Time for another round of Yvonne’s Shorties! Since I have a huge pile of backlog reviews of the books I read during my break, I will be featuring an extra book in my shorties posts until I’ve caught up. This time around a Nordic noir title I enjoyed, a thriller I LOVED and a historical fiction read that sadly ended up being a total dud (aka DNF).
Title: I’m Traveling Alone
(Holger Munch & Mia Kruger #1)
Author: Samuel Bjork
Translator: Charlotte Barslund
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Detective
First published: 2013
Finished reading: January 24th 2022
(Originally written in Norwegian: ‘Det henger en engel alene i skogen’)
“We can get the Internet on our mobiles and send vehicles to Mars but, mentally and emotionally, we still live as we did back in the Dark Ages.”
I’ve been meaning to start this Nordic noir series for quite some time now, and I’m still not sure why it took me this long to actually do so as I loved the sound of the blurb… I’m definitely kicking myself now, because I ended up having an excellent time with this first book. I’m Traveling Alone is book one out of three, so thankfully not a long series to catch up with, and it turned out to be an entertaining and suspenseful ride. Both main characters are highly flawed, but somehow they work really well in this story and I really liked the dynamics of the whole team in general. I could have done without the religious angle, as I’m never a fan of those in my stories… But that is just a personal pet peeve. The rest of the plot is both fascinating and harrowing, and there are plenty of twists and secrets around to keep you busy. And while I did have a hunch about part of the truth, I never did see the whole picture until it was finally revealed. All in all I’m Traveling Alone turned out to be a very successful first book of a series that I will be catching up with ASAP. Only two more books to go!
“Why was it, he wondered, that we do that? Rosy up memories and make them idealized versions of what really happened.”
I kept hearing great things about Every Last Fear and I couldn’t resist finally picking it up myself… Especially since the blurb itself sounded absolutely fascinating with the true crime angle and the mysterious death of nearly the entire family of the main character. I have to say that I was hooked as soon as I started reading. There is just something about the writing style that grabbed me from the very first page, and I literally couldn’t stop myself from reading this story until I finished it. I definitely understand the love for this story now! Every Last Fear uses a multiple POV structure and flashbacks to slowly show us both what happened to Matt’s family and what is happening in the present. There is so much tension and building up of suspense that I simply couldn’t stop reading; sure, things can be said about the credibility of certain aspects of the plot, but the entertainment factor was there. And I most definitely didn’t see that ending coming! There were a few things that bothered me including the negative stereotypes of for example the Mexicans, but as a whole Every Last Fear was without doubt a success for me. I can’t wait to try more of his books now!
Title: The Glass Woman
Author: Caroline Lea
Genre: Historical Fiction, Gothic
First published: February 7th 2019
Finished reading: February 1st 2022
DNF at 50% (200 pages)
“People who have known darkness carry it with them always.”
Right… I’m still not sure what happened here, because I honestly thought this book would be a perfect fit for me. I tend to enjoy historical fiction, and I do love a Nordic setting. The 17th century setting in The Glass Woman with the witch trials and references to the ancient sagas as well as the unforgiving surrounding sounded absolutely fascinating, and I’ve been looking forward to finally read it. I’m not sure if it was simply the wrong time for me to pick up this kind of book, but the fact is that I struggled a LOT. The pace was so unbelievingly slow and there was nothing much happening most of the time… True, the descriptions and writing itself are beautiful, but somehow it wasn’t enough to keep my attention. I literally found myself looking for excuses to NOT read for days, and after almost a week of doing anything but reading I decided to simply throw in the towel and leave The Glass Woman for others to enjoy. Apart from the extremely slow pace and characters, there was just something about this story that sadly wasn’t the right fit for me at the moment… The fact that I simply couldn’t make myself care about what would happen to the main characters in the rest of the story didn’t really help either. I’m still feeling sad this ended up being the first DNF of the year though.