Emma's Anticipated Treasures Monthly Wrap Up

Monthly Wrap Up – October 2020

I can’t quite believe we’re in the start of November and in just a few weeks we’ll putting together our best books of the year! But the clocks have gone back, the weather is cold and wet and October is over. This means it’s time for another wrap-up.

October was a fantastic month for me. I read a total of 19 books and discovered some that will have a place in my favourites of 2020. I took part in twenty-one blog tours, three readalongs and managed to squeeze in some much-needed mood reading at the end of the month. The latter was so refreshing and reinforced my decision to take on less blog tours next year.

So, let’s look at what I read this month:

  1. The Meaning of Mariah Carey ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  2. A Court of Frost and Starlight ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  3. The Ex-Boyfriend ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  4. Where The Edge Is ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  5. Betrayal ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  6. Watch Her Vanish ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  7. When Life Gives You Mangoes ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  8. The Book of Two Ways (unrated)
  9. All Your Little Lies ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  10. The Princess and the Prick ⭐⭐⭐
  11. Gone Before ⭐⭐⭐💫
  12. Dangerous To Know ⭐⭐⭐⭐💫
  13. The Exiles ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  14. The Housewarming ⭐⭐⭐⭐💫
  15. Dead Perfect ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  16. The Nesting ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  17. The Illustrated Child ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  18. The Shape of Darkness ⭐⭐⭐⭐💫
  19. The Burning Girls ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Choosing a favourite has been tricky as the last three books I read in October were each outstanding enough to take the title. In addition, The Meaning of Mariah Carey was a sensational memoir that I had thought was a shoe-in for my favourite book all month. After some thought I have decided to give two books the title of BOTM: The Illustrated Child and The Burning Girls. In the end I just couldn’t choose between the two.

Did we read any of the same books this month? What was your favourite read of October?

Blog Tours book reviews

The Ex-Boyfriend by Rona Halsall

Published: September 30th, 2020
Publisher: Bookouture
Format: Paperback , Kindle, Audio
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Psychological Fiction

It’s a little late, but here is my review for the outstanding new thriller from Rona Halsall. Thank you to Bookouture for the invitation to take part and the gifted eBook ARC.


He promised to love her until her dying day…

When Becca’s first love shows up on her social media feed, she can’t help but smile fondly. Once upon a time Connor was the love of her life, and though it was over ten years ago, he’s always held a place in her heart.

Then he sends her a message. He sounds happy – still kind and funny, still living across the world in Australia. But he wants to know everything about her life now. How can Becca tell him the truth? About her workaholic husband, her stressful job, and the challenges of caring for her elderly father and her longed-for, adorable but exhausting three-year-old daughter Mia?

Becca hesitates, knowing she shouldn’t even reply. But Connor lives on the other side of the world. Just how dangerous can becoming friends again be?

It feels harmless. Until Mia gets sick – in a way that no one can explain. And it starts to become clear – someone will do absolutely anything to make sure Becca never escapes her past…

A completely unputdownable psychological thriller – perfect for fans of My Lovely WifeThe Girl on the Train, and The Woman at the Window.


“How well do you know the ones you love?”

Gripping, dark, sinister and atmospheric, this is another outstanding thriller from Rona Halsall. 

The story opens with a worried Becca waiting for news about her three-year-old daughter Mia at the hospital. For weeks she’s been telling everyone there’s something wrong, but no one would believe her. Who is making little Mia sick? Could Becca really be guilty?  And what does the reappearance of her ex-boyfriend Connor have to do with it all? 

This book had me on the edge of my seat from beginning to end. The characters and plot felt frighteningly real. Though Becca is an unreliable narrator who makes some bad decisions, it was impossible not to feel sympathy for what she was going through. Her pain, heartache and torture at the thought of someone harming her daughter was palpable, but there was always the nagging question in the back of your mind of whether we could really trust her. I had that doubt in my mind right until the reveal, though my gut was saying she didn’t hurt Mia. I’m not going to tell you if I was right because I don’t do spoilers.  

Ms Halsall has become a must-read author for me and I have loved every one of her books. She sucks you in quickly and is a master at drip feeding the reader little pieces of the puzzle, keeping us on tenterhooks as we try to piece them together. And this book was no exception, keeping me guessing right up until the big reveal. Boy was my jaw on the floor! 

The Ex-Boyfriend is a chilling, clever and suspenseful novel. It’s perfect for those who like a well-written thriller that is more psychological than gory and will make you question just how well you know those you love. 

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✰


Rona lives on the Isle of Man with her husband, two dogs and three guinea pigs. She has been a bookworm since she was a child and now she’s actually creating stories of her own, which still feels like a dream come true.

She is an outdoorsy person and loves stomping up a mountain, walking the coastal paths and exploring the wonderful beaches on the Island while she’s plotting how to kill off her next victim. She also makes sure she deletes her Google history on a regular basis, because… well, you can’t be too careful when you spend your life researching new and ingenious ways for people to die.

She has three children and two step-children who are now grown up and leading varied and interesting lives, which provides plenty of ideas for new stories!

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