[BLOG TOUR: BOOK REVIEW] The Chestnut Man by Søren Sveistrup @MichaelJBooks #TheChestnutMan

I was very excited when I opened Twitter and saw a message about joining the blog tour for The Chestnut Man. Having loved The Killing TV series I couldn’t wait to dive into this one and I’m happy to say that I wasn’t disappointed!

The Chestnut Man follows Naia Thulin and Mark Hess in their quest to solve the mystery and murder of Laura Kjaer, whose murder appears to be routinely executed but upon looking at the details both Thulin and Hess begin to see that something isn’t right. We are also introduced to Rosa Hartung who is a Minister for Social Affairs and who carries a horrible loss behind her. Rosa’s loss is the murder of her daughter whose killer has been caught but his testimony doesn’t make sense. Laura Kjaer’s murder contains a piece of evidence which is linked with Rosa‘s horrible loss – this discovery sets both Thulin and Hess in search of the truth behind the Chestnut Man.

Reading the first few chapters I felt shivers because of how dark and gruesome they were! What an opening! From the beginning we are introduced to Naia Thulin, a detective in the Homicide’s Murder Squad who feels like this job isn’t thrilling her and challenging her anymore so she plans on moving to the Cyber Crime Unit. Mark Hess has been kicked out of Europol for causing many issues and has made his way to Homicide’s Murder Squad. We can see that Hess doesn’t want to be there at all and already has plans to move quickly. Hess and Thulin have been partnered together in solving the case of Laura Kjaer and although not standing each other they have to do their best in solving it. Sveistrup has an amazing ability at writing gruesome scenes because I felt unsettled whenever I stumbled upon them. Naia Thulin’s character has to be my favourite because of how interesting she is and how her psyche worked. In the beginning Mark Hess wasn’t someone I liked but throughout the book we saw his flaws and that gave him depth and a somewhat understanding of why he is who he is. There are many voices in this book and at times I did feel lost because it didn’t keep my attention. Compared to the first part of the book the last part kept me much more entertained and although I found it a bit weak at times I felt that the ending made up for that. Sveistrup is someone who can write and I got reminded why I love these sort of books.

The Chestnut Man is a fantastic debut I highly recommend you pick up if you like dark and interesting thrillers.

I would like to thank the publisher Penguin Random House UK (Michael Joseph) for inviting me on the blog tour and providing me with a review copy of this book in exchange for a review. All opinions written here are my own and weren’t influenced by anything.

My rating: 

Make sure to check out other book bloggers’ reviews on this tour!

Add ‘The Chestnut Man‘ to your TBR:  

*Purchase ‘The Chestnut Man‘ here:

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**I am in no way compensated by these sites. I am simply sharing it so people can find this book easier.

Søren Sveistrup is an internationally acclaimed scriptwriter of the Danish television phenomenon The Killing which won various international awards and sold in more than a hundred countries. More recently, Sveistrup wrote the screenplay for Jo Nesbø’s The Snowman. Sveistrup obtained a Master in Literature and in History from the University of Copenhagen and studied at the Danish Film School. He has won countless prizes, including an Emmy for Nikolaj and Julie and a BAFTA for The Killing.

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[BLOG TOUR: BOOK REVIEW] Who I Am by Sarah Simpson @sarahrsimpson @aria_fiction

I was invited by the author to join the blog tour for Who I Am and after reading the synopsis of it I had to say yes because – twisted friendship, twisted characters YES.

“You never know do you, people’s backgrounds, how much it impacts on them? The choices they make because of it.”

Who I Am follows two characters Andi and Camilla who upon meeting at University become best friends and quickly share their secrets and pour their souls to each other. The story is set to two different timelines 2000’s and 2017. In 2017 we see Andi as an adult with children, living almost an idyllic life but not everything is what it seems. She is haunted by what happened one night at the beach which changed everything and soon she becomes stalked by someone who knows what happened and is blaming her for it. Who is out there to get her?

I have to compliment the design of this book because it’s so good. Well done, book designer! From the first two/three chapters you can already sense that this story won’t be the usual ‘friendship’ one because it contains dark elements that make you all tingly inside because you know it will be a fun ride. The author’s background as a psychologist shows throughout the book and I love how in-depth her characters were and how you could analyse their actions. I also learned what Korsakoff’s syndrome is which I haven’t heard of before. Towards the last 150 pages of the story Simpson introduces a few more characters which I found to be very interesting and loved reading their POV. This book is very dark and is unlike other toxic friendship stories as I’ve mentioned before. It contains some trigger warnings (e.g. alcohol abuse) which may not suit every reader. I especially enjoyed how unreliable Andi’s characters was because I began second guessing her intentions and her role in that awful night at the beach. What I found lacking in Who I Am is that sometimes I felt the story going somewhere and losing my interest – but that wasn’t a huge part because I did enjoy the story a lot. I found Eve’s character to offer more info on Andi [which I appreciated] but she didn’t feel very necessary to the story for me. From my experience with Who I Am I can say that Simpson knows how to write dark characters and twisted stories. I was captivated throughout the book and although I found some small parts to lose my interest I absolutely enjoyed spending my time with Who I Am.

If you enjoy reading dark and twisted stories with unreliable narrators then you’re in for a treat with Who I Am.

I would like to thank the author Sarah Simpson as well as the publisher Aria Fiction for inviting me to join the blog tour and providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions written in this review are my own and weren’t influenced by anything.

My rating: 

Add ‘Who I Am‘ to your TBR:  

*Purchase ‘Who I Am‘ here:

*I am in no way compensated by this site. I am simply sharing it so people can find this book easier.

Sarah Simpson has a business degree and a first class honours degree in psychology with appropriate post-graduate qualifications. Her background, working privately within mental health for many years; within the collaborative family law arena and with additional experience within the family court system has gifted her an invaluable understanding of life and people. Thus, Her Greatest Mistake is a cocktail of professional and personal experiences stirred vigorously by the imagination.

She is relatively late to the writing scene, despite a love of books and writing from when she was very young, it wasn’t until 2016 that she sat down to put pen to paper. Her Greatest Mistake was then some twelve months in creation, followed by some vigorous re-writing. In June 2017, she signed with her current agent Broo Doherty and shortly after was offered a three book publishing contract with Aria, Head of Zeus…

Find her on: Website, Twitter and Goodreads.

[REVIEW] A Different Drummer by William Melvin Kelley @QuercusBooks

I first heard of this book from Instagram and Twitter but mostly from Ana [who works at Quercus] who loved this book a lot. What I found amazing is that Quercus gave a copy of A Different Drummer to their employees and gave them a morning off to read it which shows how they feel about it. I am so glad and grateful I had this book sent to me.

‘I mean it seems horrible that the most you can do for people you love is leave them alone.’

In a fictional town called Sutton, one black man, Tucker Caliban, throws salt on his fields, shoots his horse and cow, sets fire to his house and departs Sutton. Along with him other black towns folk follow. From this point the story is told from white towns folk perspective – whether it be male, female, adult or child.

‘It was that gradually, going back as far as I can remember, they kept saying less and less to each other until the time came – this is the time I’m talking about – that they didn’t say anything at all to each other . . . except maybe at night when I guess married people feel most alone, when they realize how little they have in common, and how much they’ve lost.’

I don’t tend to read these stories often but when I do I really appreciate them because I love learning something new from them. When I say ‘these stories’ I mean stories tackling race issues – where I live there are not many black people and it’s predominantly white but I have always been raised to view everyone as equal which I’m grateful for. I found A Different Drummer to be such an interesting read that I teared up a few times while reading it. The ending of the book left me broken because of how people can be cruel and selfish.  I love the idea of telling the story from white people’s POV because it is very fascinating. I have actually raced through at least 200+ pages in a day and finished the book because I found it to be so compelling and the story-telling to be excellent. William Melvin Kelley shows great writing skills and I would absolutely love to read the rest of his works. The story felt and is relevant today and I think more people should get to know this author better by reading A Different Drummer. This is the kind of book that makes you dissect it after you’ve finished it. I honestly don’t know what else to say about this book except that I found it to be so well written considering that the author was 23 at the time.

Read it.

I would like to thank the publisher Quercus Books (Riverrun) and Ana for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and weren’t influenced by anything.

My rating: 

Add ‘A Different Drummer‘ to your TBR:  

*Purchase ‘A Different Drummer‘ here:

*Purchase ‘A Different Drummer‘ with free international delivery here: 

**I am in no way compensated by these sites. I am simply sharing it so people can find this book easier.

William Melvin Kelley was a prominent African-American novelist and short-story writer. He was educated at the Fieldston School in New York and later attended Harvard University (class of 1960), where he won the Dana Reed Prize for creative writing. William Melvin Kelley has been a writer in residence at the State University of New York at Geneseo and has taught at the New School for Social Research. He currently teaches at Sarah Lawrence College. In 2008, he won the Anisfield-Wolf Lifetime Achievement Award.

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[BLOG TOUR: BOOK EXTRACT] Who I Am by Sarah Simpson @sarahrsimpson @aria_fiction

Today is my stop on the WHO I AM blog tour. I am sharing an extract from the book and will soon post a review of the book.

BOOK EXTRACT

‘Yes, you could, it’s Christmas and I’d really like you to stay on. I’ll be leaving tomorrow.’

A worried expression shot across her face. ‘Oh? What leaving Uni? For good?’

I laughed, feeling flattered, she appeared genuinely upset. ‘No, course not. For Christmas I mean. I’ve the rest of next year to get through yet. How about you, what year are you in, you didn’t say?’

‘Yeah, the same. Well it should be anyway, but the way things are looking, what with the accommodation,’ she shrugged, ‘I might not be graduating at all.’

I curled my arm around her and squeezed. ‘Try not to worry. Thing’s always turn up, there’s always something to be worked out.’ It felt like a silly thing to say. Why do we say these things? ‘Come on choose your cocktail. I’m buying, I insist.’ It’s funny, I hardly know Camilla, but sitting here I feel a real affinity to her, there’s a sadness behind her eyes, something unsaid, but also there’s – life and excitement.

My head spins, my legs have other ideas, when I stand to make my way to the ladies, stumbling back, I collapse on to Camilla’s lap. ‘Woah, sorry,’ I giggle, ‘these cocktails are potent.’ With Camilla’s help I lever myself back up, the room wobbling around me, ‘I’d better come with you,’ she laughs.

Clara gathers herself to stand, ‘I’ll go, I’m used to her atrocious drink tolerance,’ she practically spits at Camilla.

‘It’s fine, Clara, stay put, I’m hardly blotto, just stood up too quickly.’ I tell her, as soon as the words leave my mouth, I realise I’ve offended her in some way. Camilla smiles at her warmly, then arm in arm we make our way across the room. Pushing our way through the heavy bathroom door into a woman, giggling at her affronted face as we pushed past her in the doorway.

‘It’s Christmas. Tis the season to be merry.’ Camilla calls after her. Her tongue finally loosening as she relaxes. Practically falling through the second door into the spacious bathroom, gilt mirrors and floral displays in abundance, a strong whiff of pot pourri. ‘Wow,’ I hear through the cubicle door, ‘these loos are better than anything I’ve ever lived in.’ I can’t help but laugh out loud. ‘Think I could stay here next year? D’you think they’d notice if I moved my stuff in?’ When I exit the cubicle, she’s padding around in wonderment before turning her attention to the complimentary toiletries. ‘Look at this stuff. It’s really expensive, wish I’d brought a bigger handbag now.’

I giggle at her expression through the elaborate gold-leaf mirror as I wash my hands. ‘You’re hilarious Camilla, you’ve not been here before tonight then?’

She bolts herself upright. ‘Of course I have, only pulling your leg.’ She throws her hands up. ‘I’m not kidding you, am I?’ She nods. ‘This is the first time, and it’s completely amazing. But, I’ll definitely be coming back, that’s for sure. As often as I can.’

She reminds me of an awestruck child, so refreshing and charming, makes me feel as though I’m missing out on something special, too much in my life taken for granted. ‘Are you serious then?’ I ask, reaching for the folded cotton hand towels. Camilla spins on her heals, all eyelashes. ‘About not having anywhere to stay next year, I mean. Surely, you won’t really need to defer, will you?’

Twinkling dark eyes cloud, ‘deadly,’ she says. ‘I can’t pull the funds together, so I can’t see that I’ll have a choice. I’m trying not to think about it but it’s a strong possibility.’

‘So what about your student loan?’

She regards the vanity size moisturiser in her hand, ‘ah well, that’s another story. Probably not for tonight, I don’t want to burden you with my crap, I mean bad stuff, it’s not fair.’

‘No, go on, please. I’d like to understand.’

‘Nothing to it really. I’ve used up all my allowance, so, can’t afford to support myself. Simple as that.’ She sighs heavily, shoulders noticeably slumping. ‘I’m all, as they say – spent up. Skint.’

‘How come? Sorry, do you mind me asking? You don’t have to tell me, if you think I’m being nosey.’

‘It’s fine, feels like I’ve known you for ages anyway,’ I smile at her, I totally understand what she means, it does. ‘Thing is, I had to pay for my dad, he’s sick, really sick, in a home he is.’

As she hangs her head, I could kick myself for making her feel so dejected on a night like this, I brush her hand, ‘I’m sorry, Cam, I’d no idea things are so bad, I shouldn’t have pushed you, feel awful now.’

‘It’s fine really. It’s his own fault really, Dad, I mean. Korsakoff’s syndrome they call it?’ Her voice rises as if she’s uncertain. ‘Dementia to me. That’s how I get my head round it.’

‘Korsakoff’s? Isn’t it associated with too much alcohol?’ God, I wish I hadn’t guzzled all those cocktails, in particular that I hadn’t practically forced them on Camilla too.

‘Yeah, he’s a pisshead basically,’ she cups her mouth with a delicate hand. ‘Excuse my language,’ she says, ‘but, he always has been – a drunk. You’ve heard of it then, can’t say I ever had before. Could hardly even pronounce it, never mind understand it. The doctor tried to say, it isn’t always caused by the booze, but we both understood, in Dad’s case, it was. I’m gob-smacked you’ve even heard of it.’

‘Only because we had a talk on the long term effects of alcohol last year. Think they were trying to dry some of the students out. Warn them off with a list of potential deadly outcomes. Wasting their time, obviously. I don’t really understand the full ins and outs of it, other than it’s a really cruel illness, as dementia always is. I’m so sorry, that’s really tough on you too.’

‘Hmm. Like I said, it’s his own fault. But anyhow that’s where my money went. All of it. But what was I to do?’

‘What about your mum?’ Words I wished I could rein back in on noticing her physically congeal.

‘Dead.’ She says.

I gasp out loud before I can stop myself, then grab her hand and squeeze, words failing me.

‘Same way, before you ask.’ She gives a reciprocal squeeze then releases my hand, to place the moisturiser back in the basket next to her. ‘Not the Korsakoffs stuff, but still a… drunk, amongst other stuff. Again, all her own doing.’

Despite now feeling completely sober, I feel my legs quiver. ‘Look, I appreciate you hardly know me, so please tell me if I’m offending you. But the three of us,’ I nod towards the bathroom door, ‘me, Clara and Jo, we share a house in Stockbridge, Daddy rents it for us, then we share the rent. My bedroom is huge, plenty big enough for two and I’ve a spare bed already in there, you could always share with me, until you sort yourself out at least.’

‘But…’

‘No, you don’t need to say anything, not just yet. Have a think about it. I’m off back home tomorrow, won’t be back until January, so you’ve some time to mull it over. Please don’t feel obliged or anything though, it’s only a thought.’ I pick up our bags and hand her hers as we walk towards the exit door. ‘You have my mobile number so let me know, any time.’ The raucous laughter hits us as we push at the door, joyfulness and drunken exchanges circling the domed ceiling. I pull her back before we reach our table. ‘Please tell me – I haven’t offended you, been a little too forward. I didn’t mean to be. I only want to help if I can.’

Newly perfectly painted lips turn upwards. ‘No, of course you haven’t,’ she reassures me, ‘but obviously, I’ll need to think it over. It’s very sweet of you but I like to pay my way usually and it’s all a bit embarrassing. I’ve always been a believer, nothing is free in life, everything comes with a price list. Something Dad did teach me.’

‘Accept good friendships, Cam, they shouldn’t come at a cost. I know we’ve only just met but like you said, feels more like we’ve known each other for ages. If I can help you, you’ll let me know, won’t you?’

‘Thanks Andi, I’ll think about it, promise.’ She rubs my arm.

Maybe, I’ve lifted some of the weight sitting incongruently on a petite frame. Life can be so unfair sometimes, so cruel and as Grandma always told me, there but for the grace of God go I.

Thanks for stopping by and reading this extract. Make sure to check out my review which will be posted soon.

Add ‘Who I Am‘ to your TBR:  

*Purchase ‘Who I Am‘ here:

*I am in no way compensated by this site. I am simply sharing it so people can find this book easier.

Sarah Simpson has a business degree and a first class honours degree in psychology with appropriate post-graduate qualifications. Her background, working privately within mental health for many years; within the collaborative family law arena and with additional experience within the family court system has gifted her an invaluable understanding of life and people. Thus, Her Greatest Mistake is a cocktail of professional and personal experiences stirred vigorously by the imagination.

She is relatively late to the writing scene, despite a love of books and writing from when she was very young, it wasn’t until 2016 that she sat down to put pen to paper. Her Greatest Mistake was then some twelve months in creation, followed by some vigorous re-writing. In June 2017, she signed with her current agent Broo Doherty and shortly after was offered a three book publishing contract with Aria, Head of Zeus…

Find her on: Website, Twitter and Goodreads.