Title: The Jump
Author: Doug Johnstone
Publication Date: August 9th, 2016
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Fiction
My Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Links: Amazon . Goodreads
Struggling to come to terms with the suicide of her teenage son, Ellie lives in the shadows of the Forth Road Bridge, lingering on its footpaths and swimming in the waters below. One day she talks down another suicidal teenager, Sam, and sees for herself a shot at redemption, the chance to atone for her son's death. But even with the best intentions, she can't foresee the situation she's falling headlong into — a troubled family, with some very dark secrets of their own.
The Jump is a hugely moving contemporary thriller, and a stunning portrait of an unlikely heroine.
I received an eARC of The Jump from Faber&Faber in exchange with an honest review.
This book was released last year in th e UK, but this blog tour is for the US rerelease of the book.
This is my very first Doug Johnstone book, and honestly I am very impressed with The Jump.
This is a book that will give you something to think about with every chapter you finish ! I was hooked right after finishing the first chapter.
The writing style is one of those things that matter to me the most, and I enjoyed the one in this book. It wasn't what I usually loved, which is "Pretty & Metaphoric", but rather " Smooth & Fast Flowing" . This suits the storyline perfectly.
There is nothing better than an intriguing plot, and fast flowing writing style.
Smooth & Fast flowing writing, doesn't mean that the description was plain and boring. This is a story that needed so much emotional description, and it doesn't lack that.
I really enjoyed reading The Jump.
I give it 4.5/5 stars.
Doug's writing process
Every book comes to life in the same way (at least they have so far, and I’m halfway through a first draft of my ninth novel and I don’t see any sign of the pattern ending). Before I begin a first draft, I spend a couple of months planning, plotting and making notes.
I say “making notes,” but the process is a lot more haphazard than that suggests. To begin with, it’s really just scribbling stream of consciousness guff — ideas about themes, characters, settings and so on. Usually all of this is swirling around a central “inciting incident” — a hit and run, a missing person, a suicide. Gradually over the weeks, things begin to coalesce into something more tangible, and at the same time, stuff starts to appear on the walls above my desk.
For a start there are pictures. Photographs of locations along with images of people who fit the physical characteristics of my characters. There is always an Ordnance Survey map of the area where the action takes place. So for my latest book, The Jump, I had a huge map of the river Forth, stretching from Fife over to Edinburgh, with all the little islands scattered about, and of course the bridges that span the water, the structures that are such an integral part of the story.
Also, at some point, a writing schedule makes its way onto the wall. How many words need to be written by which dates. I rarely stick to it, but it’s motivation enough to keep going. I also have a list of major plot points, and on my desk I have a more detailed scene-by-scene list. Some of these scenes are very fleshed out — typically the beginning and final scenes — but some of them have very little detail, leaving room for whatever pops into my brain at the time of writing.
And still more stuff winds up on the wall. There’s usually a ‘Don’t Forget’ list — a compilation of themes, subplots, character relationships and so on that I want to keep in the loop. Writing a novel feels a lot like keeping all these plates spinning in the air, and this list is my reminder to give each particular plate a little spin every now and then.
And then finally, just before I launch into the first draft, a single sheet of A4 goes up with motivational crap on it. This has grown over the years, each new book seemingly inspiring a new piece of advice for myself. And seeing as how I’m revealing all my writing method secrets here, I’ll end here with what was on my wall when I wrote The Jump. Whether it will mean anything to anyone else is open to debate, but I leave you with it anyway. Enjoy!
LESS IS MORE
SHOW, DON’T TELL
NEVER APOLOGIZE, NEVER EXPLAIN
INCREASE THE CONFLICT
AS EXTREME AS POSSIBLE
EVERY WORD MUST JUSTIFY ITS EXISTENCE
About the Author:
Doug Johnstone is a writer, musician and journalist based in Edinburgh. His fourth novel, Hit & Run, is published by Faber and Faber on March 15th 2012. His previous novel, Smokeheads, was published in March 2011, also by Faber. before that he published two novels with Penguin, Tombstoning (2006) and The Ossians (2008), which received praise from the likes of Irvine Welsh, Ian Rankin and Christopher Brookmyre.Doug is currently writer in residence at the University of Strathclyde. Hes had short stories appear in various publications, and since 1999 he has worked as a freelance arts journalist, primarily covering music and literature.He grew up in Arbroath and lives in Portobello, Edinburgh with his wife and two children. He loves drinking malt whisky and playing football, not necessarily at the same time.
Title: The Darkest Lie
Author: Pintip Dunn
Publisher: Kensington Publishing
Publication Date: June 28th 2016
Genre: YA, Mystery , Contemporary
Links: Amazon . Goodreads .
My Rating : 5/5 stars
“The mother I knew would never do those things.
But maybe I never knew her after all.”
Clothes, jokes, coded messages…Cecilia Brooks and her mom shared everything. At least, CeCe thought they did. Six months ago, her mom killed herself after accusations of having sex with a student, and CeCe’s been the subject of whispers and taunts ever since. Now, at the start of her high school senior year, between dealing with her grieving, distracted father, and the social nightmare that has become her life, CeCe just wants to fly under the radar. Instead, she’s volunteering at the school’s crisis hotline—the same place her mother worked.
As she counsels troubled strangers, CeCe’s lingering suspicions about her mom’s death surface. With the help of Sam, a new student and newspaper intern, she starts to piece together fragmented clues that point to a twisted secret at the heart of her community. Soon, finding the truth isn’t just a matter of restoring her mother’s reputation, it’s about saving lives—including CeCe’s own…
My Review :
I received an eARC of The Darkest Lie from JenHalliganPR in exchange with my honest review .
This is my first Pintip book to read; honestly , I wasn't disappointed .
The writing style perfectly entwines with the plot of the story. It will keep you on your toes, anticipating to flip every single page to unravel the mystery .
I really liked the topics that Pintip discussed in this book . It is more than just suicide . There are things that I can not mention without spoiling the book, but I can tell you this. It includes topics that many authors choose to stay away from , and refrain from discussing it.
The Darkest Lie made me stay up till sunrise to finish it, just because I couldn't bare the idea of sleeping without knowing how the story ends.
This is one of the 3 books that helped me overcome my very long reading slump, so there is that !
I really enjoyed The Darkest Lie, and I can't wait to read more of Pintip's books.
I give this book 4.5/5 stars.
About the Author:
Pintip Dunn graduated from Harvard University, magna cum laude, with an A.B. in English Literature and Language. She received her J.D. at Yale Law School, where she was an editor of the YALE LAW JOURNAL. She also published an article in the YALE LAW JOURNAL, entitled, “How Judges Overrule: Speech Act Theory and the Doctrine of Stare Decisis,”
Pintip is represented by literary agent Beth Miller of Writers House. Her debut novel, Forget Tomorrow, is a finalist in the Best First Book category of RWA’s RITA® contest. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, Washington Romance Writers, YARWA, and The Golden Network.
She lives with her husband and children in Maryland. You can learn more about Pintip and her books at www.pintipdunn.com
Title: The Henderson Harbor Killings: Summer Shack 2
Author: Kelli Landon
Publication Date: August 21, 2014
My Rating:4/5 stars ( B)
Revenge doesn’t come with an expiration date.
Before Summer Shack (A Killer Vacation), Cynthia Barnett was a classmate and neighbor of Burt Whitehead’s.
Graduating from Birchville High in 2000, she was known as the girl who got away. She was frowned upon for hanging with Burt’s bullies, but she held her own against the ridicule they put him through. The story leading up to high school graduation is told through Cynthia’s eyes.
The Whiteheads lead a very different lifestyle. Burt tries to live his own life while dealing with his dominating mother, Vera. Rumors of Vera’s missing husband as well as the child abuse afflicted upon Burt, don’t make life easy for him. While working up at the Henderson Harbor lighthouse, Burt practices his revenge in ways he learned from his mother and another relative. His crimes rock Door County as he takes to the Internet to lure in his victims. Burt Whitehead’s story makes up Part Two of The Henderson Harbor Killings.
I received Summer Shack Prequel from the author Kelli Landon in exchange with an honest review.
You don't have to read Summer Shack: Book 1 to enjoy this. This is a Prequel, not a sequel.
Revenge does not come with an expiration Date.......Intriguing right??
I absolutely loved this; the way the author build up the case of Burt, who was a normal kid and turned into a psychopath is literally amazing.
During this huge transformation, you get to sympathize with Burt and get creeped by him at the same time.
You get to observe his swinging emotions until they are completely destroyed.
So there was a lot of character Building in this book.
However,I kind of did not buy his final switch into a complete killer.There was just too much killing going on.
This is just a minor thing that I did not like; other than that, I really enjoyed Summer Shack 2 with the mystery and the thrilling, and sometimes kind of terrifying, cold events.
I give it 4/5 stars and a B according to my own rating scale.
Make him pay, Bayley. Make him pay.
It’s as if the wooden chest is luring me, urging me to open it – daring me almost. Open me up. Look inside. Come on, just for a second; it won’t hurt.
Celina O’Malley was sixteen years old when she disappeared. Now, almost forty years later, Bayley is sleeping in Celina’s room, wearing her clothes, hearing her voice. What does Celina want? And who will suffer because of it? A ghost story. A love story. A story of revenge.
I received this book from Switch Press via NetGalley in exchange with my honest review.
Portraits of Celina is an intriguing story with elements of Mystery and Supernatural events that will keep you guessing what actually happened.
The dialogue between Oliver and Bayley is hilarious . I had a ridiculous grin glued to my face while reading them.
Although I kind of correctly guessed the mystery, it was still interesting knowing exactly how it happened. Besides, I had at least 3 more guesses, which shows how the author skillfully diverts your thoughts throughout the book.
A great read with the theme of everything is not what it seems, which includes burying your burdens, secrets, lies and much more.
I really enjoyed reading Portraits of Celina and I am interested in checking out more of Sue Whiting's Novels.
I gave this book 4/5 stars and a B according to my own rating scale.
Author: David Lapham Tt h
Title: Murder Me Dead
Publication Date: January 30th, 2002
Genre: Graphic Novel, Comics, Mystery
My Rating: 2/5 stars ( D+)
Hanging from the ceiling fan in their lavish Hollywood home. That's where Steven Russell finds his estranged wife, a tear-stained note in her pocket pouring out years of pain and regret. Is it suicide?
This comic is influenced by the old times and the old movies. It focuses
on human traits such as being naive, curious, abusive, abused, in love,
selfish,and much more.
In my opinion, the author has failed to show these characteristic in a proper way.Most of the reactions to certain events were unrealistic.Even the most naive person would wake up after being showered with lies for like a zillion times.
I did not like the characters. They seemed to show how second chances should be a really REALLY fresh start. You can't go from not caring to absolutely loving in one day and continue to be that through out the long run. Change is supposed to come over time accompanied with a some screw ups!
And then the mystery of a murder that no one seems to actually investigate. One group thinks that only one person did it, the others think that it was a suicide. I did not see any investigations happening or suspects being questioned . Is not this supposed to be a murder mystery.
Then comes the big ending; I honestly have no idea what that was supposed to mean.I did not understand what the ending was supposed to explain. If someone did, please help me understand the ending.
Now, speaking of the illustration, I think it was good. I like the drawings
and scene building. However, there were sometimes conversations that were not very clear. I am not sure if it was done on purpose or just a mistake.
I gave this book 2/5 stars and a D + according to my rating scale.
Title: The Maze Runner (#1)
Author: James Dashner
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: January 1st, 2014
Genre: Science Fiction, Post-Apocalyptic, Dystopian, Ya
My Rating: 5/5 stars ( A + )
"If you ain't scared, you ain't human."
When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He's surrounded by strangers--boys whose memories are also gone.
Outside the towering stone walls that surround the Glade is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It's the only way out--and no one's ever made it through alive.
Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying.
This is not your typical Ya Dystopian book!This is a mind blowing,exciting, terrifying, action packed read; All in just one book.
The world building in this book is phenomenal. I was able to visualize such a creative place and enjoy every single description from the moving walls of the maze to the creepy and dangerous Grievers .In other words, the vivid imagery is beyond being Epic !
The story was not particularly told from Thomas's point of view, but the entire story revolves around him; as in, we always see what he sees. I really liked character building of almost everyone. From curiosity to fear to hate, this book shows you, no, makes you be in the character's shoe of emotions.
Although it took me a while to get into the story, The Maze Runner turned to be a fantastic read with both great writing and an amazing plot.
Many people found the slang language used annoying;however, i really enjoyed it. They only use a couple of slang words !Some of these slang words often have a funny origin, adding the element of humor to the book.
I give this book 5/5 stars and an A+ according to my own rating scale.
Title: The Panopticon
Author: Jenni Fagan
Publication date: April 22 2014
Genre: Adult Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
My Rating : 1/5 stars ( D- )
Anais Hendricks, fifteen, is in the back of a police car. She is headed for the Panopticon, a home for chronic young offenders. She can't remember what’s happened, but across town a policewoman lies in a coma and Anais is covered in blood. Raised in foster care from birth and moved through twenty-three placements before she even turned seven, Anais has been let down by just about every adult she has ever met. Now a counterculture outlaw, she knows that she can only rely on herself. And yet despite the parade of horrors visited upon her early life, she greets the world with the witty, fierce insight of a survivor.
Anais finds a sense of belonging among the residents of the Panopticon—they form intense bonds, and she soon becomes part of an ad-hoc family. Together, they struggle against the adults that keep them confined. But when she looks up at the watchtower that looms over the residents, Anais realizes her fate: She is an anonymous part of an experiment, and she always was. Now it seems that the experiment is closing in.
My Review :
The plot of this story is definitely intriguing as it focuses the lens on events that could surprisingly be a true reflection on what happens in reality. It discusses issues that one would not easily find in other books.
I thought that this was going to be a YA read, but i came to realize that not every book with a teenage protagonist is going to be a YA book. However, this is not the reason I disliked the novel as I read books from almost every genre.
The writing was what pushed me away. This is the very first book that I could not finish reading it. I would understand if there are 3 or 4 characters who talk in slang due too poor education, low livings standards and so on, but not every single character in the book. The words couldnea and shouldnea got on my nerves , but still weren't the reason why I did not finish reading the book. Oh, by the way, those are slang Scottish words.
Transition was the reason; the way the author moved from one scene to another did not work for me. I would get lost on how the character reached that place and lose the connection of what happens in the events.
Did I mention that the word FUCKING is repeated at least twice per page? Like fucking brush, fucking couch,etc.. Overall I think the story has a strong plot with non appealing writing.
I gave this book 1 /5 stars and D- according to my own rating scale.
Title: The Wire in the Blood ( Tony Hill and Carol Jordan #2)
Author: Val McDermid
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Murder , Adult
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date : 1997
My Rating: 4.5/5
Young girls are disappearing around the country, and there is nothing to connect them to one another, let alone the killer whose charming manner hides a warped and sick mind.
Nobody gets inside the messy heads of serial killers like Dr Tony Hill. Now heading up a National Profiling Task Force, he sets his team air exercise: they are given the details of missing teenagers and asked to discover whether there is a sinister link between any of the cases.
" It is better to start reading knowing only the above. The original summary contains a few spoilers. I only read the first sentence before reading and really enjoyed it"
My Review :
First of all, I would like to say that this book has been sitting on my shelf for about 4 years. I finally decided to take the challenge of reading an adult mystery book. To my surprise, after marching half way through, I realized that this book is the second one in the Tony Hill and Carol Jordan Series. Thankfully, it is almost not related to the previous book.
The first 40 pages were kind of slow and a bit boring, but I had to keep on reading , and I am glad that I did so. I was hooked my the mystery and fell in love with the characters . I loved how the writers switched the scenery from the cops and investigators to the the criminal. And how I loved the criminal's parts in the stories. Although short and brief, yet totally terrifying.
The only reason I did not give it 5/5 is perhaps the way the writer showed who is the murderer and killed one of my favorite characters in the first half of a 533 book. The rest was about capturing the killer. The thing is, I scanned about 20-30 books in the second part, scanning is not a good thing.
However, the book is worth reading. I loved everything in this book and I can't wait to read the FIRST book and the third. Because that ending was shocking and although I hope that the events will be discussed in the the third book, I fear that it might be an open ending.
Title: Nightmare at Camp
Author: Kelli Sue Landon
Release Date : May 1st, 2011
Publisher : Outskirts Press
It's time for the Madison High senior class camping trip! New student, Holly Jenson, is looking forward to a weekend out with friends, especially Matt Ifft, her secret crush. Little does she know there is a killer among the group. When people start getting bumped off, Holly, Matt, and the rest of the teens must escape the camp while dodging the killer's wrath.
Review: Holly Jenson has just moved to another town and started in another school after her father's death . Her mother is trying to start a new life and convinces her daughter to go on a school camping trip, during which people keep on disappearing and we later know that there is a murder in this camping site! The thing about mystery novels is that with too much names and brief information and tons of suspicion , I often get lost a stop reading. However, this was not the case. Kelli has this unique style of writing that made me recall who is which character along the novel my spending a lot of time at first on giving insights about each character, their interests and even sometimes their past. And when the mystery starts, one just can not figure out who did it; I mean everyone seems to have a pretty strong motive ( in terms of hate) . The writing itself however need a couple of more editing , there seems to be a lot of what i came to realize :( auto correct) So the spelling is fine, but it simply does not fit in the contest. However, you should definitely check it out; it is a thrilling,fast read and I can't wait to read more of Kellie's work. I give it 3.5 stars out of five.
Check it on amazon