#BlogTour Betrayal by Lilja Sigurðardóttir

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour by Lilja Sigurðardóttir – translated by Quentin Bates.

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, Trap and Cage, making up 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.comBuy Betrayal 

About the book

Burned out and traumatised by her horrifying experiences around the world, aid worker Ursula has returned to Iceland. Unable to settle, she accepts a high-profile government role in which she hopes to make a difference again.

But on her first day in the post, Úrsula promises to help a mother seeking justice for her daughter, who had been raped by a policeman, and life in high office soon becomes much more harrowing than Úrsula could ever have imagined. A homeless man is stalking her – but is he hounding her, or warning her of some danger? And the death of her father in police custody so many years rears its head once again.

As Úrsula is drawn into dirty politics, facing increasingly deadly threats, the lives of her stalker, her bodyguard and even a witchlike cleaning lady intertwine. Small betrayals become large ones,  and the stakes are raised ever higher…


Ursula is offered a dream job. A job that comes with risks, threats and dangerous political machinations. It puts her in her danger and she hasn’t thought about the fact it could put her family at risk too. She becomes drawn into the schemes of others and is also being threatened by an unstable man. simultaneously she wants to help a mother to bring the rapist of her daughter to justice.

This is Scandi Noir – crime fiction, but the author weaves a more important element throughout the story, one that is usually brought into connection with soldiers and veterans. Civilians, victims and bystanders can also suffer repercussions from witnessing the horrors of war, crime or pandemics.

It has caused an emotional disconnect between Ursula and those closest to her – they don’t don’t know that though. Her husband can’t quite put a finger on it, this feeling of distance or pretense, but she knows. The flashbacks, the triggers, the sense of displacement and of living in the past, which often interferes with the present.

Sigurðardóttir writes a gripping story, one that takes the reader on a bumpy ride of hidden crimes and monsters lurking in plain. Of course setting the tale in the world of cutthroat politics makes it even more intriguing, because it is ruthless and full of betrayals. Power games built on patriarchal rules and driven by misogyny and sexism. Using the little woman as a pawn, because she is always going to be dispensable. It’s a fast-paced gripping read.

Buy Betrayal at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher Orenda Books: Publication date: 15 October 2020 | Paperback Original | £8.99. Buy at Amazon comBuy at Orendabooks.

Read my reviews of SnareCage and Trap by Lilja Sigurðardóttir.

The Lost and Found Life of Rosy Bennett by Jan Birley

the lost and found

When it rains it pours, which is exactly what it must seem like to Rosy Bennett after the sudden and unexpected death of her husband Simon.

One secret after the other, and there seems to be no end to the betrayal. The quiet married father of two seems to have been leading quite the double life.

Suddenly Rosy finds herself in debt, in danger of losing her family home and the owner of a herd of alpacas. Yes, a bunch of four-legged furry exotic animals. Not really the kind of secret you expect your husband to be hiding.

Personally I found the behaviour and language of James quite extreme. Grief and anger aside I felt Rosy ignored his disrespectful attitude towards herself and others. Also the fact that what was good for the goose apparently wasn’t good enough for the gander, who had far more problems than Megan.

Taking one to the therapist and not ‘making’ the older child go was a contradiction in itself. The language and phrases he used is something I might expect of an older teen going through hormonal changes and an attitude problem, but not an 11-year-old boy.

Rosy not only has to rediscover her sense of self, as a woman and as a parent, she also needs a new source of income. No longer the married woman in a long-term partnership she is now free, single and ready to mingle. Not as easy as it sounds with two emotionally distraught boys and her four-legged woolly friends needing constant attention.

Birley has created a nice wee story here, perhaps the basics of the story aren’t unusual, but the family dynamics and interactions are ones readers can relate to. It could happen to anyone of us.

Whilst I myself I am not bothered by swearing at all, I do think Birley needs to take into consideration that some readers may be put off by fuck here, fuck that and shag everywhere. Romance and heartbreak readers often like their drama to be a nice and cuddly read with the occasional tear. Of course it is probably only a small minority of readers.

Follow @Jan_birley on Twitter, visit janbirley.co.uk to find out more about her or follow her on Goodreads.

Thank you to the author for my copy of The Lost and Found Life of Rosy Bennett. Buy The Lost and Found Life of Rosy Bennett at Amazon UK or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Golden Son by Pierce Brown


Golden Son is the sequel to Red Rising, it is an eclectic mixture of dystopian worlds, sci-fi, mythology, sociology and anthropology.

Brown has made such an excellent job of creating his main character and the fake story that Darrow lives with and in. The pretence is so convincing that I had actually forgotten he is a Red pretending to be a Gold. I am sure even Darrow forgets now and again.

Red Rising was such a refreshing , energetic and brutally dystopian book. It is hard to top a bestseller and yet that is exactly what Brown has done. Golden Son smacks you up the face with a fist of iron. Gone are the days of youth, of hope and friendship. What remains is the violent hardship of the Institute and the battle that commenced between the students. They are now spread to all corners of the galaxy, and Darrow finds his risen star starting to fall really fast and hard.

Even in this dystopian setting you can see the similarities between the structure of the colours and the class structures in our own societies. The Golds are reminiscent of our very own power players, wealthy pullers of pivotal strings and the political elite. They control every single element of each colour below Gold and everyone is taught not to rock the boat, regardless of level or colour. Don’t mess with the status quo, ever. Do not question or try to change the carefully built ladder of society.

The lower colours are to remain oblivious to the truth, the manipulations both of a physical and mental nature, applied to the lower colours to keep them from trying to rise above their stations. This means that even if a Gold were to query the validity of the structure, they would become instant outcasts to other Golds.

So Darrow travels a very thin line. No longer really belonging to his own colour and never really belonging to his fake one. The real question is whether the friendships and bonds he has made will actually be strong enough to withstand the truth when it comes out.

I am going to try really hard not to give away any spoilers about the ending, which is spectacular by the way. Betrayal and treachery seem to go hand in hand with any kind of human interaction between the Golds.

All I’m going to say is, it is time for Darrow to rise up and become not only a Son of Ares, perhaps it is time to lead them himself. In this book loyalty becomes merely a pretty word to toss around like a ball. You just never know who’s going to drop it next.

I highly recommend this fast paced, intriguing and complex dystopian tale.
I received a copy of this book via Netgalley.

The Secret Wife by Linda Kavanagh


A story that starts out or seems to start out as a wedding in the present and a simple love affair in the past turns into something quite unexpected. A mystery, a stalker and tragedy, and all these events are linked in a way the reader doesn’t realise in the beginning. Nothing is quite what it seems and to understand the future you have to comprehend the events of the past.

Kavanagh presents two stories being told simultaneously. The story of Laura in the present and that of Ellie in the past. Ellie is the mistress of a wealthy businessman, his so-called secret wife. He has promised her the moon, stars and a life together. Instead all she gets is life full of lies. The actions between the two of them have repercussions that reach far into the future.

Laura is wealthy heiress with really poor choice in men. Her brand new husband is bully, a misogynist and tends to make a point of hurting her at every opportunity. Unfortunately Laura decided to ignore the advice of her best friend Kerry and marry him anyway.

Kerry and Laura have been friends for their entire lifetime. As close as sisters, and yet Laura still chooses not to heed the words of her friend. The result is catastrophic.

It was quite interesting to see this story evolve from a romantic dalliance to domestic abuse and then into something completely different. A tale of betrayal suspense, misery and rejection with an unexpected twist at the end.
I received a copy of this book courtesy of Harlequin UK and MIRA UK.

How to Lose Weight and Alienate People by Ollie Quain


I have to admit to being engrossed whilst reading this story. It was both shocking and a bit depressing to realise and comprehend the battle with weight in the midst of this story. Every event a battle of wills, each action a possible temptation. One bite means a thousand reactions.

When you think of the battle on a level of eating disorders it perhaps easy to acknowledge how difficult it can be for someone who suffers from such a disorder. However when you equate that to the mindset of the majority of women it just feels like a blanket of literal weight falling upon the shoulders of society.

Society has created a legion of women, who fight the eternal battle with calories every day for most of their lives, just to be accepted by others and themselves.

Vivian spends most of her time using her coping mechanisms in her battle against weight gain. Her drug use, the smoking, shots with hot spices, avoiding anything that will make her hungry. She is a character the reader will either instantly like for her supposedly fun-loving nature or dislike her for her selfish ways.

Maximilian’s story is unfortunately also right on the button. The showbiz industry will not cast a homosexual in a straight role and most certainly not in action roles. Even homosexual roles are played by straight men. Quain uses Rupert Everett as an example, he has actually spoken out about the fact he doesn’t get cast in certain roles because of his sexual orientation.

I can’t even imagine how many well-known public figures have to lead a double life to uphold the public image the industry wants them to have and a secret one that they keep hidden in the proverbial closet. They shouldn’t have to choose between their career and a happy life and yet they do.

Max also travels a well trodden path of lies and deception, which comes as a surprise to streetwise Vivian. She really believed the combination of eccentric star and frustrated lonely man. She knows something is off-key but can’t quite put her finger on it.

I started out thinking Vivian was a vivacious IT girl/woman with a carefree life, then I thought she was a selfish brat with addiction problems, but in the end all I could see was the hurt child she will always be and her constant inner battle with her own image and body.

I have to admit to liking her. Why? Because despite all her oddities, hang-ups and often illegal coping mechanisms, she is what society has made her. All of us carry the burden of that weight and her weight.

Overall I really enjoyed the way Quain has her own very distinctive writing voice. So much so you can almost hear her telling the story, which is filled with witty quips and anecdotes.
I highly recommend this book. It is both entertaining, has a strong subliminal message and is a very good read.

I received a copy of this book courtesy of Harlequin UK & MIRA UK.

Buy How To Lose Weight and Alienate People at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Read She Just Can’t Help Herself by Ollie Quain.