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Tuesday, 23 May 2017

THE FALLEN CHILDREN by David Owen

The Fallen Children has one cover design but 360 different colourways. Each one is numbered from 1 to 360 on the spine. The colour you receive will be completely random.

Young people on the Midwich Estate don't have much hope for their futures. Keisha has lived there her whole life, and has been working hard to escape it; others have just accepted their lot.
But change is coming...

One night everyone inside Midwich Tower falls mysteriously unconscious in one inexplicable 'Nightout'. No one can explain what happened during those lost hours, but soon afterwards Keisha and three other girls find they're pregnant - and the babies are growing at an alarming rate.

As the news spreads around the tower its residents turn against them and the situation spirals toward violence. Keisha's life unravels as she realises that the pregnancy may not have just ruined her hopes for the future: she might be mother to the end of the world.


I have to admit that I've never read The Midwich Cuckoos, but I have seen The Village of the Damned, so I do have a clue about the main story elements tying into this book. And I was very interested in checking it out.

The Midwich Tower houses a lot of people. The kinds of people society sometimes forgets. The kinds of people who constantly face economic struggles. The kids are judged even more harshly than the adults, because no one expects them to have an actual future.

Yet, the night when everyone inside the tower falls asleep at the same time, something weird happens. Most have no idea what happened but soon after, three teenagers and one woman find out they're pregnant. Someone--or something--violated the four and they suddenly find themselves facing the consequences, as well as the judgemental residents who know something weird has happened and fear the girls. After the babies are born and grow unnaturally fast, the fear soon turns to anger. If these four are going to survive they'll have to stick together, which isn't as easy as it sounds when they face so many internal and external obstacles...

Yikes. This book hooked me in from the very beginning. As soon as the story starts, the ominous feeling creeps through and doesn't stop until the very last word.

The story is told in the alternating POV of Keisha, Siobhan, Maida and Morris. Each teen gives the story its own perspective and delves deep into how this is affecting each one individually and as a group.

Keisha has tried so hard to be a good student, by distancing herself from her friends, to hopefully escape a dead-end future. Morris can't catch a break, has borrowed money from dangerous people and desperately wants to get back with Keisha. Siobhan doesn't trust that Keisha won't bail out on their friendship again and hates the predicament she's now in. Maida has very strict and religious parents she wants to defy and escape, and maybe this is her chance.

While I enjoyed all the POVs because they help round out the story so well, my favourite was Keisha. She tried so hard to become more than everyone expects and is doing so well, but the universe has other plans for her. Plans she never expected or wanted, but link her to the others deeper than she ever imagined.

I loved how the realness of everyone's living standards, and the daily pressures they put up with, is balanced out by the bizarre events that change all of their lives. The children are super creepy but I also felt sorry for them. None of what happened is their fault, or their mothers' fault, but circumstance forces them to play their part to survive.

The Fallen Children is a fast-paced, often violent, yet always intoxicating story. I struggled to put it down because I just had to know what was going to happen next. The air of mystery throughout kept me turning the pages because I couldn't get enough. It's part contemporary, part SciFi, part supernatural, and totally awesome.

Oh, and the design I received was 131/360, which is the blue cover.

I can't help but wonder if there's going to be a sequel...


The Fallen Children, May 2017, ISBN 9780349002699, Atom

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Thinking Ideas


Last week I posted this tweet:


While that's totally true, shortly after posting it, I realised that since my daughter went back to school several weeks ago, I haven't started writing anything new. Asides from book reviews, that is.

So, I decided to write a blog post.  :)

The main reason why I haven't gotten stuck into anything new is because I've got a bunch of ideas, thoughts, scenes, characters, etc. crowding my brain. At the same time. 

Unfortunately, when that happens, I get so cluttered that I can't settle on a single project because I want to write EVERY STORY RIGHT NOW. o.O And of course I can't. It kinda sucks, but it's all part of my process. And I'm not going to stress about it.

Instead, I've been filling my days with reading, writing reviews, sorting and real-life stuff. But I also pulled out my Idea Folder and Idea Notebooks, to start combing through the most immediate and loud ones. The weird thing is, that one of the strongest is a newish idea that hit me upside the head a few weekends ago. Bizarre, but true.

I'm actually having a good time picking out names, inspirational pics, researching and taking notes for the two loudest ideas. I also pulled out my Moleskine planner and made a rough plan about what to work on and when. It's flexible, but if I write down my goals, it'll at least help me stay focused on one particular project at a time.

I'm just happy that the ideas keep coming. Even if they try to overwhelm me, having to sort through a bunch of them is better than not having any at all.

Have a great weekend!


Tuesday, 16 May 2017

THE LANGUAGE OF DYING by Sarah Pinborough


Tonight is a special terrible night.

A woman sits at her father's bedside, watching the clock tick away the last hours of his life. Her brothers and sisters - all broken, their bonds fragile - have been there for the past week, but now she is alone.

And that's when it always comes.

The clock ticks, the darkness beckons.

If it comes at all.


I'm a big fan of Sarah Pinborough's writing. She certainly has a way with words and knows how to spin an addictive tale so well the reader gets pulled into the thick of things and can't stop until the very last word.

I was very excited about reading this one, and thanks to Hachette Australia, I did. :)

When the father she's caring for is so close to death that it feels like a dark shadow consuming the house, she knows she has to call her siblings. They deserve the chance to say their goodbyes and see their formerly robust father one last time. But inviting them back into their family home also rouses a lot of memories.

Some memories are good and somewhat coloured by the innocence of childhood. Others are peppered with pain. And most hold some sort of sadness. But she relives everything one last time, knowing that their father's death might also be the end of their family...

Wow. This book is dark. Heartbreaking. Emotionally beautiful. Uncomfortable. And so very raw.

The narrator's struggle is so vivid that by the end, I felt like I'd always known her. For a book so enriched in sorrow and grief, it sure is wonderful. Because beneath the darkest of thoughts, the many tragic actions, and the heavy bereavement, is a thread of magic. A little magical promise that no matter how strange and dangerous and bleak everything might seem, a sliver of hope is also possible.

The Language of Dying is a very powerful story about family, memories and what life does to people. Sarah Pinborough took a very sad and awful subject and turned it into an unforgettable experience. Every single word in this novella is vital and brings the reader closer to the inevitable, whimsical conclusion.

BTW, this hardback edition is very nice.

As expected, I thoroughly enjoyed another one of this author's books.

*looks for more titles to read*


The Language of Dying, February 2017, ISBN 9781782067542, Jo Fletcher Books

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

MY SISTER by Michelle Adams

My name is Irini. I was given away. 
My name is Elle. I was kept. 

 All her life Irini thought she was given away because her family didn't want her. What if the truth is something worse? 

Two sisters. Two separate lives. One family bound by a harrowing secret. 


I'm a sucker for an intriguing psychological thriller, so of course I wanted to read this. Especially since that cover is so freaky.

Irini lives in London with her boyfriend. She's a doctor, currently working as an anaesthetist in a hospital. Her life isn't exactly comfortable or happy or good, but she survives. When her estranged sister--the one she's managed to avoid for six years--calls out of the blue to tell her their mother has died, she can't resist her. And just like it has every other time Elle has tracked her down, Irini's life is thrown into turmoil.

Elle is older, pretty, demanding and unstable. She's the one her parents kept. And has come in and out of Irini's life for years, always bringing along a mix of excitement, belonging and violence.

Irini isn't going to Scotland so she can pay her final respects to a mother she hardly knew, she's going because she wants to finally get answers to the questions that have always haunted her: why was she sent off to live with her aunt and uncle when she was three? And why didn't her parents want her?

Soon after arriving at the family home to find a detached father and staff obviously keeping secrets, she settles back into the toxic relationship she's always had with her sister. What she didn't expect was to stumble on explanations that run deeper than she ever imagined...

Yikes. This story is all kinds of messed up. It was seriously screwed up.

These two sisters are so toxic together that I found myself constantly cringing, and hoping that Irini would just forget about the past and leave that suffocating old house. But of course, she doesn't. She can't.

Pretty much every character in this book is somehow damaged. From the parents willing to do the unthinkable to protect their child, to the townfolk passing silent judgement, to the boyfriend so determined to break down the emotional walls between them, and even the man she meets via Elle. But the most damaged of all are the Harringford sisters.

Irini, with her constant need to find out the truth and always putting herself down about her disability. Elle, with her despicable cruelty masking something much darker. These two were awful together, and just as bad apart. I despised every bit of page time spent with Elle because she was so cruel and horrible. Her words cut deep into her sister, but she didn't seem to care. Also, although Irini was interesting, she still managed to get on my nerves a lot. Her passiveness is too much. She takes shit from just about everyone and shuts herself off from anyone trying to get close. While I totally understood why, it drove me crazy how she gave up so easily.

Actually, the story did get a bit frustrating in some sections because it takes quite a while for everything to be revealed. Plus, it's sometimes hard to watch how easily Irini lets her sister lead her down a dark and hurtful path. Still, it's a good book because no matter what, it kept me glued to the page.

My Sister is a tense and very disturbing psychological thriller that keeps the reader interested until the truth starts becoming clearer, and there's no denying what's going on. Although some of the twist does become obvious early on, it's still worth discovering everything else at the same time as Irini, because there are several unexpected surprises.

Yep. This is definitely a creepy story.


My Sister, April 2017, ISBN 9781472236586, Headline

 
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