Travel Tropes – Assassins
9th Tough Travel Tropes – Darklord
16th Genre – Grimdark (most recent/favourite, etc)
23rd Decadent and rich – a cover that is purple
30th Completions – a satisfying conclusion to a book or serie

The Bay by Allie Reynolds

Posted On 23 June 2022

Filed under Book Reviews
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My Five Word TL:DR Review : From One Extreme to Another

TheBay

I loved Shiver by Allie Reynolds and so was super excited to see The Bay due for release (also known as the Swell) and it didn’t disappoint.  I mean, this couldn’t be further removed from the freezing temperatures and dangerous peaks of Shiver.  Here we have the sweltering heat and huge swell of some kick ass waves on a remote Australian beach.  What both books do have in common is a sense of danger, extreme sports, secrets and an almost closed room feel to them.

As The Bay starts we meet Kenna.  She’s travelled to Sydney to surprise her friend Mikki.  Kenna and Mikki have been BFFs forever, until personal tragedy pushed the two apart.  Kenna left the Cornish coastline to pursue a career in London and Mikki travelled to the other side of the world to find a new tribe and a fiancee.  Kenna isn’t convinced about the whirlwind romance and has sprung her surprise to see if her friend is actually okay.   When she arrives, Mikki and her other half, Jack, are about to leave on a surfing trip and so Kenna tags along.  She doesn’t feel like everything is quite as peachy as it should be and decides to give this trip a couple of weeks in order to convince her friend to return to the UK.

When the three finally arrive at Sorrow Bay (and may I say this isn’t the most optimistic name for a beach where people come to surf) Kenna is met with a rather frosty reception from the other members of the tribe: Sky, the unofficial leader who pushes the group beyond reasonable limits, Victor, Sky’s OH who suffers from PTSD following a surfing/swimming incident, Clemente, moody and secretive and Ryan, a bit of a creepy guy who seems to be the adopted protector of the group’s secret beach.

And, yes, the secrecy of the beach is the real crux of the matter with this story.  This is a group of people who realise that this is a surfer’s dream come true and they will go to just about any length to prevent it from becoming common knowledge.

What I really liked about this one is that it’s very edgy.  There’s a lot of tension between the group and this almost animalistic way of treating one another.  I have to say I would have been out of there in a New York minute.  Meanwhile Kenna is constantly digging, asking questions, poking around when no one is looking and generally antagonising certain members of the group.  I wanted to shake the girl – wtf, stop, could you be a little bit more subtle for heaven’s sake.  I can certainly see where the references to Point Break come from – what with this really tight click of surfers who are very reluctant to let anyone else into their inner circle but you might also want to think of the strange premise for The Beach.

So, we have a very competitive group of people, on the face of it they’re close buddies, but there are underlying tensions and secrets that start to come between the group.  What could possibly go wrong eh? Especially with a storm brewing and the promise of some killer waves.

In terms of the group.  Reynolds manages to make them all a bit, well, unlikable.  It’s difficult to really find a favourite amongst this bunch although I did eventually form an attachment to Kenna even though at first I was unsure why she was so determined to interfere in Mikki’s life (especially as Mikki seemed rather detached).  The thing is, everyone is a bit suspect.  And there’s a strangely consistent competitive edge.  Everyone is afraid to back down for fear of losing face and it makes them take ridiculous risks.

The setting is great.  Danger lurking on virtually every page.  For me, being such a raging wuss this beach felt like the furthest thing from my idea of paradise but these guys were mad for the waves so what do I know.

The writing is really good, similar to Shiver, Reynolds does an excellent job of setting the scene, drawing the characters and making the sport positively leap off the page.  I don’t know if the author actually surfs but she does an impressive job of making it seem so – well, in my totally inexperienced brain that is.

Criticisms.  I don’t really have anything to be honest.  I enjoyed reading this.  It took a few strange twists and turns and although I expected the ending to be unexpected it was perhaps more unexpected than I expected (haha).

Anyway, I had a good time reading this.  It was crazy, tense, well written and absorbing.

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

My rating 4 stars

Can’t Wait Wednesday : Unraveller by Frances Hardinge

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: Unraveller by Frances Hardinge.  

Unraveller

A dark YA fantasy about learning to use your power and finding peace, from award-winning author Frances Hardinge

In a world where anyone can create a life-destroying curse, only one person has the power to unravel them.

Kellen does not fully understand his talent, but helps those transformed maliciously—including Nettle. Recovered from entrapment in bird form, she is now his constant companion and closest ally.

But Kellen has also been cursed, and unless he and Nettle can remove his curse, Kellen is in danger of unravelling everything—and everyone—around him .

Expected publication : October 2022

Hidden Pictures by Jason Rekulak

My Five Word TL:DR Review : Didn’t foresee that twisted ending

hiddenpictures

Well, I picked up Hidden Pictures without virtually any knowledge aforethought and I had a slight feeling of ‘is this going to be a bit gimmicky’ given the angle with the pictures, etc – I soon found out that wasn’t going to be the case and the pictures in fact added a sinister note as the images they depicted became steadily more shocking.  Within barely a few pages I found myself hooked and a few chapters down the line I couldn’t put this one down.  It’s brilliantly twisted in a way that I didn’t expect and I feel like Rekulak just literally led me down the garden path with his cunning and devious  plot.

As the story begins we meet Mallory Quinn.  Mallory had a bright future ahead of her until personal tragedy struck and she instead went down the line of strong painkillers eventually becoming addicted to stronger drugs until finally seeking help at rehab.  A year and a half later Mallory is coming out of rehab and needs a job and a place to live so when her sponsor lines her up a live-in nanny position for a pre school boy, in the very well-to-do area of Spring Brook, New Jersey – she is more than happy.  Her new employers are the perfect couple, high earners, beautiful, amazing house with pool, clean living and very supportive of Mallory.  Their little boy Teddy immediately clicks with Mallory and so she moves into the small pool side cottage and starts work.

At first, everything seemed ideal.  The days pass in a dreamlike state of playing, exploring the woodlands and swimming in the pool.  One small issue is that Teddy has an imaginary friend who seems to be encouraging him to draw pictures.  Over the weeks the pictures become increasingly detailed and depict what can only be assumed is a murder scene.  Teddy starts to become more introverted, he doesn’t like to mix with other children and he also begins to keep his drawings secret – but, mysteriously, they always seem to find their way into Mallory’s hands.

On the face of it this feels very much like a typical ghost story.  The haunted forest, the little boy helping the ghost to find closure, the history behind the pool house itself which seems to have something of a reputation and that strange sixth sense of something always watching.  However, this takes a very unusual turn that I really didn’t see coming, even though, with hindsight, the author was clearly leaving little clues and building the tension.

What really helped for me is that I liked Mallory.  She’s a young woman with a grim past who is trying hard to get back on her feet.  I liked the way she cared for Teddy and stood up for what she thought was right and she worked hard to stay on the straight and narrow, even starting the beginning of a relationship with a local gardener.  Now, given her past she does spin a few tall tales, she wants to fit in, her history is complicated and she’s just enjoying the lifestyle and having the attention of a good looking young man who doesn’t know about her past.  Obviously, this does give you little issues, like, is she really a reliable narrator?  And, in fact this is something that the author does really well because he begins to drop little incidents that make you begin to distrust everyone.  Pretty soon cracks are beginning to appear in this perfect, picture postcard family and before you know it everyone feels like they have something to hide.

In terms of criticisms.  Well, the ending does go a little bit crazy but I confess I didn’t mind one little bit because I was seriously enjoying this one and was desperate to see how things would pan out.  The pictures, well, they didn’t work quite as well for me as I would have liked but I think that’s a technical issue  related to the settings of my e-reader more than anything else so rather than having the shock value that was the aim I found myself having to piece  things together a little bit.  Again, I didn’t find this an issue, it may have lessened the ‘wow’ factor a little but in some ways having to root around and piece things together played into the mystery for me.  I have to say, I think it’s a great concept and I think it would work really well if this story is adapted to the big screen.

Overall this was a fast and entertaining read.  Thrilling, creepy and a little disturbing it really was a tricky plot with subtle supernatural elements and an ending that I simply didn’t foresee.

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

Posted On 19 June 2022

Filed under Book Reviews
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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 this 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:

Okay, so this week, I can’t deny, I’ve been having a purely good time going out and socialising which means I haven’t read as many books as I’d hoped.  However I did read The Bay by Allie Reynolds which is another little cracker.  I’ve also managed to continue with my buddy read of Joe Abercrombie’s Before They Are Hanged which I can’t deny I’m loving.

TheBay

Next Week’s Reads:

Well, complete the Abercrombie book because I’m so close.  Also continue with last week’s plans, Daughter of Redwinter by Ed McDonald and Sons of Darkness by Gourav  Mohanty.

  1. Land of the Dead by Stephen Hopstaken by Melissa Prusi
  2. The Echo Man by Sam Holland
  3. Stringers by Chris Panatier
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