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First Lines Friday

First Lines Friday: Flashback

Welcome to First Lines Friday: Flashback, where on the first Friday of the month I share the first lines from one of the older books on my shelves and try to tempt you to add it to yours.

“Wake up, Alice.
The nasal voice finds its way to me in the honeycomb of my daydream.
I don’t remember nodding off, but I was somewhere far lovelier.”

Today’s first lines are taken from Wonderland by Juno Dawson, which won the YA Book Prize 2020. I’ve read some great reviews for this one and it sounds like an intriguing read.

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SYNOPSIS:

What happens when you fall down the rabbit hole? The compulsive must-have follow-up to CLEAN and MEAT MARKET from bestselling, award-winning author Juno Dawson

Alice lives in a world of stifling privilege and luxury – but none of it means anything when your own head plays tricks on your reality. When her troubled friend Bunny goes missing, Alice becomes obsessed with finding her. On the trail of her last movements, Alice discovers a mysterious invitation to ‘Wonderland’: the party to end all parties – three days of hedonistic excess to which only the elite are welcome.

Will she find Bunny there? Or is this really a case of finding herself? Because Alice has secrets of her own, and ruthless socialite queen Paisley Hart is determined to uncover them, whatever it takes.

Alice is all alone, miles from home, and now she has a new enemy who wants her head…

A searing exploration of mental health, gender and privilege, from the most addictive YA novelist in the UK today.

Buy the book here*
*this is an affiliate link.

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Thanks for reading Bibliophiles. Until next time, Emma xxx

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Blog Tours Book Features

Book Feature: The Drowned City (Daniel Pursglove 1) by K. J. Maitland

Published: April 1st, 2021
Publisher: Headline
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audio
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Historical Mystery, Thriller

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Today I’m featuring the first in a new historical fiction series set in the Jacobean era.

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SYNOPSIS:

Gunpowder and treason changed England forever. But the tides are turning and revenge runs deep in this compelling historical thriller for fans of C.J. Sansom, Andrew Taylor’s Ashes of London, Kate Mosse and Blood Sugar.

1606. A year to the day that men were executed for conspiring to blow up Parliament, a towering wave devastates the Bristol Channel. Some proclaim God’s vengeance. Others seek to take advantage.

In London, Daniel Pursglove lies in prison waiting to die. But Charles FitzAlan, close adviser to King James I, has a job in mind that will free a man of Daniel’s skill from the horrors of Newgate. If he succeeds.

For Bristol is a hotbed of Catholic spies, and where better for the lone conspirator who evaded arrest, one Spero Pettingar, to gather allies than in the chaos of a drowned city? Daniel journeys there to investigate FitzAlan’s lead, but soon finds himself at the heart of a dark Jesuit conspiracy – and in pursuit of a killer.

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If this sounds like a book you’d enjoy, then head over to my Instagram page where I’m giving away a proof copy of this book.

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

Karen Maitland is an historical novelist, lecturer and teacher of Creative Writing, with over twenty books to her name, including the much-loved Company of Liars. She grew up in Malta, which inspired her passion for history, and travelled and worked all over the world before settling in the United Kingdom. She has a doctorate in psycholinguistics, and now lives on the edge of Dartmoor in Devon.

Website | Twitter

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BUY THE BOOK:

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

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Thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for the invitation to take part and to Headline for the gifted ARC. Please check out the reviews from other bloggers on the tour.

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Thanks for reading Bibliophiles. Until next time, Emma xxx

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book reviews Emma's Anticipated Treasures

Book Review: The Asylum by Karen Coles

Published: April 1st, 2021
Publisher: Welbeck Publishing Group
Format: Paperback, Kindle
Genre: Historical Fiction, Gothic Fiction, Suspense, Thriller, Psychological Thriller, Historical Mystery, Romance

SYNOPSIS:

1906: Being a woman is dangerous, being different is deadly.

Maud Lovell has been at Angelton Lunatic Asylum for five years. She is not sure how she came to be there and knows nothing beyond its four walls. She is hysterical, distressed, untrustworthy. Badly unstable and prone to violence. Or so she has been told.

When a new doctor arrives, keen to experiment with the revolutionary practice of medical hypnosis, Maud’s lack of history makes her the perfect case study. But as Doctor Dimmond delves deeper into the past, it becomes clear that confinement and high doses are there to keep her silent.

When Maud finally remembers what has been done to her, and by whom, her mind turns to her past and to revenge.

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Maud has been locked in the darkness of Angelton Lunatic Asylum for five years. She doesn’t remember how she got here or what caused her madness. The only thing she remembers is the man in the marsh, an eerie and ghoulish figure that haunts her nightmares. But is he real or a figment of her imagination?

When Dr Dimmond says he wants to help her by exploring her unconscious it seems like someone is finally on Maud’s side. But as the hypnosis awakens her memories, Maud begins to wonder if some things were better off buried and forgotten after all…

WHAT. A. BOOK! It’s no secret that I love historical and gothic fiction, so this book had everything I could want and more. Claustrophobic, haunting and addictive, I couldn’t put this one down. It is exquisitely written, a creeping malice seeping from every page as the author transports you to the bleak, shadowy rooms of the asylum and the anguished recesses of Maud’s mind. 

The depth of Coles’ research is clear in her striking imagery, the descriptions of the practices asylum staff use to treat patients, and in her thought-provoking exploration of topics such as the mistreatment of women and mental health, and the effects of psychological and physical imprisonment. The sense of dread, desperation and sheer helplessness are palpable, coming together to create an atmosphere that has you on the edge of your seat and your heart pounding as you wait for the secrets buried in Maud’s memory to be unlocked. 

Maud is an unreliable narrator. While there is a suspicion early on that she might not be as mad as some of the doctors would like her to think she is, even she doesn’t trust what she tells herself. Reality shifts and cracks around her, echoes of memory stir and haunt her nightmares and hallucinations. She is an enigma to the reader, and herself. A woman fighting to be heard in a place where they want her to be silent.. She is an unlikely heroine, but shows herself to be much braver and stronger than anyone could have imagined at the start of the story. 

The Asylum is a menacing, evocative, lingering and intricately woven novel. An example of storytelling and mystery at its finest, it is one fans of historical and gothic fiction won’t want to miss. Go read this book! 

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✮

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

Karen was born in Taplow, Berkshire UK to rather nomadic parents. Countryside walks with her father instilled in her a lifelong love of nature, particularly wild plants, insects and amphibians. Karen is a painter and sculptor. As a child she was a voracious reader of fairy tales, myths and legends, and this led to a fascination with dark, Gothic literature. She now lives in Wales, not far from a town which once had three Victorian asylums. Their history inspired the writing of her novel, The Asylum.

Instagram | Twitter

The pictures above were part of the author’s inspiration when writing The Asylum. They are taken from the author’s Instagram page where she talks about each one in relation to Maud and the book.

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BUY THE BOOK:

Waterstones* | Bookshop.org* | Amazon*
*These are affiliate links

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Thank you to Welbeck Publishing for the gifted ARC.

Thanks for reading Bibliphiles. Until next time, Emma xxx

Categories
Blog Tours Book Features Emma's Anticipated Treasures

Blog Tour: Nighthawking by Russ Thomas

Published: April 29th, 2021
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audio
Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Hardboiled, Police Procedural, Crime Series

SYNOPSIS:

The latest novel by the author of FIREWATCHING, by ‘a bold and brilliant new voice in crime fiction’ 
 
Sheffield’s beautiful Botanical Gardens – an oasis of peace in a world filled with sorrow, confusion and pain. And then, one morning, a body is found in the Gardens. A young woman, dead from a stab wound, buried in a quiet corner. Police quickly determine that the body’s been there for months. It would have gone undiscovered for years – but someone just sneaked into the Gardens and dug it up.
 
Who is the victim? Who killed her and hid her body? Who dug her up? And who left a macabre marker on the body?
 
In his quest to find her murderer, DS Adam Tyler will find himself drawn into the secretive world of nighthawkers: treasure-hunters who operate under cover of darkness, seeking the lost and valuable… and willing to kill to keep what they find.
 
That which was lost… will always be found again

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MY REVIEW:

He can’t bear to think of her that way, all cold and dead and wasting away in her grave beneath the rose bushes. He’d always pictured her whole, whenever he thought about her. All peaceful and sleeping. The way she’d looked when he buried her.”

On a cold winter night, a nighthawker – a treasure hunter who operates under the cloak of darkness – breaks into Sheffield’s Botanical Gardens to search for treasures buried beneath the flower beds and instead uncovers the arm of a murdered young woman. DS Adam Tyler is called in to investigate, drawing him and his team into the mysterious, tangled web of nighthawkers, hidden treasure, secrets and murder. 

Russ Thomas’ debut thriller, Firewatching, was one of my favourite books of last year, leaving me eagerly awaiting its follow up. But with such excitement comes trepidation. Would Nighthawking live up to the brilliance of Firewatching? The answer is, yes. Like its predecessor, Nighthawking is a heart-pounding thriller that had me on the edge of my seat. 

Being set in my hometown gives this series a special place in my heart, but that isn’t the only reason I love these books. They are exquisitely written, intricate and action-packed, bringing Sheffield to life not only in terms of the vivid imagery, but the atmosphere. When I first heard that this book would be set in the Botanical Gardens I was delighted as it is probably my favourite place in the city. I even went there just last week and loved how clearly I could picture every moment that happened there. It was a fabulous setting that the author has clearly researched extensively and I know that the Gardens will forever be synonymous with this book for me. 

The author has filled this book with a cast of richly drawn, compelling and nuanced characters. The multiple narrators allow him to weave in the human elements of the story and offer us greater insight into their nature, behaviour and motivations, and drawing more empathy from us for certain characters by showing us the trauma and pain they have suffered. I loved being back with Tyler and his team, a realistic bunch who bicker and don’t always work together well. I like that Tyler isn’t your usual affable and charming protagonist. He is someone you warm up to and I think his spiky, zealous nature gives the books a bit of an edge over the ones with a more likeable central character. I was glad to see Mina Rabbani back as she is probably my favourite character. It was great to see her  grow in confidence and come into her own over the course of this book and I’m looking forward to seeing what is in store for her next. 

Complex, twisty, dark and exhilarating, Nighthawking is an addictive page-turner that keeps you guessing. This can be read as a standalone, but I would highly recommend reading them in order because they are simply fantastic thrillers. My only question after that nail-biting finale is how long do I have to wait until book three? 

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✮

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

RUSS THOMAS was born in Essex, raised in Berkshire and now lives in Sheffield. After a few ‘proper’ jobs (among them: pot-washer, optician’s receptionist, supermarket warehouse operative, call-centre telephonist, and storage salesman) he discovered the joys of bookselling, where he could talk to people about books all day. Firewatching is his debut novel.

Website| Instagram | Twitter

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BUY THE BOOK:

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

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Thank you to Anne at Random Things Tours for the invitation to take part and to Simon & Schuster UK for the gifted ARC. Please check out the reviews from other bloggers taking part in the tour.

Thanks for reading Bibliophiles. Until next time, Emma xxx

Categories
Blog Tours book reviews

Blog Tour: The Girls from Alexandria by Carol Cooper

Published: April 1st, 2021
Publisher: Agora Books
Format: Kindle (Paperback published April 29th)
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Crime Fiction, Thriller, Mystery, Historical Fiction

Welcome to my stop on the tour for this evocative novel. Thank you to Peyton at Agora Books for the invitation to take part and the gifted ARC.

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SYNOPSIS:

‘A compelling, multi-layered read – equal parts funny, frank and sinister’ – Fiona Valpy, author of The Dressmaker’s Gift

Memories are fragile when you are seventy years old. I can’t afford to lose any more of them, not when remembering the past might help with the here and now.

Nadia needs help. Help getting out of her hospital bed. Help taking her pills. One thing she doesn’t need help with is remembering her sister. But she does need help finding her.

Alone and abandoned in a London hospital, 70-year-old Nadia is facing the rest of her life spent in a care home unless she can contact her sister Simone… who’s been missing for 50 years.

Despite being told she’s ‘confused’ and not quite understanding how wi-fi works, Nadia is determined to find Simone. So with only cryptic postcards and her own jumbled memories to go on, Nadia must race against her own fading faculties and find her sister before she herself is forgotten.

Set against the lush and glamorous backdrop of 20th century Alexandria, Carol Cooper’s third novel is equal parts contemporary mystery and historical fiction: a re-coming of age story about family, identity, and homeland.

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MY REVIEW:

Seventy-year-old Nadia is in a London hospital and not quite sure what’s going on. Her memory isn’t what it used to be, and she keeps getting confused and misremembering. But one thing she’s sure of is that she needs to find her sister Simone, who she hasn’t seen in fifty years. The problem is, no one else believes Simone exists. Well, no one except the lovely nurse Deidre, who tries to help her find her sister before it’s too late.

The author opens the book talking about how her inspiration for the story came from her own memories of growing up in Alexandria and you can really feel that authenticity radiating from the pages. The author offers the reader not only an insight into the cultural and political landscape of Egypt, but also an authentic perspective on how it feels to grow up in Alexandria, its multiculturalism and verve oozing from the pages. It is a fascinating, educational and thought-provoking read, the author touching on a variety of subjects such as family, identity, loss, loneliness and female empowerment. 

Nadia is a character I won’t soon forget. It is impossible not to feel for her lying in hospital distressed, confused and alone. But there is so much more to her.  She is a nuanced, funny, compelling and feisty character who is determined to find her sister by solving the brief, cryptic messages she wrote on decades-old postcards; even learning how to use the internet to search for answers. I enjoyed following her through timelines, countries and cultures as she revisited old memories and searched them for any small clue that might lead her to her beloved sister. 

I will admit that it took me a little while to get into the rhythm of this story. The huge shift between the bleak British hospital where Nadia languishes alone and confused and the striking, sunny backdrop of Alexandria was difficult to follow at first, particularly as the flashbacks don’t follow a chronological order. But once I did I was engrossed, lost in Nadia’s story and fully invested in her search for Simone. 

This novel is unlike anything else I’ve read. Merging historical fiction, mystery and coming-of-age fiction,, the author has crafted a multilayered, evocative and affecting story that will linger long after reading. 

Rating: ✮✮✮.5

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

Carol graduated in medicine from Cambridge University. She then spent time in different hospital specialities, including orthopaedic surgery and rheumatology, before entering general practice when her first son was born.

Carol’s journalism and broadcasting developed in tandem with GP work, and she is now well-known as a media medic. She writes for The Sun newspaper and other titles, and broadcasts on TV and radio on topical health issues.

Many of Carol’s non-fiction books are on child health and parenting, such as the much-loved guide Twins & Multiple Births, and the titles combine her professional expertise and her personal experience as a mother. As co-author of the book General Practice at a Glance, Carol won a British Medical Association book award in 2013. A companion volume, General Practice Cases at a Glance, appeared later.

Carol’s frivolous side has never been far from the surface. She became a columnist for Punch magazine and her articles can still be read in dentists’ waiting rooms. Her contemporary novels One Night at the Jacaranda and Hampstead Fever are also infused with a sharp wit. Her next novel, The Girls from Alexandriais due to be published in April 2021.

At Imperial College, London, Carol teaches medical students consultation skills, clinical reasoning, and medicine in the media. 

Carol is a Fellow of Newnham College, Cambridge, a trustee of Action on Pre-Eclampsia, an ambassador for Lucy Air Ambulance for Children, and honorary consultant in family medicine for the Twins Trust (formerly Tamba). She was elected President of the Guild of Health Writers in 2014.

Website | Instagram | Twitter

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BUY THE BOOK:

Amazon*| Waterstones*| Bookshop.org*

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Please check out the reviews from other bloggers on the tour.

Thanks for reading Bibliophiles. Until next time, Emma xxx

Categories
Blog Tours Book Features Emma's Anticipated Treasures First Lines Friday

First Lines Friday

Welcome to First Lines Friday where I share the first lines from one of the books on my shelves to try and tempt you to add it to yours.

“The girls, Selkie Holm, Orkney, November 1942.
Of all the ways to die, drowning must be the most peaceful. Water above, sounds cushioned, womb-dark. Drowning is a return to something before the knife-blade of living. It is the death we would choose, if the choice was ours to make.”

What eerie and evocative first lines! They are from a book I have been anticipating ever since the author announced it last year. It even featured on my list of the 21 books I was most anticipating in 2021 and, more recently, my most anticipated books out in April. And that book is…

The Metal Heart by Caroline Lea, which is published by Michael Joseph on April 29th.

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SYNOPSIS:

The sky is clear, star-stamped and silvered by the waxing gibbous moon.

No planes have flown over the islands tonight; no bombs have fallen for over a year.
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Orkney, 1940. Five hundred Italian prisoners-of-war arrive to fortify these remote and windswept islands. Resentful islanders are fearful of the enemy in their midst, but not orphaned twin sisters Dorothy and Constance. Already outcasts, they volunteer to nurse all prisoners who are injured or fall sick.

Soon Dorothy befriends Cesare, an artists swept up by the machine of war and almost broken by the horrors he has witnessed. She is entranced by his plan to build an Italian chapel from war scrap and sea debris, and something beautiful begins to blossom.

But Con, scarred from a betrayal in her past, is afraid for her sister; she knows that people are not always what they seem.

Soon, trust frays between the islanders and outsiders, and between the sisters – their hearts torn by rival claims of duty and desire. A storm is coming…

In the tradition of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, The Metal Heart is a hauntingly rich Second World War love story about courage, brutality, freedom and beauty and the essence of what makes us human during the darkest of times.

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How amazing does that sound? I absolutely loved the author’s debut novel, The Glass Woman, when I read it in 2019 and immediately pre-ordered this one when it was announced. If you also want to pre-order, you can do so here*.

I will be sharing my review for this one on April 20th as part of the blog tour. Thank you to Michael Joseph for the gifted ARC.

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Thank you for reading Bibliophiles. Until next time, Emma xxx

*This is an affiliate link

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Book Features

Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize 2021: Shortlist

Today the shortlist for the Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize was announced and I’m excited to share it here. The prize is one of the world’s largest literary prizes for young writers and this year’s shortlist features bold new voices who are challenging expectations with their work. The shortlist is comprised of five novels and one short story collection, four of which are debuts. The winner will be announced on May 13th, 2021.

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THE SHORTLIST:

Namita Gokhale, Chair of Judges, said: “We are thrilled to present this year’s extraordinary shortlist – it is truly a world-class writing showcase of the highest order from six exceptional young writers. I want to press each and every one of these bold, inventive and distinctive books into the hands of readers, and celebrate how they challenge preconceptions, ask new questions about how we define identity and our relationships, and how we live together in this world. Congratulations to these tremendously talented writers – they are master storytellers in every sense of the word.”

Alligator and Other Stories by Dima Alzayat

Published: May 28th, 2020
Publisher: Picador
Genre: Domestic Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
In Alligator and Other Stories, Dima Alzayat captures luminously how it feels to be ‘other’: as a Syrian, as an Arab, as an immigrant, as a woman. Each one of the nine stories collected here is a snapshot of those moments when unusual circumstances suddenly distinguish us from our neighbours, when our difference is thrown into relief.

Here are ‘dangerous’ women transgressing, missing children in 1970s New York, a family who were once Syrian but have now lost their name, and a young woman about to discover the hollowness of the American dream. At its centre lies ‘Alligator’: a remarkable compilation of real and invented sources, which rescues from history the story of a Syrian American couple who were murdered at the hands of the state.

Alzayat explores experiences that are startling and real, delivering an emotional punch that lingers long after reading.

Buy the book here*

Francesca Rhydderchon Alligator and Other Stories by Dima Alzayat: “Dima Alzayat’s visceral, innovative Alligator & Other Stories marks the arrival of a major new talent. While the range of styles and stories is impressively broad, there is a unity of voice and tone here which must have been so very difficult to achieve, and a clear sense that all these disparate elements are part of an overriding, powerful examination of identity.”

Kingdomtide by Rye Curtis

Published: February 6th, 2020
Publisher: 4th Estate Books
Genre: Adventure Fiction

SYNOPISIS:
The lives of two women―the sole survivor of an airplane crash and the troubled park ranger who leads the rescue mission to find her ―intersect in a gripping debut novel of hope and resilience, second thoughts and second chances

I no longer pass judgment on any man nor woman. People are people, and I do not believe there is much more to be said on the matter. Twenty years ago I might have been of a different mind about that, but I was a different Cloris Waldrip back then. I might have gone on being that same Cloris Waldrip, the one I had been for seventy-two years, had I not fallen out of the sky in that little airplane on Sunday, August 31, 1986. It does amaze that a woman can reach the tail end of her life and find that she hardly knows herself at all.

When seventy-two-year-old Cloris Waldrip finds herself lost and alone in the unforgiving wilderness of the Montana mountains, with only a bible, a sturdy pair of boots, and a couple of candies to keep her alive, it seems her chances of ever getting home to Texas are slim.

Debra Lewis, a park ranger, who is drinking her way out of the aftermath of a messy divorce is the only one who believes the old lady may still be alive. Galvanized by her newfound mission to find her, Lewis leads a motley group of rescuers to follow the trail of clues that Cloris has left behind.

But as days stretch into weeks, and Cloris’s situation grows ever more precarious, help arrives from the unlikeliest of places, causing her to question all the certainties on which she has built her life.

Suspenseful, wry and gorgeously written Kingdomtide is the inspiring account of two unforgettable characters, whose heroism reminds us that survival is only the beginning.

‘Suspenseful from start to finish … First novels are often praised for an author’s potential, but Kingdomtide displays an exceptional talent fully realized’ Ron Rash, New York Times bestselling author of Serena

Buy the book here*

Joshua Ferris on Kingdomtide by Rye Curtis: “Kingdomtide is a propulsively readable and frequently very funny book about the resources, personal and natural, necessary to survive a patently absurd world. The winning voice of Texas-native Cloris Waldrip artfully takes us through her eighty-eight-day ordeal in the wilds of Montana as the inimitable drunk and park ranger Debra Lewis searches for her. This fine novel combines the perfect modern yarn with something transcendent, lyrical and wise.”

The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi

Published: August 20th, 2020
Publisher: Faber
Genre: Coming-of-Age Story, Domestic Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
They burned down the market on the day Vivek Oji died.

One afternoon, a mother opens her front door to find the length of her son’s body stretched out on the veranda, swaddled in akwete material, his head on her welcome mat. The Death of Vivek Oji transports us to the day of Vivek’s birth, the day his grandmother Ahunna died. It is the story of an over protective mother and a distant father, and the heart-wrenching tale of one family’s struggle to understand their child, just as Vivek learns to recognize himself.

Teeming with unforgettable characters whose lives have been shaped by Vivek’s gentle and enigmatic spirit, it shares with us a Nigerian childhood that challenges expectations. This novel, and its celebration of the innocence and optimism of youth, will touch all those who embrace it.

Buy the book here*

Namita Gokhale on The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi: “The Death of Vivek Oji’ by Akwaeke Emezi is a powerful novel that carries the authenticity of cultural and emotional context. The story unfolds brilliantly, with the prescient foreboding about Vivek Oji’s death already announced in the brief line that constitutes the opening chapter. Yet the suspense is paced and carefully maintained until the truth is finally communicated in the final chapter. A triumph of narrative craft.” 

Pew by Catherine Lacey

Published: May 14th, 2020
Publisher: Granta
Genre: Literary Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
Fleeing a past they can no longer remember, Pew wakes on a church bench, surrounded by curious strangers.

Pew doesn’t have a name, they’ve forgotten it. Pew doesn’t know if they’re a girl or a boy, a child or an almost-adult. Is Pew an orphan, or something worse? And what terrible trouble are they running from?

Pew won’t speak, but the men and women of this small, god-fearing town are full of questions. As the days pass, their insistent clamour will build from a murmur to a roar, as both the innocent and the guilty come undone in the face of Pew’s silence.

Buy the book here*

Francesca Rhydderch on Pewby Catherine Lacey: “In this brilliant novel Catherine Lacey shows herself to be completely unafraid as a writer, willing to tackle the uglier aspects of a fictional small town in America, where a stranger’s refusal to speak breeds paranoia and unease. Beautifully written, sharply observed, and sophisticated in its simplicity, Pew is a book I’m already thinking of as a modern classic.”

Luster by Raven Leilani

Published: January 21st, 2021
Publisher: Raven Books


Genre: Literary Fiction, Humour, Bildungsroman

SYNOPSIS:
Edie is just trying to survive. She’s messing up in her dead-end admin job in her all-white office, is sleeping with all the wrong men, and has failed at the only thing that meant anything to her, painting. No one seems to care that she doesn’t really know what she’s doing with her life beyond looking for her next hook-up. And then she meets Eric, a white, middle-aged archivist with a suburban family, including a wife who has sort-of-agreed to an open marriage and an adopted black daughter who doesn’t have a single person in her life who can show her how to do her hair. As if navigating the constantly shifting landscape of sexual and racial politics as a young black woman wasn’t already hard enough, with nowhere else left to go, Edie finds herself falling head-first into Eric’s home and family.

Razor sharp, provocatively page-turning and surprisingly tender, Luster by Raven Leilani is a painfully funny debut about what it means to be young now.

Buy the book here*

Syima Aslam on Luster by Raven Leilani:Sharp and incisive, Luster speaks a fearless truth that takes no hostages. Leilani is unflinchingly observant about the realities of being a young, black woman in America today and revelatory when it comes to exploring unconventional family life and 21st century adultery, in this darkly comic and strangely touching debut.”

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

Published: March 31st, 2020
Publisher: 4th Estate
Genre: Psychological Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
ALL HE DID WAS FALL IN LOVE WITH ME AND THE WORLD TURNED HIM INTO A MONSTER

Vanessa Wye was fifteen years old when she first had sex with her English teacher.

She is now thirty-two and in the storm of allegations against powerful men in 2017, the teacher, Jacob Strane, has just been accused of sexual abuse by another former student.

Vanessa is horrified by this news, because she is quite certain that the relationship she had with Strane wasn’t abuse. It was love. She’s sure of that.

Forced to rethink her past, to revisit everything that happened, Vanessa has to redefine the great love story of her life – her great sexual awakening – as rape. Now she must deal with the possibility that she might be a victim, and just one of many.

Nuanced, uncomfortable, bold and powerful, My Dark Vanessa goes straight to the heart of some of the most complex issues of our age.

Buy the book here*

Stephen Sexton on My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell: “My Dark Vanessa is an articulate, uncompromising and compelling novel about abuse, its long trail of damage and its devastating iterations. In Vanessa, Russell introduces us to a character of immense complexity, whose rejection of victimhood—in favour of something more like love—is tragic and unforgettable. Timely, harrowing, of supreme emotional intelligence, My Dark Vanessa is the story of one girl; of many girls, and of the darknesses of western literature.”

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Thank you for reading Bibliophiles. Until next time, Emma xxx

Categories
Book Features Emma's Anticipated Treasures

Book Feature: Can you hear the hum?

𝘾𝙖𝙣 𝙮𝙤𝙪 𝙝𝙚𝙖𝙧 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙝𝙪𝙢? 

Last week some curious photos began popping up on twitter of posters asking if we can hear the hum. There was a number to call and I took the plunge, my heart thumping in my chest as I listened to the eerie message.

Today, I received a copy of The Listeners, the book that the posters and messages were talking about. I think that this exciting debut is one that many of you will want to add to your tbr…

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SYNOPSIS:

A masterful speculative novel exploring the fine lines between faith, conspiracy, and mania in contemporary America.

While lying in bed next to her husband one night, Claire Devon hears a low hum that he cannot. And, it seems, no one else can either. This innocuous noise begins causing Claire headaches, nosebleeds, insomnia, gradually upsetting the balance of her life, though no obvious source or medical cause can be found. When she discovers that a student of hers can also hear the hum, the two strike up an unlikely and intimate friendship. Finding themselves increasingly isolated from their families and colleagues, they fall in with a disparate group of neighbours who also perceive the sound. What starts as a neighbourhood self-help group gradually transforms into something far more extreme and with far-reaching, devastating consequences.

The Listeners is an exhilarating and erotic novel exploring the seduction of the wild and unknowable, the human search for the transcendent, the rise of conspiracy culture in the West, and the desire for community and connection in our increasingly polarised times.

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The Listeners is published July 8th. You can pre-order your copy here*
Thank you to 4th Estate Books for my gifted ARC.

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Will you be adding The Listeners to your tbr? Let me know in the comments.

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Thanks for reading. Until next time, Bibliophiles xxx

*This is an affiliate link

Categories
book reviews Emma's Anticipated Treasures Tandem Readalong

A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas

Published: February 16th, 2021
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audio
Genre: Fantasy Fiction, High Fantasy, Romantic Fantasy

SYNOPSIS:

With bits of BuffyGame Of Thrones and Outlander, this is a glorious series of total joy – Stylist

Sarah J. Maas’s sexy, richly imagined Court of Thorns and Roses series continues with the journey of Feyre’s fiery sister, Nesta

Nesta Archeron has always been prickly – proud, swift to anger and slow to forgive. And since the war – since being made High Fae against her will – she’s struggled to forget the horrors she endured and find a place for herself within the strange and deadly Night Court.
The person who ignites her temper more than any other is Cassian, the battle-scarred, winged warrior who is there at Nesta’s every turn. But her temper isn’t the only thing Cassian ignites. And when they are forced to train in battle together, sparks become flame.
As the threat of war casts its shadow over them once again, Nesta and Cassian must fight monsters from within and without if they are to stand a chance of halting the enemies of their court. But the ultimate risk will be searching for acceptance – and healing – in each other’s arms.

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MY REIVEW:

“Immortality was not a serene youth.
It was fire.”

ACOSF was one of my most anticipated books of the year, so I was thrilled when Tandem Collective UK offered me the chance to take part in a readalong of the book. At over 700 pages it is an intimidating tome, and I admit that I found the first third of the story quite slow and difficult to get into. But once things got going it was addictive, and I flew through the pages quickly; holding on for dear life as Maas took me on a high-octane and emotional thrillride. 

“So Nesta had become a wolf. Armed herself with invisible teeth and claws, and learned to strike faster, deeper, more lethally . Had relished it. But when the time came to put away the wolf, she’d found it had devoured her, too.”

ACOSF stands out from the other books in the series as it shifts from telling Feyre’s story to that of her fiery sister, Nesta. I was initially hesitant about this as I’ve enjoyed Feyre’s story and love her as a character, while Nesta wasn’t someone who lit up the pages and drew me in. But after reading it I can say I’m glad the author gave us the chance to get to know Nesta as there is so much more beneath the feisty and sullen mask. She has a story that needs to be told; one that addresses mental health, trauma and PTSD.  I liked how Maas explored these issues not only through Nesta’s story, but also through the stories of other characters. There is a lot of discussion about the issues throughout the book and it will be hard for some to read. But as someone who lives with these issues, I found it to be sensitively written and liked that Mass highlighted things like the importance of facing your pain, self care, opening up to others, and celebrating the tiny steps that are huge accomplishments in your recovery.

“Perhaps in voicing those truths, they’d given them wings. And sent them soaring into the open sky above.”

Though the familiar faces from Night Court do feature in the book, Nesta spends most of the story away from them and has isolated herself on an emotional level too. This led the way for the introduction of Gwyn and Emerie, two new characters who I loved. They have also been through trauma and through their shared experiences they develop a truly special friendship and camaraderie. Watching as that blossomed and the women slowly began to recognise their inner strength, was probably my favourite part of the book. 

“Your power is a song, and one I’ve waited a very, very long time to hear, Nesta.”

There is no talking about this book without discussing the steam factor. I’ve been shipping Nessian for a while and was hoping for them to finally get together, and we all know there have been some hot scenes between Feyre and Rhys, but I was not prepared for the level of sizzle in this book. It’s so steamy that I would find myself blushing and feeling almost embarrassed to be caught reading it – and I was at home! I did enjoy the hilarious discussions with fellow bookstagrammers that it led to though. Maas has certainly moved away from young readers with the raunchy scenes in this book. So be warned.

“When you erupt, girl, make sure it is felt across worlds.”

Ms. Mass knows just how to keep the reader begging for more, ending the book with a heart-pounding finale that had me on the edge of my seat. It was an electrifying ending to a spectacular book and I can’t wait until the next installment. 

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✰

Steam Rating:🍆🍆🍆🍆🍆

TW: Mental health, sexual assault, trauma 

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

Sarah J. Maas is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Throne of Glass series and A Court of Thorns and Roses series, as well as a USA Today and international bestselling author. Sarah wrote the first incarnation of the Throne of Glass series when she was just sixteen, and it has now sold in thirty-five languages. A New York native, Sarah currently lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and dog. Empire of Storms, the fifth Throne of Glass novel,is available now.

She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Hamilton College in 2008 with a degree in Creative Writing and a minor in Religious Studies.

Website | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook

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BUY THE BOOK:

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

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Thank you to Bloomsbury UK for my gifted copy of the book and to Tandem Collective UK for the invitation to take part in the readalong.

Thanks for reading Bibliophiles. Until next time, Emma xxx

Categories
Cozy Mysteries Cozy Mystery Releases

Cozy Mysteries – March 2021

Sorry that this is so late, but here is my list of cozy mysteries being released this month:

The Deadly Mystery of the Missing Diamonds (A Dizzy Heights Mystery Book 1) by T. E. Kinsey

SYNOPSIS:
Missing diamonds. Mysterious deaths. And all that jazz.

London, 1925. With their band the Dizzy Heights, jazz musicians Ivor ‘Skins’ Maloney and Bartholomew ‘Barty’ Dunn are used to improvising as they play the Charleston for flappers and toffs, but things are about to take a surprising turn.

Superintendent Sunderland has had word that a deserter who stole a fortune in diamonds as he fled the war is a member of the Aristippus private members’ club in Mayfair―where the Dizzy Heights have a residency. And the thief is planning to steal a hoard of jewels hidden there under the cover of a dance contest.

As mutual pal Lady Hardcastle has suggested, Skins and Dunn are perfectly placed to be Sunderland’s eyes and ears―and Skins’s wife Ellie soon lends a hand with a bit of light snooping. But the stakes change dramatically when a mysterious death at the club brings a sinister note to the investigation.

With the dance contest fast approaching, the trio must solve the mystery of the missing diamonds, unmask the murderer, and prevent more deadly crimes―all without missing a beat.

Published March 1st

Arrowed(Resort to Murder #4) by Avery Daniels

SYNOPSIS:
It all began when a dying man with an arrow in his chest grabs her ankle.

During a heat wave at a Santa Fe resort, Julienne has the resort owner pressuring her to solve the murder. The victim is a high profile business man who made enemies rather than friends, leaving Julienne with a roster of suspects. She was supposed to be training the staff and spending quality time with Mason rather than investigating a murder. The heat turns up when an old girlfriend of Mason’s checks in and is determined to get back together.

Arrowed is the fourth book in Avery Daniel’s Resort to Murder series and is an exciting contemporary cozy mystery. If you like Cleo Coyle, Maddy Hunter, Duffy Brown, Lynn Cahoon, Jane Cleland, and Annette Dashofy, then you’ll love this series with a strong intelligent sleuth, lavish settings, and tantalizing mysteries.

Buy this spunky clean cozy mystery and start enjoying Julienne’s adventures today!

Published March 1st

Wicked Honeymoon (Ivy Morgan Mysteries Book 19) by Lily Harper Hart

SYNOPSIS: Jack Harker and his new wife Ivy have beaten the odds, and with that comes a little rest and relaxation. They have a two-week honeymoon planned, and the first leg involves a glamping trip down the river.
Jack has never been one for camping, and the truth is, he would’ve preferred anything but what they’ve got planned. Ivy, however, is desperate to prove that camping can be fun. What Jack wants most is for Ivy to have everything, so he gives in.
He may live to regret it. That is if he doesn’t die first.
What should’ve been an idyllic kayaking trip down the river, complete with gourmet meals and glamorous tents, turns into a mystery when one of the other guests finds blood on the ground on the second day. Jack and Ivy are instantly suspicious … but they seem to be the only ones.
There’s no body, so no reason to worry, and yet Ivy’s dreams won’t let her rest. Can you prove murder when there’s no body and nobody is missing? That’s the plan for Ivy and Jack, although the trip will have them questioning more than their fellow travel-goers. It will have them questioning their instincts, too.
Strap in. Just because it’s a honeymoon, that doesn’t mean the ride won’t be bumpy.

Published March 2nd

Romancing the Crone (A Spell’s Angels Cozy Mystery Book 5) by Amanda M. Lee

SYNOPSIS:
Scout Randall has lived her life in the shadows, always wondering who abandoned her when she was a child and where the magic she boasts came from. Finally, she is about to get some answers.
It won’t be easy, though.
After a wild fight that saw shifters and vampires joining together to battle under an eclipse, things in Hawthorne Hollow are relatively quiet. Scout’s newly-found sister is locked in a cell, her grandfather is laying low, and the enemy appears to be regrouping.
That allows Scout and her boyfriend Gunner to make a trip to her childhood home. Upon their return, a shifter attacks and throws their world into a tailspin. He’s easily dispatched but appears to be suffering from a magical infection that has his body wasting and his mind collapsing.
It’s up to Spell’s Angels to figure out what’s going on, and because nothing is ever easy for Scout, the investigation is going to be harder than she imagined.
It seems there’s a new top vampire in town, and his powers are extensive for a creature who wasn’t born into his legacy. On top of that, he’s crossed paths with Scout before and knows exactly how to push her buttons.
Scout is a fighter but the world is closing in on her. She’s going to need her new co-workers and the family she doesn’t know to help her out on this one … and even then nothing is a given.
The road before her is winding but answers are finally here. Scout will finally know what she is. Whether she survives long enough to benefit from the knowledge is completely up in the air.

Published March 2nd

An Unexpected Peril (A Veronica Speedwell Mystery Book 6) by Deanna Raybourn

SYNOPSIS:
A princess is missing and a peace treaty is on the verge of collapse in this new Veronica Speedwell adventure from the New York Times bestselling and Edgar Award-nominated author Deanna Raybourn.

January 1889. As the newest member of the Curiosity Club–an elite society of brilliant, intrepid women–Veronica Speedwell is excited to put her many skills to good use. As she assembles a memorial exhibition for pioneering mountain climber Alice Baker-Greene, Veronica discovers evidence that the recent death was not a tragic climbing accident but murder. Veronica and her natural historian beau, Stoker, tell the patron of the exhibit, Princess Gisela of Alpenwald, of their findings. With Europe on the verge of war, Gisela’s chancellor, Count von Rechstein, does not want to make waves–and before Veronica and Stoker can figure out their next move, the princess disappears.

Having noted Veronica’s resemblance to the princess, von Rechstein begs her to pose as Gisela for the sake of the peace treaty that brought the princess to England. Veronica reluctantly agrees to the scheme. She and Stoker must work together to keep the treaty intact while navigating unwelcome advances, assassination attempts, and Veronica’s own family–the royalty who has never claimed her.

Published March 2nd

Legacy of Death: 2 (A Matthew Rowsley mystery) by Judith Cutler

SYNOPSIS:
When the family butler is brutally attacked, land agent Matthew Rowsley and his wife Harriet determine to find the culprit in this gripping Victorian mystery.

With his lordship’s mental health failing, management of his grand country estate has been assigned to a group of trustees, including land agent Matthew Rowsley and his capable wife Harriet. But the smooth running of Thorncroft House is disrupted by a series of unforeseen events. Building work on the estate workers’ new cottages is halted by the discovery of Roman remains. Shortly afterwards, the family butler is brutally assaulted and left for dead. A random attack – or was he deliberately targeted?

Matters take an even more disturbing turn when Lord Croft’s long-lost cousin and heir, Julius Trescothick, arrives from Australia, ready to claim his inheritance. But is he who he claims to be . and what are his true intentions?

If they are to preserve Thorncroft House and a way of life that has continued for centuries, Matthew and Harriet must uncover the truth behind Trescothick’s identity and solve a series of interlocking mysteries.

Published March 2nd

Summer of Secrets (A Gaslight Mystery Book 3) by Cora Harrison

SYNOPSIS:
When a murder is staged at magnificent Knebworth House, Victorian writer-sleuths, Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins investigate.


August, 1856. Wilkie Collins and Charles Dickens are spending the summer at Knebworth House, the magnificent Hertfordshire home of fellow writer Lord Edward Bulwer-Lytton, where they are putting on a charity performance of one of Lord Edward’s most successful plays, The Lady of Lyon. But the dress rehearsal is disrupted by the discovery of a body lying in the centre of the stage, shot to death.


With everyone involved in the play coming under suspicion, the two writer-sleuths feel compelled to investigate. Their enquiries unearth a number of scandalous secrets lurking among the writers, artists and actors assembled at Knebworth. Secrets that stretch back more than twenty years. Secrets that will have devastating repercussions for the present.

Published March 2nd

An Artful Corpse (Art of Murder Mysteries Book 3) by Helen A. Harrison

SYNOPSIS:
One artist. One student. One deadly mystery.

When Regionalist painter Thomas Hart Benton’s corpse is discovered behind the easels of Manhattan’s famed art school, whispers in the art community say he had it coming. As Benton’s list of enemies lengthens to include the school’s instructors, Vietnam War protesters, and members of Andy Warhol’s entourage, one art student is ultimately painted as the murderer. The only problem: the suspect has vanished.

Why would an art student murder Benton? And if he were innocent, why would he run?

When TJ Fitzgerald, son of Detective Juanita Diaz and Captain Brian Fitzgerald of the NYPD, discovers his classmate is the prime suspect, he uses his own investigative skills to try and clear his name. But as TJ and his girlfriend work to unravel the clues to the art mystery, he begins to wonder if the police got it wrong and one secret may be the key to it all…

Published March 2nd

Ride the Pink Horse by Dorothy B. Hughes

SYNOPSIS:
Three desperate men converge in the midst of an annual carnival in New Mexico

Sailor used to be Senator Willis Douglass’ protege. When he met the lawmaker, he was just a poor kid, living on the Chicago streets. Douglass took him in, put him through school, and groomed him to work as a confidential secretary. And as the senator’s dealings became increasingly corrupt, he knew he could count on Sailor to clean up his messes.

Willis Douglass isn’t a senator anymore; he left Chicago, Sailor, and a murder rap behind and set out for the sunny streets of Santa Fe. Now, unwilling to take the fall for another man’s crime, Sailor has set out for New Mexico as well, with blackmail and revenge on his mind. But there’s another man on his trail as well–a cop who wants the ex-senator for more than a payoff. In the midst of a city gone mad, bursting with wild crowds for a yearly carnival, the three men will violently converge…

The suspenseful tale that inspired one of the most beloved films noir of all time, Ride the Pink Horse is a tour-de-force that confirms Dorothy B. Hughes’ status as a master of the mid-century crime novel.

Published March 2nd

To The Dark (Simon Westow Mystery 3) by Chris Nickson

SYNOPSIS:
Winter is about to take a chilling twist…

Thief-taker Simon Westow is drawn into a deadly puzzle when the melting snow reveals a dark secret in this gripping historical mystery, perfect for fans of Anne Perry and Charles Finch.

Leeds, 1822. The city is in the grip of winter, but the chill deepens for thief-taker Simon Westow and his young assistant, Jane, when the body of Laurence Poole, a petty local thief, emerges from the melting snow by the river at Flay Cross Mill.

A coded notebook found in Laurence’s room mentions Charlie Harker, the most notorious fence in Leeds who’s now running for his life, and the mysterious words: To the dark. What was Laurence hiding that caused his death? Simon’s hunt for the truth pits him against some dangerous, powerful enemies who’ll happily kill him in a heartbeat – if they can.

Published March 2nd

A Fatal Affair (Ryder and Loveday, Book 6) by Faith Martin

SYNOPSIS:
She was dressed in a long white gown, embroidered with tiny flowers. Her body was wrapped in colourful ribbons that floated in the breeze. But underneath the swathe of golden hair, a string of darkly smudged bruises ringed her neck.

As May Day dawns in the peaceful village of Middle Fenton, a young woman is found brutally strangled, her body tied up with ribbons in the middle of the green. A week later, her boyfriend is found hanged in a local barn, and the police assume guilt over murdering his beloved has driven him to suicide – but not everyone is convinced.

WPC Trudy Loveday and coroner Clement Ryder are sent to investigate, and quickly realise that there’s a double murderer on the loose.

But the killer has already shown willingness to remove anyone who threatens to discover their identity… As Trudy and Clement circle in on the culprit, can they crack the case before they too come to a nasty end?

Published March 4th

The Lady Detective by Ava January

SYNOPSIS:
London’s lawbreakers and loathsome lords … beware!

How does a wealthy widow avoid the marriage market in 1890s London?

If you’re Lady Theodosia Fortescue-Brown, you hide behind outrageously bad clothing and glasses you don’t need.

After the disappearance of her husband, Theodosia can’t imagine giving up her freedom to marry again and relishes her role as detective to the ladies of the upper echelons of society.

When a priceless necklace on loan from the Royal family is stolen, Theodosia must work with the scandalous Lord Montague to recover it before the theft is discovered.

But somewhere between setting a brothel on fire, being knocked out in a cemetery in the middle of the night, and narrowly avoiding death via Scotch egg, Theodosia and William fall in love …

Published March 4th

The Cat and the Corpse in the Old Barn by Kate High

SYNOPSIS:
Clarice Beech has two passions in life: animal rescue and Detective Inspector Rick Beech. She is devoted to the first but she and Rick have been separated for the past six months – life without him is hard.

Clarice shares her other love, for contemporary ceramics, with the charming Lady Vita Fayrepoynt. When Vita’s adopted three-legged ginger cat Walter disappears from Weatherby Hall Clarice is called in to find him. Walter, snug in an old barn, is quite well. But his discovery ends with Clarice in hospital, and Rose Miller, late of the Old Vicarage in the morgue. There is nothing natural about Rose’s death…

Putting their differences aside, Clarice and Rick are drawn together to try to understand the murder that has shaken the rural Lincolnshire community. As she explores Rose’s past Clarice is pulled into a shady world of blackmail, scams and violence. And as the secrets of Weatherby Hall and the Fayrepoynt family threaten to spill out Clarice finds friendships tested, and her own life at risk.

Published March 4th

Tempting Teaberry (A Teaberry Farm Bed & Breakfast Cozy Book 34) by R. A. Wallace

SYNOPSIS:
Lady love springs into Teaberry but will murder end a relationship before it has a chance to bloom? Megan tracks flower petals and other clues to help solve the puzzle. This mild cozy mystery offers a clean read with a female amateur sleuth and friends in a small-town setting. Main characters in the series are multigenerational.

Published March 5th


A Deadly Chapter (A Castle Bookshop Mystery) by Essie Lang

SYNOPSIS:
Wake up on a houseboat, moored in scenic Alexandria Bay, New York. Ride the gentle waves to work at quaint Bayside Books, where you spend your days supplying literature and conversation to the charming locals and seasonal tourists. Sounds pleasant, doesn’t it? Except bookseller Shelby Cox has already sleuthed two murders from Bayside Books’s home base on Blye Island, one of New York State’s famed Thousand Islands. And this time, mayhem knocks right on Shelby’s waterside door when she finds a body lodged between the side of her houseboat and the dock, his skull shattered.

The victim is no local, but Shelby can’t shake the feeling she’s seen him before. Twice, in fact–that’s how many times he’s dropped into Bayside Books asking about an enigmatic woman who lived on Blye Island many years before. The last time? The day before he was found. But the poor man obviously was killed elsewhere, so who brought him down to the bay, and why?

When the victim’s daughter hits town demanding answers, Shelby takes the case, despite Police Chief Tekla Stone’s usual reservations. But she uncovers more suspects than there are pages in War and Peace, and Shelby can expect no peace–except the peace of the grave–unless she can turn the page on this grisly mystery.

Published March 9th

Who’s That Witch?(The Holiday Hills Witch Cozy Mystery Series Book 3) by Carolyn Ridder Aspenson

SYNOPSIS:
My name is Abby Odell, and I’m leading a double life.

Don’t get me wrong, I love it! But being a witch in a predominantly human world is challenging sometimes. My hometown, Holiday Hills, isn’t your typical small town. It’s a magical town, but not to the humans. At least not until recently.

Something’s happening and it’s not good. Magic is no longer hidden, and people are starting to witness events that don’t seem humanly possible. And that’s the problem. They’re not! Now my friends and neighbors are on edge, and some residents are even ready to turn Holiday Hills into the next Salem, Massachusetts.

Someone’s changing the way Holiday Hills works, and it’s my job to fix things before they change humanity and magic forever. The problem is, I don’t know the who, what, when or why…just the where. Now I’ve got to find the witch who’s joining worlds and stop them before they tilt the axis so far, Holiday Hills will never be the same.

Published March 9th

The Inn at Holiday Bay: Details in the Document by Kathi Daley 

SYNOPSIS:
After suffering a personal tragedy Abby Sullivan buys a huge old seaside mansion she has never even seen, packs up her life in San Francisco, and moves to Holiday Bay Maine, where she is adopted, quite against her will, by a huge Maine Coon Cat named Rufus, a drifter with her own tragic past named Georgia, and a giant dog with an inferiority complex named Ramos. What Abby thought she needed was alone time to heal. What she ended up with was, an inn she never knew she wanted, a cat she couldn’t seem to convince to leave, and a new family she’d never be able to live without.

In book 14 in the series, spring in Holiday Bay is interrupted by a category 2 hurricane, an inn filled with stranded motorists, an unexpected delivery, and a murder, which on the surface, doesn’t make a lick of sense. Add to that the fact that the small plot of land that was linked by deed to the land where the inn now sits turns out to be a burial ground for a serial killer, and you have a recipe for disaster.

Published March 9th

Into the Sweet Hereafter (Vintage Sweets Mystery Book 3) by Kaye George

SYNOPSIS:
Spring has sprung in the charming tourist town of Fredericksburg, Texas, and one of the tastiest attractions is a trip to Tally’s Old Tyme Sweets—until a bizarre burglary leaves a bitter aftertaste . . .

Tally Holt is thrilled to see her new replicas of vintage sweets displayed in the window of Bella’s Baskets, a gift basket shop owned by her friend, Yolanda Bella. There’s just one problem—the creations appear to be melting. The ladies assume the culprit is the broiling heat of the Texas sun—until that night, the store window is smashed, and there’s only one thing missing: the replicas.

Tally is positively stumped. Clearly, the useless fake candies are more special than she bargained for—but why? When a rash of seemingly unrelated burglaries sweeps through the area, Tally is determined to sleuth out the answer—and stop a thief from killing more than the town’s appetite . . .

Published March 9th

The Dark Heart of Florence: A Lady Emily Mystery (Lady Emily Mysteries, 15) by Tasha Alexander

SYNOPSIS:
In the next Lady Emily Mystery, The Dark Heart of Florence, critically acclaimed author Tasha Alexander transports readers to the legendary city of Florence, where Lady Emily and Colin must solve a murder with clues leading back to the time of the Medici.

In 1903, tensions between Britain and Germany are starting to loom over Europe, something that has not gone unnoticed by Lady Emily and her husband, Colin Hargreaves. An agent of the Crown, Colin carries the weight of the Empire, but his focus is drawn to Italy by a series of burglaries at his daughter’s palazzo in Florence–burglaries that might have international ramifications. He and Emily travel to Tuscany where, soon after their arrival, a stranger is thrown to his death from the roof onto the marble palazzo floor.

Colin’s trusted colleague and fellow agent, Darius Benton-Stone, arrives to assist Colin, who insists their mission must remain top secret. Finding herself excluded from the investigation, Emily secretly launches her own clandestine inquiry into the murder, aided by her spirited and witty friend, Cécile. They soon discover that the palazzo may contain a hidden treasure dating back to the days of the Medici and the violent reign of the fanatic monk, Savonarola–days that resonate in the troubled early twentieth century, an uneasy time full of intrigue, duplicity, and warring ideologies.
Emily and Cécile race to untangle the cryptic clues leading them through the Renaissance city, but an unimagined danger follows closely behind. And when another violent death puts Emily directly in the path of a killer, there’s much more than treasure at stake…

Published March 9th

Fatal Fried Rice (A Noodle Shop Mystery) by Vivien Chien

SYNOPSIS:
Lana Lee returns for another delectable cozy set in a Chinese restaurant in Cleveland, Ohio in Vivien Chien’s Fatal Fried Rice…

Lana Lee runs her family’s Chinese restaurant in Cleveland’s Asia Village like nobody’s business. When it comes to actual cooking, however, she’s known to be about a step up from boiling rice. So Lana decides to go to culinary school on the sly—and prove that she has what it takes in the kitchen after all. But when course instructor Margo Chan turns up dead after class, Lana suddenly finds herself on the case, frying pan in hand.

Since she was the one who discovered the body, Lana must do double duty in finding the killer and clearing her name. Now, with or without the help of her boyfriend Detective Adam Trudeau, Lana launches her own investigation into Margo’s life and mysterious death. Doing so leads her on a wild goose chase to and from the culinary school—and all the way back to the Ho-Lee noodle shop, where the guilty party may be closer than Lana thinks.

Published March 9th

Game of Cones: 2 (An Ice Cream Parlor Mystery) by Abby Collette

SYNOPSIS:
Bronwyn Crewse is delighted that Crewse Creamery, the ice cream shop her family has owned for decades, is restored to its former glory and serving sweet frozen treats to happy customers in the picturesque small town of Chagrin Falls, Ohio. But when a big city developer comes to town intent on building a mall, a killer with a frozen heart takes him out. After literally stumbling across the body, one of Win’s closest friends becomes the prime suspect, and to make things worse, Win’s aunt has come to town with the intention of taking command of Crewse Creamery. Even though Win has a rocky road ahead to help her friend and keep her ice cream shop, it’ll take more than a sprinkle of murder to stop her from solving the crime and saving the day.

Published March 9th

Mystery by the Sea (A Lady Eleanor Swift Mystery Book 5) by Verity Bright

SYNOPSIS:
A magnificent seaside hotel, striped deckchairs, strawberry ice cream… and a rather familiar dead body? Lady Swift is on the case!

Spring, 1921Lady Eleanor Swift, explorer extraordinaire and accidental sleuth, hasn’t had a vacation since she arrived in England a year ago. Being an amateur detective can be a rather tiring business and she is determined to escape any more murder and mysteries. So she books into the Grand Hotel in the fashionable resort of Brighton for some fresh air, fish and chips and, of course, a dip in the ocean.

Eleanor is enjoying her view of the waves and trying to find her bathing suit when calamity strikes: a guest has been found dead at her beautiful hotel. The distraught manager, who can’t afford a scandal, asks Eleanor to solve the case as swiftly as possible. Thank goodness she has her partner in crime – Gladstone the bulldog – to help her sniff out the dastardly culprit.

But when Eleanor enters the dead man’s room, she receives a shock big enough to make her forget even the finest ice cream sundae. The body is that of her husband, who supposedly died six years ago on the other side of the world. Has he been alive all these years? Why does he have a copy of their wedding photograph with a cryptic message written on the back? 
If Eleanor can keep herself safe long enough to find her husband’s killer, she might discover that everything is not quite as it seems beside the seaside…

Published March 11th

A Sprinkle of Sabotage (A Nosey Parker Cosy Mystery, Book 3) by Fiona Leitch

SYNOPSIS:
A film company is coming to the Cornish village of Penstowan, and the whole village turn up to be cast as extras, even Jodie ‘Nosey’ Parker. Determined to join in with the fun and ignore any dramas, Jodie is going to make the most of this time with her mum and daughter and of the potential to see their name in lights… or really small writing on the credits page.

But right on cue, the company’s caterer is sabotaged and Jodie must step up. As other small accidents begin to happen, it becomes clear that the filming is being sabotaged. With actors behaving out of character and the house literally being brought down, breaking a leg is the least of their worries.

Can Jodie save the day once again, or will it be their final curtain call?

The third book in the Jodie ‘Nosey’ Parker cosy mystery series. Can be read as a standalone. A humorous cosy mystery with a British female sleuth in a small village. Includes one of Jodie’s Tried and Tested Recipes! Written in British English. Mild profanity and peril.

Published March 11th

Captive Magic (Mystic’s End Mysteries Book 8) by Leanne Leeds

SYNOPSIS:
A witch bottle in a dead man’s hand.
A Mystic’s End councilman shot dead.
Can Fortuna solve the case and free the spirit, or will the bottle disappear into evidence forever?

Fortuna’s finally feeling like things are starting to go her way. Her magical prowess continues to flourish under Miss Bessie’s tutelage and the spirited coven of ghost witches. Martin’s making progress finding homes for the retired greyhounds. Gabe is happy in his new relationship and his new job as a private eye. Pepper’s finally being taken seriously as an investigative reporter—much to her boyfriend Ollie’s delight.

But when Councilman Conrad Noble is shot dead in his office clutching a witch bottle in his hands, Fortuna must spring into action to solve the murder—the only way Chief Clutterbuck will release it from the magically-warded evidence basement.

Can Fortuna solve the murder, hide the bottles’ existence from Clutterbuck, and free the bottle’s captive ghost? Or will the bottle, and the confined witch, disappear into the department’s basement forever?

Published March 11th

Out Of Print (Old Bookstore Two-Hour Cozy Mysteries Book 1) by Isabella Bassett

SYNOPSIS:
She pictured a slow-paced life nestled in the foothills of the Swiss Alps. Instead, she found a curious bookstore and murder.

Old Bookstore Cozy Mystery #1

Moving with her husband to Switzerland, Anne is looking forward to a stress-free life in one of Europe’s most picturesque countries. But now all that tranquility, not to mention having to learn a new language, is getting to her. So when an opportunity to work as an English-speaking assistant at an old bookstore appears, Anne jumps at the chance to feel a bit more useful.

Anne would be the first to admit that the store is a bit peculiar, but that’s no reason why its customers should start turning up dead at an art colony on a nearby island, rumored to be cursed. And why were all victims interested in the same old diaries recently sold by the bookstore? Can Anne, with a little help from the store’s even-more-peculiar black cat, solve this mystery before someone puts her permanently out of print?

Out of Print is the first book in a new series of fast-paced cozy mysteries set in picturesque Southern Switzerland and centered around an old bookstore, plus its resident black cat, that you can read in about 2 hours.

Published March 15th

Picture Perfect Frame (A Tourist Trap Mystery) by Lynn Cahoon

SYNOPSIS:
In the new Tourist Trap mystery from the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, a new art studio has opened in the coastal California town of South Cove—but it’s about to turn into a crime scene . . .

As the owner of Coffee, Books, and More, Jill Gardner likes to support other Main Street businesses, so she attends a paint-and-sip event where, sadly, her brushstrokes look more like blobs. It’s still fun, though—aside from some disruption by a couple doing more sipping than painting. Jill’s police-detective boyfriend is on alert, but a designated driver volunteers to take the drunken pair back to their bed and breakfast, and everything seems resolved. Until the wife’s body turns up the next morning back in the studio.

The victim, Nan, is from out of town, so it’s hard to imagine who’d have a motive aside from her spouse. Now, in between puzzling over her fortuneteller neighbor’s strange behavior, preparing for her best friend’s wedding, and pouring cups of java at the bookstore, Jill must uncover the secrets of Nan’s life and find out who wanted her out of the picture . . .

Published March 16th

Crumbs and Misdemeanors: The Great Witches Baking Show by Nancy Warren

SYNOPSIS:
Bread is supposed to be the staff of life—not a murder weapon.

Every baker has their weak spot. For Poppy it’s bread. So, when The Great British Baking Contest hits bread week, she’s as fragile as an overbaked croissant. Just when she needs to keep all her focus on flour, water, yeast and salt, another ingredient enters the mix. Death.

Someone is not who they appear to be, and secrets from the past are bringing deadly consequences to the present. Poppy isn’t only a contestant in the long-running TV show, she’s also a witch and reluctant amateur sleuth. With the rest of her coven, assorted animal helpers and her ghostly sidekick Gerry, Poppy needs to solve the murder before someone else dies.

Set in the beautiful Somerset countryside, the Great Witches Baking Contest stories are all linked, but they can be read as stand alone cozy mysteries. There is no swearing, gore or sex. Just an entertaining cozy mystery with witches, ghosts, a little romance–and recipes!

Published March 17th

The Dockland Murder: The intriguing wartime murder mystery (Blitz Detective Book 5) by Mike Hollow

SYNOPSIS:
In the depths of the blackout, the silence of London’s Royal Albert Dock is broken only by the lap of inky water against the quay and the occasional scurrying of rats’ feet. A patrolling policeman is passing the newly arrived freighter SS Magnolia when something catches his eye. A man is sprawled awkwardly across a nearby barge – with an exotic-looking dagger in his back.

DI Jago of West Ham CID discovers the victim was a dock worker by day and a Home Guard volunteer by night – and there are things even his wife, bombed out of their flimsy home in Silvertown, doesn’t know about his past. Who wanted to kill him? As Jago investigates, he uncovers a widening circle of secrets ranging across family tensions, the last war, and a far-flung corner of the British Empire. And then there’s the mysterious spate of thefts from the dock to contend with.

Published March 18th

I Saw Him Die (Agatha Christie Series) by Andrew Wilson

SYNOPSIS:
Who saw him die?
I, said the fly,
with my little eye.
I saw him die.

An astonishingly beautiful setting on the island of Skye.

A gathering of fascinating guests at a hunting lodge set to enjoy abundant hospitality. And a double murder.

A household in chaos . . . No one is allowed to leave.

A tantalising new case for Agatha Christie to solve.

Published March 18th

Haunted Hibiscus: 22 (Tea Shop Mystery) by Laura Childs

SYNOPSIS:
It is the week before Halloween and Theodosia Browning, proprietor of the Indigo Tea Shop, and her tea sommelier, Drayton, are ghosting through the dusk of a cool Charleston evening on their way to the old Bouchard Mansion. Known as the Gray Ghost, this dilapidated place was recently bequeathed to the Heritage Society, and tonight heralds the grand opening of their literary and historical themed haunted house. Though Timothy Neville, the patriarch of the Heritage Society, is not thrilled with the fund-raising idea, it is the perfect venue for his grandniece, Willow French, to sign copies of her new book, Carolina Crimes & Creepers. But amid a parade of characters dressed as Edgar Allan Poe, Lady Macbeth, and the Headless Horseman, Willow’s body is suddenly tossed from the third-floor tower room and left to dangle at the end of a rope. Police come screaming in and Theodosia’s boyfriend, Detective Pete Riley, is sent to Willow’s apartment to investigate. But minutes later, he is shot and wounded by a shadowy intruder. Timothy begs Theodosia to investigate, and shaken by Riley’s assault, she readily agrees. Now, she questions members of the Heritage Society and a man who claims the mansion is rightfully his, as well as Willow’s book publisher and her fiance, all while hosting a Sherlock Holmes tea and catering several others. But the Gray Ghost holds many secrets, as do several other key suspects, while this murder mystery plays out on the eve of Halloween.

Published March 18th

Barn Bewitchment (Magical Renovation Mysteries Book 5) by Amy Boyles

SYNOPSIS:
Everything is going great for Clementine and Rufus in Peachwood, Alabama. Clem’s got a new barn to restore, which should be awesome news until Malene reveals the barn is bewitched and if Clem is determined to restore it, she will be driven crazy.

Undeterred, Clem dives head first into the work. But then a dead body surfaces and the owner starts exhibiting bizarre behavior.

Is the barn bewitched or is there something else, something more sinister going on?

As she starts to uncover the truth, the rosy veneer of Peachwood begins to rust. There’s a fight brewing between the magicks and humans. Can the two live peacefully together in one small town? Or will chaos break out?

So Clem’s got her hands full. Can she discover the truth of the barn and keep her town sewn together? Or will everything rip apart at the seams and leave Clem just one more victim of a barn bewitchment?

Published March 21st

The Consequences of Fear: A spellbinding wartime mystery (Maisie Dobbs Book 16)

SYNOPSIS:
It is September 1941 and young Freddie Hackett is a message runner – he collects messages from a government office and delivers them to various destinations around London. He sets off one day with a message, along a route of bombed-out houses, and witnesses a murder. Freddie instinctively wants to summon the police, but he has an envelope to deliver first – all communications during wartime could be urgent. When the man who answers the door appears to be the very same person he has just seen kill another, Freddie rushes to the police, but is summarily dismissed. However, he remembers an address in Fitzroy Square, belonging to a private investigator, Maisie Dobbs. Will she believe him and help solve the mystery?

Published March 23rd

A Midlife CatAstrophe: A Paranormal Women’s Fiction Cozy Mystery (MenoPaws Mysteries Book 1) by Morgana Best

SYNOPSIS:
When Nell Darling moves to a small Aussie mountain town after a messy divorce, she decides her life will be purrfect. But life has decided to be no such thing! Nell discovers a body, buys a mysterious bookstore, and starts to suspect she is losing her mind–all because a local cat, JenniFur, begins stopping by for a chat.

Yet Nell has no time to paws and reflect. Soon she is chasing her tail to solve the murder. Hot on her heels is the dreamy Detective Caspian Cole, who seems to think Nell is mad fur real. But it doesn’t matter what Detective Cole thinks, because Nell is about to discover that menopause doesn’t mean her life is put on pause.

In fact, menopause is a sign that Nell’s has finally begun.

Litter-ally a fun read for women who are coming into their power!

Published March 23rd

Cat’s Meow by Dane McCaslin

SYNOPSIS:
Retired schoolteacher Gwen Franklin has a new pet project—and a sideline in sleuthing. But this new case has a dangerous sting in the tail . . .

Gwen’s calendar has been filling up ever since she was hounded by her best friend, Nora, into starting 2 Sisters Pet Valet Services. Now they’ve been invited to attend the annual Clear the Shelter event, hosted by Portland’s very own blonde bombshell newscaster, Babs Prescott. Babs is convinced she’s top dog among local celebrities, but it’s clear that someone disagrees when Babs’ body is found following a downtown press conference.

A story this juicy would be headline news at any time, but especially once local crime reporter Shelby Tucker is arrested for the murder. Gwen was Shelby’s high school teacher, and she’s sure her former pupil is innocent. But in that case, who was itching to take Babs out of the spotlight for good? As Nora and Gwen investigate, they find personal mysteries at odds with Babs’ public persona, all leading to a killer who’s not pussyfooting around . . .

Published March 23rd

The Lost Ones (Here Witchy Witchy Book 12) by A. L. Kessler

SYNOPSIS:
Abigail Collins has managed to keep out of trouble when it comes to her Elemental abilities, but when a mix up lands her in containment as a murderer, she has to wonder where she went wrong. A strange case unfolds as she navigates the underground trying to track down the reason for her arrest and what she finds isn’t what she expects. With Liz’s help can they solve the case of the lost ones?

Published March 23rd

Agatha Raisin: Hot To Trot by MC. Beaton

SYNOPSIS:
Private Detective Agatha Raisin immerses herself in the glittering lifestyle of the fabulously wealthy when Sir Charles Fraith is accused of murder – and Agatha is named as his accomplice!

A high-society wedding, a glitzy masked ball, and an introduction to the world of international show-jumping where the riders are glamorous, the horses are beautiful, and intrigue runs deep, leave Agatha with a list of suspects as long as a stallion’s tail.

Sinister evidence then emerges that appears to seal Sir Charles’s fate and Agatha must uncover the truth before a net of skulduggery closes around him and he loses his ancestral home, his entire estate, and his freedom. And if events weren’t complicated enough… Agatha’s ex-husband James Lacey is back in Carsely and back in Agatha’s heart…

Published March 25th

A Baker’s Coven (Spellford Cove Mystery Book 3) by Samantha Silver

SYNOPSIS:
Welcome to Spellford Cove, where the baking is sweet and the witches are wild.

Robin is finally settling into Spellford Cove. Business is booming, and as the weather gets colder her relationship with Hunter seems to be heating up. And she finally gets some answers about her biological father. But when a friend of Elsa’s is murdered, Robin decides to get involved.

After all, she does have a bit of experience in solving murder cases.

As she gets closer to solving the case, however, Robin soon finds herself in the killer’s crosshairs. And it turns out maybe her father hasn’t quite learned that no means no after all…

Published March 25th

Death Down the Aisle (Mrs Lillywhite Investigates Book 7) by Emily Queen

SYNOPSIS:
1920’s London

Weddings are supposed to be joyous events–especially when it’s your best friend and your brother who are tying the knot. Unfortunately, for a murder magnet like Rosemary Lillywhite, nothing is ever as simple as it seems…

Published March 26th

Dundee Cake Deception: Albert Smith’s Culinary Capers Recipe 8 by Steve Higgs

SYNOPSIS:
Snoozing on the train ride into Dundee, a horrified scream tears both Albert and Rex from their dreams and back to reality …

… where they discover a woman has just witnessed a murder.

It would be easy to dismiss her claim; she saw something in the window of a house as the train went by, but when there are dangerous men waiting for her at Dundee station, Albert has to accept she might be onto something.

With the Gastrothief trail gone cold, Albert and Rex are in Dundee to sample the famous cake and learn how to make it. That might happen, but stepping in to defend the woman on the train, they soon find themselves embroiled in something far more sinister than they could have imagined.

Baking. It can get a guy killed.

Published March 26th

A Fabulous Little Murder: A Violet Carlyle Historical Mystery (The Violet Carlyle Mysteries Book 29) by Beth Byers

SYNOPSIS:
March 1926

When Vi and friends travel to attend the motor races, they are determined to have a fabulous time. They’re even hoping to try their hands behind the wheel.

They befriend one of the mechanics, so when one of the autos he’s responsible for disappears, they agree to help. Perhaps, after all of this time, they should have expected the body, but they didn’t.

Now the race is on to find the killer and save their friend before it’s too late.

Published March 28th

Fresh Brewed Murder (A Ground Rules Mystery) by Emmeline Duncan

SYNOPSIS:
Master barista Sage Caplin is opening a new coffee cart in Portland, Oregon, but a killer is brewing up a world of trouble. . . .

Portland is famous for its rain, hipsters, craft beers . . . and coffee. Sage Caplin has high hopes for her coffee cart, Ground Rules, which she runs with her business partner, Harley—a genius at roasting beans and devising new blends. That’s essential in a city where locals have intensely strong opinions about cappuccino versus macchiato—especially in the case of one of Sage’s very first customers. . . .

Sage finds the man’s body in front of her cart, a fatal slash across his neck. There’s been plenty of anger in the air, from longtime vendors annoyed at Ground Rules taking a coveted spot in the food truck lot, to protesters demonstrating against a new high-rise. But who was mad enough to commit murder? Sage is already fending off trouble in the form of her estranged, con-artist mother, who’s trying to trickle back into her life. But when Sage’s very own box cutter is discovered to be the murder weapon, she needs to focus on finding the killer fast—before her business, and her life, come to a bitter end. . . .

Published March 30th

Fresh Linen Fraud (Claire’s Candles Cozy Mystery Book 5) by Agatha Frost

SYNOPSIS:
When Claire’s mother is fired from the post office, all hell breaks loose in the quiet village of Northash.

Published March March 30th

Knitty Gritty Murder (A Knit & Nibble Mystery Book 7) by Peggy Ehrhart

SYNOPSIS:
Pamela Paterson and the Knit and Nibble ladies have plenty of talents that don’t revolve around yarn. But their penchant for patterns has led to a dangerous hobby they just can’t quit—unraveling murders.

Most times of the year, the tight-knit community gardens in quaint Arborville, New Jersey, overflow with seasonal vegetables and herbs. But who planted the dead body? Farm-to-table enthusiast Jenny Miller had a cookbook in the works when she was suddenly found strangled by a circular knitting needle in her own plot. Now, the pressure is on Pamela and her neighbor Bettina as they weave together clues in search of the person who kept Jenny’s renowned heirloom plants—and budding career—from growing. With suspects and victims cropping up like weeds, it’ll take a whole lot more than green thumbs and creative minds this spring to entangle the crafty culprit . . .

Published March 30th

Under the Cover of Murder (A Beyond the Page Bookstore Mystery) by Lauren Elliott

SYNOPSIS:
Bookshop owner and maid of honor Addie Greyborne vows to catch the killer who crashed her best friend’s wedding…

It promises to be Greyborne Harbor’s wedding of the year. The impending nuptials of Serena Chandler and Zach Ludlow will take place aboard his family’s luxurious super-yacht, currently moored in the harbor and the talk of the town. But on the day of the wedding, a man’s body washes up on the beach with no ID, only a torn page from a book in his pocket. As owner of Beyond the Page Books and Curios, bibliophile Addie is called in to identify the book, but she cannot.
The morning following the extravagant ceremony, a second body washes ashore and Addie has a sinking feeling that the two deaths are connected. While the guests are held on the yacht as the police investigate, at least Addie can peruse Zach’s father’s rare books library on board. A copy of Agatha Christie’s first Hercule Poirot novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, provides a clue that the killer may still be on the ship–but narrowing down the suspects without becoming the next victim may prove a truly Herculean task…

Published March 30th

Bodies and Bows  (Apron Shop Series 3) by Elizabeth Penney

SYNOPSIS:
Bodies & Bows is the third in the charming cozy Iris Buckley mystery series set in an apron shop in Maine–Elizabeth Penney will have you on pins and needles…

Iris Buckley is hoping for a bit of rest and relaxation now that the summertime rush is winding down in Blueberry Cove, Maine. Her apron shop Ruffles & Bows has been a huge success, her friendships are stronger than ever, and now she’s ready for all of the end of summer cookouts on the beach that she can handle.
But before Iris can even turn on the grill, Bella’s latest fling, former Olympian sailor and gorgeous bad boy Lance Pederson is killed in a hit and run while jogging at dawn–and all the evidence points to Bella herself.
Suddenly the month of August isn’t looking so restful, since now Iris has been roped into the Lighthouse Rehabilitation Committee, helping her friend Sophie plan a wedding, and–most importantly of all–tracking down a killer and clearing Bella’s good name before everything unravels.

Published March 30th

The Ghost and the Mountain Man (Haunting Danielle Book 27) by Bobbi Holmes

SYNOPSIS:
Life is about to change for Brian Henderson, now that he knows the secrets of Beach Drive.

Unbeknownst to Brian and the others, they have brought something else home with them after their misadventure in the forest. The spirit of a mountain man has followed them to Frederickport with a secret of his own.

Published March 30th


Poppy Harmon and the Pillow Talk Killer (A Desert Flowers Mystery Book 3) by Lee Hollis

SYNOPSIS:
Private investigator Poppy Harmon likes the anonymity of working behind the scenes for the hottest names in Palm Springs. But when solving a case demands dragging her old acting career out of retirement, it’s lights . . . camera . . . murder!

Cast in her first role since the 1980s, Poppy has never been more rattled or unprepared on a film set. It’s an embarrassing but necessary cover to keep an eye on client Danika Delgado, a rising starlet and social media influencer with a large following—including a dangerous stalker who won’t disappear. The leading lady’s fame is growing, and so are the threats against her life . . .

Unfortunately for Poppy, there’s more to fear than flubbed lines. When she finds Danika smothered to death in her trailer at Joshua Tree National Park, the horrifying crime stirs up memories of a man known as the Pillow Talk Killer during her time as a young actress, bringing unsolved murders from the past back into focus . . .

A trail of clues urges Poppy, hunky sidekick Matt Flowers, and the rest of the Desert Flowers Detective Agency gang on a frantic chase after Danika’s crazed #1 fan. But as co-stars and production crew members start looking equally suspicious, Poppy must expose a slew of insidious industry secrets before a murderer rolls out the red carpet for someone else . . .

Published March 30th

Murder at Wedgefield Manor (A Jane Wunderlay Book 2) by Erica Ruth Neubauer

SYNOPSIS:
In the wake of World War I, Jane Wunderly—a thoroughly modern young American widow—is traveling abroad, enjoying the hospitality of an English lord and a perfectly proper manor house, until murder makes an unwelcome appearance . . .

England, 1926: Wedgefield Manor, deep in the tranquil Essex countryside, provides a welcome rest stop for Jane and her matchmaking Aunt Millie before their return to America. While Millie spends time with her long-lost daughter, Lillian, and their host, Lord Hughes, Jane fills the hours devouring mystery novels and taking flying lessons—much to Millie’s disapproval. But any danger in the air is eclipsed by tragedy on the ground when one of the estate’s mechanics, Air Force veteran Simon Marshall, is killed in a motorcar collision.

The sliced brake cables prove this was no accident, yet was the intended victim someone other than Simon? The house is full of suspects—visiting relations, secretive servants, strangers prowling the grounds at night—and also full of targets. The enigmatic Mr. Redvers, who helped Jane solve a murder in Egypt, arrives on the scene to once more offer his assistance. It seems that everyone at Wedgefield wants Jane to help protect the Hughes family. But while she searches for answers, is she overlooking a killer hiding in plain sight?

Published March 30th

Death at the Salon: 2 (A Daisy Thorne Mystery) by Louise R. Innes

SYNOPSIS:
In the second installment of the new Daisy Thorne Mystery series by Louise R. Innes, after Daisy, a hairdresser and owner of Ooh La La Beauty Salon, finds her missing scissors in a customer’s back, she becomes the prime suspect in a murder…

When Ooh La La regular Mel Haverstock left the hair salon that morning, no one expected it would be her final parting. But when Daisy closes shop Saturday night, she finds her client dead as the mullet cut. Homicide is back in style in the quiet village of Edgemead in Surrey, England. But who would want to harm a hair on poor Mel’s head?
Suspicions higher than a beehive pile on Daisy when it’s revealed that she and Mel had tangled back in high school, and DNA evidence seems to color her guilty. Handsome DCI Paul McGuinness gives the hairstylist new accessories–a lovely pair of silver handcuffs. To clear her name, Daisy must highlight the real backstabber, or she’ll end up shaving heads in the prison barbershop.

Published March 30th

Murder at the Taffy Shop (A Cozy Capers Book Group Mystery 2) by Maddie Day

SYNOPSIS:
Cape Cod bicycle shop owner Mackenzie “Mac” Almeida and her mystery book club find a certain accusation of murder quite the stretch . . .

When your mother is an astrologist and your dad is a minister, you learn to keep an open mind. Which is just what Mac loves to do—exercise her mind by puzzling out fictional clues in the mystery novels she reads and discusses with her Cozy Capers Book Group.

But now Mac’s friend Gin has found herself in a sticky situation. After wealthy genealogist Beverly Ruchart is found dead outside Gin’s taffy shop, the candy maker becomes a person of interest. When it’s revealed that Beverly was poisoned the night Gin brought a box of taffy to a dinner party at Beverly’s house, she’s bumped to the top of the suspects list. It’s up to Mac and her Cozy Capers crime solvers to unwrap this real-life mystery. But this time they might have bitten off more than they can chew . . .

Published March 30th

Dead Even (A Mattie Winston Mystery Book 12) by Annelise Ryan

SYNOPSIS:
In Sorenson, Wisconsin, a local bigshot is found with a pool cue through the heart—and Mattie Winston must untangle a web of lies to sink a killer . . .

In her previous career as a nurse, Mattie Winston’s job was to keep death at bay. Now, as a medicolegal investigator, she’s required to study death intimately—to figure out causes and timing, and help deduce whether it was natural or suspicious.
 
In the case of Montgomery “Monty” Dixon, a well-to-do Realtor, there can be little doubt: Broken pool cues do not embed themselves. Monty’s body is found in the game room of his lavish house, the walls adorned with photos of Monty and various celebrities. But as Mattie and husband Steve Hurley, a homicide detective, both know, money and connections can’t protect anyone from a killer.
 
The first suspect is Monty’s wife, Summer, who claims to have been at a cooking class at the time. When that alibi is served up as a fake, Summer moves to the top of the suspects list, but is soon joined by Monty’s ne’er-do-well son, Sawyer, who has racked up gambling debts he hoped his dad would pay off. Monty’s twin brother is engaging in shady financial deals. An affair, a Ponzi scheme, a disputed inheritance . . . there are as many motives as suspects, and soon Mattie and Hurley have turned up other, possibly related deaths.
 
Balancin a high-profile case with the demands of their increasingly stressful household isn’t easy. It’ll take all of Mattie’s skill—along with a lucky break or two—to stop a killer from racking up another victim . . .

Published March 30th

Mrs. Morris and the Sorceress (A Salem B&B Mystery Book 4) by Traci Wilton

SYNOPSIS:
It’s Fourth of July in Salem, Massachusetts—and B&B owner Charlene Morris is about to witness the shot heard ’round the town . . .
 
Madison Boswell, a beauty recently transplanted from Boston, is starring in the Independence Day play in this New England town full of colonial history—and, of course, witchcraft. Madison may not be a Wiccan, but she does seem to have certain hypnotic powers. And she’s left some angry people in her wake, from a fellow actress beaten out for a role to a jealous betrayed wife. Now, as Charlene films the performance for her housemate, Jack—a handsome ghost who shares the Victorian bed-and-breakfast with her and her Persian cat—the drama queen takes a deadly bullet from what was supposed to be a prop gun.
 
With a long list of suspects and lots of backstage whispers, it looks like the investigation by Charlene and Detective Sam Holden could set off some fireworks . . .

Published March 30th

Here Ghost Nothing: A Paranormal Cozy Mystery Romance (Ghost Detective Book 5) by Jane Hinchey

SYNOPSIS:
How can any self-respecting, slightly clumsy, highly caffeinated private eye pass up a dare? Short answer, she can’t. Now up I’m a certain creek trying to figure out how to live without coffee for an entire week!

With my mood sour, my temper frazzled, and my patience long gone, how am I meant to deal with this? And by this, I mean the dead body on my front lawn.

Before I can say double espresso, I’ve got a ghost whose transition to the afterlife is far from smooth, an overweight cat who is annoyingly vocal about his new (definitely called for) diet, and a mystery to solve that involves multiple visits to the local brewery. Can anyone say silver lining?

Published March 31st