March/April/May – one book a month … pathetic really!

Not a big reading quarter this time. Too much time spent watching Netflix. But what I did read was quality!

Thank you to Siri Pettersen, Arctis, and NetGalley for an advanced reader copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

A Norwegian writer. A translated book. And what a book it is!

From beginning to end I was in love with this book.

As fantasies go, this one is right up there with the best (IMO), and that’s saying something because it’s YA, and I don’t usually like YA, but this time I did. I really, REALLY did.

Picture this …. cozied up on the couch, snuggly blanket over knees, cute wee dog tucked into feet, fire flickering away, book in one hand, Maltesers in the other. Bliss, yes? Then picture the next morning, eyes red, lipstick askew, shoes on the wrong feet, different earrings in each ear, racing down the motorway yelling at every m___ f____ to get the hell outa my way!

That was me after staying up all night reading Odin’s Child.

OK, I may have exaggerated a weeeeee bit, but you get my drift. The book is good, DAMN good, and if you love a read where you can truly lose yourself in another world, another place that tantalizes and fascinates at every turn, then this is the book for you.

600 stars out of 5

The Burning Girls has been popping up all over my feed for weeks, so it was inevitable I was going to read it at some point. I heard it was tense, chilling, terrifying even. I was sold.

I was also disappointed.

If there was tension there, I didn’t feel it. No chills or shivers down my back. I wasn’t even on the edge of my seat. Not once. But I DID enjoy the book. Immensely.

I would liken it more to a dark, modern-day Agatha Christie with a light sprinkling of the Vicar of Dibley thrown in for good measure. More mystery than thriller, though I can’t help but feel this is more down to C J Tudor’s writing style than the story itself. That doesn’t mean I don’t like her style. On the contrary. I love it.

The story itself IS chilling. Without giving anything away, the idea that the terrible things in this book can and DO sometimes happen in real life is enough to chill you to the bone. But the lightness with which the book was written didn’t give me any sense of foreboding. Quite the contrary.

There were many movie references from my youth that made me smile in this book, none more so than The Lost Boys which was a favourite of mine growing up. As did the quick wit of Reverend Jack Brooks. I believe C J Tudor grew up in Nottingham. I myself grew up in Salford, and while one is northwest England and the other, eastern midlands, I could still feel my roots leeching from the pages. It was as good as any Corrie fix I’ve ever had (something us ex-pats tend do a lot), and the fact that I couldn’t help but picture Geraldine Granger as Reverend Jack only made it that much better.

I’d love to see more of Reverend Jack, in different locations with a different mystery to solve each time. Maybe even a TV series with Dawn French as the Rev? Just the thought makes me want to cozy up in front of the fire and tune in.

5 fantastic stars out of 5

Thank you to Matt Witten, Oceanview Publishing, and NetGalley for an advanced reader copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

The Necklace was at times difficult to read, with subject matter that most would find upsetting. And I’ll admit, there was once or twice where I was particularly nauseated and considered quitting the book altogether. But I’m glad I stuck with it, because The Necklace is about so much more than just the terrible crime that was committed.

That said, it was a slow start, arduous in parts, and as characters go, I found Susan (the main character) to be particularly irritating. I struggled to empathise with her in the beginning, even when the unthinkable happened, and most of the time I wanted to slap her face. But that woman, despite her self-loathing and serious lack of confidence, just wouldn’t give in, and it was that that made me read on.

As the story moved along, albeit at a slow pace, I found myself really rooting for Susan. Not because of what she’d been through, and was STILL going through, but because she persevered. Despite the self-doubt and the never-ending obstacles as the world unfairly conspired against her, she dug her bloody heels in and never gave up. And I loved that about her. So much so that by the time I was half-way-in I couldn’t put the book down.

The Necklace is a really good book, hard in parts, but with a hugely satisfying ending, and if you can look past the subject matter, then I definitely recommend a read.

4 sickening stars out of 5

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