BOOK REVIEW: The Girl In The Ice – by Robert Bryndza

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Title: The Girl In The Ice
(DCI Erika Foster #1)
Author: Robert Bryndza
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: February 12th 2016
Finished reading: April 20th 2016
Pages: 396
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“The secret of blending in, is don’t try to. Everyone is so fucking self-obsessed.”

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I have been wanting to read The Girl In The Ice ever since I first heard about it and found out it was a mystery/thriller read… The cover is slighly misleading (when I first saw it I thought it would be a fantasy read until I investigated further), but the excellent plot more than makes up this initial confusion. In fact, I think the plot, plot twists and descriptions are probably the best aspect of this first book in the DCI Erika Foster series. The detailed descriptions set the right atmosphere right from the first page and the fast pace and intriguing murder case made it hard to stop reading this story. I admit some of the plot twists might be a bit farfetched, but the story is interesting enough that it doesn’t really matter. What did bother me and lowered the rating quite a bit is the ‘bitchiness’ of the characters and the slight lack of character development or other elements that maybe would have made me like the characters better. I understand Robert Bryndza was trying to create a strong female character with Erika Foster and I’m not saying she comes over as a bad detective, but why do all successful (female) detectives have to have a complicated personal life? And what is with all the bitchiness between the main characters? The fact that the characters were not likeable made it harder to connect to the story, although I have to say it is the only serious problem I had with The Girl In The Ice. So if you are looking for a good whodunit with a well written plot, a surprising ending and don’t mind unlikeable characters, make sure to add this book to your wishlist.

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When the body of a woman is discovered beneath a thick sheet of ice in a South London park, Detective Erika Foster is called in to investigate the murder. The case is delicate since the victim turns out to be the daughter of a very influential family and Erika Foster is told she cannot ask any painful questions or do anything that might damage their reputation. Erika doesn’t trust the family though and decides to dig deeper anyway… And she starts to connect the dots between the murder and the killings of three prostitutes whose deaths look suspiciously similar. Her boss is furious that she doesn’t leave the family alone and wants to release information that can damage both their reputation and that of the victim… Erika feels she is close to discovering information that will help her to solve the case, but after her last investigation went terribly wrong her career is hanging by a thread and she doesn’t find the support she needs to continue. Will she be able to find a way to fight her own personal demons as well as to hunt the new killer before he kills again?

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Like I said above, I would have given The Girl In The Ice an even higher rating if it wouldn’t have been for the ‘bitchy’ characters. I don’t mind strong characters or a bit of swearing if it’s used in the right way, but the constant bitching between the main characters became quite annoying after a while. The plot and plot twists are more than excellent though and I have to say I didn’t see the ending coming at all. Combine this with detailed descriptions that set the right atmosphere and a fast pace and you have a really entertaining whodunit that is definitely worth reading if you like the genre.

Friday Finds #84 – April 29th

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FRIDAY FINDS is originally featured at Books And A Beat and showcases the most interesting books I’ve encountered during the last week and have added to my neverending TBR list on Goodreads. Below a selection of my newest additions; click on the book descriptions to go to its Goodreads page! 😀

My finds:

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Continue reading

WWW Wednesdays #88 – April 27th

wwwwednesdaysWWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I finally started The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah the other day and even though I didn’t have much free time to read, I’m really enjoying it so far. I’ve also finally picked up my latest TBR jar pick The Name Of The Star by Maureen Johnson, but it’s too soon to say anything about it.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* The first title I managed to finish since last week was The Girl In The Ice by Robert Bryndza. The plot, plot twists and descriptions are really good, but the ‘bitchiness’ of the character did make me enjoy this mystery/thriller less than I thought I would… Still definitely worth reading though!
* I then decided to read Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover, which turned out to be an entertaining enough read. I actually loved the first part (up until about 55-60% I would have given it 5 stars), but things went downhill from there… Still, I really enjoyed most of it.
* I decided to pick up the novella Maybe Not by Colleen Hoover as well since it was short and I kind of wanted to read more about Warren… And I actually liked the novella better than the last part of Maybe Someday.
* The last book I finished is A Gathering Of Shadows by V.E. Schwab, and I have a feeling it is going to take some time to get my thoughts together… Such a good series and the wait for the third book is going to be a long one!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I really should start reading Daughter Of Smoke And Bone by Laini Taylor next since it was the winner of the which series to read next? poll last month… I will most likely do as soon as I finish one of the titles above; I just wanted to read my last TBR jar pick first. I also want to read The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater, although I should probably get a copy of the fourth book first… And I honestly don’t know why I haven’t read See How They Run by Ally Carter yet, since I loved the first book last year and this sequel has been on my most anticipated 2015 releases list. Oops? My new TBR jar pick is Love Letters To The Dead by Ava Dellaira. I’ve heard mixed things about that one, so I will be keeping my fingers crossed.

BOOK REVIEW: The Beginning Of Everything – by Robyn Schneider

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Title: The Beginning Of Everything
Author: Robyn Schneider
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
First published: August 27th 2013
Finished reading: April 18th 2016
Pages: 335
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“If everything really does get better, the way everyone claims, then happiness should be graphable. But that’s crap, because better isn’t quantifiable.”

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I was looking for a quick and entertaining read and since I loved reading Robyn Schneider‘s other novel Extraordinary Means two months ago, I decided to pick up my copy of The Beginning Of Everything. Unfortunately, this story wasn’t as nearly as good as my first experience with her work. It might have been because of my high expectations, but the cheesy and cliche plot and annoying characters made me feel mostly disappointed by this read. The first three chapters make you think this could be a really interesting take on how Ezra deals with the fact that he can no longer play tennis and has to adapt to his new life and status at school. Those chapters are actually quite misleading, because the rest of the story is basically a cliche storybook involving a couple of seniors both trying to be different and fitting in during the last year in high school. Jocks against nerds, a former jock now belonging to the debate club, the former tennis captain that used to date a cheerleader, prom, (hotelroom) parties involving alcohol and games… This plot is basically one big cliche and almost made me gag. I guess those who don’t mind a story like this will probably end up loving The Beginning Of Everything, but this definitely wasn’t my cup of tea. Also, the fact that I couldn’t stand the main character, the whole pity party and prom situations didn’t help either… And the tension between Cassidy and Ezra is actually quite boring. But like I said before, fans of contemporary romance who don’t mind cheesy and cliche high school scenes will probably love this read.

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Ezra Faulkner used to be the golden boy with a great athletic career and a busy social life with his jock friends and girlfriend. But all that changed that one night of his personal tragedy, where a reckless driver shatters his knee and dreams… Ezra can no longer play tennis and finds himself without friends or a girlfriend after she cheated on him. His senior year is not going to be as he thought it would, and suddenly he finds himself at the table of misfits. His former teammates don’t seem to care much about the fact that Ezra is missing, but can he accept his new status and friendships? And what about the new girl Cassidy Thorpe, who seems to be unlike anyone Ezra’s ever met?

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The Beginning Of Everything started out promising even though I never liked the main character, but things soon went downhill from there. I admit I never really like cheesy contemporary romance stories, but the promise of something better actually made me feel more disappointed in the end. I’m not saying this is a bad read and the right person will probably love it, but if you want to try Robyn Schneider‘s work I would definitely recommend reading her other novel Extraordinary Means first.

Teaser Tuesdays #91 – April 26th: The Nightingale

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TEASER TUESDAYS is a weekly book meme originally featured at Books And A Beat. To participate, just open the book you are currently reading to a random page, and choose two ‘teaser’ sentences from somewhere on that page. (no spoilers!)

Historical fiction is probably one of my favorite genres and I always find stories set during WWII intriguing, so it’s easy to say I’m really excited to be finally reading The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. I’ve heard nothing but wonderful things about this story, so I can’t wait to continue reading this one later today.

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My teaser (20%):

“Vianne closed the bedroom door and leaned against it, trying to calm her nerves. She could hear Isabelle pacing in the room behind her, moving with an anger that made the floorboards tremble.”

What are you reading right now?

BOOK REVIEW: A Darker Shade Of Magic – by V.E. Schwab

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Title: A Darker Shade Of Magic
(Shades Of Magic #1)
Author: V.E. Schwab
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Dystopia
First published: February 24th 2015
Finished reading: April 15th 2016
Pages: 400
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“I’d rather die on an adventure than live standing still.”

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I know, I know, I should have listened to the numerous recommendations and raving reviews and picked up this series a lot sooner, because A Darker Shade Of Magic went straight to my list of all time favorites. This book is amazing! I have to say it has been hard to write a coherent review without fangirling all over the place… Because the first book of the Shades Of Magic without doubt deserves every last bit of the hype around it. Why? A Darker Shade Of Magic has an excellent worldbuilding, a simple but intriguing plot, a fast pace, well written prose, interesting characters I almost immediately connected to, no love triangle, almost no romance… In one word: BRILLIANT, or at least everything I want in a fantasy series. I loved the dynamics between the two seemingly so different characters Kell and Lila, especially since there is NO love interest whatsover between the two. The worldbuilding is really well done and together with the prose it immediately set the right atmosphere for this kind of dark and intriguing story. And even though A Darker Shade Of Magic doesn’t end with a cliffhanger, I still needed to read the sequel straight away. An excellent sign for a great story, right? I will stop fangirling now and leave you with these last two last facts: first of all, V.E. Schwab is without doubt one of my new favorite authors and secondly, if you haven’t read this series yet and like the genre, make sure to move it to the top of your TBR pile!

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Ever since disaster happened in Black London, the three remaining Londons have been separated and isolated in their parallel worlds. Grey London – dirty, boring and lacking magic, ruled by mad King George -, Red London – where life and magic managed to flourish with the Maresh Dynasty at the top – and White London – where people fight to control magic and whoever has murdered their way to the throne rules. Kell is one of the last Antari left with the rare powers to be able to travel between the worlds, and officially he is the personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London. It is his task to carry the monthly letters between the royals of each London, but that is not the only thing Kell takes with him on his travels between the parallel worlds.  His dangerous hobby of smuggling bits of a world they’ll never see to those willing to pay for it finally caught up with him and he is set up for treason… And while he flees into Grey London, someone seems to tag along even though Kell still believes he doesn’t need help.

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As you might have guessed from my rambles above, I really loved reading A Darker Shade Of Magic. This first book in the Shades Of Magic series has basically everything I want in a YA fantasy series all mashed together into one brilliant story, and this book made it straight to my list of all time favorites. I know it sounds a lot like fangirling and I admit I still find it hard to write a proper review even days after finishing it… But what I can say is that A Darker Shade Of Magic is one of those books that is truly worth the hype. Make sure to read it if you haven’t already; you won’t regret it!