Vox by Christina Dalcher #BookReview

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Silence can be deafening.

Jean McClellan spends her time in almost complete silence, limited to just one hundred words a day. Any more, and a thousand volts of electricity will course through her veins.

Now the new government is in power, everything has changed. But only if you’re a woman.

Almost overnight, bank accounts are frozen, passports are taken away and seventy million women lose their jobs. Even more terrifyingly, young girls are no longer taught to read or write.

For herself, her daughter, and for every woman silenced, Jean will reclaim her voice. This is only the beginning…

[100 WORD LIMIT REACHED]

amazon uk amazon com

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This book! Have you read it? Well if not, why haven’t you? It’s an incredible novel and it feels so friggin’ real (well for the most part but I’ll get to that later); it is actually a super scary thought that this world Jean lives in is something that could actually happen. 

From p. 370: “The only thing necessary for triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

The novel made me think a lot about the world I’m actually a part of and about this fictional one and I couldn’t believe how easy they made it sound to change the world in such a small amount of time. Even without any dead bodies (okay, maybe a few), it really got under my skin.

I was planning to not do this but it’s just inevitable, so yes I’ll have to bring up The Handmaid’s Tale. Vox is set in its own frightening world: one where women are not ‘surrogates working as servants’ no they can stay with their own family, if they’re married, but they really don’t have to talk too much. Shut your mouth is to be taken pretty literally in this novel. At least in Atwood’s novel the women could talk on stolen moments, there was solidarity and friendship. The world building in Vox (‘Vox’ being the Latin word for Voice) is very different even if the domination of women is the main goal in both novels. Women and girls can’t talk, or barely. What’s a hundred words? It means no bedtime stories to your children, it means not replying even when you know the other person is wrong or lying… Take away someone’s voice, take away the communication (reading, writing, nor signing is allowed either of course) and you isolate people, you make them docile. Those first two chapters really came in and I felt for Jean instantly.

Jean (or Gianna, both names are used because she’s Italian) isn’t just anybody though, she’s a linguist who did ground-breaking work in the field of brain repair. Now they suddenly come to her because they need her help. She doesn’t want to help but there are some incentives. I loved the dilemma’s she faced throughout the novel and one of the biggest was whether she would choose to stay or flee the country, leaving her family behind if it ever came to it. It might seem like an easy choice but it really wasn’t.

One of the most poignant storylines were the conversations she has with her daughter Sonia and her son Steven. Steven, aged 17, was subtly influenced through school and it was so disheartening and frustrating to hear him change. It was equally heart-breaking to hear how proud Sonia was of her achievement and how she is used to this reality. The world is all wrong and they’re too young to get it.

OK so the novel was brilliant, I’m sure you get it by now BUT the second part of the novel was the part with the blazing guns and the action so to speak. At one point towards the ending the author must have thought let’s crank it up a notch and see how crazy we can really make it. The whole thing with the monkey and that other dude was a bit nuts and I wasn’t really sure what the purpose was to be frank, I wanted to shout at them for being so dumb.

Honestly, I loved the concept and this was such a chilling and thought-provoking novel, a very impressive debut. Oh and lest you not forget: ‘We will not be silenced‘, damn right :-)! This review consists of 608 words and I’m not taking any of them back.

I received a free copy of this novel from the publisher, HQ publishing, in exchange for my honest opinion.

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What to do when you’re not reading: a bookworm’s hobby: making your own bookmark #cross-stitch

Bookmark

Hi everyone!

I was flipping through the pages of this old (French) magazine that I was about to throw out…

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… and my eyes fell on this bookmark of a cat! I love bookmarks and cats so I decided to spend a few hours making this.

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I had some spare aida count fabric (where you can really see the squares well enough but I’m sure you can do this on evenweave as well). Of course I didn’t follow the instructions (that would have been to simple) because I wanted to use that end bit that was already sticking out, so it meant I ended up with a much smaller design (I almost didn’t get the cat on it is what the truth is). So if you’re going to do this, follow the instructions, it’s like baking really. 

You have to fold the corners and stitch around with a thread the same colour as your fabric to prevent fraying.

Some supervision was necessary of course

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and not always helping…

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I just used some (Anchor) thread in different shades of grey that I kept from another cross-stitch kit. The design was ok but I hated the back-stitch (the contours) even more than usual because they made it in very small stitches and not using the big squares at all. I kind of freewheeled it a bit ;-).

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And there you go! I did another butterfly too in case you hadn’t noticed it.

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Now because it’s so ugly to see the thread on the back AND because you want your bookmark to hold up and not be flimsy, I inserted a piece of white cardboard (I don’t know why that wasn’t mentioned in the magazine!). It meant I had to open one side, slide it in and stitch it back again. Maybe it’s best to do the sides once you’re done with the design.

I was wondering if I should add something else on it, like my name or something bookish, like I’m reading or something, but I didn’t want to mess it up so I did another little project… I would make a bookmark with my name on it!

There were a lot of lettres in the magazine, each with a different style… but I preferred the last one.

Of course THAT’s the moment where you forget how to spell your own name. Gah!

I wasn’t too happy with the pink either so I decided to change to purple for the next word.

And it’s finished

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Bookmark 17

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So what do you think? Should I add a tassle on one of these to make it better? Would you have done anything different? Let me know in the comments. If you think I completely wasted my time (tell me something I don’t know) you don’t have to say so.

If you’re looking for more bookish hobbies, here are some other ideas I posted about in the past:

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day,

Inge

The Puppet Show (Poe #1) and Black Summer (Poe #2) #BookReview

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Hello hello !! I’m delighted to share my thoughts today on two novels!

If you haven’t started the first novel yet, you might as well get both of them at the same time because I highly recommend binge-reading this series! You know sometimes when you read a book in a series you like it but you still want to read something else in between novels, well I didn’t feel any of this, au contraire, I was very happy I didn’t have to say goodbye yet to Poe and Bradshaw and I wouldn’t have minded reading the next one (The Curator!) either. I’ll have to wait almost a year for that now, boohoo.

Anyway, I think you know what’s coming 😉 but here’s what I thought about both novels…

The Puppet Show (Washington Poe Book 1)

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A serial killer is burning people alive in the Lake District’s prehistoric stone circles. He leaves no clues and the police are helpless. When his name is found carved into the charred remains of the third victim, disgraced detective Washington Poe is brought back from suspension and into an investigation he wants no part of . . .

Reluctantly partnered with the brilliant, but socially awkward, civilian analyst, Tilly Bradshaw, the mismatched pair uncover a trail that only he is meant to see. The elusive killer has a plan and for some reason Poe is part of it.

As the body count rises, Poe discovers he has far more invested in the case than he could have possibly imagined. And in a shocking finale that will shatter everything he’s ever believed about himself, Poe will learn that there are things far worse than being burned alive …

amazon uk amazon com

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The Puppet Show is a superb police procedural novel! The storyline is very puzzling, with a serial killer at work who seems to want to deliver a message to Washington Poe.  Poe’s name is carved on one of the victim’s chests and Poe would hate me for it but god I just love it so much when there’s a personal score to settle. Anyway, Poe feels he doesn’t have much choice so decides to come back to work and catch the ‘Immolation Man’. I never even heard of the word before but then again this guy’s MO is also not so common in novels. I was super intrigued and very happy as well to have learned something new here.

What I really loved about this novel is that it follows the Hansel and Gretel principle (yes it’s my invention but I’m sure you know what I mean). The detectives follow a trail, not breadcrumbs but clues in this case, and one tip leads to the next and that leads to yet another revelation in the investigation and so on. It’s amazing how far you can get this way and especially where it takes you. If you look back and see what the first starting point was and the trail followed felt as if  it was going its natural course  then you know you have a great read in your hands.

The story in itself is disturbingly splendid and you’ll never be able to guess where the story will lead the detectives. Poe is a very likeable character and with Stephanie Flynn and Tilly Bradshaw he makes a great team. Bradshaw has a very high IQ, she’s a computer whizz and doesn’t know any social skills, and it feels like she’s on the spectrum to me, although it isn’t told as much. Even though they’re almost polar opposites Poe and Bradshaw appreciate one another for who they are, which results in a really great dynamic and it was a pleasure to see them together. I also loved Poe even more when he stood up for her, I’m all #teamPoe!

The story was dark and twisted but nobody needs to feel scared to read it. It’s disturbing like many other books that have some triggers in them but not horrific in my opinion and the killer’s motive was understandable. I was on the edge of my seat towards the ending and I really searched my memory for something I missed in the investigation but my mind felt empty, I couldn’t figure it out. Once it was revealed it all made sense of course but that’s how it always goes. The author still had a nice little cliffhanger ending up his sleeve to make you wonder about Poe’s personal life even more, so when you read this, you better have book 2 on the ready.

If you like police procedurals, you’ll want to read this one!

I bought a paperback copy of this novel. This is my honest opinion.

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Black Summer (Washington Poe Book 2)

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Jared Keaton, chef to the stars. Charming. Charismatic. Psychopath . . . He’s currently serving a life sentence for the brutal murder of his daughter, Elizabeth. Her body was never found and Keaton was convicted largely on the testimony of Detective Sergeant Washington Poe.

So when a young woman staggers into a remote police station with irrefutable evidence that she is Elizabeth Keaton, Poe finds himself on the wrong end of an investigation, one that could cost him much more than his career.

Helped by the only person he trusts, the brilliant but socially awkward Tilly Bradshaw, Poe races to answer the only question that matters: how can someone be both dead and alive at the same time?

And then Elizabeth goes missing again – and all paths of investigation lead back to Poe.

amazon uk amazon com

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‘We have a problem, Poe’. How I love to hear these words now!

I’m forever and more #TeamPoe now.

While I thought The Puppet Show was brilliant, I have to say this novel is possibly even better. The mystery is sooo big in this one! I loved every single page of this thrilling investigation.

Washington Poe has his work cut out in this novel, that’s crystal-clear from the start! A decision of the past is backfiring in an unbelievable way and now they’re coming after him. Don’t we all love to give our support to the underdog, especially if it’s someone as likeable and good as Poe? He had me in his pocket before he even explained the case or his decision to arrest the chef for murdering his daughter.

But did Poe really mess up? Did he help convict someone for murder, someone who’s innocent but spent the last 6 years in prison? And also one of the most intriguing questions that I really wanted to hear the answer to: can the dead become alive again? I only needed a second to answer that one, but something made me bite my tongue this time as everything points to the opposite as it were. Ah I don’t think there’s a single question more intriguing to explore! What a premise! And what a phenomenal execution too.

There were a lot of how’s and why’s in this novel and I loved how complex the case seemed once again. I also very much enjoyed the setting, the novel takes the culinary road this time and it was great to be immersed into the restaurant world. It was all quite interesting (except for the first chapter where someone eats a little bird in a disgusting way) and once again, it took Poe and Bradshaw to very unexpected places.

M.W. Craven has a brilliant mind. Not once but twice already he managed to overwhelm me with setting, characters and murders. The whole picture makes sense, everything in the plot fits. I also secretly love that the novels are a bit darker than usual, and that the murders are quite eh original. That’s all, I’ll let you all find out the rest for yourself :-).

If you enjoy police procedurals, you would be mad to miss this series! It really stands out from the rest and I for one can’t wait to read his next novel.

I received a free ecopy of this novel from the publisher via Netgalley. This is still my honest opinion.

The Scribe (A Kramer & Carver Thriller #1) by A.A. Chaudhuri #BookReview by #GuestReviewer @vanessaschelf

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I’m delighted to have Vanessa as a guest reviewer on the blog today! If you don’t know her yet, Vanessa lives in Belgium too. She’s not a blogger (yet) but definitely a bookworm and she’s always wonderfully supportive to lots of bloggers. Go and give her a follow on Twitter when you’ve got a second, but first, read her thoughts on The Scribe which she read via The Pigeonhole site.

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Making it as a lawyer has always been a cutthroat business.

But now that a sadistic serial killer is on the loose the consequences could prove deadly… A killer is targeting former students of The Bloomsbury Academy of Law. The victims – all female – are gruesomely butchered according to a pattern corresponding with the legal syllabus. Even more disconcerting are riddles sent by the killer to investigating officer, Chief Inspector Jake Carver, offering clues as to who is next and where they will die.

Up-and-coming lawyer Madeline Kramer, a former classmate of a number of the slain, soon finds her life turned upside down by the savagery. And when she decides to help Carver track down the killer, she places herself in mortal danger. Can Maddy unscramble the complex riddles, and save her own life and those of others destined to die?

A. A. Chaudhuri’s Ripper-like mystery, The Scribe, throws down a challenge even hardened crime thriller fans will be unable to resist.

amazon uk amazon com

Vanessa's Review

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The book starts with the murder of Sarah Morrell, fourth-seat trainee at Channing & Barton. She is killed in a meeting room of the law firm’s office buildings. The killer carved the word “contract” in her chest as a message. But what does this message mean and who is it for? Soon a second murder victim is found, inscribed with “crime” on the chest. It seems that a serial killer is on the loose. How many more victims will be found before the killer is captured? DCI Jake Carver and DC Ben Drake are tasked to solve these murders and catch this ruthless killer. The killer didn’t leave any forensic evidence so it won’t be easy. They get their first real and useful information from Madeline Kramer, a one-year-qualified litigation associate at Channing & Barton and colleague of the first victim. She also went to college with Sarah. After the second murder takes place, Maddy is being consulted again by DCI Carver and so she becomes a civilian consultant in the case. She really shouldn’t get involved, but she can’t help herself. She just has to help. And her legal knowledge really comes in handy. Her help is not appreciated by everyone though.

Although the first chapter gets you to the edge of your seat, a few chapters later the tension ebbs slightly away. Most of us pigeons fairly quickly found out the killer’s identity, but it didn’t bother me that much. We had our suspicions but they only got confirmed at the end of the book. So sometimes, you could start to doubt, or so I did.

Throughout the story some of my fellow pigeons thought that Maddy helping out in the investigation wasn’t realistic. I really don’t know how murder investigations are being done, but for me this wasn’t a nuisance. Actually, I enjoyed Maddy being part of it all. I found her very likeable, though a bit naive at times (but hey, aren’t we all sometimes?). I am curious about a second book in this series and would like to read more about a possible collaboration between Carver and Maddy. It’s an enjoyable, fictional summer read that won’t leave you bored.

To finish I would like to thank The Pigeonhole to give me the opportunity to read this great book. And of course a big bow to Inge to give me a chance as a guest reviewer on her blog! 

WWW Wednesday (03-07-2019)

WWW Wednesdays

WWW Wednesday is a book list hosted by Taking on a World of Words, and I’m happy to participate today.

The three W’s are:
What did you recently finish reading?
What are you currently reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

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What I finished reading:

I’m on the blog tour for this novel in August But. I. Could. Not. Wait. Any. Longer! And I’m so happy I didn’t wait because I absolutely loved this novel. The corporate setting was brilliant and fascinating and the time the characters spent in the elevator was quite entertaining. I highly recommend this one if you love a psychological, character-driven thriller 😉

The Escape Room by Megan Goldin 

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What I’m reading now:

I know I’m late to this party :-). I heard this novel is rather dark and hard-hitting, so this seems like a great read that I really don’t want to miss 😉

The Puppet Show by M.W. Craven 

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What I’ll (probably) read soon:

I read this author’s first two novels and loved them both so much that I vowed to read everything he writes. His previous books (Final Girls and Last Time I Lied) were very atmospheric and intriguing and I expect this one will be very creepy as well.

Lock Every Door by Riley Sager

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You’ve been offered a luxury apartment, rent free. The catch: you may not live long enough to enjoy it…

No visitors. No nights spent away from the apartment. No disturbing the other residents.
These are the only rules for Jules Larson’s new job as apartment sitter for an elusive resident of the Bartholomew, one of Manhattan’s most high-profile private buildings and home to the super rich and famous.

Recently heartbroken and practically homeless, Jules accepts the terms, ready to leave her past life behind.

Out of place among the extremely wealthy, Jules finds herself pulled toward other apartment sitter Ingrid. But Ingrid confides that the Bartholomew is not what it seems and the dark history hidden beneath its gleaming facade is starting to frighten her. Jules brushes it off as a harmless ghost story – but the next day, her new friend has vanished.
And then Jules discovers that Ingrid is not the first temporary resident to go missing…

Welcome to the Bartholomew…You may never leave.

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So that’s it, what are you reading this week? Share your link in the comments below so that I can come and take a look !

Forget My Name by J.S. Monroe #Blogtour #BookReview @JSThrillers @HoZ_Books

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I am delighted to by joining the blog tour today for J.S. Monroe’s gripping new novel, Forget My Name and I want to thank Vicky of publishing house Head of Zeus for the tour invite and sending a copy my way! I’ll share my thoughts about the novel in a minute but do take a look at this fabulous blurb first.

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You are outside your front door. There are strangers in your house. Then you realise… You can’t remember your name.

She arrived at the train station after a difficult week at work. Her bag had been stolen, and with it, her identity. Her whole life was in there – passport, wallet, house key. When she tried to report the theft, she couldn’t remember her own name. All she knew was her own address.

Now she’s outside Tony and Laura’s front door. She says she lives in their home. They say they have never met her before.

One of them is lying.

amazon uk amazon com

iBooks |Kobo | GooglePlay

Author

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J.S. Monroe read English at Cambridge, worked as a foreign correspondent in Delhi, and was weekend editor of the Daily Telegraph in London before becoming a full-time writer. Monroe is the author of six novels, including the international bestseller, Find Me.

Connect

Twitter : @JSThrillers

fB : @JSMonroeFindMe

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Blimey! I read a novel I’m not likely to forget soon. Forget My Name is a thrilling read and it has an excellent plotline involving amnesia. I was delighted to find it felt differently from other novels about memory loss and my mouth almost dropped when I realised what was the truth and really at the base of this novel. There’s so much more to it than I assumed at first.

To be honest, I don’t know if I would and I wonder if other people would really let someone in who turns up at their doorstep claiming to live there so quickly, but luckily Tony and Laura do, they open their door and let the woman on their doorstep in to get to her senses, and with that act of goodwill the story is well set into motion and will twist and turn continuously.

I loved all the guesswork in this novel and this time it wasn’t only me, everyone was trying to find out who the mystery woman was and the wildest assumptions were made making her the suspect of being a Russian spy to a ruthless killer or even a long lost family member. But which one is it? As a reader you just don’t know which path the story is going to take ultimately, everything goes and that makes it a brilliantly unpredictable novel. I couldn’t get a grip on the mystery woman either, who is named Jemma – with a J -. She seemed genuine enough but I did wonder occasionally if she really was all she seemed. She did seem legit and she definitely knew Tom and Laura’s house though. My thoughts were running wild, and then, when I thought I had finally figured it out, the author made my confidence waver and the situation turned out to be completely different than I had thought and the story took off on a second wave of even more questions about what was going on right there. I certainly wouldn’t place any bets when reading this novel, you might lose your money.  

I can’t really say more about this novel because it would spoil so much fun, but this one falls in the category of one of my favorite tropes, so of course I couldn’t contain a little shriek of contentment when I saw where this was going. I read similar novels about what ‘Jemma’ is going through before but I’d certainly recommend this one if anyone asks. The plot has lots of mystery and thrills and a deep dark secret too and the author has a brilliant way of writing about it. I had no idea where Forget My Name was going to take me but it still surprised me more than I had anticipated!

Follow the rest of the tour :

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Same book, different cover #11

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I’m back with 5 new book covers to pick and choose your favorite one. This is just for fun so there are no wrong answers! OK, I’ll go first, then it’s up to you:

The Doll Factory by Elizabeth Macneal

The Doll Factory The Doll Factory 02

I choose cover number 1. The second one is too bleak and I like how many details there are to discover in first one.

Last Woman Standing by Amy Gentry

Last Woman Standing 01  Last Woman Standing 02  Last Woman Standing 03

Hmm I’m not really sure. Not cover 1 but a difficult choice between 2 and 3. I think I’ll still keep 3, the cover I have. In reality the colour really pops and I kind of like it.

The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

The Flatshare 02   The Flatshare

Cover 2. I’m really not attracted to the first one and I don’t think I would pick it up if I saw it and didn’t know the novel.

Now You See Me by Chris McGeorge

Now You See Me 02  Now You See Me

Definitely cover 2! It’s just a nicer shade of blue and the yellow boat is an eye-catcher.

Degrees of Guilt by HS Chandler

Degrees of Guilt 02  Degrees of Guilt

Cover number 2! I love seeing this duality in a cover and I’m big on contrast so these very different sides make me even more interested. The first cover has been done before so the second one stands out more.Line

So that’s it. Tell me your thoughts! If you can’t get enough, check out Battle Of The Books #1 – #2 – #3 – #4 – #5 – #6 – #7 – #8 – #9#10#11

Also don’t forget to check out the Secret Library Book Blog where Nicki holds a book battle with some AUDIObooks 🙂