The Sharp Edge of a Snowflake by Sif Sigmarsdóttir – Book Review (#Bookstagram Tour)

My review in the style of an Instagram post (like in the book)

Photo: A copy of the book on a black background with snow white sheets and silver snowflakes.

Filter: Lo-fi

Possible captions…

Option one: Beware the Snowflakes – they have power in numbers!

Option two: Two teen girls who have moved from the U.K. to Iceland find themselves digging for the truth behind life’s, and their own, filters.

Option three: Author Sif Sigmarsdóttir melts onto the Nordic crime scene with a standout YA thriller that says as much about modern day society as it does about murder.

Option four: I was lucky enough to meet Sif at #YALC this weekend. Her smiley and lovely persona clearly masks a twisted murder mystery writing heart.

Option five: Hoping for a sequel that explores Hannah’s “curse” more.

Option six: Love the use of #instagram within the story.

Actual caption: “you can’t judge a person by the width of their smile.” Social media, recent political sabotage, and nordic thriller combine in a murder mystery full of twists. Kept me reading, guessing and wanting more.

@darkroomtours @teambkmrk @sif.sigmarsdottir #SharpEdgeOfASnowflake #DarkroomTours #SifSigmarsdóttir #bookstagram #bookreview

Summary:

The snow is falling thick and fast now. Snow in Iceland is dangerous.

Hannah Eiríksdóttir has been banished from her home in London to a place of eternal punishment for the wicked. No, not Hell, but close: Iceland. There, she faces a new life working as a journalist for her father’s newspaper – a man she barely knows.

Imogen Collins has the perfect life as a social media influencer, showing off her glamorous London existence to adoring fans. But behind the filters lies a dark secret. She thought she’d buried it: But the Beast is back – a ghost from her past who’s threatening to ruin her future.

When a man is found murdered at the edge of the road in snowy Iceland the girls’ lives collide. Imogen had the motive. Can Hannah find out the truth, and discover the reality of the girl beneath the filters?

Behind perfection often lies unbearable ugliness.

For fans of One of Us is Lying and A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder

Author Information

Sif Sigmarsdóttir is a writer and a journalist living in London. She’s a coffee drinking news addict who loves nothing more than books and chocolate.

She’s originally from Iceland. Her name comes from Norse mythology – Sif is the goddess wife of Thor, the strong and handsome thunder god. She tried to find a Thor for a husband but no one was available.

Sif lives in a flat with her two children, Inspiration-Drain-One and Inspiration-Drain-Two, and her non-Thor husband who goes by the name He-Who-Takes-Out-The-Trash. Their pet is a family of moths.

She’s been writing books for ten years. She’s also been pestering politicians for ten years. Her weekly column in Iceland’s biggest newspaper is the country’s most read. She was once blacklisted by a prime minister. She celebrated with some chocolate.

Her new book is called The Sharp Edge of a Snowflake and it’s a feminist Nordic noir YA thriller which can be described as “Nancy Drew meets The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”. Eoin Colfer, author of Artemis Fowl, described it as “a breathtaking, thought provoking and wildly entertaining YA thriller”.

Website: sifsigmarsdottir.com

Instagram: instagram.com/sif.sigmarsdottir

Twitter: twitter.com/sifsigmars

Facebook: facebook.com/sif.sigmarsdottir

Thanks to teambkmk and darkroomtours for the copy of the book for the purposes of this honest review. Please note: Trigger Warning for Sexual Assault

Do check out the rest of the tour stops for guest posts, extracts and other reviews

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I hold your heart by Karen Gregory – Blog Tour Book Review

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/44314544-i-hold-your-heart

Synopsis

You make me feel like there’s something good in the world I can hold on to,’ Aaron says. He kisses me again, draws me so close it’s almost hard to breathe. ‘I love you, Gem. And I promise I’ll hold your heart forever.’

When Gemma meets Aaron, she feels truly seen for the first time. Their love story is the intense kind. The written-in-the-stars, excluding-all-others kind. The kind you write songs about.

But little by little their relationship takes over Gemma’s life. What happens when being seen becomes being watched, and care becomes control?

Told in both Gemma’s and Aaron’s words, this is a raw, moving exploration of gaslighting in teenage relationships that skewers our ideas of what love looks like.

Author

Karen Gregory has been a confirmed bookworm since early childhood. She wrote her first story about Bantra the mouse aged twelve, then put away the word processor until her first child was born, when she was overtaken by the urge to write. Her first novel, Countless, published in 2017, was shortlisted for the Leeds Book Award and longlisted for the Branford Boase. Her second novel, Skylarks, was published in 2018. Karen lives in Wiltshire with her family.

Twitter: http://twitter.com/K_Gregory33

Instagram: http://instagram.com/karengregoryauthor

What I Thought

This starts out like a love at first sight teen romance, where main character Gemma gets swept away by the enigmatic Aaron. As do we to a certain extent, despite knowing that something is going to go wrong.

Gemma is overshadowed at home by her football playing younger brother Michael and Aaron sees this – and her.

With beach picnics and expensive gifts Gemma falls deeper and despite friends concerns she fails to see the warning signs. And that’s because they are so subtle at first. Things that are easily dismissed or put down to coincidence.

This is an interesting look at gaslighting in a relationship, made even more complex by the addition of Aaron’s point of view, one that doesn’t immediately portray neon flashing lights but indicates that something has gone wrong in a past relationship.

The author makes it clear in a postscript that having his point of view included doesn’t excuse any behaviour but it helps the reader explore the psychology of the phenomenon from both sides.

I loved the inclusion of Gemma’s family dynamic and it was intriguing how particularly her parents relationship set some foundations for certain behaviours to be seen as normal. That’s what is very tricky with emotional abuse in particular, in most relationships – even with friends – things are said that can be hurtful or occasionally manipulative, when does it become abuse?

Set in college we see how important friendships are to teenagers in navigating their transition between child and adulthood. Gemma’s great love is country music and songwriting and her changing relationships with her family, friends and activities are powerful indicators of what is happening. In isolation her relationship with Aaron can definitely be seen as romantic, but in the wider context the cracks show.

All in all this is a very powerful read that reminded me of You by Caroline Kepnes. Trigger warnings for emotional, physical and sexual abuse.

Do check out what the other reviewers on the tour thought.

Thank you to Faye Rogers and Bloomsbury for the gifted copy for the purposes of this honest review.

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo – Book Review #NinthHouse

Synopsis

For nearly two hundred years, eight secret societies of Yale University have operated from the shadows – serving the interests of the elite and shaping the course of history.

The Ninth House is tasked with policing them – until the murder of a young woman throws this carefully hidden world of privilege, power and the occult into chaos …

Publishes 1st October 2019

ISBN: 9781473227965

Author

Leigh Bardugo is a No. 1 New York Times bestselling Author of fantasy novels and short stories. She was born in Jerusalem, grew up in Los Angeles, and graduated from Yale University. These days she lives and writes in Los Angeles.

@LBardugo

What I Thought

I was super lucky to get to read this hotly anticipated adult novel by Leigh Bardugo way before its October release. Thanks go to the superstars from #Orionontour in Dorchester. What follows is my honest review.

Having enjoyed Leigh’s Grisha series and being oddly fascinated by secret societies, especially since watching the film The Skulls 19 years ago! I went in expecting to enjoy this. And I did.

Our main protagonist is Alex “not short for Alexandra” Stern, who has been invited to enter the Ninth House. Head hunted if you like, thanks to her unique ability to see Grays (ghosts) without the need to ingest toxic concoctions.

The story is based at Yale University where their real life secret societies have long been shrouded by mystery and have produced an influential person or twenty.

Bardugo imagines that the occult is behind their success (or does she 😉🤐) and the Ninth House – Lethe – is the society that polices the others. They make sure rules and rituals are followed and ensure that hopefully no one dies.

Lethe has its own hierarchy, and Alex – codename Dante, works most closely with her Virgil, Darlington and their Oculus, Dawes. There’s also Turner a member of the police who gets his eyes wide opened whilst working the murder.

The book switches forward and back in time and contains a number of mysteries that both Alex, and us as readers, must solve.

What happened at Alex’s Ground Zero? Who killed the town girl on a society ritual night? What does the murderous ghost called the Bridegroom want with Alex? Where did my favourite character go?

I found it straightforward to follow what was happening, but it is a gradual unpicking so those that like quick answers might get a little frustrated as all the different threads are weaved over the course of many years.

Alex is also a student so she has to attend classes, write papers, earn money, keep her secret life hidden from her buddies and sometimes even go to parties. Note: Trigger warning for rape and sexual assault and some fairly satisfying, if gross revenge for the latter.

I really enjoyed the relationships Alex has with those around her, in particular how her and Dawes start working together after a frosty beginning. Alex herself is complex, and is definitely hiding things. Is she a hero or an anti-hero?

My only slight complaint was the absence of a character I wanted more of in the present narrative, but hey I’m definitely up for impatiently waiting for book two’s release.

Vibes I got from this book: The Skulls, Flatliners, a much darker Ghost Whisperer, Dollhouse, Supernatural, Shadowhunters, Vicious. All things I love.

Ninth House opens up an exciting new urban fantasy world for an ongoing series full of privileged and unprincipled societies, ghosts, the occult and complex characters. I was invited. I’m staying.

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