Bookish

The Seven Doors by Agnes Ravatn (GIVEAWAY!)

Hey you lovely bunch. Can you believe it’s almost OCTOBER? Eeeek. This year has been such a weird one. Anywhoo! Today I am on the Orenda tour for The Seven Doors by Agnes Ravatn, translated from Norwegian (Nynorsk) by Rosie Hedger. It’s out now in both Kindle and Paperback formats. BUT! You can win an e-book copy for free! Read on for the details… Be sure to check out the other wonderful tour stops!

Sounds good, right? If you want to win your very own copy for free, just head over to my Twitter @LizzumsBB and follow myself and @OrendaBooks, then like and retweet this tweet to be in with a chance! Open until the 18th October 2020 to anywhere in the world. Thank you kindly to the folks at Orenda for letting me host this giveaway and for giving away a copy to one of you lovely lot!

About the Book

University professor Nina is at a turning point. Her work seems increasingly irrelevant, her doctor husband is never home, relations with her difficult daughter are strained, and their beautiful house is scheduled for demolition.
 
When her daughter decides to move into another house they own, things take a very dark turn. The young woman living there disappears, leaving her son behind, the day after Nina and her daughter pay her a visit.
 
With few clues, the police enquiry soon grinds to a halt, but Nina has an inexplicable sense of guilt. Unable to rest, she begins her own investigation, but as she pulls on the threads of the case, it seems her discoveries may have very grave consequences for her and her family.
 
Exquisitely dark and immensely powerful, The Seven Doors is a sophisticated and deeply disturbing psychological thriller from one of Norway’s most distinguished voices.

book reviews · Bookish

Ash Mountain by Helen FitzGerald (Review)

Happy Humpday everyone! Today I’m thrilled to be on another wonderful Orenda tour. This time for Ash Mountain by Helen FitzGerald which is released tomorrow – 20th August 2020 in it’s paperback format! It’s also available in Kindle and Audiobook formats. I received a copy of the book for free as part of the tour.

Ash Mountain is set in the astoundingly hot Australian summer and centers around Fran who has returned to the place she thought she had left behind so that she could provide care to her father. She tries to get used to life back at Ash Mountain with this new challenge to contend with, but it ends up being far more than she bargained for when forced to confront her past, the start of a romance and her daughter uncovers a dark secret. Thing’s are getting hot and intense on Ash Mountain… in more ways than one.

This book is not a very long one, but it sure packs a punch. It’s pacey and intense. It’s emotional, heart wrenching but also comedic. It’s vivid, it’s… it’s a LOT of things. It’s.. simply excellent. It explores loss and abuse, but also redemption, love and forgiveness. I feel like it would be really easy to spoil this book because it’s like a whirlwind. It’s complex, just like life truly is.

Ash Mountain has turned out to be one of my favourite reads this year. It’s one of those that lingers in the mind; the sort of book that you have to take a moment with once you put it down. It feels so authentic and convincing. Fran is so wonderfully human. The balance is just right. Many things are bleak but this book will still make you laugh. It’s one you can easily read from cover to cover. I didn’t want to tear my eyes away from the madness of Fran’s story for a single moment, lest I miss any of the action.

About the Book

Fran hates her hometown, and she thought she’d escaped. But her father is ill, and needs care. Her relationship is over, and she hates her dead-end job in the city, anyway.

She returns home to nurse her dying father, her distant teenage daughter in tow for the weekends. There, in the sleepy town of Ash Mountain, childhood memories prick at her fragile self-esteem, she falls in love for the first time, and her demanding dad tests her patience, all in the unbearable heat of an Australian summer. As past friendships and rivalries are renewed, and new ones forged, Fran’s tumultuous home life is the least of her worries, when old crimes rear their heads and a devastating bushfire ravages the town and all of its inhabitants

Simultaneously a warm, darkly funny portrait of small-town life and a woman and a land in crisis and a shocking and truly distressing account of a catastrophic event that changes things forever, Ash Mountain is a heart-breaking slice of domestic noir, and a disturbing disaster thriller that you will never forget

book reviews · Bookish

Containment by Vanda Symon (Review)

Happy Friday! Today I’m pleased to be part of another fab Orenda blog tour, bringing you a review of Containment by Vanda Symon, book 3 in the Sam Shepard series. This is out now in both Kindle and Paperback formats. I was sent a copy of this book free for review purposes.

Containment is the third book in the Sam Shepard series. This book reads just fine if you’ve not read the previous installments. Sam(antha) has been promoted to Detective Constable in the Criminal Investigation Bureau in Dunedin. Sam’s life is a little chaotic and she has a lot of problems, but thankfully, her flatmate Maggie will pull her up on them and her colleague has her back at work.

The book immediately jumps in with the drama, when containers wash up on the shore along with the remains of a body. As first officer on scene, Sam gets to control the investigation and it’s her job to figure out just who, how and what the heck happened. The public are making things difficult as people are looting the containers that washed up. Unfortunately, one of the looters doesn’t respect Sam’s authority as an officer, but a member of the public has her back.

DI Johns uses that event as an excuse to try and sit her on the bench and assign her to more menial tasks, tasks that end up becoming quite relevant to the case. DI Johns is a wonderfully written unlikeable character and I found myself frustrated at him for his behavior. Meanwhile, Sam is clever, a little stubborn and pretty tough, but she’s also very human, very believable and has plenty of ups and downs along with the struggle of working in a team dominated by men.

Containment is incredibly immersive – as I have aphantasia, sadly, this level is description is a negative for me as I just can’t put my head in the environments no matter what, I just can’t *see* it (and with the current state of affairs, I struggle to get in to things a little more than usual in general, I’m noticing), but it is incredibly descriptive of New Zealand – I know for many people, this immersiveness is incredibly enjoyable. Combined with such a well written and balanced character, I think people could very easily get absorbed in to reading Containment and lets face it, that’s something a lot of people want from their reading material right now.

Containment is an excellent, dramatic police procedural that will hook you in, right from the start; with a strong, believable female lead who worries about her home life and her work life, this book is great for those who really like to get cozy and lose themselves in an atmospheric and well-paced procedural.

About the Book

Chaos reigns in the sleepy village of Aramoana on the New Zealand coast, when a series of shipping containers wash up on the beach and looting begins.

Detective Constable Sam Shephard experiences the desperation of the scavengers first-hand, and ends up in an ambulance, nursing her wounds and puzzling over an assault that left her assailant for dead.

What appears to be a clear-cut case of a cargo ship running aground soon takes a more sinister turn when a skull is found in the sand, and the body of a diver is pulled from the sea … a diver who didn’t die of drowning…

As first officer at the scene, Sam is handed the case, much to the displeasure of her superiors, and she must put together an increasingly confusing series of clues to get to the bottom of a mystery that may still have more victims…

book reviews · Bookish

Deep Dark Night by Steph Broadribb (Review)

Greetings! Today I am chuffed to be on the Orenda tour for Deep Dark Night by Steph Broadribb. Orenda just have so many awesome releases recently! This one is available in Paperback, Kindle and Audiobook formats. I was sent a copy for free for review purposes. Be sure to check out the other tour stops!

Deep Dark Night is the fourth installment in the award winning Lori Anderson series. I haven’t read the previous installments, but this reads perfectly fine as a standalone.

Lori is a single mother and bounty hunter, working for the FBI with her partner, JT. Specifically, an Agent Monroe, an absolute git of a bloke who really left a bad taste in my mouth. He’s a really well-written and unlikable character, especially compared to Lori, our protagonist, whose pretty awesome and relateably human. Her and JT have an excellent dynamic and you can’t help but cheer for the pair of them, both in their work and personal lives.

The book starts off as a fairly slow burn, luring you in as Lori prepares for a high stakes poker game in a penthouse at one of the cities tallest buildings; against a mob boss named Cabressa in a bid to entrap him for the FBI, using a very high valued chess set to lure him.

Things seem worrisome as Lori doesn’t seem to excel at poker, however, she walks in like she owns the place and seems to put on a convincing act. Things seem to go to plan until something entirely unexpected occurs. The entire city is plunged in to darkness, the penthouses panic room system is triggered and Lori, JT and the other players are locked inside. It turns out, they’re being held hostage by a voice over the speaker system. But who is it, and what’s their true agenda?

It turns out, none of the players are who they say they are, except for maybe Cabressa. They’re instructed to find out which one of them is Heron – someone who seems to be muscling in on Cabressa’s turf. The person over the speaker seems to already know, so why does he want them to find it out? The drama ramps up at a steady pace while the players and the reader, try to figure out what on earth is going on, while slowly, they get picked off and “Heron” is no closer to being found.

Perfectly balanced suspense, drama and action, Deep Dark Night is a tense ride with a perfect female protaganist whom I found myself really hoping came out on top of the whole situation. Realistic and relatable as opposed to some superhero that defies mortal limits; Lori Anderson is a believable and interesting character.

Far more complex than anticipated, this book really kept me on my toes and I couldn’t deduce the outcome until nearer it being revealed which was awesome. A thoroughly enjoyable read.

About the Book

A city in darkness. A building in lockdown. A score that can only be settled in blood…

Working off the books for FBI Special Agent Alex Monroe, Florida bounty-hunter Lori Anderson and her partner, JT, head to Chicago. Their mission: to entrap the head of the Cabressa crime family. The bait: a priceless chess set that Cabressa is determined to add to his collection.

An exclusive high-stakes poker game is arranged in the penthouse suite of one of the city’s tallest buildings, with Lori holding the cards in an agreed arrangement to hand over the pieces. But, as night falls and the game plays out, stakes rise and tempers flare.

When a power failure plunges the city into darkness, the building goes into lockdown. But this isn’t an ordinary blackout, and the men around the poker table aren’t all who they say they are. Hostages are taken, old scores resurface and the players start to die.

And that’s just the beginning…

About the Author

Steph Broadribb was born in Birmingham and grew up in Buckinghamshire. Most of her working life has been spent between the UK and USA. As her alter ego – Crime Thriller Girl – she indulges her love of all things crime fiction by blogging at crimethrillergirl.com, where she interviews authors and reviews the latest releases. Steph is an alumni of the MA in Creative Writing (Crime Fiction) at City University London, and she trained as a bounty hunter in California. She lives in Buckinghamshire surrounded by horses, cows and chickens. Her debut thriller, Deep Down Dead, was shortlisted for the Dead Good Reader Awards in two categories, and hit number one on the UK and AU kindle charts.
My Little Eye, her first novel under her pseudonym Stephanie Marland was published by Trapeze Books in April 2018.
Follow Steph on Twitter @CrimeThrillGirl and on Facebook facebook.com/CrimeThrillerGirl or visit her website: crimerthrillergirl.com

book reviews · Bookish · Uncategorized

Beast by Matt Wesolowski (Review)

Happy Sunday! Today I am pleased to be on the Orenda Tour for Beast by Matt Wesolowski, out now in Paperback and Kindle formats. I received a copy of this for free as part of the tour.

Beast is the fourth book in the “Six Stories series.” I was interested in The Changeling and when I first heard of it, but never got the opportunity to read it, so I was pleased when I got the chance to read Beast and I’m happy to say that it reads perfectly fine as a standalone and you don’t need to have read the previous books.

The book has odd and interesting presentation. It might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I enjoyed it and it’s a little bit different from the way things are usually presented. It’s offered in a social-media sort of post, like a true-crime podcast over six episodes; the focus of this book being on what happened to vlogger Elizabeth Barton. The format suits the modern day need for everything to be via social-media somehow and it’s obsession with the challenges that go around, many of which are plain absurd or just downright dangerous. “Lizzie B” opts to try the DISD challenge – Dead In Six Days. It quite literally shouts “bad idea!” and yet, she does it anyway…

Online Journalist, Scott King picks up Elizabeth Barton’s story and speaks to 6 people who knew both the victim and perpetrators, uncovering a whole web of dark, frightening and grim that you don’t expect to come from “oh, so this vlogger did a dumb challenge” – oh no. It’s so much more than that. The blurb mentions a “vampire tower” so I wasn’t expecting what I read to feel so… real. Vampires are very much fiction. Or are they? They may not be in the conventional sense of horror and folklore, but there sure are monsters in the world.

The book is so well written – the locations feel very real and with the mention of the “beast from the east” which was an actual event that happened, it was really easy to fall in to this world and think it to be a very real environment. On top of being so immersive, the book itself was easy to read and to digest in chunks thanks to it’s format so it’s a great one for if you’re a busy person and are limited by what you can read at any one time – that’s not to say you wont want to sit and read it cover to cover though!

The very end of the book had me taken aback and it was painful to read. I wasn’t expecting the book to end on such a note. I was still like “woah” when I closed it. Without going in to the actual ending, it’s safe to say, we never really know what’s actually going on in the lives of the people who present themselves to us on social media. Often, they show us the shiniest, most polished and best parts of their lives – there’s a lot we don’t know about these people and they’re a lot more than the persona they portray online.

It’s pretty incredible how much Matt Wesolowski managed to put forward through this more unique format. The tension. Oof. I was on the fence about it and wanted to give it a try – I’m glad I did. Let’s just say, Changeling remains on my want to read list but now I’m putting Six Stories and Hydra up on there too.

About the Book

Elusive online journalist Scott King examines the chilling case of a young vlogger found frozen to death in the legendary local ‘vampire tower’, in another explosive episode of Six Stories…

In the wake of the ‘Beast from the East’ cold snap that ravaged the UK in 2018, a grisly discovery was made in a ruin on the Northumbrian coast. Twenty-four-year-old Vlogger, Elizabeth Barton, had been barricaded inside what locals refer to as ‘The Vampire Tower’, where she was later found frozen to death.

Three young men, part of an alleged ‘cult’, were convicted of this terrible crime, which they described as a ‘prank gone wrong’
However, in the small town of Ergarth, questions have been raised about the nature of Elizabeth Barton’s death and whether the three convicted youths were even responsible.

Elusive online journalist Scott King speaks to six witnesses – people who knew both the victim and the three killers – to peer beneath the surface of the case. He uncovers whispers of a shocking online craze that held the young of Ergarth in its thrall and drove them to escalate a series of pranks in the name of internet fame. He hears of an abattoir on the edge of town, which held more than simple slaughter behind its walls, the tragic and chilling legend of the ‘Ergarth Vampire…

Both a compulsive, taut and terrifying thriller, and a bleak and distressing look at modern society’s desperation for attention, Beast will unveil a darkness from which you may never return…

book reviews · Bookish

Wolves at the Door by Gunnar Staalesen (Review)

Hello! Today I am on the blog tour for Wolves at the Door by Gunnar Staalesen and I am bringing you a review! This book is out now and available in Paperback, Kindle and Audiobook editions. I received a copy of this book for free as part of the tour.

Varg Veum is a private detective, operating out of Bergen, Norway. Previously accused of pedophilia, after images were planted on his computer, Varg has been trying to pick up the pieces after he was proven innocent, but his name still tainted.

One day, someone attempts to run Varg down. Around the same time, he has discovered that two people in the aforementioned pedophile case had died, but he senses something is amiss. Nobody has commissioned him to do so, but he decides to investigate their deaths and discovers the dark truth about the people involved in the case.

The books main theme is a case about the deaths of two pedophiles and mentions child abuse including that which occurs in a family setting. Some readers may find this triggering.

The book is translated from Norweigan, but it is well written and immersive. I found it to be suspenseful and really easy to settle in to and I guess that’s thanks to the author also being from Bergen. The nouns threw me off because I spent a while contemplating how they’d be pronounced, but that was all the more interesting to me and I was glad they didn’t anglicize the names. As an English reader, I really enjoyed the foreign setting.

The ending was punchy, hard hitting and satisfying and I was really pleased with the outcome and how the author wrapped the book up. It’s part of a series, but it read just fine as a standalone and I don’t feel overly baited to the next installment – although, I’d be interested to reading it, for sure!

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.

About the Author

One of the fathers of Nordic Noir, 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 titles, which have been published in twenty-four 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 Espen Seim. Staalesen has won three Golden Pistols (including the Prize of Honour) and Where Roses Never Die won the 2017 Petrona Award for crime fiction. He lives with his wife in Bergen.