Review: ‘Child Taken’ by Darren Young

An investigative journalist looking into a missing person’s case is nothing new in the world of crime fiction (one only has to look to Mikael Blomkvist and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo for a classic example of this), but as with most books in this genre, it’s about the characters. A struggling young reporter trying to get her big break at the local paper had me interested as a student journalist, and I soon began reading Child Taken by Darren Young.

Cover for Child Taken, with a child in a yellow dress on the beach, with her back to the camera, looking out to sea
Whilst it was the blurb which primarily had me hooked, part of me was curious to find out just how many stereotypes about newspaper editors and journalism would end up in the novel. Aside from the character of David Weatherall sounding a little like J. Jonah Jameson from the Spider-Man movies and one day off too many, the Gazette‘s newsroom wasn’t too unfamiliar…

Admittedly, having read this book over the space of two or three months, the first half of the book has been somewhat forgotten. However, it can be described as a ‘slow burner’ of a novel. As the mystery unwravels over the course of 438 pages, it’s around two-thirds of the way in where the pace really starts to pick up, with action in every chapter.

It was at this point that I was reminded how good a movie or TV Show Child Taken could be. Written in an intriguing and descriptive narrative style, it was one of the few books which made me imagine every scene in detail. It made each action scene more intense, and the big finale even more impactful (no spoilers).

Gripping and thrilling with a perfectly constructed plot, Child Taken is a brilliant debut from the writer, Darren Young.

A huge thank you to Red Door Publishing for sending me an advance copy of Child Taken and apologies for the review going up late! Whilst I was sent a free copy, this review contains my honest opinion.

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Weekly Update: Reading and Deadpool

I should probably be honest and say that not much happened this week. University life is going well, as is my radio show and other things.

The two things I should probably talk about are my reading, and seeing Deadpool yesterday.

First off, I actually found time to read this week. I’m currently reading The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks. It’s certainly intriguing, but when I have an exciting book to read after this book, I’m eager to finish it regardless.

Then there was me seeing Deadpool yesterday. When it comes to the cinema, I’ve never really been a fan of seeing films. In order for me to see a movie, it has to have a great actor/actress, great special effects, be critically acclaimed and/or be massively overrated. Thankfully, Deadpool has received amazing reviews and so I had to see it.

I won’t spoil the movie for anyone that hasn’t seen it, but Deadpool was simply brilliant. The humour was immature (with the odd references thrown in), and the violence was so slapstick that I couldn’t help but grin and smile. This is probably the first film I will buy on DVD.

Listen the latest episode of Brunchtime:

How was your week? Have you seen Deadpool? What are you currently reading? Comment below!

Liam

In Pursuit of a More Challenging Read

After taking a while to complete The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden by Jonas Jonasson, I was quick to get back into reading. At home, I have a bookcase full of books I need to read. In particular, there’s books on there from Young Adult series I haven’t read for five years or so. Eager to power my way through my to-be-read pile, I picked up The Sacrifice by Charlie Higson – part of The Enemy YA series.

However, with me reading the first three books in the series so long ago, I struggled to remember the plot details and characters from the series. As well as that, I feel as though my reading age and preference has changed since then. Whilst I used to be interested in books about teenage spies (CHERUB) or a group of teenagers surviving a zombie apocalypse, now I am interested in the latest crime fiction novels. For example, I am now reading The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith/J.K. Rowling.

Of course, I could read these YA novels even when I am outside the ‘teenage’ bracket. However, the language is different, and I want something different and more challenging. I look forward to reading more of The Cuckoo’s Calling.

Have you found that your reading tastes change from time to time? Comment below!

Liam

Where I Like to Read | A Guest Post by Jenny from Jenny in Neverland

The quick answer to that question would be; anywhere but there’s specific places I like to settle down comfortably with my book and enjoy my time reading. Unless I’m comfortable, I find it hard to concentrate on my book and obviously I want to devote as much attention to the story as possible! So here are a couple of my favourite places I like to read!

My bed

Probably the most obvious choice, but I love curling up in bed with a good book, a cuppa and my dog laying on my feet. It’s one of those rare, perfect moments when you’re completely content with what’s going on. I rarely read in bed at night anymore, which is a shame but whatever time of day, I always get a lot of reading done there because it’s my safe haven – it’s where I feel most comfortable and safe where nothing can get me in my little book bubble!

In the garden

This is probably my favourite ever place to read; nothing beats a gorgeous summers day in the garden with a good book; I have lost count of the amount of hours I’ve spent out there reading. Luckily, I live down a small street, mostly occupied by older people and my garden doesn’t back onto anything; so it’s quite secluded and private – which I love. We have a swinging hammock chair which is where I spend most of my summer days sitting, reading.

On a beach/by a pool

I’ve got lots of good memories going on holiday with my parents as a teenager and even then, I was a complete bookworm so never went on holiday without a book. I remember one particular holiday to Gran Caneria where I spent hours and hours working through Breaking Dawn (which, if you’ve read it, will know it isn’t a 10 minute read!) Reading in a gorgeous country, by a beach or a pool, is always so relaxing.

In a hotel / cottage etc.

Wherever I’m staying when I go on holiday, whether it’s a hotel or a cottage in the countryside or a chalet; I always take my book and always give myself time to read in accommodation. I like the feeling of being away from home, in a different place but still having the normality of settling down in bed or on the sofa to have a read; despite everything else going on around you.

Thank you to Liam for having me on his blog today!

Many thanks to Jenny from Jenny in Neverland for writing this guest post. You can visit her blog by clicking here, and you can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.

Thoughts on Reading Deadlines | Weekly Update

At the moment, I really want to get rid of my TBR (To Be Read) bookshelf. Currently, I still have series to finish, as well as the occasional stand-alone novel. But I hope to finish the book I reading now before the end of February. However, do reading deadlines take the fun out of reading?

Personally, I agree with many other writers who encourage reading as a choice (rather than being forced to through essays and “reading logs”). However, with reading deadlines having a similar level of discipline, I think they are OK in certain scenarios.

If the book the person is reading is an interesting one, then there is no need for a deadline – it comes naturally. Therefore, I think reading deadlines are only useful/relevant/acceptable to encourage the individual to finish the book so they can move on to a more exciting novel that they actually want to read.

This is me at the moment, where I have to read the last novel because I want to know what happens – but at the same time, the book is slow, so I will have to persevere.

What do you think on reading deadlines? Comment below!

Liam

Getting Back into Words | Weekly Update

It’s been a long time since I actually picked up a book and read. In particular, all of the books are on an incredibly long TBR list and are part of a series – meaning I am often having to scratch my head and remember what happened in all the previous books…

However, it is only when I have got back into reading that ideas for my latest book come to fruition. It’s more proof that reading is the best way for a writer to learn!

At the moment, brief ideas for my novel are popping up. But once simple things like character names are out the way, I will plan the plot points and get writing!

Liam

Weekly Update: Finding the Time to Read

My life at the moment has become rather busy as usual as the year draws to a close. But this week, I was able to fit in a brief moment of reading in my schedule.

At the moment, I am trying to finish The First Phone Call from Heaven by Mitch Albom (if you haven’t read The Time Keeper or The Five People You Meet in Heaven, then you must – his writing style is brilliant!)

So I thought it might be interesting to open up a discussion about this. Where are your best places for squeezing in a bit of reading time? Comment below!

Have a good week!

Liam