Publisher: Jo Fletcher Books

Early Review – The Language of Dying by Sarah Pinborough

July 29, 2016 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2016 1 Comment

I received this book free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Early Review – The Language of Dying by Sarah PinboroughThe Language of Dying by Sarah Pinborough
Published by Jo Fletcher Books on August 2nd 2016
Pages: 144
Genres: Magical Realism, Horror
Format: ARC
Source: the Publisher
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: Mayhem, Murder, Behind Her Eyes

three-stars

In this emotionally gripping, genre-defying novella from Sarah Pinborough, a woman sits at her father's bedside, watching the clock tick away the last hours of his life. Her brothers and sisters--she is the middle child of five--have all turned up over the past week to pay their last respects. Each is traumatized in his or her own way, and the bonds that unite them to each other are fragile--as fragile perhaps as the old man's health.

With her siblings all gone, back to their self-obsessed lives, she is now alone with the faltering wreck of her father's cancer-ridden body. It is always at times like this when it--the dark and nameless, the impossible, presence that lingers along the fringes of the dark fields beyond the house--comes calling.

As the clock ticks away in the darkness, she can only wait for it to find her, a reunion she both dreads and aches for...

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‘There is a language to dying. It creeps like a shadow alongside the passing years and the taste of it hides in the corners of our mouths. It finds us whether we are sick or healthy. It is a secret hushed thing that lives in the whisper of the nurses’ skirts as they rustle up and down our stairs. They’ve taught me to face the language one syllable at a time, slowing creating an unwilling meaning.’

The Language of Dying is a multi-genre novella which tells the story of a dying father and his five children that come together to be with him in his final moments. Blending a contemporary tale of family life with aspects of magical realism and horror, Sarah Pinborough focuses on an unnamed narrator, the middle child of five who has been the one to remain home and care for her father once he realized that cancer was ravaging his body. It’s not until she receives word that her father has mere days to live do her siblings finally return to pay their respects, leaving it up to her to handle things until they can no longer say no. Her siblings have always found her to be something of an odd duck, always has her head in the clouds, but not only is she constantly haunted by a creature she once saw out her bedroom window but of the darkened past that she keeps hidden while is continues to consume her.

‘A black horn grows twisted from between its eye, a thick, deformed, calloused thing, a tree root erupting from the earthy ground of its forehead, the matt texture oppositional to the sweaty shine on its dark hide. I stare at it and our souls meet. It is power and anger and beauty and nature rolled into something other-worldly, waging a war with the night on its four thick hooves.’

The magical realism/horror aspects of this novel were initially curious yet ultimately left me perplexed. The novella mainly centers around the narrators relationship with her father and her siblings as well as her own tragically distressing story that has changed her as a person. Bouncing between past and present tense, the story is a nostalgic one, recalling past times with both fondness and animosity. The inclusion of the fantasy aspect, oddly, never seemed out of place in this contemporary story yet felt mostly like a metaphor that I never fully understood. The Language of Dying is an outlandish yet beautifully written story that effectively illustrates the power of grief and the indelible mark it leaves on us.

 ‘Sometimes there are just too many words filling up space and not enough emptiness left for thinking. I keep a little emptiness inside for when I need it.’

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Book Review – Your Brother’s Blood (The Walkin’ Trilogy #1) by David Towsey

April 22, 2016 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2016 0 Comments

I received this book free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review – Your Brother’s Blood (The Walkin’ Trilogy #1) by David TowseyYour Brother's Blood by David Towsey
Series: The Walkin' Trilogy #1
Published by Jo Fletcher Books on December 1st 2015
Pages: 336
Genres: Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic, Western, Zombies
Format: Hardcover
Source: the Publisher
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads


three-stars

A literary mash-up of the western and the post-apocalyptic zombie genres, this debut novel tells the story of a war vet who find himself among the Walkin'--far in the future, when his kind are treated none too kindly by the living...

A literary mash-up of the western and the post-apocalyptic zombie genres, this debut novel tells the story of a war vet who find himself among the Walkin'--far in the future, when his kind are treated none too kindly by the living...

This imaginative and unconventional debut novel is set centuries in the future. An unnamed event has wiped out most of humanity, scattering its remnants across vast and now barren lands reminiscent of the 19th century western frontier of America. Small clusters of humans still cling to existence in a post-apocalyptic world that is increasingly overrun by those who have risen from the dead--or, as the living call them, the Walkin'.

Thomas, a thirty-two year old conscripted soldier, homeward bound to the small frontier town of Barkley after fighting in a devastating civil war, is filled with hope at the thought of being reunited with his wife, Sarah, and daughter, Mary, both named after characters in the Good Book. As it turns out, he also happens to be among the Walkin'.

Devoid of a pulse or sense of pain, but with his memories and hopes intact, Thomas soon realizes that the living, who are increasingly drawn to the followers of the Good Book, are not kindly disposed to the likes of him. And when he learns what the good people of Barkley intend to do to him, and to his family, he realizes he may just have to kidnap his daughter to save her from a fate worse than becoming a member of the undead.

When the people of Barkley send out a posse in pursuit of father and daughter, the race for survival truly begins...

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Set hundreds of years in the future, Thomas is a soldier in a type of Civil war against the Walkin’ and all he yearns for is to go home to his wife and daughter. When he wakes up in a pyrepit, a pit the army digs to pile the dead and burn them, he realizes that he’ll no longer be welcomed home with open arms. He decides to take his chances though and heads towards the town of  Barkley. Sarah McDermott and her daughter Mary are in mourning for Thomas, husband and father, but more than Sarah fears that he will still return just not as he once was. Their rigidly religious town are very much anti-Walkin’ and won’t hesitate in cutting down any that cross their borders, even if they were once a resident when they last knew them.

I love me a good zombie novel. That said, there isn’t a whole lot of originality these days that hasn’t already been done before, but that doesn’t necessarily make the book bad per se. Kirkus says Your Brother’s Blood possesses an “unconventional premise” due to it being told from the point of view of the undead and the summary calls it reminiscent of the 19th century western frontier. Unfortunately, I’ve encountered both of those already in zombie tales. Western style + Zombies? The Reapers are the Angels. From the POV of the undead? Warm BodiesRaising Stony Mayhall, and My Life As a White Trash Zombie… just to name a few. I wouldn’t be so apt to throw out comparisons if words like “unconventional” and “imaginative” weren’t used so effortlessly.

Fortunately, there were various other aspects that set this one apart giving it its own sort of appeal. For starters there’s the future time period, the Civil War against Walkin’, and the matter of these seemingly sensible Walkin’ don’t seem to have a taste for brains. What I enjoyed the most that I’d love to see explored further was the idea that Walkin’ is something of a genetic trait versus something that is passed on via bite or something everyone experiences following death. The author was also fastidious in his world-building and not only created a different time but something of a different language where animals/bugs had names such as crumbers, woollies, shaggies, under-mutton, red-winks, and gambirs. It was fun to try to figure out what their normal names would be based on their descriptions.

There were hints of magic existing in this desolate world and even of a wholly Walkin’ civilization. The bulk of the book may have been spent in a slow trudge through the desert, but there was enough revealed in the first installment of this trilogy to leave you curious and anxious for the next book.

 

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Waiting on Wednesday – The Language of Dying by Sarah Pinborough

March 30, 2016 Bonnie Waiting on Wednesday 4 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday – The Language of Dying by Sarah PinboroughThe Language of Dying by Sarah Pinborough
Published by Jo Fletcher Books on August 2nd 2016
Pages: 144
Genres: Horror, Magical Realism
Format: Hardcover
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: Mayhem, Murder, The Language of Dying

In this emotionally gripping, genre-defying novella from Sarah Pinborough, a woman sits at her father's bedside, watching the clock tick away the last hours of his life. Her brothers and sisters--she is the middle child of five--have all turned up over the past week to pay their last respects. Each is traumatized in his or her own way, and the bonds that unite them to each other are fragile--as fragile perhaps as the old man's health.

With her siblings all gone, back to their self-obsessed lives, she is now alone with the faltering wreck of her father's cancer-ridden body. It is always at times like this when it--the dark and nameless, the impossible, presence that lingers along the fringes of the dark fields beyond the house--comes calling.

As the clock ticks away in the darkness, she can only wait for it to find her, a reunion she both dreads and aches for...

About Sarah Pinborough

Sarah Pinborough is a critically acclaimed horror, thriller and YA author. In the UK she is published by both Gollancz and Jo Fletcher Books at Quercus and by Ace, Penguin and Titan in the US. Her short stories have appeared in several anthologies and she has a horror film Cracked currently in development and another original screenplay under option. She has recently branched out into television writing and has written for New Tricks on the BBC and has an original series in development with World Productions and ITV Global.

Sarah was the 2009 winner of the British Fantasy Award for Best Short Story, and has three times been short-listed for Best Novel. She has also been short-listed for a World Fantasy Award. Her novella, The Language of Dying was short-listed for the Shirley Jackson Award and won the 2010 British Fantasy Award for Best Novella.

I adored this authors Mayhem series and I’m so glad I have a decent backlist of books to still read from her. But this? This dark, magical realism novella sounds fantastic and what a cover.

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

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Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine

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Ominous October – Murder (Mayhem #2) by Sarah Pinborough

October 31, 2014 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Ominous October, Read in 2014 4 Comments

I received this book free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Ominous October – Murder (Mayhem #2) by Sarah PinboroughMurder by Sarah Pinborough
Series: Mayhem #2
Published by Jo Fletcher Books on January 6th 2015
Pages: 400
Genres: Historical Fiction, Horror, Mystery
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: Mayhem, The Language of Dying, Behind Her Eyes

four-stars

In this gripping sequel to the acclaimed Mayhem, author Sarah Pinborough continues the adventures of troubled Victorian forensics expert Dr. Thomas Bond. Haunted by the nerve-shattering events he endured during the Jack the Ripper and Thames Torso Killer investigations, Dr. Bond is trying to reestablish the normal routines of daily life. Aiding in his recovery is the growing possibility that his long-held affections for the recently widowed Juliana Harrington might finally be reciprocated. He begins to allow himself to dream of one day forming a family with her and her young boy.

Soon, however, a new suitor arrives in London, challenging the doctor's claims on Juliana's happiness. Worse, it seems the evil creature that Dr. Bond had wrestled with during the Ripper and Torso Killer investigations is back and stronger than ever. As the corpses of murdered children begin to turn up in the Thames, the police surgeon finds himself once again in a life-and-death struggle with an uncanny, inexorable foe.

Mayhem Series

Release Day Feature + Giveaway! Mayhem by Sarah Pinborough

Mayhem (Mayhem #1) by Sarah Pinborough {PurchaseMy Review}

*spoilers from Mayhem will follow*

‘I refused to allow my paranoias to root inside me; I knew I must allow them no room to grow during the long, dark nights.’

Six years have passed since James Harrington, the Thames Torso Murderer was finally caught and killed by Dr. Thomas Bond, a Police Surgeon in London. Bond is haunted with the knowledge behind the killings because Harrington was possessed by a violent parasite, the Upir, which drove him to violently murder all those women. Unfortunately, the death of Harrington did not kill the Upir, only left it temporarily without a host. Bond is seemingly moving past the nightmares of his past as he’s fallen in love with Juliana, Harrington’s widow, and plans to propose to her. His life is thrown into disarray when an old friend of Harrington comes to London with a packet of letters from Harrington which implicates him in crimes committed while in the throes of the parasite. In addition to the dredging up of these memories, Bond must also deal with new evidence which points to a new suspect being the famed ‘Jack the Ripper’.

Setting aside the horrific plot, the most amazing thing about both Mayhem and Murder is the vivid atmosphere deftly brought to life. Pinborough’s writing goes beyond creating a movie in our minds; it truly feels like you’re walking the streets of London, visualizing the slums and seedy individuals Bond encounters as he makes his way to the opium dens. The fact that she manages to blend historical fiction with the supernatural seamlessly is even more spectacular. The attention to detail only serves to make the horrors of this macabre story even more unnerving.

Mayhem stood alone as a solid story but Murder adds an extra facet to the tale that I wasn’t sure was necessary until I read it myself. The ending of Mayhem was, in retrospect, far too neatly completed; the mystery too cleanly wrapped up. Simply put, it was too good to be true. And Murder completely proves that to be true. If you thought Mayhem was terrifying and left your skin crawling, Murder completely outdoes its predecessor, ensnaring you in its grasp leaving you hopeless to stop reading until the undoubted heart-stopping ending. This was one superb and truly impressive duology. Bravo Sarah Pinborough.

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Waiting on Wednesday – Murder (Mayhem #2) by Sarah Pinborough

October 15, 2014 Bonnie Waiting on Wednesday 5 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday – Murder (Mayhem #2) by Sarah PinboroughMurder by Sarah Pinborough
Series: Mayhem #2
Published by Jo Fletcher Books on January 6th 2015
Pages: 400
Genres: Historical Fiction, Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Format: Hardcover
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: Mayhem, Murder, The Language of Dying

In this gripping sequel to the acclaimed Mayhem, author Sarah Pinborough continues the adventures of troubled Victorian forensics expert Dr. Thomas Bond. Haunted by the nerve-shattering events he endured during the Jack the Ripper and Thames Torso Killer investigations, Dr. Bond is trying to reestablish the normal routines of daily life. Aiding in his recovery is the growing possibility that his long-held affections for the recently widowed Juliana Harrington might finally be reciprocated. He begins to allow himself to dream of one day forming a family with her and her young boy.

Soon, however, a new suitor arrives in London, challenging the doctor's claims on Juliana's happiness. Worse, it seems the evil creature that Dr. Bond had wrestled with during the Ripper and Torso Killer investigations is back and stronger than ever. As the corpses of murdered children begin to turn up in the Thames, the police surgeon finds himself once again in a life-and-death struggle with an uncanny, inexorable foe.

About Sarah Pinborough

Sarah Pinborough is a critically acclaimed horror, thriller and YA author. In the UK she is published by both Gollancz and Jo Fletcher Books at Quercus and by Ace, Penguin and Titan in the US. Her short stories have appeared in several anthologies and she has a horror film Cracked currently in development and another original screenplay under option. She has recently branched out into television writing and has written for New Tricks on the BBC and has an original series in development with World Productions and ITV Global.

Sarah was the 2009 winner of the British Fantasy Award for Best Short Story, and has three times been short-listed for Best Novel. She has also been short-listed for a World Fantasy Award. Her novella, The Language of Dying was short-listed for the Shirley Jackson Award and won the 2010 British Fantasy Award for Best Novella.

Mayhem Series

Release Day Feature + Giveaway! Mayhem by Sarah Pinborough

Mayhem (Mayhem #1) by Sarah Pinborough {PurchaseMy Review}

I thoroughly enjoyed the creepy atmosphere of Mayhem, the first installment in this eerie Victorian series. A thrilling combination of horror, suspense and historical fiction (think Sherlock but much, much darker!) It was easily one of my favorites of the year and I’m definitely eager for more from this author.

What are you waiting on this Wednesday? Leave me a link to your post and I’ll be sure to stop by!

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine

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Release Day Feature + Giveaway! Mayhem by Sarah Pinborough

January 14, 2014 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Giveaways, Read in 2014, Release Day Feature 28 Comments

I received this book free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Release Day Feature + Giveaway! Mayhem by Sarah PinboroughMayhem by Sarah Pinborough
Series: Mayhem #1
Published by Jo Fletcher Books on January 14th 2014
Pages: 400
Genres: Historical Fiction, Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Format: ARC
Source: the Publisher
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Murder, The Language of Dying, Behind Her Eyes

four-stars

A compulsively readable story that starts as a conventional murder mystery and morphs, by degrees, into a horrifying supernatural thriller,” The Guardian said of Mayhem.

A virtuoso fantasy writer, Sarah Pinborough has won numerous awards including the British Fantasy Award for Best Short Story. In Mayhem Pinborough turns her attention to one of the most baffling and notorious crime sprees in Victorian times. A new killer that newspapers have dubbed “The Torso Killer” is terrorizing the streets of London’s East End, his crimes obscured and overshadowed by the hysteria surrounding Jack the Ripper’s Whitechapel crimes. The victims are women too, but their dismembered bodies, wrapped in rags and tied up with string, are pulled out of the Thames–and the heads are missing. The murderer likes to keep them. Mayhem is a masterwork of narrative suspense: a supernatural thriller set in a shadowy, gaslit London, where killers stalk the cobbled streets and hide in plain sight.

About Sarah Pinborough

Sarah Pinborough is a critically acclaimed horror, thriller and YA author. In the UK she is published by both Gollancz and Jo Fletcher Books at Quercus and by Ace, Penguin and Titan in the US. Her short stories have appeared in several anthologies and she has a horror film Cracked currently in development and another original screenplay under option. She has recently branched out into television writing and has written for New Tricks on the BBC and has an original series in development with World Productions and ITV Global.

Sarah was the 2009 winner of the British Fantasy Award for Best Short Story, and has three times been short-listed for Best Novel. She has also been short-listed for a World Fantasy Award. Her novella, The Language of Dying was short-listed for the Shirley Jackson Award and won the 2010 British Fantasy Award for Best Novella.

‘What I seek – the thing I seek – brings mayhem and wickedness in its wake, spreading it like this choking fog across the city. It runs in the water of the river and it will destroy men’s souls.”

It’s the late 1800’s and London is being terrorized by the murders by a man dubbed Jack the Ripper, although recent murders have succeeded in overshadowing even those horrific crimes. These new murders are gruesome and appalling. The victims are all women, they are all dismembered postmortem yet their heads are never found among the remains. Dr. Thomas Bond is a police surgeon but is unable to stop himself from seeking out evidence to uncover this killer. He succeeds in uncovering far more than he thought possible and it is more monstrous and nightmarish than any imagination could concoct.

Jack the Ripper has always been a subject matter of interest for me and just the thought of another killer overshadowing the work of Jack the Ripper was enough for me to pick up Mayhem. I had never heard of ‘the Torso Killer’ before but Sarah Pinborough successfully brought his macabre story to life. Frightfully disturbing, these murders are described in vivid detail and the slight addition of the supernatural aspects were added almost proficiently and were not overdone.

The story is told mainly from the point of view of Dr. Thomas Bond but we’re given an occasional glimpse through a few other side characters. Each character was alluring and were each integral to understanding the story as a whole. Dr. Bond himself was a perfectly imperfect character who frequented opium dens in order to deal with his bouts of insomnia. He’s such a flawed character yet made the story all the more real and satisfying.

I found this to be an extremely solid story with writing that was incredibly engaging. Mayhem is quite the page-turner with very little filler or sections that felt inconsequential. Mayhem is a well-written thriller that I would highly recommend for fans of mysteries, of historical fiction and for those who like just a little bit of horror.

Thanks to the publisher I’m able to offer up 3 copies of Mayhem for 3 lucky readers! I’m mixing things up and trying out my new WordPress giveaway plugin instead of Rafflecopter so all you need to do to enter is leave a comment!

Open to U.S. residents only!
Giveaway ends January 28th, 2014

Drum roll, please.

The 3 winners are:

Ang @ Ang Writes
Rachel @ Paper Cuts
Kara @ Great Imaginations

Congratulations you three! Thanks so much for entering everyone!

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Waiting on Wednesday – Mayhem by Sarah Pinborough

October 2, 2013 Bonnie Waiting on Wednesday 12 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday – Mayhem by Sarah PinboroughMayhem by Sarah Pinborough
Published by Jo Fletcher Books on January 14th 2014
Pages: 400
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Mayhem, Murder, The Language of Dying

“A compulsively readable story that starts as a conventional murder mystery and morphs, by degrees, into a horrifying supernatural thriller,” The Guardian said of Mayhem.

A virtuoso fantasy writer, Sarah Pinborough has won numerous awards including the British Fantasy Award for Best Short Story. In Mayhem Pinborough turns her attention to one of the most baffling and notorious crime sprees in Victorian times. A new killer that newspapers have dubbed “The Torso Killer” is terrorizing the streets of London’s East End, his crimes obscured and overshadowed by the hysteria surrounding Jack the Ripper’s Whitechapel crimes. The victims are women too, but their dismembered bodies, wrapped in rags and tied up with string, are pulled out of the Thames–and the heads are missing. The murderer likes to keep them. Mayhem is a masterwork of narrative suspense: a supernatural thriller set in a shadowy, gaslit London, where killers stalk the cobbled streets and hide in plain sight.

I’m a huge fan of mysteries and I have an interest in Jack the Ripper type stories so this is a total win for me. Haven’t ever read anything from this author before but I’ve heard her other series, The Dog-Faced Gods, is super good so I may need to look into that too. 

Have you read Sarah Pinborough’s The Dog-Faced Gods series? What did you think?
What are you waiting on this Wednesday?
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