The Forbidden Place by Susanne Jansson (Book 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?

My Thoughts…

I love a little bit of Scandi Noir, stories that are dark, foreboding, and just a little bit bleak, all of which can be used to describe The Forbidden Place.  It starts with Nathalie returning to her childhood home, or at least close to it, determined to face her demons and – finally – move on with her life. What those demons are isn’t exactly clear, though her story slowly gets told as the book progresses.  That it has to do with the marsh she is staying next to, however, isn’t in any doubt.

To Nathalie, it seems to take on a life of her own, filling her full of dread, never more so than when she finds the body of Johannes, a young man she recently went on a date with, unconscious and close to death in the peat bog. Perhaps she wouldn’t feel so scared if this was the first time a body had been found in the marsh. But it isn’t.  Instead, over the years, more than one person has gone missing…while others who live in the area have ended up dead.

It all makes for a great premise for a book, and just up my street, which it was – at first.  Unfortunately, about halfway through, it ran out of steam because, while I liked Nathalie, she was the only real character in the book and – interesting as she was and intriguing as her secrets were – I needed a bit more variety to keep me going.  Instead, I found myself dragging, losing interest during the final third especially.  IT’s a shame really, given how strong it started, but – in the end – this wasn’t for me.

Sorry!

Emma

Source: Netgalley
Genre: Thriller, Suspense
Publisher: Mulholland Books
Rating: 3 out of 5
Find on: Goodreads / Amazon UK / Amazon US

Rakuten Kobo UK

 

The Death Knock by Elodie Harper

The Death Knock.pngThe idea of being trapped in a confined space terrifies me.  It’s one of my worst fears.  And it’s one of the things I like to read about least.  Which made me wonder when I read the opening to The Death Knock just what I was letting myself in for.

Ava is a young woman, alone, scared and confused.  She has no idea how she got into the wooden box she now fines herself trapped in and, when her captor finally lets her out, how she will escape the small room he keeps her locked in, especially when he tells her about the other women who have already been in her shoes.  

Weekly Update: 8th July 2018

Hi there and Happy Sunday.  Welcome to my first weekly update in what seems like forever, but in reality has been about a month.  Life just seems to keep getting away from me and – if I’m honest – I’ve been in a bit of a book blogging slump.  It’s been happening on and off since the Spring and I’m not sure I’m over it yet.

I thought it was because I felt swamped with review copies but they are all done now and I’m completely caught up so I’m actually reading books I’ve bought again – and it’s still made no difference.  With the school holidays almost upon us, I’ll see if the change of pace makes a difference.  If not, I may just take a break.  Oh the woes of being a book blogger 😉

Anyhow, on with my week and what I wrote / reviewed…

Murder in Slow Motion Rebecca Muddiman  image her watchful eye julie corbin

On Monday, I wrote a review of Her Watchful Eye by Julie Corbin, which I really enjoyed because it was full of unreliable characters and twists and turns.

On Tuesday, I introduced my latest read, Do Not Disturb by Claire Douglas, which is due out in August so not long to go for my review.

On Wednesday, I recapped on the books I’d read in June, the majority of which were 4+ star reviews so made me very happy.

On Friday, I reviewed Murder in Slow Motion by Rebecca Muddiman, a book set in / around my home town with great plot twists.

And that’s it for me – a short and sweet post. How was your week, reading and otherwise?

Emma x

This week, I’m linking in with Kimba at the Caffeinated Book Reviewer and her Sunday Post and with Katherine at Book Date for It’s Monday, What Are you Reading? Head over by clicking on their badges below to see what other bloggers have read, written about or just added to their shelves.

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My Month in Reviews: June 2018

Month in review

I might have to start calling this post my month in three-monthly reviews as I haven’t posted an update on what I’ve been reading since April but life keeps getting in the way.  I am – hopefully – back now though, with life being a bit calmer and a bit more sorted so, here goes, back in monthly update posts – and what a month.  I got a new contract for work – making me feel like an official freelancer – and I got to read some great books, mostly review books I was behind on. Plus the sun has shone and England has been doing well in the football – could life get much better?

Anyway, without further review, here’s what I read….

Cloak & Dagger – June Update

CDChallengebadge2016.jpgI have been very lax this year in doing regular updates on my challenges (and I didn’t even do that many of them), even though I have been taking part in the background.  With the end of June fast approaching, I thought it would be a good time to revisit them and see where I was, starting with the Cloak & Dagger challenge, run by one of my favourite bloggers, Stormi at books, movies, reviews oh my!, along with Barb at Booker Ts Farm.

To take part, you can read any book from the mystery, suspense, thriller or crime genres (or sub-genres).  They need to be books or novellas over 100 pages so no short stories.  You don’t have to be a blogger as long as you post your reviews somewhere (so Goodreads is fine).   Any sub-genres are welcome as long as they incorporate one of these genres.  Then you pick the level you want to read for:

The Death of Mrs Westaway by Ruth Ware

 

The Death of Mrs Westaway Ruth Ware

When Harriet, or Hal as she’s known, receives a letter from a solicitor to let her know that her grandmother has died and left her an inheritance she doesn’t know what to think – mainly because her mother’s parents, the only grandparents she knew, died years before, leaving her and her mother with nothing.

On any other day, Hal would have called the solicitor and told him he was mistaken.  But this isn’t any other day.  It’s the day the loan shark she borrowed money from to pay the bills breaks into her flat and threatens her.  It’s the day she feels broken and beaten down by life. So, it becomes the day she decides to pretend to be someone else.  

This is What Happened by Mick Herron

 

This is what happened mick herron

When twenty-something Maggie Barnes moved to London, it was for a fresh start, to get away from a bad relationship and make something of herself – just like her oh-so-perfect sister.

Unfortunately, things didn’t go quite as she planned.  Instead, she found herself in a small, grotty, flat with a minimum-wage job and no friends (bar seven twitter followers she doesn’t even know).

It’s no wonder then, that she jumps at the chance of doing something just a bit different – working with the security services to spy on her employer.  She has, they say, the perfect cover – no one will look at her twice.

If it all sounds a bit far-fetched, it just might be.  It’s hard for me to say more, however, without spoilers – making it a hard review to write too.  What I can say is what’s in the blurb – after what is described as a life-or-death mission, Maggie goes missing…and no one seems to notice.

The problem with the blurb is it doesn’t really describe the book, and I have a feeling from some of the reviews on Goodreads, that people haven’t – therefore – gotten what they expected, especially his fans.  Which is a shame.  Because this is a highly enjoyable novel.  You don’t have to waste much brain power on it, I will admit, but that’s not always the type of book I want to read.

I’ve never read any books by Herron before and I think he has a good writing style and, in This is What Happened, he’s created three interesting and somewhat baffling characters, all of whom are just a little bit lost – which explains how what seems like a simple situation at the beginning, can get so messy so quickly. Apparently it’s based on a true situation and is an apology of sorts to the real Maggie.  I hope she has forgiven him.

Emma x

About the book…

Twenty-six-year-old Maggie Barnes is someone you would never look at twice. Living alone in a month-to-month sublet in the huge city of London, with no family but an estranged sister, no boyfriend or partner, and not much in the way of friends, Maggie is just the kind of person who could vanish from the face of the earth without anyone taking notice

Or just the kind of person MI5 needs to infiltrate the establishment and thwart an international plot that puts all of Britain at risk

Now one young woman has the chance to be a hero—if she can think quickly enough to stay alive.

Publisher: John Murray Press
Publication Date: 7th June, 2018
Genre: Crime fiction, suspense, thriller
Number of pages: 256
Rating: 4 out of 5

Find on: Goodreads / Amazon UK / Amazon US

Note: I received a copy of this book in return for a fair and honest review.  All thoughts, feelings and opinions are my own.

 BIRCHBOX UK

Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart

 

genuine fraud

E. Lockhart is one of those authors I’ve always meant to read more of, having been blown away by the one and only book of hers that I’ve read, We Were Liars.  It’s taken me nearly two years to get to that next book and I really don’t know why I’ve waited so long.

Genuine Fraud is told in a rather disjointed way, with the narrative moving back and forth across the life of Jules, a young woman who is either trying to live a carefree life thanks to an unexpected inheritance or is on the run after her best friend goes missing.

It’s all quite complicated and it’s all very simple at the same time, meaning I never knew where I was in the story and found myself putting everything together as if it was a jigsaw.  Then, as each piece fell into place, I wanted to say “of course”, even though I had been nowhere near guessing the truth.

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

Dark MatterDark Matter is not my usual type of read.  It’s Sci-Fi, which I don’t normally go for.  BUT, last year I read so many good reviews that, when I saw it at the library, I decided it was worth a try.

It starts in the present, the here and now, with Jason Dessen helping his wife, Daniela, and son, Charlie, make dinner.  It’s their Thursday night tradition and he is happy.  Life is good, not what he might have thought it would have been when he was younger, but right where he wants to be.

Then, breaking with tradition, Daniela persuades him to go and meet a friend for a drink.  That’s when it all starts going a bit – more than a bit – wrong as he is followed home in the dark and forced to drive to a remote location, where he is given a pill that will change his life.