A Dark Matter by Doug Johnstone @doug_johnstone @OrendaBooks @annecater #RandomThingsTours #OrendaBooks #BookReview

I am delighted to share my review for A Dark Matter by Doug Johnstone. My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours and Orenda Books for my spot on the Blog Tour and my e-copy of this terrrific book.

Let me show you what it is all about…

After an unexpected death, three generations of women take over the family funeral-home and PI businesses in the first book of a brilliant, page-turning and darkly funny new series


The Skelfs are a well-known Edinburgh family, proprietors of a long-established funeral-home business, and private investigators. When patriarch Jim dies, it’s left to his wife Dorothy, daughter Jenny and granddaughter Hannah to take charge of both businesses, kicking off an unexpected series of events.

Dorothy discovers mysterious payments to another women, suggesting that Jim wasn’t the husband she thought he was. Hannah’s best friend Mel has vanished from university, and the simple adultery case that Jenny takes on leads to something stranger and far darker than any of them could have imagined.

As the women struggle to come to terms with their grief, and the demands of the business threaten to overwhelm them, secrets from the past emerge, which change everything… It’s a compelling and tense thriller and a darkly funny, warm portrait of a family in turmoil.

The really like the simplicity of this cover and as I again look at it after reading the book it is also so appropriate. The synopsis does a great job of setting the basics up for this story. This is the first in a new series by Doug Johnstone and I have to say I cannot wait to see what these feisty Sklef women get up to in further books.

This is a story that is about coming to terms with the death of a loved one who left one or two skeletons lurking behind him. Jim’s death leaves not only a big hole in the lives of his family, it also leaves a hole in the two businesses. One is a funeral directors the other is a private Investigation business.

Taking over two businesses throws up a few surprises, in fact surprise is something that each of the three Skelf women, in this story, have got to deal with. Some hit closer to home than others. In some respects this book is like reading interconnected stories, that have an individual feel at times but also are linked.

The individual stories gradually make themselves known and after a slower start I suddenly found myself finding my feet. There were a few characters to get my head around, but gradually I did and I was able to see the story rather than trying to remember who was who.

Dealing with grief at the same time as discovering secrets and trying to keep business running is a tall order. This is something the Skelf ‘s seem to take in their stride. These are strong women, who do have moments of doubt but continue on.

This is a really good read that has more than a few surprises tucked in the pages, very cleverly worked and quite a lot of facts scattered throughout that added some wonderful reading extras.

If you are a reader who likes crime and mystery reads then this will be right up your street, I am really looking forward to what happens next and what the author can weave into his next book. A Dark Matter gets a definitely recommended from me.

Doug Johnstone is the author of ten novels, most recently Breakers (2018), which has been shortlisted for the McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Novel of the Year. Several of his books have been bestsellers and award winners, and his work has been praised by the likes of Val McDermid, Irvine Welsh and Ian Rankin. He’s taught creative writing and been writer in residence at various institutions – including a funeral home – and has been an arts journalist for twenty years. Doug is a songwriter and musician with five albums and three EPs released, and he plays drums for the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers, a band of crime writers. He’s also playermanager of the Scotland Writers Football Club. He lives in Edinburgh.

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Gone by Leona Deakin @LeonaDeakin1 @annecater #RandomThingsTours #Bookreview

I am so delighted to be sharing my thoughts on this Gone by Leona Deakin, this was a fabulous psychological thriller that I thoroughly enjoyed. Many thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and also for organising my review copy.

Let me show you what Gone is all about…

Four strangers are missing. Left at their last-known locations are birthday cards that read:

YOUR GIFT IS THE GAME.
DARE TO PLAY?

The police aren’t worried – it’s just a game. But the families are frantic. As psychologist and private detective Dr Augusta Bloom delves into the lives of the missing people, she finds something that binds them all.

And that something makes them very dangerous indeed.

As more disappearances are reported and new birthday cards uncovered, Dr Bloom races to unravel the mystery and find the missing people.

But what if, this time, they are the ones she should fear?

Well there are two words that really sum this book up “psychological thriller”! If you are a fan of crime fiction reads that have a strong psychological aspect, then you are going to get on really well with this book. I read it in one sitting and it had me hooked.

The tag lines for this story are intriguing to say the least and the story opens in quite a brutal and also unsettling way. The main character is Dr Augusta Bloom and her work within the field of psychology.

It did take me a few chapters to get into as I got used to the characters, there were a few to get my head around. Then as I started to get a grip with who was who, I was able to enjoy the story more. I say story, but actually there are two stories, they seem totally unconnected. One is of a young girl that Bloom is helping, the other is the main focus of the story and is that of the game of dare. The participants of the game had gone missing, but they had gone missing on their own choice. A missing person case with a big twist if you like.

The game is eerily creepy and held a good amount of intrigue and to a certain extent some excitement. The people invited to play the game just walk away from their lives with no explanation. It is Bloom and her colleague Jameson an ex secret service man, who start to fit the pieces of this puzzle together.

The author incorporates a good amount of psychological explanation into the story and for the most part it is part of the story, I did occasionally feel a little too much was given, but at the same time it was still important to be there, so for me it hit the right balance with the odd wobble.

As the story progressed the tension and intrigue definitely increased and I was desperate to discover where the story would lead. There were some unsettling revelations regarding social media games and also big brother knowing and seeing all, this just added to the thrill of the story.

For the most part, I had no idea about who could be the mastermind, then suddenly I had one of those epiphany moments. From that point on I started to doubt myself, and then I was along for the ride. Working out the who, didn’t spoil the story at all.Instead I got to discover all the why’s and this held some interesting and clever twists.

This was a really good read, I liked the inclusion of various psychological aspects and also the unusual crime fighting duo. I would like to think there will be another book featuring Boom and Jameson. If you like a twisted and psychological based crime thriller then you really want to have a look at this book. it is one I would definitely recommend.

Leona draws inspiration for her writing from her own experiences having started her career as a psychologist with the West Yorkshire Police and her successful work in psychology since. She is now an occupational psychologist and lives with her family in Leeds.

This is her debut thriller.

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The Vagabond King by Jodie Bond @jodierbond @annecater #RandomThingsTours #TheVagabondKing #fantasy #Bookreview

I am delighted to share my thoughts on The Vagabond d King by Jodie Bond. My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and also for arranging my copy of this brilliant book.

I am so excited about this book and I am delighted that it is the first in a planned trilogy! 🙂

Let me show you what it is all about…

Threon, the Vagabond King, is torn from a life in the palace by raiders and forced to scrape a living on the streets of a foreign land. Meeting a witch from distant mountains, a rebel soldier and a woman cursed by a god, he seeks retribution through a quest to reclaim his home and throne. Together they rekindle old allegiances, face an immortal army and learn to trust one another. But when the gods begin to interfere with their plans, is it a curse or a blessing?

When soldiers raid the city and kill the King and Queen, their son Prince Threon finds an unlikely ally who rescues him. Threon then spends the next few years in exile, living as a beggar and a wanderer and being given the title of The Vagabond King. Unlikely allies are going to be important to Threon as he gradually makes his way back to his old home. The road is fraught with danger as it is not only people, but also gods who have a hand in what happens on the earth.

This is a fabulous fantasy read and one that I thoroughly enjoyed. I liked the way this story played out and the author did a cracking job of explaining the various different people and where they are on the power ladder.

Power is a very sought after commodity in this story. From the powerless slaves who are forced to work in the mines, to the power hungry gods who are trying to gain overall control of the world below.

With fantasy stories there are some things I like to see, the first is pronounceable names, I like a story line that is not too complex, I like corruption and power struggles and then I like a good under dog, a few battles, some uncertainty and a bit of magical influence, okay maybe a bit more than a few things! This book had all these things and and more, they are wonderfully wrapped and entwined into a fabulous story-line that was very addictive indeed.

The story-line follows some wonderful characters who are very memorable for various reasons. One of my favourite characters was Savanta who was pulled into the story in a very harsh way, also Azzania with her powers, that were a little different and well thought out by the author. Threon is however the main focus of the story, but these other characters definitely have a role to play as the intensity increases throughout the book to a climatic ending.

There are some wonderful descriptions and some vivid imagery within the story. This is great for me as a reader because it makes it so much easier to see the world the author has created. As well as the scenery, a lot of thought has gone into the structure of the societies and also of the religion, I liked having three gods, though the focus is on two.

The author brought this first in the trilogy to a very climatic ending with just the slightest hint of something to come in the next book. This was a really good book and when I began it I didn’t realise it was part of a planned trilogy until I had finished it.

A fabulous read with characters that are memorable and that I cared about, a pace and flow that felt right and gradually built as the story progressed, basically a cracking read that when I wasn’t reading, had me itching to pick it up again. The Vagabond King is one that I would definitely recommend.

Jodie Bond comes from a family of gin makers in the mountains of north Wales. She works in marketing and performs as a burlesque artist. She had an unconventional childhood, dividing her time between a quiet life on her mother’s farm and her father’s home which was infamous for holding some of the UK’s biggest raves in the 90s.

Follow Jodie on Twitter

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The Poker Game Mystery by Peter Bartram @PeterFBartram @annecater #Bookreview

I am so delighted to share my thoughts on The Poker Game Mystery by Peter Bartram. I have read a few books by this author before and I have always enjoyed them. My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my copy of this brilliant book.

Let’s have a look at what it is all about…

Poker is a game for the dead lucky…

Crime reporter Colin Crampton discovers nightclub bouncer Steve Telford murdered. Colin can’t understand why five cards of a poker hand are laid out next to the body.As Colin investigates, he becomes entangled with three former special forces soldiers from the Second World War. All have motives to kill Telford. But Colin’s probe is derailed when a shock change at the Evening Chronicle puts the paper’s – and Colin’s – future in peril.The tension ratchets higher when the life of a young girl is on the line. Colin is forced to go head-to-head in a poker game with sinister newspaper owner Quentin Pell to save her.There are laughs alongside the action as Colin and his feisty girlfriend Shirley shuffle the cards and play the most dangerous game of all – with their own lives at stake.

Purchase LinkAmazon UK

Right from the off I am going to say that I am a big fan of this author’s main protagonist Colin Crampton and his side kick Shirley. Together they are brilliant and the author manages to create a very humorous dynamic between the two.

Colin is the Investigating reported for The Chronicle, a Brighton newspaper. Colin is in the front for getting the scoop when a body is discovered. The more Colin digs for more information the more he discovers. His girlfriend, Aussie model, Shirley is a brilliant wing man woman and, together they find themselves in the thick of things.

The thing I really like about these books is how even though there is a serious nature to the crimes that Colin investigates, the author injects a very dry old style sense of humour. This humour is very appropriate for the mid 1960’s setting of the book. There are many witty one liners that are the sort of jokes that make you roll your eyes at there cheesiness, but at the same time have you smirking.

As the crime is investigated it deepens, it takes various routes before the finale is finally reached. There are various leads that the dogged reporter has to follow, and let’s just say some of them are a little shady. But for Colin, the ends justifies the means and it could be a life changer for a young girl.

The author uses his experience as a journalist into his story so well. There are little things that have found there way naturally into the story that I found so interesting. Mentions of printing, paper and war time newspapers make an appearance. There were things that I was completely unaware of, but the experience and knowledge the author brings really does show.

This is a cosy mystery that I loved. I have read several of these books in the past and really enjoyed this old style sleuthing of the story. The stories are wonderfully worked out and have a good pace to them. There are some characters that make regular appearances and I have some definite favourites. Each book can be read as a stand-alone because each case Colin works on is followed from start to finish.

I think this series works really well as they are not entirely serious and because they have a reporter as the investigator it gives them a credible edge. It is also a really good way of getting a glimpse into the way newspapers and reporting was done in the 60’s.

This is a fabulous series with an inventive reporter who is prepared to take a risk. Who, along with his girlfriend, find themselves in the midst of danger and of bodies on a regular basis. How poor Shirley puts up with Colin I will never know, but I am so glad she does as they are fabulous.

If you are after a well written cosy mystery that will leave you with a grin on your face from the humour, that has a serious crime to be solved and is really well written then pick up the latest edition of one of Peter’s books. The Poker Game Mystery was brilliant and I highly recommend it.

Peter Bartram brings years of experience as a journalist to his Crampton of the Chronicle crime mystery series. His novels are fast-paced and humorous – the action is matched by the laughs. The books feature a host of colourful characters as befits stories set in Brighton, one of Britain’s most trend-setting towns.

You can download Murder in Capital Letters, a free book in the series, for your Kindle from www.colincrampton.com.

Peter began his career as a reporter on a local weekly newspaper before editing newspapers and magazines in London, England and, finally, becoming freelance. He has done most things in journalism from door-stepping for quotes to writing serious editorials. He’s pursued stories in locations as diverse as 700-feet down a coal mine and a courtier’s chambers at Buckingham Palace. Peter is a member of the Society of Authors and the Crime Writers’ Association.

Follow Peter on Facebook or Twitter

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Sorcery Reborn by Steve McHugh @SteveJMchugh #RandomThingsTours @annecater #Bookreview

I am so delighted to join in the Blog Tour for for Sorcery Reborn by the fabulous Steve McHugh. I was delighted to see an email asking if I would like to be part of the the Tour for this new series – The Rebellion Chronicles, it has links to the last series The Avalon Chronicles and also Hellequin. But don’t worry if you have not read all the previous books as this is the start of the next chapter if you like and so you will soon be brought up to speed.

I would like to thanks Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot and also a huge thanks to Steve for my signed review copy xx

He doesn’t need a weapon. He is the weapon.

After losing his powers in an epic battle between good and evil, former sorcerer Nate Garrett finds himself living as a humble human in Clockwork, Oregon. While the world thinks Nate is dead, his friends continue to fight against Avalon and the evil it’s intent on spreading.

Avalon’s forces turn up in Clockwork, and Nate’s frustration grows with every passing day his magic doesn’t return. He finds himself trying to stop Avalon’s plans while hiding from enemies who would destroy everything in their path to see him dead.

Avalon’s darkness begins to threaten the people Nate cares about, and an old nemesis returns; magic or no magic, he has no choice but to fight. But will Nate see his magical powers reborn before the entire town—and everyone he loves—is destroyed?

I had previously read the Avalon Chronicles by this author and I absolutely loved it. So when I saw there was a Blog Tour for a new series I was eager to get on board.

Sorcery Reborn is a brilliant book that is action packed from start to finish. The main protagonist is Nate, he had lost his powers and was now in hiding in the town of Clockwork. Only a select few know he is alive and the less people know of him the better.

While the bulk of this story is about Nate and what is going on in and around the town, there is also a secondary story line. This one involves Layla and a small group who are in another realm working against the forces of Avalon.

So yes this is a new series, but one that still has links with the previous ones. I do think that having a list of characters and what role they play listed at the front of the book is a great idea. One because it is a great memory jogger and two it gives the tiniest glimpse as to what or rather who, a new reader to the series can expect.

Right from the get go, this book is fabulous and full of action, mystery and intrigue. As Nate worries about when he will get his powers back and if they will return in time to help in the fight against Avalon, he also has some new comers to deal with. They seem hell bent on causing trouble for Nate and his friends.

The author weaves a fabulous world of mythological beings and legends from folk lore into his stories. He has an ability to take a any number of gods, deities, dwarfs, were-beasts and give them very unique and memorable characteristics and traits.

This is a brilliant start to a new series and as I am so glad that there is more to come. The fight against good and evil is one that spans the centuries and this series brings characters ancient legend, religion and myth into a modern world. What can mere humans do when they are confronted with the powers of the gods? Just as well humans are protected by the likes of Nate and Layla as well as a whole host of fabulous other characters.

This is a fantasy series that, if the previous one is anything to go by, will be just as action-packed and be brilliant reading. It already has that addictive feel and in case you wondered whether I liked Sorcery Reborn… yep I loved it and yep I would absolutely recommend it.

Here is the link to Amazon so you can check out Steve’s books.

Steve’s been writing from an early age, his first completed story was done in an English lesson. Unfortunately, after the teacher read it, he had to have a chat with the head of the year about the violent content and bad language. The follow up ‘One boy and his frog’ was less concerning to his teachers and got him an A.

It wasn’t for another decade that he would start work on a full length novel, the result of which is Crimes Against Magic.

He was born in a small village called Mexborough, South Yorkshire, but now lives with his wife and three young daughters in Southampton.

Social Media – TwitterWebsite

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The Photographer of the Lost by Caroline Scott @CScottBooks @annecater #RandomThingsTours #Bookreview

I am delighted to share my thoughts on The Photographer of the Lost by Caroline Scott. My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my copy of this wonderful historical fiction book.

Let me show you what it is all about…

Until she knows her husband’s fate, she cannot decide her own…
An epic debut novel of forbidden love, loss, and the shattered hearts left behind in the wake of World War I

1921. Families are desperately trying to piece together the fragments of their broken lives. While many survivors of the Great War have been reunited with their loved ones, Edie’s husband Francis has not come home. He is considered ‘missing in action’, but when Edie receives a mysterious photograph taken by Francis in the post, hope flares. And so she beings to search.

Harry, Francis’s brother, fought alongside him. He too longs for Francis to be alive, so they can forgive each other for the last things they ever said. Both brothers shared a love of photography and it is that which brings Harry back to the Western Front. Hired by grieving families to photograph gravesites, as he travels through battle-scarred France gathering news for British wives and mothers, Harry also searches for evidence of his brother.

And as Harry and Edie’s paths converge, they get closer to a startling truth.

An incredibly moving account of an often-forgotten moment in history, The Photographer of the Lost tells the story of the thousands of soldiers who were lost amid the chaos and ruins, and the even greater number of men and women desperate to find them again.

Caroline Scott is a freelance writer and historian specializing in WWI and women’s history. The Photographer of the Lost, partially inspired by her family history, is her first novel.

This is such a poignant, sombre, heartbreaking and beautiful story that I cannot do justice to with my review. It is set in 1921 as people are still trying to come to terms with the loss of family during the first world war. Edie is desperate to discover what had happened to Francis her husband, missing presumed dead does not give her any peace of mind. Is he missing, was he killed or was he suffering from amnesia, she wants to know. Harry served in the war along with his brother, Francis. Harry returns to France and photographs places and gravestones for those back home looking for some sort of closure. Harry cannot remember all that happened during the war and suffers from we now know as PTSD.

This was such a haunting read and I do admit it taking me a little while to get into. I did however go back to the synopsis and give it a proper read and it did make things a lot clearer and things started to fall into place easier. Once I got to grips with the style of the story and the characters I discovered such a beautifully written story. It is one that delved into the way people were coming to terms with the loss of their loved ones as well as how those involved in the fighting were dealing with their own trauma.

The author did such a wonderful job with the character of Edie and it really brought home how dealing with the unknown can stop you from living your life. Her personal pilgrimage to various offices, agencies and hospitals to try to find the slightest bit of information about Francis was powerful. A glimmer of hope that flicked and wavered as she went through disappointment of finding nothing.

Harry has his own journey and it is linked to Edies. He had taken his brothers profession and is a photographer. His work means he accepts commissions from those who want to know the final resting place of their loved ones or the last place they were seen. These photographs are the last touch for a family, a chance to say a final goodbye and have something that marks the end of a life.

This is a powerful story, one that deals with the time immediately after the war. People are trying to live and survive with their loss. There is still hope that those who are missing can be found alive. The story does flit between 1921 and as flashbacks to the war so there are two sides to the story and it makes for a very moving and emotional read.

As I said earlier, it did take me a little while to get into, but once in I found it very difficult to put down. If you are looking for a book that deals with WW! and how people are affected than you really should pick this one up, it is definitely worth it and I Definitely Recommend it.

About the Author Caroline completed a PhD in History at the University of Durham. She developed a particular interest in the impact of the First World War on the landscape of Belgium and France, and in the experience of women during the conflict – fascinations that she was able to pursue while she spent several years working as a researcher for a Belgian company. Caroline is originally from Lancashire, but now lives in southwest France.


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Coming Home To Winter Island by Jo Thomas @jo_thomas01 @annecater #randomthingstours #bookreview

I am delighted to share my thoughts on Coming Home To Winter Island by Jo Thomas. I love this authors books so I was so excited to grab a spot on the Blog Tour arranged by Anne at Random Things Tours and thank you so much for my advance copy of this fantastically fabulous book 🙂

Let me show you what it is all about…

Wrap up warm and explore the breath-taking beauty of a remote Scottish island and an old house waiting to unlock enchanting family secrets.

Fans of Jill Mansell and Milly Johnson will love this irresistible new winter novel from Jo Thomas.

Do you need to find out where you’ve come from before you can know what the future holds?

Ruby’s singing career is on the verge of hitting the big time, when her voice breaks. Fearing her career is over, she signs up for a retreat in Tenerife to recover.

But an unexpected call from a stranger on a remote Scottish island takes her on a short trip to sort out some family business. It’s time to go and see the grandfather she’s never met.

City girl Ruby knows she will be happy to leave the windswept beaches behind as quickly as she can, especially as a years-old family rift means she knows she won’t be welcome at Teach Mhor.

But as she arrives at the big house overlooking the bay, she finds things are not as straightforward as she might have thought.

There’s an unexpected guest in the house and he’s not planning on going anywhere any time soon …

Praise for Jo Thomas:

‘Magically romantic…best read in front of a crackling log fire’ Milly Johnson

‘The characters went straight to my heart’ Katie Fforde

‘A sparkling, heartwarming hug of a story’ Miranda Dickinson

‘Like the best kind of holiday’ Lucy Diamond

What happens when you mix a remote island, a voiceless singer, a sitting tenant, and a unknown grandfather and a lost gin recipe? You get the most amazing story by the fabulous Jo Thomas that is what you get! This is the third book I have read by this author and every time she transports me with her descriptions, story lines, characters and theme of the story.

Coming Home To Winter Island is a stunning read as I followed the devastating and catastrophic bad luck that fell on Ruby Mac, she lost her voice as she and her band are on the verge of being signed by a record company. She then gets a mysterious phone call and changes her plans ending up on a wintry Scottish island.

The author weaves in a story that takes quite a few surprising turns and I have to say they were brilliantly executed. Music, gin, recipes, dementia, local community and family history are all fabulous additions to Ruby’s story. There are a couple of other main characters of Hector and Lachlan, they are again so well developed and give a heartwarming and also a nervous and tentative feel to the story.

The descriptions of Christmases past and memories that are intertwined in the story add an extra special feeling to this story. It has a definite foothold in memories and these then help the progress forwards to the future. There are also some wonderful setting descriptions that definitely added extra sight, sound and smell senses to the story.

I will admit to not being a big fan of gin, I’m more of a whiskey drinker, but I have to say the sound of the gin mentioned in the book sounds amazing.

This is yet another book I absolutely devoured as I have with the previous books I have read by this author. If you are a fan of books that have a wonderful story, fabulous characters, sumptuous settings, that has many surprises, unexpected friendships and that does not take a direct route then I think this is the book for you. If you have already read Jo’s books then you will know where I am coming from because she is a fabulous author.

Coming Home To Winter Island is yet another book by Jo Thomas that I would Highly Recommend.

Jo Thomas worked for many years as a reporter and producer, first for BBC Radio 5, before moving on to Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour and Radio 2’s The Steve Wright Show. In 2013 Jo won the RNA Katie Fforde Bursary. Her debut novel, The Oyster Catcher, was a runaway bestseller in ebook and was awarded the 2014 RNA Joan Hessayon Award and the 2014 Festival of Romance Best Ebook Award. Jo lives in the Vale of Glamorgan with her husband and three children.

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Cage by Lilja Sigurdardottir @lilja1972 @OrendaBooks @annecater #Bookreview

I am delighted to welcome you to my thoughts on Cage by Lilja Sigurdardottir. My thanks to Anne at Random Things Blog Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and also to Orenda Books for my e-copy of this book

Cage is the third and final book in this trilogy, and you know what is coming… yes you really should read these books in order.

A masterful conclusion to the award-winning, critically
acclaimed Reykjavík Noir trilogy, as drug-smuggling,
financial crime, political intrigue, love, murder and
betrayal come together.


The prison doors slam shut behind Agla, when her sentence
for financial misconduct ends, but her lover Sonja is not
there to meet her.


As a group of foreign businessmen tries to draw Agla into
an ingenious fraud that stretches from Iceland around the
world, Agla and her former nemesis María find the stakes
being raised at a terrifying speed. Ruthless entrepreneur
Ingimar will stop at nothing to protect his empire, but he
has no idea about the powder keg he is sitting on in his own
home. And at the same time, a deadly threat to Sonja and
her family brings her from London back to Iceland, where
she needs to settle scores with longstanding adversaries if
she wants to stay alive…


The lives of these characters are about to collide in a
shocking crescendo, until the winner takes it all…

Things have finally come to an end in Cage. This book brings everything from Snare and Trap together.

Once again Agla is in the midst of drug smuggling, corruption and is against those who thirst for even more power. This story focuses more on Agla and her decision to look into a different tale of corruption. She is delving into the truth behind the mixed metal and aluminium business.

If you have not read Snare or Trap then you really should. Many of the characters have been previously introduced in those books. Reading the previous books gives a better understanding to their individual characters and what makes them tick, and I think more importantly it gives you an idea of their own inner strengths and weaknesses.

Agla teams up with a journalist, Maria, it is a tentative working relationship as they both discover just how far the corruption in the metal trade actually goes. Along with this story there is also another, that is the new friendship that Agla has and also the story of a young man who thinks he is doing the right thing.

While I admit this is not my favourite of the three books, it is still a cracking read. The author brings together the previous books to quite a shocking finale. She took me down a route I didn’t expect. This story moves away from Sonja but she still has a role to play in this book and I think this is what threw me when I read this book. But it was good to see more of Agla.

The story is told from different perspectives and this helps to weave a sense of mistrust and intrigue throughout the story. It did take me a while to get myself up to speed with the various characters as it had been a while since I had read the previous book. But gradually the characters and their own stories started to come back to me.

This is a reasonably fast paced read as the author yet again weaves a complex and intense story. She pulls the threads together to create a wonderful finale. The author has a wonderful atmosphere as she creates yet another Icelandic read. Agla is in prison and the author shares how the financiers and bankers who were part of Icelands financial crash were treated.

The titles for each of the books are snappy and each are relevant to the story within, Cage is no different and it was as I read the book the significance of it makes itself known.

Once again a fabulous job was done of the translation, without translators I would not have access to read this fabulous trilogy.

This is a book, in fact a trilogy that delves into the world of drugs, control, corruption, power and manipulation. Ideal for readers who love a good crime thriller read.

Icelandic crime-writer Lilja Sigurdardóttir was born in the town of Akranes
in 1972 and raised in Mexico, Sweden, Spain and Iceland. An award-winning playwright, Lilja has written four crime novels, including Snare and Trap, the first two books in the Reykjavik Noir trilogy, which have hit bestseller lists worldwide. The film rights have been bought by Palomar Pictures in California. She lives in Reykjavík with her partner.

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The Awakening Aten by Aiden K. Morrissey #TheAwakeningAten @AidenKMorrissey #RandomThingsTours @annecater #HistFic #Review

I am delighted to share my review for The Awakening Aten by Aiden k. Morrissey. My huge thanks to Aiden for my copy of his book and also to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for accepting my request to join the Blog Tour.

Let’s have a look and see what The Awakening Aten is all about…

he Awakening Aten envelops the reader in an Egypt of whispers and fears, of webs within webs, deceit upon deceit. Its themes of murder, intrigue, political and religious conflict, corruption, tomb robbing, war and executions are set against a background of fundamental ideological change.  

Ancient Egypt is seen through the eyes of two families; one royal, the other commoner. Yuya, whose tomb is in the Valley of the Kings, is a foreigner who rises from slavery to become Regent to an infant Pharaoh and thus, the most powerful man in the world’s wealthiest empire. His children and descendants will remain at the very heart of the country’s destiny. Kha is a tomb painter and builder who experiences both the despair of imprisonment and the horror of war. As Overseer of the King’s Works he restores the Great Sphinx, and inscribes the ‘Dream Stela’ placed between its paws, still visible today. Through tragic and deathly events his family and that of Yuya become entwined.  

This is the fictional tale of real people, whose possessions and artefacts can be seen in museums throughout the world. It gives a voice to those people, inspired by their personal items, buried with them 3,000 years ago.

PURCHASE LINK – Amazon UK

If you like ancient historical fiction novels that have a huge amount of factual detail incorporated, then you should consider picking up a copy of The Awakening Aten. It is set in 1420 BCE Egypt and it is the first in a planned 5 Book Series.

I enjoyed this story so much and rather than write a review about the story itself I am writing about the things that stood out for me. It is just that when I try and write a review on the story it sounds so confusing because it is such a big story, and I don’t feel able to do it justice. That makes it sound like the story is confusing, and actually, once you get into it flows wonderfully and makes complete sense!

The story has quite a large cast and the main characters have a mention in a handy list at the front of the book. What I liked about this list was that is was broken down into family groups. The author has also noted which characters are real or fictional.

The cast covers a diverse range of backgrounds from those facing death to the King. In between, there are priests, mercenaries, artists, builders and princes just to name a few. This is where that handy list comes in useful as I started to get to grips with them all.

The story itself charts the lives of the key characters, the roles they play as well as the everyday things. Here the author manages to weave individual stories that gradually build into a far bigger picture.

The research and knowledge are very evident and the inclusion of some very interesting notes from the author adds to that feeling that the details were right. I am not knowledgable in this era of history, I do know bits and pieces like most others but things just felt right as far as I was concerned.

The story itself had so many things going on and though it follows the lives of the main characters, I also felt as though I was getting a grand tour of ancient Egypt and all that was involved at the time. The story has a lot of drama and it is explored through various means. There is murder, corruption, power-struggles, religion, social etiquette, tombs, mummification… in fact, pretty much everything I would expect from this period and then a whole lot more!

This was such a fascinating and very insightful novel with some fabulous detail. Following different families as they made their way through the story. It has left me very eager to read the next in the series.

This is a book that has left me wanting to read more and it is one I would definitely recommend.

I am of Irish heritage and was the first member of my immediate family to be born outside of Ireland. My professional life has caused me to travel the world. I am now looking forward to settling in the North East of England, to concentrate on writing.

A graduate in Law from Leicester University, after working for some years in a commercial environment, I qualified as a Solicitor in 1981.

My career developed in an unusual way and I have lived and worked at various times in Italy, Brazil, the United States, India and Germany.

I have always had a love and fascination for history. A holiday in Egypt sparked a particular passion for Ancient Egypt, especially the latter part of the 18th Dynasty. A history, which Pharaoh Horemeb (Djeser-Kheperu-Ra circa 1319-1292 BCE) tried to destroy and which only came to light following the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922.

‘The Awakening Aten’ is the culmination of many years of research.

I have built up a substantial collection of academic books and novels on Ancient Egypt, its customs, traditions and daily life. I am fortunate to have been able to visit all of the major museums containing artefacts from Egypt throughout the world, as well as spending months in Egypt itself studying the funereal valleys and other sites. All of this supplemented by internet research.

This novel is the first in a plannned five book series, looking at the fictional lives of real people through a period of major political and religious change, spanning approximately 130 years.

My hobbies are reading, which I enjoy as much as I do writing, and taking bracing walks along the North East Coast and in the Northumberland Hills.

Website: http://www.aidenkmorrisey-author.com/

Twitter @AidanKMorrissey

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Cold As The Grave by James Oswald @SirBenfro @annecater #RandomThingsTours #Review

I am so delighted to be sharing my review for Cold As The Grave by James Oswald. I recieved my copy as part of the Blog Tour and my thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for accpeting my request to join.

Let’s see what the bookis all about…

The ninth book in the Sunday Times-bestselling phenomenon that is the Inspector McLean series, from one of Scotland’s most celebrated crime writers .

Her mummified body is hidden in the dark corner of a basement room, a room which seems to have been left untouched for decades. A room which feels as cold as the grave.

As a rowdy demonstration makes its slow and vocal way along Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, Detective Chief Inspector Tony McLean’s team are on stand-by for any trouble. The newly promoted McLean is distracted, inexplicably drawn to a dead-end mews street… and a door, slightly ajar, which leads to this poor girl’s final resting place.

But how long has she been there, in her sleep of death? The answers are far from what McLean or anyone else could expect. The truth far more chilling than a simple cold case…

Wow! 5 Stars! Will, that do? Is that enough for a review? I only ask because I am not sure quite how to articulate my thoughts into some sort of coherent review!!!!!

This is a police procedural with such a creepy and sinister undertone to it. A supernatural air adds to the atmosphere and reminded me of a Victorian gothic story with swirling mists, ominous shapes and shadows, but very much set in the present day.

Following DCI McLean around Edinborough because DCI’s sit at desks working on budgets and reports right? Well, that is where you would be wrong! He likes to get right in the thick of things, getting a feel for the case with his feet firmly on the ground. He is very much like a dog with a bone as when he gets his teeth into the case he does not let go and tenaciously hangs on till the end.

McLean is such a committed copper and his team around him have a similar ethic. In the background, there is a lurking menace, a character that he has a past with. A character with cogs constantly turning and finger in all the pies. While they don’t have a huge physical role as such it is their presence definitely is there. It felt a little like Moriarty to Holmes.

I loved the route the author took with this story, it kept me on my toes and constantly questioning what I thought. The way the victims met their demise was gruesomely brilliant, it sounds wrong to say that but, it was so different and added to the suspense and mystery. Definitely not your usual MOand that added such a wonderful tense feel to the investigations and the overall air of the story.

How the author would get to the ending had me a little concerned until I got there myself, and I am so happy to say he got it so right. I really should stop trying to see ahead as I am often wrong-footed!

Now I know this is quite a vague review to the story and I have picked out some of the things I loved about it. When I finished this book and tried to write a review I crossed and scribbled out so many things, they contained spoilers and hinted too much at what happened. In the end, I decided that picking out some of the key things that worked so well for me.

If you like your crime thriller reads that are dark, atmospheric, mysterious and ominous, with a storyline that has various elements that have been brilliantly drawn together, then this should really be on your ‘Must Read’ list!

Cold As The Grave by James Oswald is a book that gets an ‘Absolutely & Highly Recommended’ from Me!

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