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The Wicked Cometh

I just finished a wonderful book.

The Wicked Cometh by Laura Carlin is set in 1831. The darkest London is home to Hester White, she’s sharp, intelligent and doesn’t belong in the slums. Hester is doing everything she can to get back to her old life in Lanachesire, a time when her parents were still alive, a time away from the slums of London.  Men, women and children are going missing from the streets of London in broad daylight, the police aren’t doing a thing. Hester becomes embroiled with the Brock family and slowly begins to uncover the wickedness behind the disappearances.

I alway tend to steer clear of historical fiction, I couldn’t get on with The Essex Serpent and I’ve only read one Sarah Waters novel (which I enjoyed but haven’t taken time read any of her other works). I massively enjoyed The Wicked Cometh, I was expecting a slow burn of a book but Carlin’s writing style is action-packed in some chapters. There’s chases, deceit and some passages so intense you can help but give a little gasp under your breath as you read Hester’s story. The last third of the novel is quickly paced and takes some twists and turns I couldn’t have foreseen.

Carlin fleshes out her female characters well, they’re slightly tied by their time period but Carlin makes up for it with the dialog and sultry glances they throw towards each other. Hester is a formidable main character and reminded me of a grittier version Philip Pullman’s Sally Lockhart.

I was so engaged with this book. I could not stop turning the pages of The Wicked Cometh, my favourite chapters were the ones that took place at Waterford, it had hints of Du Maurier’s Rebecca.

If you enjoy twisting Victorian tales you must pre-order a copy of The Wicked Cometh, it’s great for fans of Sarah Waters or Daphne Du Maurier. Get this book on you TBR pile now!

The Wicked Cometh by Laura Carlin

Published 8th February 2018 9781473661370.

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We’ve read I Want My Hat Back and Sunk to death. They’re great books but it’s time for an autumn refresh of the pre-bedtime toddler fodder.

First up is Kevin by Rob Biddulph. A new Biddulph book is always a cause for celebration, I’ve read Grrrrr more time than I can count and Sunk is still one of my daughter’s favourites. Kevin is a funny, charming, rhyming story of little Sid Gibbons who blames his cheeky behaviour on his imaginary friend Kevin. Every page is beautiful and it’s guaranteed to get your little one to sit still for ten minutes.

Mopoke by Philip Bunting. If you’re only going to get one of the books I recommend: get this one. It’s one of the best I’ve come across this year. Mopoke is a weird little book about some strange variations of this Australian breed of owl. This is one that parents will have lots of fun reading. It’s also super stylish and a must have for Klassen fans. I can’t wait to see what Bunting’s next book will be.

Oi Cat! By Kes Gray and Jim Field. This is the one we’d been waiting for. We LOVED Oi Frog! and Oi Dog! Guess what… Oi Cat! Doesn’t disappoint, it’s hilarious and ridiculous and just a total joy to read at any age. The rhyming in this book is next level and the illustrations are ace. As soon as my daughter saw Oi Cat! she was bouncing off the walls with excitement.

The Wolf, The Duck And The Mouse by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen. Another treat from the best selling duo that brought us Triangle, Sam and Dave Dig a Hole and Extra Yarn. Darkly funny tale with lots of funny twists. Every illustration in this book looks like it could be a wall print in the chicest nursery.

The Grotlyn by Benji Davies. This book is lovely. The delightful mystery of the Grotlyn who’s scuttling through houses will keep any toddler entertained. It’s a must read if you enjoyed Davies’ The Storm Whale.

Thank You Mr Panda by Steve Anthony.

If there’s one thing my spawn loves, it’s a good panda story. After reading this book my daughter wanted to read it again, which is always the sign of a great kids book. Thank You Mr Panda was our first Steve Anthony book and since reading we’ve ordered all his other Panda titles.

There Is A Tribe Of Kids by Lane Smith. Winner of this years CLIP Kate Greenaway Medal, this book is just lovely. I don’t tend to go for prizewinning books but I couldn’t resist this title. It’s got everything. A beautiful story, it’s fun, lovely illustrations and by the time you get to the last page you’ve learnt something valuable.

I try my hardest to get my daughter to read nothing but the best picture books but even I can’t escape the odd Hey Duggee book but who cares, as long as she’s enjoying a book I don’t mind.

Don’t Wake Them Up

I’ve fell off the blogging wagon over the summer. But I’m back! I read so many ace books over the summer but I’m not here to talk about those, I’m here to talk about the new 718 page behemoth that hits shelves next week, Sleeping Beauties.

What makes this even more exciting, not are we getting one King, we’re getting two! Sleeping Beauties is co-written with his son Owen King.

All across the world something strange is happening to women: as soon as they fall asleep, a mysterious virus shrouds their bodies in a cocoon like gauze.

Now time is the enemy.

Women are fighting to stay awake.

Men are fighting each other.

And the women of Dooling, West Virginia are about to open open their eyes to a new world altogether…

I was lucky enough to get an exclusive proof copy from the great team at Hodder, I was so excited starting this book. I was also taken back by the size of the book but on second thought if a novel’s going to have two authors it might as well be a long story.  One of the most interesting things starting Sleeping Beauties is the dedication. Stephen and Owen King dedicate this novel to Sandra Bland, this is a particularly heartbreaking dedication and I urge you all to google her story. The other interesting thing about this novel is the character list at the start of the book, I didn’t look at this as I was worried it might spoil some of the story but there’s so many characters in this book I found myself referring back to this page a number of times when I was roughly about halfway through.

From the start you can tell that this is co-authored, Owen’s style is noticeable amongst Stephen’s style. I makes this book fresh. Even though the start gives you flashbacks of The Stand and I figured it was going to be reminiscent of that novel it quickly changes direction. There’s touches of Alderman’s The Power and Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale at the edges of this novel but I found it to be one of King’s most politically charged novels. There’s a good few comments about Trump and lots of references to other stupid men such as Cliven Bundy (Dollop fans’ll know who this is).

Unlike The Stand, Sleeping Beauties unfolds slowly and the main characters the plot follows are some of the most interesting that the Kings have developed. It’s a book with pace, dark gender politics and it sucker punches you in latter end of the novel.

I wanted to post my thoughts on Sleeping Beauties before I finished the book for a couple of reasons: firstly I’m just so excited about this book and secondly I don’t want to spoil it for anyone. I’m just coming up to the end, I don’t want this book to end but I can’t wait to see everyones reaction to it when Sleeping Beauties is release.

There’s been so much buzz about this book and more than any other Stephen King book before fans in my hometown have come in force. Since the release of Dark Tower and IT, I’ve had about 5 conversations a day about Stephen King.

Constant readers will not be disappointed by this book and possibly down to Owen King this has been one of the best of King’s modern novels.

Sleeping Beauties is out on Tuesday 26th September, it’s not too late to pre-order your copy and for the hardcore fans Waterstones is doing a stunning limited slip-cased edition (it really gorgeous) AND IT’S SIGNED!

Gunslinger Re-read

I forgot the face of my father…

It’s been three years since I first read The Gunslinger and it feels like it’s been too long. After reading a significant number of other King novels going back to The Dark Tower really makes you go ‘Wow… I’ve read something phenomenal’. I actually forgot how much I loved this saga. It’s so well written and is easily some of King’s finest work, as soon as I read the first page I had a rush of nostalgia and that’s it, I was on the path of the beam once more.

The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed. Just that first line is the perfect blurb for The Gunslinger. If you haven’t come across The Dark Tower before then it’s almost the perfect first novel in a fantasy epic. It’s not too long, just over 200 pages and can easily be read in an afternoon.

Upon re-read so many things in The Gunslinger had me just yearning to read the entire series again, I forgot how much affection I had for The Dark Tower and re-rereading was such a pleasure.

We’re introduced to Roland, The Gunslinger, as a surly, quiet man. He’s the last of his kind and he’s on a mission. The whole first part of the novel which is Roland recounting the events of Tull to Brown, a lonesome guy who lives in the desert is so brilliant. King sets the playing field perfectly and straight away you’re on board with Roland and his noble nature. As so as I got to the Way Station chapters I was so wrapped up in the story and king does a great job of introducing Jake. As a reader you feel for Jake as Roland does so coming back to these characters is so much fun and you really find yourself rooting for them.

If you haven’t read The Gunslinger, do so now. There’s no better time, especially if you’re not one for fantasy. I love this book so much and I just hope that one day Stephen King takes us back to Mid-World with another novel.

And if you have read The Dark Tower; make sure you download the Sombra Group app…

At the moment it’s a great time to be a Stephen King fan and it’s almost crazy to believe that a Dark Tower film is finally happening. With Idris Elba as Roland and Matthew Mcconaughey as The Man in Black, it’s going to be an amazing adaptation and February 2017 can’t come quick enough. There’s also a number of other Stephen King works in the process of being adapted: IT, The Stand, Revival, Mr Mercesdes and The Mist. My only hope is that they make The Dark Tower and The Stand as epic as the books are.

 

Long days and pleasant nights.

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What Begins at the Water Shall End There

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I know… I’ve been gone a fair while. Reading has not been my top priority the past six months and I haven’t been compelled by a novel in a very long time.

A month ago I needed a book that I could really get my teeth into. It was a rainy afternoon and a young lady had asked me to recommend a decent fantasy series, she wanted something long so obviously I gave her The Dark Tower and I had mentioned that I wasn’t reading anything currently and all of a sudden this girl started reeling off all this information about a book called ‘S’. I had heard about and seen copies of S but didn’t know anything about this novel by JJ Abrams & Doug Dorst. I ordered a copy of this £30 hardback and what turned up what as not what I expected at all.

This book is a down-right bloody beautiful. I didn’t want to break the seal but I needed to look inside this book instantly. From the off the amount of artistry and detail that had gone into the creation of this book is stunning and a book lovers dream!

S is strange creation of a book within a book wrapped in a mystery. S is a literary mystery surrounding the identity of the mysterious fictional author of ‘The Ship of Theseus’. The Ship of Theseus is the last novel from the unknown author V.M. Straka. A sailor who only goes by S is abducted and finds himself captive upon a nameless ship of mute shipmates, not knowing his purpose or who he is.

Passed back and forth between two university students who annotate the margins of the novel, leaving the notes, newspaper cuttings and maps throughout the pages. Every sentence of this novel is exciting, you’re essentially getting two great stories. One a literary political fuelled adventure and the other a slow burning mystery.

I won’t lie, S is not the easiest book to read. Each page is full of footnotes from the author’s equally enigmatic translator, in which are hidden codes between author and translator. Not to mention the conversations taking place in the margins but I found myself flying through the pages, every chapter was more intriguing than the next.

You see a friendship form primarily over the love of literature, fuelled by the love of a good mystery and it’s amazing to see that friendship develop over such a small space. There’s so little to say when it comes to the negative aspects of S apart from that sometimes one of the characters writes in a yellow pen which is a little hard to read in dim light. I loved S and the loose references to the Somerton man mystery is super exciting.

 

Read this book. READ IT!! P.S. There’s a code wheel in this book…. need I say more.

Something Happened

I was so excited about reading Revival, but there was no news on whether us Superfans would receive advanced copies or if we’d have to wait until the publication date. I had resigned myself to the fact that it would be the 11th November until I could get my paws on Revival when to my surprise a blue jiffy bag turned up with the words STEPHEN KING SUPER FAN printed on the front. I sort of didn’t want to open it. What if it was a bag of spiders? Or worse, another David Nicholls book!

Turns out it wasn’t a bag of spider but something event more terrifying… An advance copy of REVIVAL.

I had spent so long reading King’s Dark Tower works that I had pretty much forgotten how scary Stephen King’s writing could be.

Jamie Morton lives in a sleepy little all-American town. Not long after his 6th birthday a new reverend joins the community, taking Jamie under his wing and sharing with him his love for electricity. Straight away readers are hit by King’s biographical style of writing in Revival. It wasn’t what I executed and it was such a good changed of pace from some of his other books.

From the first introduction of Reverend Charles Jacobs we all know that something is a little off with this electricity fanatic. King draws his readers in with portraying Jacobs as a very pleasant small town priest.

The first real scare in the novel comes in the form of the graphic and downright distressing death of Pastor Jacobs young family. For days I was haunted by the imagery of the Jacobs family car crash.

Not even halfway through this felt like old school Stephen King, the storytelling in Revival reminded me of his early works like The Shining and Carrie. The further I ploughed on with Revival the engrossed I became.

Jamie’s teenage years and his drug fuelled young adulthood were so well written and for a short while I forgot that I was halfway through a horror novel and was encapsulated by this young mans story.

As I neared the end of Revival I became increasingly aware of how brilliant this story is. The ending of Revival had me stunned and I was completely thrown by what happened. The touches of Lovecraft mythology were genius.

The Summer of Stephen

This summer I was to trundle through as many SK books as possible. Who wouldn’t want to sit in the sun with a glass of Pimms and story that’ll leave you shaken.
I fear I’ve been away from the Stephen King horror novels for too long, having just finished King’s crime novel Mr Mercedes then being spirited away by David Mitchell’s upcoming novel The Bone Clocks.

I’m going to kick off with The Wolves of Calla, Roland and I have had our differences but it’s time I carry on with The Dark Tower books.

With the British summer time officially upon us here’s the titles I’ve picked to get through the heat. But I’d love to know if there’s one I’ve missed that’d be an awesome summer read?

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