The Room Mates by Rachel Sargeant – Extract – BlogTour.

About The Book

University is supposed to be the best time of your life. But Imo’s first week is quickly going from bad to worse.

A stalker is watching her flat, following her every move, and Imo suspects that her new roommates are hiding dark secrets…

When one of them suddenly disappears, the trauma of Imo’s recent past comes hurtling back to haunt her. And she begins to realise just how little she knows about the people she lives with…



Three Years Ago

A car horn blares and instinct makes her jump back. Male driver, early thirties. Mouth open in an oath as he speeds past, skidding on the bridge’s frosty tarmac. She can’t be bothered to gesture after him. Defiance gone.

Clutching her elbows for warmth, she makes it to the opposite side. Her jacket’s not much of a coat these days. Zip bust from straining. The barrier along the side of the bridge is tall – nearly her height – but she peers between its vertical railings. The river below looks benign. No boats are out in mid-winter to ruffle its grey-green surface. A few dog walkers and cyclists on the promenade. The café’s open but the air’s too bitter even for smokers to sit outside.

Wind picks up, making her stumble. For a moment she longs for the warmth of the bonfire under the bridge where the others will be. A few cans and a bit of weed. Where’s the harm? But she can’t go there because of Danno. Can’t bear to see her betrayal reflected in his eyes. To see how her lies have destroyed him.

With her back against the barrier, sheltering from the worst of the weather, she squats and watches the traffic. When a passing lorry causes the bridge to judder, a change of plan flits through her mind. It might be quicker, more certain. But she can’t do that to a driver. She’s damaged enough people. People she loves. Her eyes smart. She stands up.

Searching for places to climb, she walks close to the barrier and spots possible toeholds – welded joints on some of the metal posts that are fixed into the ground at regular intervals. There’s a lull in the traffic and she hears her heartbeat. Loud. A shiver passes through her. Can she do this? What else is there? No one wants her, can’t blame Mum and Jade.

In one swift movement, she grips two railings, wedges the side of her foot on a bolt and hauls herself up. An icy blast hits her head and neck. When she looks down, the river looms in and out of focus. Her head spins so much, she’s sure she’ll overbalance. Determination deserts her and the dizziness makes her afraid. Her hands clench the top rail and she ignores how much the cold metal burns.

As she stares down at the water, Leo’s face flashes across her mind. This isn’t because of Danno – or Mum or Jade. Most of all she’s failed Leo. Her breathing slows and the unsteadiness fades. Her doubts begin to disappear. She levers herself higher.

No more pain, no more loss, no more hurting those who care – used to care. The burden lifts. Limbs and belly light for the first time in months. All over. She smiles. Places a knee on the top of the barrier. One final breath.

“Amber!” A voice shrieks along the bridge before the wind swallows it whole.

Cage by Lilja Sigurdardottir – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

The prison doors slam shut behind Agla, when her sentence 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 drug baron 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.
At the same time, a deadly threat to Sonya 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.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Cage is the third book in the Reykjavik Noir trilogy. Unlike Trap and Snare this book mainly focuses on Agla and María. Agla is serving time in prison for banking fraud, she has a fairly easy life there, has certain privileges and is happy to help a younger prisoner, Elísa who is an addict. But when she is released from prison she soon releases that she is hated by many. And she realises the true extent of how bad Elísa’s life is.

María is struggling to rebuild her life after the collapse of her marriage and career. Reluctantly she agrees to work for Agla, she blames her for everything that went wrong, but she needs the money. It was María and Elísa who I had the most liking for, Elísa especially, and as her story is revealed the reader had a clear image of how destructive addiction is.

As well as the regular characters there was also Anton. He was a character who made me more unsettled every time he appeared. I did misunderstand him to some degree but just thinking about what he was planning terrified me.

It is a fantastic finale, I appreciated getting to see more of Agla and a more sympathetic side to her. She obviously missed Sonja, who only features briefly in Cage, but knew she had to move on. These are novels that I do recommend you read in order, if only to appreciate the character development. They aren’t people you would like to meet but you start to understand what forces a decision, whether it be the correct one or not. Nobody more so than Anton, young and in love, but I struggled to comprehend his way of proving that love. He is a character who I will think about for some time.

The Glittering Hour by Iona Grey – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

1925. The war is over and a new generation is coming of age, keen to put the trauma of the previous one behind them. 

Selina Lennox is a Bright Young Thing whose life is dedicated to the pursuit of pleasure; to parties and drinking and staying just the right side of scandal. Lawrence Weston is a struggling artist, desperate to escape the poverty of his upbringing and make something of himself.  When their worlds collide one summer night, neither can resist the thrill of the forbidden, the lure of a love affair that they know cannot possibly last.

But there is a dark side to pleasure and a price to be paid for breaking the rules.  By the end of that summer everything has changed.

A decade later, nine year old Alice is staying at Blackwood Hall with her distant grandparents, piecing together clues from her mother’s letters to discover the secrets of the past, the truth about the present, and hope for the future. 

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. The Glittering Hour is a stunning novel that I struggled to put down. With Selina in 1925 and Alice in 1936 I couldn’t decide which narrative I preferred. Selina is a Bright Young Thing, an embarrassment to her family but loved by the media. There were parties, alcohol and drugs but she wasn’t as wealthy as the others and struggled at times to keep up. And go with her heart. One of the reasons she behaved like she did was because of her older brother’s death in WW1, there were just the right amount of references to those who came back and were reduced to selling matches on street corners. It made me consider what a strange time it must have been to live in. So much heartache but also the desire for a carefree life.

Alice is her daughter, nine years old in 1936 and left with her grandparents whilst her parents were away. Missing her mother, she is encouraged to do treasure hunts so she can discover more about her mother. Whilst I liked the hunt and reading the letters from her mother I enjoyed the friendships she built more, especially with Polly. 

Whilst most of the novel concerns Selina and Alice there are also short chapters that tell the reader what the minor characters are feeling. Some likeable, some not, but they are all important in both of their lives.

It’s an astonishing novel, one that I will definitely like to read again. And next time I will have the tissues ready.

Through The Wall by Caroline Corcoran – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

Lexie’s got the perfect life. And someone else wants it…

Lexie loves her home. She feels safe and secure in it – and loved, thanks to her boyfriend Tom.

But recently, something’s not been quite right. A book out of place. A wardrobe door left open. A set of keys going missing…

Tom thinks Lexie’s going mad – but then, he’s away more often than he’s at home nowadays, so he wouldn’t understand.

Because Lexie isn’t losing it. She knows there’s someone out there watching her. And, deep down, she knows there’s nothing she can do to make them stop.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Through The Wall is a novel that makes you examine the relationship between neighbours. And whether you really want one.

Lexie, Tom and Harriet are the neighbours concerned. All have their problems, Lexie and Tom are desperate for a child, Harriet is estranged from her family by choice, struggling with her feelings after breaking up with her fiancé and the actions that led to.

It is a fast-moving novel, the chapters switch between Lexie and Harriet. Harriet’s narrative switches between modern day and her attitude to Lexie and Tom and her past, particularly her relationship with Luke. When reading her story it was easy to feel sympathy, how everybody could see how toxic Luke was apart from her. I wished that she could be different, that she hadn’t suffered a breakdown that affected her judgement because she could probably have been good friends with both Lexie and Tom.

Despite what Lexie was going through, and my liking of her it was Tom I preferred. A minor character compared to the others but still going through the same heartache. I know couples who are desperate for a family and this felt like a true picture of how traumatic it must be. Even the scenes in the waiting rooms were convincing.

A brilliant novel that will make some reluctant to know who they could be living next door to.

Little Siberia by Antti Tuomainen – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

A man with dark thoughts on his mind is racing along the remote snowy roads of Hurmevaara in Finland, when there is flash in the sky and something crashes into the car. That something turns about to be a highly valuable meteorite. With euro signs lighting up the eyes of the locals, the unexpected treasure is temporarily placed in a neighbourhood museum, under the watchful eye of a priest named Joel.

But Joel has a lot more on his mind than simply protecting the riches that have apparently rained down from heaven. His wife has just revealed that she is pregnant. Unfortunately Joel has strong reason to think the baby isn’t his. As Joel tries to fend off repeated and bungled attempts to steal the meteorite, he must also come to terms with his own situation, and discover who the father of the baby really is.

Transporting the reader to the culture, landscape and mores of northern Finland Little Siberia is both a crime novel and a hilarious, blacker-than-black comedy about faith and disbelief, love and death, and what to do when bolts from the blue – both literal and figurative – turn your life upside down.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Whenever I read a novel by Antti Tuomainen I can see it as a Coen Brothers movie. This latest book is a perfect example. The weather, which I just can’t imagine having to cope with and consider it normal. The relationships, where you can see the love and adoration but also the issues and the brilliantly and bizarrely accidents that result in the bad guys being killed. 

Joel, the lead character is just wonderful, struggling to cope with his wife’s pregnancy when he knows he can’t be the father he volunteers to look after the meteorite. Little realising that nearly everyone he knows is prepared to do anything to get their hands on it. The way he tried to work out who wanted it most and who had got his wife pregnant was gripping reading,

The setting was a convincing one, remote, sometimes unfriendly where everybody thinks they know about their neighbours but they don’t. How disappointment and disillusionment affected judgement in nearly every character. And like Joel I completely misunderstood at least one character.