Talking About No Safe House by Linwood Barclay with Chrissi Reads

Published July 2, 2015 by bibliobeth

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What’s it all about?:

#1 international bestselling author Linwood Barclay delivers an electrifying novel of suspense in which a family’s troubled past is about to return in more ways than one. And this time, they may not be able to escape.…

Seven years ago, Terry Archer and his family experienced a horrific ordeal that nearly cost them their lives. Today, the echoes of that fateful night are still audible. Terry’s wife, Cynthia, is living separate from her husband and daughter after her own personal demons threatened to ruin her relationship with them permanently. Their daughter, Grace, is rebelling against her parents’ seemingly needless overprotection. Terry is just trying to keep his family together. And the entire town is reeling from the senseless murder of two elderly locals.

But when Grace foolishly follows her delinquent boyfriend into a strange house, the Archers must do more than stay together. They must stay alive. Because now they have all been unwillingly drawn into the shadowy depths of their seemingly idyllic hometown.

For there, they will be reconnected with the man who saved their lives seven years ago, but who still remains a ruthless, unrepentant criminal. They will encounter killers for hire working all sides. And they will learn that there are some things people value much more than money, and will do anything to get it.

Caught in a labyrinth between family loyalty and ultimate betrayal, Terry must find a way to extricate his family from a lethal situation he still doesn’t fully comprehend. All he knows is that to live, he may have to do the unthinkable….

What did WE think?:

CHRISSI: This book is a sequel to No Time For Goodbye. How do you think it compares?

BETH: No Time For Goodbye was the first book by Linwood Barclay I ever read and I remember being pleasantly surprised by it. I continued to read his novels although I haven’t read one for a while I have to be honest. At the start, I didn’t really remember No Time For Goodbye too well although bits and pieces came back to me as I made my way through No Safe House. I think both books are stand-out in the genre and kept me turning the pages, eager to find out what was going to happen next.

BETH: Grace has a very difficult relationship with her mother. Discuss this and if it felt resolved to you at the end of the novel.

CHRISSI: Grace was really rebellious and seemed to want to really push the limits and test her parents. Especially her mother. Grace’s family are understandably very protective over her, due to the things that have happened

CHRISSI: This novel is definitely a real page-turner. Discuss how Linwood Barclay structures his novels to create this pace.

BETH: I don’t think the author needs any fancy gimmicks or multiple narrators to tell his story. He has a sterling plot, compelling and intriguing characters, lots of action and bags of mystery which all equal a read that is unputdownable.

BETH: What did you think about Cynthia’s decision to live apart from her family? Did you understand her reasons?

CHRISSI: This is where I have to admit, that I didn’t really like Cynthia as a character. She was so paranoid. I know given her families history it’s only natural to be anxious, but I think it would’ve felt more believable if she wanted to be close to her family and build a better relationship with her daughter. Cynthia moves away to give Grace space after her overprotectiveness almost suffocates her daughter, but I would have preferred to read about a mother who works more on a relationship with her daughter than one that moves away.

CHRISSI: Was there a stand out character for you?

BETH: I loved the father, Terry. His love and devotion to his family were clear to see and I loved that he would go to ANY lengths to protect his daughter, even if she was in the wrong at the time. I also really enjoyed the character of Victor who I remembered from No Time For Goodbye quite vividly once I began reading. He is a crook and there is no doubt that he has no remorse when he kills but he was VERY readable.

BETH: Who was your favourite character and why?

CHRISSI: Terry was my favourite character although in this particular book, I didn’t always feel that his decisions were believable, but like you, I loved his devotion to his family, especially his devotion to his daughter. He wasn’t as overpowering as Cynthia!

CHRISSI: Discuss the ending of the novel.

BETH: I don’t want to give too much away but I was pleased with how it ended. There was some sadness, which I wasn’t expecting but I think things were pulled together perfectly and in a way that would give every reader some satisfaction. I sure hope this poor family gets a break now!

BETH: Would you read another book by this author?

CHRISSI: I would, but at the same time I’m not rushing to read another book by him. I find his books gripping and exciting, but I have to admit I was a little let down by the sequel to No Time For Goodbye!

Would WE recommend it?:

BETH: Of course!

CHRISSI: Yes!

BETH’s Star rating (out of 5):

four-stars_0

CHRISSI’s Star rating (out of 5):

3 Star Rating Clip Art

Short Stories Challenge 2015 – July to September

Published July 1, 2015 by bibliobeth

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Welcome to another three months of short stories! This little lot should see me through into the autumn.

Week beginning 6th July

Small Degrees by Kevin Brockmeier from the collection Things That Fall From The Sky

Week beginning 13th July

Airshow by Jon McGregor from the collection This Isn’t The Sort of Thing That Happens To Someone Like You

Week beginning 20th July

The Menace by Daphne du Maurier from the collection The Breaking Point

Week beginning 27th July

Candia by Graham Joyce from the collection Tales For A Dark Evening

Week beginning 3rd August

Medicine by Michel Faber from the collection The

Apple: New Crimson Petal Stories

Week beginning 10th August

Necessary Women by Karin Slaughter (stand-alone)

Week beginning 17th August

The Mistletoe Bride by Kate Mosse from the collection The Mistletoe Bride and Other Haunting Tales

Week beginning 24th August

Tell Me I’ll See You Again by Dennis Etchison from the collection A Book of Horrors

Week beginning 31st August

The Whisperer in Darkness by H.P. Lovecraft from the collection The Definitive H.P. Lovecraft

Week beginning 7th September

The Rat In The Attic by Brian McGilloway from the collection The Mammoth Book of Best British Crime 7

Week beginning 14th September

Care by Julie Orringer from the collection How To Breathe Underwater

Week beginning 21st September

The Cat That Walked By Himself by Rudyard Kipling from the collection Stories To Get You Through The Night

Week beginning 28th September

The Wedding Gig by Stephen King from the collection Skeleton Crew

Beth and Chrissi Do Kid-Lit 2015 – JUNE READ – The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams

Published June 30, 2015 by bibliobeth

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What’s it all about?:

Nursery magic is very strange and wonderful, and only those playthings that are old and wise and experienced like the Skin Horse understand all about it.

Like the Skin Horse, Margery Williams understood how toys–and people–become real through the wisdom and experience of love.

What did I think?:

The first time I ever heard of this book was on a classic Friends episode where Chandler decides to buy an expensive first edition version of the book for his friend Joey’s girlfriend who he is also hopelessly in love with. Since then, I’ve been curious about it and when the time came for Chrissi and I to pick our Kid-Lit choices for this year, this had to be one of them. It was first published in 1922 and has some gorgeous illustrations by William Nicholson which unfortunately weren’t available on my Kindle edition but I did not enjoy the book any less for it.

It is a beautiful tale about a stuffed rabbit given to a little boy one Christmas but sadly lies neglected for a while in favour of more modern, mechanical toys. One night however the boy is given the old rabbit to sleep with after the loss of another toy and it becomes the boy’s firm favourite. They go on many adventures together and as the boy’s love for the rabbit grows, the rabbit becomes slightly shabbier for all the bedtime hugs it receives. After the mechanical toys mock the rabbit for his shabbiness, the wisest and oldest toy in the nursery The Skin Horse tells the rabbit that through the boy’s love he could become REAL which placates him slightly. On one of their adventures however, The Velveteen Rabbit comes across some real wild rabbits and is quite distressed when they make fun of the fact that he has no hind legs and couldn’t possibly be real.

One day something terrible happens – the boy becomes very ill with scarlet fever and on his recovery, the doctor suggests that everything the boy has touched during his illness should be got rid of, this includes the poor rabbit which the boy has lain with as his comfort. The rabbit is broken-hearted and cries but as his tears hit the ground, a beautiful flower appears which holds a little fairy. She tells the rabbit that because he is old and shabby and was well loved by the boy, she will now make him completely real and he is delighted to join the wild rabbits jumping in the field, complete with the obligatory real hind legs. He returns to get a glimpse of the boy and the boy himself recognises his old Velveteen rabbit in the wild rabbit’s face.

I’m so glad I finally read this story and now completely understand why people find it so magical. I vividly remember wishing my toys could come to life as a child (doesn’t everyone?) and I think many young children will be charmed and excited by this tale. It’s very short so can easily be read as a bedtime story and I think if anyone is considering buying it they should make sure they purchase the edition with the illustrations as they are so beautiful and really compliment the story. It’s definitely a book I hope to be reading to my children one day.

For Chrissi’s fabulous review, please see her blog HERE.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

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spring

Banned Books #12 Bridge To Terabithia by Katherine Paterson with Chrissi Reads

Published June 29, 2015 by bibliobeth

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What’s it all about?:

Jess Aarons’ greatest ambition is to be the fastest runner in his grade. He’s been practicing all summer and can’t wait to see his classmates’ faces when he beats them all. But on the first day of school, a new girl boldly crosses over to the boys’ side and outruns everyone.

That’s not a very promising beginning for a friendship, but Jess and Leslie Burke become inseparable. Together they create Terabithia, a magical kingdom in the woods where the two of them reign as king and queen, and their imaginations set the only limits.

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Logo designed by Luna’s Little Library

Welcome to our sixth book of 2015 and the twelfth book in our series of Banned/Challenged Books. We’ll be looking at why the book was challenged, how/if things have changed since the book was originally published and our own opinions on the book. This is what we’ll be reading for the rest of 2015 – the post will go out on the last Monday of each month so if you’d like to read along with us, you are more than welcome.

JULY

Detour for Emmy by Marilyn Reynolds

Chosen by : Chrissi

AUGUST

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor

Chosen by : Beth

SEPTEMBER

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Chosen by: Chrissi

OCTOBER

Forever by Judy Blume

Chosen by : Beth

NOVEMBER

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

Chosen by : Chrissi

DECEMBER

Olive’s Ocean by Kevin Henkes

Chosen by: Beth

But back to this month….

Bridge To Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

First published: 1977
 
In the Top Ten most frequently challenged books in 2003
Chosen by: Beth
Reasons: occult/Satanism, offensive language
Do you understand or agree with any of the reasons for the book being challenged when it was originally published?
BETH: I read this book wondering why on earth it had been banned in the first place then had to look twice at the reasons stated above. Occult/Satanism?! For goodness sake, it’s two children making up their own magical world and playing in it! If that’s worshipping the Devil, surely all children nowadays who play make believe are guilty of this? I also can’t remember any incidence of offensive language in the book but perhaps I missed something? This book was published in the seventies so it was a while ago and individual sensitivities may have been different… but for those reasons above it is absolutely ridiculous that this book should have been challenged/banned.
CHRISSI: This is another one of those books when I wonder why it’s been banned or challenged. I understand that it is a heavy going subject, but if we shelter children/young children from these issues that could be highly educative then I think it is a great shame. I understand it was published in the 70s, but the content of the book has always been around!
How about now?
BETH: Even more so now I don’t believe that this book should be challenged. When reading it and getting to the point where Jess has to deal with death I thought was dealt with beautifully by the author and think it’s probably an important book for children to read so that they can learn about the inevitable process of life and that unfortunately, at one time or another, we all must deal with death – if that’s the passing of a loved one or even a family pet.
CHRISSI: I think this book should be read! As I mentioned before, it’s highly educative. As Beth mentions every person at some point goes through these issues and it’s important that they are sensitively dealt with which I felt was the case with this book.

What did you think of this book?

BETH: I was pleasantly surprised by this book! I think the important thing for me is that I didn’t know the story so wasn’t expecting the sadness and bitter sweetness of it. Jess was a lovely character although I found his teenage crush on his teacher a bit awkward to read if I’m totally honest. I completely fell in love with the world, Terabithia that was created by Jess and Leslie and it reminded me of those innocent childhood times in my own past when make believe was an important part of my life and often offered an escape from “real life.”

CHRISSI: I wasn’t really aware of this book before Beth picked it for our challenge. I thought it was a very intriguing read. I’m not sure that it’s a book that I would read again, as I didn’t connect with the characters as much as I wanted to. It’s also a book that’s rather heavy going and sad, but it’s certainly not a book that should be challenged in my eyes!

Would you recommend it?

BETH: But of course!

CHRISSI: Yes!

Beth’s personal star rating (out of 5):
four-stars_0

Please join us again on the last Monday of July where we will be discussing Chrissi’s choice of Banned Book – Detour for Emmy by Marilyn Reynolds.

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Short Stories Challenge – The Jaunt by Stephen King from the collection Skeleton Crew

Published June 28, 2015 by bibliobeth

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What’s The Jaunt all about?:

The Jaunt follows a family about three hundred years in the future on their re-location to Mars as the father tells the story of when teleportation was first discovered.

What did I think?:

I started this story with a bit of trepidation to be perfectly honest, even as a huge King fan as the last story I read from this collection – Mrs Todd’s Shortcut I wasn’t that crazy about and to my surprise I realised he has the power to disappoint me, a sentence I never thought I would be writing. The Jaunt is set around three hundred years in the future where the Oates family are waiting in a terminal, much like an airport but they are about to travel further then you could ever expect, to Mars. Mark Oates has just secured a new job there for a two year period and after long discussions with his wife, Marilys has decided to move the whole family with him. The whole family are nervous about the trip as this would be the children’s first “jaunt,” or teleportation, compulsory for visiting the planet.

To calm them down, Mark tells them the story of the man who first discovered teleportation was possible, a man called Victor Carune in 1987. At first, he carries out experiments on white mice but finds that each mouse that goes through the portal comes out the other side incredibly sick, weak and dies within minutes:

“Sensory input, he thought almost randomly. When they go through they see something – hear something – touch something – God, maybe even smell something – that literally kills them. What?”

After further investigations with his first human volunteers (who are actually criminals, usually arraigned for life) he learns that if humans go through the portals in an unconscious state, there is a better likelihood of survival on the other side. Survival is not one hundred percent assured however. There are rumours about one criminal who is offered a pardon if he comes out the other side intact with full mental faculties…. and well, he doesn’t.

The last thing Mark wants to do is frighten his family, after all he has made it through his Jaunt Jumps twenty-four times now, although we get a sense that he has not escaped the process without a few mental scars of his own. The Jaunt crew are walking through the terminal giving “the gas,” to all the passengers, making them slip into unconsciousness and even now he notes that some people are resisting or are completely terrified:

“Mark glanced to his right and saw the attendants talking to a timid-looking man, persuading him. At last he took the mask and seemed to fall dead on his couch seconds later. First-timer, Mark thought. You can always tell.”

I don’t want to say too much more about the story for those of you that haven’t read it but the ending was absolutely terrifying and will play on my mind for a while to come. I think Stephen King has written a brilliant piece of science fiction that sounds implausible in every way and your logical mind will instantly reject but makes you gibber and quake at the thought of it. Like H.P. Lovecraft, there’s a lot that is only hinted and and not really said but I think your imagination takes you beyond the boundaries of what he is suggesting – if that makes any sense! Mr King, you have renewed my faith in your writing, hurrah!

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

four-stars_0

NEXT SHORT STORY : Camp Sundown by Nathan Englander from the collection What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank

 

 

 

Everneath (Everneath #1) – Brodi Ashton

Published June 27, 2015 by bibliobeth

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What’s it all about?:

Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath. Now she’s returned—to her old life, her family, her boyfriend—before she’s banished back to the underworld . . . this time forever. She has six months before the Everneath comes to claim her, six months for good-byes she can’t find the words for, six months to find redemption, if it exists.

Nikki longs to spend these precious months forgetting the Everneath and trying to reconnect with her boyfriend, Jack, the person most devastated by her disappearance—and the one person she loves more than anything. But there’s just one problem: Cole, the smoldering immortal who enticed her to the Everneath in the first place, has followed Nikki home. Cole wants to take over the throne in the underworld and is convinced Nikki is the key to making it happen. And he’ll do whatever it takes to bring her back, this time as his queen.

As Nikki’s time on the Surface draws to a close and her relationships begin slipping from her grasp, she is forced to make the hardest decision of her life: find a way to cheat fate and remain on the Surface with Jack or return to the Everneath and become Cole’s queen.

Everneath is a captivating story of love, loss, and immortality from debut author Brodi Ashton.

What did I think?:

Everneath is the first book in the start of a dramatic and compelling new YA series and was recommended to me by my sister and fellow blogger Chrissi Reads.  I tend to trust whatever my sister recommends, after all she’s one of the people who knows my biblio-tastes best, but I knew I had to read it fairly soon and that it had to be something special when she kept asking when I was going to start it! Our heroine in this series is teenager Nikki Beckett who one day seemed to disappear into thin air, leaving her family, friends and boyfriend behind to become part of the Everneath. This was a personal decision on Nikki’s part as at the time she was struggling to cope with the death of her mother and was in a seemingly hopeless situation with her boyfriend, Jack. Her desperation to “stop feeling things,” leads the mysterious Cole into tempting her to The Everneath (with an agenda of his own of course) and he promises Nikki the peace she desperately craves but is not granted from her tormented mind. You see although Cole is immortal, known as an Everling, he requires humans as “Forfeits,” to feed off their emotions whilst replenishing his energy. His latest acquisition Nikki, is a particularly valuable prize when instead of forgetting who she is as par normal procedure she remembers everything and survives the so-called “feed.”

The Everneath is a mystical, terrifying underworld and Nikki is forced to remain there for one hundred years as Cole’s food-source before Cole returns her to the surface – unfortunately only for a period of six months so that she can say her goodbyes to her loved ones and prepare herself for returning to The Everneath permanently to be reclaimed by the horrifying Tunnels. Even though Nikki spent a century in The Everneath only six months have passed on Earth which is still a significant period of time to be AWOL and she has a lot of explaining to do. Nikki must re-gain her father’s trust and try to build bridges with her boyfriend Jack who was understandably confused and hurt by her disappearance. She must also resist Cole who she has a unique bond with due to the whole feeding experience and almost like a dealer to a drug addict bothers her on a daily basis, attempting to make her submit to him and return to the underground as his Queen. Nikki understands that her return to The Everneath is compulsory and attempts to reconcile herself with her broken father and her boyfriend but becomes increasingly alarmed by the power that Cole holds over her and fears returning to the dreaded Tunnels where she will remain for eternity. If there is a choice to be made the other option being relinquishing herself to Cole, should she do this despite all her morals and misgivings? Or will true love shine through and give Nikki the opportunity to escape her fate?

Well, this story sure packs a punch. The novel is loosely based on the mythology of Persephone/Hades and Orpheus/Eurydice and as I studied Greek mythology for a while I was instantly attracted to the idea which is presented beautifully with a bit of a modern twist. Nikki is a strong and admirable female character who accepts that she made a terrible decision by agreeing to accompany Cole to The Everneath. Instead of being self-pitying about it she uses that final opportunity of life on Earth to try and re-connect with her father, recognising that he is suffering also. The author has created a fascinating idea of life after death and her description of the Tunnels sent a definite chill down my spine. In fact, from the moment I opened this book I found it very hard to put down and was instantly swept away into a world of darkness, grief and impossible situations. The imagination used to create all the threads of this story is enviable, the characterisation superb and I’m really very excited to get to the next book in the trilogy after an explosive ending.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

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The Ghost Bride – Yangsze Choo

Published June 20, 2015 by bibliobeth

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What’s it all about?:

“One evening, my father asked me if I would like to become a ghost bride…”

Though ruled by British overlords, the Chinese of colonial Malaya still cling to ancient customs. And in the sleepy port town of Malacca, ghosts and superstitions abound.

Li Lan, the daughter of a genteel but bankrupt family, has few prospects. But fate intervenes when she receives an unusual proposal from the wealthy and powerful Lim family. They want her to become a ghost bride for the family’s only son, who recently died under mysterious circumstances. Rarely practiced, a traditional ghost marriage is used to placate a restless spirit. Such a union would guarantee Li Lan a home for the rest of her days, but at a terrible price.

After an ominous visit to the opulent Lim mansion, Li Lan finds herself haunted not only by her ghostly would-be suitor, but also by her desire for the Lim’s handsome new heir, Tian Bai. Night after night, she is drawn into the shadowy parallel world of the Chinese afterlife, with its ghost cities, paper funeral offerings, vengeful spirits and monstrous bureaucracy—including the mysterious Er Lang, a charming but unpredictable guardian spirit. Li Lan must uncover the Lim family’s darkest secrets—and the truth about her own family—before she is trapped in this ghostly world forever.

What did I think?:

My sister and fellow blogger Chrissi Reads recommended and gave this book to me and I was attracted to it immediately. Not only is the cover absolutely stunning but I loved the synopsis – a little bit historical, Asian fiction with a dusting of the paranormal, sounds like my perfect book! And it was, on so many levels. Our main character is a seventeen girl called Li Lan who lives in 19th Century Malaya (now Malaysia) under British rule as a member of the upper class. Sadly, there is nothing upper class about her situation. She has lost her mother under strange circumstances and her father in his grief has become addicted to his opium pipe and is slowly disappearing from her also. They live in a large, beautiful house that is now slowly crumbling away due to lack of maintenance and her prospects, especially for marriage look entirely gloomy. Her only comfort is her old Amah who has been with her since her birth but even she, fiesty though she is, cannot hope to influence her father as he slides further and further into addiction.

One day, her father calls Li Lan in and mentions that he has had an interesting offer from the rich Lim family concerning a match for her. The unfortunate thing is that the bridegroom to be is their dead son, Lim Tiang Ching. Yes, you read right. Dead. Her father says that he instantly refused the proposal but he worries as at least it would have meant that Li Lan would have been provided for for the rest of her life. Li Lan is horrified but agrees to just pay a visit to the Lim household as a courtesy. On arriving, she is stunned by the magnificence of the house, the surroundings, the food she is offered and the servants who cater to her every whim. She also finds something she was not expecting – to fall in love. No, not with the dead son, with a very much alive cousin and heir-to-be, Tian Bei. After meeting him, albeit briefly, she decides there is no way that she could ever become the wife of a dead man, especially one so repulsive as Lim Tiang Ching who begins to invade her nightly dreams, insisting that she should be his wife.

Li Lan continues to refuse him – it’s just a dream, right? However, he becomes angrier and more harassing on each visit and soon she becomes drawn into the spirit world, leaving her shell of a body behind as a living ghost. Stuck between two worlds Li Lan meets with a kindly and enigmatic guide, Er Lang who sends her to The Plains Of The Dead, a hideous place where spirits wander before being judged. This harks back to Chinese mythology where after death, spirits must go to the Courts of Hell to atone and be punished for any sins committed. After an indeterminate amount of time, depending on the severity of the sin, they then enter the reincarnation stage where they are born again to a life of comfort or poverty depending on how they behaved in their past life.

“I had seen some of the painted hell scrolls that depicted the gruesome fates awaiting sinners. There were people being boiled in oil or sawed in half by horse and ox-headed demons. Others were forced to climb mountains of knives or were pounded into powder by enormous mallets. Gossips had their tongues ripped out, hypocrites and tomb robbers were disemboweled. Unfilial children were frozen in ice. The worst was the lake of blood into which suicides and women who had died in childbirth or aborted their children were consigned.”

When I read up a bit further on this superstition, I also found that one could be punished for the sin of “misusing books,” which I found amusing and fascinating! See guys, I told you dog-earing was wrong! Anyway, Li Lan must carry out various tasks in the spirit world whilst trying to avoid demons with ox for heads and corrupt Hell officials who are baying for her blood. Li Lan learns so much about herself and the mystery of her family as she navigates her way through the dangerous Plains but she must hurry. If she does not complete her tasks within a timely fashion, the fragile link between her body and the spirit world will be severed and she will be trapped there forever.

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Diyu – a version of hell in traditional Chinese culture, during the Tang dynasty this increased to 134 hells with 18 different levels of pain and torture with Levels known as the Chamber of Tongue Ripping, The Chamber of Scissors, The Chamber of Iron Cycads, the Chamber of Mirror, Chamber of Steamer, Forest of Copper Column, Mountain of Knives, the Hill of Ice, Cauldron of Boiling Oil, Chamber of Ox, Chamber of Rock, Chamber of Pounding, Pool of Blood, Town of Suicide, Chamber of Dismemberment, Mountain of Flames, Yard of Stone Mill, and Chamber of Saw.

Source: http://listverse.com/2013/09/04/10-fascinating-descriptions-of-hell/

Hmm, not a place I fancy visiting any time soon.

I began this book with such high expectations and I’m delighted to report that what I read exceeded those. Yangsze Choo has woven a mesmerising tale which is beautifully descriptive in its historical detail and brilliant in plot execution. I love learning new things about different cultures and this was one of those books which explains everything so simply to the reader without ever feeling patronising. I found all the superstitions and folklores fascinating, especially the burning of offerings to appease the “hungry ghosts.” I can’t believe that this is the authors debut novel, the writing is so accomplished and in no way amateur. The whole book is fresh, exciting and like nothing I have ever read before, even the ending (although surprising) is totally unexpected and original. I can’t wait to see what she does next, I know I’ll be snapping it up immediately.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

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