Smorgasbord Book Reviews – #Biography #WWI, Queen Victoria, #Adventures, Lucky Jack by S. Bavey

Delighted to share my review for the recently published biography by S. Bavey about her grandfather who led a very full and colourful life by the …

Smorgasbord Book Reviews – #Biography #WWI, Queen Victoria, #Adventures, Lucky Jack by S. Bavey

A wonderful review here of Lucky Jack! Many thanks to Sally Cronin of Smorgasbord Book Reviews!

Northern Wrath (Part One of The Hanged God Trilogy) by Thilde Kold Holdt



Following in the steps of Neil Gaiman & Joanne Harris, the author expertly weaves Norse myths and compelling characters into this fierce, magical epic fantasy.

A dead man, walking between the worlds, foresees the end of the gods.

A survivor searching for a weapon releases a demon from fiery Muspelheim.

A village is slaughtered by Christians, and revenge must be taken.

The bonds between the gods and Midgard are weakening. It is up to Hilda, Ragnar, their tribesmen Einer and Finn, the chief’s wife Siv and Tyra, her adopted daughter, to fight to save the old ways from dying out, and to save their gods in the process.

My Review

I read a paperback copy
5/5 stars

This Norse legend inspired debut novel from Thilde Kold Holdt is set mostly in Midgard, in the Northern lands of Jutland.

There are a multitude of main characters, with each chapter switching to the point of view of one of them.

Hilda’s father dies at the beginning of the story, when we are still getting to know the characters and over several chapters interwoven throughout the main story we follow his journey through the Darkness towards Helheim.

The main story arc begins with a surprise attack from the Christians of the south on the northern village of Ash-Hill , a catalyst for a number of events concerning Hilda, Tyra and Siv – sole survivors of the battle and true heroes in every sense of the word. Tyra and Siv are together, but are unaware of Hilda’s survival as she follows her own quest, led by the voices of the wind, the Runes.

The warriors were away raiding during the battle and return to find everyone dead, with the village burned and destroyed. They decide to wreak revenge on the southerners and try to collect supporters for their cause, but find many of their expected allies have turned against them.

The quality of writing is really striking for a debut novel, with exciting battles and interesting, well described characters, including giants, gods and dwarfs. Each of the main characters has a gripping story arc and the chapters are relatively short, which keeps you reading. I found the wonderful, strong female characters of Siv and Hilda the most intriguing and impressive. I loved the strong feminist elements running through this story: ‘“How did you survive?” Svend asks young Tyra. “I fought next to the bravest person on the battlefield.” “And he saved you?.” She didn’t correct him and tell him – that it was a she, Siv, who had saved her, not a he.’

The wealth of the author’s Norse knowledge is clear from the beginning. I have learnt much about Filjurs, runes, Norse battle tactics and a little mythology from this enjoyable story.

Thilde Kold Holdt is definitely someone to watch, and I am looking forward to the second and third parts of “The Hanged God Trilogy”. Recommended for fans of Norse myths, exciting storytelling and likeable characters with intertwined destinies. The story of the people of Ash-Hill will be enjoyable to anyone who likes a good escapist fantasy, populated with plenty of heroes, battles, moments of poignancy and compelling characterisation. I can’t wait to read the sequel, “Shackled Fates”.

Buy it here:

Add it to your To Be Read list here:

About The Author

Thilde Kold Holdt

I am a writer of fantasy novels. My first series, the Hanged God Trilogy, centres around Vikings and the Old Norse gods. I’m represented by Jamie Cowen at the Ampersand Agency.

I am a novelist by profession, currently working an epic fantasy series about 7th century Korea. My epic fantasy trilogy about Vikings, the Hanged God, is currently being published. I have lived enough different places that the most difficult question to answer is: “where are you from?” I am, quite simply, from the planet Earth, for I have yet to set foot on Mars. Someday, though…

Contact Thilde Kold Holdt here:

Twitter: @KoldHoldt

Children – The Ten Worlds Book 1 by Bjørn Larssen

You’re the chosen one – a child of Gods. It’s a curse.
Magni never wanted to be like his father, a murderous, absent, cheating alcoholic: Thor – the feared and beloved God of thunder. When Thor destroys everything and everyone his son knows and loves, Magni vows to stop the violence. His dream is to bring peace and prosperity to the Nine Worlds, then settle down with the man he loves. But is it possible to remain good in a place this bad? How do you escape cruelty in a universe built on it, or the shadow of your father when everyone calls you by his name?

Maya knows she’s a failure and a disappointment to her foster-parents. How could a child raised by Freya and Freyr – Goddess of love and God of sex – have no interest in the greatest of pleasures? Obviously, it couldn’t be the torture they subjected her to, or treating her as a tool that might someday be useful. Maya, her rage at their games more powerful than she knows, wants freedom to pursue her own destiny. But how do you forge your own life away from your God-parents when you’re nothing more than human?

A retelling of the Norse myths unlike any other, Children will answer all the questions you never knew you had about the heathen Nine Worlds… before leading you into the Tenth.

“A haunting, brutal, and emotional coming of age story, steeped in Norse mythology and written in spare but lyrical prose, Children is a book that demands to be felt rather than read. Its hard-hitting story and dark humor combine to make this a grim book with lots of heart, a book that will stick with me for a long time.” – Angela Boord, author of Fortune’s Fool

“Faced with gods who are interested only in their own goals, happy to use their own children to further their ambition in the face of a foretold end, Children can be read as allegory or fantasy. Drawing on established Norse myths but adding a unique interpretation, Larssen’s tale made me wince with witnessed pain, and cry, and, once or twice, snort with laughter. His evocative prose will linger in my mind for a long time. Not a book easily forgotten.” – Marian L Thorpe, author of Empire’s Daughter


British English conventions, spelling, and grammar were used in this book.

The book includes strong language, depictions of sexual, physical, and emotional violence, and is only suitable for adult audiences. For full list of triggers, which may contain spoilers, see:

My Review

I read a Kindle version of this book
4/5 stars

Children is a dark Norse inspired fantasy told from the points of view of two very different children of the Norse Gods, Maya, sharp-witted sorceress, shape-shifting daughter of the goddess Freya; and Magni, slower-witted son of Thor, who looks just like his father but wishes people would stop confusing him with his Dad. They may be different but their damaged personalities share much in terms of the torture and abuse they suffer at the hands of their family and friends and they are both emotionally and psychologically damaged as a result.

Their stories are not for the faint hearted and there are instances of difficult subject matter which could be triggering for certain readers. There is no gratuitous detail, however, which I appreciated, not being a fan of horror stories – which, if written by another author, these stories could easily have become. Larssen’s absorbing description of Magni’s fruit addiction reminded me of certain sequences in the movie Trainspotting and I kept hearing the soundtrack playing in my head as I read those parts.

As with his previous book, ‘Storytellers’, in ‘Children’ this author tells a story in which the parts he doesn’t explicitly describe are equally as important as those he does. Time should therefore be taken to read his books carefully and concentrate on what is only being hinted at by the characters, as well as the things they do say, or you will definitely miss something. This is not a lightweight beach read by any means, but well worth the investment of time it takes to give it justice.

It can be difficult for authors to come across as believable when writing from another gender’s perspective and there are often some cringeworthy moments when female characters written by men come over too feminine or flowery and I am sure the equivalent is also true for men reading male characters written by women. This is not the case with Larssen, however. His characters are gritty and full of flaws and insecurities, yet with many positive attributes as well. Magni and Maya are completely different in personality and both totally believable. Larssen has managed to include humour in what could otherwise have been a very dark story. Sometimes this humour is at the expense of slow-witted Magni, for example his imaginative naming of the horse which Maya shifts into:
“Horse…y,” I said, feeling a bit faint again. “That’s right. My horse, Horsey…”

I would recommend “Children” to anyone who enjoys in depth character development, without skating over psychological trauma and of course mythology and the familiar stories about the Norse Gods. I am looking forward to reading the next episodes in this series.

Buy Children here:

Add Children to your To Be Read list here:

About the author

Bjørn Larssen is a Norse heathen made in Poland, but mostly located in a Dutch suburb, except for his heart which he lost in Iceland. Born in 1977, he self-published his first graphic novel at the age of seven in a limited edition of one, following this achievement several decades later with his first book containing multiple sentences and winning awards he didn’t design himself. His writing is described as ‘dark’ and ‘literary’, but he remains incapable of taking anything seriously for more than 60 seconds.

Bjørn has a degree in mathematics and has worked as a graphic designer, a model, a bartender, and a blacksmith (not all at the same time). His hobbies include sitting by open fires, dressing like an extra from Vikings, installing operating systems, and dreaming about living in a log cabin in the north of Iceland. He owns one (1) husband and is owned by one (1) neighbourhood cat.

Sentinel (Voyager Book 2) by Carl Rackman


The Voyager story continues…

Four years have passed since Voyager One sent back chilling photos of a spaceship from deep in interstellar space.

A shocked world prepared to meet the Visitors, but terrorism, pandemics, and global political turmoil have now consumed it. Discredited as a hoax, the Visitors have faded from public attention.

But the powerful global conspiracy known as the Triumvirate is behind much of the chaos. Creating a screen of subterfuge and misdirection, they prepare a clandestine welcome for the Visitors, whose origins may be more sinister than the aliens of popular fiction.

Standing in their way are the few brave men and women who foiled the Triumvirate’s last attempt to upset the world’s fragile balance of power:

Former FBI agent Brad Barnes leads Sentinel, a private intelligence and counter-terrorism operation founded in the wake of the Triumvirate’s last deadly plot.

Alex Ephraim – the former Triumvirate assassin known as Mirage – is Sentinel’s major weapon against terror.

Matt Ramprakash, former airline pilot and now an officer of the British intelligence agency MI5, is embroiled in a deadly standoff when an airliner is hijacked.

Callie Woolf, once the project manager of the Voyager mission, struggles against the sceptical government’s bureaucracy to continue the search for the elusive Visitors as her time and funding runs out.

Sentinel is the only organisation capable of taking the fight to the Triumvirate’s door – flexible, unorthodox well-funded and free of government red tape.

But as they pursue the Triumvirate from the streets of London to the wild, deadly wastes of Antarctica, Brad will need Matt and Callie’s help to stop the Triumvirate, which has its own plans for putting Sentinel – and especially Alex – out of the picture for good…

Sentinel is the pulse-pounding second instalment in the Voyager trilogy by Carl Rackman

My Review

I read a Kindle version
5/5 stars

Sometimes sequels can be less exciting or well thought out than the original book, becoming a repository for ideas that were not quite good enough to make it into the first book. With Sentinel this is not the case at all. Voyager readers became used to a fast paced style with plenty of intrigue and excitement and Sentinel does not disappoint on this front. The action begins in England with Matt Ramprakash, the pilot/spy from Voyager now working full time for MI5, the UK’s domestic counter intelligence and security agency, taking control of a terrorist orchestrated airplane hijack.

Since we already know most of the characters from Voyager, the author is able to flesh out their personalities and relationships with more detail in the sequel and we feel like we are getting to know and like them more.

Mirage, the genetically enhanced, stone cold ice queen from Voyager is back and has become something of a superhero. Owing to her origin story, I couldn’t help imagining her as an enhanced version of Black Widow from the Marvel universe. She is gunning for the leader of the shady Triumvirate organization for her own personal reasons and we are behind her all the way.

Matt and Callie, the Voyager team project manager, are now married and soon both find themselves working with Brad Barnes within the private security organization known as Sentinel.

The narrative has plenty of action-filled sequences which keep you gripped to the story. They are related with such descriptive imagery that it is easy to imagine this story being made into a blockbuster action movie.

The theme of possible extra terrestrial life coming to Earth becomes more of a focus during this book. By the end of the story the action has moved to the deadly frozen wastes of Antarctica and the final showdown between the Triumvirate and the Sentinel operatives takes place against a background of the arrival of the mysterious Visitors.

I am giving this 5 stars, as opposed to the 4 star rating I gave Voyager, due to the increased amount of exciting action and decrease in character relationship development which I found distracted from the Voyager narrative. I believe it will be enjoyed by all fans of Sci-Fi and spy thriller genres alike.

Buy it here:

Add it to your To Be Read list here:

The Previous Chapter in this story:

Read my review of Voyager here

About the author:

Hi! I’m Carl Rackman, a British former airline pilot turned author. I spent my working life travelling the world and this has given me a keen interest in other people and cultures. I’ve drawn on my many experiences for my writing.

I write suspense thrillers with a grounded science-fiction theme. I like reading novels that feature atmospheric locales and I enjoy complex, absorbing storylines combined with rich, believable characters, so that’s the sort of fiction I write. I try to create immersive worlds for the reader to explore, and characters who are more than just vehicles for the story.

I come from a naval military background and have held a lifelong interest in military history and seafaring – all my books usually contain some of these elements!

Voyager by Carl Rackman


Voyager One is the remotest human object in existence, hurtling through the void of outer space more than twelve billion miles away.

It should be all alone.

Callie Woolf, Project Manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, is stunned when the tiny probe unexpectedly downloads a series of highly disturbing images. Within 24 hours she is running for her life.

FBI Agent Brad Barnes is assigned to the case and unwittingly stumbles into a conspiracy which threatens to bring the United States to its knees. Unable to tell friend from foe, Brad and Callie must play a deadly cat-and-mouse game with the conspirators’ shadowy agents as they confront the unthinkable – that mankind may not be alone in the Universe.

Voyager is an intelligent, modern-day conspiracy thriller by Carl Rackman, author of Irex.

My Review

I read it on the Kindle
4/5 stars

Voyager begins as a science fiction thriller with believable characters set in recent, real world situations. These scenarios may be unfamiliar to the majority of readers, but due to the author’s careful descriptions and explanations it is not difficult to visualize the locations and imagine the relationships being depicted.

The NASA Voyager team receives images from deep space which could be considered evidence of extra terrestrial life – if they are real. The Voyager team and its project manager, Callie Woolf, quickly decide that the photos must be a hoax, sent from Earth and bounced back from Voyager. Soon after the photos are downloaded, Callie finds herself in mortal danger and has to go on the run to preserve her life.

At this point the intriguing prospect of possible alien life is lost for a while as the characters are developed and the story becomes more of a gripping spy thriller.

A copy of the photos taken from the lab by Callie is sent to England and then secretly returned to the US by way of pilot/secret agent Matt Ramprakash. Matt ends up in the custody of FBI agents Bradley Barnes and Diane Breecker. Following a thrilling rescue he finds himself in the same safe house where Callie Woolf has been placed and immediately the two appear to fall in love. This incongruous love story did not ring true for me and felt like an unnecessary addition to the main story.

Bradley Barnes is the other main character. A brave and likeable FBI agent who at first appears emotionally stunted by past tragedy and yet distracted by the beauty of the superhuman agent Diane Breecker. Callie has been analyzing Voyager’s photos and Brad is assigned to discover their origins. Could there actually be aliens en route to Earth or is it all a conspiracy?

The plot is developed carefully and at an exciting pace that still makes it easy to follow everything that is happening. I would have liked more emphasis on the investigation into the possibility of extraterrestrial life rather than the character relationships. Having said that, the story is gripping, with plenty of exciting chases, fights and an attempt on the life of the President of the USA thrown in. It was very well written and I eagerly await the sequel.

Buy Voyager Here:

Add Voyager to your To Be Read list here:

The Sequel:

Read my review of Sentinel here

About the Author

Hi! I’m Carl Rackman, a British former airline pilot turned author. I spent my working life travelling the world and this has given me a keen interest in other people and cultures. I’ve drawn on my many experiences for my writing.

I write suspense thrillers with a grounded science-fiction theme. I like reading novels that feature atmospheric locales and I enjoy complex, absorbing storylines combined with rich, believable characters, so that’s the sort of fiction I write. I try to create immersive worlds for the reader to explore, and characters who are more than just vehicles for the story.

I come from a naval military background and have held a lifelong interest in military history and seafaring – all my books usually contain some of these elements!

Find Carl Rackman here:


Twitter: @CarlRackman

I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai


I come from a country that was created at midnight. When I almost died it was just after midday.

When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education.

On Tuesday, October 9, 2012, when she was fifteen, she almost paid the ultimate price. She was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school, and few expected her to survive.

Instead, Malala’s miraculous recovery has taken her on an extraordinary journey from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations in New York. At sixteen, she has become a global symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

I Am Malala is the remarkable tale of a family uprooted by global terrorism, of the fight for girls’ education, of a father who, himself a school owner, championed and encouraged his daughter to write and attend school, and of brave parents who have a fierce love for their daughter in a society that prizes sons.

My Review:

I read a paperback copy
4/5 stars

The powerful story of a very brave Pakistani girl and her life in a land overrun by the Taliban. Malala advocates for education for children all over the world as a right and was outspoken about her beliefs despite the knowledge that she was going against the deep seated beliefs of her country’s religion. After being shot in the face by the Taliban, she survives against all odds mainly because she is eventually taken to the UK where she has access to better care and equipment than in Pakistan. Her family begins a new life in Birmingham in the UK and she continues her education while vowing never to give up her cause and that she will one day return to her beloved region of Swat.

Buy it here:

Add it to your To Be Read list here:

About the author:

Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani activist for female education and the youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate. She is known for human rights advocacy, especially education of women in her native Swat Valley in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, northwest Pakistan, where the local Taliban had at times banned girls from attending school. Her advocacy has since grown into an international movement.

Find Malala Yousafzai here:

Twitter @Malala

Cured – The Tale of Two Imaginary Boys by Lol Tolhurst


“On our first day of school, Robert and I stood at the designated stop at Hevers Avenue with our mothers, and that’s when we met for the very first time. We were five years old.”

So began a lifelong friendship that fourteen years later would result in the formation of The Cure, a quintessential post-punk band whose albums-such as Three Imaginary Boys, Pornography, and Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me-remain among the best-loved and most influential of all time.

As two of the first punks in the provincial English town of Crawley, Lol Tolhurst and Robert Smith didn’t have it easy. Outsiders from the start, theirs was a friendship based initially on proximity and a shared love of music, from the punk that was raging in nearby London to the groundbreaking experimentation of David Bowie’s “Berlin Trilogy.” First known as The Easy Cure, they began playing in pubs and soon developed their own unique style and approach to songwriting, resulting in timeless songs that sparked a deep sense of identification and empathy in listeners, songs like “Boys Don’t Cry,” “Just Like Heaven,” and “Why Can’t I Be You?,” spearheading a new subculture dubbed “Goth” by the press. The music of The Cure was not only accessible but also deeply subversive, challenging conventional notions of pop music and gender roles while inspiring a generation of devoted fans and a revolution in style.

Cured is not only the first insider account of the early days of the band, it is a revealing look at the artistic evolution of the enigmatic Robert Smith, the iconic lead singer, songwriter, and innovative guitarist at the heart of The Cure. A deeply rebellious, sensitive, tough, and often surprisingly “normal” young man, Smith was from the start destined for stardom, a fearless non-conformist and provocateur who soon found his own musical language through which to express his considerable and unique talent.

But there was also a dark side to The Cure’s intense and bewildering success. Tolhurst, on drums and keyboards, was nursing a growing alcoholism that would destroy his place in The Cure and nearly end his life. Cured tells the harrowing and unforgettable story of his crash-and-burn, recovery, and rebirth.

Intensely lyrical and evocative, gripping and unforgettable, Cured is the definitive story of a singular band whose legacy endures many decades hence, told from the point of view of a participant and eyewitness who was there when it happened-and even before it all began. 

My Review

I read a paperback copy
5/5 stars

Very well-written account of the iconic life of Lol Tolhurst, one-time drummer and keyboardist with the rock band The Cure. Lol’s story is packed with wonderful anecdotes and titbits of information that only a band member would be a party to. Every Cure fan will love this book. Non Cure fans who are interested in band stories and rockstar biographies will also find plenty to enjoy! The book charts the roller coaster ride of fame, addiction, self-destruction and the making of amends between childhood friends. A heart-warming happy ending is on the cards for the two Imaginary Boys, Robert and Lol: “I had the strong realization that none of this – the book, the journey back from destruction – was about me or even Robert. It was about the thing that we had been given that had changed so many people’s lives and had once again changed me. The Cure.” Finally Lol has been Cured. 

Buy it here:

Add it to your To Be Read list here:

About the author

Lol Tolhurst is an Author, musician and performer.

He is best known as a founding member of the band that virtually invented alternative music, The Cure. Formed in 1976, The Cure is one of the most influential, successful and critically acclaimed bands of its generation.

As The Cure’s drummer, Lol toured the globe many times over, supporting the ground-breaking albums Three Imaginary Boys, Seventeen Seconds, Faith and Pornography. He took on keyboard duties in the mid-eighties until his departure from the band in 1989, at the time of their masterwork Disintegration.

In the early nineties, Lol relocated to Southern California where he continues to write, record and tour with his own band, Levinhurst.

More recently, 2011 saw a momentous reunion tour with his former bandmates and Lol performing with The Cure again for the first time in over twenty years.

Lol’s first book was published in 2016. Cured – The Tale Of Two Imaginary Boys is a memoir that draws together the threads of his life and art… so far! 

Find Lol Tolhurst here:

Twitter: @LolTolhurst

Storytellers by Bjørn Larssen

Would you murder your brothers to keep them from telling the truth about themselves?

On a long, cold Icelandic night in March 1920, Gunnar, a hermit blacksmith, finds himself with an unwanted lodger – Sigurd, an injured stranger who offers a story from the past. But some stories, even those of an old man who can barely walk, are too dangerous to hear. They alter the listeners’ lives forever… by ending them.

Others are keen on changing Gunnar’s life as well. Depending on who gets to tell his story, it might lead towards an unwanted marriage, an intervention, rejoining the Church, letting the elf drive him insane, or succumbing to the demons in his mind. Will he manage to write his own last chapter?

Bjørn Larssen’s award-winning, Amazon #1 best selling novel is an otherworldly, emotive Icelandic saga – a story of love and loneliness, relief and suffering, hatred… and hope.

Readers’ Favourite Gold Medal
Discovering Diamonds’ Discovered Diamond Winner, shortlisted for Book of the Month
Coffee Pot Book Club Award Winner
Coffee Pot Book Club Historical Fiction (Modern) Book of the Year – Honourable Mention
Readers’ Choice Best Cover Award Winner

Note: British English conventions, spelling, and grammar were used in this book.

The author is an ex-blacksmith, lover of all things Icelandic, physically located in Amsterdam, spiritually living in a log cabin near Akureyri. He has published stories and essays in Polish and American magazines, both online and in print. This is his first novel.

My Review

Read on Kindle
5/5 stars

Storytellers, the debut novel by Bjørn Larssen, takes place in a small remote town in Iceland named Klettafjörður in the 1920s. It is filled with evocative language and more than a little humour. A constant feeling of cold and damp pervades the writing, setting the scene and helping the reader sympathize when the characters talk of needing new boots, leather clothing, wool and sheepskins. Larssen is a master of descriptions, as illustrated by the following quotation:
“The dancing shadows behind Brynhildur’s back looked like a ghost army itching to attack.”

The main characters are Gunnar, an alcoholic blacksmith, and his unexpected houseguest, an injured old man named Sigurd who needs a place to stay while his broken ankle heels. Gunnar, an introverted loner, agrees to let him stay despite his lack of affinity with other people. In return, Sigurd begins telling a story to entertain them both during the long evenings. The story within a story concerns Arnar and Juana who meet and fall in love in America and then return to his hometown in Iceland, which just so happens to be the same town in which Gunnar and Sigurd are located, but several decades earlier.

Storytellers is much slower paced than the action-filled thrillers I have been reading lately. This was a welcome decrease in pace, which allowed a full appreciation of the descriptive passages and the time to absorb all the wickedly witty details: ‘She had no hat, only a pale green scarf wrapped around her head, the same colour as her bulging eyes.’ The ‘Conservative Women of Iceland’ are welcomed by Gunnar as ‘the Constipated Women’.

About a third of the way through the narrative, another visitor joins Gunnar – this time an incorporeal elf, visible to both Gunnar and his dog Ragnar, so not a figment of his imagination or a manifestation of his alcoholism. The existence of the elf is never really explained, but we accept his existence since after all we are in Iceland, a country where there is a strong cultural belief in a hidden realm populated with magical beings like fairies and trolls, who exist alongside humans. In Sigurd’s story one of the lesser characters states that his grandmother “knew a lot about the hidden folk, dark magic, witches”. Iceland is a magical country that I thoroughly enjoyed visiting around 20 years ago and fell in love with its beautiful, otherworldly landscapes. I was excited to revisit the country through this story and was not disappointed.

In the first half of the narrative, most of the action appears to take place within the story told by the old man Sigurd to entertain his host, whereas Gunnar and Sigurd appear to have a mundane, repetitive existence. Sigurd quickly regrets beginning to tell the story and comes to the conclusion that he will have to kill his host when he reaches the end of the story. Could his story be true? Could it be some form of evidence of foul play that he doesn’t want anyone to discover? The plot thickens towards the end of the book and the pace picks up, with all manner of loose ends being satisfactorily tied. I recommend this book to fans of whimsical mysteries who like to follow clues and see if they can figure things out for themselves.

Buy here:…… 

Add to your To Be Read list here:

About the Author

Bjørn Larssen is a Norse heathen made in Poland, but mostly located in a Dutch suburb, except for his heart which he lost in Iceland. Born in 1977, he self-published his first graphic novel at the age of seven in a limited edition of one, following this achievement several decades later with his first book containing multiple sentences and winning awards he didn’t design himself. His writing is described as ‘dark’ and ‘literary’, but he remains incapable of taking anything seriously for more than 60 seconds.

Bjørn has a degree in mathematics and has worked as a graphic designer, a model, a bartender, and a blacksmith (not all at the same time). His hobbies include sitting by open fires, dressing like an extra from Vikings, installing operating systems, and dreaming about living in a log cabin in the north of Iceland. He owns one (1) husband and is owned by one (1) neighbourhood cat.

Born a Crime – Stories From A South African Childhood by Trevor Noah


#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER – The compelling, inspiring, and comically sublime story of one man’s coming-of-age, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed

Michiko Kakutani, New York Times – USA Today – San Francisco Chronicle – NPR – Esquire – Newsday – Booklist

Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents’ indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa’s tyrannical white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle.

Born a Crime is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. It is also the story of that young man’s relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother–his teammate, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life.

The stories collected here are by turns hilarious, dramatic, and deeply affecting. Whether subsisting on caterpillars for dinner during hard times, being thrown from a moving car during an attempted kidnapping, or just trying to survive the life-and-death pitfalls of dating in high school, Trevor illuminates his curious world with an incisive wit and unflinching honesty. His stories weave together to form a moving and searingly funny portrait of a boy making his way through a damaged world in a dangerous time, armed only with a keen sense of humor and a mother’s unconventional, unconditional love.

My Review

I read a paperback copy
5/5 stars

What an amazing, entertaining, educational and thought provoking memoir! I love watching Trevor Noah on The Daily Show and was not at all disappointed by his written storytelling. His mother is lovingly described by him as the most amazing woman and this book reads like a love story dedicated to her. The details of his childhood in South Africa as a mixed race child, literally ‘Born a crime’ to a white father and black mother at the end of apartheid are so well described you can visualize every episode and imagine Trevor and his unconventional mother going about their daily business. Thankfully he managed to survive an almost unbelievable number of difficulties and dangers and build himself an empire pirating CDs and then later DJing as an entrepreneurial teenager. There are some hilarious escapades described, which benefit from Trevor’s dry wit and storytelling prowess.

His mother’s religious fervor is a theme throughout the book and although you feel that Trevor does not share her dedication, by the end of the book it is possible that due to the circumstances, Trevor has begun to believe in miracles. I would recommend this book to all ages and was interested to hear that some schools are setting it as a 7th grade set book. My 7th grader will be encouraged to read my copy after his 10th grade sister has finished it.

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About the author

Trevor Noah is the most successful comedian in Africa and is the host of the Emmy® and Peabody® Award-winning “The Daily Show” on Comedy Central. Under Trevor, “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” has broken free from the restraints of a 30-minute linear show, producing engaging social content, award-winning digital series, podcasts and more for its global audience. In 2020, “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” received eight Emmy nominations, including Outstanding Variety Talk Series and Outstanding Writing for A Variety Series. Trevor also received NAACP Image Award nominations for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series and Outstanding Host in a Talk or News/Information (Series or Special). “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” also received Webby Awards for Best in Comedy and Best Web Personality/Host, as well as a NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding Talk Series. Trevor originally joined “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” in 2014 as a contributor.

In 2019, “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” received two Primetime Emmy nominations, including Outstanding Variety Talk Series and Outstanding Interactive Program. Additionally, Trevor received the 2019 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series, as well as nominations for Outstanding Talk Series, Outstanding Variety Show, Outstanding host in a Talk or News/Information. In 2018, “The Daily Show” won a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Talk Episode and received nominations for a Writers Guild Award (Comedy/Variety Series) as well as two NAACP Image Awards, for Outstanding Talk Series and Outstanding Host in a Talk or News/Information Show. Trevor also won Best Host at the 2017 MTV Movie & TV Awards, as well as a 2017 Creative Arts Emmy Award for Outstanding Short Form Variety Series for his hosting role on “The Daily Show – Between The Scenes.”

Born in South Africa to a black South African mother and a white European father, Noah has hosted numerous television shows including South Africa’s music, television and film awards, and two seasons of his own late-night talk show, “Tonight with Trevor Noah.”

Trevor has written, produced, and starred in 11 comedy specials, including his most recent, “Trevor Noah: Son of Patricia,” which launched in November 2018 on Netflix. The special touches upon racism, immigration, camping and more. “Trevor Noah: Son Of Patricia” received a NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Variety Show, as well as a Grammy Award nomination for Best Comedy Album. Other recent stand-up specials in “Trevor Noah: Afraid of the Dark” (2017) on Netflix and “Trevor Noah: Lost in Translation” (2016) on Comedy Central. Noah was the subject of David Paul Meyer’s award-winning documentary film “You Laugh But It’s True” which tells the story of his remarkable career in post-apartheid South Africa. His Showtime comedy special, “Trevor Noah: African American” premiered in 2013. He was nominated for “Personality of the Year” at the 2014 and 2015 MTV Africa Music Awards and won the award in 2015.

Trevor’s success has also spanned to sold out shows over 5 continents. Trevor crossed North America on his first ever arena outing with the “Loud & Clear Tour 2019.” Due to popular demand, Trevor expanded his Loud & Clear Tour to 2020. With over 75 sold-out North American shows to date, including his sold-out show at Madison Square Garden, Trevor is bringing his wildly successful tour to new cities, across the U.S. and Europe.

In 2019, Trevor launched a new podcast series “The Trevor Noah Podcast” exclusively on Luminary. In his podcast, Trevor challenges himself – and all of his listeners – to explore unfamiliar angles, embrace differing viewpoints, and celebrate the contradictions that make the modern world both bewildering and exciting. In 2020, “The Trevor Noah Podcast” won the Webby Award and Webby People’s Voice Award for News & Politics (Podcasts).

Trevor Noah is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller “Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood” and its young readers adaptation “It’s Trevor Noah: Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood,” which also debuted as a New York Times bestseller. The book received the Thurber Prize for American Humor and two NAACP Image Awards, one for Outstanding Literary Work by a Debut Author and another for Outstanding Literary Work in the Biography/Auto-Biography category.

“Born A Crime” is a collection of personal stories about growing up in South Africa during the last gasps of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that came with its demise. Already known for his incisive social and political commentary, here Noah turns his focus inward, giving readers an intimate look at the world that shaped him. These are true stories,sometimes dark, occasionally bizarre, frequently tender, and always hilarious. Whether subsisting on caterpillars during months of extreme poverty or making comically hapless attempts at teenage romance, from the time he was thrown in jail to the time he was thrown from a speeding car driven by murderous gangsters, the experiences covered in this book will shock and amaze, even as they leave you rolling on the floor with laughter.

The Audible edition of “Born a Crime,” performed by Trevor, was produced by Audible and remains one of the top-selling, highest-rated, and most-commented-on Audible performances of all time. “Born a Crime” won the Audie Award for “Best Male Narrator,” and was also nominated in the “Autobiography/Memoir,” “Best Narration by the Author” and “Audiobook of the Year” categories. To date, “Born a Crime” has sold over 1 million copies across all formats. The paperback version of “Born a Crime” came out in February 2019. In April 2019, Trevor released “It’s Trevor Noah: Born a Crime,” adapted for young readers. The book not only provides a fascinating and honest perspective on South Africa’s racial history, but it will inspire young readers looking to improve their own lives.

Trevor’s production company, Day Zero Productions, recently partnered with Viacom and already has several projects in development, including the feature film adaptation of Born a Crime starring Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong’o, which is set up at Paramount Players. Additionally, Trevor is set to produce an upcoming film built around the Adewumi family, specifically 8-year-old Tani who won the 2019 New York chess championship and whose family became an inspiration to many.

In April 2018, Noah launched The Trevor Noah Foundation, a youth development initiative that enhances youth preparedness for higher education or entry into the workforce. Noah’s vision is a South Africa that advances because each generation builds and must grow beyond its predecessor. Through a partnership with Microsoft, the foundation is able to provide under-resourced schools with the opportunity to use technology as a tool to enhance the learning experience, as well as increase digital literacy beyond the classroom.

Hope (Operation Galton Book One) by Terry Tyler


Terry Tyler’s nineteenth published work is a psychological thriller set in a dystopian near future – the UK, Year 2028.

Blogger Lita Stone and journalist Nick Freer live and work online, seeing life through soundbites, news TV and social media. Keeping the outside world at bay in their cosy flat, they observe the ruthless activities of the new PM and his celebrity fitness guru wife, Mona (hashtag MoMo), with the mild outrage that can be quelled simply by writing another blog post.

Meanwhile, in the outside world, multinational conglomerate Nutricorp is busy buying up supermarket chains, controlling the media, and financing the new compounds for the homeless: the Hope Villages.

Lita and Nick suspect little of the danger that awaits the unfortunate, until the outside world catches up with them – and Lita is forced to discover a strength she never knew she possessed.

My Review

Read on Kindle
5/5 stars

There is a dark, brooding undercurrent which runs throughout this novel, threatening to engulf the very likeable main protagonists, blogger Lita Stone and journalist Nick Freer. This story is set in 2028 within an ominous, dystopian Britain ruled by a mega conglomerate and its puppet politicians; a world full of social media obsession and devices to record every move and thought of the populace. As the lives of the main characters are sucked down into increasingly hopeless situations, they find themselves with no choice but to live in one of the desolate Hope Villages and the feeling of hope becomes more intangible to them. We realize that this world is actually not so very far removed from our current reality, with its TV star politicians and their fashion designer advisers. Indeed the reader can hardly avoid considering whether such a future could be possible in their own reality. Today’s most powerful corporations have access to our every thought and household conversation via the apps and devices we happily buy and install without too much thought for their corporate intentions.
Towards the end of the novel Lita realizes: “The Fear that has been with me all my life has taken on a darker, deadlier form”. With all of the depressing things happening in the world right now this is a relatable statement that is probably true for many of us.
I found myself gripped throughout the novel by a feeling that the narrative is building up to something, some kind of “Final Battle” type of air-clearer, hoping for a much needed happy ending but suspecting all along that in the world of Operation Galton such catharsis was impossible. There is a small sense of hope at which to grasp at the end of the story and I am rooting for Lita and Brody. Let’s hope good things happen to good people. I look forward to reading the sequel, Wasteland.

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About the author

I am self-published and proud to be so, and have twenty-two books on Amazon. My latest release is The Visitor, a post-apocalyptic murder mystery set in the same world as my Project Renova series, but a separate story, with new characters.

I am currently at work on Megacity, the third and final book in the dystopian Operation Galton series, and the follow up Wasteland and Hope.

I’m a Walking Dead addict; I love watching great TV series, and reading anything to do with history, post apocalypse, dystopian scenarios, anthropology, mountaineering and polar exploration.

Favourite writers: Gemma Lawrence, Kate Mary, Blake Crouch, Deborah Swift, Carol Hedges, Douglas Kennedy, John Boyne, Deborah Moggach, Judith Arnopp, Mark Barry, Jon Krakauer, Phillipa Gregory, Robert Leigh, John Privilege, Dylan Morgan, Kate Atkinson, Norah Lofts, Dorothy Parker, Bill Bryson, PJ O’Rourke, Ann Swinfen, Keith Blackmore, Frank Tayell.

Find Terry Tyler here: