Today I’m delighted to be part of the blog tour for Jack Jordan’s forthcoming novel My Girl (published on the 4th of July) and believe me if you love a gritty crime thriller you don’t want to miss this book, I read it in one sitting, yes it really was that good. Before you head over to Amazon and pre-order yourself a copy, I have a guest post from the very talented Jack Jordan regarding his top five reads of 2016
Jack Jordan’s Top Five Favourite Reads of 2016
“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” – Stephen King.
As a reader, I crave the time of day when I can lock myself away, pick up a good book, and escape into a whole other world. Some people might call this being anti-social. I call it pure bliss.
As a writer, I read to expand my knowledge, learn new techniques, be inspired by the masters, and judge how to, and how not to, write a gripping read.
Usually I am both a recreational reader and a professional writer at the same time, gasping at a novel’s twist, while analysing the execution and nodding in author-to-author approval.
Reading and writing go hand in hand – to be a successful writer, you must live and breathe literature. Olympic divers must first learn to swim, solicitors must understand law, and writers must read, read, and read some more.
I have read some fantastic novels this year that have stayed with me as a reader, and have taught me a lot as a writer.
Here are my top five reads of 2016 so far
Bird Box by Josh Malerman
If you’ve seen what’s out there… it’s already too late.
Something is out there – something that kills you with a single glance.
If you look outside, at whatever has taken over the world, you will be driven to madness, and kill those around you before ending your own life. You can’t see your biggest threat, you have no idea if it’s waiting just outside your door, and somehow you must survive runs to the well for water, looted shops for food, and the growing tension between those who are still alive.
The reader follows protagonist Malorie in the past and the present, learning how the world became so dangerous and inhabitable, and how only the bravest few can survive.
This is without a doubt one of my favourite books of all time. I consider Malerman’s debut novel a masterpiece. Never have I read a book where the author has managed to write a sensational novel without the key sensory description of sight. Not only has Malerman pulled it off, but he has raised the bar for ever other writer out there.
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
In love we find out who we want to be.
In war we find out who we are.
The Nightingale is a beautiful, heart-breaking story of two sisters enduring life amidst World War II. The elder sister, Vianne, must raise her children alone when her husband is pulled into the war to fight, and watch as her rural village is torn from France’s grasp and invaded by the Germans, who infiltrate every home, including hers, and change her world forever.
The younger sister, Isabelle, is determined to fight the Germans in any way she can. It isn’t long before she is working to defeat the enemy right within its territory, and battles love, war, and prejudice until the very end.
This is a powerful, haunting novel about the terrors of war, the strength of those caught in the crossfire, and one that is destined to make you cry.
The Lottery by Shirley Jackson
When The Lottery was published in The New Yorker in 1948, hundreds of letters poured in from horrified readers, compelled to put their terror into words – the most letters the publication had ever received. The tale was deemed ‘outrageous’, ‘gruesome’, and ‘perverted’. Hundreds of readers cancelled their subscriptions to the magazine, but that wouldn’t stop the controversial short story becoming one of the most infamous tales of all time.
What’s more, Jackson wrote it in under two hours, and made only two minor tweaks before sending it off for publication. Little did she know that it would forever live in the Literary Hall of Fame.
I won’t tell you what the story is about, in fear that I would either tell you too much or not do Jackson’s masterpiece justice. All I will say is that this particular lottery is one that you would not want to win.
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
As I took this book to the counter at my local Waterstones, the employee at the till winced and said, ‘Not a very cheerful book’. She didn’t say it with disapproval, but with heart for the characters hidden within the pages. I was desperate to understand what she meant, and raced home to begin reading.
I wasn’t sure of this book at first. The absence of punctuation and chapters didn’t sit well with me, but once I got used to the author’s particular writing structure, I was absorbed by the melancholy tale until the bitter end.
This character-led story is a raw look at the wild animals we really are when we are stripped away from our 21st century necessities. When phones, fashion, food, security and shelter are taken from us, we return to the feral creatures we once were. This is how we meet the main characters, a father and his son, who are drifters in this terrifying dystopian world where society has collapsed and trees are falling, taking breathable air with them.
It’s a sad but important story. The Road exposes us to who, or rather what, we really are, when society is torn away.
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Tomorrow is another day.
The Bible is considered ‘The Greatest Story Ever Told’. As an atheist and an author, I’m afraid I have to disagree. I believe Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind holds that title.
There are so many reasons why I shouldn’t love this book: the racism and slavery; martial rape; unlikeable characters; the sympathetic viewpoint of the Confederacy and the slavery they fought to uphold. But despite the difficult subject matter that goes against everything I believe in, I couldn’t help but fall in love with Gone with the Wind.
An epic novel made up of over 1000 pages, Gone with the Wind is led by Scarlett O’Hara, a boisterous, spoilt, selfish young woman who you can’t help but love. She is comical, strong-willed, but blindly destructive. Her turbulent love affair with Rhett Butler, her poor choices and her traumatic experiences, and her unstoppable desire to succeed and survive makes this novel completely unputdownable, and my all-time favourite novel.
Mitchell won the Pulitzer Prize for Gone with the Wind in 1937.
About Jack Jordan
Jack Jordan is an introvert disguised as an extrovert, an intelligent person who can say very unintelligent things, and a self-confessed bibliomaniac with more books than sense. Author of Anything for Her and My Girl. Jack lives in East Anglia, England. He loves animals, hates mathematics. Jack has been writing fiction for five years, and has overcome every obstacle that all writers must face: the duty to consume excessive amounts of tea and coffee, riddling self-doubt, overwhelming writer’s block, dozens of copy-and-pasted rejection letters, and unrealistic career comparisons to J K Rowling, made by innocent – yet oblivious – civilians.
Links to Jack Jordan
Paige Dawson: the mother of a murdered child and wife to a dead man.
She has nothing left to live for… until she finds her husband’s handgun hidden in their house.
Why did Ryan need a gun? What did he know about their daughter’s death?
Desperate for the truth, Paige begins to unearth her husband’s secrets.
But she has no idea who she is up against, or that her life isn’t hers to gamble – she belongs to me.
From the bestselling author of Anything for Her, Jack Jordan’s My Girl is the new chilling thriller that you won’t want to miss.
Oh WOW when I offered to read and review My Girl by Jack Jordan for his blog tour I really had no idea what to expect, but boy I am glad I read this novel. The first couple of chapters of My Girl certainly contained “the shock factor” and I was concerned that it would lack substance, and would be more about shocking the reader, but I’m pleased to say I was completely wrong, I found My Girl to be a chilling and captivating read. Yes it was shocking and very disturbing in parts but it did add to the plot making for a riveting read.
Paige is the mother of a murdered child and a wife to dead man, she has lost all self respect, she’s reckless and is addicted to both alcohol and pain killers, which is understandable considering her daughters killer has not been caught, and she continues to grieve for both her daughter and husband. I felt real empathy for Paige as her life spirals out of control, with no reason to live she drowns her sorrows in the bottle which lead her make some bad choices. The bond between a mother and her child is unbreakable, and the love is unconditional, so as a mother myself her pain and disregard for herself were understandable.
Darkly disturbing and genuinely shocking and unpredictable I found myself reading My Girl in one sitting, yes it really was that gripping! In fact I flew through the pages, as Paige finds the gun her husband had hidden away the plot begins to take shape and my mind started racing, trying to work out where the story was leading, but fortunately Jack Jordan gave nothing away and I would never have guessed how the plot would pan out in a million years. I was shocked to the core when the threads of this well plotted book began to come together. My Girl is fuelled with tension and so well written that before I knew it I had read 75% of the book without pausing for breath. Jack Jordan is certainly a writer to watch out for, he’s seriously talented, and a very gifted story teller. Im already looking forward to see what Jack Jordan comes up with next, I will certainly be reading his debut novel Anything For Her at the first opportunity.
My thanks to the author Jack Jordan for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.
5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ out of 5