Book Review: The Other People by C. J. Tudor

Name:  The Other People
Author:  
C. J. Tudor
Number of Pages:
416 (Hardback)
Published:
January 23rd 2020 by Michael Joseph
Genre:  Thriller, Mystery

Goodreads

She sleeps, a pale girl in a white room . . .
Driving home one night, stuck behind a rusty old car, Gabe sees a little girl’s face appear in the rear window.
She mouths one word: ‘Daddy.’
It’s his five-year-old daughter, Izzy.
He never sees her again.
Three years later, Gabe spends his days and nights travelling up and down the motorway, searching for the car that took his daughter, refusing to give up hope, even though most people believe that Izzy is dead.
Fran and her daughter, Alice, also put in a lot of miles on the motorway. Not searching. But running. Trying to keep one step ahead of the people who want to hurt them.
Because Fran knows the truth. She knows what really happened to Gabe’s daughter. She knows who is responsible. And she knows what they will do if they ever catch up with her and Alice . . .

My Rating:

My Thoughts:

Gabe has lost his family. They’re apparently dead, but in the case of his daughter Izzy, Gabe is convinced she has been taken and may still be alive so devotes his existence to trawling motorways in search of the car he believes her saw her in.
Fran and Alice also travel the motorways, running from something. There’s an air of strangeness almost from the very beginning with young Alice and her fear of mirrors and what happens when she looks in the mirror.
Katie works at one of the services that Gabe frequents.
These characters cross paths eventually and seemingly unconnected threads are gradually drawn together…

The opening hints at something strange straight away, an unknown girl, alone, sleeping, surrounded by medical equipment. There’s something eerie about it. Who is she and what has happened to her? I enjoyed the way this narrative ran throughout, suggesting something slightly out of the ordinary alongside the thriller unfolding.

All these lives and more are drawn together in an intriguing tale of grief, revenge, justice and the price to be paid for past events, and the lengths people are willing to go to when faced with great wrongs done to them and their family.
It’s fraught with tension and suspense and watching it unfold, twist after revelation after twist meant I didn’t want to put the book down. I can’t remember the last time I read something as quickly as I did The Other People. It’s a thriller with a slightly creepy, mysterious air. Something perfect embodied by the enigmatic Samaritan. As his name suggests he’s there to help Gabe. Or is he? There’s so much going on in this book and it kept me guessing throughout. I don’t want to say too much more and risk spoiling this for anyone!

The Other People is a great thriller with a slightly fantastical element that I very much enjoyed.
This was my first C. J. Tudor novel and at the end there’s a short intro to her next novel. That brief glimpse has definitely caught my interest, and I also think I’ll try to find time for one of Tudor’s previous novels.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books With Single-Word Titles

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.  Click on the link for more info and to find out about future topics.

This weeks theme is:  Books With Single-Word Titles


When I first saw this topic I thought it would be tough, then suddenly I had a moment of inspiration and titles came to me.  Apparently I can’t stick to ten titles so I’ve divided this into books I’ve read and titles I’ve yet to read.

Read

Dracul by Dacre Stoker and J. D. Barker – I’m reading this tale of vampires at the moment and it’s so good! Speaking of which, I can’t not give a place on this list to…

Dracula by Bram Stoker

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon – I really enjoyed the story of Claire and Jamie and I hope to get back into this series. I’ve kept up with the tv show but I’d still like to read the books.

Adrift by Rob Boffard – I haven’t read much sci-fi but this story about a group left stranded on a ship after an attack made me think it’s a genre I should try more often.

Twisted by Steve Cavanagh – This thriller lived up to it’s name, delivering many twists and turns before the truth was revealed.

Sleep by C. L. Taylor – A thriller about a women who goes to work at a hotel on a remote Scottish island and finds anything but peaceful as it turns out there may be a killer in the midst of the guests.

Transcription by Kate Atkinson – The story of Juliet, who is recruited by the Secret Service. I’d never read anything by this author before and I really enjoyed this.

Cell by Stephen King – A strange incident involving mobile phones turns people into zombie-like monsters. This story follows a group of survivors as they try to stay safe.

Uprooted by Naomi Novik – Agnieszka and the Dragon. Remembering this book almost makes me want to give it a re-read!

Yet to read

Tomorrow by Damian Dibben

Wakenhyrst by Michelle Paver

NOS4A2 by Joe Hill

Misery by Stephen King


So, have you read any of the books that made my list this week?  If so, what did you think of them? See you again next time for another Top Ten Tuesday.

Book Review: The Poison Song (The Winnowing Flame #3) by Jen Williams

Name:  The Poison Song (The Winnowing Flame #3)
Author:  
Jen Williams
Number of Pages:
576 (Paperback)
Published:
May 16th 2019 by Headline
Genre:  Fantasy

Goodreads

From Jen Williams, three-time British Fantasy Award finalist, comes the electrifying conclusion to the Winnowing Flame trilogy. Exhilarating epic fantasy for fans of Robin Hobb.
Jump on board a war beast or two with Vintage, Noon and Tor and return to Sarn for the last installment of this epic series where the trio must gather their forces and make a final stand against the invading Jure’lia.

My Rating:

My Thoughts:

What an ending, what a trilogy! The Winnowing Flame trilogy concludes in The Poison Song, the epic final chapter in the saga of Sarn and the ongoing fight against the monstrous Jure’lia. The threat these invaders pose has been faced but not extinguished forever, and so the band of heroes and their war-beasts must pull together one final time to try and save their world from a terrible fate.

The Poison Song is populated with so many great characters, both human and war-beast, and they’re all unique and memorable. There were memories of the past, of the way these characters first met, and you realise how far they’ve come.
I love Vintage. A scholar at heart and utterly fearless and newly bonded with Helcate, one of the war-beasts. Vintage is never one to run from a battle or leave those she loves. I could read a whole trilogy just featuring Vintage and her adventures.
I enjoyed learning of Noon and her past, the extent of her power and the devastating consequences of using it. The revelations about the fell-witches and the origins of the winnowfire they can wield to such devastating effect was fascinating and takes the book in another new direction. There are many as yet undiscovered threads developed throughout the story.
And then there’s Tyranny and Windfall, Aldasair, Bern and Agent Chenlo. So much going on. All the love and heartbreak and life that these characters experience and in the end must fight for made this a great read. Whether love, friendship or family, the bonds between these characters pulled together at first through chance or circumstance have really developed along the way.
And I can’t write this without mentioning at least some of the wonderful war-beasts once more. Helcate, Kirune, Sharrik, and of course Vostok, all play their part in the final battle. I love how each war-beast is such an individual character, and the way they’re all joined as a team but have a special bond with their rider.

And of course, there must be an enemy. We’ll get them out of the way next because the Jure’lia are skin-crawlingly hideous with their black oozing fluid, their intent to varnish the land until there’s nothing left alive, the burrowers and the Spider-mothers, urgh. A fearsome foe and hard to defeat as they’re a massive force all linked together. They work as one, having no understanding of what it is to be an individual.
Under the ruthless and methodical guidance of Hestillion, they have more organised approach to their ambush, and Hestillion will not stop until her plan is complete.

The final battle is long, fierce and thrilling to read as the viewpoints switch between various characters and locations. It’s fought in the sky as the war-beasts take on the threat from the Behemoths, on the ground, with Jure’lia monsters of all shape and description consuming all before them, and each chapter is fraught and tense as that awful feeling crosses your mind – ‘are all my favourite characters going to make it through this, or have they finally met a threat they cannot repel?!’

What more can I say about The Poison Song? It’s the perfect conclusion to a trilogy that I’ve enjoyed from the very beginning. The world, the characters, even the awful Jure’lia enemy, they’re all unforgettable and if you’re looking for a series that delivers love, heartbreak, humour, battle, friendship and everything else in between The Winnowing Flame might be one for you.

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Book Hangovers

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.  Click on the link for more info and to find out about future topics.

This weeks theme is:  The Last Ten Books That Gave Me a Book Hangover


The book hangover, for me it’s that feeling of finishing a great book and just not quite being ready to leave the world and the characters behind.
Here are some book hangover-inducing reads I’ve enjoyed…

Stoker’s Wilde by Steven Hopstaken and Melissa Prusi – One of my recent 5 star reads and I still haven’t stopped thinking about it yet. Can’t wait for the sequel!

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern – A book about books and stories, and magic and mystery and so many other things. I was engrossed throughout and kept thinking about The Starless Sea afterwards.

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon – A vivid world, some memorable central characters and a variety of dragons. Great stuff!

The Institute by Stephen King – This one has stayed in my mind even though I’ve read quite a few books since. The situation that Luke and his friends at the Institute found themselves in was awful, but the way they responded and dealt with things made this an exciting read.

A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World by C. A. Fletcher – A unique tale with a wonderful central character, this one stayed in my mind long after I put the book down.

The Poison Song by Jen Williams – A great conclusion to the Winnowing Flame trilogy. I didn’t want it to end but at the same time I couldn’t put it down.

The Autumn Republic by Brian McClellan – I didn’t want the Powder Mage trilogy to end but in this book it reached a great conclusion, and some of the characters went on to appear in the Gods of Blood and Powder trilogy, of which I’ve read two books so far. Which brings me to…

Wrath of Empire by Brian McClellan – This is the second book in the Gods of Blood and Powder series. I haven’t yet read the concluding book, Blood of Empire, but am really looking forward to it to find out how this trilogy will end.

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie – The eerie atmosphere, the isolated setting, the murder mystery, I loved it all.

The Girl With All The Gifts by M. R. Carey – A post-apocalyptic tale that I couldn’t put down. Melanie and Miss Justineau were such great characters and their adventures gave me a great page-turning experience.


So, have you read any of the books that made my list this week?  If so, what did you think of them? See you again next time for another Top Ten Tuesday.

Top Ten Tuesday: Love Freebie

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.  Click on the link for more info and to find out about future topics.

This weeks theme is:  Love Freebie


I’m looking at covers again for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday ‘Love Freebie.’
Sometimes, I’ll be browsing the bookshop/library shelves and a really striking cover is the very first thing to catch my attention and make me want to find out more about a book.
Here’s a selection of (more than ten!) lovely covers (linked to my reviews in case anything catches your eye) for this love-themed week on Top Ten Tuesday…


So, have you read any of the books that made my list this week?  If so, what did you think of them? See you again next time for another Top Ten Tuesday.

Book Review: Stoker’s Wilde by Steven Hopstaken and Melissa Prusi

Name:  Stoker’s Wilde
Author:  
Steven Hopstaken and Melissa Prusi
Number of Pages:
384 (Paperback)
Published:
May 30th 2019 by Flame Tree Press
Genre:  Horror, Fantasy, Historical

Goodreads

Years before either becomes a literary legend, Bram Stoker and Oscar Wilde must overcome their disdain for one another to battle the Black Bishop, a mysterious madman wielding supernatural forces to bend the British Empire to his will. With the help of a European vampire expert, a spirited actress and an American businessman, our heroes fight werewolves, vampires and the chains of Victorian morality. The fight will take them through dark forests in Ireland, the upper-class London theater world and Stonehenge, where Bram and Oscar must stop a vampire cult from opening the gates of Hell.

My Rating:

My Thoughts:

Stoker’s Wilde unites Bram Stoker and Oscar Wilde in a thrilling quest to prevent London falling under the power of the enigmatic Black Bishop, an adversary intent on unleashing dark forces upon the world. Werewolves, vampires, and a rivalry and mutual dislike that could come between our two protagonists – heavy odds indeed. I think our duo will need some help…

The pair join forces with a vampire expert and the wonderful Henry Irving, an actor in residence at the Lyceum Theatre in London, who gives Bram a job as his theatre manager. Ellen Terry, an actress in the company, and Bram’s wife Florence also play their roles, and there’s also ill-fated Lucy. I loved these characters, especially Henry Irving.

The story unfolds by way of letters, journal entries and archive documents which makes for an immersive and varied reading experience – from a one page letter to several journal pages recounting incidents of derring-do. The journals and letters especially give unique voice to each of the main characters as we’re privy to their inner thoughts. The same incident may be recounted over a number of different sources, and watching it come together is intriguing.

I loved the voices of both Stoker and Wilde, who initially seem to have a mutual low opinion of each other, which only intensifies when Bram ends up marrying Florence.
For all the gothic horror, which is wonderful throughout the book, there are moments of genuine humour, usually centred round the way Bram and Oscar view each other despite events continually throwing them together as allies.

The story blends horror, humour and wit, with two wonderfully engaging protagonists and reluctant allies and a wide supporting cast of heroes and villains which make this a great read.
The conclusion I’ve drawn is that I’d love to go adventuring with Messrs Stoker and Wilde. Guess I’ll just have to wait for… Stoker’s Wilde West. Seriously. Go check out the premise for the next novel. The Wild West? Vampire gunslingers? And the return of the great duo of Stoker and Wilde. Sounds like one to watch out for.

 

Top Ten Tuesday: 5-Star Reads?

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.  Click on the link for more info and to find out about future topics.

This weeks theme is:  Books On My TBR I Predict Will Be 5-Star Reads


5-star reads, I had two last month, which was a lovely reading surprise, and now it’s time to look ahead at my massive TBR pile and select books I think may also become 5-star reads for me…

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow – I love the sound of this, and I’ve seen many great reviews. It also has a gorgeous cover, not that you should let that influence you, but it does! You could say I’m looking forward to starting this.

Dracul by Dacre Stoker and J. D. Barker – A Dracula prequel that I’ve been wanting to read for a while now. I hope after all this time it turns out to be worth the wait.

The Poison Song by Jen Williams – The final Winnowing Flame book. I’ll be sad to see it end but I also can’t wait to get back to this world and these characters.

The Other People by C. J. Tudor – A new-to-me author and if I enjoy The Other People I’ll probably check out some of Tudor’s earlier books as well.

The Guest List by Lucy Foley – The Hunting Party was good, and the synopsis for this gives me And Then There Were None vibes, so it could be great. I like a good murder mystery! Speaking of which…

Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie – I’d like to read this before the new film version comes out, and see if I can work it out before Poirot no doubt solves the case. It will be a first if I do, but I never mind being wrong.

Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz – A murder mystery with a bookish theme too. Sounds good!

Circe by Madeline Miller – Another beautiful looking book that’s been waiting on my TBR pile for far too long.

The Dirty South by John Connolly – I’ve only read the two latest Charlie Parker books but I want to read more of the backlist titles and I’ll be looking out for this latest as well.

Blood of Empire by Brian McClellan – Final book in the Gods of Blood and Powder series. I’ve enjoyed the previous in this series, and the Powder Mage trilogy, so I really hope this latest offers a great conclusion.


So, have you read any of the books that made my list this week?  If so, what did you think of them? See you again next time for another Top Ten Tuesday.

Top Ten Tuesday: Cover Version

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.  Click on the link for more info and to find out about future topics.

This weeks theme is:  Book Cover Freebie


For this week I’m keeping it fairly straightforward – here is a rainbow of pretty book covers for your enjoyment! I’ve added links to the ones I’ve reviewed just in case anything catches your attention and you want to find out more.

           

           

           

Time’s Convert by Deborah Harkness

The Outsider by Stephen King

A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World by C. A. Fletcher

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

Someone Like Me by M. R. Carey

Adrift by Rob Boffard

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

The Institute by Stephen King

The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden

Taken at the Flood by Agatha Christie


So, have you read any of the books that made my list this week?  If so, what did you think of them? See you again next time for another Top Ten Tuesday.

Book Review: Hercule Poirot’s Christmas (Poirot #20) by Agatha Christie

Name:  Hercule Poirot’s Christmas (Poirot #20)
Author:  
Agatha Christie
Number of Pages:
272 (Kindle)
Published:
Published December 15th 2003 by William Morrow Paperbacks
Genre:  Mystery

Goodreads

In Hercule Poirot’s Christmas, the holidays are anything but merry when a family reunion is marred by murder — and the notoriously fastidious investigator is quickly on the case. The wealthy Simeon Lee has demanded that all four of his sons — one faithful, one prodigal, one impecunious, one sensitive — and their wives return home for Christmas. But a heartwarming family holiday is not exactly what he has in mind. He bedevils each of his sons with barbed insults and finally announces that he is cutting off their allowances and changing his will. Poirot is called in the aftermath of Simeon Lee’s announcement.

My Rating:


My Thoughts:

Time for another mystery with the great detective Hercule Poirot. I’ve read a few of the Poirot novels now, and picked this one up during the holiday season as it seemed the perfect choice.

Simeon Lee has invited his family home for Christmas. Sounds great, and yet the old man has apparently done it only to cause friction amongst his family, and the mention of a will and the prospect of alterations to said will almost guarantee he won’t feature in the tale for long.

Sure enough, he meets a swift end and there are plenty of suspects and truths to uncover. Lucky then that Poirot is on hand to offer assistance in the matter.

Hercule Poirot’s Christmas offers up a locked room murder mystery with a cast of characters harbouring secrets and resentments, and trying to work out whodunit was as usual part of the enjoyment reading this novel. One day I will actually come to the right conclusion, but so far it hasn’t happened. The red herrings and twists really kept me (wrongly) guessing.

I’m still enjoying discovering the Golden Age mysteries of Agatha Christie and am looking forward to choosing my new Poirot novel to read.

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Most Recent Additions to My Bookshelf

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.  Click on the link for more info and to find out about future topics.

This weeks theme is:  Ten Most Recent Additions to My Bookshelf


Time for my first Top Ten Tuesday post of 2020, and an opportunity to glance at my shelves in search of potential future reading. By ‘shelves’ I’m going for a mixture of actual shelves and upcoming books that I’ve managed to request from the library, so they’ll be on my shelf within the next few weeks or so, hopefully!

The Guest List by Lucy Foley – The description of this puts me in mind of And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie, so I can’t wait to read it.

The Other People by C. J. Tudor – An author I’ve seen mentioned often and yet I’ve never read any of her books. I like the sound of this new book so will check it out.

The Poison Song by Jen Williams – The library finally have a copy of the final book in the Winnowing Flame trilogy. I enjoyed both previous instalments and can’t wait to find out how it ends.

Another Agatha Christie novel – I’m slowly reading more Christie and I have a few books that could feature here, especially the Poirot stories.

Dracul by Dacre Stoker and J. D Barker – I have a couple of vampire-themed books to read, and this one has appeared in many TBR-type posts before.

Stoker’s Wilde by Steven Hopstaken and Melissa Prusi – And here’s another vampire-themed novel, I think. Bram Stoker and Oscar Wilde join forces to tackle supernatural forces.

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow – I can’t wait to start this one having seen so many good reviews for it.

Highfire by Eoin Colfer – Dragons! This one sounds like is might be quite a funny read so I’m looking forward to something a little different.

Something by Terry Pratchett – The Good Omens tv series is responsible for me wanting to discover the works of Terry Pratchett. I watched that, then read the book, which I really enjoyed, and now I keep eyeing the Discworld books. I just can’t decide whether I should start at the beginning or choose one of the series within the series.

? – What have I missed? I’m certain there are many other great books that I need to add to my shelves.


So, have you read any of the books that made my list this week?  If so, what did you think of them? See you again next time for another Top Ten Tuesday.