Mini Reviews – February 2023

Not too many to get caught up on this time! I just feel like it’s easier than bombarding everyone with multiple posts in a day.

Thanks to the mentioned publishers for any gifted copies

THE FIRES – Sigríður Hagalín Björnsdóttir, Translated by Larissa Kyzer (Released February 1st, 2023 – Thanks to MBC Books and Amazon Publishing)

From Icelandic author Sigríður Hagalín Björnsdóttir comes a heart-wrenching thriller about a woman’s desperate quest to save the people she loves from a natural disaster.

After an eight-hundred-year slumber, the volcanoes in Iceland’s most populated region are showing signs of life. Earthquakes dominate the headlines. Echoes of the devastating eruptions in the past stir unease in the people.

Volcanologist Anna Arnardóttir has spent her entire life studying the volcanic powers under the earth’s crust, but even she cannot fathom the catastrophe at hand.

As a series of eruptions threaten most of Iceland’s population, she’s caught off her rational guard by the most terrible natural disaster of all—love. The world as she knows it is about to fall apart, and so is her heart.

Caught between the safety of a nation and her feelings for her children, her lover, and her past, Anna embarks on a dangerous journey to save the lives of the people she loves—and her soul.

Mini Review – 3/5 stars – I’m torn on this book. On the one hand, I did really enjoy the drama and suspense that came with the impending volcanic eruptions but getting there took a while. The beginning felt very technical and almost like reading a textbook about the volcanic action in Iceland. Am I glad I stuck it out? I’d say yes, once the narrative picked up then the story moved at a better pace! Would I try more from this author? Definitely.

BRIGHT AND DEADLY THINGS – Lexie Elliott (Released February 14th, 2023 – Thanks to Berkley Pub)

A remote back-to-basics mountaintop retreat in the French Alps turns deadly as an Oxford fellow finds herself in the crosshairs of her late husband’s dangerous secrets.

The Chalet des Anglais should be the ideal locale for recently-widowed Oxford don Emily to begin cutting through the fog of her grief. With no electricity, running water, or access by car, the rustic chalet nestled at the foot of the verdant, snow-topped Alps should afford Emily both time and space to heal. Joining her will be a collection of friends from the university, as well as other fellows, graduates, and undergraduates.

Something feels off, though—heightening Emily’s existing grief-induced anxiety. Before even making it to the airport, she’s unnerved by a break-in at her home. Once at the chalet, tension amongst the guests is palpable. Her friends and colleagues are behaving oddly, and competition for a newly opened position has introduced a streak of meanness into the otherwise relaxing getaway. As hostilities grow, Emily begins to wonder if the chalet’s dark history has cast a shadow over the retreat. In the salon, a curious grandfather clock looms, the only piece of furniture to survive a deadly blaze a century ago. As its discordant bell begins to invade everyone’s dreams, someone very real has been searching through Emily’s things and attempting to hack into her computer.

When a student disappears, Emily realizes that she’d better separate friend from foe, and real from imagined—or the next disappearance may be her own.

Mini Review – 4/5 stars – I’ve always loved Lexie Elliott’s book – when I need a good slow burn suspense with a colorful cast of characters, then I know Elliott won’t let me down. This is a new locked room mystery and takes place at a very remote getaway (no running water kind of remote). I think the pacing might be what won’t work for everyone, but I was prepared and in the right mood for it. I’ll continue to pick up what she releases and highly recommend checking out her other books, too!


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