Strange Ink by Gary Kemble Review and Extract.

Title – Strange Ink

Author – Gary Kemble

Publisher/Published – Titan Books/October 2018

Genre – Fiction/Horror

Pages – 397

Summary from Goodreads

Spine-chilling horror in the vein of Joe Hill. After moving into a new house, journalist Harry Hendrick wakes up with tattoos that aren’t his…
When washed-up journalist Harry Hendrick wakes one morning with a hangover and a strange symbol tattooed on his neck, he shrugs it off as a bad night out. But soon more tattoos appear: grisly, violent images which come accompanied by horrific nightmares – so he begins to dig deeper. Harry’s search leads him to a sinister disappearance, torment from beyond the grave, and a web of corruption and violence tangled with his own past. One way or another, he has to right the wrongs.

My Thoughts

3 out of 5 Stars

I love the cover of this book and that’s what initially drew me in and then I read the description and thought it would be a book I would enjoy.

Unfortunately it wasn’t for me, I loved the premise of the plot but I found it slow burning and it took me ages to read the book. There were parts I enjoyed and there were parts I felt dragged out a bit.

I did like the main character Harry and I liked the progression of his character.

I did like the authors writing style and I would recommend people to read this because I feel like there are a lot of people that would enjoy this book.

Disclaimer – I received this book for free from the publishers in exchange for an honest review, this does not however affect my opinion.

Excerpt from the book

Extract 3

West End was buzzing, people coming alive as the temperature dropped ahead of the incoming storm. Harry climbed out of his car and negotiated a path down the pavement, past an eclectic collection of cafes, bars and grocery stores, to where Dave had parked. Suits sipped wine and imported beer, jostling for space with Gen Y hipsters slurping coffee and jabbing at their iPhones, and worldweary locals who’d seen it all.

West End Tattoo had a low-key shopfront. No gaudy artwork on the window, venetian blinds to discourage gawkers. Harry had walked past the place dozens of times without realising it was a tattoo parlour.

‘Now, when we get in there, let me do the talking,’ Dave said. ‘You don’t want to piss them off, okay?’

Harry was angry, but the anger was offset by a sickening feeling in his stomach. He was sweating, his heart racing. It wasn’t all the hangover, and he wasn’t scared of a looming confrontation. He had to ask plenty of hard questions in his job. Questions people would rather not answer. In his personal life he found confrontation harder to deal with, but he could still flip the ‘journalist’ switch if he had to.

The place looked just as foreign as every other time he’d passed it. So much so that as Dave pushed the door open, he knew what the result was going to be. No. No, we did not do that tattoo. Sorry, pal. A shrug. A see ya later. Which would leave Harry facing the prospect that he had been so bombed he actually went out of his way to get the tattoo. What else had he done, and couldn’t remember?

‘You okay?’

Harry jumped. Dave was staring at him.

‘Not really. None of this is familiar,’ he said, shaking his head.

The walls were covered in framed tattoo designs. On the far side of the small room a woman sat behind a counter. People were crammed in shoulder to shoulder on bench seating around the other three sides of the room. A young guy with bleached blond hair clutched an art folder. A woman with a pram flicked through a magazine. From the doorway behind the counter, tattoo machines buzzed. Stairs led up to the second storey, and Harry could hear more tattooing going on up there.

The woman behind the counter looked up. ‘Hey, Dave!’

The ring through the middle of her lip glistened when she smiled. She wore a vintage dress: red flowers on a cream background. Her hair was pinned up, revealing the art that cascaded from her neck down over her shoulders and under the fabric of her dress, before continuing out from under the sleeves and down her arms. Flowers, faces and intricate scrollwork.

‘Hey, Sian.’

She nodded at Harry. ‘Brought in a convert?’

‘Kinda. Um . . .’

‘I’ve already got a tattoo,’ Harry said. ‘I just don’t know how I got it.’

Dave seemed happy to let Harry do the talking, once he realised he wasn’t going to explode. When he finished the story, she shook her head.

‘Not ours.’

‘You haven’t even looked at it!’ Harry said, a little louder than he intended.

Sian’s lips set in a firm line. Dave touched her arm. ‘He’s a little . . . Things have been a bit fucked up lately.’

Her eyes flicked to Dave and her face softened a little.

‘Well, for a start, we’re not some 1950s dockside operation. We don’t open at night unless someone’s got an appointment. Even if we were open, we wouldn’t be doing walk-ins. There’s a two-month waiting list for most of the artists here. And even when we do walk-ins, we don’t tattoo people if they’re wasted. Too much grief for all involved.’

Harry blinked. The rising anger dissipated. Now he could feel a lump in his throat. Sian rolled her eyes.

‘Let’s have a look at it then,’ she said.

She came out from behind the counter, pushed Harry’s head forward a little more roughly than was necessary.

‘Hmm. I was gonna say you might’ve got it done at Stones Corner. But this doesn’t even look like it’s been done with a tattoo machine. The edges aren’t defined enough. Looks more like krob kru.’

‘What’s that?’

‘Buddhist monks in Thailand have a ceremony where they tattoo people using shafts of bamboo. Mix the ink with snake venom. It’s pretty full on.’

‘I think I’d remember that.’

‘Yeah. You’d think so, right?’

She let go of his shirt, and he turned to face her.

‘It’s weird though,’ she said, frowning.

Harry rubbed his neck. ‘Oh yeah? It gets weirder?’

‘Yeah. They’re not krob kru tattoos. I mean, it’s not a krob kru design. In fact, it looks kinda Persian.’

‘Persian?’

‘Yep.’

‘Don’t suppose you happen to know what it means?’

‘Um. Offhand, no. Sorry.’

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September Wrap Up 2018

This year is going so fast I can’t keep up with it. I had another average reading month and managed to read 7 books which I’m pleased about. So onto the books I read:

  • Brightly Burning by Alexa Donne – 4 Stars – 400 Pages.
  • The Secret Seven collection by Enid Blyton – 5 Stars – 500 pages.
  • Illustrated Version of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K Rowling – 5 Stars – 113 Pages.
  • Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie – 4 Stars – 265 Pages.
  • Binti by Nnedi Okorafor – 5 Stars – 96 Pages.
  • The Magicians Nephew by C.S Lewis – 5 Stars – 221 Pages.
  • The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S Lewis -5 Stars – 206 Pages.

There you have the 7 books I read in September. Hope you all had a great reading month and I’ll see you in a blink of an eye when October is over.

A Blade so Black by L.L McKinney Bookish Spotlight and Giveaway

Title – A Blade so Black

Author – L.L McKinney

Publisher/Published – Titan Books/September 2018

Genre – Fantasy, Retelling, Young Adult

Pages – 400

Summary from Goodreads
The first time the Nightmares came, it nearly cost Alice her life. Now she’s trained to battle monstrous creatures in the dark dream realm known as Wonderland with magic weapons and hardcore fighting skills. Yet even warriors have a curfew.
Life in real-world Atlanta isn’t always so simple, as Alice juggles an overprotective mom, a high-maintenance best friend, and a slipping GPA. Keeping the Nightmares at bay is turning into a full-time job. But when Alice’s handsome and mysterious mentor is poisoned, she has to find the antidote by venturing deeper into Wonderland than she’s ever gone before. And she’ll need to use everything she’s learned in both worlds to keep from losing her head . . . literally.

I am so thrilled to be a part of the Blog Tour for this book. Here we have a retelling of Alice in Wonderland. When I was asked by the publishers if I would like a copy and would want to be a part of the Blog Tour I had to say yes. I love Alice in Wonderland and I love retellings so win, win. What drew me in a was a line on the press release which said “What if Buffy had fallen down the rabbit hole instead?” And immediately I knew I had to read this. I am currently reading this just now and I’m loving it so far. And look at that cover it’s freaking amazing.

“Swords will shatter.”

“Hearts will break.”

“Heads will roll.”

So the publishers Titan Books have kindly given me 2 copies to giveaway. This is a UK/ROI only giveaway, sorry my international peeps. I will be posting my giveaway later today on my Instagram page, which is @literarywisdom so be sure to stay tuned for that.

Hope you enjoyed this post and I’ll see you all later for another post.

The French Girl by Lexie Elliot Review.

Title – The French Girl

Author – Lexie Elliot

Publisher/Published – Corvus / April 2018

Genre – Thriller, Mystery, Fiction

Pages – 296

 

Summary From Goodreads

They were six university students from Oxford–friends and sometimes more than friends–spending an idyllic week together in a French farmhouse. It was supposed to be the perfect summer getaway–until they met Severine, the girl next door.

For Kate Channing, Severine was an unwelcome presence, her inscrutable beauty undermining the close-knit group’s loyalties amid the already simmering tensions. And after a huge altercation on the last night of the holiday, Kate knew nothing would ever be the same. There are some things you can’t forgive, and there are some people you can’t forget, like Severine, who was never seen again.

Now, a decade later, the case is reopened when Severine’s body is found in the well behind the farmhouse. Questioned along with her friends, Kate stands to lose everything she’s worked so hard to achieve as suspicion mounts around her. Desperate to resolve her own shifting memories and fearful she will be forever bound to the woman whose presence still haunts her, Kate finds herself buried under layers of deception with no one to set her free.

My Thoughts

3 out of 5 Stars

This is a story about a group of six friends who spent a week in France, they met one of the friends Neighbours called Severine and at the end of the holiday she goes missing. Ten years later her remains are found and the story is about finding out what happened to her.
This was an enjoyable thriller that I read quite quickly once I got into it. However for me it was predictable and I guessed who it was from the get go. It was still an enjoyable read and I liked how the plot unfolded.
The ending for me wasn’t great, there were parts I liked but mostly I felt let down by the ending.
I would still recommend this to fans of thrillers because as I said it was an enjoyable read, but there were a few things that in my opinion could have happened differently that would have made it a 5 star read.

Disclaimer – I won a copy of this from readersfirst, this does not however affect my thoughts. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay

The Cabin at the End of the World

Title – The Cabin at the End of the World

Author – Paul Tremblay

Publisher/Published – Titan Books/June 2018

Genre – Horror, Thriller, Fiction, Mystery

Pages – 315

Summary From Goodreads

Seven-year-old Wen and her parents, Eric and Andrew, are vacationing at a remote cabin on a quiet New Hampshire lake. Their closest neighbours are more than two miles in either direction along a rutted dirt road.

One afternoon, as Wen catches grasshoppers in the front yard, a stranger unexpectedly appears in the driveway. Leonard is the largest man Wen has ever seen but he is young, friendly, and he wins her over almost instantly. Leonard and Wen talk and play until Leonard abruptly apologizes and tells Wen, “None of what’s going to happen is your fault”. Three more strangers then arrive at the cabin carrying unidentifiable, menacing objects. As Wen sprints inside to warn her parents, Leonard calls out: “Your dads won’t want to let us in, Wen. But they have to. We need your help to save the world.”

My Thoughts

4 out of 5 Stars

So I first came across Paul Tremblay’s work last year when I read A Head Full of Ghosts which was an amazing book. I was offered the chance to read this book so I jumped at the chance.

I went into this blind and I must say it was an intriguing read that I couldn’t put down, especially in the second half. This was a well thought out story and I really enjoyed the plot. The characters were all well written and I adored Wen.

There was a part in the book that totally broke my heart and I was left shocked, I couldn’t believe it. The ending slightly lacked for me and left me wanting more but I can understand why the author ended it the way he did.

Overall this was a great story that I would highly recommend and it has made me want to read more of Paul Tremblay’s work.

Disclaimer – I received a copy of this book from the publishers in exchange for an honest review, this however does not affect my opinions which are entirely mine. Thank you to the publishers for my copy.

 

August 2018 Wrap Up

Hey folks! Another months has come and gone and that means time for another wrap up. So I had a much better reading month and I read 7 books, so onto the books I read.

  • The French Girl by Lexie Elliott – 3 Stars – 296 Pages.
  • The Beast Within by Serena Valentino – 5 Stars – 215 Pages.
  • Poor Unfortunate Soul by Serena Valentino – 4 Stars – 208 Pages.
  • Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by J.K Rowling – 5 Stars – 652 Pages.
  • Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon – 5 Stars – 310 Pages.
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins – 4 Stars – 454 Pages.
  • Jane Doe by Victoria Helen Stone – 4 Stars – 267 Pages.

There you have it, all the books I read this month. How many books did you read? What was your favourite / least favourite book of the month?

Stay tuned for some reviews I have coming up.

Trenton Makes by Tadzio Koelb Review

Title – Trenton Makes

Author – Tadzio Koelb

Publisher/Published – Atlantic Books/ August 2018

Genre – Contemporary Fiction

Pages – 206

Summary from Goodreads
1946: At the apogee of the American Century, the confidence inspired by victory in World War II has spawned a culture of suffocating conformity in thrall to the cult of masculine privilege.

In the hardscrabble industrial city of Trenton, New Jersey, a woman made strong by wartime factory work kills her army veteran husband in a domestic brawl, disposes of his body, and assumes his identity. As Abe Kunstler, he secures a job in a wire rope factory, buys a car, and successfully woos Inez, an alcoholic dime dancer. He makes a home with her, but for Abe, this is not enough: to complete his transformation, he needs a son.

1971: A very different war is under way. The certainties of mid-century triumphalism are a distant, bitter memory, and Trenton’s heyday as a factory town is long past. As the sign on the famous bridge says, “Trenton Makes, the World Takes.”

The family life Abe has so carefully constructed is crumbling under the intolerable pressures of his long ruse. Desperate to hold on to what he has left, Abe searches for solutions in the dying city.

My Thoughts

2 out of 5 Stars.

Well this was such a disappointing read. When I read the blurb I immediately wanted to read this book. It had such an interesting premise but unfortunately fell flat for me.

The first half was not too bad and it did make me want to find out more but I just felt like the plot went no where. Like I said the premise was so promising but this just got boring so much so I skim read the last fifty pages. The story did get confusing and moved back and forth.

The book was only 206 pages but it took me four days to finish it and it felt like a chore. I do feel like there are people who will love this story but unfortunately it just wasn’t for me.