July : My Month in Covers

Hi everyone, hope you’ve all had a lovely July and the weather has treated you gently.  I’ve had a slow sort of month in some respects.   Not many books this month as I’ve been too busy with other things.  Anyhow, feast your eyes on this months covers.  I’ve also included my SPFBO covers and my update is here for the first month of the competition.

And here are my SPFBO covers.  I’ve read at least the first 30% of all of these and chosen one book to read completely:

The Toll by Cherie Priest

Posted On 15 July 2019

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TheTollThe Toll is a tale of the supernatural full of gothic type goodness set in a swamp where more than alligators live.  This is a story of ghosts and hungry creatures waiting in the dark.  To be upfront about it – this didn’t scare me, which I think I was expecting after being chilled to the bone by The Family Plot, but, nonetheless it was a good read with an intriguing mystery at its core.

We start the story with an introduction to Titus and his wife Davinia.  They’re on their way to honeymoon on the Okenfenokee Swamp – and they’re arguing, chiefly about who had the big idea to go canoeing on a swamp in the first place, it certainly doesn’t sound romantic, then they come across a single lane bridge that looks a little bit menacing.  They’re reluctant to cross to say the least.  Visibility is poor and the aspect is ominous but eventually they set off, with misgivings.  Unfortunately their gut reactions, that were trying to get them to turn back and run, were only too right.  Titus wakes up in the middle of the road, the car stands vacant and his wife is missing.  Eventually he calls the police who, when they arrive, are adamant that there is no seventh bridge and seem to be taking Titus and his tale with a pinch of salt.  Although there is a good degree of eye avoidance suggesting that Titus and his disappearing bridge are already a known element.

So, welcome to Staywater, a place where people quite often become trapped.  They come for a holiday and stay for life – although it’s more out of necessity than love of the place.  This is a place where people are haunted by memories, by missing people and by the strange occurences that everyone just ignores.  Staywater is a dying place.  The number of residents has been in decline for years – of course persistent floods and whispers of a serial killer could explain some of the ways in which the population have been decimated but deep down everyone knows that something is fundamentally wrong in this place.

In terms of the characters.   Titus is the main character, he’s joined by a number of the residents, the local barkeep, a young man barely grown into his own moustache called Cameron and his aunts, Claire and Daisy.  Claire and Daisy are two old spinsters living out on the edge of the swamp.  Everyone fears them, even the ‘thing’ that can’t be named.  They have their own brand of magic and I confess that they were my favourite element to the story.  One thing about Cherie Priest.  She has a wonderful way of drawing a character and making them appear quite easily in your mind’s eye.  Alright, she doesn’t really try to avoid any tropes here but there is a lovely, almost tongue-in-cheek style that makes the familiarity seem fresh.

In terms of criticisms.   It’s difficult to pin down why The Toll didn’t completely blow me away.  There are so many elements to this story that are without doubt my cup of tea but there’s a vague feeling of things being incomplete.  I want to know more.  More about Cameron, about the two cunning aunts and more about Staywater.  I think in some respects this almost feels like a short story somehow and yet at over 300 pages that really isn’t the case although it does testify to the quickness of both the read and the pacing.  I can’t put my finger on anything specific to be honest.  I wouldn’t say this was a scary read and perhaps that was something that I felt the lack of – maybe because I went into the read expecting to be given a serious case of the heebie jeebies.  I loved the gothic feel and the whole mystery element but I think in a nutshell this lacked that certain something that would have really given me the chills.

On the whole though, well written and enjoyable and certainly a place that I would be curious to read more about.

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

Rating 3.5 stars of 5


Can’t Wait Wednesday : The Toll by Cherie Priest #spooktasticreads


Image credit: Photo by Mark Tegethoff on Unsplash

Today I’m combining Can’t Wait Wednesday with Wyrd and Wonders Spooktastic Reads – because it’s all about the creepiness at this time of year and this book is aimed at fans of the strange and macabre.  Colour me happy.

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 Toll by Cherie Priest – I am so excited for this book’s release.  Still a tiny bit of a wait but in book terms – pah, this is nothing.  Due for publication July 2019.  I wants the precious.  Read the blurb and weep at the anticipation – and check out the cover – it’s ace.

ThetollFrom Cherie Priest, the author of The Family Plot and Maplecroft, comes The Toll, a tense, dark, and scary treat for modern fans of the traditionally strange and macabre.

State Road 177 runs along the Suwannee River, between Fargo, Georgia, and the Okefenokee Swamp. Drive that route from east to west, and you’ll cross six bridges. Take it from west to east, and you might find seven.

But you’d better hope not.

Titus and Davina Bell leave their hotel in Fargo for a second honeymoon canoeing the Okefenokee Swamp. But shortly before they reach their destination, they draw up to a halt at the edge of a rickety bridge with old stone pilings, with room for only one car . . .

When, much later, a tow-truck arrives, the driver finds Titus lying in the middle of the road, but Davina is nowhere to be found.