M.J. Arlidge

All posts tagged M.J. Arlidge

The Intimidating TBR Book Tag

Published October 25, 2018 by bibliobeth

Hi everyone and welcome to another book tag on bibliobeth today. I like to participate in a tag each month to mix things up a bit and always find them a lot of fun. I’ve seen this tag going around the blogosphere and book tube and thought it was about time I gave it a try. My TBR is VERY intimidating but to be honest, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m in a very fortunate position as a book blogger to be offered books for review from publishers and even though I have a ton of my own books still waiting on my shelves to be read, I’m always grateful for the chance to read something new and exciting!

I’m sorry I couldn’t find the original creator of this tag but if anyone knows let me know in the comments below and I’ll amend accordingly.

1.) Which book which was on your TBR recently have you been unable to finish?

Gosh this is such a hard question. I’ve had a few DNF’s recently and have got a lot more brutal about putting a book down if I’m not really getting on with it. I used to labour through books that I wasn’t enjoying then get into a major slump and wonder why I put myself through it! No longer. If I’m not enjoying a book by about 50-100 pages in, I’ll put it down and declare it’s not for me. I also have a policy not to review anything I DNF as I don’t think it’s fair to the author or publisher to review a novel that an author has put so much blood, sweat and tears into. Also, I didn’t finish the novel so how can I give a fair review of a book when I didn’t even make it to the end.

But….I digress! The book I had to give up on recently was A Brief History Of Seven Killings by Marlon James. This was particularly sad for me as Mr B (my other half) chose it for my September TBR after he really enjoyed the audiobook. I tried guys, I really did but this book wasn’t for me. About 50 pages in I knew if I pushed myself any further I was just going to start resenting it and I didn’t want to do that. It’s obvious the author is hugely talented, his style just isn’t my cup of tea unfortunately.

2.) Which book haven’t you read yet because you haven’t had the time?

Pretty much all of my current TBR, haha! I’ll give a few examples that I’m really cross with myself about and that I honestly meant to get to this year. Sweetpea by C.J. Skuse, A Song Of Fire And Ice by George R.R. Martin, Smoke Gets In Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty, Tipping The Velvet by Sarah Waters, Bonk by Mary Roach, Pop Goes The Weasel by M.J. Arlidge and Keep Your Friends Close by Paula Daly. I could go on. You see my dilemma? What to read FIRST?!

3.) Which book haven’t you read yet because it’s a sequel?

This is quite an easy question for me to answer, hooray! I’m going to go with The Amber Spyglass, the third in the Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman. I know, I know, I’m awful. I read Northern Lights and The Subtle Knife a little while ago and just never got round to the third in the series. Then The Book Of Dust came out and I thought I should go back to the beginning of the series and start again, read all three and then read The Book Of Dust. HELP! What should I do??

4.) Which book haven’t you read yet because it’s brand new?

I have a few books I could choose for the answer to this question but I’m going to go with The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang. I pre-ordered it after seeing some rave reviews (because pre-orders don’t count in a book ban, did you know?!) and it dropped through my letterbox a couple of days ago so I’m very excited to read it. Eventually.

5.) Which book haven’t you read yet because you read a book by the same author and didn’t enjoy it?

This is tough! *looks through bookshelves…* I’m going to go with Water Born, a YA novel by Rachel Ward. I read the first book in the series, The Drowning, a little while ago and wasn’t that impressed with it so to be honest, I’m not in a huge rush to get to this, if I end up reading it at all.

6.) Which book haven’t you read yet because you’re just not in the mood for it?

I don’t really count myself as much of a mood reader, I don’t feel like I have to be in particular “mood” to read a novel however I’ve had The Wonder by Emma Donoghue on my shelves for quite a while now and so far, haven’t been compelled enough to pick it up yet even though I absolutely adored her novel, Room. I will do at some point but I’m just not sure when.

7.) Which book haven’t you read yet because it’s humongous?

This one is staring at me right now and has been for quite a while. Eek. It’s A People’s Tragedy: The Russian Revolution: 1891-1924 by Orlando Figes. In its paperback form it’s 1024 pages and an absolute beast. I’m fascinated by Russian history, particularly around this time period and the period of the Second World War so I am intrigued to read this but am SO very intimidated by the size of it!

8.) Which book haven’t you read yet because it was a cover buy that turned out to have poor reviews?

This question has taken me so long to answer. I am a “cover lover” but normally the pretty books I buy have quite decent reviews too. Although I do believe opinions are very subjective, what one person might not connect to in a novel another person might love! I’m going to go with Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee which has a beautiful hardback cover but as I’m sure you’re aware, came with a giant share of controversy. Still haven’t read it to make up my own mind!

9.) What is the most intimidating book in your TBR pile?

Apart from the Orlando Figes? Okay, I’m going with a rather odd choice but I shall explain. It’s the hardback copy of In The Unlikely Event by Judy Blume, her latest adult novel. If you saw my Kid-Lit post Tales Of A Fourth Grade Nothing you might remember that I’m a massive fan of Blume and when I got to meet her, royally embarrassed myself in front of her! Literally. I curtsied to the woman for goodness sake. This is the most intimidating book on my TBR because I haven’t read anything brand new from her since I was a child and I’m scared of my own super high expectations!!

So that’s all the questions answered, I hope you enjoyed this post and finding out a bit more about me and my intimidating TBR. If you’ve done this post before I’d love if you left a link in the comments so I could check out your answers. Also, if you’ve read any of the books I’ve mentioned and want to persuade me to pick them up a bit quicker, I’m ALWAYS open to a little bit of gentle prodding!

Lots Of Love

Beth 

xxx

Talking About Eeny Meeny by M.J. Arlidge with Chrissi

Published July 22, 2014 by bibliobeth

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What’s it all about?:

Two hostages. One bullet. One lives. One dies.

They were going to spend the rest of their lives together. Soul mates. But when a young couple wakes up alone together, disorientated and trapped, they are yet to grasp the true horror of their situation. They have no food, no water. Instead there is a gun loaded with a single bullet and a mobile phone with enough power only to deliver a short message: ‘when one of you kills the other, the survivor will walk free’. For their captor it’s simple: set the scene, watch, wait and leave the victims to do the killing. Tortured by fear, desperation, starvation and thirst, there’s only one way to end their ordeal: one of them must die.

DI Helen Grace and her team know they are hunting a complex predator whose broken survivors must endure their role as living calling cards. And killers. The victims – work colleagues, a mother and daughter, a pair of dancers – appear to be chosen at random and yet the planning is meticulous. There must be something driving the choice of victims, but until DI Grace can establish a connection, the killer is unreachable. A breakthrough is elusive and then, terrifyingly, the investigation begins to turn full circle…

In this startling highwire drama M.J. Arlidge throws us headlong into a chilling race to stop evil in its tracks. Dark, ingenious and bullet-paced, Eeny Meeny introduces a major new thriller writing talent.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Penguin UK for an advanced reading copy of this novel.

What did WE think?:

CHRISSI:  Discuss whether having a female character at the heart of a crime novel gives it a different feel.

BETH: This novel was a bit more unique than your usual crime/thriller as the perp of this novel is a woman. I haven’t read much fiction before that has a female character as the murderer so instantly it became a bit more interesting. I think this is probably because the statistics show that women in general don’t tend to kill random strangers as much as a man. What makes the story even creepier in my opinion is that our perp is choosing two individuals, placing them in a situation where they can’t escape and have no access to food or water. The only thing they have access to is a gun, and instructions saying that one must kill the other if they want to be set free. The idea of this terrifying plot combined with the fact that it is designed and carried out by a woman, make this novel stand out amongst its other rivals in the genre.

BETH: The story is set in Southampton. As we’ve lived there for quite a while, how did you enjoy reading about it in this novel?

CHRISSI: I have to admit it was very odd to read about places that we knew about. It’s not often books are set in Southampton so it was an enjoyable reading experience. I could easily picture the places they mentioned. It gave a very creepy feel to the story!

CHRISSI: When we were reading Eeny Meeny we were unsure whether the author was male or female. Do you think it matters? Does it affect the reader’s opinion of a book depending on what gender the author is?

BETH: The author of this book is M.J. Arlidge with no clue as to the gender. We aren’t given much more information about the author and I know a few authors decide to have just their initials and the surname on the book cover without revealing their sex. I’m not entirely sure why this happens, except that some might think it removes the prejudice that certain readers may feel about reading a book say, by a woman. For me personally I don’t really care whether the author is female or male, the only thing that matters surely is the quality of the writing and the story? However, I know we did have fun speculating on whether the author was male or female, and I have to say I was slightly surprised when I found out as I had expected the opposite. Perhaps I did make some assumptions without realising it?

BETH: Did you like the main character, DI Helen Grace? How well was she written in your opinion?

CHRISSI: I don’t think that Helen is a character that you immediately like. I think readers will either love her or hate her. I think she was a good character, but I didn’t immediately connect with her. She is incredibly well written though. She’s a strong character that comes across as incredibly steely, determined and driven. Her career is immensely important to her and she has to be tough in order to deal with the job and the challenges that come her way every day. She does come across as a very good leader. I sympathised with Helen towards the end and I’ll be interested to see how her story continues…

CHRISSI: The novel asks difficult questions about moral choices. Discuss the choices that the characters make.

BETH: Our perp is a very sneaky character and it seems the whole point of her agenda when it comes to these murders is questioning the morality of different characters when placed in the same situation. Some of the individuals have closer relationships than others, the first being boyfriend and girlfriend and some others are work colleagues. The victims have no way of getting out of their situation and are being denied food and water. Only one of the two can survive, but to do this they must kill the other. It’s hard to think if you were placed in the same situation with a loved one, a friend or even a colleague what you would do in that situation. I don’t think I would be able to kill anyone at all but when faced with this choice, it is surprising what some of the characters choose to do, in some cases they may think of killing the other as a mercy. It is only afterwards, when the surviving victim has to live with what they have done, that we see the internal struggles they go through because of their decision.

BETHHow do you think Eeny Meeny compares with other novels in the genre?

CHRISSI: I think it fits in nicely with other books in the genre. It definitely has a place. I think it’s great when female characters are at the heart of the novel, because more often than not the characters in thrillers/crime reads are male.

CHRISSI: How did you find the pacing of the story?

BETH: I found that the pacing of the novel changed which I enjoyed. In some parts it is slightly slower when we learn about our main character Detective Inspector Helen Grace, with a few tidbits about her life and how she is managing to solve the crime. Other parts are action-packed, fast and exciting and these parts were written in a way that I never felt bored.

BETH: Discuss Helen’s past and how what she has been through has affected her character.

CHRISSI:  Helen has had a traumatic past. I don’t want to mention all that had happened to her, as it would affect the story for those that haven’t read it yet. I think it does affect Helen’s present behaviour. It’s bound to. I found her to be quite an emotionally damaged character because of her past. She’s also such a flawed character, with some desperate sexual desires. As she learns more about the murders, Helen realises she’s being punished for something that happened to her that she’s tried hard to move on from.

CHRISSI: Eeny Meeny has some very dark sex scenes. Did you ever find it too much or do you think it made sense in context with the story?

BETH: Great question! I’m thinking of one sex scene in particular that was incredibly graphic. I’m no prude but it did make my eyes pop slightly! I’m not very sure if it fit in with the story exactly except for emphasising the relationship between the characters. Did I find it too much? Perhaps, but it did add a naughty little edge to the novel in points.

BETH: The next novel in this series is going to be Pop Goes The Weasel. Would you read it?

CHRISSI: I think I would read more of this series, but it’s not particularly a book that I’ll rush to read. It was enjoyable, but it felt fairly long at points!

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):

3-5-stars

 

WWW Wednesday #48

Published July 9, 2014 by bibliobeth

WWW Wednesdays is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. Click on the image to get to her blog!

Welcome to another WWW Wednesday, and thanks as ever to MizB for hosting.

To join in you need to answer 3 questions..

•What are you currently reading?

•What did you recently finish reading?

•What do you think you’ll read next?

Click on the book covers to take you to a link to find out more!

What are you currently reading?:

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This is the third and final book in the Unearthly trilogy by Cynthia Hand and I can’t wait to see how it all turns out! My sister Chrissi Reads thought very highly of this book so I’m probably going to agree with her.

What did you recently finish reading?:

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This is author Sarah Moss’s account of what it was like to live in Iceland for a year and it’s pretty fascinating stuff. I read it for a new feature that will be coming up in a couple of months (or thereabouts!) on my blog.

What do you think you’ll read next?:

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Next up is a book I’ve had on my radar for a while as I got it free from NetGalley and Penguin UK Publishers (thanks to them!) but it has also been picked as a Richard and Judy Summer Bookclub 2014 read here in the UK, and I always enjoy reading what they recommend. I’ll be “talking about” it with Chrissi Reads so look out for our review!

What are you reading this Wednesday? Please leave your link and I’ll come pay you a visit! Happy Reading Everyone!