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book reviews Emma's Anticipated Treasures

One Left Behind (Detective Gina Harte Book 9) by Carla Kovach

Published: July 15th, 2021
Publisher: Bookouture
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Suspense, Crime Fiction, Police Procedural, Noir Fiction, Crime Series
Format: Paperback, Kindle, Audiobook

Thank you to Bookouture and NetGalley for the eBook ARC.

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SYNOPSIS:

Music and loud voices echo through the woods surrounding her. Wiping her tears, she hears the rustle of leaves close by. Footsteps. She has no time to scream before a hand covers her mouth and her entire world goes black.

In a patch of forest on the outskirts of a small town, five teenage school friends prepare to spend a night away from home. Carrying their tents and sleeping bags, they laugh and joke as they make their way into the darkest part of the woods, away from prying eyes. But as the sun rises the following morning, only four are left alive.

Devastated, Leah’s friends all swear they didn’t see or hear anything. Her best friend sobs as she recounts what she remembers from that night – dancing, roasting marshmallows, sipping warm cans of beer by the fire – but is it grief, or is she hiding something? What happened to Naomi in the hour that no one can account for? And what troubled past lies behind the perfect manners of the boy who organised the trip, and who is prepared to lie to keep it buried?

As the cracks in their stories grow, it’s clear one of them is lying, and one of them is next…

Perfect for fans of Angela Marsons, Cara Hunter and Clare Mackintosh, One Left Behind is a thrilling crime novel that will have you hooked from the very first page!

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MY REVIEW:

“Would their secrets cost them their lives?”

The ninth book in the Detective Gina Harte series opens with the discovery of the body of a sixteen-year-old girl the morning after a party in the woods with her friends.  Sure the teenagers are hiding something, Gina and her team try to discover what really happened that night.  But then a second teenager is murdered and it looks like each of them are in the killer’s sights.  But why?  And can they stop them before anyone else ends up dead?

Wow.  Just, wow.  Carla Kovach has reminded me why this is one of my favourite crime series and delivered the best installment yet.  Exquisitely written, perfectly plotted and filled with flawed and complex characters, it sizzles with tension, mystery and foreboding from the start.  Then, with one flawlessly executed, blindsiding twist, she took my breath away.   I’m still shook.   This is how it’s done, ladies and gentleman.

There are an array of suspects and intriguing subplots,  including a mysterious person  threatening to expose a dark secret from Gina’s past that could destroy her whole life.  Who could possibly know?  And can she unveil them before it’s too late?  I enjoyed watching Gina battle what is probably one of her most terrifying personal situations while investigating the case.  I love how she always rises to whatever challenge is in front of her, giving her all to find a killer no matter the other things she is dealing with.

Fast-paced, intricately woven and irresistible, this is an easy five-stars from me.  I couldn’t put this down and devoured it in one sitting, literally reading through the night.  A spectacular thriller that I highly recommend.

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✮

TW: Domestic abuse

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

Carla Kovach is a crime and horror author from Worcestershire. Her most popular work, the DI Gina Harte series is published by Bookouture. As well as books, she also writes stage and screenplays.

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BUY THE BOOK:

Waterstones*| Amazon*| Google Books| Apple Books| Kobo
*These are affiliate links

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Thanks for reading Bibliophiles 😊 Emma xxxx

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Cover Reveal Emma's Anticipated Treasures

Cover Reveal: Miss Aldridge Regrets by Louise Hare

Happy Tuesday Bibliophiles 😊

Today I’m delighted to be taking part of an exciting cover reveal in collaboration with HQ.

The highly anticipated second novel from Louise Hare, Miss Aldridge Regrets, is a murder mystery set on the Queen Mary in 1936 following aspiring singer Lena as she travels from the smoky jazz halls of London to New York to star in a new Broadway play. But when a murder takes place on the ship, Lena realises that her greatest performance has already begun.

SYNOPSIS:

From the author of This Lovely City comes a new historical murder mystery, this time set on board the Queen Mary

London, 1936

Lena Aldridge is wondering if life has passed her by. The dazzling theatre career she hoped for hasn’t worked out. Instead, she’s stuck singing in a sticky-floored basement club in Soho and her married lover has just left her. She has nothing to look forward to until a stranger offers her the chance of a lifetime: a starring role on Broadway and a first-class ticket on the Queen Mary bound for New York. 
 
After a murder at the club, the timing couldn’t be better and Lena jumps at the chance to escape England. Until death follows her onto the ship and she realises that her greatest performance has already begun.

Because someone is making manoeuvres behind the scenes, and there’s only one thing on their mind…

MURDER

Miss Aldridge Regrets is the exquisite new novel from Louise Hare, the author of This Lovely City. A brilliant murder mystery, it also explores class, race and pre-WWII politics, and will leave readers reeling from the beauty and power of it.

Published April 28th 2022, you can pre-order the book here*

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

Louise Hare is a London-based writer and has an MA in Creative Writing from Birkbeck, University of London. Originally from Warrington, the capital is the inspiration for much of her work, including This Lovely City, which began life after a trip into the deep level shelter below Clapham.

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Thanks for reading Bibliophiles 😊 Emma xxx

*This is an affiliate link

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Blog Tours book reviews

Blog Tour: Death on a Winter’s Day (A Lady Eleanor Swift Mystery 8) by Verity Smith

Published: November 24th, 2021
Publisher: Bookouture
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Cozy Mystery, Sherlock Holmes Mystery
Format: Paperback, Kindle, Audiobook

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for the latest installment in this cosy mystery series. Thank you to Bookouture for the invitation to take part and the gifted eBok ARC.

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SYNOPSIS:

Christmas at the castle with holly, handmade gifts, snowflakes and… is that a body under the tree? Someone call Lady Swift!

Winter, 1921Lady Eleanor Swift, amateur sleuth and reluctant lady of the manor, has been invited to spend Christmas in Scotland, at the beautiful castle of her dear friends Baron and Baroness Ashley. Even her favourite companion, master of mischief Gladstone the bulldog, is coming along to share a slice of turkey. As snow begins to fall outside, the rather mismatched group are cozy by the roaring fire, sharing a tipple over a plate of Mrs Trotman’s famous mince pies.

But after what was supposed to be a fun party game, Mr Eugene Randall is found dead at the feast. A somewhat unpopular business associate of the Baron’s from across the pond, it seems Mr Randall has certainly upset somebody. Was it what he said about Scottish whisky?

The killer must be in the castle… and when the Baron is arrested, Baroness Ashley begs Eleanor to investigate. Determined not to let her friend down, Eleanor sets about questioning the remaining partygoers.

All too swiftly, someone else is found dead, having apparently fallen from a high balcony. As if one murder wasn’t enough to put a twist in the tinsel! Eleanor knows she’s skating on thin ice now. And when she discovers a hidden document that points the finger of suspicion at the unlikeliest of suspects, she realises there’s more to the story. Can Eleanor catch the killer before it’s time for Christmas dinner?

The perfect cozy mystery to curl up with this winter! Fans of Agatha Christie, T.E. Kinsey and Lee Strauss are in for a festive treat.

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MY REVIEW:

Lady Eleanor Swift saves Christmas and solves a murder in the latest installment of this cosy mystery series.  Eleanor is in Scotland with her friends Baron and Baroness Ashley to celebrate the holidays when what should have been a fun game of Wink turns deadly.  It seems there is a murder in the castle; the ameutur sleuth has another mystery to solve.

This was another fun cosy mystery that I sped through quickly.  It was my first festive read this year and had all the perfect ingredients for the ideal Christmassy book to read by the fire. This series has become a real comfort read for me and always evokes a warm glow when reading.  Verity Bright never disappoints, creating an atmospheric and compelling story every time. 

I loved being back with the familiar characters, particularly Lady Eleanor and her butler Clifford, who can always be counted on to be by her side every step of the way as she investigates.  I love their witty banter, black humour  and the overall dynamic of their relationship.  I don’t think I’ll ever tire of reading their exploits and could enjoy them even if a murder wasn’t invovled as their characters are so entertaining.  

So if you’re looking for a lively and  lighthearted  whodunnit this winter, then this is for you. You don’t have to have read the previous books to enjoy it, but I do recommend them. 

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✰

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

Verity Bright is the pseudonym for a husband-and-wife writing partnership that has spanned a quarter of a century. Starting out writing high-end travel articles and books, they published everything from self-improvement to humour, before embarking on their first historical mystery.

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BUY THE BOOK:

Amazon*
*This is an affiliate link

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Please check out the reviews from the other bloggers taking part in the tour.

Thanks for reading Bibliophiles ☺️ Emma xxx

Categories
book reviews Emma's Anticipated Treasures

Book Review: The Imperfect Art of Caring by Jessica Ryn

Published: November 25th, 2021
Publisher: HQ
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Domestic Fiction
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audiobook

Welcome to my review of this heartwarming novel. Thank you to HQ for the gifted ARC.

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SYNOPSIS:

One small act can make a big difference

Violet Strong is strong by name but not by nature, or so she thinks. She listens but never talks about herself. She’s friendly but doesn’t have many real friends. She’s become good at keeping people at a distance ever since she left home at eighteen and never looked back.

But when Violet is forced to return home to care for her estranged mother, Glenys, she quickly finds out that life as a carer isn’t easy. Feeling overwhelmed, she’s forced to turn to the other local carers, including childhood friend, Adam, for help.

Although returning home still feels like a mistake, maybe it will help Violet right some wrongs. After all, she can’t keep running from her past forever, and in learning to look after others, perhaps Violet can start to finally love herself…

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MY REIVEW:

“Not everyone’s burdens are visible, lots are inside. Trapped. Unseen.”

Sometimes you pick up a book and it is exactly what you need.  That was the case when I decided to read this book on a whim at the weekend.  Uplifting, heartwarming and tender, this book warmed me from the inside like a bowl of porridge on a cold day. 

This is a story of friendship, community and forgiveness.  A story about loving yourself and how there is joy to be found in helping those around us.  The protagonist, Violet, is forced to move back home to care for the mother she’s not spoken to for 14 years, bringing her face to face with the people and place that she has been running from all that time.  The terrible mistake she made haunts her every minute of the day and has left her feeling that she is Bad News and better off alone.  Forced to face her demons, can Violet learn to forgive and love herself?  

I was a big fan of Jessica Ryn’s debut novel so I was highly anticipating this one.  She has a talent for enveloping important life lessons and social commentary in a heartwarming tale, executing it to perfection once more with this novel. Exquisitely written, it draws you into Violet’s world with descriptive, vivid imagery that makes the story leap from the page.  I was mesmerised. Ms. Ryn has solidified her place on my list of auto-buy authors with this book for sure. 

There is a compelling cast of characters who I loved; each one richly drawn and memorable.  I loved Violet and was thrilled that the author made her a book blogger as it immediately gave me a connection to her.  I enjoyed the many literary references throughout the book and how she finds solace in the pages of what she reads, something  I’m sure we can all relate to. She is a wonderful character and I was desperate to know what she could have possibly done that was worth such self-recrimination.  I also had a real soft spot for Tammy and enjoyed watching her blossom as the story went on. 

Charming, warm and affecting, this is a hug in book form that will give you all the feels.  The perfect read to snuggle under a blanket with this winter. 

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✮

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

Jessica Ryn is a former midwife and homeless resettlement worker. She has recently completed her MA in Creative Writing at CCCU, and her stories have been shortlisted for the Kimberly Chambers’ Kickstarter Award, Wordsmag and the Val Wood Prize for Creative Writing. When she’s not scribbling away, Jessica can be found meandering through the woods, reading stories that pull on the feel-strings and eating yoghurt-covered skittles. Jessica lives in Dover with her husband, two children and their high-spirited springer spaniel. The Extraordinary Hope of Dawn Brightside is her debut novel and her second book, The Imperfect Art of Caring, will be published in November.

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BUY THE BOOK:

Waterstones*| Bookshop.org*| Amazon*| Google Books| Apple Books| Kobo
*These are affiliate links

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Thanks for reading Bibliophiles Emma xxx

Categories
Blog Tours book reviews Emma's Anticipated Treasures

Blog Tour: Wish You Were Here by Jodi Picoult

Published: November 25th, 2021
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Genre: Literary Fiction, Saga
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audiobook

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for the mesmerising, soulful and addictive Wish You Were Here. Thank you to Kate at Hodder and Stoughton for the invitation to take part and the gifted copies of the book.

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SYNOPSIS:

Diana O’Toole’s life is going perfectly to plan. At twenty-nine, she’s up for promotion to her dream job as an art specialist at Sotheby’s and she’s about to fly to the Galápagos where she’s convinced her surgeon boyfriend, Finn, is going to propose.

But then the virus hits New York City and Finn breaks the news: the hospital needs him, he has to stay. But you should still go, he insists. And reluctantly, she agrees.

Once she’s in the Galápagos, the world shuts down around her, leaving Diana stranded – albeit in paradise. Completely isolated, with only intermittent news from the outside world, Diana finds herself examining everything that has brought her to this point and wondering if there’s a better way to live.

But not everything is as it seems . . .

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MY REVIEW:

“Sometimes it feels like the whole world is holding its breath.  If we don’t gasp, soon, we will all pass out.” 

Wish You Were Here is a beautiful, heartfelt and absorbing story about resilience, hope and survival.  It explores the fear and trauma of the pandemic and the limitless potential of the human mind.  Moving between New York and the Galapagos, it follows Diana O’Toole as she goes on an unexpected journey of self-discovery after she finds herself stranded on Isabelle Island as the world shuts down. 

Jodi Picoult is my favourite author and can be relied upon to deliver a story I will get lost in.  She is a masterful storyteller who knows how to get right to my soul, but all the same I had some fears that it might be too soon for a book that focuses on the pandemic.  But while Picoult doesn’t shy away from the raw, unvarnished truth of covid and the effects of the pandemic, this is a story that focuses on finding beauty in the bleakest of times and hope when things seem hopeless. 

“The idea of being by yourself on a desert island has a romantic cachet to it, but the reality is less attractive.”

The story takes us back to the early days of the pandemic, vividly conveying the fear, uncertainty and confusion we all felt through Diana’s eyes. It brought back that terror at seeing how things escalated so quickly, that cheerful optimism that it would all be done within a matter of weeks, and the reality that it has changed every one of us forever. I liked that she offered us two very different experiences of the pandemic: Diana stranded alone in paradise, learning how to survive in a place she doesn’t know or speak the language, and Finn’s emails from the front lines in a New York hospital as he helplessly watches hundreds of patients die and works himself to the bone. Both characters are filled with fear, loneliness and desperation but in different ways, which Picoult expertly explores. But at its heart this is a story about self-reflection and self-discovery.  About how no matter the plans we make, life will happen, sometimes taking us in the most unexpected directions.  

Mesmerising, soulful and thought-provoking, Wish You Were Here is an absolute masterpiece. Ms. Picoult has outdone herself, creating one of her best and most moving stories to date.

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✮

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

Jodi Picoult is the author of twenty five internationally bestselling novels, including MY SISTER’S KEEPER, HOUSE RULES and SMALL GREAT THINGS, and has also co-written two YA books with her daughter Samantha van Leer, BETWEEN THE LINES and OFF THE PAGE. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and three children.

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BUY THE BOOK:

Waterstones*| Amazon*| Bookshop.org*| Apple Books| Kobo
*These are affiliate links

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Please check out the reviews from the other bloggers taking part in the tour.

Thanks for reading Bibliophiles ☺️ Emma xxxx

Categories
Blog Tours book reviews

Blog Tour: Dead Mercy (Maggie Jamieson Book 5) by Noelle Holten

Published: November 19th, 2021
Publisher: One More Chapter
Genre: Police Procedural, Psychological Thriller, Suspense, Mystery, Crime Fiction, Hardboiled, Crime Series
Format: Kindle, Audiobook

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this dark and twisty thriller. Thank you to Sarah at Books on the Bright Side Publicity for the invitation to take part and to One More Chapter for the eBook ARC.

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SYNOPSIS:

A brutal murder…

When a burned body is found with its teeth missing, DC Maggie Jamieson discovers that the victim may be the husband of one of her probation colleagues.

A dark history…

As the body count rises, the team becomes increasingly baffled by how the victims could possibly be connected until a clue leads them to a historical case that was never prosecuted.

A terrible secret…

In order to catch the killer, Maggie must piece together what happened all those years ago before it’s too late.

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MY REVIEW:

“At least amongst the dead we knew we were safe…” 

Dead Mercy packs a punch from the start with a brutal murder where the victim is tortured and burned alive.  A dark and disturbing story of secrets and revenge, we follow Maggie and her team as they investigate, uncovering a historic child abuse case and hunting a killer dispensing his own version of justice. As the killer plays a cat and mouse game with the team, can they find him before he completes his deadly plan?

The fifth installment in Noelle Holten’s Maggie Jamieson series is another tense, twisty and compelling thriller.  Ms. Holten is adept at crafting sinister and unnerving characters and stories that are also moving and addictive.  She knows how to hold the reader in the palm of her hand from beginning to end and make them come back for more.   And while she writes honestly, there is also compassion, walking a fine line as she finds some understanding even for those with minds warped by their trauma, as is this case with the killer in this book.  She just gets better and better.

While I love returning to familiar characters and enjoy Maggie as a protagonist, the star of the show this time around has to be the killer.  He is a fascinating character, full of pain, anguish, sorrow and desperation.  A man let down as a child by those who were supposed to protect him, he decides to take matters into his own hands. Ms. Holten takes us inside his mind so we can see his turmoil and brokenness and empathise with how he got to this point.  

Hard-hitting, menacing and suspenseful, this has everything I could ask for in a thriller. Sharply-written and enthralling, this is a must-read for anyone who enjoys a darker kind of psychological thriller. 

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✰

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

Noelle Holten is an award-winning blogger at www.crimebookjunkie.co.uk. She is the PR & Social Media Manager for Bookouture, a leading digital publisher in the UK, and worked as a Senior Probation Officer for eighteen years, covering a variety of risk cases as well as working in a multi agency setting. She has three Hons BA’s – Philosophy, Sociology (Crime & Deviance) and Community Justice – and a Masters in Criminology. Noelle’s hobbies include reading, attending as many book festivals as she can afford and sharing the booklove via her blog. Dead Inside – her debut novel with One More Chapter/Harper Collins UK is an international kindle bestseller and the start of a new series featuring DC Maggie Jamieson.

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BUY THE BOOK:

Amazon*|Waterstones*| Bookshop.org*| Google Books| Apple Books| Kobo
*These are affiliate links

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Please check out the reviews from the other bloggers taking part in the tour.

Thanks for reading Bibliophiles ☺️ Emma xxx

Categories
Blog Tours book reviews Emma's Anticipated Treasures

Blog Tour: Psychopaths Anonymous (Detective Pace 4) by Will Carver

Published: November 25th, 2021
Publisher: Orenda Books
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Psychological Thriller, Suspense, Crime Fiction, Crime Series
Format: Paperback, Kindle, Audiobook

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this deliciously dark and twisted thriller. Thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for the invitation to take part and to Orenda Books for the gifted ARC.

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SYNOPSIS:

When AA meetings make her want to drink more, alcoholic murderess Maeve sets up a group for psychopaths … The dark, unpredictable, electrifyingly original new thriller from critically acclaimed author Will Carver.

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Maeve has everything. A high-powered job, a beautiful home, a string of uncomplicated one-night encounters. She’s also an addict: A functioning alcoholic with a dependence on sex and an insatiable appetite for killing men. 

When she can’t find a support group to share her obsession, she creates her own. And Psychopaths Anonymous is born. Friends of Maeve. 

Now in a serious relationship, Maeve wants to keep the group a secret. But not everyone in the group adheres to the rules, and when a reckless member raises suspicions with the police, Maeve’s drinking spirals out of control. 

She needs to stop killing. She needs to close the group. 

But Maeve can’t seem to quit the things that are bad for her, including her new man…

A scathing, violent and darkly funny book about love, connection, obsessions and sex – and the aspects of human nature we’d prefer to hide – Psychopaths Anonymous is also an electrifyingly original, unpredictable thriller that challenges virtually everything.

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MY REVIEW:

“I don’t have to kill… It’s not a necessity.
But I do enjoy it.”

Psychopaths Anonymous is another deliciously dark and sinister offering from the incomparable Will Carver.  Not for the weak of heart, this twisted thriller is a character study of the psychopathic mind and a reminder that humans are the scariest of monsters.  

The story follows Maeve, a self-confessed psychopath, as she attends AA meetings to feed on the misery of others and kills for kicks.  Frustrated with the rules of AA, she sets up her own group for like minded people:  Psychopaths Anonymous.  But when someone betrays the secrets of the group Maeve is forced to take deadly action. 

Told in Will’s singular style, you can expect gruesome scenes, black humour and scathing social commentary, with religion and God facing particular critique this time around.  Filled with malice, murder and mayhem, this book is as addictive as his others and I flew through it quickly.  It does differ from the other books in the series though as there is no narration from Detective Pace and he is barely featured in the book.  It gives this story a slightly different vibe from the others and makes it work even more as a standalone or introduction to the series.

Maeve is a brilliant but terrifying creation.  A psychopath with an unquenchable desire for alcohol, sex and murder who also loves reality TV, she is a fascinating and compelling character.  She embraces her psychopathy and enjoys being free of the constraints of conscience, guilt and regret.  Mr. Carver did a great job of humanising her despite her murderous ways, and even though she’s messed up, I loved her.  She is that blend of charisma and crazy that is impossible to resist and up there with my other favourite serial killing character, Rhiannon from Sweetepa.

Bold, gritty, macabre and intoxicating, Will Carver has knocked it out of the park yet again and you need to go read it.   You will be horrorstuck, you will be sickened, and you will laugh.  You shouldn’t love this book, but you will. 

Rating: ✮✮✮✮.5

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

Will Carver is the international bestselling author of the January David series and the critically acclaimed, mind-blowingly original Detective Pace series that includes Good Samaritans (2018), Nothing Important Happened Today (2019) and Hinton Hollow Death Trip (2020), all of which were ebook bestsellers and selected as books of the year in the mainstream international press. Nothing Important Happened Today was longlisted for both the Goldsboro Books Glass Bell Award 2020 and the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award. Hinton Hollow Death Trip was longlisted for Guardian‘s Not the Booker Prize. He spent his early years in Germany, but returned to the UK at age eleven, when his sporting career took off. He turned down a professional rugby contract to study theatre and television at King Alfred’s, Winchester, where he set up a successful theatre company. He currently runs his own fitness and nutrition company, and lives in Reading with his children.

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BUY THE BOOK:

Orenda Books| Waterstones*| Bookshop.org*| Amazon*| Kobo| Google Books| Apple Books
*These are affiliate links

********

Please check out the reviews from the other bloggers taking part in the tour.

Thanks for reading Bibliophiles 😊 Emma xxx

Categories
Emma's Anticipated Treasures

Emma’s Anticipated Treasures: December 2021

It’s hard to believe, but it is time for the final Anticipated treasures of books released in 2021. Where has the year gone?!

December is always a slower month in terms of book releases, so this month’s list has just 13 books. Good news for both my tbr and my bank balance

So here’s what is on my list:

One Small Mistake by Dandy Smith

Published: December 1st, 2021
Publisher: Embla Books
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Suspense, Murder and Mayhem

SYNOPSIS:
One small mistake. One deadly consequence.

Elodie Fray wants to be more like her perfect sister, Ada, the one her parents are actually proud of. When she decided to quit her job and pursue her dream of becoming an author, she thought it would be her time to shine, but a year on nothing has happened. And she’s getting desperate.

When Elodie makes one small mistake on a drunken night with a friend, things quickly spiral and suddenly everyone believes she has a book deal. Unable to find a way back from her little lie, her perfect dream becomes a perfect nightmare – and desperate times call for desperate measures.

Meanwhile, everything is not as it seems in Ada Archer’s perfect life. When her sister suddenly disappears, she questions everything – from her marriage, to the man who’s been charged with Elodie’s abduction. The papers say it’s him, but the more she digs into her sister’s life the less convinced she is. Ada will do anything to discover the truth, even if it kills her.

No one knows what happened to Elodie Fray, and now her only chance of survival is her sister.

Buy here*

Blue Running by Lori Ann Stephens

Published: December 2nd, 2021
Publisher: Moonflower Publishing
Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Coming-of-Age Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
In the new Republic of Texas, guns are compulsory and nothing is forgiven. Blue Running is a gripping coming-of-age thriller for fans of Station Eleven and Thelma and Louise.

Fourteen-year-old Bluebonnet Andrews is on the run across the Republic of Texas. An accident with a gun killed her best friend but everyone in the town of Blessing thinks it was murder. Even her father – the town’s drunken deputy – believes she did it. Now, she has no choice but to run. In Texas, murder is punishable by death.

There’s no one to help her. Her father is incapable and her mother left the state on the last flight to America before the secession. Blue doesn’t know where she is but she’s determined to track her down. First she has to get across the lawless Republic and over the wall that keeps everyone in.

On the road she meets Jet, a pregnant young woman of Latin American heritage. Jet is secretive about her past but she’s just as determined as Blue to get out of Texas before she’s caught and arrested. Together, the two form an unlikely kinship as they make their way past marauding motorcycle gangs, the ever watchful Texas Rangers, and armed strangers intent on abducting them – or worse. When Blue and Jet finally reach the wall, will they be able to cross the border, or will they be shot down in cold blood like the thousands who have gone before them?

Some things are worth dying for.

Blue Running pulls no punches. A fast-paced, page-turning, chilling book which looks unflinchingly at what the future could hold.

A novel for both adults and young adults, Blue Running is gripping and addictive from the first page. Readers will cheer for Blue and Jet in their pell-mell rush for freedom.

Buy here*

Darkness Falls (Kate Marshall Book 3) by Robert Bryndza

Published: December 7th, 2021
Publisher: Sphere
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Police Procedural, Crime Series

SYNOPSIS:
Kate Marshall’s detective agency takes off when she and her partner Tristan are hired to investigate a cold case from over a decade ago. Twelve years previously, a determined young journalist called Joanna Duncan exposed a political scandal that had major repercussions. In the fallout she disappeared without trace and was never found.

When Kate and Tristan examine the case files, they find the trail long cold, but they discover the names of two young men who also vanished at that time. As she begins to connect their last days, Kate realizes that Joanna may have been onto something far more sinister than anyone first believed: the identity of a serial killer preying on the people who few will ever miss.

But the closer Kate comes to finding the killer, the darker things become . . .

Buy here*

Murder Under Her Skin (Pentecost and Parker 2) by Stephen Spotswood

Published: December 7th, 2021
Publisher: Wildfire
Genre: Mystery, Historical Mystery, Book Series

SYNOPSIS:
New York, 1946: The last time Will Parker let a case get personal, she walked away with a broken face, a bruised ego, and the solemn promise never again to let her heart get in the way of her job. But she called Hart and Halloway’s Travelling Circus and Sideshow home for five years, and Ruby Donner, the circus’s tattooed ingenue, was her friend. To make matters worse the prime suspect is Valentin Kalishenko, the man who taught Will everything she knows about putting a knife where it needs to go.

To uncover the real killer and keep Kalishenko from a date with the electric chair, Will and Ms. Pentecost join the circus in sleepy Stoppard, Virginia, where the locals like their cocktails mild, the past buried, and big-city detectives not at all. The two swiftly find themselves lost in a funhouse of lies as Will begins to realize that her former circus compatriots aren’t playing it straight, and that her murdered friend might have been hiding a lot of secrets beneath all that ink.

Dodging fistfights, firebombs, and flying lead, Will puts a lot more than her heart on the line in the search of the truth. Can she find it before someone stops her ticker for good?

Buy here*

The Hawthorne School by Sylvie Perry

Published: December 9th, 2021
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Psychological Thriller

SYNOPSIS:
For fans of Riley Sager, The Hawthorne School is a twisty psychological suspense about the lengths one mother will go for her child, inspired by present-day obsession with cults and true crime.

Claudia Morgan is overwhelmed. She’s a single parent trying the best that she can, but her four-year-old son, Henry, is a handful–for her and for his preschool. When Claudia hears about a school with an atypical teaching style near her Chicagoland home, she has to visit. The Hawthorne School is beautiful and has everything she dreams of for Henry: time to play outside, music, and art. The head of the school, Zelma, will even let Claudia volunteer to cover the cost of tuition.

The school is good for Henry: his behavioral problems disappear, and he comes home subdued instead of rageful. But there’s something a bit off about the school, its cold halls, and its enigmatic headmistress. When Henry brings home stories of ceremonies in the woods and odd rules, Claudia’s instincts tell her that something isn’t quite right, and she begins to realize she’s caught in a web of manipulations and power.

The author’s work as a psychotherapist, with a focus on narcissistic manipulation and addictive power dynamics, guides this exploration of a young mother wanting to do the best for her child.

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Hide by Nell Pattison

Published: December 9th 2021
Publisher: Avon Books
Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Crime Fiction, Psychological Thriller

SYNOPSIS:
Seven friends. One killer. You can run, but you can’t hide…

It’s Boxing Day and your friendship group has planned a hike.

You know tensions are running high.

You’ve heard the rumours flying around.

But this trip is a chance for you to reconnect.

As you head into the reserve, everyone is quiet.

It almost feels like you’ve imagined the rift.

But as the sun sets, you hear a gun shot.

One of your group is dead.

And someone you know killed them…

Buy here*

Under the Rainbow by Celia Laskey

Published: December 9th, 2021
Publisher: HQ
Genre: Literary Fiction, LGBTQ Literature

SYNOPSIS:
Welcome to Big Burr, population 10,024.

Big Burr, Kansas is the kind of place where everyone knows everyone – or so they think. But after being labeled “the most homophobic town in America”, a group of queer activists are moving in, and everything is about to change.

Linda welcomes the newcomers. The less they know about the death of her son, the better. Avery is furious at being uprooted from her life in LA. She dreads her classmates discovering that her mom is the head of the queer task force. And Gabe, a lifelong Big Burr resident, is no longer sure about the life he’s built with his wife.

While new friendships are formed, elsewhere tensions reach boiling point. And every resident, old and new, must reconsider the true meaning of community.

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The Newcomer by Laura Elizabeth Woollett

Published: December 9th, 2021
Publisher: Scribe UK
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
When her 29-year-old daughter Paulina goes missing on a sleepy pacific island, Judy Novak suspects the worst. Her fears are soon realised as Paulina’s body is discovered, murdered.

Every man on the island is a suspect, yet none are as maligned as Paulina herself, the captivating newcomer known for her hard drinking, disastrous relationships, and a habit for walking alone. But even death won’t stop Judy Novak from fighting for her daughter’s life.

A scintillating new thriller, inspired by real events, that puts the victim at the centre, by the author of The Love of a Bad Man

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The Arctic Curry Club by Dani Redd

Published: December 9th, 2021
Publisher: Avon Books
Genre: Romance Novel, Domestic Fiction, Holiday Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
‘For my whole life I had been looking for home. But why would that be in a place that I’d left? Perhaps I had to keep moving forward in order to find it…’

Soon after upending her life to accompany her boyfriend Ryan to the Arctic, Maya realises it’s not all Northern Lights and husky sleigh rides. Instead, she’s facing sub-zero temperatures, 24-hour darkness, crippling anxiety – and a distant boyfriend as a result.

In her loneliest moment, Maya opens her late mother’s recipe book and cooks Indian food for the first time. Through this, her confidence unexpectedly grows – she makes friends, secures a job as a chef, and life in the Arctic no longer freezes her with fear.

But there’s a cost: the aromatic cuisine rekindles memories of her enigmatic mother and her childhood in Bangalore. Can Maya face the past and forge a future for herself in this new town? After all, there’s now high demand for a Curry Club in the Arctic, and just one person with the know-how to run it…

A tender and uplifting story about family, community, and finding where you truly belong – guaranteed to warm your heart despite the icy setting!

Buy here*

The Couple on Maple Drive by Sam Carrington

Published: December 9th, 2021
Publisher: Avon Books
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Suspense, Psychological Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
Have you heard about the couple on Maple Drive?

Isla barely leaves the house after her brutal mugging.

Her boyfriend Zach moved in with her after the attack. To look after her.

But something else has happened now. Right on their doorstep.

I don’t want to say that someone’s out to get her…

I just hope they find out the truth before it’s too late.

Or at least before the secrets they’re hiding from each other surface.

Buy here*

Quicksand of Memory by Michael J. Malone

Published: December 15th, 2021
Publisher: Orenda Books
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Psychological Fiction, Crime Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
Scarred by their pasts, Jenna and Luke fall in love, brimming with hope for a rosy future. But someone has been watching, with chilling plans for revenge … An emotive, twisty, disturbing new psychological thriller by the critically acclaimed author of A Suitable Lie and In the Absence of Miracles.

Jenna is trying to rebuild her life after a series of disastrous relationships.

Luke is struggling to provide a safe, loving home for his deceased partner’s young son, following a devastating tragedy.

When Jenna and Luke meet and fall in love, they are certain they can achieve the stability and happiness they both desperately need.

And yet, someone is watching.

Someone who has been scarred by past events.

Someone who will stop at nothing to get revenge…

Dark, unsettling and immensely moving, Quicksand of Memory is a chilling reminder that we are not only punished for our sins, but by them, and that memories left to blacken and sharpen over time are the perfect breeding ground for obsession, and murder…

Buy here

Her Dying Wish (Detective Gina Harte 10) by Carla Kovach

Published: December 16th, 2021
Publisher: Bookouture
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Noir Fiction, Crime Fiction, Police Procedural, Crime Series

SYNOPSIS:
Kerstin is wide awake. While her family sleeps around her, the devastating secret her husband just told her is spinning through her mind. Does she really know the man she married? And are her children still safe in this small town?

She jumps as she hears a sound from outside. Peering into the inky darkness, her eyes focus on movement at the bottom of the garden. Someone is out there.

She watches as the figure strikes a single match. Kerstin gasps at the sight of the face staring back at her, smiling, as if enjoying her fear.

A car door slams and the figure makes a dash for the trees, leaving something behind – a small memorial candle. As it flickers in the darkness, Kerstin knows exactly what it means. Someone is coming for her, and her family is in terrible danger…

Fans of Angela Marsons, Cara Hunter and Clare Mackintosh will love this utterly gripping crime novel. Her Dying Wish will keep you up all night!

Buy here*

Survive the Night by Riley Sager

Published: December 23rd, 2021
Publisher: Hodder Books
Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Psychological Thriller, Horror Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
Charlie Jordan is being driven across the country by a serial killer. Maybe.

Behind the wheel is Josh Baxter, a stranger Charlie met by the college ride share board, who also has a good reason for leaving university in the middle of term. On the road they share their stories, carefully avoiding the subject dominating the news – the Campus Killer, who’s tied up and stabbed three students in the span of a year, has just struck again.

Travelling the lengthy journey between university and their final destination, Charlie begins to notice discrepancies in Josh’s story.

As she begins to plan her escape from the man she is becoming certain is the killer, she starts to suspect that Josh knows exactly what she’s thinking.

Meaning that she could very well end up as his next victim.

A game of cat and mouse is about to play out. In order to win, Charlie must do only one thing . . . survive the night.

Buy here*

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Are any of these on your TBR? Let me know in the comments.

Thanks for reading Bibliophiles See you next month for the first list of anticipated books for 2022.

*These are affiliate links

Categories
Blog Tours book reviews Emma's Anticipated Treasures

Blog Tour: The Lost by Simon Beckett

Published: November 25th, 2021
Publisher: Trapeze Books
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Medical Thriller, Hardboiled, Police Procedurals, Crime Fiction
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audiobook

Today is my stop on the blog tour for this heart-pounding thriller. Thank you to Tracy at Compulsive Readers Tours for the invitation to take part and Trapeze Books for the eBook ARC.

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SYNOPSIS:

A MISSING CHILD

Ten years ago, the disappearance of firearms police officer Jonah Colley’s young son almost destroyed him.

A GRUESOME DISCOVERY

A plea for help from an old friend leads Jonah to Slaughter Quay, and the discovery of four bodies. Brutally attacked and left for dead, he is the only survivor.

A SEARCH FOR THE TRUTH

Under suspicion himself, he uncovers a network of secrets and lies about the people he thought he knew – forcing him to question what really happened all those years ago…

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MY REVIEW:

Do I need yet another crime series to read? No. Have I found one? Hell yes!

When I signed up for the blog tour for this highly anticipated thriller I had no idea it was the first in a new series. But after inhaling this taut, tense and unflinching book I was ecstatic to learn that it is only the beginning, and Jonah Colley will be back for more adventures.

The story packs a punch from the start, opening with the discovery of four bodies and Jonah fighting for his life against an unknown assailant at the aptly named Slaughter Quay. The only survivor, he is immediately under suspicion. The suspicion increases after the police find a possible connection at the scene to the disappearance of Jonah’s son, Theo, ten years earlier. Desperate to prove his innocence, Jonah begins his own investigation, hoping to both clear his name and discover what really happened to Theo all those years ago.

The word unputdownable can be thrown around a little too easily, but this one really was. I had to force myself to put it down at 2am when my eyes could no longer stay open and then read straight through until I’d reached the conclusion when I picked it up the next day. I was addicted. I needed answers. And when I got them they made my jaw drop.

Jonah is a great protagonist. Flawed but likeable, he is easy to root for with a tragic yet compelling backstory that piqued my interest from the start. The events surrounding the disappearance of his son are told in flashbacks that are utterly heartbreaking. It is every parent’s worst nightmare, his guilt, pain and anguish tearing my own heart in two. And the hits kept coming for Jonah, a conveyor belt of bad luck and betrayal that doesn’t seem like it will end as his investigation uncovers a twisted web of secrets and lies by those he thought he knew.

The other characters are all equally compelling, the author bringing to life Gavin and Theo from beyond the grave through a combination of flashbacks and Jonah’s memories. Each of the characters are flawed, fractured and fallible. And no one is blameless in this story. I loved this as flawed characters are much more fun to read, especially when written with such skill.

This was my first Simon Beckett book but it will not be my last. Multilayered, flawlessly plotted and sizzling with suspense that builds to a heart-pounding crescendo. I read on tenterhooks, the many twists and turns almost making me dizzy, and was totally blindsided by the big reveal.

Gritty, dark, sinister and addictive, this is a must-read for anyone who enjoys a well-written, twisty thriller. Just make sure you have lots of time free because you aren’t going to want to put this one down.

Rating: ✮✮✮✮.5

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

Simon Beckett is the No.1 International Bestselling author of the David Hunter series. His books have been translated into 29 languages, appeared in the Sunday Times Top 10 bestseller lists and sold over 10 million copies worldwide. A former freelance journalist who has written for The Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Independent on Sunday and The Observer, the inspiration for the first David Hunter novel came after a visit to the world-renowned Body Farm in Tennessee introduced him to the work of forensic anthropologists.

As well as co-winning the Ripper Award in 2018/19, the largest European crime prize, Simon has won the Raymond Chandler Society’s ‘Marlowe’ Award and been short-listed for the CWA Gold Dagger, CWA Dagger in the Library and Theakston’s Crime Novel of the Year.

In addition to the six David Hunter titles, the most recent of which is The Scent of Death, he has written five standalone novels, one of which, Where There’s Smoke, was adapted into a major ITV two-part drama.

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BUY THE BOOK:

Waterstones*| Bookshop.org*| Amazon*| Google Books| Apple Books| Kobo
*These are affiliate link

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Please check out the reviews from the other bloggers taking part in the tour.

Thanks for reading Bibliophiles ☺️ Emma xxx

Categories
Blog Tours book reviews Emma's Anticipated Treasures

Blog Tour: Call of the Penguins by Hazel Prior

Published: November 11th, 2021
Publisher: Black Swan
Genre: Humorous Fiction, Adventure Fiction, Holiday Fiction, Pensioners in the Pages
Format: Paperback, Kindle, Audiobook

Today is my stop on the tour for this delightful and uplifting book. Thank you to Anne at Random Things tours for the invitation to take part and to Black Swan for the eBook ARC.

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SYNOPSIS:

Meet the heroine everyone’s talking about . . .

Fiercely resilient and impeccably dressed, Veronica McCreedy has lived an incredible 87 years. Most of them alone, in her huge house by the sea.

But Veronica has recently discovered a late-life love for family and friendship, adventure and wildlife.

More specifically, a love for penguins!

And so when she’s invited to co-present a wildlife documentary, far away in the southern hemisphere, she jumps at the chance.

Even though it will put her in the spotlight, just when she thought she would soon fade into the wings.

Perhaps it’s never too late to shine?

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MY REVIEW:

‘Penguins,’ I remind her, ‘are not only a source of endless entertainment; they are an example to us all.’

Hazel Prior has done it again. Call of the Penguins is another absolute gem of a book. Full of wit, warmth and wisdom, she reunites us with our unlikely heroine in this delightful sequel to one of my favourite books of last year.

Jumping straight in, the story picks up with Veronica McCreedy back at her house in Scotland by the sea. Her adventures in Antarctica with her beloved penguins are never far from her mind. So when she is offered the chance to venture to Australia and the Falklands to present a wildlife documentary on her favourite bird, she jumps at the chance. It seems the octogenarian’s adventures are not over yet.

My love of this book and it’s protagonist are no secret, so I was thrilled when I learned that Hazel Prior had written a follow up and immediately ordered the book. I couldn’t wait to be back with Veronica, although I admit to a little trepidation that I might not love this book as I did the first one. I need not have worried. Call of the Penguins is filled with the same heartwarming and heart-rending emotions of the first book as the author dives deeper into the lives of these now-familiar characters.

“I am fizzing with excitement like a bottle of vintage champagne.”

87-year-old Veronica McCreedy is the same intrepid, bold, sharp, feisty and determined woman from book one, only with less of the cantankerous protective layer she used to surround herself with. Instead, she is now surrounded by people she loves. And her memories of the penguins. And just like Veronica, the other characters in the book are a colourful, intriguing and richly drawn bunch. I had a particular soft spot for Daisy, a nine-year-old battling cancer.  Gutsy, ebullient and utterly compelling, Daisy reminded me a lot of Veronica. It was impossible not to love her, especially during her cute and comical interactions with the penguins. 

This is a story about family, self-discovery, self-reflection, unlocking hidden secrets and penguins. Lots of cute penguins. It is clear that not only does Ms. Prior adore these wobbly creatures, but also has a wide range of knowledge about them. This book is filled with even more penguin trivia, this time taking us to the southern hemisphere and featuring a variety of species. It even gave me a new favourite: the Little penguin. 

Once again the book also contains commentary on climate change, plastics and our responsibilities to change our habits in order to create a world that is safe for the birds and animals we love. Reading it certainly made me stop and think about my own part in this and left me with a desire to change some of my shopping habits. But it never preachy, instead expertly woven into the story so all you feel is the passion of the characters for this vital cause. I love how she educates while entertaining the reader and I’ve learned so much reading these books. 

Utterly addictive, joyous and uplifting, Veronica’s story reminds us all that it is never too late to have an adventure or to make the most of life. It is the perfect book to cosy up with under a blanket on a cold day and totally lose yourself in. After all, that’s what I did. So grab a blanket, hot chocolate and some biscuits, and go read this book.

Rating: ✮✮✮✮.5

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

Hazel is an enthusiastic and experienced harp-player based in Somerset and Exmoor. Her repertoire spans many styles of music and includes singing with harp accompaniment.  

Hazel is also an author. Her two bestselling novels, published by Penguin Random House, are described as ‘quirky’, ‘lyrical’ and ‘life-affirming’. AWAY WITH THE PENGUINS (USA tile = HOW THE PENGUINS SAVED VERONICA) is a Richard and Judy and a BBC Radio 2 Book Club pick.

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BUY THE BOOK:

Waterstones*| Bookshop.org*| Amazon| Google Books| Apple Books| Kobo
*These are affiliate books

********

Please check out the reviews from the other bloggers taking part in this tour.

Thanks for reading Bibliophiles ☺️ Emma xxx