Friday Face Off : Lake – the mysterious lake

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:

Lake – the mysterious lake

This week I had one book specifically in mind.  I’ve only read the first in series but I really enjoyed it and I’m determined to catch up.  Stillhouse Lake (Stillhouse Lake #1by Rachel Caine.  And here are the covers:

 

I have more than one that I quite like for this in fact I have narrowed it down to 3:

The first cover I like because that’s the cover of the book I read.  The second I like the tone and the long boardwalk and the third I like the stark black and white and the reflection of the trees on the still lake.  My favourite:

Stillhouse6

Do you have a favourite?

I’ve updated the list now to include themes for next year.  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 – Highly Stylised 

2020

18th December – Highly Stylised

25th December- Freebie – or day off

 

2021

January

Vintage Sci-Fi month – if you’re taking part you could try and find some vintage style covers

1st – Dressed in White – could be a person could be a landscape – or something else completely?

8th – Books with ‘Moon’ in the Title

15th – An Aerial encounter – spaceships and explosions

22nd – An Alien Encounter – ‘we come in peace’ or maybe not.

29th – A favourite classic or vintage sci-fi

February

5th – A Book with a romance that you enjoyed

12th – Furry – a beast, something cuddly, or a fur covering

19th – Serpentine – could be a snake, could be a snake-like font, could be a snakeskin style cover

26th – A book with ‘Magic’ in the Title

March

5th – March is named for the Roman God of War – a Roman style cover or a cover with a God or Gods or simply a book about war

12th – Middle Grade – choose whatever pleases you

19th – Ruin or derelict, old and worn, could be the book itself, a building, a place

26th – A picture within a picture

April

2nd – A train or tram – travelling down the track, could be old style, futuristic, overhead, down below.

9th – Cartoonish or graphic

16th – I have to have it – a cover that gave you ‘grabby hands’

23rd – Your current read (if it has covers to compare) or any recent read

30th– A series that you love – highlight all the books in the series

May

Month of Wyrd and Wonder

7th – A Series where the cover changed midway through – which style do you prefer most

14th – The earliest fantasy you recall reading – or the first fantasy book you really loved, maybe the book that kickstarted your love of fantasy

21st – The Top Hat

28th – The Hood

June

4th – The nose boop – any animal, or human, with a close up shot.

11th – A cover that annoyed you and why

18th – Out of Perspective, or make you feel a bit dizzy

25th – Upside down, back to front or topsy turvy

July

2nd – A book with a landscape you’d like to visit

9th – A Wicked Grin

16th – Books with ‘book’ in the title

23rd – A Black Hole – could be in the universe or going deep into the ground

30th – Chaos – maybe too much going on in this one

August

6th – “They cluck their thick tongues, and shake their heads and suggest, os so very delicately!” – The Motel

13th – A favourite holiday read

20th – Dressed to kill (could be literally someone dressed to kill, or someone dressed up for a big night out

27th – Sunbathing or on the beach

September (RIP event)

3rd – 1920s feel, noir detective

10th – I’m Henry the Eighth I am – let’s look at Kings or other Emperors/rulers

17th – Books with ‘Murder’ in the title

24th – A favourite thriller

October

1st – A Halloween read

8th – Chills – anything at all that almost makes you too scared to pick up the book (your own pet hate)

15th – Your favourite book of magic

22nd – Books with ‘Queen’ in the title

29th – Must be gothic

November – Sci Fi Month

5th – Your earliest sci-fi read or the first sci-fi you reviewed

12th – A book with ‘star’ in the title

19th – Futuristic vista

26th – A Black Hole – in the universe or going deep into the ground

December

3rd – Windswept, the classic figure, stood majestically, with wind blowing out in a fetching way

10th – A fairytale retold

17th – Winter Solstice approaching – anything cold and seasonal

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

Waiting on Wednesday : Killman Creek (Stillhouse Lake #2) by Rachel Caine

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme that was created by Breaking the Spine.  Every Wednesday we highlight a book that we’re really looking forward to.  This week my book is : Killman Creek (Stillhouse Lake #2) by Rachel Caine.

killman.jpg

 I can’t wait for this one – I loved book 1 and this is due out in December so it’s a woohoo moment.  So excited.

Every time Gwen closed her eyes, she saw him in her nightmares. Now her eyes are open, and he’s not going away.

Gwen Proctor won the battle to save her kids from her ex-husband, serial killer Melvin Royal, and his league of psychotic accomplices. But the war isn’t over. Not since Melvin broke out of prison. Not since she received a chilling text…

You’re not safe anywhere now.

Her refuge at Stillhouse Lake has become a trap. Gwen leaves her children in the protective custody of a fortified, well-armed neighbor. Now, with the help of Sam Cade, brother of one of Melvin’s victims, Gwen is going hunting. She’s learned how from one of the sickest killers alive.

But what she’s up against is beyond anything she feared—a sophisticated and savage mind game calculated to destroy her. As trust beyond her small circle of friends begins to vanish, Gwen has only fury and vengeance to believe in as she closes in on her prey. And sure as the night, one of them will die.

Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine

Posted On 14 August 2017

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stillhouseStillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine is a tense thriller that kept me turning the pages late into the night.  Rather than a grisly story based on the serial killer himself this story takes a look at the family of the serial killer and their lives in the aftermath of his capture and it turns slowly but surely into a gripping psychological read.  It’s a really interesting idea to be honest – surely, you couldn’t live with such a monster and be totally unaware of their tendencies?  Well, meet Gina Royal, wife to Melvin Royal.  Gina has two children and a fairly average life.  She doesn’t rock the boat and whilst she may not be absolutely overwhelmed with happiness she believes herself to have a fairly regular marriage to a decent man who loves his children.  She believes that, right up to the day that a body is found in her garage and it turns out it’s just one victim amongst many.  From thereon in Gina’s life will never be the same again.

We then pick up the story with Gwen Proctor and her two children Atlanta and Connor.  Basically Gina has gone on the run with her two children – not from the law, ironically enough, but from the relentless hoard of stalkers and trolls who believe that she was her husband’s accomplice and inundate her daily with hate mail and threats.  The three of them have moved house and changed names many times and Gina/Gwen has practically turned into Sarah Connor from Terminator – kick ass, gun toting super mum who will protect her children at all costs.  For the moment they seem to have found a home of sorts, a place by the lake that they’ve had to fix up but for the time being feel some sort of security living in.  Unfortunately their brief respite is short lived when a body turns up in the lake – a body that seems to mimic the horrors from their past.  Is this a coincidence or are things going on.

I really enjoyed this, the writing is very good, which wasn’t a surprise from this author, the characters were well drawn, there was just the right amount of information delivered in a steady stream that kept answering my internal questions more or less as soon as they occurred to me and on top of that the author creates this wonderfully tense atmosphere.  This is the sort of book that keeps the reader on edge almost as much as the family they’re reading about.  It felt like everyone was a potential threat to be honest and I almost found myself jumping every time there was a knock on Gwen’s door or a stranger walked by her property.  I think what really adds to this is that you feel so overwhelmingly sorry for this family.  They may not have suffered the same fate as Melvin’s victims but they are nonetheless undoubtedly suffering and their lives are far from normal.  Gwen is like a boiling mess of paranoia and guilt.  Why didn’t she know what her husband was really like and more than that how will her children ever be able to live normal lives again.

The setting was really well planned.  I loved the way the author creates an atmosphere so peaceful and calm one minute and then in the next twists that tranquillity around so that from a different angle it turns into something more creepy and sinister.  Similarly with the characters.  You meet people who feel genuine and you almost want to slap Gwen because she’s so stand offish and sometimes just downright rude to them, you want to shake her and say ‘come on, eventually you’ll have to trust somebody’ but then again, moments later it turns out maybe you can’t trust anybody.  I thought that was very cleverly done because it builds into the reader the same unease that Gwen herself is experiencing.

The villain of the piece also makes an appearance when Gwen finally visits him in jail to confront him about certain issues and boy does he come across as evil incarnate.  It seems he has his own followers and he may be in prison for life but that doesn’t mean he’s lost the ability to hurt people.

Stillhouse Lake was a step out of the norm for me.  I tend to read mainly fantasy with the odd bit of horror and sometimes historical fiction thrown in for good measure, but I also occasionally enjoy thrillers/chillers and this was a really good choice to throw into the mix.  It’s a compelling story that builds slowly to a dramatic conclusion that definitely whets the appetite for what is going to come next.

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

 

Daylighters by Rachel Caine

Just finished reading Daylighters by Rachel Caine which is No.15 in the Morganville Vampire books and is also the concluding book of the series.

Daylighters picks up pretty much where No.14, Fall of Night, left off (which ended on something of a cliffhanger to say the least!).  So, Claire, Eve and Shane are stunned when  the vampires that they returned to town with are all ruthlessly shot down and carried away – Myrnin, Michael, Oliver and Jesse (a fairly new edition to the cast of characters).  Clearly things in Morganville have taken a turn – not sure in which direction yet exactly – but they have taken a turn.  The residents seem happier, the place is cleaner and more upbeat, people can go out for a stroll in the evening without fear of becoming a midnight snack and, well, put bluntly, there isn’t a vampire in sight!  It appears that the Daylighters are now in town, they’re running the show and are promising a vampire free town for the residents and a would-be miracle cure for the vampires (well, sort of).  It all sounds a bit too good to be true – which usually means it is of course.  For now, however, the vampires are being kept locked away and the people of Morganville are free for once.  Keeping a bunch of vampires locked away can’t last forever though and neither can the relative calm that seems to have descended.  The Leader of the Daylighters is something of a fanatic who it appears will go to any lengths to indoctrinate people – including using a few vampires as guinea pigs and a few people as necessary sacrifices.

Obviously it’s difficult to say too much about the plot for fear of potential spoilers and as this is the last book in the series I really don’t want to give things away so this review will be, of necessity, short and sweet.

I’ve been intrigued as to how RC would wrap up this series and manage to give everyone a happy ending – however, I think she’s managed to do just that, particularly one storyline which she wraps up very tidily.  On the whole, does this end on an ‘all guns blazing’ grand finale?  Not exactly.  I would say that whilst this is the final in the series it definitely leaves the door ajar for a possible return in the future.  So, not a clear cut break but I think a very acceptable way of concluding the series which I imagine most readers will be happy with.

In terms of criticisms – I did have a number of points in the book where I struggled to see why Claire, Eve and Shane would put themselves on the line repeatedly to try and help a bunch of captive vampires who have in the past not only made their life miserable, imprisoned them and threatened them with death sentences but have also used them as fresh food.  I guess I reached the conclusion that the gang were more about sticking up for the underdogs which in this story was definitely the vampires.  It made an interesting comparison to see the vampires a little bit humbled and in need of help – although they didn’t stay that way for too long.

On the whole this has undoubtedly been an entertaining series.  If I had the chance to pick this up now in the knowledge that there were 15 books, would I do so?  Probably not – as it’s such an undertaking – but I’m not sorry to have read these and Ms Caine did give us Myrnin – a character which I do like very much.  These books have been good fun and Rachel Caine has consistently come up with new and inventive ways of keeping the storyline fresh.  If you want a quick and easy series of books about a bunch of teenagers fighting against, with and sometimes for vampires then give this series a whirl.

This counts to my 100 books in a year challenge and also starts to reduce my unfinished series list (see here).

Fall of Night by Rachel Caine (No.14 of the Morganville Vampires)

Fall of Night is the 14th instalment in the Morganville Vampires series – I think No.15 is the final book but I’ve been known to be wrong so don’t quote me.  Fall of Night continues with the battle to stay alive as Claire finally leaves Morganville when she’s accepted into MIT.  Of course this is a dream come true but is bitter sweet as she’ll be leaving behind her friends, her boyfriend and Myrnin.  Before I go any further with this review I will warn you that there could be spoilers for earlier books in the series contained below so if you haven’t already read up to this point – BEWARE!  (You were warned).  Also, I think these books should be read as a series – I dare say you could pick up one of these and quickly grasp the story and run with it – but I think it would be better to have a bit of background to the characters not to mention the trials and tribulations they’ve been through already – it gives a bit more meaning to the betrayals and guilt in this particular instalment.

Anyway.  Off Claire sets with her spotted hanky.  Once again she’s staying off campus and is sharing with an old school friend (who’s name I seem to have forgotten at breakneck speed! Think it was Liz???).  However, when she arrives things pretty quickly go off kilter.  At first you could be forgiven for thinking that finally Claire looks set to live her dream.  She’s more confident in this instalment, easily making friends.  She’s introduced to Professor Anderson who she will be working with in a very impressive lab.  She has a place to stay and whilst she’s going to miss everyone (almost everyone) back at Morganville it feels as though she’s going to make friends here very easily.  Of course, as you’ll know if you’ve read previous MV stories nothing is ever that simple.  A would-be stalker seems to be taking up permanent residence outside of her new apartment – and he’s intensely creepy.  On top of that Shane doesn’t seem to quite grasp the concept of this whole break thing/giving Claire some space and has basically followed her to town where he’s found himself a job and residence and is casually keeping an eye on her – no, he’s not the creepy stalker.  And, lastly, Claire’s invention, that she’s brought to MIT to continue working on with the Prof seems to be getting a lot of unwanted attention.  Men in dark suits also seem to be tailing Claire, checking out her apartment (without an invitation), watching her movements (this is like a book of stalkers!)

Basically, the invention that Claire was working on to try and temper vampire emotions has come to the attention of a secret organisation.  They want to get their hands on VLAD (Claire’s invention) and they’re not overly fussy about taking prisoners.  As history will teach us, great inventions can usually be turned around to suit a different purpose for that which they were originally intended and Claire’s invention is no exception.

That’s about all I’m going to say here in terms of plot so you’ll just have to go and read the book if you want to know more.

The story takes on a fairly sinister feel quite quickly with abductions and the like and the tension is ramped up for the grand finale.

As in the latter books the POV in this novel extends to take on board Shane’s voice and I really quite welcome this addition as it expands the story for readers.

In terms of criticisms – well, if you’re hoping for all the usual characters to be playing their regular roles then you may be disappointed.  Eve and Shane only become involved in the story in the last third of the book – as does Myrnin and Oliver – although this isn’t really a surprise.  It would be a bit odd if we had a full Morganville cast involved now that Claire has moved away!  I can’t say I ever really ‘got along’ with the new cast and a few of the characters felt thrown in there for very little purpose.

On the whole I thought this was another enjoyable instalment by RC.  She never fails to come up with a new theme which always amazes me and in spite of the fact that this is No.14 she keeps things fairly fresh – I think what helps with this is that the time period covered in each book is relatively short (I don’t think this instalment can have covered much more than a fortnight period in total from start to end – although, again, I could be wrong so don’t beat me over the head with a verbal stick please.

If you’re looking for somethings suave and sophisticated then this might not fit the bill but if you’d enjoy a series where plenty goes on, there’s a bit of fun and snark in spite of the constant life threatening situations and a cast of characters that you can’t fail to like at least some of (my favourite being Myrnin) then give this a go.  In terms of some of the similar series that are around I think this one compares very well.  Plus – Myrnin and his vampire bunny slippers!  I’m intrigued to know how Ms Caine is going to wrap this up.  Will it be possible to have a happy ending?  It’s a tricky one and given the cliff hanger ending it’s going to feel like a long 6 months before I get to read the conclusion .

Patience is a virtue…

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