The Bay by Allie Reynolds

Posted On 23 June 2022

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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 : The Bay by Allie Reynolds

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 Bay by Allie Reynolds (because I loved Shiver).  Here’s the description:

There’s a darkness inside all of us and The Bay has a way of bringing it out. Everyone here has their secrets but we don’t go looking for them. Because sometimes it’s better not to know.

The waves are to die for at The Bay. It’s a paradise they would kill to keep. The Beach meets Point Break in the thriller of the summer by Allie Reynolds.

Kenna arrives in Sydney to surprise her best friend, shocked to hear she’s going to marry a guy she’s only just met. But Mikki and her fiancé Jack are about to head away on a trip, so Kenna finds herself tagging along for the ride.

Sorrow Bay is beautiful, wild and dangerous. A remote surfing spot with waves to die for, cut off from the rest of the world. Here Kenna meets the mysterious group of people who will do anything to keep their paradise a secret. Sky, Ryan, Clemente and Victor have come to ride the waves and disappear from life. How will they feel about Kenna turning up unannounced?

As Kenna gets drawn into their world, she sees the extremes they are prepared to go to for the next thrill. And everyone seems to be hiding something. What has her best friend got involved in and how can she get her away? But one thing is rapidly becoming clear about The Bay: nobody ever leaves.

Expected publication: June 2022

Friday Face Off : cold and seasonal

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 have a new list for next year – I’ve added the 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:

Anything Cold and Seasonal

This week I’ve gone for a book that I read and enjoyed at the start of the year – Shiver by Allie Reynolds.  A locked room mystery set in an isolated ski resort.  Here are the covers:

My favourite this week:

Shiver2

Do you have a favourite

If you know of an event that’s coming up let me know and I’ll try and include covers that work for the event itself so that you can link up to the Friday Face Off and, 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.  Also, I would just mention that it’s very possible that some of these might be repeats from previous FFOs although I have tried to invent more ‘open ended’ prompt that can be interpreted differently and also prompts that relate to emotions.  Finally, don’t struggle with any of these, this is meant to be a fun way of highlighting books.  If you can’t come up with a book you think fits for a particular week use a freebie – perhaps a recent read for example:

Next Week  – All things fire – red hair, red covers, fire breathing dragons, simply fire?

2021

December

24th – All things fire – red hair, red covers, fire breathing dragons, simply fire?

31st – What’s your catnip – if it’s on a cover you have to pick it up

2022

Jan – Vintage Sci-Fi
7th Simply the Best – A top 10 read of 2021
14th As pure as the driven snow – a cover that is white
21st Like a fine wine – a sci fi book written on or before 1975 –
28th In space nobody can hear you scream – murder mystery in space
Feb The month of romance
4th  brooding and dull like a cloudy sky – a cover that is grey
11th Sealed with a kiss – lips, or the impression left by a kiss
18th Tough Travel Tropes – Hate to Love
25th Made for each other – interpret this any way you please
March
4th Genre – Gadgets and airships – a book that is ’steampunk
11th The most recent book you’ve read that has covers to compare
18th – Somewhere over the rainbow – a very colourful book cover
25th – A book of few words – a one word title
Apr
1st Spring forward – compare the covers for two books you’re excited about
8th – Fresh and Green – a cover that is predominantly green
15th Genre – a book or series that is urban fantasy
22nd – Tough Travel Tropes – unknown magical ability
29th – Long/pointed ears
May the Month of Wyrd and Wonder
6th All about the women – kickass moms, daughters, grans, etc
13th A favourite book to film
20th Sunny and bright  – a cover that is predominantly yellow
27th Books with ‘You’ in the title
Jun
3rd  Under the Sea – anything you like
10th Sparkling like the sea – a cover that is turquoise
17th So pretty – exactly what it says
24th Daddy Dearest – a book with a strong father role
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 series

Shiver by Allie Reynolds

Posted On 25 January 2021

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My Five Word TL:DR Review : Wow, such an impressive debut.

ShiverI loved Shiver.  I part read and part audio listened and I can heartily recommend both versions, the audio is simply superb and I find reading both versions is such a great experience.

To my review.  This is going to be a review that doesn’t focus too much on the story itself.  Fundamentally this is a mystery and I don’t want to give anything away unwittingly so this will be short and sweet.  Basically, as the story beings we meet up with five friends as they get together for the first time in ten years.  They meet up at a ski resort in the French Alps which immediately provokes a flood of memories for our narrator Millie and, after a rather startling icebreaker it soon becomes apparent they they’ve been brought together for ulterior motives.  Ten years ago one of their (then) party disappeared mysteriously.  Now declared dead it seems that somebody is interested in finding the whys and wherefores behind this disappearance and with secrets running rife everyone is a potential suspect.

What did I love about this.  It’s a great combination of compelling mystery, superb setting and intriguingly ‘grey’ characters.

On the face of it we have five characters in the mix, Milla, Curtis, Brent, Heather, and Dale, but given the dual timeline you can add in a further two characters, Odette and Saskia.  All at their peak in terms of pro snowboarding, competition is tough, some will take risks, determined to win, others are more adept at pushing buttons and causing conflict.  I like some of the characters more than others, which I think is inevitable in this sort of story, probably my favourite was Curtis.  I enjoyed Milla’s narration and think telling the story from one pov was a really great idea.  I think including more povs would have been very messy, not to mention would add to the potential to giveaway secrets, and what really worked just hearing from Milla is that she has her own shady backstory so that even though you’re privy to her thoughts it doesn’t leave her entirely in the clear.

The setting is great in more than one way.  Firstly, the venue, which is creepily and curiously completely empty.  The cable car is mysteriously out of operation and other means of communication have also been removed.  There’s an ominous feel to such a deserted venue. it puts me in mind of the Overlook Hotel with all the long, door lined corridors.  There’s just something insidious about such a large empty place isn’t there?  That horrible feeling of somebody sneaking around, or watching you, the prickling on the back of the shoulders or the notion of seeing something out of the corner of your eye.  Basically the atmosphere and suspense is really well done and the setting adds to this tremendously.  Secondly, the outside is no more a refuge than the inside.  Freezing cold temperatures and the possibility of falling into life threatening crevasses are just two very real dangers.  Add to this a sense of rising panic and things fairly quickly start to spiral out of control.

There’s not too much more that I can add really.  I really enjoyed this.  It’s an impressive debut, smoothly written, well plotted and to be honest, gripping to the very end. Very impressive and an author that I will watch with interest.

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