BLOG TOUR REVIEW: The Closer I Get – by Paul Burston #blogtour #RandomThingsTours @Orendabooks @annecater

Hello and welcome to my little stop of the The Closer I Get Random Things blog tour! A huge thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me to be part of this blog tour. There was just something about this story that caught my eye immediately and Orenda titles have yet to fail me, so of course I couldn’t wait to get my teeth into this story. My instincts were right, because The Closer I Get completely blew me away. Want to know why? Please join me while I share my thoughts!

Title: The Closer I Get
Author: Paul Burston
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: July 11th 2019
Publisher: Orenda Books
Finished reading: July 11th 2019
Pages: 276

“The whole online world is one big stalking exercise. If I’m guilty, then so are millions of others.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Anne Cater and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

myrambles1reviewqqq

I admit it doesn’t happen often, but every once in a while I come across a story that is able to blow me away in such a way that I find myself unable to put a coherent sentence on paper, let alone write a review that would do it justice. The Closer I Get is one of those stories. I normally write my reviews almost immediately, not wanting to forget about the details of the story as well as conveying my thoughts accurately. This time around, I found myself unable to conjure the words to describe my thoughts for more than a week, my brain still recovering from the impact of Tom and Evie’s story. In the end I simply had to put my foot down, make myself open my WordPress draft, start my rambles and see if it would make my creative juices start flowing. Let’s see if I can get my thoughts on paper somewhat coherently, shall we?

The first thing that stands out in The Closer I Get is the focus on social media and the dangers behind online presence and relationships. It’s a theme extremely relevant in today’s society, as a lot of people give more and more importance to their online presence and frequently ‘hide’ behind their online personality. Frankly, the online stalking as described in The Closer I Get chilled me to the bone and made me seriously wonder if I should just shut down all my social media accounts to be on the safe side. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy my time on bookish Twitter and Instagram and I love sharing the bookish love, but we all know that trolls are out there and the possibility of online stalking is evidently real. This is only confirmed by Paul Burston‘s interview in the Guardian which I saw shared on social media a while back, where he tells us about his personal struggle with being stalked by someone… Adding even more authenticity and power to message of The Closer I Get. It’s true that one of the perks of social media is getting to meet new people with similar interests you probably won’t be able to meet otherwise, but who can garantuee your new follower/friend is who they claim to be? Or if they have an ulterior motive for befriending you? If you start standing still by these questions, social media quickly becomes a scary place to be…

The Closer I Get isn’t just a story about online stalking though. With the help of an intricate and well developed plot, the story focuses on two flawed and complex characters with their own secrets and past. It’s a tale of obsession and unrequited love, one that ends up in court and has serious consequences for both sides. Told with the help of a daunting, sharp and flawless writing style, The Closer I Get will grab you from the first chapter and will have you looking over your shoulder and biting your nails sooner than later. The story alternates between the POV of Evie and Tom, giving us the chance to get to know better both stalker and victim and giving you a (seemingly) less biased view of the situation. You will learn more about Evie’s story through the letters she writes to Tom after her conviction, letters she can never send due to her restraining order. She tries to explain her view on the situation in these messages, never faltering in her belief that her actions are justified and her feelings for Tom mutual. On the other side we have Tom, who is clearly affected by the whole online stalking situation as well as his struggle with writing another successful story after his second book flopped. Reading about his deteriorating mental state as well as his decision to leave London find inspiration to finish his book Hastings was without doubt intriguing. And while it’s true that I didn’t find Tom or Evie particularly likeable characters, it’s also true that I found their development on its own to be both fascinating and realisticly done.

What makes this story even more intriguing is that basically both Tom and Evie are unpredicable and unreliable characters. There are no clearly defined boundaries between the so-called good and bad guys. Instead, we have two characters that you will find basically cannot to be trusted. Who is lying? Could part of their story be true? What secrets are the characters hiding? Life as well as The Closer I Get is not black and white, instead giving us blurred boundaries between truth and lies and that haunting. feeling that somehow part of the puzzle is missing. The plot will slowly evolve and escalate up until the point you will find yourself unable to sit still and biting your nails to the quick. The tension might be slow building at first, but this story will have some spectacular surprises for you in store and an ending you won’t be able to see coming.

Evocative, daunting, well versed and simply shocking… The Closer I Get will leave you breathless and disquieted about your own online presence and the possible consequences and dangers it entails. As you might have guessed already, I can highly recommend this title to any fan of the genre.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Paul Burston is the author of five novels and the editor of two short story
collections. His most recent novel The Black Path, was a WHSmith bestseller.
His first novel, Shameless, was shortlisted for the State of Britain Award.
His third novel, Lovers & Losers was shortlisted for a Stonewall Award. His
fourth, The Gay Divorcee, was optioned for television. He was a founding
editor of Attitude magazine and has written for many publications including
Guardian, Independent, Time Out, The Times and Sunday Times. In March
2016, he was featured in the British Council’s #FiveFilms4Freedom Global
List 2016, celebrating “33 visionary people who are promoting freedom,
equality and LGBT rights around the world”. He is the founder and host of
London’s award-winning LGBT+ literary salon Polari and founder and chair of
The Polari First Book Prize for new writing and the newly announced Polari
Prize.


signature

You can also find me at Goodreads. Twitter. InstagramFacebookBloglovin’.

WWW Wednesdays #231 – July 17th

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I picked up Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter on a whim as I’ve been meaning to read another of her titles for ages… I was planning to finally meet Will Trent, but I opted for one of the stand-alones instead. I’m enjoying it so far! I’m also starting a pending WWII fiction ARC: Along The Broken Bay by Flora J. Solomon. I’ve heard mixed things so fingers crossed I’ll end up enjoying it.

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The Closer I Get by Paul Burstonby (4,5/5 stars) BLOG TOUR REVIEW 22/07
My full review will be available during my stop of the blog tour next Monday!

2. Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens (4/5 stars) REVIEW 25/07
This is such a hyped book and I’ve lost count of the times it has been recommended to me since it was published last year. I definitely understand the love for the story, and while it wasn’t a 5 star read for me, I still thoroughly enjoyed my time with it. The pace might be slow in the beginning, but the character descriptions and setting are extremely detailed and wonderful done. I think my favorite part of this story were the many descriptions and references to the marsh and its wildlife… I also liked how past and present chapters were mixed and slowly helped you understand more about Kya, her past and the events leading to the present. I admit I guessed the ending, but I still think the twist was very well handled.

3. The Puppet Show by M.W. Craven (5/5 stars) REVIEW 25/07
Another title that has been recommended to me multiple times… So I was very happy the Instagram @criminallygoodbookclub picked it as their July read. I have found myself a new favorite character duo in Washtington Poe and Tilly Bradshaw! These characters are probably one of the main reasons I had no option but to give The Puppet Show the full five stars, because Poe and Tilly are absolutely brilliant together. Apart from that, we have brilliant written, a fascinating plot, wonderful descriptions of the Cumbria setting, a chilling serial killer and a dark dark secret and scandal of the past. What’s not to love?

4. Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson (3/5 stars) REVIEW 30/07
I picked up this Peter Pan retelling on a whim, looking for something a little different to read… It served that purpose just fine, but I ended up having mixed thoughts about the story itself. While I liked how the story was told from Tink’s POV and Tiger Lily was an interesting character, I felt that the so-called “spark” was missing and certain characters really started to get on my nerves. I wasn’t a fan of the romance either; it felt forced and the love triangle (should I say rectangle?) was quite frustrating as well. Can’t say I was happy with how the abuse and Tik Tok not being like the rest of the men of the tribe was handled either.

5. Small Places by Katherine Arden (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 19/07
An entertaining middle grade horror read that would have been perfect for the Halloween month. More in my review on Friday.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I need to get those blog tour and ARC reviews in so I can take a proper blogging break in August, so I’ll probably read The Escape Room by Megan Golding and Her Silent Cry by Lisa Regan next… And since it’s a blogging and not a reading slump I’m facing, I’ve decided to pick up the second Outlander book Dragonfly In Amber by Diana Gabaldon in between ARCs, which will take probably me a little while to finish with its 900+ pages and I won’t have to worry about writing reviews in the meantime. 😉  My newest TBR jar pick is still The Cellar by Natasha Preston.


signature

You can also find me at Goodreads. Twitter. Instagram. Facebook. Bloglovin’.

WWW Wednesdays #230 – July 10th

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m finally reading Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens! It’s still early days as I wanted to finish my Spanish Harry Potter read first, but I have high hopes for this one. I’m also starting my Criminally Good book club read The Puppet Show by M.W. Craven and I’m so excited to be finally reading this story!

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The Boy Who Steals Houses by C.G. Drews (5/5 stars) REVIEW 12/07
This title was one of my most anticipated releases this year and I can say it has without doubt lived up to expectations. What an absolutely wonderful and heartbreaking read! You will want to clear your schedule for this little gem, because once you meet the main characters Sam, Moxie and Avery you will find yourself unable to say goodbye to them and stop reading. The writing style is engaging and wonderful; the characters and their descriptions are likewise excellently done. There is just something about Sam, Moxie and Avery that made them win over my heart almost immediately, and my heart ached for them as their story slowly revealed itself.

2. Trance by Adam Southward (2,5/5 stars) REVIEW 11/07
I admit it was hook, line and sinker when I saw the cover of Trance and read the blurb. The promise of a dangerous character with the ability to control minds sounded absolutely fantastic, and there was no way I was going to be able to resist reading it. It might have been that I had set my expectations too high, because unfortunately I can’t say I was convinced by the story itself and I ended up having mixed thoughts.

3. Ivory And Bone by Julie Eshbaugh (2,5/5 stars) REVIEW 18/07
Despite the mixed reviews I decided to give this story a chance anyway, mostly because I don’t come across pre-historic settings that often and the premise sounded fascinating. I still think the pre-historic timeframe is the most interesting aspect of this story, and I don’t think I would have made it to the last page without it. Oh yes, sadly I belong to the group that didn’t react well to Ivory And Bone. A lot of my reaction to the story has to do with the fact that part of it is told from a second person POV. I had forgotten how much I despised this technique and I only refrained from DNFing because thankfully it was only used when Kol was talking about or interacting with Mya. Apart from the POV, I found the plot of Ivory And Bone to be rather dull and uneventful during mosty of the story.

4. The Silent Ones by K.L. Slater (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 23/07
I think most will know by now I’m a huge fan of Kim Slater‘s psychological thrillers and when I saw she had a second new title coming out this year I might have squeeled a little. Of course I couldn’t resist this title for long, and I can say that this story is without doubt another winner. What a read! The writing is just as brilliant as always and draws you right in; the plot itself is fascinating. The Silent Ones is basically a family focused psychological thriller with a dramatic twist and a LOT of secrets that will keep you on your toes. I admit I saw part of the final reveals coming, but it cannot be denied that it was a brilliant way of turning around the story completely.

5. House Of Furies by Madeleine Roux (4/5 stars) REVIEW 18/07
I loved her Asylum series and I’ve been wanting to read more of her work ever since… And this one was definitely another success for me. I LOVED the 1810 setting in the Coldthistle House and the creepiness of it all. The writing was engaging and made me fly through this story… This would definitely make a perfect Halloween read and I’m already looking forward to read the sequel.

6. Harry Potter Y La Orden Del Fénix by J.K. Rowling (3,5/5) NO REVIEW
I finally finished my Spanish reread of the fifth Harry Potter book! I had forgotten just how much I despised Umbridge and she is definitely one of the main reasons book five is my least favorite of the series. The fact that Harry is constantly angry and shouting at everyone can get a little frustrating as well… Still, I always love visiting Harry Potter’s world and I’m already looking forward to reread the next book in Spanish. It will probably be a few months before I do so though…

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m reading this month’s blog tour read The Closer I Get by Paul Burston next as my blog tour stop is coming up… I can’t wait to read it, as I’ve heard lots of fantastic things about the story already. I also need to read the ARC Along The Broken Bay by Flora J. Solomon soon… The WWII historical fiction setting in the Philippines sounds fascinating. Also, I’m finally going to pick up my copy of The Silent Patient by MichAlex Michaelides!! Fingers crossed I won’t get an unpopular opinion review for this one. My newest TBR jar pick is still The Cellar by Natasha Preston.


signature

You can also find me at Goodreads. Twitter. Instagram. Facebook. Bloglovin’.