Category Archives: Books

Autumn Reading List 🍂 

Putzel (97)

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Yep, Autumn reading season and I can’t wait to get stuck in.

Inspired by new podcast What Page Are You On, I’ve purchased some new books and added them to a few I already had queued up. Now I just need some chunky knitwear and some slightly cooler evenings, and I’ll be good to go.

Here’s what I’m planning on reading:

Carrie

I added this to my pile because of a conversation had on WPAYO podcast. Alice and Bethany discuss how fat characters are/have been portrayed in literature, and the subject of Carrie came up.

Carrie White was apparently written as fat but has been represented in every screen adaptation as slim (because, Hollywood). I thought this was interesting, so I want to read it for myself.

Stephen King: On Writing

You’ll notice a pattern within this post, as this is the second of three books I was influenced to buy by the above mentioned source. On Writing has been on my radar for years and is meant to be a great read – now is as good a time as any, right? (Definitely having a SK revival/love-in after It, which I loved).

Dumplin’

This is a YA book but it sounds amazing and I’m looking forward to meeting Willowdean (AKA Dumplin’), a fat Texan teen who enters a beauty pageant to annoy her mother. Right? Break me off a piece of that.

The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye

I only learnt about this new release this week and snapped it up immediately. Another chance to spend time with Lisbeth? No brainer. Plus, Ms Salander’s currently in a prison situation, which sounds brilliant.

Nocturnal Animals

I enjoyed the film adaptation of this but the book is, as expected, much better. I have the last chapter to go but I’ve loved it so far. The story within a story framing is interesting, as we witness Susan Morrow reacting to her first reading of ex-husband Edward’s debut novel. The tale is dark, both in ‘real time’ and within Edward Sheffield’s book – and there’s something really pleasant about the writing.

This was on my Winter Reading List last year but I kept putting it off because I thought it would be too heavy and kind of dull. I was wrong.

What are you guys reading? Let me know!

On Reading IT for the First Time

I’m finally reading Stephen King’s IT. Yes, aged 39, I have finally decided to dip my toe in Pennywise the Clown’s rancid world.

Although, it should be said that I no longer have one foot poised precariously over the swamp that is the town of Derry. I am now fully submerged, head and all.

Stephen King’s novels were not part of my childhood. I’m quite sad about that, especially when I hear people I love talking excitedly about his stories and how they built a foundation for their love of horror during their formative years.

I was more of a Jackie Collins’ kind of girl, getting all my sex ed from Hollywood Wives. As I developed a love affair with books, my tastes became much darker and I read a lot of Dean Koontz, Shaun Hutson (Slugs, anyone?) – Stephen King style writers, basically. But not actual Stephen King. Where’s the sense in that?

I watched a lot of his films though (including 80’s IT) and maybe there’s a clue there. Maybe watching was easier for me, so I didn’t feel the need to pick up the paperbacks. I’ve corrected that in adulthood but I’ve still only read a handful. It was running joke in our house for years that Glynn would always ask me, “Have you read Pet Cemetary/Thinner/Dark Tower?” and I’d be all, “You know I’ve only read Needful Things.” Now I’ve added Rose Madder, The Shining, Doctor Sleep and almost IT to the list.

(So far I think IT is the most powerful, though I loved The Shining too. Oooweee!)

Back to this story though. IT is the tale of a maniacal clown sure, one who can manifest himself into anything horrifying that frightens a person (there’s even a shark in the novel, who swims serenely up the river past a terrified secondary character). It’s about a rotten to the core town where things turn evil and twisted, every 25 years or so.

But at its heart it is also about friendship, grief, letting your freak flag fly, overcoming fear and bullies – about getting out of an awful situation and then going back because you made a pact when you were twelve.

It’s about hope for a better day, one without evil. Man, sound familiar?

Movie-Cast-2017

I wanna be in their gang

This is not a review. I haven’t finished the book yet, and I dread the day I do. I’m 800 pages in and there are nearly 1400. It’s a wild, detailed terror ride, for real. Like, who knew your own imagination could be churned into such a frenzy by a few words?

I’m beside myself for the new film adaptation and Pennywise but more importantly, I can’t wait to meet the kids. I’m getting major Stranger Things vibes from the trailers, not least because of Finn Wolfcastle’s involvement. And that can only be a very good thing.

I can’t wait to hang out with Ben, Stanley, Mike, Big Bill, Richie, Beverley and Eddie again, and I haven’t even left them yet.

So, please excuse me while I go back to my book and my new friends. Damn I wish I’d known them when I was a kid.

Remember the curfew 🤡🤡🤡

I Let You Go (Book) Review

I-LET-YOU-GO-400x618px1mayBefore I begin this, please be aware that I’m going to *spoiler the fuck out of it*.

(Pardon my French).

It’s impossible to review without letting a few things slip and since the premise of this book is built on a twist, it’s really not fair of me to just put it out there without warning.

If you’re intending to read this book then don’t read this post. Or… read it after. You might want to talk about it.

My Review: 

5 year old Jacob is hit by a car and killed on the way home from school one afternoon and the driver fails to stop. Jacob’s mother holds him in her arms as he passes on, and her life will never be the same.

Blaming herself for the accident, she feels all eyes are on her, accusing her of neglect and eventually, she leaves her home in Bristol to escape the past.

Jenna chooses a secluded cottage on a cliff in Wales to deal with her past, where she builds a new life, a far different life to the one she knew.

Meanwhile, DI Ray Stevens is on the case with his protege Kate, who won’t let the case go, even when their original campaign yields no leads.

Will Ray and Kate unravel this complicated story and finally find the driver responsible for robbing Jacob of his life – and find justice for his mother? And will Jenna ever put her guilt behind her and be happy again?

Only one way to find out!

My Thoughts:

Reading this book has opened my eyes to the concept of the ‘trigger warning’ and I wonder more than ever before about when and where they should be placed. I mean, I get that it must be hard to warn readers when you’re presenting a thriller with a twist that most of them won’t see coming but honestly, I went into this book expecting something completely different and getting way more than I bargained for.

I don’t know if I was ready to read another book about spousal abuse. It left me feeling uneasy and yes, unlatched memories I wasn’t up for revisiting.

The abuse suffered by our protagonist is way more violent than anything I’ve experienced (luckily) but Jenna’s dialogue as she realises her relationship has gone bad but doesn’t know how to leave, the heinous things her husband says to her and the way she almost loses her family forever, is all too real to me.

My own experience of psychological abuse (and it is abuse) is way more subtle and therefore harder to accept when you’re in it (e.g. “I’m imagining it, aren’t I? Maybe he’s right, I’m being paranoid.”) – but it’s still abuse. I started to read these scenes and I was like “Great. Another fucking man ruining another fucking life!”.

The book is, of course, more than that. It’s fairly gripping; the initial story is heartbreaking and it’s written quite well (but not amazingly). You might find yourself rooting for Jenna, despite the horrible accident she’s supposedly caused. You might find yourself rolling your eyes at the predictability of DI Stevens, the detective assigned to solve the case, as he battles with his feelings for a young, pretty colleague (but of course!). You might find yourself getting irritated that his wife Mags is painted in such a dowdy 2D light, despite the fact that she was an even better copper than Ray, before the kids.

And you might click your tongue at the idyllic retreat Jenna takes herself on to escape the past. Windswept beaches, a rescue dog and wellington boots. Sounds perfect doesn’t it? And just how perfect is her love interest, Patrick? So far so Sleeping with the Enemy (1991).

I know these aren’t really criticisms, as such. Just that most women escaping domestic violence don’t have the luxury of escaping to the wilds of Wales, I guess. I don’t know what I expected of this book really, if anything but it didn’t give me anything new, or thought provoking. It just turned my stomach and made me feel angry in the second half, especially when the true culprit of all the terror gets his underwhelming just desserts.

Maybe I’ve just over-saturated my consciousness with thrillers lately, and much better ones too, like The Girl on the Train. I’ll think very carefully before I read another book in this genre, even though it’s one I’m generally attracted to.

Book details:

  • I Let You Go
  • Publisher: Sphere (7 May 2015)
  • ISBN-10: 0751554154
  • ISBN-13: 978-0751554151
  • Bought paperback (new)

The Girl in the Spider’s Web (Book) Review

The-Girl-in-the-Spiders-WebI promised a review of this book, as I’d got so excited on social media about the return of two of my all-time favourite literary characters and a few people echoed my euphoria. So here it is.

I’m going to keep things deliberately vague for two reasons: firstly, so as not to spoil the suspense, of which there is a lot. It’s a book about the underbelly of the Internet, Russian Mafia and Artificial Intelligence FFS, so it’s not giving anything away to say that the plot is steeped in intrigue. Secondly, it’s a little over my head if I’m honest. I’m average when it comes to the technical side of things, but there’s a lot of geek speak. However, I don’t think this will stop you following or enjoying it.

As you may, or may not know, the author of the original Millennium Trilogy (which I bang on about all the time), Steig Larsson passed away in 2004. With him went his sheer brilliance and also the fate of his super characters Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomvist. Partners in crime, or more importantly, justice.

It was depressing, once the final book had been finished and the last film viewed, to think that that was it. Our heroes’ stories fully told, never to evolve beyond The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, which was published posthumously in 2007. Whether Larsson ever had plans to give us more, I have no idea. (Actually, he did but those ideas have nothing to do with this story which is a bone of contention with Larsson’s long-term girlfriend, Eva Gabrielsson).

But then came The Girl in the Spider’s Web and author David Lagercrantz; and, just like that, Lisbeth is back – the most exciting news of all time?

I suppose the question on most people’s lips is, is it any good? Well you’ll have to read on to see what I think!

My Review: 

Blomvist is having issues at work. Sadly these aren’t just a bit of can’t-be-arsedness at the end of a day like the rest of us. The big bosses at Millennium are planning a shake-up in content and this might serious compromise Blomvist’s hard-hitting style.

He’s seriously pissed but just before he throws in the towel forever, a mysterious encounter piques his journalistic interest again. Has this got anything to do with the involvement of an aloof, yet brilliant hacker that may, or may not be his old friend, Salander?

The pair haven’t been keeping in touch, not even the odd postcard but Blomvist agrees to get involved in the curious case of Professor Balder, a scientist seriously concerned for his life, following the theft of some super valuable research.

Balder wants to tell Blomvist his story but things don’t go to plan and lots of drama ensues. The scientist, you see, isn’t just worried about his own life. He’s also fearful for the safety of his young son, August who is autistic.

Balder has been an absent father for too long, so he’s quit his job in the Silicon Valley, Cali. and headed back to Sweden to take responsibility for once. But can he get through to August? And what is this intriguing new skill of August’s? What does it all mean?! (All these questions!)

Meanwhile, Salander is stirring up shit on Darknet and pissing off a lot of people with her skillz. Blomvist optimistically reaches out to his old crime-solving partner but will she take the bait?

I really can’t tell you anymore. What I can say is that you’ll be back in touch with a lot of your old favourite characters; from Plague, the enormous hacker and Erika Berger editor-in-chief at Millennium and on-off lover of Blomvist to Holger Palmgren, Lisbeth’s former guardian and slightly bumbling Chief Inspector Jan Bublanski.

You’ll meet some new ones too, some of whom are terrible but brilliant villains. Gotta always love the villains.

My Thoughts:

This book, of course, has garnered a mixed bag of reviews. Some people just ain’t down for a Larsson substitute and I can totally understand that. However, I’m glad another author has been given the opportunity to bring my favourite character back to life.

I’d rather have some Salander than none at all and I feel like he understands her. She remains the same bad ass; driven and talented, hard as nails but also vulnerable with a moral compass that never ever wavers.

This time around we meet Camilla, Lisbeth’s sister and learn more about their fractious relationship growing up. We gain more insight into the tragic life of the girls and their mother, Agneta. I could never tire of Salander’s origin story or her further adventures, so all I can say is GIVE ME MORE.

There were points I was genuinely moved (one of Blomvist’s beloved colleagues sacrifices himself for the greater good and it’s heartbreaking).

I also had a real soft spot for August and his mother. Savant syndrome is a fascinating topic, one I knew nothing about. By the end of the book you’ll be desperate to see what becomes of the boy and his extraordinary gift.

And I hope, like me, that you’ll enjoy yourself along the way. Because life is so much better withThe-Girl-in-the-Spiders-Web-promo Salander in it.

My rating: 4/5 – not bad. The Millennium Trilogy gets 500/5 but this ain’t bad at all.

Book details: