A Modern Family by Helga Flatland | @HelgaFlatland @OrendaBooks | #blogtour #AModernFamily #bookreview #RandomThingsTours

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for A Modern Family by Helga Flatland. My thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for the invitation to join and to the publisher for my beautiful review copy!

Author : Helga Flatland (trs Rosie Hedger)
Title : A Modern Family
Pages : 250
Publisher : Orenda Books
Publication date : June 13, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

When Liv, Ellen, and Håkon, along with their partners and children, arrive in Rome to celebrate their father’s 70th birthday, a quiet earthquake occurs: their parents have decided to divorce.

Shocked and disbelieving, the siblings try to come to terms with their parents’ decision as it echoes through the homes they have built for themselves, and forces them to reconstruct the shared narrative of their childhood and family history.

A bittersweet novel of regret, relationships, and rare psychological insights, A Modern Family encourages us to look at the people closest to us a little more carefully, and ultimately reveals that it’s never too late for change.

| MY THOUGHTS |

This novel is the perfect example of why I love doing blog tours as much as I do. It isn’t exactly the type of book I’d normally go for. In fact, I was rather worried it wouldn’t be my thing at all. But Orenda Books has never let me down before and as I have the utmost faith in their books, I decided to go for it. Didn’t regret it for a second!

On a trip to Italy to celebrate their father’s 70th birthday, Liv, Ellen and Håkon’s lives are thrown into turmoil when their parents reveal their decision to get divorced. Each must now come to terms with the changes that will bring.

I didn’t particularly like any of these characters. Yet the feelings they are struggling with were immensely relatable. It’s easy to forget sometimes that your parents are just people too, with their own thoughts, opinions and feelings. How well do we ever really know our parents and the life they lead when we aren’t around? Just because they don’t argue in front of us, doesn’t mean they don’t argue in private, for instance. Watching the siblings struggle with their parents’ divorce made sense. In effect, it is a safety net that has vanished and for Liv especially, who tried to model her own marriage after her parents, things fall apart rather quickly. If her parents can’t make their marriage last, how can she?

A Modern Family is a beautifully written story about relationships and the shifting of family dynamics. It delves deep into the psychology of these characters and shows remarkable insight as the characters start to analyse, not only themselves, but also those closest to them. I often found myself nodding at some of the things that were said and you just can’t help reading this and subsequently put your own family under a magnifying glass. With complex characters and issues, this beautifully written story soon became utterly immersive and that is no mean feat when you realise there are no bells and whistles, no twists and turns, but just everyday people dealing with everyday problems.

A Modern Family surprised me in the best way possible. Moving, powerful, thought-provoking and immensely absorbing, it paints a wonderful and realistic picture of a family going through the ups and downs of modern life.

A Modern Family is published tomorrow and available for preorder!

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| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Helga Flatland is already one of Norway’s most awarded and widely read authors.

Born in Telemark, Norway, in 1984, she made her literary debut in 2010 with the novel Stay If You Can, Leave If You Must, for which she was awarded the Tarjei Vesaas’ First Book Prize.

She has written four novels and a children’s book and has won several other literary awards. Her fifth novel, A Modern Family, was published to wide acclaim in Norway in August 2017, and was a number-one bestseller. The rights have subsequently been sold across Europe and the novel has sold more than 100,000 copies.

Wolves At The Door by Gunnar Staalesen | @OrendaBooks | #blogtour #bookreview #RandomThingsTours #VargVeum

It is a real pleasure to welcome you all to my stop on the blog tour for Wolves At The Door by Gunnar Staalesen today! My thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for the invitation to join and to the publisher for my review copy!

Author : Gunnar Staalesen (trs Don Bartlett)
Title : Wolves At The Door
Series : Varg Veum
Pages : 260
Publisher : Orenda Books
Publication date : June 13, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

One dark January night a car drives at high speed towards PI Varg Veum, and comes very close to killing him. Veum is certain this is no accident, following so soon after the deaths of two jailed men who were convicted for their participation in a case of child pornography and sexual assault … crimes that Veum himself once stood wrongly accused of committing.

While the guilty men were apparently killed accidentally, Varg suspects that there is something more sinister at play … and that he’s on the death list of someone still at large.

Fearing for his life, Veum begins to investigate the old case, interviewing the victims of abuse and delving deeper into the brutal crimes, with shocking results. The wolves are no longer in the dark … they are at his door. And they want vengeance.

| MY THOUGHTS |

Norway’s favourite private investigator returns but Varg Veum’s day quickly gets off to a bad start when a car drives at him at high speed and comes very close to running him over. Varg Veum is convinced someone meant to kill him. Especially after the deaths of two men who were convicted of crimes Varg Veum himself had stood wrongly accused of once. The police are not treating these deaths as suspicious. As far as they’re concerned, their cases are closed. But Varg Veum is worried he might be next and sets out to investigate on his own, bringing danger right to his door.

Dealing with a topic like child abuse makes Wolves at the Door an extremely uncomfortable read at times. Yet it also oozes atmosphere, which is what a great Scandi-Noir should do and Gunnar Staalesen knows exactly how to achieve that. The exquisite investigative skills Varg Veum has always remind me of the PI’s from the old days with their raincoat and hat, lurking in the shadows, like a black and white movie. No bells or whistles, no spending hours trawling databases, just good old-fashioned pounding the pavement and talking to people. This allows the reader to follow along quite nicely to try and put the pieces of the puzzle together right alongside Varg Veum.

I didn’t fit any pieces together at all, however. Varg Veum meets quite a few characters and they all quite obviously have something to hide, secrets they are desperate to protect. And just like him, I couldn’t at all figure out who was lying or if anyone could be trusted which often made me feel pretty frustrated. But if there is one thing to admire about Varg Veum, it is his sheer determination to get to the truth and somehow I’m always left with the feeling that he will accomplish exactly what he sets out to do.

Wolves at the Door may be slow paced but it’s also incredibly gripping and full of suspense. It’s dark, gritty and sadly also all too realistic and believable. All the while, it shines a spotlight on the failings of the criminal justice system, highlighting modern day issues like sex trafficking and the effects of abuse. Not an easy read, like I said, but with Varg Veum at the helm it is a fascinating investigation. Gunnar Staalesen’s well-developed character undoubtedly has many more investigations ahead of him and will keep fans coming back for more. As always, I mustn’t forget to mention the seamless translation by Don Bartlett, whose hard work allows the masses to enjoy top-of-the-shelf Scandi-Noir too.

Wolves at the Door will be published in paperback format next week and can be pre-ordered. The Kindle version is available to buy!

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Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Waterstones | Wordery

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

One of the fathers of the Nordic Noir genre, Gunnar Staalesen was born in Bergen, Norway in 1947.

He made his debut at the age of twenty-two with Seasons of Innocence and in 1977 he published the first book in the Varg Veum series. He is the author of over twenty-three titles, which have been published in twenty-six countries and sold over five million copies. Twelve film adaptations of his Varg Veum crime novels have appeared since 2007, starring the popular Norwegian actor Trond Epsen Seim, and a further series is currently being filmed.

Staalesen, who has won three Golden Pistols (including the Prize of Honour) and the Petrona Award, and been shortlisted for the CWA Dagger, lives in Bergen with his wife

Inborn by Thomas Enger | @EngerThomas @OrendaBooks | #blogtour #RandomThingsTours #Inborn #recommended

Delighted to welcome you all to my stop on the blog tour for Inborn by Thomas Enger. My thanks to Anne Cater for the invitation to join and to the publisher for my review copy!

Author : Thomas Enger [trs Kari Dickson]
Title : Inborn
Pages : 276
Publisher : Orenda Books
Publication date : February 7, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

When the high school in the small Norwegian village of Fredheim becomes a murder scene, the finger is soon pointed at seventeen-year-old Even. As the investigation closes in, social media is ablaze with accusations, rumours and even threats, and Even finds himself the subject of an online trial as well as being in the dock… for murder?

Even pores over his memories of the months leading up to the crime, and it becomes clear that more than one villager was acting suspiciously… and secrets are simmering beneath the calm surface of this close-knit community.

As events from the past play tag with the present, he’s forced to question everything he thought he knew. Was the death of his father in a car crash a decade earlier really accidental? Has his relationship stirred up something that someone is prepared to kill to protect? It seems that there may be no one that Even can trust. But can we trust him? 

| MY THOUGHTS |

Some of you may remember that I was a huge fan of Thomas Enger’s Henning Juul series, which sadly came to an end a while back. Sniff. I’m okay. Whew. Deep breath. Anyway, since then I’ve been rather impatiently awaiting what he would come up with next and the wait is finally over. Could Thomas Enger meet my slightly high expectations?

Now, admittedly I was a bit worried about Inborn because I kept seeing mention of YA (Young Adult for the uninitiated amongst us) everywhere and I’m a lot closer to SA (Senior Adult). So close in fact I barely remember my young adult days. But of course I shouldn’t have been worried at all! While Inborn is based on a YA novel Thomas Enger wrote a few years ago, it has been completely rewritten to appeal to a wider audience.

The small Norwegian village of Fredheim is shocked to the core when two of its teenagers are found dead in the high school. Soon fingers everywhere are pointing at seventeen year old Even. As Even tries to unravel the truth himself, he realises quite a lot of the residents in Fredheim have secrets they are desperate to hide. Does what happened at the school have its roots in the past? Who can Even trust? And can the reader trust him?

Small town murder mysteries will always be one of my most favourite things and when you throw in some courtroom drama, let’s just say : good luck trying to prise this book out of my hands! Switching seamlessly between the past and the present, I was utterly hooked from beginning to end. The plot is set up in such a remarkable way, which each chapter almost ending on a cliffhanger, that I couldn’t stop reading even if I wanted to.

When we meet Even, he is in the docks during a trial. He’s being questioned, forced to think back to the previous months and the night of the murders, until layer after layer we get to the truth. Being fed little pieces of information like this is such a joy. The detective in me (the really bad one because she often gets it wrong) couldn’t help but try and figure things out, pick up little clues along the way but Thomas Enger kept me guessing until the end. Along the way, we meet a cast of extremely fascinating characters : from Even’s struggling mother, to his uncle Imo, to the detective heading the murder investigation whom I just wanted to wrap up in a big hug.

Thomas Enger is one of those authors who just gets me excited but I can never quite pin down why. There’s something about his style of writing (captivating), something about the way he creates multi-layered and believable characters , and the compelling atmosphere he comes up with time and time again that has me utterly absorbed and desperately wanting more. I knew from the minute I read the first page that I was in for another treat. So yes, this is without a doubt another brilliantly written, suspenseful and hugely addictive page-turner! Slightly high expectations effortlessly met and even exceeded and I do really, really want more!

Inborn is available to buy!

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Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Wordery

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Thomas Enger is a former journalist. He made his debut with the crime novel Burned in 2010, which became an international sensation before publication, and marked the first in the bestselling Henning Juul series. Rights to the series have been sold to 28 countries to date.

In 2013 Enger published his first book for young adults, a dark fantasy thriller called The Evil Legacy, for which he won the U-prize (best book Young Adult). Killer Instinct, upon which Inborn is based, and another Young Adult suspense novel, was published in Norway in 2017 and won the same prestigious prize. Most recently, Thomas has co- written a thriller with Jørn Lier Horst. 

Enger also composes music, and he lives in Oslo.