Nowhere To Run : a list of books set in isolated locations

With most of the world’s population self-isolating and not being able to go anywhere, I thought I’d put together a wee list of books set in isolated locations. Let’s face it, things could always be worse. You could be somewhere with a murderer on the loose, for instance. Or zombies. Or one of my worst nightmares, on a ship, surrounded by nothing but water. 😱😂

These ten books were some that popped up in my head straight away when I thought of isolated places. I’m sure there are many more.

Anywho, off we go!

Ten strangers, apparently with little in common, are lured to an island mansion off the coast of Devon by the mysterious U.N.Owen. Over dinner, a record begins to play, and the voice of an unseen host accuses each person of hiding a guilty secret. That evening, former reckless driver Tony Marston is found murdered by a deadly dose of cyanide.

The tension escalates as the survivors realise the killer is not only among them but is preparing to strike again… and again…

Of course, I’m kicking things off with the brilliant Agatha Christie. I haven’t read that many of her books yet but this is definitely a favourite.

A remote lodge in upstate New York is the perfect getaway … until the bodies start piling up. When the weather takes a turn for the worse, and a blizzard cuts off the electricity–and all contact with the outside world–the guests settle in for the long haul. Soon, though, a body turns up–surely an accident. When a second body appears, they start to panic. Then they find a third body. Within the snowed-in paradise, something–or someone–is picking off the guests one by one. They can’t leave, and with no cell service, there’s no prospect of getting the police in until the weather loosens its icy grip. The weekend getaway has turned deadly. For some couples, it’s their first time away. For others, it will be their last.

Note to self : never book a break at a remote lodge in Winter

To escape her past, Anna takes a job at a hotel on the remote Scottish island of Rum, but when seven guests join her, what started as a retreat from the world turns into a deadly nightmare.

Each of the guests have a secret but one of them is lying – about who they are and why they’re on the island. There’s a murderer staying in the Bay View hotel. And they’ve set their sights on Anna.

Seven strangers. Seven secrets. One deadly lie.

Someone’s going to sleep and never wake up.

Island. Water. Never going to happen.

This was meant to be the perfect trip.

The Northern Lights. A luxury press launch on a boutique cruise ship.

A chance for travel journalist Lo Blackwood to recover from a traumatic break-in that has left her on the verge of collapse, and to work out what she wants from her relationship.

Except things don’t go as planned.

Woken in the night by screams, Lo rushes to her window to see a body thrown overboard from the next door cabin. But the records show that no-one ever checked into that cabin, and no passengers are missing from the boat.

Exhausted, emotional and increasingly desperate, Lo has to face the fact that her sleep problems might be driving her mad or she is trapped on a boat with a murderer – and she is the sole witness.

Anyone want to know the odds of little old me ever getting on a cruise ship?

1939: Europe is on the brink of war. Lily Shepherd, a servant girl, boards an ocean liner for Australia. She is on her way to a new life, leaving behind the shadows in her past.
For a humble girl, the passage proves magical – a band, cocktails, fancy dress balls. A time when she is beholden to no one. The exotic locations along the way – Naples, Cairo, Ceylon – allow her to see places she’d only ever dreamed of, and to make friends with people higher up the social scale who would ordinarily never give her the time of day. She even allows herself to hope that a man who she couldn’t possibly have a future with outside the cocoon of the ship might return her feelings. 
But Lily soon realises that her new-found friends are also escaping secrets in their past. As the ship’s glamour fades, the stage is set for something awful to happen. By the time the ship docks, two of Lily’s fellow passengers are dead, war has been declared and Lily’s life will be irrevocably changed.

Like I said, ships are a bad idea.

Jon thought he had all the time in the world to respond to his wife’s text message: I miss you so much. I feel bad about how we left it. Love you. But as he’s waiting in the lobby of the L’Hotel Sixieme in Switzerland after an academic conference, still mulling over how to respond to his wife, he receives a string of horrifying push notifications. Washington, DC has been hit with a nuclear bomb, then New York, then London, and finally Berlin. That’s all he knows before news outlets and social media goes black—and before the clouds on the horizon turn orange.

Now, two months later, there are twenty survivors holed up at the hotel, a place already tainted by its strange history of suicides and murders. Those who can’t bear to stay commit suicide or wander off into the woods. Jon and the others try to maintain some semblance of civilization. But when the water pressure disappears, and Jon and a crew of survivors investigate the hotel’s water tanks, they are shocked to discover the body of a young girl.

As supplies dwindle and tensions rise, Jon becomes obsessed with investigating the death of the little girl as a way to cling to his own humanity. Yet the real question remains: can he afford to lose his mind in this hotel, or should he take his chances in the outside world? 

As far as doom scenarios go, it can’t get much worse than this.

Finnmark, Norway, 1617. Twenty-year-old Maren Magnusdatter stands on the craggy coast, watching the sea break into a sudden and reckless storm. Forty fishermen, including her brother and father, are drowned and left broken on the rocks below. With the menfolk wiped out, the women of the tiny Arctic town of Vardø must fend for themselves. 

Three years later, a sinister figure arrives. Absalom Cornet comes from Scotland, where he burned witches in the northern isles. He brings with him his young Norwegian wife, Ursa, who is both heady with her husband’s authority and terrified by it. In Vardø, and in Maren, Ursa sees something she has never seen before: independent women. But Absalom sees only a place untouched by God, and flooded with a mighty evil. 

As Maren and Ursa are drawn to one another in ways that surprise them both, the island begins to close in on them, with Absalom’s iron rule threatening Vardø’s very existence. 

Islands are clearly a popular isolated location. This one has no men. Doesn’t sound too bad 🤔

The bride ‧ The plus one ‧ The best man ‧ The wedding planner ‧ The bridesmaid ‧ The body

On an island off the coast of Ireland, guests gather to celebrate two people joining their lives together as one. The groom: handsome and charming, a rising television star. The bride: smart and ambitious, a magazine publisher. It’s a wedding for a magazine, or for a celebrity: the designer dress, the remote location, the luxe party favors, the boutique whiskey. The cell phone service may be spotty and the waves may be rough, but every detail has been expertly planned and will be expertly executed.

But perfection is for plans, and people are all too human. As the champagne is popped and the festivities begin, resentments and petty jealousies begin to mingle with the reminiscences and well wishes. The groomsmen begin the drinking game from their school days. The bridesmaid not-so-accidentally ruins her dress. The bride’s oldest (male) friend gives an uncomfortably caring toast. 

And then someone turns up dead. Who didn’t wish the happy couple well? And perhaps more important, why?

Oh, look! Another island! And a wedding party go wrong. At least there’s champagne 😂

Set against Iceland’s stark landscape, Hannah Kent brings to vivid life the story of Agnes, who, charged with the brutal murder of her former master, is sent to an isolated farm to await execution. 

Horrified at the prospect of housing a convicted murderer, the family at first avoids Agnes. Only Tóti, a priest Agnes has mysteriously chosen to be her spiritual guardian, seeks to understand her. But as Agnes’s death looms, the farmer’s wife and their daughters learn there is another side to the sensational story they’ve heard. 

Iceland. Always brings the goods. I know, it’s an island too. Sounds so pretty though. Not that Agnes is in any way able to appreciate that. Such a great novel! Read it! I’ll pimp it until I’m blue in the face!

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. 

Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there.

After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. 

Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to kill him first. 

But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills — and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit — he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

Quite possible the worst case scenario? All alone on another planet with no means of escape EVER! I don’t know about you but suddenly this self-isolation stuff doesn’t sound so bad, huh?

If you have any suggestions, please do leave them in the comments and I will be more than happy to compile a new list next week with your ideas. Or heck, do a post of your own. That works too!

Have you read any of the books on this list? Would you like to?

I have more lists planned over the next few weeks. I mean, I’m not reading so I might as well make lists, I guess. 😉

Stay safe and take excellent care of yourselves! xx

My Top 20 Favourite Reads of 2018

What an absolutely amazing year for books it has been! 

Just like last year, I thought splitting things up between series and stand-alones would help narrow down the list but nope. A Top 10 was never going to happen here. Despite the fact that my reading mojo was up and down like a bloody yo-yo all year, I still managed to read 250 books. Sure, that’s 50 less than last year but do I care? Clue : no, I don’t 😉

In no particular order, except for the Top 5, here we go!

Phoebe Locke – The Tall Man [my review]
Louise Voss – The Old You [my review]
Linwood Barclay – A Noise Downstairs [my review]
Mark Edwards – The Retreat [my review]

Ane Riel – Resin [no review]
Joanna Cannon – Three Things About Elsie [no review]
Gillian McAllister – No Further Questions [my review]
Shari Lapena – An Unwanted Guest [my review]

Lesley Kara – The Rumour [review to follow]
Karin Slaughter – Pieces of Her [my review]
SJI Holliday – The Lingering [my review]
Elly Griffiths – The Stranger Diaries [review to follow]

Gill Paul – The Lost Daughter [my review]
Louise Beech – The Lion Tamer Who Lost [my review]
Rachel Rhys – Fatal Inheritance [my review]

Top 5

5. C.J. Tudor – The Chalk Man [my review]
4. Ruth Ware – The Death of Mrs Westaway [my review]
3. Liz Nugent – Skin Deep [my review]
2. Elizabeth Haynes – The Murder of Harriet Monckton [my review]

My favourite book of the year is …

I don’t think this comes as a huge surprise. When I read this back in February, I said it would take something insanely special to knock this off the top spot. Skin Deep and Harriet Monckton came awfully close but in the end, “Agatha Christie on crack” won out. [my review]

A massive thank you to all the authors, publishers and Netgalley for making 2018 so spectacular! And to you, my fellow bloggers and readers, huge thanks for the support, for visiting and for commenting! ❤️

Fatal Inheritance by Rachel Rhys #20BooksofSummer

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Author : Rachel Rhys
Title : Fatal Inheritance
Pages : 400
Publisher : Doubleday
Publication date : June 26, 2018

aboutthebook

1948: Eve Forrester is trapped in a loveless marriage, in a gloomy house, in a grey London suburb.

Then, out of the blue, she receives a solicitor’s letter. A wealthy stranger has left her a mystery inheritance. And to find out more, she must to travel to the glittering French Riviera.

There Eve discovers that her legacy is an enchanting pale pink villa overlooking the Mediterranean sea. Suddenly her life could not be more glamorous. But while she rubs shoulders with film-stars and famous writers, under the heat of the golden sun, rivals to her unexplained fortune begin to emerge. Rivals who want her out of the way.

Alone in this beguiling paradise, Eve must unlock the story behind her surprise bequest – before events turn deadly.

mythoughts

One word : LOVE!!!! There. Now go and buy it.

I adored Rachel Rhys’ previous book, A Dangerous Crossing, and couldn’t wait to read more by her. I had super high expectations for Fatal Inheritance and needing to wait for the stunning hardcover to finally land on my doorstep was excruciating! However, within the first few pages I already knew it had most definitely been worth the wait.

There is something immensely captivating about the way Rachel Rhys writes and it only took minutes for me to find myself completely transported to 1948, where we are introduced to the character of Eve Forrester. To say Eve is a wee miserable might be a slight understatement. Caught up in loveless marriage and living in a grey London suburb in a gloomy house where nothing is to her taste, she often wonders if this is it. Is this the best it’ll ever be?

But then she receives a letter, telling her of an inheritance left to her by a wealthy stranger. To find out more, Eve needs to travel all the way to the south of France. But with a family resentful of her status as an heir, all is not fierce sunshine and lovely smelling flowers.

Set right after the second world war, there was no hardship at all in sympathising with Eve’s circumstances. After all, women had been doing their bit during the war, finding their own feet and surviving, doing jobs intended for men as they were off fighting. Yet now, they are expected to go back to being submissive. Eve’s husband, in particular, is incredibly domineering and highly unlikeable. Her trip to France, where she gets to mingle with celebrities and get a taste of how things could be, will change her life.

I’ve never been to the south of France but the gloriously vivid descriptions made it incredibly easy to imagine the sights, the scents and the feeling of the sun on my skin. Although considering I read this in the middle of a heatwave, the latter wasn’t too hard to do. The mystery as to who has left Eve this inheritance is slowly revealed throughout the story and while I did figure bits out quite early on, it didn’t bother me at all.

Fatal Inheritance is historical fiction from the top shelf. It’s mysterious and exquisitely written. One to savour and enjoy and be utterly immersed in. Did I mention I loved it? I absolutely can’t wait for more by Rachel Rhys!

Fatal Inheritance is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Bookdepository | Kobo | Wordery | Goodreads

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Book 14 from my 20 Books of Summer list.

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My Top 20 Favourite Reads of 2017

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Around this time last year, I first started to get this wee itch about starting a blog as I desperately tried to get my favourites of 2016 shared via twitter and realised there had to be an easier way to talk about books. I can’t believe a whole year has passed since then and I’m here talking about my favourite books of this year. Crazy!

Last week, I shared my favourite series of the year which I thought would help me narrow down this list. Boy, was I wrong. It’s been an amazing year for books and since I nearly read 300 (there’s still time! 😂), a top 10 was never going to happen.

So I present to you, My Top 20 Favourite Reads of 2017. With apologies to the authors/books I had to drop from the list. I feel bad but I had to narrow it down somehow or I may as well just have listed every book I’ve read.

In no particular order (except for the last one), here we go!

Stuart MacBride – A Dark So Deadly [my review]
Stuart MacBride – Now We Are Dead
Karin Slaughter – The Good Daughter [my review]
Sharon Bolton – Dead Woman Walking [my review]

Louise Beech – Maria in the Moon [my review]
Lesley Allen – The Lonely Life of Biddy Weir [my review]
Michael J. Malone – House of Spines [my review]

Alice Feeney – Sometimes I Lie [my review]
Barbara Copperthwaite – Her Last Secret [my review]
Barbara Copperthwaite – The Darkest Lies [my review]
Paul Cleave – A Killer Harvest [my review]

Thomas Enger – Cursed [my review]
Matt Wesolowski – Six Stories [my review]
Will Dean – Dark Pines [my review]
Johana Gustawsson – Block 46 [my review]

Alison Weir – Anne Boleyn : A King’s Obsession [my review]
Rachel Rhys – A Dangerous Crossing [my review]
Gill Paul – Another Woman’s Husband [my review]
Eve Chase – The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde [my review]

My favourite book of 2017

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Fredrick Backman – The Scandal / Beartown [my review]

I’m sure it comes as no surprise but I knew it the minute I started reading, that this was going to be my top book of the year!

***

And there you have it. Mahoosive thank you to all the authors, publishers and Netgalley for making my reading year so phenomenal! And to you, my fellow bloggers and readers of this blog, thank you for your support, for visiting and for commenting! ❤️

I wish you all a wonderful and peaceful Christmas and Happy Holidays! xx

A Dangerous Crossing by Rachel Rhys

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Author : Rachel Rhys
Title : A Dangerous Crossing
Pages : 364
Publisher : Doubleday / Transworld / Penguin UK
Publication date : March 23, 2017

aboutthebook

1939: Europe is on the brink of war.

Lily Shepherd, a servant girl, boards an ocean liner for Australia. She is on her way to a new life, leaving behind the shadows in her past. For a humble girl, the passage proves magical – a band, cocktails, fancy dress balls. A time when she is beholden to no one. The exotic locations along the way – Naples, Cairo, Ceylon – allow her to see places she’d only ever dreamed of, and to make friends with people higher up the social scale who would ordinarily never give her the time of day. She even allows herself to hope that a man who she couldn’t possibly have a future with outside the cocoon of the ship might return her feelings.

But Lily soon realises that her new-found friends are also escaping secrets in their past. As the ship’s glamour fades, the stage is set for something awful to happen. By the time the ship docks, two of Lily’s fellow passengers are dead, war has been declared and Lily’s life will be irrevocably changed.

mythoughts

Oh, what a little gem this book is!

Lily Shepherd boards the ship Orentes to travel to Australia to work as a domestic servant and in the hope of leaving tragedy behind her. During the crossing, she gets to mingle with a variety of people who would normally not give her the light of day. But on the Orentes, anything goes, in the knowledge that once you land, you won’t be seeing your fellow passengers again. Being cooped up on a ship with strangers and with the world on the brink of war, Lily’s life will look very different once she arrives at her destination.

This is another book that has been on my TBR pile for way too long and I’m so glad I finally decided to make the time to read it. I am usually quite a fast reader but with A Dangerous Crossing, I made a conscious effort to slow down so I could soak up the atmosphere and savour each and every page. I often enjoy some historical fiction and to have that combined with a murder mystery was such a treat.

I don’t like ships. Actually, I don’t even like water. So you’ll never see me travelling that way. Yet the author’s writing was such, that I truly felt I was right there bobbing away on the ocean and visiting all these wonderfully exotic locations, that were quite clearly really well researched. Just like the five weeks it takes Lily to travel, I felt like I was on a journey and I really enjoyed being immersed in the daily events of the passengers. Some I liked, some I very much disliked, some I would happily, accidentally on purpose, have thrown overboard.

It only took a few pages to have me completely engrossed and enthralled and I stayed up until two in the morning because I so desperately wanted to finish this. It almost felt as if the author had cast a spell on me, I was that enchanted. Rachel Rhys is a pseudonym for a well known crime writer and I so hope she tackles historical fiction again. I absolutely loved this one and it goes straight on to my list of books the year!

A Dangerous Crossing was published on March 23rd.

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