#BlogTour Cage by Lilja Sigurdardóttir

Today it’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour for Cage, the last part of the Reykjavik Noir Trilogy, by Lilja Sigurdardóttir.

About the Author

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.

Follow @lilja1972 on Twitter, on Goodreads,  Visit liljawriter.com

About the book

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…Review

Cage can be read as a standalone novel, although I would suggest reading the previous two books in this trilogy, Trap and Snare, to get the full gist of the series. Whilst the majority of the two previous books in this trilogy focus on the character of Sonja, especially Snare, this one sees Agla and Maria take more of a centre stage.

Although the vibe of this book is perhaps slightly less ruthless, there is just as much wheeling, dealing and criminal activity. Agla is still wanted for her talents in corporate and financial crime, although I think it’s fair to say Agla’s relationship with Sonja and her stint in prison have changed her outlook on life.

It’s interesting how Sonja has morphed, during the duration of the trilogy, into the person her nemesis wanted her to be. She has become more brusque and ruthless or is it just her willingness to do anything she can to save her family and herself? To do that she has to make some uncomfortable decisions, which include her relationship with Agla.

It’s Scandinavian Noir, a corporate, financial and urban crime trilogy with feisty, but not necessarily sympathetic characters. Sigurdardóttir brings this series to a strangely comforting conclusion, perhaps not the one some readers may have expected, given how harsh some of the scenarios have been, but a conclusion nonetheless.

This author has a talent for bringing the underbelly of crime as it pertains to the small fish and those without sociopathic tendencies to the table. The result is the kind of crime read that is as unpredictable and at times as dark and unforgiving as crime itself.

Buy Cage at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Orenda Books; Publication Date: 17 October 2019 | Paperback Original | £8.99. Buy at Amazon comBuy at Orenda.

Read my reviews of Snare and Trap by Lilja

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#BlogTour Last Request by Liz Mistry

Today it’s my pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Last Request by Liz Mistry.

About the Author

Liz Mistry has signed a three book deal for a new series with HQ Digital, a Harper Collins imprint. The first in the series is Last Request, which will be released in October 2019. It features a feisty mixed-race DS called Nikki Parekh and is set in Bradford.

Follow @LizMistryAuthor on Twitter, on Goodreads, Visit lizmistrycrimewriter.wordpress.comBuy Last Request

About the book

When human remains are discovered under Bradford’s derelict Odeon car park, DS Nikita Parekh and her team are immediately called to the scene.

Distracted by keeping her young nephew out of trouble, Nikki is relieved to learn the investigation has been transferred to the Cold Case Unit, and she can finally focus on her family.

But when the identity of the victim is revealed, she’s soon drawn back into the case. The dead man is a direct link to her painful past.

As the body count begins to rise, Nikki must do everything she can to stop the killer in their tracks before anyone else gets hurt – even if it means digging up secrets she had long kept hidden…

Review

This is the first in a new crime series by Mistry. Her main character DS Nikita Parekh pulls no punches and is a determined fighter for her family, herself and for the victims she encounters. She is torn between family loyalty and problems, and her career. At times she is like a demented ping-pong ball bouncing back and forth from one thing to the other.

Kudos to Mistry for bringing an important point to the table about the lack of awareness the wealthy or any social class above the working class, especially those living in poverty, have when it comes to living a daily struggle. If you have never lived from payday to payday, struggled to feed yourself and loved ones or as in this case, had to face the miscreants of society on a daily basis – then you have no business judging those people or have the right to a sanctimonious opinion.

DS Nikita Parekh and her family have to deal with these kind of situations on a daily basis. It’s a dog eat dog world and she struggles to keep her loved ones out of the clutches of the type of criminals who think nothing of maiming and disfiguring kids and young people.

To make matters worse her the majority of her colleagues treat her with disdain, especially when she becomes the main suspect in a murder case.

It’s a fast-paced urban crime series with a strong female lead. Mistry doesn’t shy away from uncomfortable truths our society has to deal with. The way she melds fact, fiction and realism results in a gripping read.

Buy Last Request at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: HQ Digital; pub date 16 Oct. 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Call Me Maybe by Steph Chapman

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Call Me Maybe by Steph Chapman.About the Author

Stephie was born in England in the mid 1980s, which makes her thirty-something (but if you ask, she’ll probably tell you she’s 27). Now, she lives on the South coast of the UK, has a day job to keep her holiday budget topped up, and two kids and a husband to keep an eye on.

Getting Over Jesse Franklin and Jetplanes to Jupiter were born out of a healthy appreciation of bass guitars (and the dudes who play them), and Franko was very much inspired by her favourite band as a teenager. So now you know.

Follow @imcountingufoz on Twitter, on Goodreadson Amazon, Visit stephiechapman.wordpress.comBuy Call Me Maybe

About the book

What if you got a second chance with your first love?

What happens when you meet your teenage heart-throb – when you’re both all grown up? When Cassie was fifteen, all she wanted was to marry Jesse Franklin, the bassist from her favourite band, Franko. Now she’s single, in her late twenties and wondering what happened to that teenage dream.

A chance encounter on Facebook soon leads to a transatlantic hook up, and soon, Jesse and Cassie are having a long-distance love affair spanning five thousand miles.

Cassie is on cloud nine – until she hears something that makes her think that Jessie might not be all that he seems. They say never meet your heroes – but what happens when you fall in love with them…?

Are Cassie and Jessie star crossed lovers, destined to be together? Or should Cassie have left her crush in the box marked teenage memories?

Review

I can imagine this is somewhat of a dream scenario for some people. Could you even imagine meeting a celeb you had a massive crush on as a teenager and then having a relationship with them? I’d just like to point out that mine would be all wrinkly now.

In the blurb it says what if you got a second chance with your first love, but that isn’t really the premise of this story. Having a crush, even a really obsessive strong emotional swoony crush on a celebrity or some unattainable person in the public eye, is not the same as your first love.

It made me wonder whether I would want to meet a teenage crush (if I can remember that far back), thereby possibly destroying the myth and the magic. Clearly Cassie doesn’t have the same fears, and she does have concerns that she might come across as a crazy stalker fan.

When Jesse replies to Cassie she just can’t believe it and she definitely isn’t expecting them to click and end up meeting in person. Is this meant to be or is it all too good to be true?

It’s a romcom – a dream come true scenario for some. Chapman has used modern media, text message exchanges, instead of dialogue per se, which gives the story evn more of a contemporary vibe. The dialogue and writing is also very much in tune with a YA book. It’s easy to forget that the main characters are late twenties and older, because their exchanges are very similar to people in their late teens and early twenties. This  is an easy and fun read.

Buy Call Me Maybe at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Hera; pub date 9 Oct. 2019. Buy at Amazon comBuy at Kobo.

#BlogTour Brando’s Bride by Sarah Broughton

It’s my turn on the BlogTour Brando’s Bride by Sarah Broughton.

About the Author

Sarah Broughton was born in London, lives in Cardiff and is the Creative Director of Martha Stone Productions.

She has written a novel, ‘Other Useful Numbers’, and a non-fiction book about the mysterious first wife of Marlon Brando, ‘Brando’s Bride’. Both are published by Parthian Books.

She can be found on twitter @sjbroughton124Buy Brando’s BrideAbout the book

In October 1957 Marlon Brando married a young studio actress called Anna Kashfi. He was thirty-three and at the pinnacle of his beautiful fame having recently won an Oscar for On the Waterfront. The wedding was front-page news around the world. His new bride was twenty-three, claimed to be an Indian princess and was pregnant. The day after the wedding a factory worker living in Wales, William O’Callaghan, revealed that Brando’s bride was in fact his daughter, Joan O’Callaghan and had been a butcher’s assistant from Cardiff. This book sets out to discover who was telling the truth and who was lying – and, perhaps more importantly, why?

Review

I think if this happened in the 21st century there would be a better understanding of why Anna, her parents and Marlon reacted the way they did. In general there is more information and clarification about the stigma and racism, which is why Anna’s story imploded the way it did.

Her parents were eager to hide behind their initial lies, because they didn’t want to be rejected by society. That rejection must have appeared to be a far worse fate than the disowning their daughter. The same could be said for Anna of course, who was left to her own devices after the studio helped her to build a story around her Anna Kashfi Anglo-Indian persona.

Then there is Marlon Brando – a man already convinced and consumed by his massive aura and ego. The fact his feeling of embarrassment was more important than his relationship with Anna frankly says a lot more about him than he probably would like people to know.

I think it is fair to say he was enamoured by the idea that the world knew Brando the great had an exotic woman on his arm. In a way his choices in women were more than just being attracted to a certain type of woman. It was about cementing his image as an activist in the civil rights and for the Native American movements.

Anna came from a world and a time in history when reinventing yourself by becoming bog standard white, English and Anglican was a choice made to protect, as opposed to trying to deceive.

It’s a well-researched biography, which Broughton approaches with empathy and respect. She gives Anna a voice – a voice she needed many decades ago. Not a piece written by those willing to feed the readers hungry for gossip and wanting to disparage someone. A voice speaking for the women who were used by the film industry as examples of exotic beauty, and then cast aside when they became too troublesome or threatened to bring scandals to their doors.

Buy Brando’s Bride at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Parthian Books; pub date 1 Jun. 2019. Buy at Amazon comBuy at Parthian Books.

#BlogTour Too Early For Death by Simon Farrant

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Too Early for Death by Simon Farrant.About the Author

I am an emerging author, a submission to a short story anthology kicked it all off. Black Cat is my first short story, and the hero isn’t maybe who you would assume.

Originally from Doncaster, South Yorkshire and now Corby in Northants. I’m in my forties, married with three children. We share our home with a Bengal cat and a Pink Tongued Skink.

I’ve been lucky enough to have had an interesting (well to me!) life. I have been a truck driver, university graduate and motorbike salesman amongst other things.

My two novellas, Newdon Killers series, The Crucifix and Famously Ordinary are out now! The third book, Death Dolls is coming soon estimated launch date 22 August.

Later this year a new series in a different genre Mystery / contemporary fantasy will be published.

I have a Facebook page, Simon Farrant Official, I’d be pleased to see you there. Follow me on Twitter – @asfarrant

I also have a newsletter. Sign up to receive the latest news first 🙂 https://landing.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/b2t0m0

About the book

Death can take you to the most unexpected places.

Damien Lennon finds himself on a mysterious island… and dead. He has more questions than answers. Why? Where? How? What next?

In a place where forests hide secrets and a leader rules with an iron fist, can Damien change his destiny?

‘Too Early for Death’ starts a journey through the Limbo Island trilogy, a series that unravels a story of life after death, hierarchy, tragedy, jealousy and eternal love. A heartbreaking yet heartwarming adventure awaits.

Review

They are just an ordinary family on a day trip to the museum. None of them have any idea that the trip will change their lives forever, because one of them disappears into thin air during the visit. A mysterious door leads Damien to a world beyond everything he knows to be true. As he searches desperately for the door that leads back to his wife and son, he slowly realises that there is more going on than meets the eye.

This isn’t a case of parallel worlds or a very realistic dream. Time doesn’t travel at the same speed, but he is unaware of that and also of his status. Meanwhile his family struggles with the mystery of his disappearance and the finality of his not being around to complete their family. They have to carve out a new existence for themselves, despite not having an explanation.

It’s speculative fiction, perhaps even magical realism. A premise that questions whether death is fate, choice or chance. Farrant presents Damien as a man who hasn’t followed the rules and ended up on Limbo Island due to his choices, which suggests we have some kind of control over our death and when it happens.

Having read Death Dolls by Farrant I found this one had a more simplistic writing style, perhaps to make it more accessible to a larger group of readers. It was less complex, despite the fantastical concept.

Buy Too Early for Death at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Farrant Fiction; pub date 6 May 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

Read my review of Death Dolls by Simon Farrant

Buy Death Dolls (Newdon Killers #3) at Amazon Uk

Buy The Crucifix (Newdon Killers #1)

Buy Famously Ordinary (Newdon Killers #2)

#BlogTour Make It Up To You by Lucy Keeling

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Make it Up To You by Lucy Keeling.About the Author

Lucy Keeling is an author writing fun, sexy, stories with all of the happily ever afters. When she’s not typing at the kitchen table, she’s arranging and then re-arranging to see her friends for the occasional spot of day drinking. Lucy is currently writing the third book in a Contemporary Romance series, the first of which has been Shortlisted by Choc-Lit ‘Search for a Star’ Competition.

Follow @Lucy_K_Author on Twitter, on Facebookon Instagramon AmazonBuy Make It Up To You

About the book

What do mascara wands and gardening shears have in common?

Absolutely nothing! At least that’s what wannabe beauty influencer Sophie Timney thinks when her friend Polly suggests involving her brother Marcus in Sophie’s make-up tutorials. She needs more views, Marcus needs promotion for his gardening business – in Polly’s mind joining forces will help them both. Sophie isn’t so sure.

Because Marcus Bowman has a habit of getting under her skin in a way that no exfoliating face scrub ever could. But, as the views and comments on her videos begin creeping up, it becomes increasingly obvious that Sophie’s subscribers like Marcus, and what’s even worse is that Sophie might be starting to feel the same way …

Review

Before I get to the core of the story I have to hand it to Keeling for creating a wee bit of a mystery. The kind of mystery that makes readers keep coming back to a specific character – what exactly does Mya do for a living?

Sophie is trying to carve out her own niche in the world of social media influencers, specifically in the arena of beauty, make-up and style. So far it has been an uphill battle, perhaps because the huge ocean of social media users is already filled with people who are doing it better than Sophie. Or is it just a question of attracting the attention of the right crowd of viewers at the right time?

When a friend suggests creating a better backdrop to her online tutorials and also giving the garden a new look by asking Polly’s brother Marcus to lend a hand, well Sophie isn’t exactly thrilled. She is even less thrilled when he ends up becoming a part of her videos and then flabbergasted when her viewers appear to like him a lot.

This is an amusing romcom, a feel good story set around relevant careers of our day and age. Social media has taken over a huge part of our lives, both in our private and public lives. There are new careers on the horizon for young people. Marketing via online presence, likes equating to popularity and hopefully eventually to sales. It’s a whole new ballgame.

It’s a contemporary romcom, an accidental love story with a focus on the world of social media.

Buy Make It Up To You at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Choc Lit pub date September 17, 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

The Inheritance of Solomon Farthing by Mary Paulson-Ellis

Review

This book should without a doubt be on some prestigious lists. It is a superbly told story and Paulson-Ellis is a spectacular storyteller. The way she weaves the individual threads through the timelines and the story, is done in such a subtle way you almost don’t realise she is doing it.

The story takes place in the present with the heir hunter Solomon Farthing and in the past with his grandfather in the First World War. Whilst the story bounces back and forth it also takes pit-stops in the years in between. Connections are drawn from the small group of soldiers to the same men in the future and their offspring. The result is a well-plotted narrative about guilt, brotherhood, loyalty and a question of conscience.

There is a parallel between the betting games the soldiers play to pass the time and to fight the fear and anxiety, and the veterans who connect with each other after the war, specifically the items they place as bets. Each one of them brings something, leaves an item and then takes another thing with them. A spool of thread, buttons, walnuts, fruit, cap badges and a pawn ticket. Anything can become one man’s treasure in a setting where every single item can become as precious as a cave full of gold.

At times I had tears in my eyes, it’s emotional and nostalgic, especially because the author brings realism and authenticity to the table. As a reader you can’t help but think about the young boys and men who died under appalling circumstances. Often following the orders that meant they knew they were nothing but bullet fodder for the enemy. Nothing but numbers for their own country.

Would you lead your brothers in arms into death – on a suicide mission? Would you risk death to ensure others cheat death? Of course disregarding an order meant death by firing squad. The crimes of cowardice, pacifism and just pure trauma took far too many victims in the war.

It’s historical war fiction, literary fiction and simultaneously a story filled with unanswered questions and mysteries. It is an excellent read. A book that belongs on best books lists.

Buy The Inheritance of Solomon Farthing at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Mantle; pub date 5 Sept. 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

Follow @mspaulsonellis on Twitter, Visit marypaulsonellis.co.uk