Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Crime, Detective, Family Drama, New Books, Noir, Scandinavian Crime, Suspense

Last One Alive Karin Nordin 4*#Review @KNordinAuthor @HQStories #Detective #ScandiCrime #Noir #Sweden #suspense #CrimeFiction #BlogTour #BookReview #LastOneAlive #KjeldNygaard

They survived once. Can he save them this time?

When Detective Kjeld Nygaard is called to the discovery of a body in the burnt-out shell of a house, his heart sinks. He never wanted to see this house again. The house of a notorious serial killer. The house where he rescued Louisa Karlsson from being murdered.

But when they discover the body is in fact Louisa, the mystery deepens. It can’t be the old serial killer. He’s dead.

Then another body is found, again killed in the exact place where Kjeld saved them from another murderer. Another survivor dead.

With the clock ticking Kjeld and his partner Detective Esme Jansson are desperate to stop any more survivors from being murdered. But every clue they find leads to a dead end. Why is the killer picking off people Kjeld rescued? Could it be connected to another of his previous cases?

When Kjeld’s daughter is kidnapped – it’s a race against time to save her life. Can Kjeld stop the killer without paying the ultimate price or will he be the last one alive?

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Chilling and claustrophobic, the second book in the Detective Kjeld Nygaard Scandi crime series draws the reader into a disturbing world of death. Attacks on survivors trouble Kjeld, as he struggles with guilt over his personal life and his connections to a serial killer. The dynamic between Kjedl and Esme, his partner, is believably written. We discover more about Esme’s personal life and find, she too, has secrets. The story intensifies as Kjeld tries to unravel the murders with their disturbing personal connection.

The story is rooted in Scandinavia, and this adds an engaging dimension, coupled with the complexly flawed protagonists, the menacing murders and the twisty plot.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Giveaway, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Romance, Travel

Whispers of the Runes Christina Courtenay 5*#Review @PiaCCourtenay @headlinepg @rararesources #HistoricalRomance #Vikings #timeslip #ContemporaryRomance #BlogTour #BookReview #Runes #Archaeology #Silversmith #VikingBritain #Giveaway #WhispersoftheRunes

Time is no barrier for a love that is destined to be.

She couldn’t be sure that she had travelled through time … but deep down she just knew.

And her only way back had just disappeared.

When jewellery designer Sara Mattsson is propelled back to the ninth century, after cutting herself on a Viking knife she uncovers at an archaeological dig, she is quick to accept what has happened to her. For this is not the first Sara has heard of time travel.

Although acutely aware of the danger she faces when she loses the knife – and with it her way to return to her own time – this is also the opportunity of a lifetime. What better way to add authenticity to the Viking and Anglo-Saxon motifs used in her designs?

As luck has it, the first person Sara encounters is Rurik Eskilsson, a fellow silversmith, who is also no stranger to the concept of time travel. Agreeing that Sara can accompany him to Jorvik, they embark on a journey even more perilous than one through time. But Fate has brought these two kindred spirits together across the ages for a reason…

Amazon UK Amazon

I received a copy of this book from Headline Books in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This engaging Viking romance has a believable timeslip element and a vividly written Viking setting, immersing the reader in ninth-century Britain.

Whisked back in time to Viking Britain, Sara adjusts to her time-travelling status better than you’d expect. Rurik shares Sara’s jewellery skills and has met a time-traveller before, so he helps her survive the danger, but can he guard his heart?

Full of adventure and romance, pertinent historical details bring the setting to life, but it’s the characters who keep you turning the pages. Will they survive? Can they be together?

With lyrical writing, vibrant sensory imagery and complex characters, the readers’ time in Viking Britain passes quickly, leaving them with images that resonate and the knowledge they’ve experienced something special.

Christina Courtenay

Christina Courtenay writes historical romance, time slip and time travel stories, and lives in Herefordshire (near the Welsh border) in the UK. Although born in England, she has a Swedish mother and was brought up in Sweden – hence her abiding interest in the Vikings. Christina is a former chairman of the UK’s Romantic Novelists’ Association and has won several awards, including the RoNA for Best Historical Romantic Novel twice with Highland Storms (2012) and The Gilded Fan (2014). Whispers of the Runes (time travel published by Headline 24th June 2021)is her latest novel. Christina is a keen amateur genealogist and loves history and archaeology (the armchair variety).

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Giveaway to Win a signed copy of Whispers of the Runes plus a pair of silver Viking style earrings  (Open INT)

Click on giveaway link to enter

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using thegiveaway link above.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will be passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for the fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Read my review of Echoes of the Runes

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Historical Romance, Romance

The Runes of Destiny Christina Courtenay 5* #Review @PiaCCourtenay @headlinepg @rararesources #HistoricalRomance #Vikings #timeslip #ContemporaryRomance #BlogTour #BookReview #Runes #Archaeology #TheRunesofDestiny

Separated by time. Brought together by fate.

Linnea felt a shiver travel the length of her spine.

It hadn’t been a joke – the runes really had shown her destiny.

Indulging her fascination for the Viking language and losing herself in an archaeological dig is just what Linnea Berger needs after her recent trauma. Uncovering an exquisite brooch, she blacks out reading the runic inscription, only to come to, surrounded by men in Viking costume, who seem to take re-enactment very seriously.

Lost and confused, Linnea finds herself in the power of Hrafn, a Viking warrior who claims her as his thrall and takes her on a treacherous journey across the seas to sell her for profit. Setting sail, she confronts the unthinkable: she has travelled back to the ninth century.

Linnea is determined to find a way back to her own time, but there’s a connection forming with Hrafn. Can she resist the call of the runes and accept her destiny lies here …

Amazon UK Amazon

I received a copy of this book from Headline Books in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Like the first book in this series, The Runes of Destiny is an atmospheric timeslip novel full of adventure, danger and romance. This story reads well as a standalone with intricate historical detail and vibrant characters. The sense of time place and culture is wonderfully described. The attention to detail and use of sensory imagery makes this an immersive experience for the reader.

Linnea is recovering from a devastating road accident her physical injuries minor, but the mental scars deep, especially the survivor guilt, as her friends’ parents died and she was badly injured. An academic she studies ancient Nordic languages and uses the archaeological dig as a way of escaping.

The timeslip element is well executed and Linnea’s confusion and need to make sense of the world she finds herself in believable. The characters are relatable and the adventures she experiences exciting and scary. The romance is gentle and believable.

The plot has clever twists and a satisfying ending.

Christina Courtenay

Christina Courtenay writes historical romance, time slip and time travel stories, and lives in Herefordshire (near the Welsh border) in the UK. Although born in England, she has a Swedish mother and was brought up in Sweden – hence her abiding interest in the Vikings. Christina is a former chairman of the UK’s Romantic Novelists’ Association and has won several awards, including the RoNA for Best Historical Romantic Novel twice with Highland Storms (2012) and The Gilded Fan (2014).  The Runes of Destiny (time travel published by Headline 10th December 2020) is her latest novel. Christina is a keen amateur genealogist and loves history and archaeology (the armchair variety).

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Giveaway to Win

A signed copy of The Runes of Destiny and Plushy Raven (Open INT)

Click on giveaway link to enter

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using thegiveaway link above.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will be passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for the fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Read my review of Echoes of the Runes

Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship, Holiday Romance, Romance

The Hidden Beach Karen Swan 4*#Review @KarenSwan1 @panmacmillan #BookReview #Summer #Sweden #Love #Family #Relationships #TheHiddenBeach

From internationally bestselling author Karen Swan comes The Hidden Beach, an addictive story of heartbreak, loyalty and hope, set in the historic city of Stockholm and along the beautiful archipelagos of the Swedish coast.

In the oldest part of Stockholm, Bell Everhurst is working as a nanny for an affluent family. Hanna and Max Mogert are parents to 7 year-old Linus, and 5-year old twins Ellinor and Tilde, and Bell has been with the family for over two years.

One early Spring morning, as she’s rushing out to take the children to school, she answers the phone – and everything changes. A woman from a clinic she’s never heard of asks her to pass on the message that Hanna’s husband is awake.

Bell is confused. She clearly just saw Max walking out of the house a few minutes earlier, but the woman mentioned Hanna by name . . .

When she gets hold of her employer, the truth is revealed: Hanna’s first husband fell into a coma seven years earlier, following an accident. But now he’s awake. And life is going to change for them all.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Stockholm and the Archipelagos are the evocative settings for this family drama, which capture the Scandinavian ethos, so well. Bell, a nanny, takes a telephone call, intended for Hanna, with unexpected results.

Hanna’s husband awakens from a coma after several years. He has to come to terms with his family’s new situation. Told predominantly from Bell’s viewpoint, the reader gains a comprehensive view of the fallout and how it affects each family member.

This is a gentle, paced book with lots of description and detail. The characters are realistic, relatable and full of flaws. Some are likeable some not so much, but all add to the story.

It’s always an enjoyable experience to read this author’s books. They are full of insightful reflection and complexity which draws you into, another world.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Historical Romance, Romance

Echoes of the Runes Christina Courtenay 5* #Review @PiaCCourtenay @headlinepg @LoveBooksGroup #LoveBooksTours #HistoricalRomance #Vikings #timeslip #ContemporaryRomance#BlogTour #BookReview #Runes #Archaeology

When Mia inherits her beloved grandmother’s summer cottage, Birch Thorpe, in Sweden, she faces a dilemma. Her fiance Charles urges her to sell and buy a swanky London home, but Mia cannot let it go easily. The request to carry out an archaeological dig for more Viking artefacts like the gold ring Mia’s grandmother also left her, offers her a reprieve from a decision – and from Charles.

Whilst Mia becomes absorbed in the dig’s discoveries, she finds herself drawn to archaeologist Haakon Berger. Like her, he can sense the past inhabitants whose lives are becoming more vivid every day. Trying to resist the growing attraction between them, Mia and Haakon begin to piece together the story of a Welsh noblewoman, Ceri, and the mysterious Viking, known as the ‘White Hawk’, who stole her away from her people in 869 AD.

As the present begins to echo the past, and enemies threaten Birch Thorpe’s inhabitants, they will all have to fight to protect what has become most precious to each of them…

Amazon UK

#LoveBooksTours

Goodreads

I received a copy of this book from Headline Books in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Atmospheric and romantic this is timeslip romantic novel covers the time spectrum from the days of Vikings to the present day. Mia inherits a Swedish cottage from her grandmother, she wants to keep it, but her partner wants her to sell so he can maintain his social-climbing lifestyle in London. The cottage is of archaeological significance and Mia agrees to the dig, to give her time to reach her decision.

Meeting archaeologist Haakon proves to be a meeting of minds and inevitably the chemistry between Mia and Haakon sizzles. As the dig progresses echoes of the past emerge, and the forbidden love of Ceri and Viking, White Hawk flows across time. Both stories are engaging and focus on the impossibility of the romances.

Rich in historical detail, these stories have a believable sense of place and time. The characters are complex and coupled with the vivid imagery, this story is a sensual delight. Echoes of danger, intrigue, and timeless love, make this timeslip romance an addictive absorbing read.

Christina Courtenay

Christina Courtenay lives in Herefordshire and is married with two children. Although born in England, she is half Swedish and was brought up in Sweden. In her teens, the family moved to Japan and she had the opportunity to travel extensively in the Far East and other parts of the world.

Christina is a former Chairman of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and has won several of their prizes – the Elizabeth Goudge Trophy for a historical short story in 2001, the Katie Fforde Bursary in 2006 and the RoNA for Best Historical in 2012 and 2014 (see below).

Her debut novel Trade Winds, a historical romance and adventure story, was short-listed for the Pure Passion Award for Best Historical Fiction 2011. Her second novel, The Scarlet Kimono, received the Best Historical Fiction prize for the Big Red Read 2011. Her novels Highland Storms and The Gilded Fan both won the RoNA (Romantic Novelists Association Award) for Best Historical Romantic Novel (Highland Storms in 2012 and The Gilded Fan in 2014), while The Silent Touch of Shadows (time slip) won the Festival of Romance award for Best Historical in 2013.

Christina also writes contemporary YA and New England Rocks was shortlisted for the RoNAs in the YA category in 2014. (The second book in the series, New England Crush, was published under a different name – Pia Fenton.)

As well as her novels, Christina has had four Regency novellas published, all available in Large Print and as ebooks.

Her hobbies include genealogy, archaeology (the armchair variety), listening to loud rock music and collecting things. She loves dogs, reading and chocolate.

Posted in Book Review

The Forbidden Place – Susanne Jansson – 3* Review

In the remote Swedish wetlands lies Mossmarken: the village on the edge of the mire where, once upon a time, people came to leave offerings to the gods.

Biologist Nathalie came in order to study the peat bogs. But she has a secret: Mossmarken was once her home, a place where terrible things happened. She has returned, at last, determined to confront her childhood trauma and find out the truth.

Soon after her arrival, she finds an unconscious man out on the marsh, his pockets filled with gold – just like the ancient human sacrifices. A grave is dug in the mire, which vanishes a day after. And as the police investigate, the bodies start to surface…

Is the mire calling out for sacrifices, as the superstitious locals claim? Or is it an all-too-human evil?

Amazon UK

My Thoughts…

I find Scandinavian Noir mystery thrillers difficult. I enjoy the atmospheric settings and the underlying menace, but I find the pacing inexorably slow and the characters hard to empathise and understand.

All these things are true of ‘The Forbidden Place’, so from that point of view it fits well into this genre, the ending is good, and the author’s ability to create suspense is not in doubt, it’s just for me the slow pace, and the characters’ insular, inherent coldness negate this.

Nathalie, a biologist, returns to her childhood town to finish her PhD dissertation. She is troubled and eventually, you find out why. The bog steeped in folklore and tragedy is part of her study but when someone is attacked, and the bodies start appearing she is forced to relive her past, face her demons to ensure she has a happier future.

It is suspenseful, and the mystery throws up lots of false suspects, if you are happy with a slow-paced read and accept the characters lack vivacity, this is worth reading.

I received a copy of this book from Hodder& Stoughton- Mulholland Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Posted in Book Review

You Were Made For This – 3* Review – Michelle Sacks

Adult Themes

Posted in Book Review

BlogTour: What Did I Do? Jessica Jarlvi – 4*Review

“Kristin is on the run. From her life. From herself.”

When two murders happen in Chicago, a witch-hunt ensues, and Kristin quickly finds herself at the centre.

The problem is she isn’t sure of what she did or didn’t do. Armed with a life insurance payout, she runs away to Sweden to start her life over.

But it’s not that easy to escape the past. And whatever she’s done, someone is on her tail, wanting her to pay…

The question is: could she be a killer and not even remember?

 

Links to buy

 Amazon UK 

Amazon

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2EJuXRk

Google Play: http://bit.ly/2IRxvPO

iBooks: https://apple.co/2Hwy4za

 

 

My Thoughts…

Multiple characters provide tantalising snippets of information in this psychological thriller. Set in Chicago and Sweden, this story has the pacing and sinister elements of a Scandinavian thriller.

All the characters have psychological issues, which makes finding the antagonist difficult. I did work out most the plot before the end, but there were a couple of surprises. What stands out in this story is the unmitigated evil of the antagonist, who is the puppeteer, while all the other characters are puppets to some degree, although few are entirely blameless.

The story’s pace is slow and won’t appeal to everyone, but if you like Scandinavian thrillers this has all the essential requirements.

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

Born in Sweden, Jessica moved to London at the age of 18 to obtain a BSc Hons degree in Publishing and Business. She worked in publishing in the UK for a number of years before heading to Chicago where she edited a magazine for expats. Back in Sweden, she completed a Masters in Creative Writing. Since 2010, Jessica has taught journalism and media at a local university and has spent the last five years as the marketing and PR manager for a British firm. Last year, she was one of the winners in the Montegrappa Prize for First Fiction at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature. Jessica is married with three spirited children, and although she’s known for her positivity, her writing tends to be rather dark!

 

Twitter: @JessicaJarlvi

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jessica.jarlvi.graham