Reading Round Up – January 2020

2020 got off to a great start reading wise. I’ve read four fantastic books this month, here are my reviews:

Black Summer by M. W. Craven
Poe and Tilly are back in the follow up to The Puppet Show. Still socially awkward but determined to help Poe, Tilly sets about finding how something supposedly forensically impossible, has been made possible.

The case being investigated is complex but Craven, through Poe, takes you through it step by step. Poe’s friendship with Tilly really works, although you’d think it shouldn’t based on their different personalities and outlooks on life. They always have each other’s back though, and sometimes in funny ways.

Keaton is a great antagonist. Self absorbed and a narcissist, he thinks he’s covered all bases to protect himself, but he never banked on Tilly’s research and investigative talents.

Although not as emotive as The Puppet Shoe, I enjoyed this case just as much and look forward to number three.

 

The Whisper Man by Alex North
I like crime thrillers and I’m partial to a touch of the supernatural, and this book combines the two perfectly. There has been a lot of praise for this book so I began reading it hoping it would live up to the hype. It did.

The kidnap and murder of two young boys 20 years apart are leaving the police of Featherbank frustrated. They are struggling to do their job and have run out of leads. Tom and his son Jake move to Featherbank after the death of Jake’s mum, Rebecca. There is much about the village they don’t know about until a gruesome discovery is made.

Jake was my favourite character and the father-son relationship was well done. The little misunderstandings between them are realistic, as are both their uncertainties about their new life. Jake’s relationship with his imaginary friend gradually develops through the story until the significance of his ‘friend’ is revealed. This revelation is emotive as is the very end of the book.

An excellent thriller that has lived up to the hype and then some!

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Tilbury Talks To… John R. Cowton

Today, Tilbury Talks To… John R. Cowton. Welcome John. Please would you introduce yourself?

 

I’m retired from my career working in Mental Health as a registered nurse, but even during my busiest times, I have always managed to find time to read a book. I love the crime genre, but also enjoy historical fiction. I’m also an aspiring writer and am known to write the odd story or two when not reading, which isn’t very often.

 

 

What went through your head when you first decided to start your book blog?
I have been reviewing on Amazon and Goodreads for some time whilst struggling to keep a ‘writer’s’ blog going. I say struggling, because I had reached a point where I believed I had nothing more of value to say. I don’t think anyone can read a book and not have an opinion about it, so there was always something to say. It became clear that it was time to start again, so I started a new blog with a new name. There is a button on my new blog which links to my old blog for those rare occasions that I have something else to say. But, essentially, I have evolved into a book blogger.

 

What are the best and worst things about being a book blogger?
The best thing is I feel I am making a connection with the author of the book I have just read. I then try to let them know through social media or email that there is a review out there. The reaction is usually good. When a writer has given me great pleasure from what has been written, I would hope I have reciprocated by giving the writer pleasure with my positive feedback. If I didn’t like it there would be no review at all, because I don’t make claims to be a professional book critic. Just because I didn’t like what I have read, somebody else probably loves it, so who am I to assume the position of judge and jury. I’m just a reader who likes to give back.

The worst thing is when I doubt myself that anyone could be the remotest bit interested in what I have to say. I don’t mean the author, but other readers. Continue reading

Fiction in Cumbria

After living in Oxfordshire my whole live, Royal Navy service apart, I’m now about to move to Cumbria on the North West coast of England. The change of scene has got me thinking about the fiction that has been, and still is being, created in the area I’m moving to.

cumbria_map

 

One of the most famous authors to have lived in Cumbria was poet William Wordsworth (7 April 1770 – 23 April 1850) .William Wordsworth He was born in a village called Cockermouth and then later lived in Grasmere with his wife and children. His most famous collection of poems (The Prelude) wasn’t published until after his death by his wife, Mary. At the time, very little was thought of these poems, but since then they have been considered some of his best work. Visitors to the area can go to both the house he was born in, and the cottage he lived in as an adult. Continue reading

Fiction in Oxfordshire

Oxfordshire is an English county which is full of fiction. It is also where my upcoming novel, The Revelation Room, is set. I’d like to share with you some examples of other authors and fiction based in Oxfordshire:

Authors from Oxfordshire:

Authors-from-Oxforshire-image

– Agatha Christie is famous for Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot.

– C. S. Lewis wrote The Chronicles of Narnia.

– J. R. R. Tolkien is famous for the Lord of The Rings trilogy.

– Philip Pullman is well known for His Dark Materials.

– Griselda Heppel writes children’s fiction including Ante’s Inferno.

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Have Books Lost Something With Their Lack of Description?

There was a time when you couldn’t pick up a book without massive blocks of descriptive prose. It was an art form all of its own.These descriptions were seen to be adding more depth to the story and giving the reader more information about the characters and setting.

Modern writers tend to steer clear of vast expanses of informative, yet mostly unnecessary writing. In fact, authors have gone in the opposite direction, giving only what is needed to leave the reader to imagine the rest. There also tends to be less time given to journeys and the transition of time.The modern method seems to be to get there as quickly as possible and cut out the filler. Again, this works well for me as a writer and a reader Continue reading