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Emma's Anticipated Treasures First Lines Friday

First Lines Friday: A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Mass

“The black water nipping at her thrashing heels was freezing.
Not the bite of winter chill, or even the burn of solid ice, but something colder. Deeper.
The cold of the gaps between stars, the cold of a world before light.
The cold of hell – true hell, she realized as she buckled against the strong hands trying to shove her into the Cauldren.
True hell, because that was Elain lying on the stone floor with the red-haired, one-eyed Fae male hovering over her. Because those were pointed ears poking through her sister’s sodden golden-brown hair, and an immortal glow radiating from Elain’s fair skin.
True hell – worse than the inky depths mere inches from her toes.
Put her under, the hard-faced Fae king ordered.
And the sound of that voice, the voice of the male who had done this to Elain…
She knew she was going into the Cauldron. Knew she would lose this fight.”

Today’s first lines come from a book that is one of the most anticipated books in fiction this year. A Court of Silver Flames is the fifth installment in Sarah J. Mass’ epic A Court of Thornes and Roses series.

SYNOPSIS:

Sarah J. Maas’s sexy, richly imagined Court of Thorns and Roses series continues with the journey of Feyre’s fiery sister, Nesta

Nesta Archeron has always been prickly – proud, swift to anger and slow to forgive. And since the war – since being made High Fae against her will – she’s struggled to forget the horrors she endured and find a place for herself within the strange and deadly Night Court.
The person who ignites her temper more than any other is Cassian, the battle-scarred, winged warrior who is there at Nesta’s every turn. But her temper isn’t the only thing Cassian ignites. And when they are forced to train in battle together, sparks become flame.
As the threat of war casts its shadow over them once again, Nesta and Cassian must fight monsters from within and without if they are to stand a chance of halting the enemies of their court. But the ultimate risk will be searching for acceptance – and healing – in each other’s arms.

I was late to the party with these books and only discovered them last summer thanks to readalongs with the Tandem Collective. And it is thanks to them, and the wonderful people at Bloomsbury Publishing, that I will be reading ACOSF as part of a readalong with other bloggers starting on February 23rd.

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Emma's Anticipated Treasures Monthly Wrap Up

Monthly Wrap Up – November 2020

Well that was a fast month!

The last month of 2020 is almost upon us and my mind is full of what to include in my favourite books of the year. But before that, there’s this month’s reading wrap up and a month of reading more books to do.

November has been a slower month for me as this time of year always brings with it the worsening of my chronic health conditions. I didn’t manage to read all the ones I’d started either and am in the middle of 3 others (one paperback, one kindle and one audio).

So, what did I manage to do? I read thirteen books, took part in thirteen blog tours, two readalongs and one watchalong. One of those readalongs was a bit different as we made cocktails using the new Peaky Blinders Cocktail Book. It was also fun taking part in the Shirley watchalong. It’s made me want to finally read Shirley Jackson’s books and more about her fascinating life.

Here is what I read in November:

  1. The Night Away ⭐⭐⭐. 5
  2. The One Before ⭐⭐⭐. 5
  3. The Diabolical Bones ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  4. One By One ⭐⭐⭐. 5
  5. The Package ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  6. The Company Daughters ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  7. Fallen Angels ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  8. How To Belong ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  9. Body Language ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  10. The Extraordinary Hope of Dawn Brightside ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  11. Her Sister’s Child ⭐⭐⭐. 5
  12. Dead Girl Walking ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  13. Bright Lies ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I read some great books this month. The Diabolical Bones and The Package were standout reads that were contenders for BOTM for a while. But when I read The Extraordinary Hope of Dawn Brightside there was no question that this would be my BOTM. EVERYONE needs to read this book! It is one of my favourites this year for sure. You can read the review for it, and the other books I’ve read this month, by clicking the link in their title in the list above.

In December I’m looking forward to a more relaxed month. I’ve only taken on three blog tours and will be doing more mood reading. I can’t wait!

Thank you to the tagged publishers who sent gifted copies.

Did we read any of the same books this month? What was your favourite book in November? Let me know in the comments.

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book reviews Tandem Readalong

A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas

Published: June 2nd, 2020
Publisher: Bloomsbury UK
Format: Paperback, Hardcover, Kindle, Audio
Genre: Fantasy Fiction

I read this book as part of a readalong with Tandem Collective UK. Thank you for the invitation to take part and Bloomsbury UK for my gifted copy of the book.

SYNOPSIS:

In this companion tale to the bestselling A Court of Thorns and Roses series, Feyre, Rhys and their friends are working to rebuild the Night Court and the vastly changed world beyond after the events of A Court of Wings and Ruin.
But Winter Solstice is finally near, and with it a hard-earned reprieve. Yet even the festive atmosphere can’t keep the shadows of the past from looming. As Feyre navigates her first Winter Solstice as High Lady, she finds that those dearest to her have more wounds than she anticipated – scars that will have a far-reaching impact on the future of their court.

Sarah J. Maas is a global #1 bestselling author. Her books have sold millions of copies worldwide and have been translated into 37 languages. Discover the sweeping romantic fantasy for yourself.

MY REVIEW:

“It had been a long, brutal winter that had brought me so deep into the woods that day nearly two years ago. A long, brutal winter that had made me desperate enough to kill a wolf, that had eventually led me here—to this life, this… happiness.”

A Court of Frost and Starlight is a cosy yet fierce winter novella. This short, lighthearted read with bite was perfect after the much darker and longer ACOWAR. 

While there is tension and drama with Tamlin and the Illaryians, this is overall a book about family, both blood and that you choose for yourself. Fayre is settling into her role as High Lady of Night Court but is struggling with the destruction that was left behind following the war. She feels guilty that she couldn’t do more and protect those who died and we follow her journey of self-acceptance and forgiveness, as she finds a new purpose that she hopes will help her people. 

I really enjoyed this book but felt like it’s purpose was to set up the next installment by addressing things about the faerie way of life that hadn’t yet been examined but needed to be explained before book five. 

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✰

MEET THE AUTHOR:

Sarah J. Maas is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Throne of Glass series, as well as the A Court of Thorns and Roses series.

Sarah lives in Bucks County, PA, and over the years, she has developed an unhealthy appreciation for Disney movies and bad pop music. She adores fairy tales and ballet, drinks too much tea, and watches an ungodly amount of TV. When she’s not busy writing, she can be found exploring the historic and beautiful Pennsylvania countryside with her husband and canine companion.

Website |Instagram |Twitter

BUY THE BOOK:

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book reviews Tandem Readalong

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

Published: May 2nd, 2017
Publisher: Bloomsbury UK
Format: Paperback, Hardcover, Kindle, Audio
Genre: Fantasy Fiction

I read this book as part of a readlong with Tandem Collective UK. Thank you to them for the invitation and Bloomsbury UK for the gifted copy of the book.

SYNOPSIS:

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s manoeuvrings and the invading king threatening to bring her land to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit – and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.

As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords and hunt for allies in unexpected places. And her heart will face the ultimate test as she and her mate are forced to question whether they can truly trust each other.

Sarah J. Maas is a global #1 bestselling author. Her books have sold more than nine million copies and been translated into 37 languages. Discover the sweeping romantic fantasy for yourself.

Contains mature content. Not suitable for younger readers.

MY REVIEW:

“To the stars who listen—and the dreams that are answered.” 

Fayre is now back in Spring Court. She has returned under the guise of going back to Tamlin but is in fact still Lady of the Night Court and biding her time before taking revenge for how he and others betrayed Prythian in the war with King Hybern. As war looms once more, her relationship with Rhysand is tested and they must decide who among the High Lords they can trust to be on their side. 

I loved how fierce, determined and strong Fayre was in this book. She stands up to Tamlin, refusing to let him twist and rewrite their narrative, even when he shreds her dignity with lewd words and savage lies. Back when I read book one, I could never understand why people loved Rhysand and hated Tamlin; now I’m totally the same. Tamlin is a vile, abusive, controlling snake and I got almost as much pleasure out of Fayre’s revenge as she did. 

I enjoyed seeing more of the other courts and how Fayre’s sisters handled their unexpected and unwanted transition to immortality. I found myself worrying about the fate of the characters and wondered if the author would take a leaf out of George R. R. Martin’s book and kill off a much-loved main character. It is quite a dark book in many ways, addressing abuse, coercive control, trauma, PTSD and consent.

This was my favourite yet in the series. Action-packed, emotional and gripping, it kept me on the edge of my seat and broke my heart. 

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✮

MEET THE AUTHOR:

Sarah J. Maas is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Throne of Glass series, as well as the A Court of Thorns and Roses series.

Sarah lives in Bucks County, PA, and over the years, she has developed an unhealthy appreciation for Disney movies and bad pop music. She adores fairy tales and ballet, drinks too much tea, and watches an ungodly amount of TV. When she’s not busy writing, she can be found exploring the historic and beautiful Pennsylvania countryside with her husband and canine companion.

Website|Instagram|Twitter

BUY THE BOOK:

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Emma's Anticipated Treasures Monthly Wrap Up

Monthly Wrap Up – September 2020

The weather has cooled and the nights are drawing in. Summer is officially over and autumn has arrived. Another month is also over, which means it’s time for another wrap up.

It’s been a fantastic month. I’ve read 17 books in total, which includes one audiobook, and I’m part way through two other audiobooks. I’ve read some outstanding books and discovered some new authors I’ll definitely read again.

I also took part in 14 blog tours, 4 readalongs and the Tasting Notes Book Club. I was excited to take part in my first author Q&As. The first was a private Zoom with Cecelia Ahern and other bloggers, and the other was my first over Instagram Live. Courtesy of One More Chapter I took part in a Q&A with Annie Lyons. I’m so grateful to have these opportunities and still can’t believe I’m able to talk with authors I’ve loved for years.

So lets get back to what I’ve read this month:

  1. After The Silence ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  2. Truth Be Told ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  3. A Ruined Girl ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  4. Heatstroke ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  5. Under Your Skin ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  6. To Cook A Bear ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  7. A Song of Isolation ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  8. A Court of Wings and Ruin ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  9. If I Could Say Goodbye ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  10. Pizza Girl ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  11. The Thursday Murder Club ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  12. The Philosopher Queens ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  13. In Black and White ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  14. Eudora Honeysett is Quite Well, Thank You ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  15. Mother Loves Me ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  16. Dead Woman Crossing ⭐⭐⭐
  17. Love Orange ⭐⭐⭐⭐

With so many great books, it’s not easy to choose a favourite. But Eudora Honeysett is Quite Well, Thank You was such a standout read that it ended up making the choice easy. I loved it so much that it is even a contender for book of the year.

If you want to read my reviews for what I read in September, then click on the title and it will take you to my review (unless it’s one of the ones I’ve not written yet lol).

Did we read any of the same books this month? What was your favourite book in September? Let me know in the comments.

*Thank you to the publushers for my gifted copies of the books.

Categories
book reviews Tandem Readalong

You Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

Published: August 20th, 2020
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Format: Paperback, Kindle, Audio
Genre: Psychological Thriller, Suspense

I read this book, which was one of Emma’s Anticipated Treasures for March, as part of a readalong with Tandem Collective UK. Thank you to Pan Macmillan for the gifted copy of the book.

SYNOPSIS:

From Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen, the authors of the top ten bestseller The Wife Between Us and An Anonymous Girl, comes You Are Not Alone – a gripping novel about a group of women who appear to have the perfect lives, but all is not what it seems . . .

You probably know someone like Shay Miller. She wants to find love, but it eludes her. She wants to be fulfilled, but her job is a dead end. She wants to belong, but her life is becoming increasingly isolated.

You probably don’t know anyone like the Moore sisters. They have an unbreakable circle of friends. They live a life of glamour and perfection. They always get what they desire.

Shay thinks she wants their life.

But what they really want is hers.

MY REVIEW:

This high-octane, page-turning thriller had me on the edge of my seat from beginning to end. Filled with so many twists and turns I got book whiplash, I was not prepared for the ride I was about to embark on when I first opened this book. 

I thought I had this one figured out. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Bravo to the authors for those mind blowing revelations. Exquisitely crafted and tightly plotted, the writing is cohesive and flows well, never feeling disjointed like some books that are co-authored. And after the Zoom Q&A that Tandem arranged with the authors where they talked about their writing process, I understand why. I admit, that meeting left me with a bit of a girl crush. They’re both funny, intelligent women who write fantastic books and have a relationship that is the ultimate in best friend goals. What’s not to crush on? 

The authors have a talent for writing strong, complex female characters, and this book is packed with them. I liked Shay. Things aren’t going that well for her when we first met her and I really felt for her, especially having witnessed such a traumatic event. I could understand her loneliness and the need to connect that resulted in her gravitating towards Amanda’s friends, especially Cassandra and Jane Moore, the glamorous, mysterious and luminous sisters who befriend Shay and help her make-over her life. They are everything she wants to be: gorgeous, confident, happy and successful, and being around them makes her feel like she’s doing something right, like her life is finally going in the right direction since meeting them. 

As we get further into the book, it becomes clear that the Moore sisters are playing a sinister and twisted game with Shay as their pawn. But she fails to see behind their carefully crafted masks, and I wanted to leap into the book to scream a warning at her so many times. Eventually, she begins to see cracks in their facade and realise things aren’t adding up. But the question is, who will win? Will they continue to be a step or two ahead and keep her tangled in their web? Or will Shay surprise them by outsmarting them and coming out on top? I was rooting for Shay but had a pit in my stomach thinking that the sisters just might prevail.

You Are Not Alone is a riveting, intelligent, tense and twisty thriller that is utterly addictive and completely unputdownable. A perfect read for anyone who enjoys this genre. 

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✰

MEET THE AUTHORS:

GREER HENDRICKS is the #1 New York Times bestselling co-author of An Anonymous Girl and The Wife Between UsThe Wife Between Us has been optioned for film by Amblin Entertainment, with Greer and her co-author, Sarah Pekkanen, hired to write the screenplay. An Anonymous Girl has been optioned for television, with Greer and Sarah tapped to executive produce. Prior to becoming a novelist, Greer served as Vice President and Senior Editor at Simon & Schuster. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Allure, and Publishers Weekly. She lives in Manhattan with her husband and two children.

Website|Instagram|Twitter|Facebook

Sarah Pekkanen is the internationally-bestselling author of THE WIFE BETWEEN US and AN ANONYMOUS GIRL, cowritten with Greer Hendricks.

THE WIFE BETWEEN US – an instant New York Times bestseller – is a twisty psychological tale that has been optioned for film by Amblin Entertainment. Sarah and Greer are penning the screenplay for Amblin.

AN ANONMYOUS GIRL is currently in production as a television series by eOne,with Sarah and Greer serving as executive producers.

Sarah is also the author of eight solo novels.

Website|Twitter|Facebook

BUY THE BOOK:

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Monthly Wrap Up

Monthly Wrap Up – July 2020

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Welcome to another wrap up. I read nineteen books this month, which is my best month yet. I read some great books and took part in two great readalongs with Tandem Collective UK and other bookstagrammers. The first was for All My Lies Are True, the sequel to The Ice Cream Girls. This took a different format and I particularly enjoyed having it start with the author reading the beginning of the book. The second was for A Court of Mist and Fury, the second book in the Court of Thorns and Roses series. I am now totally hooked on this series and am counting down to August’s readalong of book three. 

So here is what I read in July:

  1. Nine Elms by Robert Bryndza
  2. All Fall Down (DI Helen Grace 9) by M. J. Arlidge
  3. The Bad Mother’s Virus by Suzy K. Quinn
  4. The Paper Bracelet by Rachael English
  5. The Unwinding: and other dreamings by Jackie Morris
  6. Somebody’s Daughter by Carol Wyer (Natalie Ward Book 7)
  7. All My Lies Are True by Dorothy Koomson (Ice Cream Girls 2)
  8. Lost by Leona Deakin (Dr Bloom 2)
  9. Fleishman Is In Trouble
  10. If I Can’t Have You by Charlotte Levin
  11. Spirited by Julie Cohen
  12. The Resident by David Jackson
  13. Playdate by Alex Dahl
  14. Precious You by Helen Monks Takar
  15. The Storm by Amanda Jennings
  16. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Mass
  17. Eleven Lines To Somewhere by Alyson Rudd
  18. Shed No Tears by Caz Frear (DC Cat Kinsella Book 3)
  19. The Missing Pieces of Nancy Moon by Sarah Steele

2020-08-01-19-36-15

I had been trying to decide if my favourite book this month was All My Lies Are True or The Resident when The Missing Pieces of Nancy Moon swooped in at the final hour and claimed the title. I highly recommend all three books, particularly Nancy Moon.

Thank you to the tagged publishers for my gifted copies of the books.

What did you read in July? Did we read any of the same books?

Categories
book reviews

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Mass

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Published: June 2nd, 2020
Publisher: Bloomsbury UK
Format: Paperback, Kindle, Audio
Genre: Fantasy Fiction

Thank you to Tandem Collective UK for the invitation to take part in the readalong and Bloomsbury UK for the gifted copy of the book.

SYNOPSIS:

Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court – but at a steep cost. Though she now possesses the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, the mesmerising High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates his dark web of political games and tantalising promises, a greater evil looms – and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can step into her growing power, heal her fractured soul and have the courage to shape her own future – and the future of a world cloven in two.

Sarah J. Maas is a global #1 bestselling author. Her books have sold more than nine million copies and been translated into 37 languages. Discover the sweeping romantic fantasy for yourself.

MY REVIEW:

“Amarantha was just the beginning…”

This series has been my surprise reading joy of 2020. It was a series I’d had no plans to read in a genre I rarely pick up, but after reading the first book in this series I was hooked. Book two seems to be a fan favourite, with many who’d read the series telling me it’s their favourite installment, so I had high hopes for this readalong. 

ACOMAF feels darker than book one. I has themes of resentment, rage, imprisonment and freedom, examines PTSD, toxic relationships and is full of revenge, murder, lust and sex; alongside faeries, mythical creatures and magic. I find it hard to remember that this is targeted at a Young Adult audience and don’t think I’d be comfortable letting a young teen read it.

“But I was ensconced in a cocoon of darkness and fire and ice and wind, a cocoon that melted the ring off my finger until the golden ore dripped away into the void, the emerald tumbling after it. I wrapped that raging force around myself as if it could keep the walls from crushing me entirely, and maybe, maybe buy me the tiniest sip of air —
I couldn’t get out; I couldn’t get out ; I couldn’t get out —“

This one started slow for me; throughout part one I thought I was going to be the black sheep who didn’t like this book. This centered around the toxic relationship between Feyre and Tamlin, which was hard to read and at odds with their great love story in the first book. I admit, if this hadn’t been for a readalong I might have given up. But to my relief, it picked up in part two when Feyre arrived at the Night Court with Rhysand. This was also where I finally began to understand the love for Rhys that runs through the fandom. In book one it confused me as he’s a manipulative and abusive character, though we had been offered glimpses of his history towards the end of the book that hint at the reasons for his behaviour. But in this book we are given more of his back story and get to meet his inner circle. I am now Team Rhysand and Team Dream Court.

The storyline centers around a threat from King Hybern, who wants to take over the Faerie Realm and destroy the Mortal Realm. Feyre must find a way to save her home, both old and new, while learning to harness her new powers and navigating the politics of both realms. We are introduced to new characters and more of the magical world that Mass has created. I enjoyed this aspect of the book and seeing how differently characters we’d got to know in book one interacted with the new characters and revealed previously hidden sides to their character; some of them so much so they feel unrecognisable. For example, while Feyre remains the strong, fierce and independent warrior we met in book one, characters such as Tamlin and Rhys change drastically this time around. 

“I want them to hear your story. And know that there is a special strength… to enduring such dark trials and hardships… And still remaining warm, and kind. Still willing to trust —and reach out.”

Overall, I can see why this book is so loved and it was certainly a hit for me, though I do feel unable to rate it five stars because of part one. Mass has once again ended the book on a cliffhanger, setting the scene for more action and conflict, and making me wish I could pick up book three straight away. I highly recommend this series, even if it isn’t your usual kind of thing. You just might find that like me it opens you up to a whole new genre.

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✫

Sarah J. Maas by Beowulf Sheehan
The fantasy writer Sarah J. Maas (USA), January 22, 2020. Photograph © Beowulf Sheehan

MEET THE AUTHOR:

Sarah J. Maas is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Throne of Glass series, as well as the A Court of Thorns and Roses series.

Sarah lives in Bucks County, PA, and over the years, she has developed an unhealthy appreciation for Disney movies and bad pop music. She adores fairy tales and ballet, drinks too much tea, and watches an ungodly amount of TV. When she’s not busy writing, she can be found exploring the historic and beautiful Pennsylvania countryside with her husband and canine companion.

Website |Instagram|Twitter

BUY THE BOOK:

Amazon |Waterstones |Hive |Google Books |Apple Books |Kobo

Categories
book reviews

All My Lies Are True by Dorothy Koomson (Ice Cream Girls 2)

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Published: July 9th, 2020
Publisher: Headline
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audio
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime Fiction

Trigger Warning: Domestic Abuse

Thank you to the Tandem Collective for the invitation to take part in this readalong and Headline for the gifted copy of the book.

SYNOPSIS:

From the bestselling author of Tell Me Your Secret and The Brighton Mermaid comes the breath-taking sequel to the iconic Sunday Times bestseller The Ice Cream Girls.

Verity is telling lies…
And that’s why she’s about to be arrested for attempted murder.

Serena has been lying for years. . .
And that may have driven her daughter, Verity, to do something unthinkable…

Poppy’s lies have come back to haunt her . . .
So will her quest for the truth hurt everyone she loves?

Everyone lies.
But whose lies are going to end in tragedy?

MY REVIEW:

After reading The Ice Cream Girls in May, I was excited to read the highly anticipated follow up, which takes place ten years after the first. This time the story focuses mostly on Verity, the daughter of one of the Ice Cream Girls, and examines the legacy of the Ice Cream Girls and how it has affected those around them. It also tells the story of someone who has been in an abusive relationship and discovers that someone close to them is in one but isn’t sure if they are the victim or abuser. 

I LOVED this book! It was utterly addictive and I couldn’t put it down. At almost 600 pages it isn’t a short book, but I devoured it quickly and wasn’t ready for it to end, wishing I could stay with the characters even longer. I loved getting to know Verity and seeing how different life was for Poppy and Serena ten years later. This was my second time reading a Dorothy Koomson book and she is now an auto-buy author for me. My only regret is waiting so long to read her work. Her writing is exquisite and she manages to cover emotional and thought-provoking topics with sensitivity while having you on the edge of your seat as tension radiates from the pages and I tried in vain to predict what would happen next. 

The Tandem Collective ran this readalong a little differently and it started with a IGTV Live with the author where she read from the beginning of the book and then talked with fans and answered questions. In that chat she said that she had returned to the Ice Cream Girls because she thought it would be easier than creating new characters to tell. The premise of not knowing if your loved one is the victim or abuser in a relationship is one nobody wants to think about. As someone who has been in an abusive relationship I know it would kill me if someone I loved became an abuser. In fact, trying to stop that happening is the very reason I took my four-year-old son and left his father. It was a fascinating journey to follow the characters on and I related to both sides as the heartbreaking truth was revealed. 

One of the things that stood out to me most of all was how authentic the journey of the character who is being abused was. Their initial disbelief, how they rationalised abusive behaviours and their devastation as the truth finally dawns were all reminiscent of my own journey. In fact, some of the things written in this book made me see things that had happened in my past in a new light and realise that the journey is not yet over even many years on. I also appreciated the fact that she shines a light on domestic abuse  towards men as well as women as this is something not talked about enough.

As much as I enjoyed The Ice Cream Girls, I loved this even more. This gripping book is the definition of unputdownable, keeping you guessing until the final page. An intense and jaw-dropping thriller that you don’t want to miss.

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✮

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

Dorothy Koomson is the award-winning author of 15 novels and has been making up stories since she was 13 when she used to share her stories with her convent school friends. Her published titles include: Tell Me Your Secret, The Brighton Mermaid, The Friend, When I Was Invisible, That Girl From Nowhere, The Flavours of Love, The Woman He Loved Before, Goodnight, Beautiful and The Chocolate Run.

Dorothy’s first novel, The Cupid Effect, was published in 2003 (when she was quite a bit older than 13). Her third book, My Best Friend’s Girl, was selected for the Richard & Judy Summer Reads of 2006 and went on to sell over 500,000 copies. While her fourth novel, Marshmallows For Breakfast, has sold in excess of 250,000 copies. Dorothy’s books, The Ice Cream Girls and The Rose Petal Beach were both shortlisted for the popular fiction category of the British Book Awards in 2010 and 2013, respectively.

Dorothy’s novels have been translated into over 30 languages, and a TV adaptation loosely based on The Ice Cream Girls was shown on ITV1 in 2013. After briefly living in Australia, Dorothy now lives in Brighton.

In 2019 Dorothy was awarded the Image Award by The Black British Business Awards to celebrate and honour her achievements.

Website |Instagram |Twitter |Facebook

BUY THE BOOK:

Amazon |Waterstones |Hive |Google Books 

Categories
book reviews

Nine Elms by Robert Bryndza

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Published: June 25th, 2020
Publisher: Sphere
Format: Paperback, Kindle, Audio
Genre: Psychological Thriller, Mystery, Police Procedural, Crime Series.

I read this as part of a readalong with Tandem Collective UK. Thank you to Tandem Collective for the invitation to take part and Sphere for the gifted copy of the book.

SYNOPSIS:

From the breakthrough international bestselling author of The Girl in the Ice, a breathtaking, page-turning novel about a disgraced female detective’s fight for redemption. And survival.

Kate Marshall was a promising young police detective when she caught the notorious Nine Elms serial killer. But her greatest victory suddenly became a nightmare.

Fifteen years after those catastrophic, career-ending events, a copycat killer has taken up the Nine Elms mantle, continuing the ghastly work of his idol.

Enlisting her brilliant research assistant, Tristan Harper, Kate draws on her prodigious and long-neglected skills as an investigator to catch a new monster. But there’s much more than her reputation on the line: Kate was the original killer’s intended fifth victim . . . and his successor means to finish the job.

MY REVIEW:

Kate Marshall was at the start of a promising career when she unmasked the identity of the Nine Elms serial killer. But solving the case costs the young detective her career and fifteen years later she is still haunted professionally and personally by the case. Now working as a Criminology lecturer, the case comes back to plague her when a copycat takes up the Nine Elms Cannibal’s mantle and continues his idol’s gruesome killings. With the help of her research assistant Tristan Harper, Kate finds herself once again hunting a monster. But will she catch him before he finishes what the Nine Elms Cannibal didn’t?

Wow! What a ride! Dark, sinister, tense and atmospheric, this is exactly the kind of gripping thriller I love. I had heard great things about Robert Bryndza, and as a fan of crime fiction and investigative thrillers, I always planned to read his books. So, when the opportunity to read the first book in his new crime series with Tandem Collective came along, a book that was on my first ever list of Emma’s Anticipated Treasures when the hardback was released in January, I jumped at the chance and am now an instant fan. Bryndza is a seasoned thriller writer, and it shines through. Filled with well developed, memorable and compelling characters and with foreboding and suspense dripping from every page, I was on the edge of my seat from beginning to end.

Kate is a great protagonist and I really like her as the focus for a crime series. I liked that she is an ex-police officer in a break from the norm and her personal connection to the Nine Elms killer gave her, and the story, a bit of an edge.  The dynamic between her and her assistant was interesting and I liked how they worked together as they investigated the case. I’m looking forward to seeing where the author takes them in book two and hopefully learning a bit more about Tristan’s background. 

The Nine Elms Cannibal and the Fan are both predatory, merciless and ruthless killers. I found their relationship interesting. I am a self-confessed true crime fan, but can not imagine idolising a killer or wanting to copy or continue his or her ‘work’. Getting an insight into someone who does was both fascinating and disturbing. But strangely enough, it wasn’t the killers I loathed most of all. It was Enid, the mother of the Nine Elms cannibal. I don’t want to go into why as it will ruin the book, but I will say she is a vile, sickening woman who was very well written. 

Sharp, succinct, twisty and addictive, Nine Elms is one of my top thrillers this year. Gritty, gruesome and not for the faint hearted, it is a strong start to a new series that I will certainly be following and I am counting down impatiently to book two in November. 

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✮

robertbyz

MEET THE AUTHOR:

Robert Bryndza began his career training at the Guildford School of Acting. He spent six years as an actor, doing all kinds of strange jobs in between, which was the perfect training for being an author. He began to write during a long period of unemployment, first comedy sketches, a show which he took to the Edinburgh Festival, and then four romantic comedy novels which he self-published, and they became Amazon charts bestsellers selling over 250,000 copies.

His debut crime thriller The Girl in the Ice was the first book in his Detective Erika Foster series. It has sold over 1 million copies in the English language, and won the Dead Good Reader Award for best kick-ass female character at the 2016 Harrogate Crime Festival. Erika Foster has gone on to kick-ass in five further books; The Night Stalker, Dark Water, Last Breath, Cold Blood and Deadly Secrets. The series was twice nominated in Goodreads Choice Awards (Mystery and Thriller category) in 2016 for The Girl in the Ice, and in 2017 for Last Breath. Robert’s books have sold over 3 million copies in the English language, and have been translated into 29 languages.

Nine Elms, the first book| in his new Kate Marshall private detective series was published late in 2019 and was an instant Amazon USA no.1 bestseller, an Amazon UK top 10 bestseller and topped bestselling charts around the world. The second book in the series, Shadow Sands, will be published in November 2020. Robert is British and lives in Slovakia.

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