Posted in Biography, Book Review, Memoir, Non-Fiction

Heida – Steinunn Sigurðardóttir- 4* #Review @johnmurrays #biography #Iceland #Farming #Rural #Shepherd

Heiða is a solitary farmer with a flock of 500 sheep in a remorseless area bordering Iceland’s highlands. It’s known as the End of the World. One of her nearest neighbours is Iceland’s most notorious volcano, Katla, which has periodically driven away the inhabitants of Ljótarstaðir ever since people first started farming there in the twelfth century. This portrait of Heiða written with wit and humour by one of Iceland’s most acclaimed novelists, Steinunn Sigurðardóttir, tells a heroic tale of a charismatic young woman, who at 23 walked away from a career as a model in New York to take over the family farm when her father died.

I want to tell women they can do anything, and to show that sheep farming isn’t just a man’s game. I guess I’ve always been a feminist. When I was growing up, there was a female president, and I used to wear the same clothes and play with the same toys as the boys. It was just normal to me.

Divided into four seasons, Heiða tells the story of a remarkable year, interwoven with vivid stories of her animals and farm work and paints an unforgettable portrait of a remote life close to nature.

We, humans, are mortal; the land outlives us, new people come, new sheep, new birds and so on but the land with its rivers and lakes and resources, remains.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from John Murray Press via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

I was attracted to this book because it is about a place, Iceland, that I know little about, it is currently a popular holiday destination too. The idea of a female Shepherd, running a farm practically single-handed is worth reading about, so I did.

The book has an informative forward, written by the biographer, who is a notable Icelandic author. The book came into being because Heida wanted to stop parts of her land, which has been farmed since the 12th-century being destroyed by an energy company. This it seems is the catalyst for Heida sharing her life to date, but the story is so much more than this.

Written like a memoir, this story details Heida’s life, much of which has been spent on Ljótarstaðir, her family farm. The writing style is informal. It is emotional, individual and personal, providing a real insight into her life.

It is also a story about preserving a way of life and the individual versus the corporate machine. The unwavering message being, it is not enough to want to keep your way of life, in an ever-changing world, you sometimes have to step into their world and fight on equal terms.

If you enjoy learning about different ways of life and culture and have a love of animals this will be an interesting read for you, like it is for me.

Advertisements
Posted in Book Review, International Thriller, Noir, Thriller

4* #Review -The Island – Ragnar Jonasson – Translator -Victoria Cribb @MichaelJBooks @ragnarjo #PublicationDay #Noir #Crime #Thriller #IcelandSeries #TheIsland

Four friends visit the island.

But only three return . . .

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

Is there a patient killer stalking these barren outposts?

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

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

Haunting, suspenseful and as chilling as an Icelandic winter, The Island follows one woman’s journey to find the truth hidden in the darkest shadows, and shine a light on her own dark past.

Amazon UK
_

I received a copy of this book from Penguin UK – Michael Joseph via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

‘The Island’ is the second in the #HiddenIceland series of noir crime novels. I haven’t read the first book, but this reads well as a standalone. Hulda is a troubled detective and her personality and emotional pain, make her perfect for the ethos of this series. The story is sinister and suspenseful, but rather than relying on action scenes for its interest and impetus, it delves deep into the characters and their secrets to reveal the plot’s twists and turns.

Hulda is haunted by her past and elements of the crime resonate with her, making her more personally involved with the events at the island and its players than is wise.

The story flicks between different timelines, which demands concentration. You need to enjoy this deep, slow-paced, dark storytelling to get something from this book, but it is authentic and a good example of its genre.

Posted in Book Review, Romance, Romantic Comedy

5* #Review – Julie Caplin – The Northern Lights Lodge @HarperImpulse @JulieCaplin

Escape to the cosiest little lodge in Iceland for love, log fires and the Northern Lights…

With a shattered heart and her career completely in tatters, Lucy needs to get away from her life in the UK. But, when she takes a job as hotel manager of the Northern Lights Lodge, she doesn’t quite expect to find herself in a land of bubbling hot springs and snowflake-dusted glaciers – and in the company of gorgeous Scottish barman, Alex.

Determined to turn her life around, Lucy sets about making the lodge the number one romantic destination in Iceland – even though romance is the last thing she wants. However, as Alex and Lucy grow closer under the dancing lights of the Aurora, Lucy might just learn how to fall in love again…

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

If your reading likes include romance, delicious food, stunning settings and believable characters, the Northern Lights Lodge is the perfect book for you. The fourth book in the #Romantic Escapes series, it tells the story of Lucy and Alex as they fall under the spell of the Northern Lights in Iceland.

Lucy’s life is not what she imagined. She’s lost her prestigious job, her reputation and her lover. She doesn’t want to work at a remote hotel in Iceland but it’s her only option. Alex is tired of being Mr Nice Guy, he never gets the girl and even though he knows he made the right decision about Nina, it hurts.

The plot is simple but effective and you learn lots about Iceland, its customs, food and people. The romance is a lovely mix of sweet and sensual, and even when you think everything is okay, Alex’s secret threatens their future happiness.

Important current social issues are explored in this book, which shows the growth of Lucy’s emotional strength, as she realises her true worth.

The ending is magical. It gives this couple the life they deserve, on their own terms, providing you can be kind and caring and win..

Posted in Book Review, Family Drama, Mystery

The Family Secret @TracyBuchanan 5* #Review @AvonBooksUK

How far would you go to find the truth?

Since Amber lost her child ten years ago, her sole focus has been keeping her small business afloat. Her life seems to be on hold until the morning she finds a girl on the beach outside her gift shop. A girl who has no shoes, no name, and no idea where she came from.

As a wildlife documentary maker, Gwyneth’s work has taken her all over the world. But when she has a terrible accident in the remote Scottish Highlands, she is saved by the McClusky family and taken into their home. However, there is more to this family than meets the eye, and a long-held secret is threatening to tear them apart…

Amazon UK

My Thoughts…

This story has an instant impact, something terrible has happened, but who is the victim and who is to blame?

Told in flashback chapters over a twenty year period the story follows Amber and Gwyneth’s lives. Amber is a woman in her thirties who suffered a terrible accident when she was four, and a life-changing loss as an adult. Gwyneth is a loner, sent away by her parents, she follows her dreams after a chance encounter, and years later meets a strange family with a deeply buried secret.

The depth and realism of the characters make this story a spellbinding read. You empathise and want to know what happens to them. The plot winds around the characters like ivy on a tree. Burying them in grief, strangling their finer feelings, and forcing them to fight for the happiness and life they deserve.

Romance, family secrets, the bond between mothers and their children are explored, against the vivid and sometimes brutal setting of the Scottish Highlands and Iceland in Winter and the spectacular wildlife who make their lives there.

Family drama full of mystery and secrets with a subtle twist makes this story a perfect Winter read.

I received a copy of this book from Avon Books UK via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Posted in Book Review

4* Review: Summer of Fire – John Sinclair Mystery #3 – Kitty Pilgrim

25568315
Blurb - Coastal
On the beautiful island of Capri, a royal princess begins a secret love affair, oblivious to the dangers that surround her. Internationally renowned novelist Kitty Pilgrim chronicles a modern thriller based in the historic volcanic region of Southern Italy. Her characters, archaeologist John Sinclair and oceanographer Cordelia Stapleton, team up once again for a tale of glamour and romance that spans every level of society—from the dangerous criminal underworld of Naples to the jet set of Europe.
Buy Links - CoastalAmazon UK
Amazon
My Review - Coastal

Summer of Fire (John Sinclair Mystery #3)‘Summer of Fire’ reads as a standalone, even though it is the third book in the ‘John Sinclair Mysteries’. If you enjoy adrenaline packed thrillers, this one is for you. The writing is atmospheric and the pacing fast, some of the volcano scenes take your breath as you read.

John Sinclair and Cordelia connect a diverse group of characters and scenarios, which pull the reader into the world of a royal princess hounded by the paparazzi, an organised crime network and a series of volcanic eruptions, which give the book its name. There are plot twists to keep you guessing but it is the gangsters and the volcanoes that make this story worth reading.

In contrast, to the action, John’s and Cordelia’s romance is gentle. Their emotional journey is implicit rather than detailed, presumably because it started at the beginning of the series?
I am intrigued enough to want to read the first two books in the series.

This story is action and imagery rather than character driven but is definitely worth reading.

I received a copy of this book from Greenleaf Book Group, River Grove Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.


Summer of Fire
by Kitty Pilgrim
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Summer of Fire (John Sinclair Mystery #3) by Kitty Pilgrim

Kitty Pilgrim

Jane Hunt Writer First Steps
Jane Hunt Writer Book Reviews Facebook
Jane Hunt Writer Book Reviews Google+

View all my reviews