Tag: book

The Crow Girl || Book Review

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“It starts with just one body – the hands bound, the skin covered in marks.

Detective Superintendent Jeanette Kihlberg is determined to find out who is responsible, despite opposition from her superiors. When two more bodies are found, it becomes clear that she is hunting a serial killer.

With her career on the line, she turns to psychotherapist Sofia Zetterlund. Together, they uncover a chain of shocking events that began decades ago – but will it lead them to the murderer before someone else dies?”

This is the initial blurb on the back cover of the book I received for Christmas, my first initial thought was, it sounds very generic. But before I go any further I can tell you 100% that that synopsis does NOT give the book any justice at all.

AT ALL.

Judging by the fact you are reading this post I am guessing you’ve had enough of me going on about how much I loved this book on Instagram and just wanted to finally know what all the fuss was about. And you’ll already know that this is one of THE BEST books I have read in a long, long time. I hate starting a book and not being able to finish it, however prior to picking up The Crow Girl I had done just that, I got halfway through the previous book (U is for Undertow by Sue Grafton) and had just had enough, id given it a few hundred pages and it just wasn’t flowing right for me, I found it boring and trying to get through it became more of a chore, so I was apprehensive when I started The Crow Girl in case I felt the same. But I can safely say that was not the case, by the second page I knew this book, despite its healthy length was going to be one I couldn’t put down.

I’m first going to give you a little more of a relevant synopsis of the book (I have based this synopsis from a review written by the guardian, if you want to read the guardian review then click here, but it goes into slightly more depth and could involve spoilers) to give a more detailed account of what the book entails and then I’ll go into the disclaimers I think you should note before you chose to invest yourself in this book.

“First is the discovery of an unidentified young boy’s body , showing signs of having suffered sexual torture after the administration of an unusual sedative and then, after death, a bizarre process of mummification. This murder is investigated by Detective Superintendent Jeanette Kihlberg, a headstrong character who is constantly undermined for being a woman, and continuously challenges the female societal persona at the time. Her viewpoint alternates with that of Sofia Zetterlund, a psychotherapist whose patients include a child pornographer, a woman who suffers from multiple personality disorder and a former child soldier in Sierra Leone.

Between scenes of Jeanette and Sofia at work, there are present-day sections taking place in a house where a psychopath has created a prison for a child. There are also flashbacks to the distressing childhood of someone who identifies herself as “Crow Girl” as well as other characters going about their lives, all carrying their own past secrets that intertwine storylines into a one huge thrilling journey.”

The first thing you’ll notice is the length of the book, it is over 700 pages long and the storylines get fairly complex, so if you aren’t one to delve into a more lengthy, hard thinking novel, then this isn’t for you. It most definitely is not a ‘light read.’

Secondly, you’ll notice the bizarre names and locations, this is because the book has beencrow girl 3 translated into English from its original format, which was actually written as a trilogy in Swedish. The book was originally three individual novels but as it has been translated and republished to be a worldwide phenomenon, they put the three books into one large book, separated into three parts.

Now for a disclaimer (of sorts), this book comes under the genres; thriller, mystery and crime. And most definitely it is aimed at readers who enjoy those genres, however it is not for the faint hearted, it’s not a simple mystery or just a rivetingly fun thriller, it is a fairly complex, dark novel. I have been going through a few reviews to get a variety of opinions and the majority of the low scoring reviews are due to the fact the violence (mainly sexual) is pretty graphic and readers have felt unable to get through the scenes. Likewise they have also found the psychological aspect of the book tricky to keep up with as it is very fast paced and I feel if you have no knowledge of psychological theories, trauma and the human mind, you may struggle to understand parts of the novel as it doesn’t necessarily explain, it is assumed you understand the basic concepts.

I myself study forensic psychology at university and am an avid documentary watcher of all things psychology related (the darker and deeper, the better) so I didn’t find the concepts particularly hard to understand, instead I found the use of the social sciences a positive and enjoyable part of the book. I find the concept of the human mind and the complexity of cause and effect very fascinating and so this only drew me in further. Without explaining the concept, it does cover the general idea of nature verses nurture, aswell as concentrating on the human psyche and how that is affected by certain events and can shape a future.

Because of studying the subject I study, mixed with my obvious choice of films/documentaries/books/etc, I am not effected greatly by particularly horrible acts. I am a bit of a psychopath when it comes to horrific things, they don’t affect me in the slightest, I can watch the most horrendously violent and sickening scene and still sleep very soundly at night. For this reason I didn’t find the graphic content of the book disturbing, I think the severity of the descriptions was essential in building the story and how you are supposed to feel in regards to the characters and the events. But, if you are easily effected by graphic accounts and explicit imagery, (mainly on the topics of rape, child abuse, murder and torture) then you probably won’t enjoy this book.

I realise I’ve now portrayed myself as the most cold hearted psychopath, which I can assure you isn’t the case, i’m just a naturally unaffected individual when it comes to horrible things. I mean, I will cry and have a fit if I drop my pizza on the floor, or when left alone at night will turn into a terrified child who anticipates a burglar breaking in and killing me every time, but on the whole, I can watch a horror without blinking or being frightened and can read some horrific accounts and not be emotionally effected.

My overall opinion on the novel, as you already know, is that it is one of the most thrilling, gripping and fully immersive books I have read. The characters (once you’ve figured out how to pronounce most their names) were all unique and engaging, giving the reader different feelings on each one and captivating you to follow each of their journeys. I often found myself at the end of every character’s narrative, being frustrated that it ended where it ended because I wanted to know more, and yet did the exact same on the next narrative. A major plot twist is revealed fairly early on in the book which I at first thought was unusual and wondered where further plot twists could go, but there is literally plot twist after plot twist. And they are all just as gasp-worthy as the last.

Although the general motives of the plot/characters may seem widely generic to some, I found the book uniquely interesting and portrayed the entire plotline far better than any previous crime thriller I have read, Anyone who even remotely enjoys a dark crime novel, I would suggest reading this before you read anything else, because this one is significantly more enjoyable, interesting, dark, complex and gripping than any previous psychological thrillers I have read. The negative point to that being, I doubt in the near future ill find a book I will enjoy as much as this one and will forever be comparing them to The Crow Girl.

John doesn’t read( I used to wonder, despite his high intelligence whether he could in fact, actually read) , he is a get into bed and put the horror channel on, then fall asleep snoring 10 seconds later kind of guy, but I have forced him to give The Crow Girl a go and so far so good, (it’s only been one night so I will keep you updated and let you know his opinions on the book aswell).

If The Crow Girl sounds like something you’d like to give a go you can purchase the book from Amazon by clicking:

Here for Paperback.

Here for Hardback.

Here for Kindle.

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HEIR: Lauren Wood talks Heir, beating writers’ block and her mental struggles

*No Spoilers

I am lucky enough to be able to share with you a private interview I had the pleasure of doing with someone who I not only get to call a friend but someone I am proud to say is an internationally published author and winner of numerous competitions. Lauren Wood is placed high within the world’s top 100k of authors for her debut novel ‘Heir’ described as “A whirlwind of tension and romance.” Since the release of ‘Heir’ Lauren has become an active advocate for inspiring death row inmates to read and use their imagination as an outlet for their anxieties and struggles. She has donated copies to Prisons in America for those who are about to be executed to enjoy and immerse themselves in another world to escape their own and has been rewarded for her compassionate donation in helping those who society does not want to help.

Anybody who knows me knows I am the world’s slowest reader and half the time I’m mid-daydreaming of Tom Hardy not realising I’ve past three pages and still have no clueheir who the characters are, but when I found out that Lauren had written her novel I thought it was the perfect excuse to sneak off to the bath and let John deal with cooking the dinner and trying to get Luna to stop eating my mom’s plants.

I was lucky enough to receive the unpublished script to read through before the final edit was done and all the artwork had been produced and subsequently I had my own special mention in the acknowledgments which I’m genuinely considering framing to show off in the new house.

There’s nothing worse than feeling obliged to do something out of courtesy and so I was a little apprehensive at first thinking, how do I tell her if I don’t like it or break it to her that quite frankly its shite. But as you could’ve guessed by the fact I’m writing this post, i literally had nothing more to say to her other than ‘wow’ and constantly pestering her to tell me what is going to happen before I’d get to read it because I’m an impatient bastard. I am proud to say that someone I call a friend has written this and how honoured I feel to be one of the first to read it, there was no question about it that the book was going to be a huge hit when it got published.

The novel follows an ordinary girl named Fallon as she returns for her final year at college in the tightly knitted town of Kilmore Quay. The Irish town has a tiny population of only 400 people where everyone knows everyone and so when teenage girls begin to disappear one by one the town starts getting suspicious and begins to live in fear. Around the same time that the community are on the hunt for the monster that was taking their local girls, the lights to a long-abandoned castle light up and soon word spreads of new inhabitants in the neighbourhood. When Fallon finds herself dragged into the mystery of the missing girls and caught up by the mysterious owner of the castle her world begins to change. Her ordinary life begins to distort around her and she is faced with the cruel reality of the long kept secrets her friends and the people she’s trusted all her life have been hiding from her. She finds that no one she knew is truly who they said they were and everything around her begins to change, even herself.

I’m not going to be one of those annoying people who ruin the book or tell you what happens so that is all I am going to say on what the book is about. It is full of action and a thrilling page turner with twists and turns that will take you on the journey the characters endure. Full of imagery, the novel is captivating and the world created is truly immersive.

To purchase Lauren Wood’s debut Novel ‘Heir’ and support her through her career click here. 

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Here are a few reviews I have taken from various platforms about ‘Heir’

Jessica S – 3rd May 2017

Kindle Edition.

*****

Lauren Wood is a new author with beautiful ideas. Heir is a story about a girl called Fallon who becomes immersed in a world she knew nothing about. When it turns out her friends have been lying to her, she doesn’t know who to trust. I found the blurb intriguing and loved the story.

 

Eleanor Livett – 15th May 2017

Paperback edition

****

“I was so shocked when the books major theme is revealed. I thought it was a great surprise and I loved the characters.”

 

JamesSStubbsdoesreviews – 16th May 2017

Paperback Edition

****

“Complete page turner. Thrilling till the end”

 

Jenna H – 2nd June 2017

Kindle Edition

*****

“Couldn’t put it down! I can’t wait to read more stuff from this author, her writing and her passion are evident on every page.”

 

Bookloverjane101 – 10th June 2017

Kindle Edition

*****

“Thrilling book. I couldn’t put it down! I hope there is more to come!”

 

StevenUCI – 1st July 2017

Paperback Edition

****

“When I received Heir I was so grateful, having spent a lot of time on my own reading books I was excited to find a book that re-sparked my love for reading and imagination. I didn’t put it down and finished it within 2 days.”

 

Susie – 20th July 2017

Paperback Edition

*****

“ A story that captures the imagination and makes you question the world around you. It pulls the reader into a world where subtle hints can lead down the darkest paths.

 

The following is an exclusive Question and Answer interview with Lauren Wood about Heir, Writers’ Block and her mental struggles.levi

What led you to decide that writing a novel was something you wanted to focus your spare time on?

“For many years I had been doing my own creative writing and a few people had told me that I was good at it so I thought why not. My friend, who is also an author, published her own book so I thought I can do the same. I felt like I had enough practice and to just see the job through and publish a book.”

What influenced you when writing ‘Heir’ ? “In the Spring of 2016 I had visited Kilmore Quay to visit family. I had heard many stories of Kilmore Quay and I was so excited to go. When I got there I truly felt free. The air was so fresh and it just burst with inspiration and imagination. When I got home I had major holiday blues so I decided to write Heir and set it in Kilmore Quay. All of the places in the book are real and I’ve been to every one. Words don’t do it justice. I recommend to any reader to visit Kilmore Quay, especially if you’re looking for an escape”

At what point in your life were you at that helped you to grow ‘Heir’?

“I was going through a mentally hard time. I was battling a bad case of anxiety and depression especially towards the end of 2016. I put my heart and soul into Heir. I felt like that was my escape and I felt control of what was happening. It was my book and I could do anything I wanted with it. It felt good to put my emotion into my characters and reach out to people that were struggling too.”

Would you say ‘Heir’ reflects your personality and emotions? “Definitely. I don’t think it reflects me 100% but it certainly has some of my qualities in there. Whilst battling my anxiety, I wanted to create characters who I wish I could be. Those that lived without fear of minor things.”

What draws you to the fantasy genre? “Fantasy can be whatever you want it to be. You have the ability to write some really crazy stuff and people can’t call it unrealistic. There will always be Debbie downers who say ‘that’s not possible’ but with Fantasy it doesn’t matter. I felt like to really spill my emotions out, I should write a book where I am free without constraints of humanity”

What/where inspired the character of Fallon and the Setting of Kilmore Quay “Whilst I was down in Ireland I saw many beautiful girls with lots of striking features. Flaming red hair, tight curls, square jaws, you name it. Although Fallon isn’t Irish I wanted to her to have striking features too. Kilmore Quay just captured my heart from day one. I saw it as the perfect place to write a novel.”

What was the hardest thing you faced during ‘Heir’

“Towards the end of 2016, I was going through editing my third draft and I just lost all motivation. Nobody had read my book apart from my editor and I felt like scrapping it all. My anxiety and depression was spiralling and I lost love for writing. In truth, I lost interest for even reading books. It just angered me because I felt as if I couldn’t do it and that it wasn’t good enough. That’s when I became a pen pal and they were telling me about their love for books and it really gave me a kick up the arse that I needed. By the end of the year it was all polished off and I was so happy.”

Do you have any tips how to get through writers’ block that you used during the process of creating ‘Heir’? “Writers block is the devil. Honestly, I’m currently experiencing it now. There is and will be a light at the end of the tunnel. I wouldn’t recommend putting it off and ‘waiting for inspiration’ because you’ll only stress about it more and it’ll never come. I’d recommend leaving it for a night and come back to it at a time that you know you’re more productive at. For me, I prefer to write late at night around 9pm when it’s dark outside with both earphones in. Make sure to have breaks away and don’t force it if it’s not flowing properly.”

Are you working on anything at the minute?

“I certainly am. I’m writing a Crime/Thriller novel at the minute which is different to my usual genres. I’m not sure when I’ll be publishing it as it’s been such a slow process”

What was the moment you realised that you’ve actually written a published novel that people enjoyed reading?

“I don’t think it’s really sunk in. I think that I just got so comfortable with my plot, knowing the ins and outs that I couldn’t see how others would find it interesting. I think one moment were I realised people were enjoying it was when I was in work and colleagues would say they read a chapter and really enjoyed it and spoke to me about what was going on in the book to where they’d read up to. I think the biggest moment for me was when I got a letter from my pen pal after waiting two nervous weeks for them to read it. He is such a picky reader and very particular with everything. He began by saying ‘When I read the first three chapters I thought I wasn’t going to like it’ and my heart sunk because he was the one person I really really wanted to love the book but then he went on and said ‘but I stuck at it and I was hooked!’. Bingo.”

What is your main influence/inspiration throughout your life?

“I’ve not had the best nor happiest upbringing and childhood but regardless I see my inspiration as my Mom. She’s always encouraged me to follow what I’m passionate about and she was emotional that I included her in the acknowledgements. Everything I do is for her.”

Can we expect a sequel to ‘Heir?’

“Lots of people have begged me for a sequel and I am currently in talks about a sequel plot!”

Where can we grab a copy of ‘Heir’ ?

“You can grab Heir on Amazon. It’s available on Kindle or Paperback. If you do read, I would really appreciate a review as positive reviews give me a lot of confidence! I have also attached the link to my ‘Heir’ playlist, it features the tracks that I was listening to as I wrote and what inspired me throughout different scenes. Heir Playlist

Lauren’s Social Media:

Blog

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