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

Someone We Know by Shari Lapena | @TransworldBooks | #20BooksOfSummer

Author : Shari Lapena
Title : Someone We Know
Pages : 309
Publisher : Bantam Press / Transworld
Publication date : July 25, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Maybe you don’t know your neighbours as well as you thought you did

“This is a very difficult letter to write. I hope you will not hate us too much. My son broke into your home recently while you were out.” 

In a quiet, leafy suburb in upstate New York, a teenager has been sneaking into houses – and into the owners’ computers as well – learning their secrets, and maybe sharing some of them, too.

Who is he, and what might he have uncovered? After two anonymous letters are received, whispers start to circulate, and suspicion mounts. And when a woman down the street is found murdered, the tension reaches the breaking point. Who killed her? Who knows more than they’re telling? And how far will all these very nice people go to protect their own secrets? 

In this neighborhood, it’s not just the husbands and wives who play games. Here, everyone in the family has something to hide . . .

You never really know what people are capable of.

| MY THOUGHTS |

Someone We Know is one of those books you pick up to read just a chapter or two and before you know it, your entire afternoon is gone. It’s something Shari Lapena does incredibly well, creating this level of suspense that makes you flip the pages faster as you go and thus completely lose track of time.

A quiet, leafy suburb in upstate New York will not be quiet for much longer. It’s all happening here. Not only has a teenage boy been breaking into houses to snoop and mess around with computers, one of the neighbours is found murdered. And once again this all proves we never know what goes on behind closed doors. Who killed this woman? What did the teenage boy find? Is he in danger too?

True to form, this neighbourhood and its residents hide a multitude of secrets that are slowly revealed as we follow various characters trying to get on with their lives and keep those secrets hidden, while detectives investigating the murder are doing all they can to uncover every little piece of dirty laundry. You may be thinking to yourself you’ve heard this premise a lot lately and you’d be right. A murder in a nice community, it’s not exactly new. But if you think you’ll know what to expect from this one, odds are you’ll be wrong.

Someone We Know reads like a good old-fashioned murder mystery. There are some twists, of course, but they are not there to dazzle you, which is hugely refreshing. I did figure out quite early on “whodunnit” but that didn’t ruin my reading experience at all. I had to keep reading to see if I was right and there were still a few surprises in store for me.

Another thoroughly enjoyable read from Shari Lapena, although I must admit to having a niggle or two relating to one specific character that has left me with unanswered questions. I’m not one of those readers who always wants everything wrapped up nicely in a bow at the end of a book but here it bothered me somewhat. You’ll know what I’m talking about when you read the book. Which you most definitely should. It’s only the second book I’ve read by this author but I have no doubt there will be more.

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

Book 14 from my 20 Books of Summer list.

Weekly Wrap-Up (August 11)

Nothing much to report this week. I’m still stuck in Hawaii, solving cases, enjoying the scenery. Nothing at all to do with the eye candy. Honestly.

(Happy now, Shallow Tribe?! 😜)

Sorry, where was I?

I have been trying to squeeze some reading in between episodes when I feel like it. I also have my own reward system going on which actually works really well. Read 50 pages, watch an episode, rinse, lather, repeat. Now if only I could stop wasting hours of my time trying to figure out what to read next, that’d be even better.

So, what did I read this week? Let’s take a look.

| BOOKS I READ THIS WEEK |

That’ll do me. All solid reads but one stood out just that little bit for me. Feel free to guess which one that might have been.

| BOOKS I BOUGHT THIS WEEK |

I wasn’t going to buy any books this week. That went well, eh? 😳

Ruth Ware was a preorder and I can’t wait for it to arrive! The other three are all down to reviews from bloggers who are a bad influence on my spending habits.

| ON THE BLOG THIS PAST WEEK |

Monday : Joined the blog tour for Then She Vanishes by Claire Douglas

Tuesday : Hosted a stop on the blog tour for Clear My Name by Paula Daly

Wednesday : Completely forgot to post 😳

Thursday : Shared my review for The Chain by Adrian McKinty

Friday : Reviewed Now You See Me by Chris McGeorge

Saturday : Hosted a stop on the blog tour for Torment by Mark Tilbury

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

If I hadn’t forgotten to post on Wednesday, this would have marked my last full week of posting. I’m really looking forward to slowing down somewhat.

Thank you for all the shares on social media this week!

| NEXT WEEK ON NOVEL DEELIGHTS |

Monday : Nothing

Tuesday : Review | Someone We Know by Shari Lapena

Wednesday : This Week in Books

Thursday : Also nothing

Friday : Review | Come Back For Me by Heidi Perks

Saturday : Taking this one off as well.

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

Would you look at that! Not a blog tour in sight! Evidently, I also ran out of reviews along the way which is why I don’t have much of anything to post 😂

I do still have two blog tours coming up in August. Which I haven’t read the books for yet because that’s just how I roll. And with the books I’ve read this week, I managed to get to 15 books read for the 20 Books of Summer Challenge so I could still possibly maybe still nail that one.

Four weeks to go until Italy. I’ve been trying to decide which books to take with me and it’s not going well at all. Even worse, I’ve been having long, hard looks at my bookshelves and I’m seeing a whole bunch of books I’ve bought that don’t even appeal to me anymore. Has that happened to you? If so, what do you do? Have a nice culling? Or does a part of you feel since you bought them, you should actually really read them at some point?

That’s it for this week. I feel like I need to make some changes to these wrap-ups. They’re awfully boring lately, aren’t they? 😂 Something to ponder by the pool in a few weeks.

Hope you all have a fabulous week and I wish you lots of happy reading! Until next time! xx

Weekly Wrap-Up (August 4)

Aloha! After an unscheduled break last week, I am back with my weekly wrap-up and let me tell you, it’s going to blow your socks off! Or possibly not.

Insert obligatory freak-out about it being August already here. AUGUST! WTF?!

Thank you for the messages last week and apologies if I worried you all. The heatwave kicked my bum like a big kicking thing. I mean, 42C. Come on! But it was mostly my dog who struggled. This resulted in having to sleep downstairs on the sofa, where it was slightly cooler. And by sleep, I mean, SHE slept all night and I did not. I managed a grand total of about 4 hours over 3 nights so suffice to say I was absolutely shattered. By the weekend, I had a massive migraine and barely knew my own name 🤣. Writing up the wrap-up wasn’t exactly high on my list of priorities. Besides, I’d only read two books that week so there really wasn’t much to talk about anyway. 😳

All back to normal this week, thank goodness. Except for the reading as I’ve been hugely distracted by my dvd collection and hot boys hanging out in Hawaii. I’m not even sorry.

So, what did I read this week then?

| BOOKS I READ THIS WEEK |

A mere three books. And only because I had to, not because I felt like it. This is bad. So very bad.

| BOOKS I BOUGHT THIS WEEK |

Looks like even my book buying mojo has done a runner.

| ON THE BLOG THIS PAST WEEK |

Monday : Joined the blog tour for The July Girls by Phoebe Locke

Tuesday : Reviewed Conviction by Denise Mina

Wednesday : This Week in Books

Thursday : Hosted a stop on the blog tour for The Daughter in Law by Nina Manning

Friday : Joined the blog tour for The Holiday by T.M. Logan

Saturday : Nada

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

I’m just relieved I managed to read those tour books on time 😂

| NEXT WEEK ON NOVEL DEELIGHTS |

Monday : Blog tour | Review | Then She Vanishes by Claire Douglas

Tuesday : Blog tour | Review | Clear My Name by Paula Daly

Wednesday : This Week in Books

Thursday : Review | The Chain by Adrian McKinty

Friday : Review | Now You See Me by Chris McGeorge

Saturday : Don’t have anything planned

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

Why yes, I do still need to read the book for Tuesday. Why do you ask? *facepalm*

The good news is though, for me anyway, that the blog tours will start to slow down. I only have 3 more left after this week. I know, you’re shocked. The bad news is I still have 7 books to read for my 20 Books of Summer Challenge. Let’s just say I’m not feeling very confident I’ll nail that one this year 😂

The countdown to my annual holiday is official on! One month to go and I will be enjoying the peace and quiet of gorgeous Tuscany. Hubby has already started making lists, he’s so organised. I, on the other hand, am just trying to decide which books to take with me. Then again, at the rate I’m going, maybe I should just take Chuck Wendig’s Wanderers. It’s 800 pages, might take me two weeks to finish it. 🤔

And that’s a wrap! Told you it would knock your socks off 😉.

Wishing you all a fabulous week and lots of happy reading! Until next time! 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! ❤️

An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena @sharilapena @ThomasssHill @TransworldBooks #20BooksofSummer

37920736

Author : Shari Lapena
Title : An Unwanted Guest
Pages : 304
Publisher : Bantam Press / Transworld
Publication date : July 26, 2018

aboutthebook

We can’t choose the strangers we meet.

As the guests arrive at beautiful, remote Mitchell’s Inn, they’re all looking forward to a relaxing weekend deep in the forest, miles from anywhere. They watch their fellow guests with interest, from a polite distance.

Usually we can avoid the people who make us nervous, make us afraid.

With a violent storm raging, the group finds itself completely cut off from the outside world. Nobody can get in – or out. And then the first body is found . . . and the horrifying truth comes to light. There’s a killer among them – and nowhere to run.

Until we find ourselves in a situation we can’t escape. Trapped.

mythoughts

Bless the insane heatwave and a nice bout of insomnia which allowed me to read this one in one sitting until the wee hours of the morning. I found myself so incredibly captivated from the first page that I didn’t even notice how late/early it was.

This Agatha Christie-esque scenario of a bunch of strangers trapped in a remote location will never get old, if you ask me. While the Inn sounds absolutely delightful when the guests arrive, things soon become a bit more creepy when the power goes out and you realise how many nooks and crannies this place has. Most of the time, I felt like was stumbling around in the dark just as much as the characters were.

After being introduced to the visitors to the Inn, I almost felt like a witness myself. Lounging on a sofa near the fireplace, checking out the people sitting around me, trying to figure them out and wondering what they were about. I had the urge to make a little spreadsheet, filling in what little information I was offered, adding tiny clues along the way. This is one of those stories, where I take a breather after each chapter, letting the new information I’ve gained sink in and try to figure things out before they are revealed to me.

I had a suspect in mind from the start, for reasons I obviously can’t divulge. There was a point where I briefly changed my mind but ultimately I went back to my original idea. To my surprise, it turned out I was right and I felt rather smug. Although, I couldn’t quite guess as to the motive behind it all.

An Unwanted Guest had me utterly engrossed from the very first page. With intriguing characters and no idea if there’d be another victim and who that would be, the nail-biting tension had me in its clutches until the end. Brilliantly written and intensely absorbing, I can see this murder mystery being in my list of top books of the year come December. And now I should really go check out some of Shari Lapena’s other books!

My thanks to Thomas Hill at Transworld for my review copy!

An Unwanted Guest is available to buy!

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

page-divide_12_orig

Book 9 from my 20 Books of Summer list.

20-books-of-summer-cathy

This Week in Books (July 18)

twib-logo

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

40736994

After leaving her marriage to jealous, possessive oncologist Maxwell, Lily and her six-year-old son have a second chance at happiness with teacher Sebastian. Kind but vulnerable, Sebastian is the polar opposite of Maxwell, and the perfect match for Lily.

After a whirlwind romance, they marry, and that’s when things start to go wrong. Maxwell returns to the scene, determined to win back his family, and events soon spiral out of control. Lily and Sebastian find themselves not only fighting for their relationship, but also their lives.

The book I’m currently reading

37920736

We can’t choose the strangers we meet.

As the guests arrive at beautiful, remote Mitchell’s Inn, they’re all looking forward to a relaxing weekend deep in the forest, miles from anywhere. They watch their fellow guests with interest, from a polite distance.

Usually we can avoid the people who make us nervous, make us afraid.

With a violent storm raging, the group finds itself completely cut off from the outside world. Nobody can get in – or out. And then the first body is found . . . and the horrifying truth comes to light. There’s a killer among them – and nowhere to run.

Until we find ourselves in a situation we can’t escape. Trapped.

What I’m (probably) reading next

37803526

When two young boys discover human bones buried beneath a tree in a trailer park, Detective Josie Quinn races to join her team at the scene. She used to play in those woods as a child, happier outside and away from her abusive mother, Belinda Rose.

Josie’s past crashes into her present when a rare dental condition confirms the bones belong to a teenage foster-child who was murdered thirty years ago. A girl named Belinda Rose…

Josie hasn’t seen her mother in years but, with an undeniable connection between her mother and the dead girl, does she dare try to track her down?

Just as Josie gets closer to uncovering a secret that will shatter her world forever, another body is uncovered. It’s suddenly clear that someone very close to Josie will stop at nothing to keep the truth buried forever.

As she battles the demons from her past, can Josie stop this killer before another precious life is taken?

page-divide_12_orig

Anything here taking your fancy? What are you reading this week? Let me know!

Happy reading! xx