Black Widows by Cate Quinn #bookreview #blogtour @CathWritesStuff @RandomTTours @orion_crime

I’m delighted to be sharing my thoughts on Black Widows by Cate Quinn on my blog today as part of the blog tour. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

Black Widows: Blake’s dead. His wife killed him. The question is . . . which one? by [Cate Quinn]

BLURB

The only thing the three women had in common was their husband.
And, as of this morning, that they’re each accused of his murder.

Blake Nelson moved into a hidden stretch of land – a raw paradise in the wilds of Utah – where he lived with his three wives:

Rachel, the chief wife, obedient and doting to a fault.
Tina, the other wife, who is everything Rachel isn’t.
And Emily, the youngest wife, who knows little else.

When their husband is found dead under the desert sun, the questions pile up.
But none of the widows know who would want to kill a good man like Blake.

Or, at least, that’s what they’ll tell the police…

MY THOUGHTS

Black Widows is a highly addictive read by Cate Quinn. I also thought it felt very fresh. I was drawn into the lives of the characters right from the start. The premise for this book sounded really chilling, and it made me want to read it right away.

We meet three women, Tina, Rachel and Emily. The three women are married to the same person, Blake Nelson. They all live together out in the desert and are all part of the Mormon Church. But Blake is found dead one morning, and each of the three women are immediately suspects in the eyes of the police. The question is, which one of them is the killer?

I was really intrigued by Tina, Rachel and Emily. I wanted to know if there were ever any tensions between them, particularly as they are married to the same person. For many, this would seem like a nightmare, but it is perfectly acceptable in the Mormon Church, encouraged, even. It’s part of what made this storyline feel fresh and exciting. They all come from different backgrounds, and it made me wonder how they coped soon after joining this new way of life.

The storyline grew darker as the novel progressed. I did feel for Tina, Rachel and Emily. They are now in totally unchartered territory. Their whole world revolved around Blake, and they don’t quite know what to do next. For Tina and Rachel, their next steps are to determine what happened to their husband and who killed him. As they begin to get closer to the truth, they uncover dark secrets which make them question everything they thought they knew about their husband. There are some disturbing reveals as Cate Quinn wraps the book the up.

I flew through this book, and I wanted to know why their husband had been killed. I also wanted to know if it was possible if either, Tina, Rachel, or Emily was responsible. What reason would they have to kill him? I thought that Cate Quinn delivered a very satisfactory ending and it took a direction which I did not see coming.

I really enjoyed this book. It’s intriguing, and it felt very different from what I have read recently in the psychological thriller genre. If you’re looking for something fast paced and instantly gripping, then you should definitely give Black Widows a go. It comes highly recommended from me.

Publisher: Orion

Publication date: 4th February 2021

Print length: 480 pages

Black Widows is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

FOLLOW THE BLOG TOUR

Black Widows BT Poster

The Last Snow by Stina Jackson #bookreview #blogtour @RandomTTours @CorvusBooks

On my blog today I’m taking part in the blog tour for The Last Snow by Stina Jackson. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

BLURB

What secrets are hidden within the walls of a desolate farmhouse in a forgotten corner of Lapland?

Early spring has its icy grip on Ödesmark, a small village in northernmost Sweden, abandoned by many of its inhabitants. But Liv Björnlund never left. She lives in a derelict house together with her teenage son, Simon, and her ageing father, Vidar. They make for a peculiar family, and Liv knows that they are cause for gossip among their few remaining neighbours.

Just why has Liv stayed by her domineering father’s side all these years? And is it true that Vidar is sitting on a small fortune? His questionable business decisions have made him many enemies over the years, and in Ödesmark everyone knows everyone, and no one ever forgets.

Now someone wants back what is rightfully theirs. And they will stop at nothing to get it, no matter who stands in their way…

MY THOUGHTS

The Last Snow by Stina Jackson is a haunting, and a very written crime novel. It is about family, and what we are prepared to do to protect those who we love. It is also set in a very remote part of the world, a desolate, forgotten corner of Lapland, which provides a stunning landscape. The setting also makes this a very atmospheric read.

I would describe this book as more of a slow-burner, although the writing is very immersive. The characters kept me engaged as the book progressed, and they have a lot of depth. I found the flashback scenes, which go back to 1998 and the early 200s very chilling. I wanted to know what connection they had to the main events which were taking place in the present.

Two brothers, Liam and Gabriel, are asked to break into a house and rob another character called Vidar. Vidar and his family have been the subject of a lot of gossip among the locals. This has been going on for years. There’s talk about how rich Vidar is, and how he is extremely tight. There is one person who is keen to get his hands on something Vidar owes him. I wanted to know why this person wanted to target Vidar. Why couldn’t they go and speak to him themselves? Why did they have to employ two young men, to do their dirty work?

The characters on the page come to life, especially Liv and the two brothers Liam and Gabriel. Their ambitions and their hopes for the future come through very well in the writing. The character who I really cared about was Liv. You get the feeling that she is trapped in the house where she lives with her father. She wants to escape and make a better life for herself elsewhere, but something is holding her back. I wanted to know what possible reason she could have for wanting to stay with her father when he makes her feel miserable.

The story did take me some time to get into it, but I found the writing utterly addictive once I did. I would say that The Last Snow is definitely a character driven novel. Stina Jackson delves into their thoughts and feelings, making them feel very real.

This is the first novel I have read by Stina Jackson, and I am keen to read more of her work. If you’re a fan of the Nordic Noir genre, you definitely should check this book out.

Publisher: Corvus

Publication date: 4th February 2021

Print length: 384 pages

The Last Snow is available to buy:

Amazon UK Waterstones

FOLLOW THE BLOG TOUR

The Last Snow BT Poster

The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse #bookreview #blogtour @SarahVPearse @TransworldBooks @annecater

I’m delighted to be joining the blog tour for The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse on my blog today. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

The Sanatorium by [Sarah Pearse]

BLURB

EVERYONE’S IN DANGER. ANYONE COULD BE NEXT.

An imposing, isolated hotel, high up in the Swiss Alps, is the last place Elin Warner wants to be. But she’s taken time off from her job as a detective, so when she receives an invitation out of the blue to celebrate her estranged brother’s recent engagement, she has no choice but to accept.

Arriving in the midst of a threatening storm, Elin immediately feels on edge. Though it’s beautiful, something about the hotel, recently converted from an abandoned sanatorium, makes her nervous – as does her brother, Isaac.

And when they wake the following morning to discover his fiancée Laure has vanished without a trace, Elin’s unease grows. With the storm cutting off access to and from the hotel, the longer Laure stays missing, the more the remaining guests start to panic.

But no-one has realized yet that another woman has gone missing. And she’s the only one who could have warned them just how much danger they’re all in . . .

MY THOUGHTS

The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse is one of the most chilling reads I’ve read. It is the perfect book to read in the winter months, maybe not one to take with you though, if you’re going on a skiing trip. The novel is set in an old sanatorium in Switzerland, recently converted into a luxury hotel. The guests who are arriving are among the first to try it out. But the plans for the hotel came under a lot of scrutiny from the locals. It took years to get the plans approved for the development to go ahead.

I absolutely loved the setting in this book. Sarah Pearse opens her novel with such a chilling prologue, which takes place five years before the main events. It is in an isolated location, and the route to the hotel is a dangerous one. I can remember one year going skiing when I was very young and having a bad experience driving to the hotel, which was almost impossible to find. One of the families who were with us nearly slid off the road. It still gives me chills thinking about that. This is what I was picturing as I read Sarah Pearse’s opening chapters.

It doesn’t get much more relaxing for the guests when they finally arrive at the hotel. They are there to celebrate the engagement of Isaac and Laure. Isaac’s sister, Elin, is a detective back in the UK. Already there is an uncomfortable atmosphere in the hotel. Some of the guests aren’t too happy with the thought of what the hotel used to be. Then Laure goes missing, which is completely out of character and unexpected. Would she really want to go off on her own when she is celebrating her engagement?

Because of the dangerous weather conditions, the Swiss Police are unable to reach them, and Elin offers to help out. However, as a UK police officer, she has no jurisdiction in Switzerland. This is when the tension begins to rise. I had suspicions about almost everyone in the book, and I really liked how Sarah Pearse wrapped everything up, concluding her story on another utterly chilling note.

The Sanatorium is a brilliant, atmospheric read which will keep you turning the pages. I couldn’t put it down, and I finished it in just two days. I really enjoyed it. Highly recommended.

Publisher: Transworld

Publication date: 4th February 2021

Print length: 391 pages

The Sanatorium is available to buy:

Amazon UK Waterstones

FOLLOW THE BLOG TOUR

The Sanatarium BT Poster

Winterkill by Ragnar Jonasson #bookreview #blogtour @ragnarjo @OrendaBooks @annecater

I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Winterkill by Ragnar Jonasson today on my blog. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

Winterkill (Dark Iceland Book 6) by [Ragnar Jónasson, David Warriner]

BLURB

A blizzard is approaching Siglufjörður, and that can only mean one thing…

When the body of a nineteen-year-old girl is found on the main street of Siglufjörður, Police Inspector Ari Thór battles a violent Icelandic storm in an increasingly dangerous hunt for her killer … The chilling, claustrophobic finale to the international bestselling Dark Iceland series.

Easter weekend is approaching, and snow is gently falling in Siglufjörður, the northernmost town in Iceland, as crowds of tourists arrive to visit the majestic ski slopes.

Ari Thór Arason is now a police inspector, but he’s separated from his girlfriend, who lives in Sweden with their three-year-old son. A family reunion is planned for the holiday, but a violent blizzard is threatening and there is an unsettling chill in the air.

Three days before Easter, a nineteen-year-old local girl falls to her death from the balcony of a house on the main street. A perplexing entry in her diary suggests that this may not be an accident, and when an old man in a local nursing home writes ‘She was murdered’ again and again on the wall of his room, there is every suggestion that something more sinister lies at the heart of her death…

As the extreme weather closes in, cutting the power and access to Siglufjörður, Ari Thór must piece together the puzzle to reveal a horrible truth … one that will leave no one unscathed.

Chilling, claustrophobic and disturbing, Winterkill is a startling addition to the multi-million-copy bestselling Dark Iceland series and cements Ragnar Jónasson as one of the most exciting and acclaimed authors in crime fiction.

MY THOUGHTS

Ragnar Jonasson’s books are always the perfect read for this time of year, and it is something I have come to look forward to as the winter approaches. Atmospheric, addictive, and very easy to sink into. Winterkill is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a book to read over the festive period. I have heard this is the last in this series and I am sad to see it draw to a close. But don’t worry if you haven’t read the previous novels as it can be read as a standalone. You’ll definitely want to read the first five books once you read this one.

Detective Inspector Ari Thór Arason is called to a horrific scene where a teenage girl has plunged to her death from a high-rise building. On the basis, it looks as though the girl has committed suicide, but Ari Thór believes there is something else at play here. What was going on in her life to prompt her to throw herself from the top of a building? Was it really just an accident? As Ari Thór continues to investigate, he begins to sense that something prompted the young girl to take this course of action. But what was so terrible that made her decide that this was her only way out?

The novel is told over the course of the Easter weekend. Siglufjörður is facing a horrific snowstorm, causing blackouts and severe disruption. It isn’t the best weather to be conducting a murder investigation, but Ari Thór pushes on. The threatening blizzard creates a dark and foreboding atmosphere; it gives you the sense that it could cause many things to go wrong with the investigation. But this isn’t something that the residents of Siglufjörður aren’t used to. Apart from those who haven’t spent all their lives there. The weather can catch them off guard. Ari Thór is still fairly new to the area as well, having come from the capital, Reykjavík. The locals have come to slowly accept him after proving that he can stick around after surviving the harsh winters. This is something always seen as a test to newcomers who are not used to the climate.

Ragnar Jonasson builds on the atmosphere as the novel progresses. I love the way how the writing takes us into the Icelandic landscape. Once again it has been expertly translated by David Warriner. The writing flows beautifully, and it hooked me right away from the opening chapters. You get a clear sense of the dominating fjord. It made me want to google images of the town, and the scenery is stunning.

The crime which takes place in this book isn’t an overly complicated one. You get the sense that Ari Thór is on the cusp of discovering something big and even the revelations that come are a shock to him. Ragnar wraps everything up really well and delivers the perfect ending which sent shivers down my spine as I was reading it.

As I have come to expect from Ragnar Jonasson’s books, Winterkill is utterly chilling and unputdownable. It took me no time at all to finish this book. This is a series which I highly recommend. Once you read one book by Ragnar Jonasson, you’ll want to read everything he’s ever written. Top stuff!

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 10th December 2020

Print length: 240 pages

Winterkill is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

FOLLOW THE BLOG TOUR

Winterkill BT 4

The Chalet by Catherine Cooper #bookreview #blogtour @catherinecooper @HarperFiction @RandomTTours

I’m delighted to be joining the blog tour for The Chalet by Catherine Cooper on my blog today. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

The Chalet: the most exciting new thriller of 2020 - with a twist you won’t see coming by [Catherine Cooper]

BLURB

French Alps, 1998

Two young men ski into a blizzard… but only one returns.

20 years later

Four people connected to the missing man find themselves in that same resort. Each has a secret. Two may have blood on their hands. One is a killer-in-waiting.

Someone knows what really happened that day.

And somebody will pay.

MY THOUGHTS

The Chalet is a riveting read by Catherine Cooper, and I raced through it really quickly.

We’re transported to a picturesque ski resort in France. In the late nineties, a horrifying accident takes place there when two young brothers with little experience skied off-piste. But the accident is more fatal for one of the brothers who doesn’t return from the holiday. His body is never found but he is presumed dead. Now twenty years later secrets from that time period are about to come to out in a devastating way for those involved.

I thought the ski resort setting gave this book a chilling atmosphere. The guests who are staying at the resort are put up in luxurious accommodation. Also among the group are two people who were there at the time of the accident twenty years earlier. You get the sense that they were walking on eggshells at different point throughout the book. They haven’t been entirely truthful about what happened all those years ago, and they are fearful of someone finding out what they’ve kept back.

As I was reading, I really wanted to see how things were going to come together. We do jump back in time back to when the young men disappear. Catherine Cooper builds on the tension in these scenes, particularly as the ski instructors grapple with what has happened. I couldn’t believe some of the decisions they made when they were trying to work out what to do next. It seemed that they were more concerned about themselves than they were about trying to find the men.

As the novel progresses, another strand comes into the story, and it is here that I don’t want to give too much away. I became even more intrigued. I wondered how this part was connected to the events in the past, and that was happening in the present. As everything comes together, it makes for a gripping finale. You can see how much one particular character has planned and thought out everything. Also, you can see just how they have every intention of carrying their plan out, with a clear fixation on revenge. I also liked the last note on the very final page, which will send a shiver down your spine as you read it.

The Chalet is a very easy read to get into, and I found it very difficult to put down. It’s dark and very addictive. Highly recommended for lovers of psychological thrillers!

Publisher: Harper Collins

Publication date: 31st October 2020

Print length: 400 pages

The Chalet is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

FOLLOW THE BLOG TOUR

The Chalet BT Poster

Out for Blood by Deborah Masson #bookreview #blogtour @deborah_masson @TransworldBooks @RandomTTours

I’m delighted to be joining the blog tour today for Out for Blood by Deborah Masson. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

Out For Blood: The tense and addictive detective thriller set in Aberdeen (DI Eve Hunter) by [Deborah Masson]

BLURB

DI Eve Hunter is back in the edge-of-your-seat new detective thriller from Deborah Masson, winning author of the Bloody Scotland Crime Debut of the Year 2020.

A young man, the son of an influential businessman, is discovered dead in his central Aberdeen apartment.

Hours later, a teenaged girl with no identification is found hanged in a suspected suicide.

As DI Eve Hunter and her team investigate the two cases, they find themselves in a tug-of-war between privilege and poverty; between the elite and those on the fringes of society.

Then an unexpected breakthrough leads them to the shocking conclusion: that those in power have been at the top for too long – and now, someone is going to desperate lengths to bring them down…

Can they stop someone who is dead set on revenge, no matter the cost?

MY THOUGHTS

I read Out for Blood really fast, and I finished it in just a couple of days. I enjoyed Deborah Masson’s debut novel, Hold Your Tongue, so I jumped at the chance to read her second. If you’re looking for an addictive new crime series, then I highly recommend her DI Eve Hunter novels.

In her second book, Deborah Masson explores the horrific world of human trafficking. In the opening chapters, the body of a young woman is discovered hanging from a tree at a golf course. It is clear to Eve, from very early on, that this has been made to look like a suicide. And what’s even more disturbing is the mark that has been branded onto the young woman’s skin. But this isn’t the only case that Eve Hunter has to deal with. The son of a multi-millionaire businessman has been found dead at his home, in what looks like suspicious circumstances. As Eve gets to grips with the two cases, she begins to believe that there is a link between the two.

The scenes, in which Deborah Masson describes the conditions the girls (who are victims of human trafficking) are living in, are very harrowing. Although there has been a lot said about this heinous crime, it is still shocking to read about, even if it is in fiction. It makes you think of the people who really are living their lives like this. You really get the sense that they have no power or freedom in their lives at all. They are wholly dependent on the people who have forced them into this position.

The two investigations gelled together really well, and at no point throughout the book did I feel confused. Once it starts to become clear to Eve that the two cases might be connected, the pace really picks up. I didn’t feel sorry at all for the young man who had been killed. This was especially when Deborah Masson begins to reveal who he really was, and what he was involved in. I wanted Eve to get justice for the girl who had been found at the golf course more than I did for the young man.

Eve Hunter is a really intriguing detective as well. She has had issues with her anger in the past. Her involvement in a previous case, as well, has meant that she hasn’t been on the best of terms with some of her colleagues. I think it would be best to read the first book in the series to get to know her character and her past a bit better, but it isn’t necessary.

I’ve really enjoyed both the books in this series and I’m looking to forward to reading more from Deborah Masson. Out for Blood is fast-paced and a cleverly thought out crime novel.

Publisher: Transworld

Publication date: 19th November 2020 (kindle) 10th December 2020 (paperback)

Print length: 365 pages

Out for Blood is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

FOLLOW THE BLOG TOUR

Out For Blood BT Poster

The Coral Bride by Roxanne Bouchard #bookreview #blogtour @RBouchard72 @OrendaBooks @RandomTTours

On my blog today, I’m delighted to be joining the blog tour for The Coral Bride by Roxanne Bouchard. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

The Coral Bride (Detective Moralès) by [Roxanne Bouchard, David Warriner]

BLURB

When an abandoned lobster trawler is found adrift off the coast of Quebec’s Gaspé Peninsula, DS Joaquin Moralès begins a straightforward search for the boat’s missing captain, Angel Roberts – a rare female in a male-dominated world. But Moralès finds himself blocked at every turn – by his police colleagues, by fisheries bureaucrats, and by his grown-up son, who has turned up at his door with a host of his own personal problems.

When Angel’s body is finally discovered, it’s clear something very sinister is afoot, and Moralès and son are pulled into murky, dangerous waters, where old resentments run deep.

Exquisitely written, with Bouchard’s trademark lyrical prose, The Coral Bride evokes the power of the sea on the communities who depend on it, the never-ending struggle between the generations, and an extraordinary mystery at the heart of both.

MY THOUGHTS

I was a huge fan of Roxanne Bouchard’s We Were the Salt of the Sea, which I read a couple of years ago now, and I couldn’t wait to see what she would come up with next. Her latest novel, The Coral Bride, is once again exquisitely written and the writing brings to life the coast of Quebec’s Gaspé Peninsula. This is a writer with such a huge talent.

The Coral Bride is a book which focuses a lot on character. Detective Joaquin Morales is investigating the disappearance of a young woman, Angel Roberts. Her boat has been found adrift, but there is no sign of Angel. Angel Roberts is a fisherwoman. It is a job that has always typically been seen as being only suitable for men. It is clear that some of the local fishermen don’t take too kindly to Angel working alongside them. When Angel’s body is recovered, the gear in the investigation is taken up a notch. Detective Morales is convinced that there are people who Angel knows who are keeping secrets, and he is determined to get to the truth.

I briefly touched on the setting in the opening paragraph of this review, and after reading this book and Roxanne Bouchard’s last book; her writing has made me want to visit this area. Although there are those in the community keeping secrets about Angel’s death, you get the sense that, on the whole, this is a community that looks after their own.

I also really like DS Morales whose own past is an intriguing one. He immigrated to Canada from Mexico several years earlier, and in this book, we are introduced to his son, Sebastian. Sebastian has come to his father seeking his help after losing his way in his own life. You can see in these extracts, how much of a family man Morales is. Morales wants to take time to spend it with his son and help him get back on his feet, but he also can’t abandon the investigation into Angel’s death. It did make me feel sorry for him that his relationship with his wife didn’t work out and that he hasn’t yet found someone else to share his life with.

I found the writing to be utterly addictive as I was reading, although it is quite a long book compared to We Were the Salt of the Sea, I read it really quickly. It has been expertly translated again by David Warriner. The writing itself is lyrical, poetic, and it draws you into the world of DS Morales and the setting around him.

Roxanne Bouchard wraps everything up in a tense finale as DS Morales begins to work out what happened to Angel Roberts. It thought the ending was very satisfactory.

If you’re looking for a series of books that you can become lost in, then I would highly recommend both books in this series. It’s the type of book which you start to read, and you don’t realise how much time has gone by as you are transported into the world of DS Morales. I’m really hoping that there is going to more to come from this writer and I can’t wait to see what she writes next.

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 12th August 2020 (kindle) 12th November 2020 (paperback)

Print length: 300 pages

The Coral Bride is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

FOLLOW THE BLOG TOUR

Coral Bride BT Poster JPEG

Betrayal by Lilja Sigurdardóttir #bookreview #blogtour #orentober @lilja1972 @OrendaBooks @RandomTTours

I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Betrayal by Lilja Sigurdardóttir on my blog today. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part. My review also coincides with Orentober created by Kelly and Danielle.

Betrayal by [Lilja Sigurdardóttir, Quentin Bates]

BLURB

Burned out and traumatised by her horrifying experiences around the world, aid worker Úrsula has returned to Iceland. Unable to settle, she accepts a high-profile government role in which she hopes to make a difference again.

But on her first day in the post, Úrsula promises to help a mother seeking justice for her daughter, who had been raped by a policeman, and life in high office soon becomes much more harrowing than Úrsula could ever have imagined. A homeless man is stalking her – but is he hounding her, or warning her of some danger? And why has the death of her father in police custody so many years earlier reared its head again?

As Úrsula is drawn into dirty politics, facing increasingly deadly threats, the lives of her stalker, her bodyguard and even a witch-like cleaning lady intertwine. Small betrayals become large ones, and the stakes are raised ever higher…

MY THOUGHTS

I was a huge fan of the Reykjavik Noir trilogy by Lilja Sigurðardóttir, so I was really excited to see what she was planning to write next. In Betrayal, Úrsula has just accepted a high profile role in government and hopes to make positive changes in the law to help benefit asylum seekers in Iceland. It is a cause she is hugely passionate about and has spent much of her time abroad helping vulnerable people. Úrsula also promises to help a mother, whose daughter was raped by a police officer. Because of his position, the case was allowed to be brushed under the carpet. The girl’s mother has been fighting for justice ever since. But as Úrsula gets involved in the murky world of politics, she soon begins to realise how dangerous the world she has stepped foot it in is.

What Betrayal does, as has all of Lilja Sigurðardóttir books, is that it captures your interest right from the first page and Lilja’s writing makes it very hard to put down. It has made her one of my favourite writers, and I bumped this book right to the top of my TBR pile. The chapters are short and snappy, and it’s the kind of book where you’ll think, I’ll just read one more when you get to the end of one. Before you know it, you’ve devoured the entire novel.

I really liked Úrsula. You can see how passionate she is about the causes that she believes in and how she is determined to make positive changes. But politics is a dangerous business. Úrsula soon finds that out when it appears that someone is stalking her. Just as she is determined to bring about change, there are people out there who are committed to making sure that she fails. There is also a vulnerable side to her, which made her feel very human. She has struggled recently to bond with her family and finds that she loves her dog more than she loves her husband.

Another character who I liked was Stella. Stella works at the ministry as a cleaner and is often in close proximity to Úrsula. Stella soon seizes an opportunity when a journalist offers her money to steal from Úrsula’s rubbish. Lilja Sigurðardóttir does a brilliant job here of raising the tension. Although Stella was making the wrong decisions, I did feel her, but I kept thinking that at any moment she was going to be discovered. I did think though if she spoke to Úrsula more then Úrsula would try to help her and would understand more than most the position Stella is in.

The plot races ahead and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. A lot starts to happen, especially when Úrsula starts to receive threats, which puts her family’s security at risk. This is where the character Gunnar comes in, who takes on the role of her driver and bodyguard. Again, he is a character committed to his job, and he is more than willing to put himself in harm’s way to protect Úrsula.

The plot of Betrayal is exciting and fast-paced. I became totally immersed in the story, which has been expertly translated by Quentin Bates. With a cast of highly intriguing characters, this is a book I’d highly recommend.

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 1st July 2020 (kindle) 1st October 2020 (paperback)

Print length: 276 pages

Betrayal is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

FOLLOW THE BLOG TOUR

Betrayal BT Poster

The Choice by Alex Lake #bookreview #blogtour @Alexlakeauthor @RandomTTours @fictionpubteam

I’n delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for The Choice by Alex Lake on my blog today. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

The Choice: The unputdownable new 2020 psychological crime thriller from the Top Ten Sunday Times bestselling author of Seven Days by [Alex Lake]

BLURB

A kidnap…
Matt Westbrook only turned his back for a moment. But when he looks around, his car – with his three young children inside – has vanished.

A ransom…
Panicked, Matt assumes a car thief has got more than he bargained for, but then he starts to receive text messages: This is a kidnap. If you want to see your children again, you will exchange them for your wife.

A choice…
Matt and his wife Annabelle are horrified. They can’t involve the police, or their children will be killed. Which means they have to choose: Annabelle, or their children. Either option is unthinkable. But one is inevitable. And they have only hours to make their decision…

MY THOUGHTS

I’ve actually still got Alex Lake’s previous novels on my TBR pile, but now that I’ve read his latest, The Choice, I’m definitely going to be reading them soon. This is such an engrossing read about a family in a desperate situation. It’ll make you think about how you would act if you were to find yourself in a similar scenario. Would you make the same decisions? How would you react?

Matt Westbrook turns his eyes away from his children for a few moments, when he goes into a shop, only to come out minutes later to find his car gone, along with his children. As the horrifying discovery sinks in, he’s soon contacted by the kidnapper who makes a ransom demand. The police aren’t to be involved. Matt is keen to adhere to the kidnapper’s demands, fearing for the lives of his children. But he soon finds himself in an impossible situation when the kidnapper names their price, it isn’t money they’re after; it’s his wife, Annabelle.

You can’t help but feel for Matt throughout this book as he is put in this impossible dilemma. Of course, he desperately wants his children back and for them not to be harmed, but he can’t bear the thought of losing his wife. What I loved about this book is that I had a few different suspects in my mind as I was reading. Alex Lake takes us back to Matt’s university days when he first meets Annabelle. It was in these chapters that kept me thinking about the kidnapper’s possible motives.

Alex Lake also tells part of the novel from the point of view of the perpetrator. The kidnapper’s thoughts are cold and chilling. You can see that they are willing to do anything to achieve their goals, it’s clear to see, as well, that they don’t care at all about the children. It wouldn’t bother them in the slightest if they had to kill them.

Alex Lake keeps the tension turning up a notch. You can really sense that if Matt and Annabelle make one wrong move here, that it will have disastrous consequences. I wanted them to speak to the police, but at the same time, I could also understand why they were wary of doing so. Alex Lake makes their fear feel very real, especially when the kidnapper’s request comes through.

The Choice is a really engrossing read, and I flew through the final chapters, Alex Lake really knows how to heighten the tension. An excellent read!

Publisher: Harper Collins

Publication date: 20th August 2020 (kindle) 1st October 2020 (paperback)

Print length: 476 pages

The Choice is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

FOLLOW THE BLOG TOUR

The Choice BT Poster

A Song of Isolation by Michael J Malone #bookreview #blogtour @michaelJmalone1 @OrendaBooks @RandomTTours

I’m delighted to be sharing my thoughts on the stunning new novel by Micahel J Malone, A Song of Isolation on my blog today. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

A Song of Isolation by [Michael J. Malone]

BLURB

Film star Amelie Hart is the darling of the silver screen, appearing on the front pages of every newspaper. But at the peak of her fame she throws it all away for a regular guy with an ordinary job. The gossip columns are aghast: what happened to the woman who turned heads wherever she went?

Any hope the furore will die down are crushed when Amelie’s boyfriend Dave is arrested on charges of child sexual abuse. Dave strongly asserts his innocence, and when Amelie refuses to denounce him, the press witch hunt quickly turns into physical violence, and she has to flee the country.

While Dave is locked up with the most depraved men in the country and Amelie is hiding on the continent, Damaris, the victim at the centre of the story, is isolated – a child trying to make sense of an adult world.

Breathtakingly brutal, dark and immensely moving, A Song of Isolation looks beneath the magpie glimmer of celebrity to uncover a sinister world dominated by greed and lies, and the unfathomable destruction of innocent lives … in an instant.

MY THOUGHTS

Michael J. Malone explores some dark themes in his latest novel, A Song of Isolation. Hollywood film start, Amelie Hart is left feeling devastated when her partner, Dave is accused of child abuse by their neighbours. Because of her connection to Dave, the case is catapulted into the spotlight. They soon find themselves under intense scrutiny from the public and the media. Amelie is certain of Dave’s innocence, as is his family, but now that the wheels have been set in motion; it seems that there is little that can be done to stop the changing tide of events.

I wanted to shout at the injustice being done to Dave and Amelia while I was reading this book. I felt sure that he was being stitched up the family of the victim; I couldn’t believe they were being allowed to get away with it. Sadly, I couldn’t help but think of how very likely it is that this could happen in the real world. I’ve always believed that the names of suspects should never be released until it is proven without a doubt that they are the person responsible for the crime.

Dave’s trial garners more publicity from the media as he is currently dating a Hollywood film star. You can see the level of scrutiny that is opposed upon them, especially upon Amelia as well just for supporting her partner. Michael J. Malone also explores the effect that this has on Dave’s parents. They run a successful business, and you can see the fears that the publicity will have on his work. I kept thinking that at any moment, even Dave’s family; especially Amelia, would abandon him to save their careers. I was desperate for this not to happen. This again made me feel angry as Amelia was being pressured to drop all contact with him to save her career.

What this novel explores well, is that we are all too quick to judge people, especially celebrities, when a lot of articles printed about them can be misleading. You can see this in the way that people speak of Dave when the media essentially portray him as guilty before the case has even been brought to trial. The public soon starts talking about him, people who know him as well and say, “I always thought he looked a bit shifty.” This happens in real life, as well. All of a sudden people’s perception of a person seems to change. They convince themselves that he is guilty without looking into the facts. Is this a way, perhaps, to convince themselves that the police have convicted the right person? Does this make them feel somehow comfortable that a dangerous person, local to them, has been rightly put behind bars, removing that threat?

Throughout the book, I was rooting for Dave and Amelie to get the justice that they deserved. I felt for the alleged victim as well, Damaris, as you can see that she is being manipulated. This kept me, even more, gripped to the book as I wasn’t sure how things were going to pan out for Dave. I could see that things could go either way for him, and this made me root for him even more.

Michael J. Malone has created another stunning, powerful piece of writing that will stay with you. A Song of Isolation is a powerful, heart-wrenching read. It’s a book that challenges your thought process, and it should be on everyone’s reading pile. Highly recommended!

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 17th July 2020 (kindle) 17th September 2020 (paperback)

Print length: 300 pages

A Song of Isolation is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

FOLLOW THE BLOG TOUR

Song of Isolation BT Poster