Snowblind by Ragnar Jonasson

a-0What I thought:

On Christmas Eve my Twitter feed was filling up with tweets about a new book called Rupture coming that had come out that day to coincide with Iceland’s Jólabókaflóðið  (which literally means The Book Flood of Iceland – look it up and then you will know why I want to move there…). I was intrigued as I hadn’t heard of this author before so I took to Amazon to check him out and there waiting for me was my best possible Christmas present – reduced price books. His back catalogue of the first 3 books in the Dark Iceland series was 99p each. I clicked. I downloaded. I patted myself on the back.

Anyway, on to Snowblind. This is the first in the series and we are introduced to Ari Thór, a young, rookie Policeman from Reykjavik who takes a post in the remote town of far north of Iceland called Siglufjörður where “nothing ever happens”. Ari arrives in the dead of winter and despite knowing snow well, he has never experienced anything like this before and Jónasson does a really great job of showing the claustrophobia he felt by the relentless weather: avalanches blocking all routes out, never-ending blizzards, white-outs. I have been to Iceland before but only to Reykjavik (where it snowed. A lot!) and I have also been to Tromso in the arctic circle in Norway (where it snowed. A lot!) so I had an idea in my head of what I thought the town would look like and feel like in all that snow which gave the book extra depth.

There are actually two mysteries in this book, and Ari has his work cut out a) trying to decide if they are linked and b) convincing his superior that there may be foul play because “nothing ever happens” there. A death (accident or murder?) at the local Am Dram group and what looks like an attempted murder of a young girl who is left looking like a snow angel in her garden with a halo of red around her head, seeping into the snow. There was also a third mystery that was threaded intermittently during the first part of the book and which I had completely forgotten about until it showed up again at the end and took me completely by surprise.

Many reviews talked about there being a nod to Agatha Christie and I can definitely see that. A cast of several, all with opportunity and all with something to hide.

Verdict:

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was written in a simple but effective way: with no unnecessary padding. I have read that many of the same characters will appear in the follow-up books which I am really looking forward to reading (I love series for this very reason – it’s like catching up with old friends).

I can highly recommend this book and if you hurry, it’s still on Amazon for 99p.

Have you read this yet? Please do leave your comments below. I’d love to hear what you think.

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The Book Whisperers Top Reads of 2016

2016 has been kind of an odd year for me and, I can’t lie, one I’ll be glad to see the back of. But the good news is that it’s over now and onwards and upwards. I’m devouring books again and resurrecting this blog (that has been semi-neglected for too long).

I’ve definitely got my reading mojo back, particularly in the second half of this year, and have read some really amazing books. The ones I have picked as my favourite are for a mixutre of reasons: they were real page-turners, they resonated with me in ways I didn’t expect, they were real comfort reads and just what I needed at the time.

In no particular order, the books I have picked out for my favourite reads of 2016 are:

 

five-riversFive Rivers Met on a Wooded Plain by Barney Norris

This has to be my wow book of the year. I thought the premise sounded interesting but was totally unprepared for how it would make me feel. I found this book is enchanting, mesmerising and beautiful and was absolutely blown away by it. In fact, I still think about it now. An author that really understands what it is to be human. Highly recommended. Read my full review here.

 

 

book-5Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

This was a book club choice that I probably wouldn’t have picked up for myself otherwise (which is exactly what I love about book clubs – they force you out of your comfort zone and introduce you to new authors and genres). Station Eleven is a dystopian novel that is set (for the most part) 20 years after the end of the world as we know it (due to a flu virus that wipes out 98% of the world’s population). What I really loved about this book is the way that it was written without sentimentality, almost matter of fact. I found it really refreshing. The story made me think and ask myself lots of questions about what I would do and I found it really engrossing read.

 

book-9Angela Marsons – all of them!

My new favourite author crush featuring my new favourite Detective crush. Crime fiction is probably my favourite genre and in a sea of crime and psychological thrillers (some of which are fantastic and some of which are mediocre at best), to find a brand new author and fall in love with the entire series is really exciting! I actually read The Lost Girls (book 3) first and promptly went right to be the beginning (Silent Scream) and read all 5 in two weeks. D.I. Kim Stone is a delight to read about (her feistiness and dry wit had me laughing out loud) and in the whole series (currently 5 books , there is not a dud among them). Angela Marsons has been signed up for a total of 16 books in this series and I, for one, cannot wait to read them all. I will be taking part in the Blog Tour for Book 2, Evil Games, in Feb so keep an eye out for that. You can read my review of Blood Lines here and if you haven’t yet discovered this series, what are you waiting for?

 

book-6Our Song by Dani Atkins

I read this book on a 9 day, 120 mile hike on the Cleveland Way in March. I did the walk on my own, just me and a large rucksack, staying in B&B’s and barns overnight and walking all day. When I was feeling battered, broken and weary once arriving at my nightly destination I read Our Song while laid in bed before dropping off into a deep slumber. This was the perfect book for me right then – gentle and heart-warming and just what I needed. I have read several other of Dani Atkin’s books and have loved them all.For a real feel-good, magical read, these books are just the ticket.

 

book-3When She Was Bad by Tammy Cohen

This was a holiday read for me and a perfect page-turning one. As psychological thrillers go, this is one of my favourites. Five work colleagues, a murder (but you don’t know who or who committed it) and several different view-points that keep you guessing right until the end. And what I love most is that I didn’t guess! It could just be that I have read so many psychological thrillers that I can usually guess the outcome, when I come across one that still catches me out I love it! Clever and gripping.

 

 

book-4Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

A life lived over and over again, but with different outcomes. What a clever plot device. Ursula is born, then she dies, she is born again and dies slightly later, she is born again and so on… Ursula witnesses some of the most important events of the last century, living through (usually, anyway) two world wars, friendships, deaths, and hardship. This book is imaginative, bittersweet, poignant and very ambitious but it works.

 

 

kliing-2The Killing Game by J.S. Carol

What a page-turner. I read this on holiday and couldn’t put it down. A gunman in a Hollywood restaurant that is frequented by the A-List and the rich and famous who are all taken hostage, and who lives and who dies is often a game of chance. Adrenalin-fuelled, twisty-turny and intense. Brilliant.

Read my full review here.

 

 

 

book-8Summer at the Lake by Erica James

I absolutely loved this book. It was everything I needed: friendship, nostalgia, and pure indulgence. Three people are thrown together in a split second and what follows is a tale of new friendships in both Oxford and Lake Como in Italy (which  is a place I have been to and it brought back wonderful memories). Warm, engaging, and like meeting up with old friends every time I picked it up, so much so I didn’t want it to end.

 

 

So there it is – my list of favourite books this year. There are lots more that I thoroughly enjoyed but these get my vote for being in the right place at the right time and wowing me, soothing me and inspiring me.

Have you read any of these books and if so, what did you think? What are your favourite books of 2016?

Finally, wishing you all a wonderful, happy, healthy 2017 filled with books and more books!

 

 

Thrill Week is coming!

Are you ready for some thrills and some spills?

During the first week in September I will be participating in Thrill Week which is hosted by Tea Time With Marce. During that week, 8 bloggers who love, read and review crime fiction will be participating in an extravaganza of recommendations, competitions and giveaways from the mystery, thriller, suspense and horror genres for you to curl up with in the forthcoming long, dark nights….

Thrill Week will kick off with a bloggers questionnaire on 1st September so remember to have a snoop around all the blogs for some great recommendations on authors and books, and then on Thursday 6th September I will be doing a seperate post that will include a couple of giveaways.

 See you there?

 

 

 And just in case that’s not enough: 

 If you post the Thrill Week Announcement on your blog during the month of August, Marce will enter you into a $20 Giveaway, book of your choice from Book Depository.  Enter your link on her blog  posting the announcement of Thrill Week before Aug 30 and she will use random.org at midnight to choose a winner . Good luck!