The Girl in the Ice by Robert Bryndza

Monday, August 28, 2017

28233082Title: The Girl in the Ice
Author: Robert Bryndza
Published by: Bookouture
Publication date: February 2016
Read: August 24 - 27, 2017
Genre: Mystery; Thriller
Pages: 396 (kindle edition)
Series: Detective Erika Foster #1
Mareli's rating: 2.5 stars
Recommend to: Readers of fast paced thrillers. Or if you watch crime series with female detectives, you might like this one as well.
Description: When a young boy discovers the body of a woman beneath a thick sheet of ice in a South London park, Detective Erika Foster is called in to lead the murder investigation. The victim, a beautiful young socialite, appeared to have the perfect life. Yet when Erika begins to dig deeper, she starts to connect the dots between the murder and the killings of three prostitutes, all found strangled, hands bound and dumped in water around London. What dark secrets is the girl in the ice hiding? As Erika inches closer to uncovering the truth, the killer is closing in on Erika. The last investigation Erika led went badly wrong… resulting in the death of her husband. With her career hanging by a thread, Erika must now battle her own personal demons as well as a killer more deadly than any she’s faced before. But will she get to him before he strikes again?
A page-turning thriller packed with suspense. If you like Angela Marsons, Rachel Abbott and Karin Slaughter, discover Robert Bryndza’s new series today. 
Watch out for more from DCI Erika Foster. Goodreads

Like most other avid Goodreads followers, I consider the annual Goodreads Choice awards as a treasure map for the next year's list of good reads. The 4 and 5 star ratings.  So how is it possible that my rating for The Girl in the Ice came in below the majority? Let's think about it - The Girl in the Ice has all the trimmings that a really good mystery thriller should have:
1. A gruesome murder
2. Secrets 
3. High-flying family with titles and dysfunctional members
4. Leading detective with a past
5. Trafficking and prostitution

Great, great key elements! This should have been sooooo good. And maybe it was. I might be too old school and look at all the nitty gritty details the way that Poirot or Miss Marple or Columbo or Jessica Fletcher would have. And that's just wrong. Their time has passed. In the modern day's detectives' defense, neither of the above mentioned detectives had to deal with Iphones or tiny little nickers. 

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The Prologue. Page 5. Gosh, it bothered me for the next 390 pages. Where exactly did she hide that phone? Yes, it was a clever and an attention grabbing effect to open the book from Andrea's last point of view. It worked. It had my attention immediately. It's just that damn phone and the thong. Then again, glitzy Andrea did proof to have a few glitches. 

You know who would have been able to figure that one out? 

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Richard Castle. He would have came up with a very clever and a quite plausible explanation. Castle brings me to other small problem I had with this highly acclaimed thriller. 

The leading lady. DCI Erika Foster. 

Just like Kate Beckett in the hit tv-series Castle, Erika also has a troubled past (like they all do). She says whatever she wants to whom ever she wants and doesn't always follow orders. She also tends to wander off on her own without telling anybody where she is going. You would expect ladies who know exactly what goes on out there to know a bit better, won't you. Both are beautiful (although I really did struggle to get a clear picture of Erika in my mind), but neither have a whole lot of charm or tact. And that's where Erika starts to fall short. Unlike Kate, Erika is friendless and teamless. Erika needs Castle's charm, Esposito's shady-past-too-I-understand attitude and Ryan's good manners. Without a friend or a team and a rather aggressive personality, you don't have much on your side, do you?

Granted, this is the first book in a series, so there are a number of slots that can be filled. The potential is definitely there. Detectives Peterson and Moss (Kate Moss, yes, that is right) showed strong character development and there might just be a strapping team lurking here in future.  My below average rating does not mean I won't be reading the rest of this series. 

I did enjoy the story line and the dysfunctional Douglas-Brown family was well depicted. I also tend to follow my gut instinct and the way that Erika followed her hunches were realistically portrayed. If only she would wait for backup. Or at least call it in. Stupid, stupid stupid. You know there's a figure lurking out there, looking for you..... 

The pace was fast and strong and if I can get the image of the phone and the thong and the sexless cat out of my mind, it was a decent crime thriller. 

The Girl in the Ice was a read-together with the lovely Esther from Bite Into Books. Hop on over to her website as well to see her thoughts on this book. 



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Where the sweet bird sings by Ella Joy Olsen

Saturday, August 26, 2017

33369334Title: Where the sweet bird sings
Author: Ella Joy Olsen
Published by: Kensington Books
Publication date: 29 August 2017 
Genre: General Fiction
ISBN:  9781496705648
Mareli's rating: 3 stars
Recommend to: Lovers of adult fiction that deals with loss and grief
Description: People respond to tragedy in different ways. Some try to move on. Some don’t move at all. A year after her young son’s death due to a rare genetic disease, Emma Hazelton is still frozen by grief, unable and unwilling to consider her husband Noah’s suggestion that they try to have another child.
As the future Emma once imagined crumbles, her family’s past comes into sharp relief. Searching for the roots of her son’s disease, Emma tries to fit together the pieces in her genealogical puzzle. Hidden within an old wedding photograph of her great-grandparents is an unusual truth Emma never guessed at—a window into all the ways that love can be surprising, generous, and fiercely brave . . . and a discovery that may help her find her own way forward at last. (Netgalley)

"You asked why a person would lie? I'll tell you. It's because you can't bear the weight of the enormous mess you've made, because you pray things will work out for the best, or they'll change given enough time. At first, it's avoidance of pain, but the truth drifts away, the distance between reality and the original lie are so far removed from one another, the situation can't be bridged with words. Soon, the lie is the truth. The lie dictates how things are in reality."
I've requested this book from Netgalley and Kensington Books at the beginning of this year when I went through a similar heartache as Emma. I hoped that this book would help me to deal with my own sorrow and pain. That it did. What a beautiful written book! 

Emma's emotions and thoughts were captured very realistically. Her inner struggle and despair were heartfelt. She was a strong leading character, maybe a bit too strong as a couple of the other characters came across as part of a puppeteer show. Especially the "historical" characters. Loved the plot and story of her genealogical heritage and the way that Emma went about to uncover her family history had a strong ring of truth.

 Although it kept my attention and I desperately wanted to uncover the truth alongside Emma, it just never became real. Alternating story-lines might have captured it. The truth about Emma's grandfather was a lovely and heartbreaking story and it ones again proofed just how strong a family can be.
"There are many things that connect one person to another. It could be shared history. Or biology. It could be blood. Or it could be love."
I haven't read the companion to Where the sweet bird singsRoot, Petal, Thorn, but I will try to get my hands on it. Although the two novels are not a sequel, I do believe it might be to the reader's advantage to read both of these. 

Ella Joy Olsen has a beautiful writing style and there were a number of beautiful truths captured between the pages of Where the sweet bird sings. I will carry these words of comfort and providers of hope with me for a long time. 

A big thank you to Netgalley and Kensington Books for the opportunity to read and review this novel and to Ella Joy Olsen for her lovely words.
"It's not what happened to you years ago, it's what you do from this point forward. The next step is more important than dwelling on past mistakes".  
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House of Maria - Feel His Grace


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The Memory of Water by J.T. Lawrence

Thursday, August 17, 2017

35901776Title: The Memory of Water
Author: J.T. Lawrence

Format: Audiobook (Audible)
Read/listened: August 4 - 9, 2017
Genre: Thriller; Black Humor (is that a genre, or just preferred reading?)
Mareli's rating: 3.5 Stars (loved the story, didn't care for the narration much)
Recommend to: If you find Jay Gatsby an intriguing character, you will have a field-day with Slade Harris
Slade Harris will do anything for a story, including murdering the woman he loves. Slade doesn’t think twice about jumping out of a plane or conducting disastrous love affairs to gather material for his work, but his self-indulgent life is catching up with him. Stumbling through his late thirties hopeless and a little drunk, Slade has a dazzling, dangerous idea which will change his life forever. It’s going to be Slade’s ultimate story ... and all he’s hoping for is to survive it. Goodreads

We've all heard the theory:

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I am such a sucker for conspiracy theories, murder mysteries, Cluedo boardgames, Dallas, Twin Peaks.... You get the picture. And obviously J.T. Lawrence also got the picture. And she did so not disappoint me!

Jay Gatsby kills Hemingway in the library with a porcelain knife and they chat about it over a drink while picking up ladies in a dodgy bar. 

Yes, that is exactly what is happening in this enticing story by one of the most versatile authors I've ever had the pleasure to read. Wait, that makes me sound like a gypsy fortune teller. Let's try again: Whose work I had the pleasure to read. 

I came across this beautiful South African author a couple of months ago. I know, I know - how is it possible that I haven't devoured all her books years ago? I am convinced that I was withheld these books by somebody or a secret organisation who wished me ill book-health. No other explanation can be plausible.  

I've bought The Memory of Water along with all Janita's other books after I've exposed the vindictive party who withheld these books from me (Although I have no idea how I managed that). When Janita send a request for reviews for the audio recording of The Memory of Water, I immediately jumped at the opportunity. 

Download Audible. Check
Download The Memory of Water (make sure it's the one by J.T. Lawrence. Yes, there are more than one book by that title). Check
Pick a new color-by-numbers. Check
Sharpen pencils. Check
Pour a glass of wine. Just bring the bottle. Check
Press play. Check

Now I am not very good with audiobooks. Yet. I have listened to a couple of the classics on Librivox and that is okay, because if you lose a chapter or two, you haven't missed much. And if you don't like the narrator, you can easily switch to another reader. And I am Afrikaans first language, so no, I do not realize when a word might be mispronounced. Actually, more than once I've realized that I have mispronounced some words for years. In public. In well-to-do company. 

So maybe it wasn't the best idea to listen to a South African book read by a non-South African narrator. Although Austin Moran had a very good type-cast voice for Slade Harris, he might have benefited to grasp the pronunciation of certain South African words and phrases. My opinion. No conspiracy against Austin Moran III. 

I so wish that I've read this book before I've listened to it. I am sure that it would have been a solid 4.5 star rating from me. This story is a roller coaster ride. Full of twists and turns and loops and screaming people. Even the occasional motion sickness makes an appearance (although it might be a bit more the morning after). And then of course there is the ending. Whoo hoo!! What a ride.

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Yes, Janita can definitely be toasted for this one. Bravo bravo!


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Thursday Quotables #7 - A Monster Calls

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Image result for A monster Calls

An opening line like that has the same effect on me as: "You had me at hello"..... 

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness is one of those Russian-doll books.  A gift within a gift that leads to yet another gift. So I just have to share it on Thursday Quotables hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies. This weekly feature is the place to highlight a great quote, line, or passage during your past reading week. Whether it's something funny, startling, gut-wrenching or just really written beautifully - this is where you must share! Just remember to link back to 

Gosh, I love books that are just so much better than therapy and almost as good as chocolate. Some are even a bit better than chocolate. A Monster Calls is like hot chocolate. It makes you warm and sweet and it lingers. It speaks the truth. Like you should.

This is a monster of a book and movie and I don't think I will ever shut-up about it. And the quotes, the quotes are like gold. I am sure you will be able to trade with some of these:

Image result for Quotes from A monster calls Image result for Quotes from A monster calls

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We've watched the movie last night and it was like a double-choc-shot. The perfect companion to an amazing book. 

Have you read A Monster Calls or watched the movie? 


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Monday Shout Out - I don't need therapy, I need books

Monday, August 7, 2017

Image result for I don't need therapy I need booksIt's the second week of August already. My goodness.... How did we get here without therapy? Actually, I didn't. But it doesn't help all that much. Or at least not as much as a good book does. 

This past week I've had two books that were better for my soul and state of mind than any therapist could possibly be. I might go as far as saying it was better than chocolate. At least one was better than chocolate. 

So is life any better? No. But at least books don't fail me anymore. Yes, the sun does shine a bit brighter on my book pages this morning. So let's get reading for this week!

Recently Finished

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Into the Water by Paula Hawkins - Nope. This was no earth shattering, skip-your-therapy-session-and-finish-the-damn-book read. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't a bad read. Just not as strong as The Girl on the Train. But I am very excited for the movie version of this one, lots op potential for a really great movie. Follow my thoughts @ Into the Water

Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult - This was my WOW book for the year. The one that make you stop and take a double take. The one that hits you full force. 

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It might just be me though. This book understood. Or the elephants did. Sometimes your grief is as big as an elephant. Sometimes the only consolation is an elephant. Gosh. I loved it. Review: Leaving Time

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell - I'm not all that comfortable with audio books yet, but this was quite enjoyable. And yes, I loved to remember how it felt to be young and in love. 

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness Oh how I love a book that is better than therapy. This is one of those. Some of the most profound, life changing quotes I've ever read. And believe me, I am a sucker for a good quote from a book. This book will stay with me forever. I hope the monster will come just after midnight. Like he should.

Image result for Quotes from A monster calls Image result for Quotes from A monster calls

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Currently spending my time with

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I am currently listening to an audio recording of The Memory of Water by one of my all time favorite South African authors, JT Lawrence. The story is funny and easy to follow, but I do struggle a bit with the definitely-NOT-South African-accent. 

I can't just sit and listen to a book. My mind goes on adventures way beyond the listened word. So I still occupy my hands with a bit of color by numbers. See, I really don't need therapy. 

Cross my heart, hope to read

I haven't made a library card this month, I have a few left overs from previous months and I need to clear my NetGalley shelf. Let's see what's lying in wait:

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Book Club 

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Sure that is manageable for August.

Wishing you a great week with some excellent therapeutic books to occupy your mind.

Thalk to me! What book do you consider better as therapy?


Linking up as always with Kathryn at Bookdate for It's Monday! What are reading? Remember to add your link and to visit some other bloggers. 


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