Weekly Wrap-Up (July 21)

Slightly odd week. I was feeling rather overwhelmed with things again, having quite a few books to get through for the upcoming week. So naturally, the logical approach seemed to be …. the ostrich one. 🤔.

Instead of reading, I spent hours on YouTube watching old tennis matches. As you do. This means I of course fell behind even more and I still have two books to read for blog tours next week. Stupid girl.

And of course, I also had to keep up with social media and watch my blogger friends have an absolute blast at the Theakston Crime Festival in Harrogate this weekend. It’s not something I ever see myself attending (WAY too many people! 😂) but that doesn’t mean I don’t get a teenie-tiny jealous every single time.

Anyway, what did I manage to read this week then?

| BOOKS I READ THIS WEEK |

Oh! I just surprised myself here! That’s not too bad at all! I have no idea how I did that. Maybe I’m sleep-reading 🤔🤣

If you feel like playing the guessing game today : one of those is in my top 5 of books of the year.

| BOOKS I BOUGHT THIS WEEK |

I already owned Tall Oaks on Kindle so that doesn’t count, does it?

| BOOK POST THAT LANDED ON MY DOORSTEP THIS WEEK |

Superduper grateful and lucky blogger this week! With thanks to Headline, Atlantic / Corvus and Orenda.

| ON THE BLOG THIS PAST WEEK |

Monday : Shared my review for Stop At Nothing by Tammy Cohen

Tuesday : Hosted a stop on the blog tour for Child’s Play by Angela Marsons

Wednesday : This Week in Books

Thursday : Author Andrew Joyce visited to talk about his new book Mahoney

Friday : Joined the blog tour for The Last Stage by Louise Voss

Saturday : Took the day off because everyone and their dog was at Harrogate 😂

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

| NEXT WEEK ON NOVEL DEELIGHTS |

Monday : Blog tour | Review | What I Did by Claire McGowan
Monday : Blog tour | Review | The Girl at the Window by Rowan Coleman

Tuesday : Blog tour | Review | The Hidden Wife by Amanda Reynolds

Wednesday : Blog tour | Review | Found by Erin Kinsley

Thursday : Blog tour | Review | The Scribe by A.A. Chaudhuri

Friday : Review | Crime Short Stories by various authors

Saturday : Taking the day off

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

Accidental double booking there. 🙄 Two still to read, like I mentioned at the start, and no time to read today. Argh! Things will settle down enormously after this week though. You’ll see! No, really. Stop laughing! 😜

And that’s a wrap! We have another heatwave coming our way this week. The current forecast is predicting temperatures of 39C, possibly even 40C, and boy, do I hope they’re wrong 😅. But if they’re not wrong, I predict a lot of reading and zero sleeping so there’s that.

Hope everyone has a fantastic week! See you next time! Happy reading! xx

The Bird Tribunal by Agnes Ravatn @OrendaBooks

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Author : Agnes Ravatn
Title : The Bird Tribunal
Pages : 192
Translator : Rosie Hedger
Publisher : Orenda Books
Publication date : July 30, 2016

aboutthebook

Two people in exile. Two secrets. As the past tightens its grip, there may be no escape.

TV presenter Allis Hagtorn leaves her partner and her job to take voluntary exile in a remote house on an isolated fjord. But her new job as housekeeper and gardener is not all that it seems, and her silent, surly employer, 44-year-old Sigurd Bagge, is not the old man she expected. As they await the return of his wife from her travels, their silent, uneasy encounters develop into a chilling, obsessive relationship, and it becomes clear that atonement for past sins may not be enough.

mythoughts

Sometimes you read something quite extraordinary and you have absolutely no idea how to put your thoughts into words. This, for me, is one of those times. However, I can already tell you now that if you’re looking for something a little different that you won’t forget in a hurry, then you should go and pick up a copy right now!

I have blind faith in the books that Orenda publishes and they’ve not let me down yet. But when I started reading The Bird Tribunal, I wasn’t sure what to expect and I may have added a few wrinkles to my forehead from all the frowning I was doing.

I think this is by far the oddest story I’ve ever read. Not odd in the sense of being completely weird, although there is something to be said for that as well, but more odd as in “I don’t have a bloody clue what’s going on!”. And yet, I was so enormously engrossed that I couldn’t stop reading.

I can’t even figure out what genre this belongs to. It is thriller-ish and has tons of suspense, drama and brilliant characterisation. It is gripping and engrossing and I soon found myself on quite a tense ride. This story is eerie, dark and haunting but fantastically well written and executed. There’s a threatening vibe that had me on the edge of my seat. Throughout the story, you know something’s coming but I had no idea what it was going to be.

It’s fair to say I’ve never read anything like it but I loved every word on every page. This story has made an indelible impression on me and I doubt I’ll ever forget Allis and Sigurd. Also, let’s not forget Rosie Hedger for the fabulous translation.

Many thanks to Karen at Orenda Books for my copy, which I chose to review honestly!

The Bird Tribunal is available now!

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Wolves in the Dark by Gunnar Staalesen @OrendaBooks @annecater #blogtour

Excited to be hosting a stop today on the blog tour for Wolves in the Dark by Gunnar Staalesen. I’ll be sharing my review right after the all-important information about this book in the long running Varg Veum series.

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Author : Gunnar Staalesen
Pages : 276
Publisher : Orenda Books
Publication date : June 1, 2017

aboutthebook

Reeling from the death of his great love, Karin, Varg Veum’s life has descended into a self-destructive spiral of alcohol, lust, grief and blackouts.

When traces of child pornography are found on his computer, he’s accused of being part of a pedophile ring and thrown into a prison cell. There, he struggles to sift through his past to work out who is responsible for planting the material . . . and who is seeking the ultimate revenge. When a chance to escape presents itself, Varg finds himself on the run in his hometown of Bergen. With the clock ticking and the police on his tail, Varg takes on his hardest-and most personal-case yet.

mythoughts

Varg Veum has a rude awakening when police show up on his doorstep and bring him in for possession of child pornography. Veum claims he’s innocent but everything points to the contrary. Soon he finds himself in prison where he tries to piece together the last few cases he’s worked on. Not an easy task since most of those years are a blurry mist due to excessive drinking after losing the love of his life. When an opportunity to escape arises, he quickly takes it and sets out to investigate in order to clear his name.

Now, if you have been following my blog, you are by now aware of my need to start a series from the beginning. Yet here I am, reviewing Wolves in the Dark, which is book 21 in the Varg Veum series which has been going strong for decades. There are even movies! Who knew? (I obviously didn’t!)

The main character, Varg Veum, is a private detective who hasn’t always had the easiest of times. He is a well established, complex character with lots of baggage. And this is where I wish I’d read the older stuff first so I’d have a better idea of how he became the person he is today. Obviously I’ve missed out on a lot of background information. While there is some reference to past events, it didn’t quite satisfy my curiosity. I know, killed the cat and all that. And obviously I don’t expect the author to shove twenty years of history into a book just so new readers can know all the ins and outs of this, quite clearly,  beloved character.

Nevertheless, I did enjoy this foray into Scandi-Noir and it’s obvious the author has many years of experience in writing crime fiction under his belt. The plot is truly intricate, keeping you hooked as various threads seem to shoot off in different directions as you try to work out the clues. There are more than enough twists and turns to keep you guessing until the end and Veum makes for one excellent narrator.

I think it’s safe to say, with apologies to the author, that I’ll probably not be reading any of the other 20 books in this series in my lifetime. Also because not all of them have been translated to English so there’s that. However, I will most definitely keep an eye out for the next one!

Many thanks to Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books and Anne Cater for my advanced copy of this book and for the opportunity to join the blog tour.

Wolves in the Dark is available now!

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abouttheauthor

Gunnar Staalesen was born in Bergen, Norway in 1947. He made his debut at the age of 22 with Seasons of Innocence and in 1977 he published the first book in the Varg Veum series. He is the author of over 20 titles, which have been published in 24 countries and sold over four million copies. Twelve film adaptations of his Varg Veum crime novels have appeared since 2007, starring the popular Norwegian actor Trond Epsen Seim. Staalesen, who has won three Golden Pistols (including the Prize of Honour), lives in Bergen with his wife. When Prince Charles visited Bergen, Staalesen was appointed his official tour guide. There is a life-sized statue of Varg Veum in the centre of Bergen, and a host of Varg Veum memorabilia for sale. We Shall Inherit the Wind and Where Roses Never Die were both international bestsellers.

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Exquisite by Sarah Stovell @Sarahlovescrime @OrendaBooks @annecater #blogtour

Delighted to be hosting a stop on the Exquisite blog tour today! Many thanks to Karen at Orenda and Anne Cater for my advanced copy and the blog tour invitation!

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Author : Sarah Stovell
Pages : 300 pages
Publisher : Orenda Books
Publication date : June 1, 2017

aboutthebook

Bo Luxton has it all—a loving family, a beautiful home in the Lake District, and a clutch of bestselling books to her name. Enter Alice Dark, an aspiring writer who is drifting through life, with a series of dead-end jobs and a freeloading boyfriend. When they meet at a writers’ retreat, the chemistry is instant, and a sinister relationship develops.

Or does it?

mythoughts

Sometimes the psychological thriller and suspense genre leaves me sighing in disappointment and vowing to leave it behind in favour of other genres. And then, something like this comes along and my faith is restored.

It’s very hard to write a review about Exquisite without giving anything away. Suffice to say the plot thickens when Bo and Alice meet and life will never be the same again.

 Bo and Alice are both incredibly unlikeable characters, one more so than the other, each with their own share of flaws and baggage. Sometimes unlikeable characters completely put me off as I tend to have this need to be able to connect somehow. Not this time though and it’s all due to the author, as at times it almost felt like she put a spell on me.

There is something quite, wait for it, exquisite (you knew that was coming at some point, didn’t you?) about Sarah Stovell’s writing. Almost magical, it carries you away to lands unknown like a balloon caught up in a gentle breeze in summer and it’s absolutely and blissfully mesmerising.

Exquisite is a novel with all the ingredients of a domestic noir, and yet different. Even when I thought I knew what was going on, nothing would have stopped me from continuing this almost lyrical novel. And that is what makes it stand out from the crowd.

Exquisite is available now.

Amazon USAmazon UKBookdepository –  Goodreads

abouttheauthor

Sarah Stovell was born in 1977 and spent most of her life in the Home Counties before a season working in a remote North Yorkshire youth hostel made her realise she was a Northerner at heart. She now lives in Northumberland with her partner and two children and is a lecturer in Creative Writing at Lincoln University. Her debut psychological thriller, Exquisite, is set in the Lake District.

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Block 46 by Johana Gustawsson @JoGustawsson @OrendaBooks @annecater #Blogtour

It’s finally here! The Block 46 blog tour is stopping by my blog and I’m absolutely delighted to be hosting today! Huge thanks to Anne Cater and Karen Sullivan for the opportunity and my copy of this mind-blowing book!

I’ll be sharing my review in a little while but first, take a look at that absolutely brilliant cover! That knife looks so scarily real!

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5*

aboutthebook

Falkenberg, Sweden. The mutilated body of talented, young jewellery designer, Linnea Blix, is found in a snow-swept marina.

Hampstead Heath, London. The body of a young boy is discovered with similar wounds to Linnea’s.

Buchenwald Concentration Camp, 1944. In the midst of the hell of the Holocaust,Erich Ebner will do anything to see himself as human again.

Are the two murders the work of a serial killer, and how are they connected to shocking events at Buchenwald? Emily Roy, a profiler on loan to Scotland Yard from the Canadian Royal Mounted Police, joins up with Linnea’s friend, French true-crime writer Alexis Castells, to investigate the puzzling case. They travel between Sweden and London, and then deep into the past, as a startling and terrifying connection comes to light.

mythoughts

Don’t ask me why but I am completely fascinated by events from World War II and I’m sure it’s no longer a surprise to know that I enjoy my crime fiction. I had never read French Noir before either and I did say I was trying to broaden my horizon somewhat. So when the opportunity to read, review and join the blog tour for Block 46 presented itself, I jumped so hard at the chance that I pulled a muscle. I’ll tell you right now : it was bloody worth it!

Jewellery designer Linnea Blix is found murdered in Sweden. Meanwhile in London, the body of a young boy is discovered with similar wounds. These murder victims don’t have anything in common which makes the investigation quite hard for the police. Emily Roy, a profiler, joins forces with true-crime writer Alexis Castells to investigate.

Are these cases in any way connected to the disturbing events of WWII in Buchenwald Concentration Camp? We learn more about the atrocities there through the eyes of Erich Ebner, a medical student. These chapters alone still haunt me, days after finishing the book. Such vivid descriptions, stupendously realistic and believable, they almost broke me.

Block 46 is really something special. To combine a devastating account of life in a concentration camp with a current murder investigation, takes the words “compelling read” to a completely different level. The multi-layered plot is amazingly constructed and the pure evilness of this killer will get under your skin.

This is one dark and gritty book. It’s disturbing, stomach-churning and incredibly thought-provoking. Spread over two countries, and combining the present and the past, it grabs your attention and holds you down like a vice. And as if all the dark and disconcerting events weren’t enough to leave you reeling for days, the author delivers a punch to the stomach with a massive and absolutely genius twist!

For me, Block 46 is sheer perfection and I can’t recommend it enough. If I could, I’d give it more than five stars and I have no doubt that it will stay with me forever. As it is, I’m convinced it’ll be in my list of “books of the year”! Johana Gustawsson is one to keep your eye on! Also, a well deserved shout-out to translator Maxim Jakubowski, who did an outstanding job!

Many, many thanks to Karen at Orenda and Anne Cater for my advanced copy and for the opportunity to join this tour!

Block 46 is available as an e-book now. The paperback will be published in the UK on May 15th.

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abouttheauthor

Born in 1978 in Marseille and with a degree in political science, Johana Gustawsson has worked as a journalist for the French press and television. She married a Swede and now lives in London. She was the co-author of a bestseller, On se retrouvera, published by Fayard Noir in France, whose television adaptation drew over 7 million viewers in June 2015. She is working on the third book in the Roy & Castells series.

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Cursed by Thomas Enger @OrendaBooks

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5*

aboutthebook

 What secret would you kill to protect?

When Hedda Hellberg fails to return from a retreat in Italy, where she has been grieving for her recently dead father, her husband discovers that his wife’s life is tangled in mystery. Hedda never left Oslo, the retreat has no record of her and, what’s more, she appears to be connected to the death of an old man, gunned down on the first day of the hunting season in the depths of the Swedish forests.

Henning Juul becomes involved in the case when his ex-wife joins in the search for the missing woman, and the estranged pair find themselves enmeshed both in the murky secrets of one of Sweden’s wealthiest families, and in the painful truths surrounding the death of their own son. With the loss of his son to deal with, as well as threats to his own life and to that of his ex-wife, Juul is prepared to risk everything to uncover a sinister maze of secrets that ultimately leads to the dark heart of European history.

mythoughts

If you’ve been following my blog and reviews, then you know that I am cursed myself by a little something I call Dee-Logic, which dictates I start a series from the very beginning. So why did I now start in the middle, you ask? Well, I will tell you. First of all, because I’d seen this book around so much that I got too curious for my own good. And secondly, I didn’t actually know the previous ones had been translated to English. It’s okay, you may laugh.

This one actually reads pretty well as a stand-alone as you get a lot of information from events that happened in the previous books. Nevertheless, I did buy the other books and will be reading those at some point too. It’ll be another thing I’ve never done before, go backwards in a series. I’m obviously all about broadening my horizons these days.

What I really enjoyed was the fact that the main characters are journalists. It made a nice change from having detectives investigating cases.

Henning Juul’s job as a crime reporter has led to devastating consequences. He lost his son in an arson attack and he and his wife have gone their separate ways. Juul is determined to find out who was responsible.

Meanwhile, Nora is approached by the husband of an old friend. She’s gone missing and the police aren’t much help. Nora sets out to investigate and quickly realises her friend’s husband may not have known her as well as he thought he did.

I didn’t know what to expect but I was hooked from the first page. This is one brilliantly constructed plot with various threads and layers that will keep you gripped right until the end. Thomas Enger has a beautifully descriptive writing style. I’ve never been to Norway but I could visualise it without a problem. The characters are truly realistic and believable, flaws and all. There’s also a reference to events in European history that I knew very little about.

It’s fair to say my first introduction to Scandi-Noir went well and I see another book in this genre in my near future. I should also mention that I don’t normally read translated books as I always have this feeling some things get lost in translation, but that wasn’t the case here at all.

And so now, I shall rather impatiently await book 5. Can’t wait! Although, hopefully I’ll have enough time to read the other ones first.

Cursed by Thomas Enger was published in January 2017.

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Six Stories – Matt Wesolowski

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5*

Back in 1996, fifteen year old Tom Jeffries disappears. A year later, his body is found. Was it an accident or something more sinister? Now, 20 years on, former journalist Scott King tries to reach out to the people who knew Tom best and who were around when he disappeared. Six people. Six stories. Six perspectives.

This is a hard one to review as I don’t want to give anything away. At its core, we have a traditional whodunnit but with a modern twist. When you read a lot of books in the same genre and you suddenly stumble upon something as unique as this, it’s like a breath of fresh air.

I realised from the start I had something special in my hands. I wanted to savour every page, go slow but ended up devouring it like a big yummy piece of chocolate cake. Not literally, obviously.

Told as a series of podcasts, this story draws you in from the very beginning. The plot is incredibly gripping. Every chapter is like finding little breadcrumbs, leading you down a dark and twisting path as you desperately try to put clues together and figure out what happened.

It’s genius and brilliant and amazingly well written. Atmospheric and haunting (I may never look at a forest the same way again), complex, different and with a cast of highly realistic characters.

This is one of the most original stories I’ve read and considering this is Matt Wesolowski’s debut, I can’t imagine what he will come up with next but I do know I look forward to it already.