Friday Face Off : None of the Jungle People like being disturbed.

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:

None of the Jungle People like being disturbed.

Firstly, I’ve been a bit swamped this week so I’m behind with reading and blogging, not to mention blog hopping.  Hopefully, things will be much calmer in the very near future which will give me chance to catch up  – so things didn’t get calmer and I’m still very behind but the forthcoming week should definitely give me chance to catch up.

I didn’t struggle this week, in fact I had a few books in mind so hope everyone else did too.  I went for The Woods by Vanessa Savage.  This is a fairly recent read so not a lot of covers but it fits the theme and I like to give attention to some of my newer books.  Here are the covers:

Woods2

This and the orange cover are very similar but I prefer the layout of this cover.  The first cover I actually really like but I find the title a little off somehow.  Can’t pin it down.

Do you have a 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 – Planets – “You’re on Earth. There’s no cure for that.”

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.  

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6th November – Planets – “You’re on Earth. There’s no cure for that.”

13th November – Bright – ‘The future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades’.

20th November – Words only – “Words are pale shadows of forgotten names. As names have power, words have power. Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest hearts.”

27th November – Modern sci fi

4th December –  Fae – or fairy??

11th December – Lake – the mysterious lake

18th December – Highly Stylised

25th December- Freebie – or day off.

The Woods by Vanessa Savage

Posted On 23 January 2020

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TheWoodsWell, this was a twisted little number that worked very well for me. A mystery at its core it’s all about the tangled webs we weave particularly when families become overly involved in each other’s lives.  A psychological thriller that makes for compulsive reading, made even more gripping by the unreliable narrator who keeps taking you round in ever decreasing circles as you go through the mill suspecting everyone of wrongdoing.

The story starts with an introduction to Tess.  Tess lives in the city and is a teacher at secondary level.  She’s not totally happy with her life choices, or enjoying her job, in fact she’s been in a spot of bother with one particular student before we even make her acquaintance.  Then she receives a phone call and her life spirals from slightly dull and a little bit miserable to fear, apprehension and overnight hallucinations.  Tess hasn’t been home for a good number of years but her step mom is dying and her father has called her to ask her to come back.  She doesn’t relish the idea and in fact as soon as she starts thinking of home she begins to experience nightmares and apparitions.

Tess had a sister, Bella.  Bella was the beautiful sister, enigmatic, full of personality – at least in Tess’s eyes – whilst she was the ugly duckling living in the shadows.  In spite of that the two of them shared a close sisterly relationship although their closeness was starting to fracture as Bella began to enjoy a little more danger.  Boys, alcohol, late nights and other escapades that shy Tess didn’t want to become involved with.  Then, one evening Tess and Bella went for a late night excursion into the local woods and only one sister survived.

I really liked the way this begins.  Everything feels fairly balanced in the opening pages yet as soon as Tess receives her phone call her life almost immediately takes a nosedive. She finds herself in deep trouble at work and there’s little choice for her other than to return home for her step mother’s last days.  But, more than that, she starts to see her sister, not just in dreams either, but on a fairly regular basis and Bella is trying to tell her something.

Tess seems to go from bad to worse quite quickly.  She’s not sleeping properly, she’s having terrible dreams when she does sleep and she even seems to be sleep walking. Her nerves are a bunch of frayed ends and to make matters worse she’s not the only one to return home.

When Bella was still alive the local ‘haunted house’, sat deep in the woods, was bought by a good looking couple who had two incredibly handsome teenage boys who immediately became the heartthrobs of this sleepy little village.  Trouble followed on fleet feet.  Jealousies, crushes, secrets and lies, in fact as the past is gradually laid bare it’s difficult to believe just how complex all the relationships involved really were.

The focus is on three families primarily and their interactions and past indiscretions are gradually revealed. At the same time, it seems that there was a killer on the loose all those years ago. A number of girls went missing, their bodies eventually found and speculation ran amok – that being said, Bella’s death was deemed a tragic accident.  I really do have to hand it to the author for stunning me with the depth of intrigue and deceit.  She manages to put everyone into the frame in fact I had a great time jumping around from suspect to suspect like a headless chicken as red herrings flew thick and fast.

The really winning element for me though was Tess and the way she spirals almost out of control.  She’s more jumpy than frog soup in fact I think her suspicions jumped about almost, if not more, than my own.  And she’s her own worst enemy really.  She snaps at people, makes accusations and just takes silly risks that eventually make her a person of interest to the police – especially after  – well, I can’t really say other than ‘the plot thickens’.  Like a theatregoer at a Christmas production of Cinderella, I just wanted to scream at her – for goodness sake, have a good night’s sleep and get things into perspective.

On top of this all the revelations gradually show the characters in a different light so that you can never truly trust what you’ve already heard about them.  Was Bella the beautiful and good sister or was she the village troublemaker.  The family who move in, are they really as good as they seem?  Even Bella’s father and step mom – they all have things that paint them in darker tones.

I enjoyed the setting too.  Mostly we find ourselves in the woods with all the rustling trees, snapping branches and, of course, the long since abandoned house in the woods that everyone seems to be drawn to like flies to honey – or vinegar.

In terms of criticisms. Nothing much really.  I think that this could have been tightened a little.  I found myself, only momentarily, experiencing a brief feeling of repetitiveness – but, like I said, this was only a glancing thought.

Overall this is a very good, gripping in fact, psychological thriller. It had plenty of tension and the mystery was intriguing to read about, the history of the protagonist and her friends and family was revealed layer by layer until the core of the story was laid bare – then the author pulled the curtains on her big reveal.  To an extent, in the cold light of day, it seemed obvious, in fact I’d guessed the culprit along the way – that is, of course I had, I suspected everyone along the way, sometimes more than once so obviously I was going to hit on the answer even if it wasn’t my final thought and I’d moved onto someone else.  Basically, this novel is deceptive right to the end.

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

My rating 4*

 

Weekly Wrap Up : 19th January 2020

Hey everyone. Hope you’ve all had a lovely week.  I seem to have been very busy and yet I don’t think I could say exactly how or why.  In none bookish news I’m trying to be good and healthy, do more exercise and drink more water so we’ll see how this goes. I’ve actually made a plan for a full month – can I stick to it?  Well, I think so, we’ll see.  In bookish news I’ve read three books and also caught up with a couple of reviews. I went a little off plan but not much. In SPFBO news I read my first book, and loved it, obviously I’m a little behind but I’m not worried, I’m hoping to fit at least one more book in this month if not two.

Here’s my week in books:

  1. The Other People by CJ Tudor – which was excellent and my review will be posted tomorrow
  2. The Woods by Vanessa Savage
  3. Blood of Heirs (The Coraidic Sagas #1) by Alicia Wanstall-Burke – my first SPFBO book and an excellent 9* read.

What I’m reading next week:

  1. Crownbreaker by Sebastien deCastell
  2. The Bard’s Blade by Brian D. Anderson
  3. Highfire by Eoin Colfer

Upcoming Reviews

  1. King of the Road by RS Belcher
  2. Queenlayer by Sebastien DeCastell
  3. The Absinthe Earl by Sharon Lynn Fisher
  4. Deeplight by Frances Hardinge
  5. King of Assassins by RJ Barker
  6. The Other People by CJ Tudor
  7. The Woods by Vanessa Savage

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

Weekly Wrap Up : 12th January 2020

A little later than planned here is my weekly wrap up.   This is in fact my first weekly wrap up of 2020, I’m still catching up following my two week Christmas break.  So, this week I’ve read two books.

Here’s my week in books:

  1. The God Game by Danny Tobey – I loved this and my review can be found here.
  2. The Shadow Saint (The Black Iron Legacy #2) by Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan

What I’m reading next week:

  1. The Other People by CJ Tudor
  2. The Woods by Vanessa Savage
  3. Crownbreaker by Sebastien deCastell

Upcoming Reviews

  1. King of the Road by RS Belcher
  2. Queenlayer by Sebastien DeCastell
  3. The Absinthe Earl by Sharon Lynn Fisher
  4. Deeplight by Frances Hardinge
  5. King of Assassins by RJ Barker
  6. Where Gods Fear to go by Angus Watson
  7. The Shadow Saint (The Black Iron Legacy #2) by Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan

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