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review 2019-12-13 03:47
The Other People
The Other People: A Novel - C.J. Tudor
If only! Dang, as I drove the streets the Gabe, I kept thinking, if only…… It seemed that Gabe’s mind was finally concentrated on what should have been important many years ago but now, it seemed it was too late. If only he had done this or that, he might not be behind the wheel of the only thing that he feels he has left in this world, searching for an answer.
 
Alice grips the bag firmly as though it holds her life possessions. Never far from her side, Alice feels a deep connection to its contents. Fran is there for her, again. It’s Fran who helps Alice in her time of need yet I begin to question their story as something doesn’t feel right as the novel picks up speed.
 
It’s a job and it gives her money. Each shift that Katie works, is different. With the individuals who become frequent guests and those that are just passing through, they all make each day unique at the restaurant. Katie’s had her own share of problems over the year yet this frequent customer intrigues her. I wondered if Katie saw a part of herself in this man and that was why she became concerned with him.
 
As he visits the establishment, Katie begins to wonders about this man and what has caused him to carry such a burden on his shoulder? Day-in and day-out, Katie notices how heartbroken this man is yet, she doesn’t reach out to him. Leading their own lives, these individuals will merge eventually in this book. I liked how the three parts were laced together and how smoothly the book flowed. I kept thinking that I enjoyed one story over another one but I kept changing my mind on which story I enjoyed more. Each story was different and carried with it, different emotions.
 
I had a hard time putting this book down in different parts. You know it’s bad when you fall asleep and the iPad hits you in the face (I only wanted to finish the one section I was reading). There were a few parts that I raced to get through as events were building up.
 
These are the stories that get my adrenaline going. They put a smile on my face when I’m finished as I think about everything that transpired during the book and the ride that I took. It was a fun adventure and one that will stick in my mind for quite a while.
 
I received an ARC of this book from Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review, thank you!

 

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review 2019-11-21 20:33
Katherine Tudor Duchess
Katherine Tudor Duchess - Tony Riches
Katherine Willoughby  is the daughter of Maria de Salinas, one of Queen Catherine of Aragon's ladies-in-waiting.  Katherine's father dies when she is young and Katherine is taken in as a ward of Sir Charles Brandon, brother-in-law to King Henry VIII.   Katherine grows up alongside his children and believes that she will one day marry Charles' son, Henry.  However, after the death of Charles' wife, Charles decides to marry Katherine herself and Katherine is made the Duchess of Suffolk at the age of fourteen.  Through Katherine's position, she manages to get to know all of King Henry VIII wives, some more than others.  Although Katherine's life was not easy, she was lucky enough to survive and live a full life. 
 
I am an avid reader of anything concerning Tudor history and have read and enjoyed Tony Riches' books before, so I was more than happy to read Katherine Tudor Duchess and dig into the life of Katherine Willoughby.  The writing is quick paced and immersive.  Through Katherine's eyes, most of King Henry VIII reign is experienced through her point of view.  I was amazed by Katherine's life and the series of events that shaped it.  Katherine seemed to take everything in stride and managed to grow and develop in a world that was not very friendly towards woman.  I was intrigued by her different relationships with each of Henry VIII wives as well as Henry himself and was even more amazed that Katherine survived Henry's reign, but was threatened by his daughter, Mary.  It was interesting to see Katherine find her place in religion and how she may have even helped to shape England's religion at times.  Overall, an amazing story about of one of the surprising Tudor women, Katherine, Duchess of Suffolk. 
 
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.
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review 2019-10-08 16:05
"The Taking Of Annie Thorne" by C. J. Tudor
The Taking of Annie Thorne - C.J. Tudor

 

 


Towards the end of "The Taking Of Annie Thorne", Joe Thorne says:

The past isn't real.

It's just a story we tell ourselves.

And sometimes, we lie.

I think that quote sets the tone for this grim, dark, violent, oppressive book about a man who, lost in his addictions and his guilt, has learnt to despise himself. A man who no longer seeks redemption, just revenge and, if possible, survival.

 

Joe Thorne is the heart of the book. He is the narrator and his world view stains the whole story like sweat on dirty sheets.

 

Joe is a teacher, but don't let that fool you. He's also a drunk, a gambler, and an habitual liar. His past has, quite literally crippled him. He's a man filled with guilt, anger and self-loathing.

 

I didn't find him an easy man to be with but I did find him very believable. In him I could see my worst self: the man who holds grudges, nurtures anger, knows what he should do and then doesn't do it. The man who reacts to confrontations with aggression, even when he knows it will earn him a good kicking.

 

Fortunately, I don't share his addictions, his tragic history or his isolation but he resonated with me more than I would have liked him to, especially when his reflections on life mirrored my thoughts. Here's an example:

There's a line people spout, usually people who want to sound sage and wise, about wherever you travel, you can never escape yourself.

That's bullshit.

Get far enough away from the relationships that bind you, the people who define you, the familiar landscapes and routines that tether you to an identity and you can easily escape yourself. For a while at least. Self is only a construct. You can dismantle it, reconstruct it, pimp up a new you.

As long as you never go back.

Then, that new you falls away like the Emperor's new clothes, leaving you naked and exposed with all your ugly flaws and mistakes revealed for the world to see.

Or

"If newspapers are the place where facts become stories, the internet is the place where stories become conspiracy theories."

Joe Thorne's world is unrelentingly grim. Here's his reflection on the real meaning of the phrase "Time Heals All"

"Time doesn't mend a broken heart, it just grinds the pieces into dust."

There's more to "The Taking Of Annie Thorne" than a grim narrator with a flair for spitting out sharp-edged truisms. It has two other things that make it into an above-average thriller: a clever structure and a core idea that doesn't disappoint.

 

The book got my full attention by opening with an atrocity and then flipping, with no immediately obvious link, to Tom Thorne's first-person, narrative about journeying back to his childhood home.

 

For a while, the focus is on understanding who Joe is and why he holds himself and everyone else in such contempt. Then we get the first suggestions that this is a narrative that is going to go beyond the ordinary. Dark hints get added to the self-hate. A second timeline, twenty-five years earlier is opened up. The sense of foreboding rises.

 

At this point, some thrillers/horror stories fall apart. The big bad turns out not to be particularly big of bad and we slip slowly into an anti-climatic happy ending. "The Taking Of Annie Thorne" doesn't do that. The big bad doesn't disappoint. And when you finally know for certain where all the dark hints were taking you, the book moves into a dramatic end-game that is full of twists that surprised me but never left me feeling cheated.

 

I recommend the audiobook. Richard Armitage's narration is first-rate. Click on the SoundCloud link below to hear a sample.

https://soundcloud.com/penguin-books/the-taking-of-annie-thorne-by-c-j-tudor
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text 2019-10-06 22:57
Reading progress update: I've read 26%. - not a comfortable read for me but a good one
The Taking of Annie Thorne - C.J. Tudor

 

 

I'm taking this book slowly because the main character disturbs me.

 

We're not that alike but I can see in him a lot of my worst self. The part of me that holds on to grudges, nurtures anger, knows what I should do and then doesn't do it. The part of me that reacts to confrontation with aggression even when it means losing.

 

 

Fortunately, I don't share his addictions, his tragic history or his isolation but he resonates with me more than I would like him to.

 

This happens particularly when his reflections on life mirror my thoughts.

 

Here' an example:

 

There's a line people spout, usually people who want to sound sage and wise, about wherever you travel, you can never escape yourself.

 

That's bullshit.

 

Get far enough away from the relationships that bind you, the people who define you, the familiar landscapes and routines that tether you to an identity and you can easily escape yourself. For a while at least. Self is only a construct. You can dismantle it, reconstruct it, pimp up a new you.

 

As long as you never go back.

 

Then, that new you falls away like the Emperor's new clothes, leaving you naked and exposed with all your ugly flaws and mistakes revealed for the world to see.

 

I've left a lot of places. I've only gone back to a few. Nothing makes you doubt the reality of the life you're living like looking at the one you used to lead. Especially when you meet the people you used to lead it with and try to see yourself through their eyes.

 

 

 

 

 

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text 2019-10-05 17:25
Reading progress update: I've read 20%.
The Taking of Annie Thorne - C.J. Tudor

 

The grimness of this book is rescued from dullness by lines like this: 

 

"If newspapers are the place where facts become stories, the internet is the place where stories become conspiracy theories."

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