The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths @ellygriffiths @QuercusBooks #mustread #recommended #TheStrangerDiaries

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Author : Elly Griffiths
Title : The Stranger Diaries
Pages : 384
Publisher : Quercus
Publication date : November 1, 2018

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Clare Cassidy is no stranger to murder. As a literature teacher specialising in the Gothic writer RM Holland, she teaches a short course on it every year. Then Clare’s life and work collide tragically when one of her colleagues is found dead, a line from an RM Holland story by her body. The investigating police detective is convinced the writer’s works somehow hold the key to the case.

Not knowing who to trust, and afraid that the killer is someone she knows, Clare confides her darkest suspicions and fears about the case to her journal. Then one day she notices some other writing in the diary. Writing that isn’t hers…

| MY THOUGHTS |

It’s official! Elly Griffiths can do no wrong in my eyes and has found herself a spot on my list of go-to authors. You may be familiar with Elly Griffith’s fantastic Ruth Galloway series (which I really need to get caught up on) or her equally brilliant Stephen & Mephisto series (which I also really need to get caught up on) but The Stranger Diaries is a stand-alone gothic mystery thriller type of thing and it’s bloody awesome!

I was in one of the worst reading slumps I can remember ever being in when I picked up The Stranger Diaries. However, from the minute I started reading, I didn’t look back. There is just something about Elly Griffith’s writing that completely draws me in and I was hooked from the first page, as if a spell had been cast upon me.

It all begins when Clare Cassidy’s colleague and friend, Ellie, is found murdered. Clare is a literary teacher who specialises in the works of gothic writer R.M. Holland. His story The Stranger features heavily throughout the book and often made my spine tingle. And because a line from that story is found on a note near Ellie’s body, Clare swiftly finds herself on the list of suspects.

The story is alternately told through Clare, her daughter Georgia and a detective by the name of Harbinder Kaur. Elly Griffiths manages to give all these characters incredibly distinctive voices, which I felt was particularly evident when switching from the slightly creepy The Stranger narrator to Georgia, the teenager. Harbinder is one of those characters I didn’t particularly like for the longest time. But somehow she grew on me along the way and I always love how an author manages to do that.

This gothic mystery is intensely gripping. I wouldn’t necessarily call it creepy in the OMG-I’m-so-freaked-out-I-may-wet-myself kind of way but it is rather chilling and there is a sort of threatening vibe throughout, where you feel in your bones something is coming but you’re not sure what that will be.

Obviously I don’t want to give anything away. Suffice to say The Stranger Diaries is brilliantly written and oozes atmosphere throughout. This story is utterly engrossing and absorbing and I devoured it in one glorious sitting. I absolutely loved this one and whatever is next from Elly Griffiths, myself and my grabby hands will be right there at the head of the queue.

The Stranger Diaries is available to buy in ebook and hardcover format!

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Wordery

The Lingering by S.J.I. Holliday | @SJIHolliday @orendabooks @annecater | #blogtour #bookreview #TheLingering #RandomThingsTours #recommended

I’m absolutely delighted to host a stop on the blog tour for The Lingering by SJI Holliday today! Huge thanks to Anne Cater for the invitation to join and to Karen Sullivan at Orenda for the fabulous review copy!

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Author : SJI Holliday
Title : The Lingering
Pages : 300
Publisher : Orenda Books
Publication date : September 15, 2018 (ebook) | November 15, 2018 (paperback)

aboutthebook

Married couple Jack and Ali Gardiner move to a self-sufficient spiritual commune in the English Fens, desperate for fresh start. The local village is known for the witches who once resided there and Rosalind House, where the commune has been established, is a former psychiatric home, with a disturbing history.

When Jack and Ali arrive, a chain of unexpected and unexplained events is set off, and it becomes clear that they are not all that they seem. As the residents become twitchy, and the villagers suspicious, events from the past come back to haunt them, and someone is seeking retribution…

mythoughts

I don’t normally read scary stories because I’m a big fat wuss and I was slightly worried, that just like with scary movies, I’d be hiding behind my sofa or have my face buried in a pillow which would make reading rather difficult. Luckily though, I wouldn’t quite label this one as a scary read. Creepy? Absolutely! Chilling? Right to the bone!

The Lingering oozes atmosphere from the very first page, almost like a movie scene. Driving a car down a driveway, seeing a house loom up in front of you for the first time. Not just any house though for this place used to be a mental asylum and if there’s any setting more exciting than that one, I haven’t discovered it yet. Who knows what secrets are hidden in the walls and the shadows?

Married couple Jack and Ali leave behind everything they’ve ever known to move into Rosalind House and be part of a commune. It’s relatively obvious from the start that all is not well with these two. Their arrival at Rosalind House sets in motion a series of unexplained events. But who or what is responsible? Obviously I can’t tell you that but I will say this is one tense, suspenseful and thrilling ride. I wasn’t at all sure of the outcome, couldn’t see how things would end up but found the conclusion absolutely satisfying.

Part domestic thriller, past ghost story The Lingering had me absolutely hooked. Talk about a gripping read, hoo boy! I couldn’t get a feel for any of the characters at all which just added to this sense of unease that I found quite hard to let go of, even hours after finishing the book. On top of that, we are treated to diary chapters written by a doctor who used to work at the psychiatric institution and in an odd sort of way, those frightened me more than anything because they felt incredibly realistic and believable in showing what human beings are capable of.

The Lingering is one dark and disturbing read. With a brilliantly executed plot and complex characters, this haunting tale will linger (see what I did there?) in your mind for days. I have no doubt you’ll see this one pop up near the end of the year on my list of books of 2018.

PS : Do not read in the bathtub. You’ll thank me later.

The Lingering is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Bookdepository | Kobo | Wordery | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

S.J.I. (Susi) Holliday is a pharmaceutical statistician by day and a crime and horror fan by night. Her short stories have been published in many places and she was shortlisted for the inaugural CWA Margery Allingham prize with her story ‘Home from Home’, which was published in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine in spring 2017. She is the bestselling author of the creepy and claustrophobic Banktoun trilogy (Black Wood, Willow Walk andThe Damselfly) featuring the much-loved Sergeant Davie Gray, and has dabbled in festive crime with the critically acclaimed The Deaths of December.

Her latest psychological thriller is modern gothic with more than a hint of the supernatural, which she loved writing due to her fascination and fear of ghosts. She is proud to be one of The Slice Girls and has been described by David Mark as ‘Dark as a smoker’s lung.’

She divides her time between Edinburgh and London and you will find her at crime-fiction events in the UK and abroad.

Author links : Facebook | Twitter

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This Week in Books (October 17)

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Hosted by Lipsy Lost and Found, my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I’m reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words.

Last book I finished reading

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Ireland, 1901: For as long as six-year-old Cissy Ryan can remember, she has been a workhouse girl. Living amongst the other orphan boys and girls, dreaming of a family that might come and choose her for their own.

But the day her real mammy finally comes to claim her is not how Cissy imagined. An unfamiliar woman takes her to a tumbledown cottage in the rural Irish countryside to meet her gruff granddaddy. Settling into the isolated and poverty-stricken village is tough. But Cissy’s blossoming friendship with Colm Doyle and his horse Blue show Cissy the kindness and laughter is possible, even in the hardest of times.

As Cissy grows up, she finds that the world around her is ever changing. When she goes to work at prestigious Bretton Hall, she begins to realise that not everyone has an honest heart…

The book I’m currently reading

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Married couple Jack and Ali Gardiner move to a self-sufficient spiritual commune in the English Fens, desperate for fresh start. The local village is known for the witches who once resided there and Rosalind House, where the commune has been established, is a former psychiatric home, with a disturbing history.

When Jack and Ali arrive, a chain of unexpected and unexplained events is set off, and it becomes clear that they are not all that they seem. As the residents become twitchy, and the villagers suspicious, events from the past come back to haunt them, and someone is seeking retribution…

What I’m (probably) reading next

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It is 1868, and a 22-year-old Bram Stoker has locked himself inside an abbey’s tower to face off against a vile and ungodly beast. He is armed with mirrors and crucifixes and holy water and a gun – and is kept company by a bottle of plum brandy. His fervent prayer is that he will survive this one night – a night that will prove to be the longest of his life.

Desperate to leave a record of what he has witnessed, the young man scribbles out the events that brought him to this point – and tells an extraordinary tale of childhood illness, a mysterious nanny, and stories once thought to be fables now proven true.

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I may be a tad excited about my week. What are you reading this week? Let me know! Happy reading! xx