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The Outsider, Stephen King

It’s only taken me over half of 2018, but I actually started and finished a book! Huzzah! Just 5 more to go to reach the goal I set myself in January, the goal I thought would be fairly achievable. Oops. I told myself to pick a standalone book rather than one in part of a series, just until I get back into the flow of reading more. After enjoying the Mr. Mercedes trilogy by Stephen King so much last year, I knew I couldn’t do wrong by picking his latest novel, The Outsider.

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So the gist of the story is this. A young boy named Frank Peterson has been found dead after being brutally raped and murdered. The case is an awful but simple one, as there are multiple eye-witnesses, fingerprints, blood, and DNA samples that point to one man, Terry Maitland. What’s shocking is that Terry is such a well-loved man in the community.

After Terry is arrested publically by Detective Ralph Anderson and his colleagues, more evidence is uncovered that completely contradicts what has been found already. It turns out Terry wasn’t even in the City when the murder was committed – but how?

I absolutely love a mystery story, so I was hooked on this instantly. Once I get myself into a good book I just can’t stop myself so I’ve had a few late nights recently! I obviously don’t want to go into the specifics of the story because it’s something you should read without knowing much at all, but if you’re a fan of the genre I’m sure you’ll love this.

Here’s the best part though. I was so gutted when I finished the Mr. Mercedes trilogy. I’d become so invested in the main characters and I simply wasn’t ready to let them go. However! In the midst of all the chaos involved in the investigation in The Outsider, Holly Gibney gets involved! My poor husband seemed so confused when I excitedly tried to tell him very early one morning!

Dear Stephen King – can we please have more Holly? She might just be my favourite fictional character ever!

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Book (so far) Review: Mistborn: The Final Empire, Brandon Sanderson

It feels a bit silly to write about a book I haven’t even finished yet, but I have my reasons. Firstly, it was one of my resolutions to read 6 new books this year, working out at a generous 2 months per book. Well, it’s the last day of February and I haven’t managed it yet. Secondly, it’s been ages since I’ve written about a book here, and I didn’t want to wait any longer!

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My favourite book series’ are The Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss and The Night Angel Trilogy by Brent Weeks. I’ve re-read both multiple times and so I’ve been on the hunt for something similar to sink my teeth into (and obsess over) for a while now. The name Brandon Sanderson has cropped up many a time and so I decided my first book of the year would be the first of his Mistborn trilogy, The Final Empire.

I don’t know where to start in describing the story so far, because the worldbuilding is just so detailed! The main fantasy element however is called Allomancy, and it’s fascinating. Basically, Allomancers are people with the ability to ‘burn’ a metal within themselves to use it’s power. There are 8 basic metals and 2 higher ones, and each has it’s own special ability. Allomancers can only use 1 type of metal, but there are very few people out there who are Mistborn, meaning they can ‘burn’ all metals.

The way Brandon Sanderson describes the use of these powers is brilliant, I can picture the action so clearly in my head. It’s taken me a while to familiarise myself with the many characters involved, but I’m half way through now and definitely into the pace of it all by now.

What I found weird was when I first started reading the book, I got the craziest feeling of deja vu, to the point I knew how the first chapter was going to end. I can only assume I started reading it years and years ago perhaps from my local library and never carried on further!

Anyway, I’ll be back sometime soon with a proper review once I’m done, but I am loving the book so far! Has anyone else read the Mistborn trilogy? What did you think? I’m hoping it doesn’t take me the entire year to finish, because I have a feeling I’m going to want to start book 2 straight away which is even bigger than the first…

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Book Review: Dark Matter, Blake Crouch

It sure has been a while since I wrote a post about a book I’ve recently finished! It’s not entirely because I stopped reading, either. I actually started reading the Mr Mercedes trilogy by Stephen King, and by the time I got to writing about it I was half way through book 2, and thought I may as well do a whole post for the trilogy at that point. While I attempt to put my thoughts on it into words though, I managed to whizz through another book in less than a week, and I loved it so much I couldn’t wait any longer to tell you about it!

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If you haven’t heard the name Blake Crouch, you might have heard of the TV Show Wayward Pines, based on a trilogy of books of the same name, written by, you guessed it, Blake Crouch! I’d like to read the trilogy at some point, but when I put my hit list together at the start of the year, Dark Matter was my Science Fiction pick. I’ve never read a Sci-Fi novel before so I was quite cautious, especially as I get quite baffled by the complexity of some Sci-Fi movies.

So what’s Dark Matter all about? Similar to Wayward Pines, the less you know the better, but I’ll fill you in as best as I can. Jason Dessen is an average, everyday man. He’s happily married to a beautiful wife, they have a Son together and live in a comfortable brownstone house in the city of Chicago. Jason had the potential when he was younger to be a brilliant scientist, and his wife Daniela was an aspiring artist, but they both had to give up their dreams when their child came along.

One night, as Jason is on his way home from a bar, he’s kidnapped, forced to drive to an abandoned warehouse, told to strip off and is attacked and injected with something that puts him out cold. He awakens in a laboratory filled with scientists congratulating him on his work. When he escapes, understandably confused, he realises the world he’s in isn’t his own. His home is there, but it isn’t his, Daniela is there, but she isn’t his wife.

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It’s that kind of book that grips you from the word go, thanks to this character Jason who is likeable and relatable in so many ways. Just when you think you’ve got a grip on what’s happening, the rug is pulled out from under your feet, and just when you think you’ve grasped the scientific elements to the story, something else is thrown at you that flummoxes you completely.

I was so hooked that I was reading every night until I quite literally fell asleep into my tablet screen!

I’ve since read that the movie rights have been bought, but nothing’s actually happened. I almost hope it stays that way. This book is far too complex to be packed into a 2-hour movie, but it would be fantastic to watch for sure. It would work so much better as a mini-series, something perhaps smaller than Fargo and a little bigger than The Night Manager.

Has anyone else read Dark Matter? What did you think?

Book Review: Velcro: The Ninja Kat by Chris Widdop

Today’s book review is a really exciting one for me to write. I don’t think I’m quite into the swing of how to actually review a book yet (heck, 3 years in and I’m not sure how to properly review a movie either) but when you’re blogging about something created by someone you actually know, that’s a pretty big deal!

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I may not know Chris Widdop, author of Velcro: The Ninja Kat personally, but I’ve been a follower of his blog ‘This is Madness!‘ for at least a couple of years now, and when you read someone’s views and thoughts for that amount of time, you definitely feel like you know them. I was over the moon when Chris emailed me and asked if I would be interested in reading and reviewing his novel, and he was kind enough to gift me the whole trilogy!

Set in the fictional Country of Widows, a military organisation called the Devil Corps aren’t what they seem, and are waging war against the citizens they swore to protect. Only the Ninja Kat is aware of this, and has been fighting against them for some time now, solo. To some, the Ninja Kat is a criminal, and the book throws us right into the action where the Ninja Kat is ambushed and injured by those who perceive the Kat as evil.

The Kat’s journey leads to a small village of hamsters who have been deeply affected by the Devil Corps. Their village has been destroyed, and several of the villagers have been kidnapped. On the Kat’s journey to rescue the hamster villagers, we as readers learn much more about this fictional world, the history of the Devil Corps, and the tragic history of the Ninja Kat, with plenty of twists and turns throughout.

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It’s amazing that Chris fit so much action into a relatively small novel, in fact, the pace never lets up. It’s a blessing and a curse, because I never managed to find a good point to stop, so I burned through the pages much faster than I normally would! The world that Chris has created is fascinating, and the characters all being animals opens up a great opportunity for creativity, which was seized at every opportunity. It’s a serious read, but I chuckled to myself when I read about the hamster’s style of armour, and the Kat’s reaction to bees.

I’m so glad now that Chris gifted me the whole trilogy, because although the first book has a very satisfying end, it also made me want to pick up book 2 straight away!

What I love the most about this opportunity is that The Ninja Kat isn’t the kind of book I would automatically pick up from a shelf, but I enjoyed every single page. So thanks Chris, both for giving me the opportunity to read your work and for opening my eyes to a totally new genre!

If you want to give the book a read yourself, I know it’s available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle formats, but Chris Widdop himself can be contacted through his official website http://www.velcrotheninjakat.com if you wanted to find out more.

P.S. Chris – your cat is gorgeous!

Book Review: Behind Closed Doors, B A Paris

It seems weird to say now, but a few years ago I had to be convinced that a tablet was something I needed in my life. Not in the medical sense, the electronic. I just didn’t see the point; I already had a phone, a laptop, a TV and a Kindle, I counted myself lucky enough and didn’t need another piece of technology in my life. Now, I don’t know what I’d do without one. I use mine every day for gaming, reading, watching, blogging, you name it, and during our house move it’s been my best friend.

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My whole house may have been in boxes, but my sofa was sat in the living room and I had my tablet, so all was well with the world. Anywho, I digress, what I actually want to tell you about today is the debut novel by the talented B A Paris, Behind Closed Doors. It was one of the 12 books I chose at the start of the year, and my messy handwritten notes tell me it was my ‘Psychological Thriller’ choice.

That was all I remembered when I started reading, and admittedly I almost gave up within the first 10 pages. It opens at a dinner party between couples, and our main character Grace is desperate for her husband’s approval with the three-course dinner she’s prepared for the guests. Ugh. What happened to cooking together? Then she gushes about how perfect her marriage with Jack is, and shares photos from their perfect Honeymoon abroad. Double ugh. I went back to read the blurb to try and work out what tempted me to read this in the first place, and then I realised.

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You see, the seemingly perfect marriage is the whole point of the story. Grace is always immaculately dressed, the house is spotless, and she loves her husband dearly. They go on holiday together regularly, and stay in the nicest hotels. You know what’s odd though? If you ever invite Grace out to lunch, she’ll either cancel last minute or turn up with Jack in tow. You’d like her number to keep in touch? Sorry, she doesn’t have her own mobile phone. Also, why are there bars on one of the bedroom windows? Why indeed!

For a book I thought was going to annoy me, I read Behind Closed Doors in record timing, for me at least. I just had to know what happened next. At 353 pages, it’s not the longest novel in the world, and you could easily read it over a weekend if you were so inclined. To tell you any more would be giving too much of the story away, but let me tell you, I’m sure I nearly passed out during the last few chapters because I was holding my breath, I was so tense.

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I think Behind Closed Doors could make a great movie too, without the need to cut much material. The dialogue would need some work, because on paper it comes across almost pantomime-like at times, a little over dramatic I think. Nonetheless, I would definitely recommend this book to you.

B A Paris is releasing her second novel, The Breakdown, later this year, and I’m quite excited to give it a read!