Violet by SJI Holliday #bookreview blog tour @SJIHolliday @OrendaBooks @annecater

I’m delighted to be joining the blog tour for Violet by SJI Holliday. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

Violet by [Holliday, SJI]

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Carrie’s best friend has an accident and can no longer make the round-the-world trip they’d planned together, so Carrie decides to go it alone.

Violet is also travelling alone, after splitting up with her boyfriend in Thailand. She is also desperate for a ticket on the Trans-Siberian Express, but there is nothing available.

When the two women meet in a Beijing Hotel, Carrie makes the impulsive decision to invite Violet to take her best friend’s place.

Thrown together in a strange country, and the cramped cabin of the train, the women soon form a bond. But as the journey continues, through Mongolia and into Russia, things start to unravel – because one of these women is not who she claims to be…

A tense and twisted psychological thriller about obsession, manipulation and toxic friendships, Violet also reminds us that there’s a reason why mother told us not to talk to strangers…

MY THOUGHTS

SJI Holliday takes us across continents in her latest novel, beginning our journey in Bangkok, which is where we first meet our protagonist, the enigmatic Violet. Violet is still reminiscing over her break-up with her boyfriend, Sam, and when she misses the last train due to take her to her next destination, she strikes up a conversation with the buoyant, Carrie, who quickly takes Violet under her wing. The two girls become close and take the next stages of their journey across Asia together. But their friendship soon begins to turn sour, and Carrie begins to realise that Violet may not be the person who she thinks she is.

SJI Holliday’s latest book, Violet, is deliciously dark. There was something about Violet and Carrie’s friendship in the very early chapters that just drew me into the story. I wanted to know how things were going to pan out for them. Everything at the beginning seems so perfect, but there is that underlying sense of darkness which makes you think that something terrible is going to happen between the two girls. I wanted to know what, if any, secrets they were hiding.

Carrie is a very wild character who stands out next to Violet. At first, Violet appears shy and just happy to tag along. But as Violet’s character develops, we begin to see a different person begin to emerge, someone who is more confident and intriguing. This is why I found her so fascinating. I could never quite pin her down, and this is what makes her very mysterious.

I loved the settings. Through SJI Holliday’s writing, I felt as though I had travelled to parts of the world which I have never visited before, including Thailand, Mongolia and Russia. This, for me, is what made this book stand out and made it feel very unique. Reading this book will probably make me think twice about starting up a conversation with a stranger in the future if such a situation ever arises.

This is a book which can very easily be read in one sitting, and I devoured it in just a couple. The short chapters keep the pace flying forward. It’s quite different to SJI Holliday’s previous book, The Lingering, which I also enjoyed but I think, Violet is even better.

Violet is highly engrossing and really well written. If you haven’t read a book by SJI Holliday before, then you don’t want to be missing out. Fantastic stuff.

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 14th September 2019 (kindle) 14th November 2019 (paperback)

Print length: 276 pages

If you would like to purchase Violet, you can do so by clicking on one of the following links below.

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Closer Than Blood by Paul Grzegorzek #bookreview blog tour @PaulGlaznost @0neMoreChapter_ @BOTBSPublicity

I’m delighted to be joining the blog tour for Closer Than Blood by Paul Grzegorzek, the second book in the PC Gareth Bell series. With thanks to Sarah Hardy from Books on the Bright Side Publicity for inviting me to take part.

Closer Than Blood: An addictive and gripping crime thriller (Gareth Bell Thriller, Book 2) by [Grzegorzek, Paul]

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The real nightmare begins when the missing person returns…

PC Gareth Bell is about to arrest a cocaine dealer on Brighton Marina, when he makes a shocking discovery that turns his world upside down: the dealer is his long-lost brother, Jake, someone he thought had died years ago.

But their reunion is short lived. For Jake is on the run from a cold-blooded killer, whose network reaches all the way into the police force itself. Now that his brother’s life is on the line, Bell has only two choices. Family, or duty?

MY THOUGHTS

Paul Grzegorzek is a writer who writes with real authenticity. Having spent several years in the police force himself, you know that you are safely in the hands of a writer who knows his stuff.

Closer Than Blood is a real page-turner and a thrill a minute. In the second book in his PC Gareth Bell series, Paul takes us deep into Brighton’s murky underworld and the latest case that Gareth finds himself wrapped up in may pose a critical threat to national security. He knows that this particular case certainly isn’t going to be an easy ride, and there is a real sense of imminent danger.

I recently read the first book in this series, The Follow and there was something about PC Gareth Bell that made both of these books feel so fresh. He is a police officer who doesn’t always abide by the law, sometimes he will disobey orders from his superiors, but he will only do this with good reason to and with getting justice as the ultimate aim. And this is something that I really liked about him. He is never predictable.

The case Gareth is investigating hits far too close to home for his liking. For many years his family suspected that his brother, Jake was dead, but to Gareth’s utter bewilderment he discovers he is alive and in a hell of a lot of trouble. And his brother’s problems are about to land on his doorstep when some seriously nasty people start threatening Gareth and the people he loves. What exactly has his brother got himself involved in? How are any of them going to make it out of this alive?

After reading the opening chapters, I was desperate to know who it was that Gareth’s brother had upset so badly and what he had done to deserve this. I was hooked straight away. When it is revealed that Jake had stolen something from the people who are trying to kill him, I flew through the book to find out what it was.

If you are looking for a crime novel that is pacy and filled with thrills from the get-go, then I would definitely recommend Closer Than Blood. The storyline is gritty and will have you totally invested in the plot and the characters. I can’t recommend this book and this series highly enough.

I can’t wait to read more from Paul Grzegorzek!

Publisher: One More Chapter

Publication date: 16th August 2019 (kindle) 31st October 2019 (paperback)

Print length: 352 pages

If you would like to purchase Closer than Blood, you can do so by clicking on one of the following links below.

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The Roommates by Rachel Sargeant #bookreview blog tour @RachelSargeant3

I’m delighted to be joining the blog tour for The Roommates by Rachel Sargeant. With thanks to Rachel for inviting me to take part.

The Roommates: A gripping, addictive, psychological thriller full of shocking twists from the Kindle top ten bestseller by [Sargeant, Rachel]

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THEY LIVE IN YOUR HOUSE
University is supposed to be the best time of your life. But Imo’s first week is quickly going from bad to worse.

YOU SHARE EVERYTHING
A stalker is watching her flat, following her every move, and Imo suspects that her new roommates are hiding dark secrets…

BUT DO YOU TRUST THEM?
When one of them suddenly disappears, the trauma of Imo’s recent past comes hurtling back to haunt her. And she begins to realise just how little she knows about the people she lives with…

MY THOUGHTS

Several months ago, Imo’s sister, Sarah, disappeared without a trace leaving the police with very few clues to follow. Now, as Imo attempts to move forward, she is starting a new chapter in her life by starting university. But when her new roommate, Amber goes missing after their first day, Imo is determined to find out what happened to her. It may be too late for her sister, but Imo is resolved not to let Amber suffer the same fate.

I quickly became invested in Imo’s search for Amber. There were certain times when it did feel as though she was the only person interested in pursuing the case. Had something dreadful happened to her, or had she decided to leave university by her own free will?

I could see that the lack of a resolution in Imo’s sister’s disappearance was what was driving her willpower to find Amber.

The story opens in a very dramatic way which captured my attention. Rachel then peels back the layers to reveal what has happened in the run up to this moment. This is what makes this a real page-turner. I wanted to find out what was going to lead the characters to that moment we see at the beginning. I wanted to see what the final outcome was going to be.

I loved the university setting, which Rachel Sargeant brought to life well, particularly fresher’s week. Rachel captures the buzz, and the excitement in her writing as new students begin to get to know each other as they settle into their new routine.

The storyline darkens as Imo gets closer to finding out what was going on in Amber’s life before her disappearance. There are some highly tense moments as the book races towards its resolution, and I was never quite sure how things were going to end up.

I’d definitely like to see Rachel return to Imo again as I feel as though there is more to find out about her. Rachel certainly leaves the novel open to the possibility of a sequel.

This is a really well written thriller which you can easily sink into. Rachel’s writing is very immersive. I wanted to find out the truth about what had happened to Amber. I guarantee that you will keep turning those pages to work out the answers yourself.

The Roommates definitely comes recommended from me.

Publisher: Harper Collins

Publication date: 24th October 2019

Print length: 269 pages

If you would like to purchase The Roommates, you can do so by clicking on one of the following links below.

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First Monday Crime Book Review – The Whisper Man by Alex North @writer_north @1stMondayCrime

First Monday Crime is back at City University, London on Monday, 4th November at 18.30 p.m. We have another stellar line up for you which includes, Alex North author of The Whisper Man, Louise Candlish author of Those People, Abir Mukherjee author of Death in the East and Victoria Selman author of Snakes and Ladders. The panel is being moderated by Sophie Goodfellow.

Earlier in the year I read Alex North’s The Whisper Man and it is still one of my top reads of the year. I’m re-sharing my review below. And if you would like to come along to First Monday Crime, you can find all the details where you can reserve your FREE space at the end of the blog post.

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If you leave a door half-open, soon you’ll hear the whispers spoken . . .

Still devastated after the loss of his wife, Tom Kennedy and his young son Jake move to the sleepy village of Featherbank, looking for a much-needed fresh start.

But Featherbank has a dark past. Fifteen years ago, a twisted serial killer abducted and murdered five young boys.

Until he was finally caught, the killer was known as ‘The Whisper Man’.

Of course, an old crime need not trouble Tom and Jake as they try to settle in to their new home.

Except that now another boy has gone missing. And then Jake begins acting strangely.

He says he hears a whispering at his window . . .

MY THOUGHTS

I remember first hearing about The Whisper Man way back, early in 2018, and I was desperate to get my hands on a copy. I first read about it in ‘The Bookseller.’

I was slightly worried, as it had received a lot of early praise if it would live up to my expectations, and I’m relieved to tell you that it certainly did. This is one of the best crime novels I’ve read this year. Alex North’s writing is totally immersive and the line “if you leave the door half open, soon you’ll hear the whispers spoken,” chilled me. This is a very well thought out book with a spooky and creepy atmosphere, and it was done really well.

Tom and his son Jake move to the quiet town of Featherbank following the death of Tom’s wife and Jake’s mother, Rebecca. They’re hoping for a fresh start, but soon strange things start to happen. Jake begins talking to imaginary friends. Tom, as you can imagine, has a lot of concerns about his son’s behaviour.

Fifteen years ago, a serial killer abducted and killed five children; one child remains missing. In the present day, another child has disappeared, and soon the killer has their eyes set on Jake. But there are some scary similarities to the crimes that took place decades earlier. But the man responsible for those crimes is in prison. Is this a copycat? Or is something much more sinister going on?

This is a novel with a huge amount of heart. Tom confesses in the opening lines how he has struggled to bond with his son, but you can really see their relationship develop throughout this book, and this makes the final scenes so tense and gripping. I couldn’t be sure where we were going to end up at the end, and there were some times when I almost couldn’t bear to find out as I didn’t want anything bad to happen to the characters. A book is only gripping, I find if you care a lot about the characters, and this is what Alex North has achieved with this book.

There is real depth to Alex North’s writing. I really engaged with Tom and his son as they tried to make a new start. You can see just how difficult this is for them and there are some scenes that I’m sure will pull at the heartstrings of many readers. Right from the start of the novel, I just got the feeling that something terrible was going to happen, and this darkness ran right from the beginning to the heart-pounding conclusion.

The Whisper Man is a top crime novel, one I’m certain will hit the bestseller lists. Alex North is a writer who I’m sure will jump straight to the top of my TBR pile whenever he has a new book out. Brilliant and captivating. I highly recommend it.

Publisher: Michael Joseph

Publication date: 13th June 2019

Print length: 400 pages

If you would like to purchase The Whisper Man, you can do so by clicking on one of the following links below. 

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If you would like to come along to First Monday Crime, you can reserve your space by clicking on the link below.

The nearest Tube stations are Farringdon and Angel. Afterwards we’ll be heading to The Dame Alice Owen for a drink.

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All His Pretty Girls by Charly Cox #bookreview blog tour @CharlylynnCox @HeraBooks @BOTBSPublicity

Happy publication day to Charly Cox. Her debut novel, All His Pretty Girls is released today and it’s my pleasure to be sharing my review as part of the blog tour.

All His Pretty Girls: An absolutely gripping detective novel with a jaw-dropping killer twist by [Cox, Charly]

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Detective Alyssa Wyatt is hunting a serial killer.

She doesn’t know that he’s hunting her.

A woman is found naked, badly beaten and barely alive in the New Mexico mountains. The shocking discovery plunges Albuquerque Detective Alyssa Wyatt into a case that will test her to the limit.

It appears that Callie McCormick is the latest plaything of a shadowy psychopath that leaves a long shadow on the streets of New Mexico – an individual linked to a string of deaths but leaving no evidence.

But when Alyssa makes a breakthrough that just might reveal the killer, she unknowingly puts herself in the crosshairs of a brutal maniac – one with an old score to settle.

Because the killer knows Alyssa very well, even if she doesn’t know him. And he’s determined that she’ll know his name – even if he has to extract his deadly revenge on her and everything she loves.

MY THOUGHTS

All His Pretty Girls by Charly Cox is such an intense read. A terrifying serial killer is stalking a community. For Detective Alyssa Wyatt the case hits far too close to home. When a kidnapped woman turns up dead, it becomes personal. She feels she has failed this woman and her failure to find her alive eats away at her. It makes her more determined to catch whoever is responsible for the murders that have taken place and make sure they never kill again. But this case will have devastating consequences for Alyssa and her family.

Charly Cox really did make me fear for her characters as I was reading this book. She managed to create such an intense atmosphere in her writing. I was desperately hoping that the victims of the criminal in her novel would find a means of escape. Charly Cox did make these scenes feel very claustrophobic, and I almost couldn’t bear to read on, but I knew I had to.

I really liked Alyssa. I think it did take me some time to warm to her, when I first started reading but she gradually grew on me. She is a character who has suffered in the past as well. Her brother, Timmy, disappeared when they were only children, and she has continuously blamed herself for her brother’s disappearance. He was found dead, but his kidnapper was never identified. I suspect that this part of the plot may feed into later books in the series and I’m hoping that there is going to be another book.

The plot moves along at an extremely fast pace. As the reader, you can sense the clock ticking down as the police work hard to apprehend the killer, and in the final chapters, Charly Cox really does turn the tension up a notch.

The twists that come in this book are hard-hitting, and one blew my mind. You won’t believe what is happening when it finally dawns on you. I thought it was so clever how Charly managed to weave this into her plot, but as I looked back, I could see that there were hints and signs there. It was very cleverly done, and I am still reeling from it as I am writing this review.

If I could sum of All His Pretty Girls in just a few words they would be; intense, dark, haunting and terrifying. If you enjoy crime fiction with a darker edge, then this is a book for you. I can’t wait to see where Charly takes us next.

Publisher: Hera Books

Publication date: 23rd October 2019

If you would like to purchase All His Pretty Girls, you can do so by clicking on one of the following links below.

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The Long Call by Ann Cleeves #bookreview

A couple of weeks ago I read The Long Call, the first in a new series by Ann Cleeves, author of the Vera and Shetland series. This is the first book by Ann Cleeves which I’ve read and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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The Long Call is the captivating first novel in the Two Rivers series from Sunday Times bestseller and creator of Vera and Shetland, Ann Cleeves.

In North Devon, where the rivers Taw and Torridge converge and run into the sea, Detective Matthew Venn stands outside the church as his father’s funeral takes place. The day Matthew turned his back on the strict evangelical community in which he grew up, he lost his family too.

Now he’s back, not just to mourn his father at a distance, but to take charge of his first major case in the Two Rivers region; a complex place not quite as idyllic as tourists suppose.

A body has been found on the beach near to Matthew’s new home: a man with the tattoo of an albatross on his neck, stabbed to death.

Finding the killer is Venn’s only focus, and his team’s investigation will take him straight back into the community he left behind, and the deadly secrets that lurk there.

MY THOUGHTS

The Long Call is a deeply engrossing story by Ann Cleeves. Set along the North Devon coastline, the body of a man with a stab wound is found on the beach. As Detective Matthew Venn takes a closer look into the past few weeks leading up to the man’s death, he uncovers some disturbing facts. As Matthew unpeels the layers of the victim’s life, it seems as though there is something a lot more sinister going on, and Matthew is determined to stop it.

This is the first case for Detective Matthew Venn and the first novel in a brand new series for Ann Cleeves. This book had long been on my radar before it was published, so I was pleased to have the opportunity to read it as soon as I did. Shamefully I’ve never read a book by Ann Cleeves before, but I will be rectifying that after reading her latest. I’m also sure that this book will win her an army of new fans.

The Long Call is a slow-burner. It does, however, develop into a highly engrossing, character-driven read. Matthew Venn is a character who has suffered in the past, mainly at the hands of his family. The opening of the novel sees him attending his father’s funeral but at a distance. We can see that there is an animosity there between him and his relatives, chiefly down to religious matters which initially caused their split. I did feel sorry for him. You can see that he wants to make amends with his family, but they appear to be less willing to do so.

There is a complicated life attached to the victim, which Matthew has to unpick as the investigation into his death gets underway. There is also a connection to a community arts centre where the victim may have volunteered. I really liked how Ann Cleeves attached different strands to the investigation, which kept me thinking along the way. Until everything comes together in the end, you really don’t know how Ann Cleeves is going to bring about that full circle that makes everything clear.

There are some characters here who will get under your skin. I thought this particularly about Matthew’s family and the company they kept. The novel does explore how a belief can take its hold over a person, and even turn them against their own family.

Matthew Venn is a character who Ann Cleeves has brought to life really well in the first book in this series. I also liked the strong visual imagery which captured the North Devon landscape; it made me feel as though I was there.

A strong start to a new series, the Two Rivers series is one I’ll be keen to follow.

Publisher: Macmillan

Publication date: 5th September 2019

Print length: 384 pages

If you would like to purchase The Long Call, you can do so by clicking on one of the following links below.

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To Keep You Safe by Kate Bradley #bookreview blog tour @kate_bradley @ZaffreBooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n

I’m delighted to be joining the blog tour for To Keep You Safe by Kate Bradley. With thanks to Tracy Fenton from Compulsive Readers for inviting me to take part.

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I HAD TO SAVE YOU, SO I TOOK YOU . . .

When ex-soldier-turned-teacher Jenni Wales sees 15-year-old Destiny’s black eye, she’s concerned. Destiny isn’t your average student: she’s smart, genius IQ smart, and she’s in care. But concern turns to fear when Jenni witnesses an attempt to abduct Destiny from school.

With social services and the police not taking the threat seriously, Jenni does the only thing she can think of to keep Destiny safe: she takes her.

But the men that are after Destiny are close behind them. What can Destiny know that would make them hunt her? And can Jenni keep her safe?

But what if what Jenni thought she saw isn’t the truth at all? What if the truth is much darker than either of them want to face? Their journey will take them both to unexpected places, but both are survivors and each will surprise the other in ways they could never have imagined.

MY THOUGHTS

To Keep You Safe is such an intense psychological thriller by Kate Bradley and I managed to finish it in just a couple of sittings. There’s action right from the get-go when former soldier, turned teacher, Jenni, is compelled to help her pupil, Destiny. Jenni is convinced that Destiny is being tracked by some very dangerous people and is determined to help her escape them. But as Jenni tries to take charge of Destiny’s fate, things soon start to spiral out of control. For Jenni and Destiny, their lives will never be the same again.

What I loved about this book is that I had no idea what was going on. I couldn’t be sure if Destiny was misleading Jenni or if she did desperately need her help. You’ll begin to understand why I thought this if you choose to read the book. You can see just how much Jenni cares for Destiny. She wants to make sure she’s safe, and she will go to any means possible to make sure this happens, even if this means putting her career at risk. I think this was what I liked most about Jenni. Her sheer determination to make sure that nothing bad happens to Destiny is what drives her throughout the book.

Destiny is a character who has come from a troubled upbringing, and she has been moved around from different foster homes. What also made this book fascinating is that we are allowed glimpses into Destiny’s mind. We can see how her upbringing has moulded her into the person she is today. I always had this feeling that Destiny wasn’t being entirely truthful with her teacher. This feeling made keep guessing and turning the pages as I wanted to find out what was really going on, and who’s side, Destiny was on. She is one of the most intriguing characters I’ve recently come across.

There are some uncomfortable themes which Kate Bradley explores in this book, and this made the novel more intense. When Jenni first decides to help Destiny, I didn’t expect the story to come to this point. There are some shocking twists which make you look even more closely at the characters.

This book will keep you completely gripped throughout, and it will have you desperately trying to work out what the final outcome will be. If you enjoy reading a fast and an intense story, then I would definitely recommend this book.

Publisher: Zaffre

Publication date: 10th October 2019 (kindle)

Print length: 400 pages

If you would like to purchase To Keep You Safe, you can do so by clicking on the following link below.

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Little Siberia by Antti Tuomainen #bookreview blog tour @antti_tuomainen @OrendaBooks @annecater

I’m delighted to be joining the blog tour for Little Siberia by Antti Tuomainen. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

Little Siberia by [Tuomainen, Antti]

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The arrival of a meteorite in a small Finnish town causes chaos and crime in this poignant, chilling and hilarious new thriller from the King of Helsinki Noir

A man with dark thoughts on his mind is racing along the remote snowy roads of Hurmevaara in Finland, when there is flash in the sky and something crashes into the car. That something turns about to be a highly valuable meteorite. With euro signs lighting up the eyes of the locals, the unexpected treasure is temporarily placed in a neighbourhood museum, under the watchful eye of a priest named Joel.

But Joel has a lot more on his mind than simply protecting the riches that have apparently rained down from heaven. His wife has just revealed that she is pregnant. Unfortunately Joel has strong reason to think the baby isn’t his. As Joel tries to fend off repeated and bungled attempts to steal the meteorite, he must also come to terms with his own situation, and discover who the father of the baby really is.

Transporting the reader to the culture, landscape and mores of northern Finland Little Siberia is both a crime novel and a hilarious, blacker-than-black comedy about faith and disbelief, love and death, and what to do when bolts from the blue – both literal and figurative – turn your life upside down.

MY THOUGHTS

A simple lump of rock, travelling for billions of years across the universe finally makes its mark on Planet Earth, choosing to make icy cold Finland its destination. But this simple lump of rock is about to cause a storm among the locals. With an estimated worth of one million euros, it catches the eye of more than a few crooks, who are desperate to get their hands on it before it makes its journey to London. Charged with protecting the meteorite is Pastor Joel Huhta, a former soldier who takes up the duty of night watchman. And this simple lump of rock is about to turn his life on its hinges.

What I loved about this book was how fresh the story felt. Antti Tuomainen has a real talent for putting a different spin on a thriller, and he does this here by choosing a hero who you wouldn’t expect, and this is what I like about his writing. It certainly is never predictable.

The language is very poetic, and once again, I was drawn into the icy, Finnish landscape. The last book I read by Antti Tuomainen was The Man Who Died. The writing makes you experience the cold, the chill coming off the frozen lakes and the deep drifts of snow.

Little Siberia does appear to have a darker, more sinister edge to it, in my opinion, and this is what drew me into the story. Antti Tuomainen is a writer known for his humour, and while this is still here, I thought that the darkness came through much stronger. Pastor Joel goes through a lot in this book, I really was wondering how he had the ability to keep going, but this was what I admired about his character. He isn’t a character who will very easily back down.

I thought Pastor Joel was such a brilliant character to explore, and there are so many aspects about him that make him interesting. He is a former soldier and has experience of fighting in the field. This part of his life intrigued me. He came from a deeply religious family, and I wanted to know what prompted him to join the army. Not only does he have to worry about crooks who are attempting to get their hands on the meteorite, but his wife has suddenly announced that she’s pregnant. He has so far neglected to tell her that he can’t have children, so he knows the baby can’t be his.

Little Siberia is a deeply chilling novel with a cast of brilliant, well-formed characters to follow. With atmospheric and gripping writing, what more could you want from a novel? This book definitely comes highly recommended from me. One of my favourite reads of the year.

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 17th August 2019

Print length: 300 pages

If you would like to purchase Little Siberia, you can do so by clicking on one of the following links below. 

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Cage by Lilja Sigurdardottir #bookreview blog tour @lilja1972 @OrendaBooks @annecater

I’m delighted to be joining the blog tour for Cage by Lilja Sigurdardottir. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

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Drugs, smuggling, big money and political intrigue in Iceland rally with love, passion, murder and betrayal until the winner takes all … in the masterful, explosive conclusion to the award-winning Reykjavík Noir trilogy…

The prison doors slam shut behind Agla, when her sentence ends, but her lover Sonja is not there to meet her.

MY THOUGHTS

Cage is the third and final book in the Reykjavik Noir Trilogy by Lilja Sigurdardottir and another superb translation by Quentin Bates. It is a satisfying end to a series of books which I have really grown to enjoy. It’s been fascinating getting to know Agla throughout the three books, and I feel sad that this will be the last book to feature her. I do think though that it is a good place to end the series.

This time around the tables have turned for Agla. Currently Agla is in prison. She has also lost touch with her lover, Sonja who appears to have abandoned her.

While Agla is in prison, she is approached by investigative journalist, Marie, who is from a local paper called, The Squirrel. Marie was once Agla’s nemesis, but she is now seeking her help to investigate a company called, Meteorite, who are exporting aluminium out of Iceland. Marie is convinced something dodgy is going on here. As she gets closer to what is going on behind the scenes, Marie closes in on some very dangerous people. These people would wish to see her harmed if she ever got to the truth, but she is determined to expose them.

What this series highlights so well, is what can go on inside powerful groups, people who are involved in business deals and exporting vast sums of money out of the country. This is something which isn’t outside the realms of possibility. There is a terrifying world out there which ordinary people can become so easily swept up in, and this is what initially happened to Agla. This is why she is in this position today.

Agla seems to be a lot more detached in this book than she was in the previous books in the series. You can feel that the doors have closed on her and that she is now firmly trapped. She seems to have accepted her fate and is keen to do her time and then try to build a new life.

I think one of the things I missed in this book was her relationship with her son, Tomas, which Lilja previously built on so well. I did also miss her relationship with Sonja, and I felt sorry for Agla that she no longer could share her company. We do still see Sonja in Cage, but it isn’t quite in the same way.

The novel races towards a heart-pounding climax as everything comes to a head for Lilja’s characters. Lilja’s writing will have you furiously turning those pages.

This has been a brilliant series to follow, and I, for one, am looking forward to seeing what Lilja Sigurdardottir writes next. Chilling and totally gripping right the way through, this is a series of books you need to read if you haven’t done so already.

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 17th October 2019

Print length: 276 pages

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A House of Ghosts by W.C. Ryan blog tour #bookreview @WilliamRyan_ @ZaffreBooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n

I’m delighted to be joining the blog tour for A House of Ghosts by W.C. Ryan. With thanks to Tracy Fenton from Compulsive Readers for inviting me to take part.

BLURB

Winter 1917. As the First World War enters its most brutal phase, back home in England, everyone is seeking answers to the darkness that has seeped into their lives.

At Blackwater Abbey, on an island off the Devon coast, Lord Highmount has arranged a spiritualist gathering to contact his two sons who were lost in the conflict. But as his guests begin to arrive, it gradually becomes clear that each has something they would rather keep hidden. Then, when a storm descends on the island, the guests will find themselves trapped. Soon one of their number will die.

For Blackwater Abbey is haunted in more ways than one . . .

An unrelentingly gripping mystery packed with twists and turns, A House of Ghosts is the perfect chilling read this winter.

MY THOUGHTS

A House of Ghosts by W.C. Ryan is the perfect read for this time of year. If you enjoy reading in the winter nights and as the weather begins to turn, then this book is for you.

W.C.  Ryan takes us to a remote island where one of our lead characters, Kate, is travelling home to after the death of her brother during the First World War. The war has ravaged the county, and everyone has a connection to someone who is affected by the war.

Now there is a supernatural element to W.C. Ryan’s work which gives it a really spooky atmosphere. Kate’s parents, Lord and Lady Highmount, are planning a séance for their guests at their home, Blackwater Abbey, and they have gathered together people who have some ability to connect with the spirit world. They are great believers in mediums and fortune-tellers. Lady Highmount is desperate to hear from her departed son, but as the séance takes place and when a storm renders them trapped, dark secrets about the guests begin to emerge, and this soon leads to violence.

Kate is the character who I engaged with most throughout this book. Kate is a natural but unwilling medium and uses a mirror to see spirits. She senses the presence of many ghosts throughout the house. This is what gave the book a very creepy atmosphere. But unlike many who would be absolutely terrified at the prospect of seeing a ghost, Kate takes it all in her stride, and it certainly doesn’t seem to bother her.

There’s a very Agatha Christie feel to this book. It did put me in mind of And Then There Were None which is also set on a remote island, but I thought this was a good thing. There is a real sense of isolation which always adds to the tension as well. As does the fact that all the characters are suspecting each other. This is what W.C. Ryan achieves very well.

Donovan is another character who we hear from. Although I didn’t find him as engaging as I did with Kate, I did, however, find him to be a very mysterious character. I wanted to find out more about him and who he was. I also liked how he teamed up with Kate, and I liked the relationship that developed between them.

If you enjoy a good ghost story steeped in mystery, then this is the novel for you. And how can you not be drawn to it by the brilliant cover? A House of Ghosts is a chilling read that will pull you in from the very first page. Hugely enjoyable.

Publisher: Zaffre

Publication date: 4th October 2018

Print length: 432 pages

If you would like to purchase A House of Ghosts, you can do so by clicking on one of the following links below.

Amazon UK  Kobo  Waterstones

FOLLOW THE BLOG TOUR

William Ryan Blogtour