Blog Tour~ Big Sister by Gunnar Staalesen

Hi everyone,

Today, I’m thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour for Big Sister by Gunnar Staalesen and I’ll be sharing my review with you all!

About the author:

Gunnar.jpeg

Gunnar Staalesen was born in Bergen, Norway in 1947. He made his debut at
the age of 22 with Seasons of Innocence and in 1977 he published the first book
in the Varg Veum series. He is the author of over 20 titles, which have been
published in 24 countries and sold over five million copies. Twelve film
adaptations of his Varg Veum crime novels have appeared since 2007, starring
the popular Norwegian actor Trond Epsen Seim, and a further series is being
filmed now. Staalesen, who has won three Golden Pistols (including the Prize of
Honour) and the Petrona Award, and been shortlisted for the CWA Dagger, lives
in Bergen with his wife.

About the translator:

Don-Bartlett-187x300.jpg

Don Bartlett lives with his family in a village in Norfolk. He completed an MA in Literary Translation at the University of East Anglia in 2000 and has since worked with a wide variety of Danish and Norwegian authors, including Jo Nesbø and Karl Ove Knausgård. He has previously translated The Consorts of Death and Cold Hearts in the Varg Veum series.

 

About the book:

final BIG_SISTER_COVER FINAL.jpeg

PI Varg Veum receives a surprise visit in his office from a woman who introduces herself as his half-sister, and she has a job for him. Her god-daughter, a nineteen-year-old trainee nurse from Haugesund, moved from her bedsit in Bergen two weeks ago. Since then no one has heard anything from her. She didn’t leave an address. She doesn’t answer her phone. And the police refuse to take her case seriously. Veum’s investigation uncovers a series of carefully covered-up crimes and pent-up hatreds, and the trail
leads to a gang of extreme bikers and to a shadowy group, whose dark actions are hidden by the anonymity of the Internet. And then things get personal…
Chilling, shocking and exceptionally gripping, Big Sister reaffirms Gunnar Staalesen as one of the
world’s foremost thriller writers.

Big Sister by Gunnar Staalesen

My thoughts:

Having read and enjoyed the previous translated Varg Veum books, I was thrilled to be able to read Big Sister recently. Gunnar Staalesen is a masterful storyteller and I was eager to get reading.

In Big Sister, Veum finds out that he has a half-sister, Norma. The only reason he finds this out is because Norma turns up at his office needing his help in finding her missing goddaughter Emma. Emma has vanished from Bergen, and Norma figured this was as good a reason as any to track down her half-brother.

The police don’t seem to be taking the disappearance seriously, so Norma and Veum undertake their own investigation. This leads them into danger, when what seems to be a wide investigative net becomes quite smaller and they find themselves wondering what they have stumbled into.

I don’t want to go into the plot any more than that because Gunnar Staalesen does such a wonderful job of weaving the threads together that I don’t want to spoil it by picking them apart. I really enjoy reading about Varg Veum as a character. Something about him makes him seem really genteel, and relatable. This is what I love about these books, the comfort in picking up the book and feeling like you are catching up with an old friend. Staalesen’s lyrical prose makes it an engaging and enthralling read, and I look forward to reading the next in the series.

Big Sister is an excellent example of Nordic noir. Hints of menace coupled with a chilling climate make this the perfect locational mystery. There is also an emotional element attached to these books, and that is extremely prevalent in Big Sister.

Highly recommended!

Previous Reviews:

Where Roses Never Die by Gunnar Staalesen

Wolves in the Dark by Gunnar Staalesen

Check out the blog tour:

Big Sister blog poster 2018.jpeg

Weekly Wrap Up March 13th 2016

I’m starting this post, and even though I know I’ve read books this week, I’m almost certain they’re all for blog tours or to be reviewed on publication day! 😂

How and ever, I shall continue!

First up, I read the absolutely heart-pounding See How They Run by Tom Bale! I’ve not written up my review yet, but it will be a cracker as this book was just superb! I don’t even have a cover pic for it yet, it’s that new! 😉 All I will say is keep your eyes peeled for this book, as it’s absolutely brilliant! An easy 5⭐️ from me on Goodreads!

Following on from See How They Run, I picked up the beautifully written

In Her Wake by Amanda Jennings

 

I’m taking part in the blog tour for this book, so I’m afraid I’ll have to keep you all waiting for a few weeks before I review! April 13th to be precise! Sufficed to say, In Her Wake is a stunningly emotive book and another 5 ⭐️ book on Goodreads 😊. Huge thanks as always to Karen at Orenda Books for my copy.

Last, but by no means least, I read a book from Urbane Publications:

Hold Still by Tim Adler

 

Hold Still is published on March 17th so I’ll be posting my review on publication day!

 
Had I been smart, I’d have another book on here that I’d read this week but time hasn’t been on my side this weekend as regards reading! 😂 I’ve got less than 20% left to read of

In The Shadows by Tara Lyons

 

I’m on the blog tour for this on March 23rd too so keep an eye out for my review! 😊

My son and I are also reading
Demon Dentist by David Walliams


It’s been so long since I’ve read a children’s book (as in less pictures and more words) so this has been fun to read with Tom! We’re nearly finished it and we’ve two more of Walliams’s books on the TBR! 😉
That’s pretty much all I have to report as regards books this week!😉

My March haul is also coming along nicely 🙈📚🙈📚

What have you all been reading?! 😊📖

Jihadi: A Love Story by Yusuf Toropov

Today it’s my stop on the #Jihadi Blog Tour! Huge thanks to Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books and to Yusuf Toropov for allowing me to hop on the tour! You can see the full schedule below!


About the book (via Goodreads):

A former intelligence agent stands accused of terrorism, held without charge in a secret overseas prison. His memoir is in the hands of a psychologist with her own agenda, and her annotations paint a much darker picture.

As the story unravels, we are forced to assess the truth for ourselves, and decide not only what really happened, but who is the real terrorist.

Peopled by a diverse and unforgettable cast of characters, whose reliability as narrators is always questioned, and with a multi-layered plot heaving with unexpected and often shocking developments, Jihadi: A Love Story is an intelligent thriller that asks big questions.


My thoughts: 

I have no idea where to start with my review for Jihadi. Not necessarily a bad thing, just a lot to digest.

I’m not going to lie, it took me a few days to really get into the book. As it’s not my usual genre, I read a little at a time and then I did something I never do. I took notes. Yes you read that right. Never in my life have I taken notes on a book, possibly in school but that’s a good 15 years ago now!

Jihadi is the kind of book that you need to read slowly. You need to soak in every word, every new character, every harrowing scene. Whether you realise it or not, while you are reading, it seeps into the deep recesses of your mind, and takes hold of your emotions.

I tend to shy away from books that have war, terrorism and religious themes running through them. However, Jihadi has been a thoroughly breathtaking introduction to subjects that cause so much trouble in the world we live in.

Towards the end of the book, I found myself becoming emotionally invested in the fates of the characters. All of them. Toropov has created a wonderfully diverse set of characters and they all have their own quirks and agendas.

While I was on the fence to begin with, by the end of Jihadi I was definitely certain of one thing. It’s most definitely a piece of modern literature unlike anything I’ve read before and in the best possible way.

The prose is wonderfully written and beautifully observed. I found myself having to stop reading on more than one occasion, such was the vividness of the picture painted with the authors words.

I’m so thankful to Karen and Yusuf for my copy of Jihadi: A Love Story. You can pick up a copy HERE.

Happy reading 🙂


My Top Ten Books & Series of 2015 Part 2!!!

Ok, so this is part 2 of my Best of 2015. You can catch part 1 HERE!!

In this post I’m only talking about book series. Once again, these are in no particular order!!

My Favourite Book Series of 2015

  • Ragnar Jónasson’s Dark Iceland series.

The first two books are Snowblind (read my review HERE) and its follow-up Nightblind (read my 5  STAR review HERE). I loved both of these books, the latter just edges it for me though. One of my absolute favourites of the year. Orenda Books are on a publishing roll! 🙂

 

  • LJ Ross DCI Ryan Series

Holy Island and Sycamore Gap are both superb reads. I love Louise’s writing style and they are both fantastic books. My review for Holy Island is HERE and my 5 STAR review for Sycamore Gap is HERE.

 

  • Angela Marsons’ DI Kim Stone series

WOW! One of the only words I can use to describe these books. I devoured them one after another for Bookouture Thriller Week. Each book is brilliant in its own right, but I reviewed the three together in a triple decker revie. You can read my 3 x 5 STAR review for Silent Scream, Evil Games and Lost Girls HERE!

 

  • Caroline Mitchell’s DC Jennifer Knight series

Bookouture have some great authors and books this year! I read both of these supernatural crime thriller books this year and thoroughly enjoyed them. Don’t Turn Around is a superb introduction to DC Knight and you can read my review HERE. The follow-up is Time To Die. This book was way creepier than the first, I likened it to Hitchcock’s The Birds, and you can read my 5 STAR review HERE.

 

  • Mel Sherratt as Marcie Steele

These books aren’t a series, but I feel they have to get a mention as they are written by crime writer Mel Sherratt and they are chick lit. Not my usual genre at all, but I read and loved both Stirred with Love and That’s What Friends Are For (read my 5 STAR review HERE). Although not a series, I’m still including them!

 

Well, that’s part two finished with! Any standout reads for you this year?! 🙂

Nightblind by Ragnar Jónasson 


First off, massive thank you to Karen Sullivan of Orenda Books for my copy of Nightblind. I’m delighted to have gotten to read it and now write my review. Ooh, and thanks for the chocolate too! I’m saving that! 😉

 



 

Secondly, in case you don’t follow me on social media, I AM QUOTED in this book!!! *pinch me moment* 

(Check out my talons! 😉 )

 

 

About the book: (via Goodreads) 

 

Siglufjörður: an idyllically quiet fishing village on the northernmost tip of Iceland, accessible only via a small mountain tunnel. Ari Thór Arason: a local policeman, whose tumultuous past and uneasy relationships with the villagers continue to haunt him.

The peace of this close-knit community is shattered by the murder of a policeman – shot at point-blank range in the dead of night in a deserted house. With a killer on the loose and the dark arctic winter closing in, it falls to Ari Thór to piece together a puzzle that involves tangled local politics, a compromised new mayor, and a psychiatric ward in Reykjavik, where someone is being held against their will.

Then a mysterious young woman moves to the area, on the run from something she dare not reveal, and it becomes all too clear that tragic events from the past are weaving a sinister spell that may threaten them all. Dark, chilling and complex, Nightblind is an extraordinary thriller from an undeniable new talent.

 

My thoughts:


I always wonder when an author you love writes a spectacular book, can they continue to write books that you know you will love even before opening the first page…

 
In Ragnar Jónasson’s case, ABSOLUTELY!!!

 
I have been eagerly waiting for Nightblind for weeks, and have not stopped singing its predecessors (Snowblind) praises on Twitter and Facebook for months.
Nightblind begins a few years after Snowblind, with Ari Thór still working as the police in Siglufjörðor, passed over for promotion to Inspector, but back with Kristín and a father to baby Stefnir.

 

The book opens with the murder of the other policeman, Herjólfur, at a desolate and dilapidated house near the edge of the town.

 

Ari Thór is tasked with finding out what happened, and he calls in his old work colleague Tomás to help with the investigation.

 

Small towns and tight communities make for difficult work when it comes to finding out what has happened and sometimes people aren’t always what they seem.

 

Nightblind is a beautifully written mystery. It echoes days gone by, bringing past and present day secrets together in a quietly chilling way.

 

The subdued nature of the story is offset by Jónasson’s superb writing style, bringing alive characters who see each suffering in their own way.
Nightblind is also a stunning lesson in Icelandic geography. Jónasson has a wonderful way of painting pictures with words and each sentence adds an extra dimension to scenery.

 

This book has been worth the wait, without a doubt. The Dark Iceland series are fast earning a place on my favourites of all time list.

 

The elegant prose, coupled with the chilling, almost sleepy location, make for an utterly enthralling read.

 

An easy 5 stars for me, all the stars, always. ❤️