The Island by Ragnar Jónasson | #20BooksofSummer

Author : Ragnar Jónasson
Title : The Island
Series : Hidden Iceland #2
Pages : 342
Publisher : Michael Joseph / Penguin UK
Publication date : April 4, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Detective Inspector Hulda Hermannsdóttir is sent to the isolated island of Elliðaey to investigate and soon finds haunting similarities with a previous case – a young woman found murdered ten years ago in the equally desolate Westfjords. 

Is there a patient killer stalking these barren outposts? 

As Hulda navigates a sinister game constructed of smoke and mirrors she is convinced that no one is telling the truth, including those closest to her. 

But who will crack first? And what secrets is the island hiding?

| MY THOUGHTS |

After having really enjoyed The Darkness a while back, I couldn’t wait to see what Ragnar Jónasson had in store with The Island.

Four friends come together to spend a weekend on an isolated island for a reunion, marking the tenth anniversary of the death of one of their other friends. It soon becomes apparent their friendship isn’t as solid as it used to be. There’s a lot of tension, awkward silences, the conversation doesn’t flow like it did all those years ago and dark secrets are struggling to stay hidden. Then, one of the remaining four friends is found dead. DI Hulda Hermannsdóttir is sent to the island to investigate this death. Could there possibly be a connection to what happened all those years ago?

Reading The Darkness had me immensely intrigued as to where Ragnar Jónasson would take this series. After all, book one was the end and we’re going back in time. From the start, I thought that was a really interesting premise. However, now that I’ve read the second book, I’m not sure I quite understand the point of going in reverse. I found it quite hard to care about Hulda because I already know what happens to her. It’s a bit like watching a film when the biggest spoiler or twist has already been revealed to you and you’re left to wonder why you’re wasting your time on something you already know the conclusion of. I can’t help but feel I’m missing something that would enlighten me about this premise and make me appreciate it more.

Saving grace in this instance, though, is Ragnar Jónasson’s writing. Always absorbing and beautifully descriptive, it paints the most magical picture of Iceland. The Island is dark, sometimes somewhat chilling, with a sense of foreboding and the investigation kept me guessing until the end. I couldn’t at all figure out whodunnit or why and needing to know the answers to those questions is what kept me reading.

Overall though, I am mostly left with sense of disappointment. I expected more, I suppose, and in that respect The Island didn’t really deliver. It’s a good book on its own but as the middle book in a trilogy, I feel it needed something more to really keep me gripped. That said, I will be reading the final instalment when it’s published as I am still intrigued enough to see what Ragnar Jónasson’s end game is.

The Island is available to buy!

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Waterstones | Wordery

Book 8 from my 20 Books of Summer list

Weekly Wrap-Up (June 30)

Bye bye, June! You were really cold and then you were really hot so I forgive you for not realising Summer had already started because you sure as heck made up for it!

Obviously, because of this heat, I didn’t do anything much productive. Perfect excuse really, to just lounge around and complain to the other half because he is of course at work in air-conditioning all day. So not fair. Although I did, like a true crazy person, tackle my ironing in 32C heat. As you do. I’m hoping I lost enough calories doing that to balance out all the ice cream I’ve had this past week.

Last night, I abandoned my current book to watch two glorious hours of The Killers headlining Glastonbury. Few things make me drop a book but they will do it every single time. I was lucky enough to see them a few years ago and hope I get another chance at that some time in the future. Love them. ❤️

Anyway, books! That’s why we’re here, right? So, how did I do this week? Let’s see!

| BOOKS I READ THIS WEEK |

BOOM!!!! *smug face*

One somewhat disappointing, one absolutely fantastic, the others somewhere in between. Feel free to guess 😉

| BOOKS I BOUGHT THIS WEEK |

It’s a good thing I read 7 books last week because I may have ordered some*. But since they haven’t arrived yet, you’ll have to wait until next week to see what they are.

*(Only 8)

| BOOK POST THAT LANDED ON MY DOORSTEP THIS WEEK |

One for review (which actually arrived last week but I forgot to mention it) and one for a blog tour I’m ridiculously excited about! With thanks to Quercus and Michael Joseph.

| ON THE BLOG THIS PAST WEEK |

Monday : Reviewed The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

Tuesday : Shared my review of After The End by Clare Mackintosh

Wednesday : This Week in Books (which I didn’t stick to again 🙄)

Thursday : Hosted a stop on the blog tour for Don’t Ever Tell by Lucy Dawson

Friday : Shared my review of The Last Widow by Karin Slaughter

Saturday : Took the day off

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

Look at that! One blog tour! ONE! Quite obviously a mistake. 😉

| NEXT WEEK ON NOVEL DEELIGHTS |

Monday : Review | Black Summer by M.W. Craven

Tuesday : Review | The Friend Who Lied by Rachel Amphlett

Wednesday : Blog tour | Review | The Closer I Get by Paul Burston

Thursday : Review | The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Friday : Blog tour | Review | The Reunion by Guillaume Musso

Saturday : Taking the day off

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

Read all of them. I feel rather accomplished. Let’s not mention the reviews, shall we? 😳 I’m hoping to do those this afternoon but I’m pretty sure my brain has melted.

Please also note there are only two blog tours. Could it possibly be I finally have that whole thing figured out? Tune in next time 🤣

And that, as they say, is a wrap! Wishing you all a wonderful week and lots of happy reading! Until next time! xx

This Week in Books (June 26)

Hosted by Lipsy Lost and Found, my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I’m reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words.

| LAST BOOK I FINISHED READING |

Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s luxurious apartment, Monique listens in fascination as the actress tells her story. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the ’80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way, Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love. Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn’s story near its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

| THE BOOK I’M CURRENTLY READING |

Detective Inspector Hulda Hermannsdóttir is sent to the isolated island of Elliðaey to investigate and soon finds haunting similarities with a previous case – a young woman found murdered ten years ago in the equally desolate Westfjords. 

Is there a patient killer stalking these barren outposts? 

As Hulda navigates a sinister game constructed of smoke and mirrors she is convinced that no one is telling the truth, including those closest to her. 

But who will crack first? And what secrets is the island hiding?

| WHAT I’M (PROBABLY) READING NEXT |

‘We lost all three girls that summer. Let them slip away like the words of some half-remembered song and when one came back, she wasn’t the one we were trying to recall to begin with.’

So begins Tikka Molloy’s recounting of the summer of 1992 – the summer the Van Apfel sisters, Hannah, the beautiful Cordelia and Ruth – disappear.

Eleven and one-sixth years old, Tikka is the precocious narrator of this fabulously endearing coming-of-age story, set in an eerie Australian river valley suburb with an unexplained stench. The Van Apfel girls vanish from the valley during the school’s ‘Showstopper’ concert, held at the outdoor amphitheatre by the river. While the search for the sisters unites the small community on Sydney’s urban fringe, the mystery of their disappearance remains unsolved forever.

My next read may still change. I’m in a mood. 😂

What are you reading this week? Let me know! Happy reading! xx

Weekly Wrap-Up (April 14)

First things first! Many, many thanks for all the positive vibes you guys sent my way here and over Twitter regarding my doggie. The news was altogether pretty positive and she’s out of the woods for now. Unfortunately, it looks like it might turn into a recurring problem. She’s old after all. But we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. For now, she’s being spoilt rotten … erm, even more so than before.

Yohi would very much like to point out she looks amazing for her age

What the hell happened to Spring?! It’s been so cold this past week, with a few nights even going below freezing point again and I do NOT approve! Still, that does mean I can ignore my garden for a little longer and stay nice and warm on my sofa, surrounded by books.

So, what have I been reading this week, I hear you ask.

| BOOKS I READ THIS WEEK |

Another six off the shelf! I’m happy with that amount because that C.J. Sansom series is one doorstop after the other. This one was a mere 576 pages, although it didn’t feel like it.

I also finished an audiobook but since I started it weeks ago, I didn’t feel it should count 🤣

| BOOKS I BOUGHT THIS WEEK |

I’m continuing with my collection of Harlan Coben books, of which I apparently read more than I thought 🙄. I also went ahead and bought the three books in the James Marwood series by Andrew Taylor because of Kate. If you love historical fiction, you should definitely follow her!

These are the April 4th preorders that finally arrived. Why yes, I have already read two of them.

| BOOK POST THAT LANDED ON MY DOORSTEP THIS WEEK |

Lucky, lucky blogger. With thanks to Orenda Books and Penguin!

| ON THE BLOG THIS PAST WEEK |

Monday : Reviewed The Bridal Party by J.G. Murray

Tuesday : Shared my review for My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing

Wednesday : This Week in Books

Thursday : Shared an extract from Suddenly Single by Carol Wyer on the blog tour

Friday : Nothing

Saturday : Took the day off

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

I didn’t get any reminder emails so it’s safe to say I didn’t forget to write anything down in my schedule and at least I managed to fill in some of the gaps. Let’s just call it the quiet before the storm. 😂

| NEXT WEEK ON NOVEL DEELIGHTS |

Monday : Nothing planned

Tuesday : Blog tour | Review | The Passengers by John Marrs
Tuesday : Blog tour | Guest Post | White Leaves of Peace by Tracey Iceton

Wednesday : Blog tour | Review | The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe
Wednesday : This Week in Books

Thursday : Blog tour | Review | The Garden of Lost and Found by Harriet Evans

Friday : Blog tour | Review | Liberation Square by Gareth Rubin

Saturday : Taking the day off

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

Told you things would get back to normal soon 😂. Still ahead of schedule though. I’ve read all of them, I just need to write one more review.

In other news, voting is now open in the Annual Bloggers Bash Awards. I’ve been nominated for Best Book Blog, alongside 64 other amazing book bloggers. I don’t stand a chance of winning but if you feel so inclined to cast a vote my way, please do. I don’t know if they rank everyone but if they do, I’d quite like to avoid coming last 😂 . You can vote here

Question of the week : Short versus long books. Yes, of course this was prompted by the Shardlake series by C.J. Sansom. Does a high amount of pages put you off starting a book? What is your cut-off point, if you have one?

I personally don’t care. I mean, I read the Game of Thrones series. Some of those went over a thousand pages and it didn’t bother me at all. Obviously I’d need more time in my schedule to tackle something like that than I do now. And preferably someone to hold the book up and flip the pages for me. 😂

Speaking of Game of Thrones, the final series starts tonight/tomorrow, depending on where you are. I will be disappearing off social media every Monday until I’ve had the chance to watch the episode myself so don’t worry if I’m late with sharing your posts or just not interacting. Should probably say, interacting even less. I just know the second I go online, there will be spoilers and I will do anything to avoid that. I so can’t wait!

Right, enough babble for this week. Hope you’re all having a wonderful weekend. Have a great week and I’ll see you next time. Happy reading! xx

Whiteout by Ragnar Jónasson @ragnarjo @graskeggur @OrendaBooks @annecater #blogtour #guestpost

It’s such an incredible pleasure to find myself hosting a stop on the blog tour for Whiteout by Ragnar Jonasson today! I am absolutely delighted to welcome translator Quentin Bates to the blog but first, here’s what Whiteout is all about.

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Author : Ragnar Jónasson
Title : Whiteout
Series : Dark Iceland #5
Pages : 276
Publisher : Orenda Books
Publication date : November 1, 2017

aboutthebook

Two days before Christmas, a young woman is found dead beneath the cliffs of the deserted village of Kálfshamarvík. Did she jump, or did something more sinister take place beneath the lighthouse and the abandoned old house on the remote rocky outcrop?

With winter closing in and the snow falling relentlessly, Ari Thór Arason discovers that the victim’s mother and young sister also lost their lives in this same spot, twenty-five years earlier.

As the dark history and its secrets of the village are unveiled, and the death toll begins to rise, the Siglufjordur detectives must race against the clock to find the killer, before another tragedy takes place.

guestpost

Me and Ari Thór

The very first Iceland Noir, a one-day event organised on a wing and a prayer, and afterwards a bunch of us plotting to get Ragnar Jónasson published in English. Fast forward to Bloody Scotland, where Ragnar met Karen Sullivan of the fledgling Orenda Books on the football pitch. Add to that the guy who liked the challenge of translating someone else’s words – and we were all ready to roll.

It seemed only a few months later that Snowblind was published with a fanfare of the kind only the mighty Karen can rustle up, complete with those now legendary cupcakes. Then Snowblind briefly knocked the Girl on the Train off the top of the kindle chart. I know, because the normally imperturbable Ragnar called me at 2AM to let me know it had hit number 1.

It hasn’t always been an easy ride. Translation isn’t an exact science – or is it an art? Or something in between the two? What you see on the page isn’t a literal translation of Ragnar’s original. A word-for-word translation would be unreadable; there’s inevitably a level of interpretation in there.

A translation has to be flexible and occasionally the elastic needs to be stretched a long way, especially when dealing with the untranslatable idioms and plays-on-words that every language has. A joke is often the toughest translation challenge*, with the choice of a literal (and unfunny) translation or finding some elusive alternative that may well leave the original far behind but which remains faithful to the book by being amusing – which was the author’s intention to start with.

The translator has to come up with something that renders the book into a readable version of the original, while it’s the editor’s role to go at the text with a hammer and chisel before putting it all back together. Karen and West Camel have applied a great deal of rigour to the editing process, demanding signposts and discreet additional information where needed, shifting some of the furniture, pruning foliage and shaking things up to reshape the book to be the best it can be for a non-Icelandic readership unfamiliar with customs, mores, landscape, geography and everything else that an Icelandic reader can take for granted.

Since Snowblind there have been four more tales of Ari Thór’s adventures in and around Siglufjörður.

That’s five books, something over a quarter of a million words and a lot of hours over a laptop at the kitchen table during the couple of years we’ve lived in each other’s pockets. And now I’ve waved him off as he disappears into the distance.

I’ve heard it said that not even your spouse will get to know you as intimately as your translator. Only the most dedicated student will pore as minutely over a writer’s words as a translator does. After those three-hundred-and-something thousand words, I ought to know Ragnar fairly well. But I’m not certain that I do. He’s not a writer who strides across his own pages. He’s there, in the background somewhere, letting his characters have the limelight while his own presence is normally only felt if you know what to look out for.

So I feel I’ve got to know Ari Thór much better than I have his creator. It hasn’t always been a happy relationship. Would we have got on if we had met? Probably not.

There have been occasions when I’ve wanted shake him, yell at him to stop acting like a petulant child. There have been times when I’d have gladly punched him. I’ve also mentally cheered him on and willed him to notice what’s right in front of his eyes. More than once I’ve sadly shaken my head when he’s screwed things up with his girlfriend yet again.

So good-bye and good luck, Ari Thór. It’s been an interesting couple of years.

*Fortunately, Ragnar isn’t big on jokes. There’s only one in the Ari Thór series, and it took weeks to figure out a suitable alternative.

***

Massive thanks to Quentin Bates for taking the time to write this fabulous and insightful  piece and to Karen Sullivan and Anne Cater for the opportunity to join the Whiteout blog tour!

Whiteout was published on November 1st.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Bookdepository | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

Ragnar Jónasson is author of the international bestselling Dark Iceland series. His debut Snowblind went to number one in the kindle charts shortly after publication, and Nightblind, Blackout and Rupture soon followed suit, hitting the number one spot in five countries, and the series being sold in 18 countries and for TV.

Ragnar was born in Reykjavik, Iceland, where he continues to work as a lawyer. From the age of 17, Ragnar translated 14 Agatha Christie novels into Icelandic. He has appeared on festival panels worldwide, and lives in Reykjavik with his wife and young daughters.

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About Quentin Bates :

Quentin Bates made his escape from suburbia at the end of the seventies as a gap year turned into a gap decade spent in the north of Iceland. He worked ashore and at sea before returning to England and, once finally ashore for good, drifted by accident into journalism.

Finally the lure of fiction became too strong to resist. Sergeant Gunnhildur and the series of novels she features in have their origins in a deep affection for Iceland and its people, and an intimate knowledge of Icelandic society and its language, customs and quirks.

Today he divides his time between the north of Iceland and the south of England, translating books from Icelandic in addition to working on his own fiction.

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