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DECEPTION’s book cover is on the move…

A little play on words here – you’re about to see why!

Something I’ve wanted to do for a while is animate one of my book covers. And what better opportunity is there than doing it for my favourite novel, DECEPTION: A Love of Lies. I finally found someone who could do it, and so I decided to work with them.

You can check it out in my latest tweet:

Let me know your thoughts!

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From 17676 to 31473 – progress on my WIP

It’s been a while since I last posted some progress on my latest novel.You know the one, the one that’s currently untitled but secretly titled? Don’t worry, I’ll be revealing the title soon enough.

The last time I posted an update on here my untitled book was at the 17676 word count mark. Now it’s 31473.

It’s just numbers I know, but I’m happy to say I’m on track for release in 2020. But let’s not jinx it.

A cheeky teaser for you all

So what’s the last sentence you wrote T. J.? I hear you cry.

Well, this:

“I said I was sorry,” Arabella groans to the empty room.

We want more!

Ok:

Arabella wakes to the rippling sting on the side of her face.

But that’s all you’re getting today!

‘Untitled’ will be publicly titled soon enough

I am working on the unveiling of the title, so keep an eye out for that.

It will all come out here on my blog, and on my social pages (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram) very soon.

Book Review: Holiday Readings

Whilst in Santorini for the week, I read three thriller books. Here are my reviews of them below.

Sweetpea by C. J. Skuse

Sweetpea C. J. Skuse

Dark, outrageous, humorous

My wife unintentionally recommended this book to me. She told me about the premise of it to illustrate her dislike of the story and the main character. Her description though caught my attention.

I made a start on the book and quickly thought it was quirky and original. It was a refreshing change to have a foul mouthed, dirty minded female lead in Rhiannon. The best way to describe her is that she has shades of Fleabag and Killing Eve’s Villanelle.
I will say, I believe C. J. is testing the reader early on as the tone of Rhiannon is far more crude in the opening stages of the book. If it’s not for you, just persevere. This risk though didn’t pay off in terms of keeping my wife hooked into the book – she immediately disliked Rhiannon. I, on the other hand, enjoyed it and really took to Rhiannon’s personality and tone of voice.

The story itself is a fresh take on serial killers. We’ve seen it many times before with the likes of Hannibal and the TV series Dexter, but Sweetpea is another extension of that. Similar to Villanelle in Killing Eve.

It’s a book that follows Rhiannon and her devilish ways. I don’t want to say too much more but it is a thrill that keeps you hooked.

Rating: **** (4 stars)

 

Believe Me by JP Delaney

Believe Me JP Delaney

Brilliant start, but lost its way.

Ok so some of the reviews I think are quite harsh. However, the start of this novel is brilliant. If it kept to that tempo throughout the book it would have been one of my favourite reads. Ever.

I finished this book in one day.

The start of it is intoxicating. A really unique premise – the main character, also an actress, Claire, works for a firm of divorce lawyers. A great combination this, actress posing as an easy pick-up in hotel bars to entrap straying husbands to win a case.

We see her in action quickly, fooling a man and getting the job done expertly. But not all is as it seems, because Claire is quickly pulled into a murder investigation, where the man’s wife has been murdered.

I think JP Delaney really portrays a female lead very well. I don’t think she was particularly likeable, but that also made the read interesting because you don’t know who you can trust in the story. Midway through the book, it does lose traction unfortunately and I did find myself reading for the conclusion rather than out of enjoyment.

Rating: **** (4 stars)

 

The Friend by Teresa Driscoll

The Friend Teresa Driscoll

Disappointingly predictable, but I did still want to finish!

It seems that a lot of other readers enjoyed this one. However, I thought it was disappointingly predictable.

If you read the synopsis then the story doesn’t stretch much further than that. I was compelled to read the book as there was more to solve than what the synopsis was letting on. Some nice enough writing and moments in the book, I liked the use of time.

I read this after enjoying ‘I Am Watching You’.

Rating: *** (2.5 stars)

Book Review: “A Stranger in the House” by Shari Lapena (Sorry Shari)

I don’t like giving these reviews… but here’s my truth.

A Stranger in the House Shari Lapena

The less said about this novel the better really. It wasn’t the worst thing I’ve ever read, but it was lacking in so many departments.

The plot was,… ok. It wasn’t all that enticing, but it obviously had enough to make me want to know more and read to the end. Part of me thought there was going to be something more underlying here.

My amazon review sums it all up well:

“Cliché after cliché, the characters were dry and ‘the twist’ wasn’t a surprise at all. Disappointing.”

I guessed what was going on very early on. But I read on, hoping that there was going to be a shocking twist.

There wasn’t.

Unfortunately, we’ve all already read and watched these kind of stories before.

** (2 stars)

This was Lapena’s last chance to convince me…

I’m always willing to give books and authors a chance. This was Lapena’s last chance to convince me.

I wasn’t at all fussed with “The Couple Next Door”, but “A Stranger in the House” was the chance to convince me to read more of her work.

Unfortunately, I’ve not been converted. So this will be my last read.

If you thought differently of this novel, then please let me know. I’m interested to know what you like about it.

Finally… my untitled novel has a name!

If you’ve been following my blog and Twitter (@TJBlake93) for the last year or so, you will know that I have been working on my next novel. It has been known as my ‘new novel’, ‘next book’ and my favourite, ‘Untitled’.

Now though it has a name. Finally!

I’ve been umming and ahhing about the book’s title for some time now. This new name, which I will reveal soon, has stuck… so far anyway.

Thank you Twitter peeps for your support.

Some of you on Twitter were kind enough to offer your time to read my very, very basic synopsis and hear my potential book titles for the previously untitled novel.

Although I ended up coming with a completely different name, your advice and input meant a great deal to me.

You know who you are. Thank you so much!


More details on the new book’s title will be revealed soon. 

17676 words into my untitled novel

A great deal more progress has been made in my latest novel.

I’m currently writing chapter 8, which is just shy of 5k words alone. It’s the biggest chapter in the novel without a doubt. It’s based on the 15 year anniversary show of Arabella’s.

This is one of the lines written in chapter 8:

Above all, he loves fear. Arabella knows this because the more frightened she feels, the wider his smile becomes.

Naming the book

Well, I still don’t have a name. However, there are a few names being thrown around.

My partner is calling the book something whilst I’m calling it something else. It’s funny and everything, but I really want a name already!

I’m sure we’re close to a name now though, it won’t be long!

Book Review: “Watchers” by Dean Koontz

Some great moments of suspense. Ultimately let down by the ridiculousness of the story.

I enjoyed stretches of the book. However, I couldn’t help but realise how ridiculous the story actually was – a talking dog who learnt to read and spell.

I read the remainder of the book to solve the mystery of the dog and the Outsider but, I was left disappointed.

** (2 stars)

Dean Koontz Watchers

Have you read this novel? What did you think? Am I being harsh?

1199 words written. 537 edited. “Untitled” book progress.

In my writing session today I managed to write 1199 words in chapter 8 of my next novel. 537 words edited too.

This was the last line written…

Untitled novel last line

A quick update on my writing

I’m not afraid to admit, this book is a welcomed challenge. But it is that, a challenge.

The first challenge, my time is limited to write. It’s a real shame as I really want to get this book written and into the editing phase.

Secondly, it’s a different kind of book. The narrative is unique and the voice is dissimilar to my other novels. However, the story itself is mysterious, gothic, dark and suspenseful, which I love.

It has great potential this one. It’ll be similar to DECEPTION in the way that readers will need to pay attention in this one.

Book title update

No luck yet. However, I have a few that are floating around.

None of them feel right, but I’ll continue to write this story and see if one jumps out at me suddenly.

Why do you guys think Arabella feels far from safe?

Book Reviews – Holiday Edition: The Taking of Annie Thorne, I am Watching You, The Twisted Tree

I’m now back from my honeymoon in The Maldives, which was amazing!

I wanted to read more, but I was busy snorkelling and exploring the island of Kuredu. A beautiful place. A quick review of that: dreamy. Highly recommend!

However, three books were consumed and I’m most of the way through a fourth novel (a classic apparently) by Dean Koontz!

Three books and a five star rating below.

TOP READ: The Taking of Annie Thorne by C. J. Tudor

The Taking of Annie Thorne by C. J. Tudor

Highly recommend. Well written. Dark. Gritty. Mysterious. Addictive.

Joe, a witty yet troubled man, returns to his hometown. It hasn’t changed much. In fact, much of what Joe went through back then seems to be happening again.

I found this book super easy to read. That’s what I liked about it most. The writing was brilliant and because it was so easy to read, it made me read it really quick. Shame really because I wanted more. The story flowed and the characters vivid.

C. J. knows how to build tension. She knows how to create mystery. She most definitely knows how to create a dark atmosphere. That’s what I felt in this book. Arnhill (the hometown) is a dreary place. It was the perfect setting though for this book. The balance between the present and the past offered a great deal of suspense and mystery. I thoroughly enjoyed unveiling the story of Joe’s past and what was to come. And I most definitely did not see the ending coming. Some really nice touches to conclude the book.

Another point, there were some really though provoking quotes in this book which make you just stop and think about your own life. A nice touch also.

I’ve seen some negative reviews for this one, which I am surprised about!

It was a brilliant read, highly recommend.

4.8/5

I am Watching You by Teresa Driscoll

I Am Watching You by Teresa Driscoll

Chilling from the start. A great premise which didn’t disappoint.

Two teenagers being teenagers whilst on their way to London. A normal day, a typical trip for teenagers wanting to feel like adults. But it all turns dark. Very dark.

The differing lives we follow all offer an interesting perspective. Plenty of secrets and there are many suspects in the build up to the horrifying conclusion. It was an addictive read and an extremely fast paced story.

Although the many perspectives were at times confusing (a couple being told in first person the others in third) they offered some difference in progressing the story.

3.7/5

More about this book.

The Twisted Tree by Rachel Burge

Screen Shot 2019-06-04 at 19.04.53

A chilling, dark and gothic short story.

For a 180 page book, it goes into a lot of detail about the characteristics of the locations and characters. Although detailed, it didn’t detract from the narrative, it only aided it.

It’s dark, gothic and chilling. An enjoyable short story.

3.3/5


I’m also reading Dean Koontz’s ‘Watchers’. Review will be coming soon!

Book Review: “A Watched Pot” by Mr Blue

A darkly humorous thriller.

A Watched Pot was a devilishly dark and humours read, which made me chuckle and really drew me in.

The most rewarding reads are those ones that slowly drip feed all the key information into the story beyond your realisation that it’s going to be significant later in the story. A Watched Pot did exactly that. It was a clever narrative and really easy to read. It may have only been short but I really got involved in it. The twist at the end was great. I won’t say too much more on this!

The only way it could have been better is if the writing was stronger in places. I noticed a couple of errors, but it didn’t take away from the read itself, which is why this is still a 4 star review.

I reviewed A Watched Pot after the author provided me with a free ecopy.

**** (4 stars)

A Watched Pot