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Ratings and Book Reviews (5 9 star ratings
5 reviews
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Overall rating

4.1 out of 5
9
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  • 1 person found this review helpful

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    The Darkest Summer

    For me this was a 3.5 rounded up to a 4. It did take me a while to get into this one. I almost gave up around the 30 percent mark and I didn't really feel like the story took off until the 70% mark. I will also mention that I wouldn't classify this as a psychological thriller it was definitely more a standard mystery. I wasn't able to guess the twists in the book so that was why this was review was bumped from a 3 to a 4.
  • 1 person found this review helpful

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    A fun read

    An unbelievable story of mayhem and secrets, of ambition and devastation, of desperation and escape. Ella Drummond has managed to capture the snapshots of all these emotions in the various chapters of the book. The hottest summer caused a bedlam in Sera’s life both in the past and the present. Best friends Dee and Sera were inseparable in 2003, but Dee and her family disappeared one summer night. Sera tried to find out but no luck. Life happened and decades later, Sera was back with her mother post her husband’s death. And so was Dee along with her brother and a child. But the Dee of today was a changed woman holding back so many secrets. The story caused the gentle waves of mystery and curiosity to pull me deeper into the ocean of confusion and murkiness where secrets transpired connecting both the past and present. Sera was beautifully etched, I liked her kindness to her best friend and to a stranger Henri with no judgements. I was in awe of her life where she lived in the midst of so many secrets, yet quite unaffected. Then came my niggles, too many conversation breaks, just when the suspense was reaching the zenith, and weird reactions from some of the characters, diluted my interest too. I rushed through the book to get to the secrets. And boy, they were so many. Many simply shocked me speechless. Murder and confusion and unexpected connections made this a quick, fun read.
  • 1 person found this review helpful

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    A Brilliant Read.

    I absolutely loved this book! It is a first class psychological thriller that took me hostage right from the start, and did not let me go until the last page! A story chock full of mystery, suspense and secrets that will keep you guessing until the thrilling conclusion. This story has a very well thought through plot, that is told in the past and present tense, and Ella does a great job in creating the backstory for it all to then be tied up nicely into the present day with no loose ends, and gives the reader a satisfying insight into the events that lead to the disappearance of Dee and her family all of those years ago. It is a slow burn, but is not too drawn out. It had the right amount of little teases to keep my interest to see where it was going to go, and when all was revealed, I was not disappointed. Character wise we have a mixed bag of likeable and unlikable ones. Sera the main player, has held on to the hope of meeting up again with her childhood friend Dee, and when it finally happens, I could feel her heart breaking as she realised that the girl and the cherished memories she has held dear to her for all of these years is no longer that person, but is now someone who is damaged it seems beyond repair. Dee had me feeling a whole lot of mixed emotions towards her and even though I did feel sympathy towards her and her situation, there was just something about her that didn’t gel with me. This was also the case with Leo, Dee’s brother, who Sera has contact with first when he returns to their hometown, and although he was pleasant, I always had a feeling of unease with him. The standout character for me, and who I adored was Henri. Misunderstood and an outcast in the town with a horrific past, his gentleness and kindness had me drawn to him right from the get go and I was rooting for him throughout. I really enjoyed Ella’s writing style and her descriptions of the intense heat had me a times feeling suffocated by it. I am not a fan of the heat but I like that Ella was able to make me feel like that and I was completely immersed with it all. I actually felt like I was apart of the story, watching from the sidelines as it all unfolded. Ella is a new author to me and one that I am glad to have been made aware of. I really enjoyed this book and I look forward to reading more books from her in the future. Thank-you to NetGalley, Hera Books, Ella Drummond and Sarah Hardy for allowing me to read an advanced copy of The Darkest Summer which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily.
  • 1 person found this review helpful

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    Multi layered mystery

    This story’s main focus is on Sera, who having lost her husband goes back with her daughter to live with her mother where she grew up. This is mainly a story about childhood friendships and secrets. I loved the dual timeline , being told from Sera in the present and from Mimi her mother in the past. How those secrets affect both the mothers and their daughters and the friendships made and lost. I love a good mystery and this has so many it sent my head in a spin. Why did Dee and her family disappear? Who is Henri who has moved into Dee and Leo’s childhood farm. How did Mimi know Hazel, Dee and Leo’s mum and whose body has been uncovered in the barn? Sera was a wonderful, trusting and slightly naive character whom I warmed to instantly and rooted for throughout the entire book. Henri was a great inclusion, a damaged character who I couldn’t work out if I could trust or not. His scars and closed attitude along with him being a stranger make him almost a leper in the neighbourhood and a figure of gossip among the locals. I’m being very careful with how I write this review as there is so much going on in the book if I mention one plot point it may give clues to another. If you fancy a multi layered book of intrigue, suspense and well written characters then this is the book for you.
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    A Hot Girl Summer

    It’s hot and global warming sucks and besides people setting fire to any and everything, there’s murder afoot. There’s always murder afoot. Meet Sera, short for Seraphina, a widow and single mother to the darling Katie who lives in the small village of New Forest with her actress mother Mimi. Sera is still of course mourning the death of her beloved husband Marcus and still settling in moving back in with her mother after the loss of him. Things are going fine until the fire up at the old farm across the way where the mysterious Frenchman, Henri lives and that is when everything becomes a bit too much for the village and for poor Sera. I related to Sera a lot in a lot of ways. It seems that as soon as I find my groove in life some mischievous God or Goddesses pushes over a stone in my life that I need for balance and I’m topsy turvy for weeks. I felt she was the protagonist we all needed especially when her childhood friends Dee and Leo mysteriously come back into her life after completely vanishing into the night after 15 years. This book was well written and had all of the right twists and turns up until the very end. It kept me wanting more and I could FEEL the heat. I’m experiencing it very much here in Pennsylvania. The author did a great job on conveying the scene and making me feel frazzled and reminisce on those childhood friends who I had in the past and one day just never saw again. Thank you very much Netgalley and the publisher for this ARC in exchange for an honest and fair review.
9

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