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Blog Tours book reviews Emma's Anticipated Treasures

BLOG TOUR: Dirt by Sarah Sultoon

Published: Janaury 19th, 2023
Publisher: Orenda
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Political Thriller, Political Fiction, War Story
Format: Paperback, Kindle, Audiobook

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this compelling thriller. Thank you to Anne at Random Things Tours for the invitation to take part, and Karen at Orenda for the ARC.

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SYNOPSIS:

A compulsive, searing political thriller set on a kibbutz in Northern Israel, where the discovery of the body of an Israeli-Arab worker sets off a devastating chain of events…


‘A first-class political thriller’ Steve Cavanagh
 
‘A bitingly sharp, pacy thriller. Devilishly good. I inhaled it’ Freya Berry 
 
‘A powerful political thriller that brims with authentic detail. Clever, compulsive and achingly atmospheric’ Kia Abdullah 
 
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This is no utopia…

1996. Northern Israel. Lola leaves an unhappy home life in England for the fabled utopian life of a kibbutz, but this heavily guarded farming community on the Arab-Israeli border isn’t the idyll it seems, and tensions are festering.

Hundreds of miles away, in the Jerusalem offices of the International Tribune newspaper, all eyes are on Israel’s response to a spate of rocket attacks from Lebanon, until cub reporter Jonny Murphy gets a tip from a mysterious source that sends him straight into the danger zone.

When the body of an Arab worker is discovered in the dirt of the kibbutz chicken house, it triggers a series of events that puts Lola and the whole community in jeopardy, and Jonny begins to uncover a series of secrets that put everything at risk, as he begins to realise just how far some people will go to belong…

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MY REIVEW

“The body steamed gently in the heat as the birds pecked their way around it, the fetid smell of chicken feed mingling with the sulphurous whiff of smashed eggs. The pecking became indecorous as the hardest-working chicken, a champion amongst fowl, found an eyeball. Then another.”

When a thriller opens with lines like that you know you’re in for a great read. And Dirt did not disappoint. There is a sense of foreboding that hovers over the pages from the start, something ominous in the air that we are yet to discover. And there is a lot to discover in the complex, layered and twisty political thriller filled with secrets, tension and cover-ups.

1996 is a nostalgic year for me. I was 17-years-old and it was the year I felt I found a sense of freedom and adventure among my peers, so I instantly connected with Lola who is experiencing that on a much bigger scale in this story. Lola has left behind her unhappy home life in England for an adventure in Northern Israel alongside her Jewish best friend, Sam. The two are working as volunteers on a kibbutz, a fabled utopian farming community located on the Arab-Israeli border. There is a real sense of family living and working alongside these people every day. But when a body is found in the heavily guarded community all signs point to murder, and it seems Lola doesn’t know these people as well as she thought.

Meanwhile, our other narrator, Jonny, is hundreds of miles away in Jerusalem. Jonny has also come to the country to find himself, a quest to learn more about his heritage after his Jewish mother was disowned by her family for falling in love with his Irish father. A reporter for the International Tribune, a source alerts him to the body discovered on the kibbutz. Unable to resist the lure of a story, he travels there to investigate, not realising the dangerous chain of events he is about to ignite.

“You have no idea what you’ve stumbled into. Everyone thinks that it is simple – both sides hate the other and will fight to the death until one of them wins. Nothing’s ever that simple though is it?” 

Sarah Sultoon isn’t afraid to tackle a difficult subject. Her debut, The Source, was a hard-hitting read and this one is just as unflinching. Alongside her examination of the Arab-Israeli conflict is an exploration of identity that also touches on subjects such as prejudice and sexual assault. While there are occasional gruesome scenes, it is never graphic and she instead focuses on the emotions of the characters to tell her story, making the reader feel everything alongside Lola and Jonny. The writing is so evocative that I was transported and it was almost like I could feel the heat of the sun bearing down on me in the kibbutz or feel the terror as rockets flew overhead during an air raid. It gave me a real connection not only to the characters, but to the setting itself, something that is very important in this book.

A clever, intriguing and intricate thriller that I’d highly recommend.

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✰

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

Sarah Sultoon is a journalist and writer, whose work as an international news executive at CNN has taken her all over the world, from the seats of power in both Westminster and Washington to the frontlines of Iraq and Afghanistan. She has extensive experience in conflict zones, winning three Peabody awards for her work on the war in Syria, an Emmy for her contribution to the coverage of Europe’s migrant crisis in 2015, and a number of Royal Television Society gongs. As passionate about fiction as nonfiction, she recently completed a Masters of Studies in Creative Writing at the University of Cambridge, adding to an undergraduate language degree in French and Spanish, and Masters of Philosophy in History, Film and Television. When not reading or writing she can usually be found somewhere outside, either running, swimming or throwing a ball for her three children and dog while she imagines what might happen if… Sarah lives in London with her family, and she’s currently working on her second thriller

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BUY THE BOOK:

Orenda | Waterstones* | Amazon* | Bookshop.org*

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Thanks for reading Bibliophiles xx

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

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book reviews Emma's Anticipated Treasures Most Anticipated 2023

BOOK REVIEW: The Drift by C.J. Tudor

Published: January 19th, 2023
Publisher: Michael Joseph
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Horror Fiction, Suspense, Psychological Ficiton, Psychological Thriller, Noir Fiction, Crime Fiction
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audiobook

Happy Sunday Bibliophiles! Today I’m finally sharing my review of C.J. Tudor’s latest heart-pounding thriller. This is one you don’t want to miss! Thank you to C.J. Tudor for sending me a proof copy of this book and the delicious cookies.

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SYNOPSIS:

THE HEART-POUNDING NEW NOVEL FROM THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF THE CHALK MAN AND RICHARD & JUDY PICK THE BURNING GIRLS

‘The wildest thriller of the year is three thrillers in one. Buckle up‘ LINWOOD BARCLAY

‘An exceptional thriller. Original, high-octane plot, jaw-dropping twists . . . A writer at the top of her game’ CLAIRE DOUGLAS

‘A truly terrifying, ice-cold chiller from the master of macabre. C.J. Tudor should be on everyone’s must-read list’ CHRIS WHITAKER
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Survival can be murder . . .

Hannah awakens to carnage, all mangled metal and shattered glass. Evacuated from a secluded boarding school during a snowstorm, her coach careered off the road, trapping her with a handful of survivors.

Meg awakens to a gentle rocking. She’s in a cable car stranded high above snowy mountains, with five strangers and no memory of how they got on board.

Carter is gazing out of the window of an isolated ski chalet that he and his companions call home. As their generator begins to waver in the storm, the threat of something lurking in the chalet’s depths looms larger.

Outside, the storm rages. Inside each group, a killer lurks.

But who?

And will anyone make it out alive? . . .

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MY REVIEW:

“They were trapped. With the dead. And if rescue didn’t come soon, they would be buried with them.”

There is something uniquely terrifying about the idea of being trapped in a place that is cut off from everything else. Add in a harsh, brutal, unrelenting snowstorm and it becomes even more dangerous. Then people begin to disappear or turn up dead. You realise that nowhere is safe and if the elements, thirst or starvation don’t kill you, then one of your fellow companions just might. All of a sudden that picturesque home or resort doesn’t look so inviting. The Drift is all of these things and more, making it exactly the kind of compelling claustrophobic thriller I love.

C. J. Tudor has done it again. Chilling, tense and twisty, this is one f****d-up rollercoaster ride that packs a punch from the first page. A prime example of an author at the top of her game, this Queen of sinister storytelling knows how to hold her reader hostage, making our hearts pound as she chills us to the bone. Expertly written and plotted, she holds the reader in her thrall and we are powerless to resist. It is why every book she releases is a must read for me. I don’t even read the synopsis anymore as I know I’m  a first-class thriller.

“Obviously, everyone here was hiding something. The only difference was the size of the secret and the depth of the lie. ” 

I was on the edge of my seat from those first grisly and ominous pages, reading in breathless anticipation as things spiralled out of control. A ticking timebomb of sheer dread, the overwhelming fear leaping from the pages as the characters fight to survive not only the brutal conditions, but someone who wants to silence them. Told from multiple points of view, there is also a sense of something dark lurking, watching and waiting to strike. A feeling of being hunted that only heightens the sense of danger and ramps up the tension. But who can they trust? Most of the characters are strangers thrown together in the worst of circumstances and they have no idea who is truthful and who is spinning a web of lies.

“The realization unfurled slowly in her stomach, like poisonous tentacles. 
No. No, no, no.” 

I loved unwrapping the layers one by one to see what they revealed, trying to piece to puzzle together. But there were still things I couldn’t work out, and I needed answers. As I sped toward the finale nothing could stop me from flying through the pages, not even sleep threatening to overtake me at 3am. But when that big reveal came I was unprepared, my jaw left on the floor as I tried to comprehend what I’d just learned. It’s been over a week since I finished the book and I’m still thinking about it.

Unsettling, eerie and unbearably tense, The Drift is a nerve-shredding masterpiece that you won’t want to put down. 

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✮

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

C. J. Tudor’s love of writing, especially the dark and macabre, started young. When her peers were reading Judy Blume, she was devouring Stephen King and James Herbert.
Over the years she has had a variety of jobs, including trainee reporter, radio scriptwriter, dog walker, voiceover artist, television presenter, copywriter and, now, author.
C. J. Tudor’s first novel, The Chalk Man, was a Sunday Times bestseller and sold in over forty countries. Her second novel, The Taking of Annie Thorne, was also a Sunday Times bestseller as was her third novel, The Other People. All three books are in development for TV. Her fourth novel, The Burning Girls, was a Richard and Judy Book Club selection and has been adapted for television by award-winning screenwriter Hans Rosenfeldt (creator of The Bridge and Marcella). It will debut on Paramount Plus in 2023. The Drift is her fifth novel and has also been optioned for the screen. C.J. Tudor is also the author of A Sliver of Darkness, a collection of short stories.
She lives in Sussex with her family.

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BUY THE BOOK:

Waterstones* | Amazon* | Berts Books |Bookshop.org*

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Thanks for reading Bibliophiles xxxx

*These links are affiliate links

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Blog Tours book reviews Emma's Anticipated Treasures Most Anticipated 2023

BLOG TOUR: Becoming Ted by Matt Cain

Published: January 19th, 2023
Publisher: Headline Review
Genre: Romantic Comedy, Literary Fiction, Contemporary Fiction
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audiobook

Happy Publication Day to Becoming Ted! I’m delighted to be sharing my review today for this uplifting novel. Thank you to Joe at Headline for the invitation to take part and proof copy of the book.

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SYNOPSIS:

A charming, joyful and surprising story about love, friendship and learning to be true to yourself, Becoming Ted will steal your heart.

Ted Ainsworth has always worked at his family’s ice-cream business in the quiet Lancashire town of St Luke’s-on-Sea.

But the truth is, he’s never wanted to work for the family firm – he doesn’t even like ice-cream, though he’s never told his parents that. When Ted’s husband suddenly leaves him, the bottom falls out of his world.

But what if this could be an opportunity to put what he wants first? This could be the chance to finally follow his secret dream: something Ted has never told anyone …

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MY REVIEW:

“I’ve dimmed my light for decades – now it’s time to turn it up to the max!” 

Oh, my heart. A story that will strike a resonant chord with many of us, it pulled on my heartstrings, made me laugh out loud and gave me life. I loved every minute of reading it and now want everyone else to experience that same joy. 

43-year-old Ted Ainsworth is happily married to his husband, Giles, of twenty years. They live in the small Lancashire town of St Luke’s-on-Sea where Ted works for the family ice cream business. It’s a good life. One he’s happy with. Or so he thinks.
When Giles announces he’s leaving Ted out of the blue one Sunday morning, Ted’s whole world is rocked. He has lost his anchor, his future, his everything. As he picks up the broken pieces of his heart, Ted begins to reflect on not only his relationship, but his entire life, and rediscovers a long-forgotten dream that he has kept secret all of his life. Maybe now it’s finally time to become who he was always meant to be…

“Bursting to life in front of them is a colourful chaos of non-conformity.” 

I’d heard a lot of great things about Matt Cain’s previous book, The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle, so I was looking forward to discovering his writing for myself. And let me tell you, it was everything I’d hoped for and more. Beautifully written and compelling, I was completely immersed in Ted’s story from the start. I’m a big fan of slice of life books that allow us to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes, to feel their struggles, heartache and joy. Ted’s journey to find the best version of himself is interspersed with memories of his childhood and his relationship with Giles, giving the reader a greater understanding of how Ted became the man he is, as well as giving glimpses at who he wants to be. So much of this story is recognisable and relatable, from its characters inspired by everyday people, to the themes of heartbreak, self-discovery and friendship, to how it perfectly captures life in a small, northern seaside town. The last part was a particularly enjoyable nostalgia-fest for me. 

“In just a few minutes the dull, unremarkable, barely noticeable Ted Ainsworth had blossomed into a glamorous, fierce-looking, powerful queen.”

The eponymous Ted is a marvellous and magnetic character who I fell in love with immediately. His story is one that will strike a resonant chord in many of us, including this 43-year-old straight woman. So many times I felt like I was seeing myself on the page as I read Ted’s story, many times I had been exactly where he was and I wanted to jump into the book so I could hug him. The author’s portrayal of how it feels when your marriage or long-term relationship ends was devastatingly real. I felt like my own heart broke along with Ted’s as he was filled with overwhelming grief and began to question everything he thought he knew. But after every storm, a rainbow appears, and watching as Ted transformed into his best self was emotional, courageous and inspiring. I wanted to shout ‘Yesss Queen’ as this butterfly emerged from its cocoon and lit up the world. 

Loud, proud and utterly fabulous, Becoming Ted is a reminder that it is never too late to follow our dreams and become who we are meant to be. Heartwarming, hopeful and uplifting, I think everyone should read this book and meet Ted. I promise you won’t regret it.

Rating: ✮✮✮✮.5

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

Matt Cain is a writer, broadcaster, and a leading commentator on LGBT+ issues.

He was Channel 4’s first Culture Editor, Editor-In-Chief of Attitude magazine, has written for all the major national newspapers, and presented the flagship discussion show on Virgin Radio Pride. He’s also an ambassador for Manchester Pride and the Albert Kennedy Trust, plus a patron of LGBT+ History Month.

Matt’s first two novels, Shot Through the Heart and Nothing But Trouble, were published by Pan Macmillan. His third, The Madonna Of Bolton, became Unbound’s fastest crowdfunded novel ever before its publication in 2018. His latest, The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle, was published by Headline Review in May 2021 and Becoming Ted will follow in January 2023.

Born in Bury and brought up in Bolton, Matt now lives in London with his partner, Harry, and their cat, Nelly.

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BUY THE BOOK:

Waterstones | Amazon | Bookshop.org

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Thanks for reading Bibliophiles xxx

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

*All purchase links are affiliate links

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Blog Tours book reviews Emma's Anticipated Treasures Most Anticipated 2023

BLOG TOUR: The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels by Janice Hallett

Published: January 19th, 2023
Publisher: Viper
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Episolatry Novel, Police Procedural
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audiobook

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this tantalising and twisty tale. This was my favourie book of December 2022 and I’m so glad to finally be able to share my review with you all. Thank you to Viper for the invitation to take part and the proof copy of the book.

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SYNOPSIS:

*** THE NEW MYSTERY PHENOMENON FROM THE BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF THE APPEAL AND THE TWYFORD CODE ***

‘The queen of tricksy crime’ – SUNDAY TIMES
‘An astonishing piece of work’ – IAN MOORE

Open the safe deposit box.
Inside you will find research material for a true crime book.
You must read the documents, then make a decision.
Will you destroy them? Or will you take them to the police?

Everyone knows the sad story of the Alperton Angels: the cult who brainwashed a teenage girl and convinced her that her newborn baby was the anti-Christ. Believing they had a divine mission to kill the infant, they were only stopped when the girl came to her senses and called the police. The Angels committed suicide rather than stand trial, while mother and baby disappeared into the care system.

Nearly two decades later, true-crime author Amanda Bailey is writing a book on the Angels. The Alperton baby has turned eighteen and can finally be interviewed; if Amanda can find them, it will be the true-crime scoop of the year, and will save her flagging career. But rival author Oliver Menzies is just as smart, better connected, and is also on the baby’s trail.

As Amanda and Oliver are forced to collaborate, they realise that what everyone thinks they know about the Angels is wrong. The truth is something much darker and stranger than they’d ever imagined. And the story of the Alperton Angels is far from over.

From the bestselling author of The Appeal and The Twyford Code comes a stunning new mystery for fans of Richard Osman and S.J. Bennett. The devil is in the detail…

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MY REVIEW:

You have a key that opens a safe deposit box.
Inside is a bundle of documents, archived research material for a book that has just been published.
You must read it all and make a decision, either:
Replace all the documents and the box, then throw the key where it will never be found…
Or: take everything to the police. 

And so begins The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels. A tantalising, eerie and intriguing story of secrets, lies, delusion, mystery and  murder. 

True-crime author Amanda Bailey is asked to revisit the infamous case of the Alperton Angels, the cult who brainwashed a teenager into believing her baby was the anti-Christ and that God had charged them with sacrificing it in order to save humanity. The girl managed to save her baby, but the Angles sacrificed themselves rather than face trial for their crimes, and the case has been surrounded by whispers of conspiracy and cover-ups ever since.

With the surviving baby about to turn eighteen, the race is on to secure the first interview, and Amanda is determined to get that scoop. But she soon discovers discrepancies in the case and finds there is a wall of secrecy that surrounds the baby and it’s teenage parents, all three of which have not been seen since that night. It seems that everything people think they know about the Alperton Angels is wrong. The truth is something much darker, stranger and more sinister than anyone could ever imagine. And some people will do anything to prevent the truth from being revealed.

“There’s something about this case. It burrows insidiously into your mind, then sets about changing it.” 

I had been in a reading slump for a while when I picked this up, hoping that this might be the magic story to break the curse. And, boy, did it have the desired effect! Tantalising, eerie and intriguing, I couldn’t get enough of this book and devoured it quickly. It haunted my every thought and I’d be thinking about it even when forced to stop reading to do other things. I even dreamed about it when I slept! An absolute masterpiece, this was exactly what I needed to get me out of my slump.

Janice Hallett is a true innovator in crime fiction. She writes exclusively in mixed media, yet somehow you forget that you aren’t reading a traditionally written story. She makes it flow seamlessly and I completely lost myself in the world that she created.  A world that feels so real. I  am not ashamed to admit that I turned to google to check if this was based on a real case. It reads so authentically that it felt unfathomable that it could be purely a work of fiction. Ms. Hallett is a master storyteller who has created a story where nothing is as it seemed. The plot is an intricate maze of secrets, red herrings, duplexities and double crosses that I challenge anyone to predict. It is all so detailed and complex that it made my head spin, pulling me one way, then another, and then back again, like clothes spinning round a washing machine. I have no idea how she manages to come up with it, let alone how she keeps all those balls in the air and plots the clues perfectly. Yet it never feels confusing, which is a testament to her extraordinary skill as a writer.

Dark, curious and forbidding, you will not be able to stop reading this book until you have a resolution to your questions. And as the tension ramps up as you race to the finale, you will find yourself on the edge of your seat holding on for dear life as Ms. Hallett takes you on a wild and twisty ride. An absolute must-read for anyone who enjoys crime fiction. 

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✮

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

Janice Hallett studied English at UCL, and spent several years as a magazine editor, winning two awards for journalism. After gaining an MA in Screenwriting at Royal Holloway, she co-wrote the feature film RetreatThe Appeal is inspired by her lifelong interest in amateur dramatics. Her second novel, The Twyford Code, will be published by Viper in 2022. When not indulging her passion for global adventure travel, she is based in West London.

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BUY THE BOOK:

Waterstones | Amazon | Bookshop.org

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Thanks for reading Bibliophiles xxx

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

*All purchase links are affiliate links

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Emma's Anticipated Treasures Most Anticipated 2023

Emma’s Anticipated Treasures 2023 – Captivating Contemporary

Welcome to my final list of most anticipated 2023 books. I love reading contemporary and literary fiction, so couldn’t leave out those genres. Especially when some of the books in this list are ones I’m most anticipating this year.

So, here are the twenty Contemporary Fiction books released this year that I’m most anticipating:

We All Want Impossible Things by Catherine Newman

SYNOPSIS:
Who knows you better than your best friend? Who knows your secrets, your fears, your desires, your strange imperfect self? Edi and Ash have been best friends for over forty years. Since childhood they have seen each other through life’s milestones: stealing vodka from their parents, the Madonna phase, REM concerts, unexpected wakes, marriages, infertility, children. As Ash notes, ‘Edi’s memory is like the back-up hard drive for mine.’

So when Edi is diagnosed with terminal cancer, Ash’s world reshapes around the rhythms of Edi’s care, from chipped ice and watermelon cubes to music therapy; from snack smuggling to impromptu excursions into the frozen winter night. Because life is about squeezing the joy out of every moment, about building a powerhouse of memories, about learning when to hold on, and when to let go.

For fans of Nora Ephron and Sorrow & BlissWe All Want Impossible Things is a deeply moving, jubilant celebration of life and friendship at its imperfect, radiant, and irreverent best.

Published January 12th by Doubleday
Pre-order here*

Are You Happy Now by Hanna Jameson

SYNOPSIS:
At a New York City wedding, on a sweltering summer night, four people are trying to be happy.

Yun has everything he ever wanted, but somehow it’s never enough.
Emory is finally making her mark, but feels the shame more than the success.
Andrew is trying to be honest, but has lied to himself his whole life.
Fin can’t resist falling in love, but can’t help wrecking it all either.

And then the world begins to end. The four of them watch as one of the wedding guests sits down and refuses to get back up. Soon it’s happening across the world. Is it a choice or an illness?

Because how can anyone be happy in a world where the only choice is to feel everything – or nothing at all?

An intensely compulsive novel for anyone who has ever felt hopeful and helpless in one breath, ARE YOU HAPPY NOW is about how you keep living when the world is on fire. Perfect for fans of Emily John St. Mandel’s Station Eleven, Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go, Patricia Lockwood’s Nobody is Talking About This and Naomi Alderman’s The Power.

Published February 2nd by Viking
Pre-order here*

Cursed Bread by Sophie Mackintosh

SYNOPSIS:
From the Booker Prize-nominated author of The Water Cure comes a chilling new feminist fable based on the true story of an unsolved mystery…

Good Housekeeping recommended read for 2023

‘Sensual, luminous, transcendent. It confirms Mackintosh as one of our finest young writers’ The Bookseller


‘A thrilling and subversive fable’ i-D

If you eat the bread, you’ll die, he said. The statement made no sense, but it filled me with an electric dread.


Elodie is the baker’s wife. A plain, unremarkable woman, ignored by her husband and underestimated by her neighbours, she burns with the secret desire to be extraordinary. One day a charismatic new couple appear in town – the ambassador and his sharp-toothed wife, Violet – and Elodie quickly falls under their spell. All summer long she stalks them through the shining streets: inviting herself into their home, eavesdropping on their coded conversations, longing to be part of their world.

Meanwhile, beneath the tranquil surface of daily life, strange things are happening. Six horses are found dead in a sun-drenched field, laid out neatly on the ground like an offering. Widows see their lost husbands walking up the moonlit river, coming back to claim them. A teenage boy throws himself into the bonfire at the midsummer feast. A dark intoxication is spreading through the town, and when Elodie finally understands her role in it, it will be too late to stop.

Audacious and mesmerising, Cursed Bread is a fevered confession, an entry into memory’s hall of mirrors, a fable of obsession and transformation. Sophie Mackintosh spins a darkly gleaming tale of a town gripped by hysteria, envy like poison in the blood, and desire that burns and consumes.

Published March 2nd by Hamish Hamilton
Pre-order here*

If I Let You Go by Charlotte Levin

SYNOPSIS:
If I Let You Go by Charlotte Levin is a deeply moving and gripping portrayal of a woman coming to terms with loss.

Every morning Janet Brown goes to work cleaning offices. It calms her, cleanliness, neatness. All the things she’s unable to do with her soul can be achieved with a damp cloth and a splash of bleach. However, the guilt she still carries about a devastating loss that happened eleven years ago, cannot be erased.

Then, Janet finds herself involved in a train crash and, recognising the chance to do what she couldn’t all those years ago, she makes a decision. As news spreads of Janet’s actions, her story inspires everyone around her, and for the first time her life has purpose and the future is filled with hope.

But Janet’s story isn’t quite what it seems, and as events spiral out of control, she soon discovers that coming clean isn’t an option. Because if Janet washes away the lies, what long-buried truths will she finally have to face.

Published March 2nd by Pan Macmillan
Pre-order here*

Old Babes in the Wood by Margaret Atwood

SYNOPSIS:
A dazzling collection of fifteen stories from Margaret Atwood, the internationally acclaimed, award-winning author of The Handmaid’s Tale and The Testaments

Margaret Atwood is celebrated as one of the most gifted storytellers in the world.

These stories explore the full warp and weft of experience, from two best friends disagreeing about their shared past, to the right way to stop someone from choking; from a daughter determining if her mother really is a witch, to what to do with inherited relics such as World War II parade swords.

They feature beloved cats, a confused snail, Martha Gellhorn, George Orwell, philosopher-astronomer-mathematician Hypatia of Alexandria, a cabal of elderly female academics, and an alien tasked with retelling human fairy tales.

At the heart of the collection is a stunning sequence that follows a married couple as they travel the road together, the moments big and small that make up a long life of love — and what comes after.

The glorious range of Atwood’s creativity and humanity is on full beam in these tales, which by turns delight, illuminate and quietly devastate.

Published March 7th by Chatto & Windus
Pre-order here*

Furies by Various

SYNOPSIS:
A FUN AND FEARLESS ANTHOLOGY OF FEMINIST TALES, to celebrate Virago’s 50th birthday, featuring NEW AND ORIGINAL STORIES by Margaret AtwoodSusie BoytEleanor CrewesEmma DonoghueStella DuffyLinda GrantClaire KohdaCN LesterKirsty LoganCaroline O’DonoghueChibundu OnuzoHelen OyeymiRachel SeiffertKamila Shamsie and Ali Smith – introduced by Sandi Toksvig.

DRAGON. TYGRESS. SHE-DEVIL. HUSSY. SIREN. WENCH. HARRIDAN. MUCKRAKER. SPITFIRE. VITUPERATOR. CHURAIL. TERMAGANT. FURY. WARRIOR. VIRAGO. For centuries past, and all across the world, there are words that have defined and decried us. Words that raise our hackles, fire up our blood; words that tell a story.

In this blazing cauldron of a book, fifteen bestselling, award-winning writers have taken up their pens and reclaimed these words, creating an entertaining and irresistible collection of feminist tales for our time.

Published March 16th by Virago
Pre-order here*

Beautiful Shining People by Michael Grothaus

SYNOPSIS:
A damaged young man meets an enigmatic waitress in a Tokyo café, and they embark on a journey that will change everything … an emotive speculative literary novel set in a near-future Japan
 
It’s our world, but decades into the future … an ordinary world, where cars drive themselves, drones glide across the sky, and robots work in burger shops. There are two superpowers and a digital Cold War, but all conflicts are safely oceans away. People get up, work, and have dinner. Everything is as it should be…
 
Except for seventeen-year-old John, a tech prodigy from a damaged family, who hides a deeply personal secret. But everything starts to change for him when he enters a tiny café on a cold Tokyo night. A café run by a disgraced sumo wrestler, where a peculiar dog with a spherical head lives, alongside its owner, enigmatic waitress Neotnia…
 
But Neotnia hides a secret of her own – a secret that will turn John’s unhappy life upside down. A secret that will take them from the neon streets of Tokyo to Hiroshima’s tragic past to the snowy mountains of Nagano. 
 
A secret that reveals that this world is anything ordinary – and it’s about to change forever…

Published March 16th by Orenda Books Pre-order here

In a Thousand Different Ways by Cecelia Ahern

SYNOPSIS:
Finding your way is never a simple journey…

‘Beautiful, moving, and unexpected, In a Thousand Different Ways is an unforgettable story. This is Cecelia Ahern at her very best’ Louise O’Neill

‘Cecelia Ahern is a master storyteller at the absolute peak of her powers. Her heroine, Alice Kelly, is completely unique – beguiling, complicated, extraordinary – and she’ll change the way you see the world. Just you wait’ CLARE POOLEY

Alice sees the worst in people.

She also sees the best.
She sees a thousand different emotions and knows exactly what everyone around her is feeling.
Every. Single. Day.

But it’s the dark thoughts.
The sadness. The rage.
These are the things she can’t get out of her head. The things that overwhelm her.

Where will the journey to find herself begin?

Published April 13th by Harper Collins
Pre-order here*

Oh, Sister by Jodie Chapman

SYNOPSIS:
Three women. Three lives. One chance to find themselves…

JEN

My body is not my own. Others make life and death decisions on my behalf.

ISOBEL

My place is to be secondary to the man in my life.

ZELDA

If I break the rules I will be sorry.

But this is not a dystopia. This is not the future or the past or a fantasy. It is real and it is happening now. Can we break free?

Published April 13th by Michael Joseph
Pre-order here*

The Memory of Animals by Claire Fuller

SYNOPSIS:
From the Costa-Winning, Women’s Prize-shortlisted author of Unsettled Ground: a gripping, haunting novel about memory, love and survival, for readers of Never Let me Go and Leave the World Behind

Neffy is a young woman running away from grief and guilt and the one big mistake that has derailed her career. When she answers the call to volunteer in a controlled vaccine trial, it offers her a way to pay off her many debts and, perhaps, to make up for the past.

But when the London streets below her window fall silent, and all external communications cease, only Neffy and four other volunteers remain in the unit. With food running out, and a growing sense that the strangers she is with may be holding back secrets, Neffy has questions that no-one can answer. Does safety lie inside or beyond the unit? And who, or what is out there?

While she weighs up her choices, she is introduced to a pioneering and controversial technology which allows her to revisit memories from her life before: a childhood divided between her enigmatic mother and her father in his small hotel in Greece. Intoxicated by the freedom of the past and the chance to reunite with those she loves, she increasingly turns away from her perilous present. But in this new world where survival rests on the bonds between strangers, is she jeopardising any chance of a future?

The Memory of Animals is a taut and emotionally charged novel about freedom and captivity, survival and sacrifice and whether you can save anyone before you save yourself.

Published April 20th by Fig Tree
Pre-order here*

The Island of Longing by Anne Griffin

SYNOPSIS:
One unremarkable afternoon, Rosie watched her daughter Saoirse cycle into town, expecting to hear the slam of the door when she returned a few hours later. But the slam never came.

Eight years on, after an extensive investigation into her disappearance, Rosie is the only person who stubbornly believes that her child might still be alive. When Rosie receives a call from her father, asking her to return home for the summer, she is forced out of her limbo. Life on the island of Roaring Bay revives old rivalries, but it also brings new friendships and unexpected solace.

Yet, when a sudden glimmer of hope appears, Rosie is forced to face an impossible question: is she right to think that Saoirse is still alive? Or will her belief that her daughter will one day return to her come at the cost of everything she has left?

Published April 27th by Sceptre
Pre-order here*

Greek Lessons by Han Kang

SYNOPSIS:
A powerful novel of the saving grace of language and human connection, from the celebrated author of The Vegetarian

In a classroom in Seoul, a young woman watches her Greek language teacher at the blackboard. She tries to speak but has lost her voice. Her teacher finds himself drawn to the silent woman, for day by day he is losing his sight.

Soon they discover a deeper pain binds them together. For her, in the space of just a few months, she has lost both her mother and the custody battle for her nine-year-old son. For him, it’s the pain of growing up between Korea and Germany, being torn between two cultures and languages.

Greek Lessons tells the story of two ordinary people brought together at a moment of private anguish – the fading light of a man losing his vision meeting the silence of a woman who has lost her language. Yet these are the very things that draw them to one another. Slowly the two discover a profound sense of unity – their voices intersecting with startling beauty, as they move from darkness to light, from silence to expression.

Greek Lessons is a tender love letter to human intimacy and connection, a novel to awaken the senses, vividly conjuring the essence of what it means to be alive.

Published April 27th by Hamish Hamilton
Pre-order here*

Honeybees and Distant Thunder by Riku Onda

SYNOPSIS:
The Night Circus meets Lonely Castle in the Mirror in this million-copy multi-awardwinning Japanese bestseller

In a small coastal town just a stone’s throw from Tokyo, a prestigious piano competition is underway. Over the course of two feverish weeks, three students will experience some of the most joyous – and painful – moments of their lives. Though they don’t know it yet, each will profoundly and unpredictably change the others, for ever.

Aya was a piano genius, until she ran away from the stage and vanished; will the tall and talented Makun bring her back? Or will it be child of nature, Jin, a pianist without a piano, who carries the sound of his father’s bees wherever he goes? Each of them will break the rules, awe their fans and push themselves to the brink. But at what cost?

Tender, cruel, compelling, HONEYBEES AND DISTANT THUNDER is the unflinching story of love, courage and rivalry. Most of all, it shows how three young people reconcile with the highs and lows of what it means to truly be a friend.

Published May 4th by Doubleday
Pre-order here*

This Family by Kate Sawyer

SYNOPSIS:
It is my dearest wish, that after so long apart, I am able to bring this family together for my wedding day.

This house. This family.

Mary has raised a family in this house. Watched her children play and laugh and bicker in this house. Today she is getting married in this house, with all her family in attendance.

The wedding celebrations have brought fractured family together for the first time in years: there’s Phoebe and her husband Michael, children in tow. The young and sensitive Rosie, with her new partner. Irene, Mary’s ex-mother-in-law. Even Emma, Mary’s eldest, is back for the wedding – despite being at odds with everyone else.

Set over the course of an English summer’s day but punctuated with memories from the past forty years of love and loss, hope and joy, heartbreak and grief, this is the story of a family. Told by a chorus of characters, it is an exploration of the small moments that bring us to where we are, the changes that are brought about by time, and what, despite everything, stays the same.

Published May 11th by Coronet
Pre-order here*

Fourteen Days by Various

SYNOPSIS:
Set in a Lower East Side tenement in the early days of the COVID-19 lockdowns, Fourteen Days is a surprising and irresistibly propulsive novel with an unusual twist: each character in this diverse, eccentric cast of New York neighbours has been secretly written by a different, major literary voice-from Margaret Atwood and Douglas Preston to Tommy Orange and Celeste Ng.

One week into the COVID-19 shutdown, tenants of a Lower East Side apartment building in Manhattan have begun to gather on the rooftop and tell stories. With each passing night, more and more neighbours gather, bringing chairs and milk crates and overturned pails. Gradually the tenants – some of whom have barely spoken to each other – become real neighbours. In this Decameron-like serial novel, general editor Margaret Atwood, Authors Guild president Douglas Preston, and a star-studded list of contributors create a beautiful ode to the people who couldn’t get away from the city when the pandemic hit. A dazzling, heartwarming and ultimately surprising narrative, Fourteen Days reveals how beneath the horrible loss and suffering, some communities managed to become stronger.

Includes writing from:
Margaret Atwood, Douglas Preston, Celeste Ng, Emma Donoghue, Dave Eggers, John Grisham, Diana Gabaldon, Ishmael Reed, Meg Wolitzer, Luis Alberto Urrea, James Shapiro, Sylvia Day, Mary Pope Osborne, Monique Truong, Hampton Sides, R. L. Stine, Scott Turow, Tommy Orange, and more!

Published May 30th by Vintage
Pre-order here*

Limelight by Daisy Buchanan

SYNOPSIS:
Frankie has a love-hate relationship with the spotlight. She secretly craves attention, but she is ashamed of that craving. And after a lifetime of comparison to her perfect sister Bean, she has never felt more invisible. She only ever feels seen when she uploads risqué photos to her small community of online fans. She creates a new her: confident, sexy, unforgettable, and utterly unrecognisable from the real Frankie.

Then the worst happens. Bean is diagnosed with cancer. While Frankie wants to fill the freezer with home cooked food, her mother decides she knows better and somehow launches a nationwide cancer fundraiser, with Frankie as the supportive-sister-spokesmodel. And with a delicious sense of inevitability, her account is found. Now everyone has their eyes on Frankie.

With her mum and sister no longer speaking to her, Frankie flounders in her newfound notoriety. Feminists and misogynists rage at her online, while she attracts hundreds of new subscribers. Whether they’re demanding apologies or expecting an empowering call to arms, everyone wants Frankie to explain herself. But how can she explain what she barely understands?

Limelight is a story about sisterhood, sexuality, and self-esteem. It’s about how we cope with living in a world which constantly tells us who we are. What happens when we stop listening and start paying attention to who we need to be p9come?

Published June 1st by Sphere
Pre-order here*

The Wind Knows My Name by Isabel Allende

SYNOPSIS:
Vienna, 1938. Samuel Adler is six years old when his father disappears during Kristallnacht – the night their family loses everything. As her child’s safety seems ever-harder to guarantee, Samuel’s mother secures a spot for him on the last Kindertransport train out of Nazi-occupied Austria to England. He boards alone, carrying nothing but a change of clothes and his violin.

Arizona, 2019. Eight decades later, Anita Diaz and her mother board another train, fleeing looming danger in El Salvador and seeking refuge in the United States. But their arrival coincides with the new family separation policy, and seven-year-old Anita finds herself alone at a camp in Nogales. She escapes her tenuous reality through her trips to Azabahar, a magical world of the imagination. Meanwhile, Selena Duran, a young social worker, enlists the help of a successful lawyer in hopes of tracking down Anita’s mother.

Intertwining past and present, The Wind Knows My Name tells the tale of these two unforgettable characters, both in search of family and home. It is both a testament to the sacrifices that parents make, and a love letter to the children who survive the most unfathomable dangers – and never stop dreaming.

Published June 6th by Bloomsbury
Pre-order here*

High Time by Hannah Rothschild

SYNOPSIS:
WHEN THE STAKES ARE HIGH, HOW LOW WILL YOU GO?

Ayesha Scott has a perfect life. Home is an art-filled Cornish castle with her stratospherically wealthy, titled husband and their beloved daughter. But behind every realised dream lurks an unexploded nightmare and in the course of one day Ayesha discovers that she will be penniless, homeless and powerless unless she can outwit the international mafia, infiltrate the world of high finance and make backstreet deals with the shadiest members of the art world.

Hurt and betrayed, she’s determined to fight for herself and her daughter – but can she do it without enlisting the help of her beloved, deeply eccentric but estranged family?

Published June 8th by Bloomsbury
Pre-order here*

The Half Moon by Mary Beth Keane

SYNOPSIS:
There are two sides to every story – and every marriage in crisis . . .

Malcolm, bartender at the Half Moon, has always dreamed of owning a bar, and when his boss finally retires, he seizes his chance. He sees unquantifiable magic and potential in the Half Moon and hopes to make it a bigger success.

His wife, Jess, has devoted herself to her law career, but after years of trying for a baby, she’s struggling to accept the idea that motherhood might not be in her future. She finds herself slipping away from both her career and her marriage. The bar is Malcolm’s dream, and as she feels her youth start to fade, she wonders how to reshape her own life.

When a blizzard hits their upstate New York town on the same day that Malcolm learns some shocking news about Jess, and a regular at the bar goes missing, everyone is frozen in place for a single, pivotal week. In The Half Moon, award-winning author Mary Beth Keane carefully explores a marriage in crisis, what it takes to make a life with another person, and the true meaning of family.

One tumultuous week. One marriage in crisis. One chance to begin again…

Published July 6th by Michael Joseph
Pre-order here*

Hello Beautiful by Ann Napolitano

SYNOPSIS:
A rich, compassionate tale of four sisters and the love affair that fractures their family

Best friends and sisters, the four Padavano girls are seen as inseparable by everyone in their close-knit Italian-American neighbourhood. Julia, the eldest, is the ‘rocket’ of the family – she always has a destination in mind and clear plans for how to get there. Sylvie, the dreamer, is happiest with her nose in a book, dreaming of the kind of love you only read about in literature. Cecelia and Emmeline, the twins, are the artist and the caregiver. From childhood, the four sisters complete each other.

When Julia falls in love with William Waters, a history student and college sports star, she’s delighted by the way her plans for adulthood are coming to fruition: a husband, a house, a family of her own. But when darkness from William’s past begins to block the light of his future, it is Sylvie, not Julia, who becomes his closest confidante – and the ensuing betrayal tears the sisters apart.

Heart-breaking and heart-mending, HELLO BEAUTIFUL paints a vivid portrait of the unique bond and devastating betrayals of sisterhood.

Published July 13th by Viking
Pre-order here*

The Twilight Garden by Sara Nisha Adams

SYNOPSIS:
Two warring London neighbors unite to resurrect a neglected city garden in this uplifting and quietly joyful novel by Sara Nisha Adams, author of the word-of-mouth hit The Reading List.

Between the houses of No.77 and No.79 on Stoke Newington Green in London, there is a shared garden. It was a beautiful thing once, a little oasis in a bustling city. Now it’s overgrown and neglected, an empty patch of greenery lost to time. But that suits neighbors Winston and Bernice just fine—their houses may share the garden, but they’re not exactly neighborly.

But one day, a mysterious parcel drops through Winston’s door at No.77. It contains no note, only a bundle of photographs of the shared garden many years ago—vibrant with flowers and wildlife, filled with people from every corner of the community. Is someone trying to tell them something?

As a seed is planted. Winston and Bernice lay down their arms and pick up their gardening gloves. As they dig and plant, scrub and water, the garden begins to come out of hibernation—and the frostiness between them slowly begins to thaw. In finding their green fingers, the unlikely pair also start to hatch a bigger plan—could the shared garden help to revive the community spirit that’s been languishing for so long? With a little help from the secret gardener sending the parcels, they’re determined to find out.

Told with warmth and spirit, The Shared Garden is a love letter to the little acts of kindness that can change a life. It’s a story of growth and community, and how when we dig in together, there’s always hope of a brighter future…

Published July 20th by Harper Collins
Pre-order here*

The Apology by Jimin Han

SYNOPSIS:
“Bold, original, and utterly captivating, The Apology is a sweeping intergenerational saga, delivered by one of the sharpest, most memorable voices I’ve ever read. A stunning new novel by a writer whose work I’ve long admired.” –Kirstin Chen, author of Counterfeit

In South Korea, a 105-year-old woman receives a letter. Ten days later, she has been thrust into the afterlife, fighting to head off a curse that will otherwise devastate generations to come.

Jeonga Cha has always shouldered the burden of upholding the family name. When she sent her daughter-in-law to America to cover up an illegitimate birth, she was simply doing what was needed to preserve the reputations of her loved ones. How could she have known that decades later, this decision would return to haunt her–threatening to tear apart her bond with her beloved son, her relationship with her infuriatingly insolent sisters, and the future of the family she has worked so hard to protect?

Part ghost story and part family epic, The Apology is an incisive tale of sisterhood and diaspora, reaching back to the days of Japanese colonialism and the Korean War, and told through the singular voice of a defiant, funny, and unforgettable centenarian.

Published August 1st by Little Brown Book Group
Pre-order here*

**********

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

Thanks for reading Bibliophiles xxx

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Emma's Anticipated Treasures Most Anticipated 2023

Emma’s Anticipated Treasures 2023 – Sweet Sweet Fantasy

Before joining Bookstagram I didn’t read Fantasy books. I just assumed they weren’t for me. Then I kept seeing others read them and decided to give them a try. Low and behold, I love them! They are still a genre I don’t read often, somthing I want to try and change this year. And that is partly because of these exciting upcoming releases.

Hell Bent by Leigh Bardugo

SYNOPSIS:
Wealth. Power. Murder. Magic. Alex Stern is back and the Ivy League is going straight to hell.

Find a gateway to the underworld. Steal a soul out of hell. A simple plan, except people who make this particular journey rarely come back. But Galaxy “Alex” Stern is determined to break Darlington out of purgatory?even if it costs her a future at Lethe and at Yale.

Forbidden from attempting a rescue, Alex and Dawes can’t call on the Ninth House for help, so they assemble a team of dubious allies to save the gentleman of Lethe. Together, they will have to navigate a maze of arcane texts and bizarre artifacts to uncover the societies’ most closely guarded secrets, and break every rule doing it. But when faculty members begin to die off, Alex knows these aren’t just accidents. Something deadly is at work in New Haven, and if she is going to survive, she’ll have to reckon with the monsters of her past and a darkness built into the university’s very walls.

Thick with history and packed with Bardugo’s signature twists, Hell Bent brings to life an intricate world full of magic, violence, and all too real monsters.

Published January 10th by Gollancz
Pre-order here*

A Venom Dark and Sweet by Judy I. Lin

SYNOPSIS:
The enthralling conclusion to Judy I. Lin’s Book of Tea duology―A Magic Steeped in Poison and A Venom Dark and Sweet―is sure to enchant fans of Adrienne Young and Leigh Bardugo.

A great evil has come to the kingdom of Dàxi. The Banished Prince has returned to seize power, his rise to the dragon throne aided by the mass poisonings that have kept the people bound in fear and distrust.

Ning, a young but powerful shénnóng-shi―a wielder of magic using the ancient and delicate art of tea-making―has escorted Princess Zhen into exile. Joining them is the princess’ loyal bodyguard, Ruyi, and Ning’s newly healed sister, Shu. Together the four young women travel throughout the kingdom in search of allies to help oust the invaders and take back Zhen’s rightful throne.

But the golden serpent still haunts Ning’s nightmares with visions of war and bloodshed. An evil far more ancient than the petty conflicts of men has awoken, and all the magic in the land may not be enough to stop it from consuming the world…

Published January 17th by Titan
Pre-order here*

Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries by Heather Fawcett

SYNOPSIS:
Enter the world of the hidden folk – and discover the most whimsical, enchanting and heart-warming tale you’ll read this year, featuring the intrepid Emily Wilde. . .

Emily Wilde is good at many things: she is the foremost expert on the study of faeries; she is a genius scholar and a meticulous researcher who is writing the world’s first encylopaedia of faerie lore. But Emily Wilde is not good at people

So when she arrives in the hardscrabble village of Hrafnsvik, Emily has no intention of befriending the gruff townsfolk. Nor does she care to spend time with another new arrival: her dashing and insufferably handsome academic rival Wendell Bambleby

But as Emily gets closer to uncovering the secrets of the Hidden Ones – the most elusive of all faeries – she also finds herself on the trail of another mystery: who is Wendell Bambleby, and what does he really want? To find the answer, she’ll have to unlock the greatest mystery of all – her own heart.

Published January 19th by Orbit
Pre-order here*

Song of Silver, Flame Like Night by Amelie Wen Zaho

SYNOPSIS:
In a fallen kingdom, one girl carries the key to its forgotten past – and the demons that sleep at its heart…

Once, Lan had a different name. Now, she goes by the one the Elantian colonizers gave her when they invaded her kingdom, killed her mother, and outlawed her people’s magic. She spends her nights as a songgirl in Haak’gong, a city transformed by the conquerors, and spends her days scavenging for remnants of the past. For anything that might help her understand the strange mark burned into her arm by her mother, in her last act before she died.

No one can see the mysterious mark, an untranslatable Hin character, except Lan. Until the night a boy appears at the teahouse and saves her life.

Zen is a practitioner – one of the fabled magicians of the Last Kingdom, whose abilities were rumoured to be drawn from the demons they communed with. Magic believed to be long lost. Magic to be hidden from the Elantians at all costs.

Both Lan and Zen have secrets buried deep within. Fate has connected them, but their destiny remains unwritten. Both hold the power to liberate their land. And both hold the power to destroy the world.

A ferocious tale of romance and fate, SONG OF SILVER, FLAME LIKE NIGHT is a gift to those seeking adventure with a mythological twist.

Perfect for fans of DAUGHTER OF THE MOON GODDESS by Sue Lynn Tan, THE FINAL STRIFE by Saara El-Arifi, and IRON WIDOW by Xiran Jay Zhao.

Published February 2nd by HarperVoyager
Pre-order here*

The Thorns Remain by JJA Harwood

SYNOPSIS:
From the SUNDAY TIMES bestselling historical fantasy author of THE SHADOW IN THE GLASS comes a tour-de-force of faerie bargains, perfect for fans of THE INVISIBLE LIFE OF ADDIE LA RUE, MEXICAN GOTHIC, and TEN THOUSAND DOORS OF JANUARY

A dance with the fae will change everything

1919. In a Highland village forgotten by the world, the young people who remain after war and flu will soon head south to make something of themselves.

Moira Jean and her friends venture to the forest for a last night
of laughter before parting ways. Moira Jean is being left behind. She too planned to leave once – but her lover died in France and, with him, her future. The friends light a fire and dance. But, with every twirl about the flames, strange new dancers thread between them, music streaming from the trees.

The Fae have joined the dance.

Suddenly Moira Jean finds herself all alone, her friends spirited away.

For the Fae feel left behind and forgotten too. Led by the darkly handsome Lord of the Fae, they are out to make themselves known once more. Moira Jean must enter into a bargain with the Lord to save her friends – and fast, for the longer they spend with the Fae, the less like themselves they will be upon return. If Moira Jean cannot save her friends before Beltane, they will be lost forever…

Bewitching, threaded with Highland charm, and sparkling with romance, this fairy tale will carry you away.

Published February 16th by Magpie
Pre-order here*

The Last Tale of the Flower Bride by Roshani Chokshi

SYNOPSIS:
Do not look. Do not ask. Do not pry.

A sumptuous, gothic story about an obsessive female friendship cursed to end in tragedy, a marriage unraveled by dark secrets, and the danger of believing in fairy tales – the breathtaking adult debut from New York Times bestselling author Roshani Chokshi.

Once upon a time, a man who believed in fairy tales married a beautiful, mysterious woman named Indigo Maxwell-Casteñada. He was a scholar of myths. She was heiress to a fortune. They exchanged gifts and stories and believed they would live happily ever after – and in exchange for her love, Indigo extracted a promise: that her bridegroom would never pry into her past.

But when Indigo learns that her estranged aunt is dying and the couple is forced to return to her childhood home, the House of Dreams, the bridegroom soon finds himself unable to resist. For within the crumbling manor’s extravagant rooms and musty halls, there lurks the shadow of another girl: Azure, Indigo’s dearest childhood friend, who disappeared without a trace.

As the house slowly reveals his wife’s secrets, the bridegroom will be forced to choose between reality and fantasy, even if doing so threatens to destroy their marriage . . . or their lives.

Combining the lush, haunting atmosphere of Mexican Gothic with the dreamy enchantment of The Invisible Life of Addie LaRueThe Last Tale of the Flower Bride is a spellbinding and darkly romantic page-turner about love and lies, secrets and betrayal, and the stories we tell ourselves to survive.

Published February 16th by Hodder & Stoughton
Pre-orfer here*

Immortality: A Love Story by Dana Schwartz

SYNOPSIS:
The eagerly-anticipated sequel to Dana Schwartz’s Reese’s Book Club Winter YA Pick and No.1 New York Times bestselling gothic romance, Anatomy: A Love Story

Hazel Sinnett is alone. She’s half-convinced the events of the year before – the immortality, Beecham’s vial – were a figment of her imagination. She doesn’t even know if Jack is alive or dead. All she can really do is run her free clinic, helping people and maintaining Hawthornden Castle as it starts to decay around her.

When saving a life leads to her arrest, Hazel seems doomed to rot in prison until a message intervenes: Hazel has been specifically requested to be the personal physician of Princess Charlotte, the sickly daughter of King George IV. Soon Hazel is dragged into the glamour and romance of a court where everyone has something to hide, especially the ladies of the princess’s close circle, who never seem to stay hurt for long . . .

Meanwhile, Jack Currer has been trying to find a way to die. He’s been traveling across the Atlantic, hoarding any information that could cure his immortality and let him spend a normal life with Hazel. When he hears that Beecham has died, he immediately goes to London to find out how he achieved it – and reunites with Hazel once again.

As their search for the immortality cure entangles them more and more with the British court, Hazel and Jack realize that a life together is not the only thing at stake. Malicious forces are at work in the monarchy, and they are very interested in living forever . . .

Published February 28th by Piaktus
Pre-order here*

A Day of Fallen Night by Samantha Shannon

SYNOPSIS:
A return to the world of Samantha Shannon’s Sunday Times and New York Times-bestselling The Priory of the Orange Tree

____________________

Tunuva Melim is a sister of the Priory. For fifty years, she has trained to slay wyrms – but none have appeared since the Nameless One, and the younger generation is starting to question the Priory’s purpose.

To the north, in the Queendom of Inys, Sabran the Ambitious has married the new King of Hróth, narrowly saving both realms from ruin. Their daughter, Glorian, trails in their shadow – exactly where she wants to be.

The dragons of the East have slept for centuries. Dumai has spent her life in a Seiikinese mountain temple, trying to wake the gods from their long slumber. Now someone from her mother’s past is coming to upend her fate.

When the Dreadmount erupts, bringing with it an age of terror and violence, these women must find the strength to protect humankind from a devastating threat.

Intricate and epic, A Day of Fallen Night sweeps readers back to the world of A Priory of the Orange Tree, showing us a course of events that shaped it for generations to come.

Published February 28th by Bloomsbury
Pre-order here*

Last Violent Call by Chloe Gong

SYNOPSIS:
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Chloe Gong comes two captivating new novellas surrounding the events of Foul Lady Fortune!

Published February 28th by Hodder & Stoughton
Pre-order here*

The Curator by Owen King

SYNOPSIS:
Half fairy tale and half historical account of a revolution that never was, Owen King’s The Curator is full of sly humor, sensuality, and strangeness – Holly Black

From Sunday Times bestselling author Owen King comes a Dickensian fantasy of illusion and charm where cats are revered as religious figures, thieves are noble, scholars are revolutionaries, and conjurers the most wonderful criminals.


At first glance, the world has not changed: the trams on the boulevards, the grand hotels, the cafes abuzz with conversation. The street kids still play on the two great bridges that divide the city, and the smart set still venture down to the Morgue Ship for an evening’s entertainment.

Yet it only takes a spark to ignite a revolution.

For young Dora, a maid at the university, the moment brings liberation. She finds herself walking out with one of the student radicals, Robert, free to investigate what her brother Ambrose may have seen at the Institute for Psykical Research before he died.

But it is another establishment that Dora is given to look after, The Museum of the Worker. This strange, forgotten edifice is occupied by waxwork tableaux of miners, nurses, shopkeepers and other disturbingly lifelike figures.

As the revolution and counter-revolution outside unleash forces of love, betrayal, magic and terrifying darkness, Dora’s search for the truth behind a mystery that she has long concealed will unravel a monstrous conspiracy and bring her to the very edge of worlds.

In The Curator, Owen King has created an extraordinary time and place – historical, fantastical, yet compellingly real, and a heroine who is courageous, curious and utterly memorable.

Published March 7th by Hodder & Stoughton
Pre-order here*

The Sinister Booksellers of Bath by Garth Nix

SYNOPSIS:
There is often trouble of a mythical sort in Bath. The booksellers who police the Old World keep a careful watch there, particularly on the entity who inhabits the ancient hot spring. Yet this time it is not from Sulis Minerva that trouble starts. It comes from the discovery of a sorcerous map, leading left-handed bookseller Merlin into great danger. A desperate rescue is attempted by his sister the right-handed bookseller Vivien and their friend, art student Susan Arkshaw, who is still struggling to deal with her own recently discovered magical heritage.

The map takes the trio to a place separated from this world, maintained by deadly sorcery performed by an Ancient Sovereign and guarded by monstrous living statues of Purbeck marble. But this is only the beginning, as the booksellers investigate centuries of disappearances and deaths and try to unravel the secrets of the murderous Lady of Stone, a serial killer of awesome powers.

If they do not stop her, she will soon kill again. And this time, her target is not an ordinary mortal.

A wintry return to the somewhat alternate 1980s England of The Left-Handed Booksellers of London.

Published March 23rd by Gollancz
Pre-order here*

One For My Enemy by Olivie Blake

SYNOPSIS:
From Olivie Blake, the bestselling author of The Atlas Six, One For My Enemy is a captivating fantasy story of ambition, sacrifice and the enduring power of family legacies.

This hardback edition includes illustrated endpapers from artist Lasq.Draws plus brand-new interior illustrations from Little Chmura.


In New York City, two rival witch families fight for the upper hand.

The Antonova sisters are beautiful, cunning and ruthless, and their mother – known only as Baba Yaga – is the elusive supplier of premium intoxicants. Their adversaries, the influential Fedorov brothers, serve their crime boss father. Named Koschei the Deathless, his enterprise dominates the shadows of magical Manhattan.

For twelve years, the families have maintained a fraught stalemate. Then everything is thrown into disarray. Bad blood carries them to the brink of disaster, even as fate draws together a brother and sister from either side. Yet the siblings still struggle for power, and internal conflicts could destroy each family from within. That is, if the enmity between empires doesn’t destroy both sides first.

Published April 6th by Tor
Pre-order here*

Cursed Crowns by Catherine Doyle & Katherine Webber (Twin Crowns 2)

SYNOPSIS:
Bestselling authors and real-life sisters-in-law Catherine Doyle and Katherine Webber join forces on a compelling YA fantasy bursting with high-stakes adventure, romance and humour. Two queens, one throne. What can possibly go wrong . . .?

Twin queens Wren and Rose have claimed their crowns . . . but not everyone is happy about witches sitting on Eana’s throne.

Cool-headed Rose sets off on a Royal Tour to win over the doubters, but soon finds herself drawn to the Sunkissed Kingdom. Here secrets are revealed about those closest to her, and Rose finds her loyalties divided.

Meanwhile rebellious Wren steals away to the icy north to rescue their beloved grandmother, Banba. But when she accepts King Alarik’s deadly magical bargain in exchange for Banba’s freedom, the spell has unexpected – and far-reaching – consequences . . .

As an ancient curse begins to arise from the darkness, the sisters must come together and unite the crown. Their lives – and the future of Eana – depend on it.

Break the ice to free the curse,
Kill one twin to save another . . .

Published April 27th by Electric Monkey
Pre-order here*

Scarlet by Genevieve Cogman (The Scarlet Revolution 1)

SYNOPSIS:
Revolution’s a bloodthirsty business . . . A thrilling reinvention of the tale of The Scarlet Pimpernel with the addition of magic and even more mayhem.

Revolutionary France is no place to be, especially for aristocrat vampires facing the guillotine. But the League of the Scarlet Pimpernel are determined to rescue them. And they have an ace up their sleeve: Eleanor, a lowly maid from an English estate with a striking resemblance to French royalty.

For Eleanor, the League and their legendary deeds are little more than rumour – until she’s drawn into their most dangerous plot yet. The mission? Travel to France in disguise, impersonate Queen Marie Antoinette and rescue the royal family. If they succeed, it’ll be the heist of the century.

But there’s more to fear than ardent Revolutionaries. For Eleanor stumbles across a centuries-old war between vampires and their fiercest enemy. And they’re out for blood . . .

Scarlet is the first book in the Scarlet Revolution trilogy, set during the turbulent French Revolution, and featuring all of Genevieve Cogman’s trademark wit and fast-paced plotting. It’s perfect for fans of The Invisible Library series, Kim Newman and Gail Carriger.

Published May 11th by Tor
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Queen of Gods by Katharine & Elizabeth Corr (House of Shadows 2)

SYNOPSIS:
THE SECOND INSTALLMENT IN THE HOUSE OF SHADOWS DUOLOGY, A GRIPPING FANTASY INSPIRED BY GREEK MYTH.

Return to the Underworld…

Deina has finally found what matters most to her in all the world. And lost it. To save the one she loves, she’s bound herself to the Underworld and an endless future of darkness.

But not even her sacrifice is enough to secure Theron or her friends’ safety in the mortal realm. Aristaeus has seized power in Thebes and his tyrannical reign is a constant, looming threat to their lives.

So when Deina is offered the chance to destroy him and the gods altogether, she sets out on a new quest. But to succeed, she must turn away from everything she holds true.

In a game with the gods, the rewards are infinite . . . but the punishments are eternal.

Be prepared for a nail-biting race for survival in this breathtaking sequel to Daughter of Darkness.

Published July 20th by Hot Key Books
Pre-order here*

Immortal Longings by Chloe Gong

SYNOPSIS:
#1 New York Times bestselling author Chloe Gong’s adult epic fantasy debut, inspired by Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra, is a fiery collision of power plays, spilled blood, and romance amidst a set of deadly games.

The only way to win, is to survive.

Every year, thousands flock to San-Er, the dangerously dense capital twin cities of the kingdom of Talin, where the palace hosts a set of deadly games. Those confident in their ability to jump between bodies can enter a fight to the death – for the chance to win unimaginable riches.

Princess Calla Tuoleimi has been in hiding for five years, ever since she murdered her parents to free the people of Talin from her tyrannical family. Only one person stands in her way of finishing the job: her reclusive uncle King Kasa. However, she knows he always greets the victor of the games. If she wins, she will finally get the chance to kill him.

Enter Anton Makusa, whose childhood love has lain in a coma since they were both ousted from the palace. He’s deep in debt trying to keep her alive. Which means his last chance at saving her is entering the games and winning.

When Anton proposes an unexpected alliance with Calla, they quickly find their partnership spiraling into something all-consuming. But before the games close, Calla must decide what she’s playing for – her lover or her kingdom. For no matter what, only one of them can walk out alive . . .

Published July 25th by Hodder & Stoughton
Pre-order here*

This Cursed Light by Emily Thiede

SYNOPSIS:
The highly-anticipated sequel to the epic romantic fantasy This Vicious Grace.

When the gods make the rules, the players must choose: sacrifice their love to save the world, or choose love and let it burn?

Six months after Divorando, Alessa is returning from a diplomatic trip, eager to embrace her post-battle life and live happily ever after with Dante. But as the ship nears shore, a premonition of danger strikes. Little does she realise that the battle of wills between the gods is just beginning . . .

In their time apart, Dante has physically recovered from his brush with death, but he’s still haunted by nightmarish visions of looming attack, suffocated by the adoration of those who once loathed him, and grappling with the loss of his ghiotte powers . . . without which, every painful kiss he steals from Alessa threatens death.

Desperate to regain them, he proposes the pair take a dangerous trip to find the long-banished ghiotte – but what they find at their destination could cost them each other – or the world.

In This Cursed Light, Dante and Alessa face their most daunting challenge yet when the Gods demand they prove their worth by choosing the ultimate sacrifice to save humanity, once and for all.

Published August 15th by Hodder & Stoughton
Pre-order here*

Masters of Death by Olivie Blake

SYNOPSIS:
This book is about an estate agent. Only she’s a vampire, the house on sale is haunted,
and its ghost was murdered.


When Viola Marek hires Fox D’Mora to deal with her ghost-infested mansion, she expects a competent medium. But unbeknownst to Viola, Fox is a fraud – despite being the godson of Death.

As the mystery unfolds, Viola and Fox are drawn into a quest that neither wants nor expects. And they’ll need the help of a demonic personal trainer, a sharp-voiced angel and a love-stricken reaper. And it transpires that the difference between a mysterious lost love and a dead body isn’t nearly as distinct as you’d hope.

From the no.1 internationally bestselling author of The Atlas SixMasters of Death by Olivie Blake is a gripping, page-turning fantasy.

Published August 17th by Tor
Pre-order here*

Her Radiant Curse by Elizabeth Lim

SYNOPSIS:
From the New York Times bestselling author of SIX CRIMSON CRANES comes a tale of two sisters–one as beautiful as the other is monstrous– who must fight to save each other when a betrothal contest gone wrong unleashes an evil that could sever their bond forever.

One sister must fall for the other to rise.

Channi was not born a monster. But when her own father offered her in sacrifice to the tiger witch, she was forever changed. Cursed with a serpent’s face, Channi is the exact opposite of her beautiful sister Vanna–the only person in the village who looks at Channi and doesn’t see a monster. The only person she trusts.

Now seventeen, Vanna is to be auctioned off in a vulgar betrothal contest that will enrich the coffers of the village leaders. Only Channi, who’s had to rely on her strength and cunning all these years, can defend her sister against the cruelest of the suitors. But in doing so, she becomes the target of his wrath–launching a series of vicious gladiatorial fights, a quest over land and sea, romance between sworn enemies, and a choice that will strain Channi’s heart to its breaking point.

Weaving together elements of The Selection and Ember in the Ashes with classic tales like Beauty and the Beast and Helen of Troy, Elizabeth Lim is at the absolute top of her game in this thrilling yet heart-wrenching fantasy that explores the dark side of beauty and the deepest bonds of sisterhood.

Published August 29th by Hodder & Stoughton

A Curse For True Love by Stephanie Garber

SYNOPSIS:
The final book in the Once Upon A Broken Heart trilogy.

Published September 12th by Hodder & Stoughton
Pre-order here*

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Are you planning on reading any of these? Let me know in the comments if you are or if you have any other recommendations.

Thanks for reading Bibliophiles xxx

*All purchase links are affiliate links

Categories
Emma's Anticipated Treasures Most Anticipated 2023

Emma’s Anticipated Treasures: Light-hearted Loves

As much as I enjoy darker reads, there’s nothing better than a light-hearted and uplifting story. And if there’s some romance or a pensioner in the pages, even better! Here are the light-hearted books out this year I’m most anticipating.

**********

Becoming Ted by Matt Cain

SYNOPSIS:
A charming, joyful and surprising story about love, friendship and learning to be true to yourself, Becoming Ted will steal your heart.

Ted Ainsworth has always worked at his family’s ice-cream business in the quiet Lancashire town of St Luke’s-on-Sea.

But the truth is, he’s never wanted to work for the family firm – he doesn’t even like ice-cream, though he’s never told his parents that. When Ted’s husband suddenly leaves him, the bottom falls out of his world.

But what if this could be an opportunity to put what he wants first? This could be the chance to finally follow his secret dream: something Ted has never told anyone …

Published January 19th by Headline
Pre-order here*

The House That Made Us by Alice Cavanagh

SYNOPSIS:
One Day meets UpThe House That Made Us is a love story – and a life story – told through a series of photographs and inspired by a true story
 
When Mac and Marie marry and find a home of their own, Mac takes a snap of them outside their newbuild bungalow, the garden bare and the paint on the front door still wet. It becomes a tradition, this snap, and slowly the photographs build into an album of a fifty-year relationship.
 
Every year they take a photo and though things change around them – the garden matures, the fashions change, they grow older – the one constant is their love. Every year, come rain, come shine, from the Seventies through the decades, every photo tells the story of their love. But life never travels the path you expect it to, though they know that a life with love is a life lived to the full.

Now, in the present day, the photo album belongs to someone who doesn’t know the people in its pages. As they watch the lives from the past unfold, will the truth of their love story be told…?
 
A heart-breaking story about life and love for readers who love Holly Miller, Jojo Moyes and Hazel Prior.

Published January 19th by Simon & Schuster UK
Pre-order here*

Looking Out For Love by Sophia Money-Coutts

SYNOPSIS:
… But is she searching in the right places?

Stella Shakespeare isn’t having a good day, or month come to think of it. She’s been unceremoniously dumped by her boyfriend,cut off from the bank of dad and at thirty-two years old, she doesn’t know what she’s doing with her life.

What Stella really wants is to find love. She wants all-consuming, can’t-think-about-anything-else, can’t-even-manage-to-eat kind of love. What she found beside her in bed that morning wasn’t love. But when a tall, handsome man in a well-fitting suit walks into a Notting Hill pub, she thinks she’s finally found The One.

Everything seems to be falling into place now Stella has met the man of her dreams and has an actual job working with a private investigator nicknamed ‘The Affair Hunter’. Although sadly, life is never that straightforward and Stella starts to question whether she’s been looking for love in the wrong places all along…

Published February 2nd by HQ
Pre-order here*

Someone Else’s Shoes by Jojo Moyes

SYNOPSIS:
A story of mix-ups, mess-ups and making the most of second chances, this is the new novel from international sensation Jojo Moyes, author of Me Before You and The Giver of Stars

Who are you when you are forced to walk in someone else’s shoes?

Meet Sam . . .
She’s not got much, but she’s grateful for what she has: a job she’s just about clinging on to and a family who depend on her for everything. She knows she’s one bad day away from losing it all – and just hopes today isn’t it . . .

Meet Nisha . . .
She’s got everything she always dreamed of – and more: a phenomenally rich husband; an international lifestyle; and . . . she’s just been locked out of all of it after her husband initiates divorce proceedings . . .

Sam and Nisha should never have crossed paths. But after a bag mix-up at the gym, their lives become intertwined – even as they spiral out of control.

Each blames the other as they feel increasingly invisible, forgotten, lost – and desperately alone.

But they’re not.

No woman is an island. Look around. Family. Friends. Strangers.
Even the woman you believe just ruined your life might turn out to be your best friend.
Because together you can do anything – like take back what is yours . . .

Published Februrary 2nd by Michael Joseph
Pre-order here*

Do I Know You? by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka

SYNOPSIS:
After five years’ marriage they’re about to have their first date . . .

Eliza and Graham’s marriage is quietly failing. With their five-year anniversary approaching, neither of them are thrilled about the weeklong getaway they’ve been gifted. The luxury retreat prides itself on being a destination for those in love and those looking to find it – but for Eliza and Graham it’s the last place they want to be.

After a well-meaning guest mistakes Eliza and Graham as being single and introduces them at the hotel bar, they don’t correct him. Suddenly, they’re pretending to be perfect strangers and it’s unexpectedly fun. Eliza and Graham find themselves flirting like it’s their first date.

Everyone at the retreat can see the electric chemistry between Eliza and Graham’s alter egos. But as their game continutes they realize this performance could be the very thing that saves their marriage . . .

Published February 2nd by Pan Macmillan
Pre-order here*

The Vintage Shop of Second Chances by Libby Page

SYNOPSIS:
Among the cobbled streets of the Somerset town of Frome, Lou is embarking on the start of something new. After the death of her beloved mother, she takes a deep breath into the unknown and is opening her own vintage clothes shop.

In upstate New York, Donna has just found out some news about her family which has called into question her whole upbringing. The only clue she has to unlock her past is a picture of a yellow dress, and the fact it is currently on display in a shop in England.

For Maggy, she is facing life as a 70-something divorcee and while she got the house, she’s not sure what to fill it with now her family have moved out. The new vintage shop in town sparks memories of her past and reignites a passion she’s been missing…

Together, can these three women find the answers they are searching for and unlock a second chance at a new life?

It’s never too late to start again…

Published February 16th by Orion Pre-order here*

This Could Be Everything by Eva Rice

SYNOPSIS:
From the author of modern classic The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets comes a feel-good novel about hope, love and the powerful bond between sisters. 
 
It’s 1990. The Happy Mondays are in the charts, a 15-year-old called Kate Moss is on the cover of the Face magazine, and Julia Roberts wears thigh-boots for the poster for a new movie called Pretty Woman
 
February Kingdom is nineteen years old when she is knocked sideways by family tragedy. Then one evening in May she finds an escaped canary in her kitchen and it sparks a glimmer of hope in her. With the help of the bird called Yellow, Feb starts to feel her way out of her own private darkness, just as her aunt embarks on a passionate and all-consuming affair with a married American drama teacher.   
 
THIS COULD BE EVERYTHING is a coming-of-age story with its roots under the pavements of a pre-Richard Curtis-era Notting Hill that has all but vanished. It’s about what happens when you start looking after something more important than you, and the hope a yellow bird can bring… 

Published February 16th by Simon & Schuster UK
Pre-order here*

Not That Kind of Ever After by Luci Adams

SYNOPSIS:
One damsel + one wolf + many, many, many frogs = DISTRESS

Gloriously fun, romantic and feel-good, discover a 21st century London fairytale with an unforgettable twist . . .

Bella Marble is a true, hopeless, despairing romantic. Above all things, even above her wish to be a writer, she wants love.

But when her beautiful best friend moves out of their flat share to live with the most boring ogre in history, and her perfectly paired parents tell her their own love story is coming to an end, Bella’s illusions of a happily ever after start to shatter. If they can’t find ‘the one’, what chance does she have?

Disenchanted, Bella throws herself into looking for love in all the wrong places. London may be fresh out of knights in shining Armani, but it’s got a surplus of frogs – and as Bella learns, kissing frogs can be extremely fun.

But Bella is forgetting the essential rule of all fairytales.

There is nothing more powerful than a first kiss . . .

Published Feburary 16th by Little Brown Book Group
Pre-order here*

One Moment by Becky Hunter

SYNOPSIS:
One moment in time can change everything…

The day Scarlett dies should have been one of the most important of her life. It doesn’t feel fair that she’ll never have the chance to fulfil her dreams. And now, she’s still … here – wherever here is – watching the ripple effect of her death on the lives of those she loved the most.

Evie cannot contemplate her life without Scarlett, and she certainly cannot forgive Nate, the man she blames for her best friend’s death. But Nate keeps popping up when she least expects him to, catapulting Evie’s life in directions she’d never let herself imagine possible. Ways, perhaps, even those closest to her had long since given up on.

If you could go back, knowing everything that happens after, everything that happens because of that one moment in time, would you change the course of history or would you do it all again?

Published March 2nd by Corvus
Pre-order here*

Yours Truly by Abby Jimenez

SYNOPSIS:
A novel of terrible first impressions, hilarious second chances and the joy in finding the perfect match

Dr Briana Ortiz’s life is seriously flatlining. Her divorce is just about finalised, her brother’s running out of time to find a kidney donor, and that promotion she wants…? Oh, that’s probably going to the new man-doctor who’s already registering eighty-friggin’-seven on Briana’s ‘pain in my ass’ scale.

But just when all systems are set to hate, Dr Jacob Maddox completely flips the game . . . by sending Briana a letter. It’s a really good letter. Like the kind that proves that Jacob isn’t actually Satan. Worse, he might be this fantastically funny and subversively likeable guy who’s terrible at first impressions. Because suddenly he and Bri are exchanging letters, sharing lunch dates in her ‘sob closet’ and discussing the merits of freakishly tiny horses.

When Jacob turns out to be the perfect donor for her brother, Bri starts to realise that this quietly sexy new doctor might just be her perfect match, too.

Published April 11th by Piatkus
Pre-order here*

Home Sweet Home by Amy Lavelle

SYNOPSIS:
Don’t miss the next heartwarming, uplifting and painfully relatable book from Amy Lavelle…

‘If you loved Fleabag, you’ll love this’ Laura Kemp on Definitely Fine

Four sisters. One house. It’s about to get messy…

Poppy, Saffron, Rosemary and Sorrell might be sisters, but they could not be more different…

Oldest Poppy has hit all the milestones before turning thirty, but constantly being in control is starting to feel a bit suffocating; peacemaker Saffron will do anything to keep her sisters together even at her own expense; Rosemary has crafted a perfect façade, but cracks in her engagement are beginning to surface; youngest Sorrell is pregnant after a one-night stand, and is determined to do it all on her own for once – without any help from her sisters!

But when they inherit their family home, the four must make the decision to keep or sell the house – and they’re about to discover that no one gets under your skin quite like family…

Can they ever put their differences aside and find a way to move forward together?

Heartwarming, uplifting and hilarious, Home Sweet Home is a novel about sisters, misunderstandings and growing up. Perfect for fans of Emma Gannon, Olivia Beirne and Helly Acton.

Published April 13th by Orion
Pre-order here*

Thirty Days in Paris by Veronica Henry

SYNOPSIS:
Because Paris is always a good idea…

Years ago, Juliet left a little piece of her heart in Paris – and now, separated from her husband and with her children flying the nest, it’s time to get it back!

So she puts on her best red lipstick, books a cosy attic apartment near Notre-Dame and takes the next train out of London.

Arriving at the Gare du Nord, the memories come flooding back: bustling street cafés, cheap wine in candlelit bars and a handsome boy with glittering eyes.

But Juliet has also been keeping a secret for over two decades – and she begins to realise it’s impossible to move forwards without first looking back.

Something tells her that the next thirty days might just change everything…

Published April 13th by Orion
Pre-order here*

Happy Place by Emily Henry

SYNOPSIS:
Two exes. One pact.
Could this holiday change everything?

Harriet and Wyn are the perfect couple – they go together like bread and butter, gin and tonic, Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds.

Every year for the past decade, they have run away from their lives to drink far too much wine and soak up the sea air with their favourite people in the world.

Except this year, they are lying through their teeth. Harriet and Wyn broke up six months ago. And they still haven’t told anyone.

But this is the last time they’ll all be together here. The cottage is for sale, and since they can’t bear to break their best friends’ hearts, they’ll fake it for one more week.

But how can you pretend to be in love – and get away with it – in front of the people who know you best?

Brimming with characters you can’t help but fall for and off-the-charts chemistry, HAPPY PLACE is Emily Henry doing what she does best!

Published April 27th by Viking
Pre-order here*

Found in a Bookshop by Stephanie Butland

SYNOPSIS:
Dear Lost for Words,

We are trying to stay at home . . . I am enclosing a cheque and I hope that you will use it to send us some books. Please choose books that we might think are wonderful
.

Rosemary

Loveday Cardew’s beloved Lost for Words bookshop, along with the rest of York, has fallen quiet. At the very time when people most need books to widen their horizons, or escape from their fears, or enhance their lives, the doors are closed. Then the first letter comes.

Rosemary and George have been married for fifty years. Now their time is running out. They have decided to set out on their last journey together, without ever leaving the bench at the bottom of their garden in Whitby. All they need is someone who shares their love of books.

Suddenly it’s clear to Loveday that she and her team can do something useful in a crisis. They can recommend books to help with the situations their customers find themselves in: fear, boredom, loneliness, the desire for laughter and escape.

And so it begins.

Published April 27th by Headline Review
Pre-order here*

Only Love Can Hurt Like This by Paige Toon

SYNOPSIS:
Neither of them expected to fall in love. But sometimes life has other plans.

When Wren realises her fiancé is in love with someone else, she thinks her heart will never recover.

On the other side of the world, Anders lost his wife four years ago and is still struggling to move on.

Wren hopes that spending the summer with her dad and step-family on their farm in Indiana will help her to heal. There, amid the cornfields and fireflies, she and Anders cross paths and their worlds are turned upside-down again.

But Wren doesn’t know that Anders is harbouring a secret, and if he acts on any feelings he has for Wren it will have serious fall-out for everyone.

Walking away would hurt Wren more than she can imagine. But, knowing the truth, how can she possibly stay?

Published April 27th by Penguin UK
Pre-order here*

Preloved by Lauren Bravo

SYNOPSIS:
A love story about things… 

Gwen’s life has stalled. She’s in her mid-thirties, perpetually single, her friends are busy procreating in the country and conversations with her parents seem to revolve entirely around herbaceous borders and the council’s wheelie-bin timetable. Above all she’s lonely. But then, isn’t everyone?
 
When Gwen’s made redundant from a job she drifted into a decade ago and never left, she realises it’s time to make a change. Over what might be the best – and most solitary – meal she’s ever eaten, Gwen vows to find something meaningful to do with her life, reconnect with her family and friends – and finally book herself a dentist appointment.
 
Her search for meaning soon leads her to volunteer in a local charity shop where she both literally and metaphorically unloads her emotional baggage. With the help of the weird and wonderful people she meets in the shop and the donated items bursting with untold stories that pass through its doors, Gwen must finally address the events and choices that led her to this point and find a way to move forward with bravery, humanity and more regular dental care.
 
Brimming with life, love and the stories bound up in even the most everyday items, Preloved is a tale about friendship, loss, being true to oneself no matter the expectations – and the enduring power and joy of charity shops.

Published April 27th by Simon & Schuster
Pre-order here*

The Cassandra Complex by Holly Smale

SYNOPSIS:
Cassandra Penelope Dankworth is a creature of habit.

She likes what she likes (museums, jumpsuits, her boyfriend Will) and strongly dislikes what she doesn’t (mess, change, her boss drinking out of her mug). Her life runs in a pleasing, predictable order. Until now.

She’s just been dumped.
She’s just been fired.
Her local café has run out of banana muffins.

Then, something truly unexpected happens: Cassie discovers she can go back and change the past.

Now, Cassie should be able to find a way to fix the life she accidentally obliterated. And with time on her side, how hard can it be…?

Published May 11th by Century
Pre-order here*

The True Love Experiment by Christina Lauren

SYNOPSIS:
Find out why readers LOVE Christina Lauren . . .

A romance novelist and a documentary filmmaker set out to craft the ultimate movie romance – but only if they can keep their own feelings for each other under control in this electrifying love story from the author of The Unhoneymooners.

Published May 16th by Piatkus
Pre-order here*

Life and Otter Miracles by Hazel Prior

SYNOPSIS:
19-year-old Phoebe and her courier father Al have recently moved to Devon, to a small cottage with a river at the end of the garden.

Struggling with her health, Phoebe doesn’t go out much these days. Instead, she spends her time playing detective – trying to deduce from her father’s deliveries what kinds of lives her neighbours lead.

When Phoebe finds an abandoned baby otter by the river, it’s just the push she needs to finally step into her new community. Taking the otter to the local sanctuary, she feels a joy that she has not felt in a very long time. But she soon starts to suspect that something is amiss at the local sanctuary – and she will need to put her detective skills to good use if she wants to save the otters.

A gorgeous feel-good novel about a young woman finding the courage to step back into the world, with the help of new friends and some very cute otters.

Published May 25th by Penguin UK
Pre-order here*

Seven Exes by Lucy Vine

SYNOPSIS:
Esther is out with her two friends, bemoaning her lack of relationship, when she finds a magazine from the noughties. Seeking comfort – and a laugh – she turns to the dating advice only to find an article that feels a little too close to home. According to the journalist, there are seven people a woman will date before finding the one:

The First Love, The Work Mistake, The Friend with Benefits, The Overlap, The Missed Chance, The Bastard and The Serious One. 

Her friends laugh but Esther realises each of her exes fits these roles perfectly. Deciding that she’s mistaken her true love in the reject pile she decides to contact each of her exes to find out which is the one that got away…

Published May 25th by Simon & Schuster UK
Pre-order here*

Lovestruck by Laura Jane Williams

SYNOPSIS:
This isn’t one love story. It’s two.

Becca Calloway is calling it: she’s ready for Mr Right, and she’s ready now.

She even goes as far as to hold a manifestation ceremony for him – and when she receives a text from her ex five minutes later, she knows it’s a sign.

The problem is, she doesn’t know which way it’s pointing…

Should Becca reply and reignite things with her old flame Mike? Or delete and block, moving forward with the new man in her life?

Becca has one choice, with two ways this could go. And in Lovestruck, you’re about to see them both…

Published June 8th by Cornerstone
Pre-order here*

Love, Theoretically

SYNOPSIS:
From the author of tiktok sensations and global bestsellers The Love Hypothesis and Love on the Brain 

Rival physicists collide in a vortex of academic feuds and fake dating shenanigans in this delightfully STEMinist romcom.

The many lives of theoretical physicist Elsie Hannaway have finally caught up with her. By day, she’s an adjunct professor, toiling away at grading labs and teaching thermodynamics in the hopes of landing tenure. By other day, Elsie makes up for her non-existent paycheck by offering her services as a fake girlfriend, tapping into her expertly honed people-pleasing skills to embody whichever version of herself the client needs. 

Honestly, it’s a pretty sweet gig – until her carefully constructed Elsie-verse comes crashing down. Because Jack Smith, the annoyingly attractive and arrogant older brother of her favourite client, turns out to be the cold-hearted experimental physicist who ruined her mentor’s career and undermined the reputation of theorists everywhere. And he’s the same Jack Smith who rules over the physics department at MIT, standing right between Elsie and her dream job. 

Elsie is prepared for an all-out war of scholarly sabotage but… those long, penetrating looks? Not having to be anything other than her true self when she’s with him? Will falling into an experimentalist’s orbit finally tempt her to put her most guarded theories on love into practice? 

Published June 13th by Sphere
Pre-order here*

The Man of Her Dream by Sarra Manning

No synopsis available

Published in June by Hodder & Stoughton

The Air Raid Book Club by Annie Lyons

SYNOPSIS:
As the bombs began to fall, the book club kept their hopes alive…

The most emotional, uplifting and captivating story of wartime London and the extraordinary power of books to shine a light and draw people together in the darkest of days, inspired by true events.

London, 1938. Bookseller Gertie Bingham is facing difficult times, having just lost her beloved husband, Harry, and with a lingering sadness at never having been able to have a child of her own. Struggling to face running the bookshop she and Harry opened together, Gertie is preparing to sell up and move away when she is asked if she would be willing to take in a young Jewish refugee from Germany. Gertie is unsure and when sullen teenager Hedy Fischer arrives, Gertie fears she has nothing left to give the troubled girl.

But when the German bombers come and the lights go out over London, Gertie and Hedy realise that joining forces will make them stronger, and that books have the power to bring young and old together and unite a community in need in its darkest hour…

Published July 11th by Headline Review
Pre-order here*

The Art of Belonging by Eleanor Ray

SYNOPSIS:
Grace’s life is perfectly fine, thank you very much. A widow of seventy-two, she lives quietly, and although hearing a little more from her daughter and granddaughter would be nice, she has her health, her friends, her octogenarian yoga (however reluctantly attended) and most of all her weekly club where she creates exquisite, miniature train sets.

However, when her estranged daughter rings her in shock, about to lose her home, Grace invites Amelia and her daughter Charlotte to live with her. With them, they bring all the messy, complicated feelings from the past, and the more Grace gets to know her granddaughter Charlotte, the more she adores her. As Charlotte enlists her help to solve a mystery at school, the small family begin to find each other again. Grace is about to discover that although opening her heart again may be painful, in the end it’s the only thing that makes life worth living . .

Published July 20th by Piatkus
Pre-order here*

The Little Italian Hotel by Phaedra Patrick

SYNOPSIS:
When a relationship expert’s own marriage falls apart, she invites four strangers to Italy for a vacation of healing and second chances in this uplifting new novel from the author of The Messy Lives of Book People.

Ginny Splinter, acclaimed radio host and advice expert, prides herself on knowing what’s best for others. So she’s sure her husband, Adrian, will love the special trip to Italy she’s planned for their thirtieth wedding anniversary. But when Ginny presents the gift to Adrian, he surprises her with his own very different plan—a divorce.

Beside herself with heartache, Ginny impulsively invites four heartbroken listeners to join her in Italy instead while live on air. From hiking the hills of Bologna to riding a gondola in Venice to sharing stories around the dining table of the little Italian hotel, Ginny and her newfound company embark on a vacation of healing.

However, when Adrian starts to rethink their relationship, Ginny must decide whether to commit to her marriage or start afresh, alone. And an unexpected stranger may hold the key to a very different future… Sunny, tender and brimming with charm, The Little Italian Hotel explores marriage, identity and reclaiming the present moment—even if it means leaving the past behind.

Published July 20th by HQ
Pre-order here*

The Sweetest Revenge by Lizzy Dent

SYNOPSIS:
Bridesmaids meets Emily in Paris–in London–this is a hilarious and heartfelt story of one woman who escaped to London after her moment of ridiculous revenge on an ex went viral, and the life-changing summer she discovers new love and her best self–and finally gets the sweetest revenge.

“I love-love-love Lizzy Dent.”–Emily Henry, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Book Lovers

Her past is a mess. But her present is about to get delicious.

Amy is more than the one disastrous night that ended in drunken revenge on her boss/ex-boyfriend’s canvas top Audi. The night that tanked her rising TV career and led to a hasty move to London for a fresh start. She is thirty-two years of awesomeness. At least, that’s what Amy tells herself every morning before trekking to her mediocre job making trailers at a failing British TV channel.

Two years later, she’s finally starting to believe it. But just as sparks fly between her and her handsome new downstairs neighbor and she starts to make inroads at work, the ex-boyfriend who wrecked her life is hired as her new boss and past and present are about to epically collide.

Published July 25th by Viking

The Wake-Up Call by Beth O’Leary

SYNOPSIS:
‘Beth O’Leary is that rare, one-in-a-million talent who can make you laugh, swoon, cry and ache all in the same book’ Emily Henry

Two sworn enemies. A failing hotel. One chance to save the season…

It’s the busiest season of the year, and Forest Manor Hotel is quite literally falling apart. So when Izzy and Lucas are given the same shift on the hotel’s front desk, they have no choice but to put their differences aside and see it through.

The hotel won’t stay afloat beyond Christmas without some sort of miracle. But when Izzy returns a guest’s lost wedding ring, the reward convinces management that this might be the way to fix everything. With four rings still sitting in lost property, the race is on for Izzy and Lucas to save their beloved hotel – and their jobs.

As their bitter rivalry turns into something much more complicated, Izzy and Lucas begin to wonder if there’s more at stake here than the hotel’s future. Can the two of them make it through the season with their hearts intact?

Published September 28th by Quercus
Pre-order here*

**********

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

Thanks for reading Bibliophiles xxx

*These purchase links are affiliate links

Categories
Blog Tours book reviews Emma's Anticipated Treasures

BLOG TOUR: So Pretty by Ronnie Turner

Published: January 19th, 2023
Publisher: Orenda Books
Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Gothic Fiction, Psychological Fiction
Format: Paperback, Kindle, Audiobook

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this dark, hypnotic and unnerving debut. This was a fantastic start to my reading year and I’m thrilled to be sharing my review with you all today.
Thank you to Anne at Random Things Tours for the invitation to take part and to Karen at Orenda for the gifted copy of the book.

********

SYNOPSIS:

A young man arrives in a small town, hoping to leave his past behind him, but everything changes when he takes a job in a peculiar old shop, and meets a lonely single mother … A chillingly hypnotic gothic thriller and a Mesmerising study of identity and obsession.
 
‘This chilling gothic tale explores the dark corners of identity … beautifully written and a real page-turner’ C J Cooke
 
‘Dark, lyrical and intriguing’ Fiona Cummins
 
‘Like Stephen King on crack … the most accomplished book I’ve read this year. Dark, gothic as hell, and genuinely scary, Turner has managed to portray loneliness, obsession, and monster-worship in one neat little package. I dare you to open it’ M W Craven
 
–––––––––––––––––––––––––––
 
Fear blisters through this town like a fever…

When Teddy Colne arrives in the small town of Rye, he believes he will be able to settle down and leave his past behind him. Little does he know that fear blisters through the streets like a fever. The locals tell him to stay away from an establishment known only as Berry & Vincent, that those who rub too closely to its proprietor risk a bad end. 

Despite their warnings, Teddy is desperate to understand why Rye has come to fear this one man, and to see what really hides behind the doors of his shop.

Ada moved to Rye with her young son to escape a damaged childhood and years of never fitting in, but she’s lonely, and ostracised by the community. Ada is ripe for affection and friendship, and everyone knows it.

As old secrets bleed out into this town, so too will a mystery about a family who vanished fifty years earlier, and a community living on a knife edge.

Teddy looks for answers, thinking he is safe, but some truths are better left undisturbed, and his past will find him here, just as it has always found him before. And before long, it will find Ada too.

********

MY REVIEW:

‘It’s a curious box and a box of curiosities. We don’t go inside Berry & Vincent,’ they said. 
‘Why?’ 
Don’t go inside Berry & Vincent,’ they said. ‘There’s a devil inside that place.’

Teddy arrives in Rye hoping to make a fresh start and leave the ghosts of his past far behind. He answers an ad for an assistant at Berry & Vincent, a peculiar old shop that the residents avoid and refuse to even speak of. What is it they are so afraid of? And why do they keep telling Teddy to leave before it’s too late?
As Teddy tries to uncover the secrets of this strange place he meets single mother Ada, who has lived in Rye for two years but never managed to fit in. The pair bond over being outsiders and attempt to unravel the mystery of Berry & Vincent. But there is a darkness lurking and secrets that have been hidden for decades will soon be revealed.

Wow! This book needs to come with a warning label! Dark, haunting and malevolent, it chilled me to the bone, made my heart race and left my jaw on the floor. I finished reading it late last night, unable to go to bed until I had the answers to my many questions, and I’m still reeling, the adrenaline coursing through me even now. When you read this book, be prepared to be taken on one of the darkest, most twisted rides you’ve ever experienced. And be prepared to love every minute. 

“They were afraid. They were all afraid.” 

It is no secret that Orenda is not only my favourite indie publisher, but one of my favourite publishers overall. Anytime you read one of their books you know you’re guaranteed a magnificent story told by a skilled storyteller, so my hopes were high before even starting this book. But So Pretty took all of those expectations and blew them out of the water. Hypnotic and unnerving, it is cleverly choreographed, intricately layered and twisty, with the perfect balance of sinister suspense and edge-of-your-seat tension.  The imagery is evocative and chilling, making even the buildings feel alive with an evil that seeps into your pores as you read. There’s a sense of dread that pervades every page and I knew intrinsically that something was very wrong, though I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was, and I couldn’t shake the feeling that no one would come out of this unscathed. I wanted to turn away and run. But I couldn’t. I was hooked.

Ronnie Turner may be a debut author, but she writes like a veteran beyond her years. A masterful sinister storyteller, she knows how to captivate her audience and blow their minds. I was putty in her hands as she took me down a rabbit hole of twists and turns, elevated the tension, and slowly revealed all the pieces so that the full, horrifying picture took shape. She is an author to watch and I can’t wait to see what she writes next. I’ll be first in line to buy it for sure!

“It takes twice as long to be mended than it does to be broken. If ever.”

Humans are the scariest of monsters, something that is explored throughout this book as it delves into the darkness that lurks inside the crevices of a twisted mind and illuminates the dark recesses of identity, and obsession. It is also a commentary on abuse, violence against women, and the lasting impact of trauma, showcasing how our pain can trickle down through generations to damage those we try to protect and reminding us that just because we know why someone acts a certain way, it doesn’t mean that it’s right or acceptable. The characters are all fractured, flawed, compelling, the author drawing you deeper inside their world and creating a bond between them and the reader. My heart ached for Teddy and Ada as they tried to escape the trauma of their pasts, and I rejoiced as they found friendship and solace from their lonely existence. But through it all I could never shake that growing disquiet. The sense of inherent darkness and danger coiled like a viper waiting to strike. And when it struck, it floored me completely and filled my heart with fear.

A buffet of dark delights, So Pretty is an unsettling, eerie and mesmerising gothic thriller. If you enjoy uncomfortable, claustrophobic and seriously creepy novels that will haunt your subconscious long after reading, then this one’s for you. An easy five stars, this was a phenomenal start to the reading year. 

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✮

********

MEET THE AUTHOR:

Ronnie Turner grew up in Cornwall, the youngest in a large family. At an early age, she discovered a love of literature. She now works as a Senior Waterstones Bookseller and barista. Ronnie lives in the South West with her family and three dogs. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling and taking long walks on the coast.

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BUY THE BOOK:

Orenda | Waterstones* | Amazon* | Bookshop.org*

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Thanks for reading Bibliophiles xxxx

Please check out the reviews from the other bloggers that are taking part the blog tour.

*These purchase links are from affiliate links

Categories
Emma's Anticipated Treasures Most Anticipated 2023

Emma’s Anticipated Treasures, Most Anticipated 2023: The Debuts

2023 is shaping up to be an incredible year for books and there are an abundance of exciting debuts on the horizon. So, I’ve put together my list of the ones I’m most looking forward to and created my list of most anticipated debuts for 2023.

The Witches of Vardo by Anya Bergman

SYNOPSIS:
‘A passionate indictment of the patriarchy … a vibrant exaltation of the resilience of women … In The Witches of Vardø, Anya Bergman summons a historic witch trial with breathtaking detail and immediacy’ Hannah Kent

They will have justice. They will show their power. They will not burn.

Norway, 1662. A dangerous time to be a woman, when even dancing can lead to accusations of witchcraft. After recently widowed Zigri’s affair with the local merchant is discovered, she is sent to the fortress at Vardø to be tried as a witch.

Zigri’s daughter Ingeborg sets off into the wilderness to try to bring her mother back home. Accompanying her on this quest is Maren – herself the daughter of a witch – whose wild nature and unconquerable spirit gives Ingeborg the courage to venture into the unknown, and to risk all she has to save her family.

Also captive in the fortress is Anna Rhodius, once the King of Denmark’s mistress, who has been sent in disgrace to the island of Vardø. What will she do – and who will she betray – to return to her privileged life at court?

These Witches of Vardø are stronger than even the King. In an age weighted against them, they refuse to be victims. They will have their justice. All they need do is show their power.

Published January 5th by Manilla Press.
Pre-order here*

The Circus Train by Amita Parikh

SYNOPSIS:
THE MAGICAL INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER

Brought together by magic.

Torn apart by war.

_________

Europe, 1938. Even as the daughter of the extraordinary headlining illusionist, Lena Papadopoulos has never quite found her place within the World of Wonders – a travelling circus that traverses the continent in a luxury steam engine. Brilliant and curious, Lena yearns for the real-world magic of science and medicine, despite the limitations she feels in her wheelchair. But when a young French orphan, Alexandre, comes aboard the circus train, Lena’s life is infused with magic and wonder for the first time.

But outside the bright lights of the circus, darkness is descending on Europe. War is about to shatter Lena’s world, and take away everything she holds dear. And to recover what she has lost, Lena will have to believe in the impossible.

A must-read for fans of Water for Elephants, The Circus Train will take readers on a heart-wrenching two-decade journey across a continent in which great beauty and unimaginable horror live side by side.

Published January 12th by Sphere
Buy here*

Really Good, Actually by Monica Heisey

SYNOPSIS:
One of the most hotly anticipated, hilarious and addictive debut novels of 2023, from Schitt’s Creek screenwriter and electric new voice in fiction, Monica Heisey.

I feel like when you get a divorce everyone’s wondering how you ruined it all, what made you so unbearable to be with. If your husband dies, at least people feel bad for you.

Maggie’s marriage has ended just 608 days after it started, but she’s fine – she’s doing really good, actually. Sure, she’s alone for the first time in her life, can’t afford her rent and her obscure PhD is going nowhere . . . but at the age of twenty-nine, Maggie is determined to embrace her new status as a Surprisingly Young Divorcée™.

Soon she’s taking up ‘sadness hobbies’ and getting back out there, sex-wise, oversharing in the group chat and drinking with her high-intensity new divorced friend Amy. As Maggie throws herself headlong into the chaos of her first year of divorce, she finds herself questioning everything, including: Why do we still get married? Did I fail before I even got started? How many Night Burgers until I’m happy?

Laugh-out-loud funny, razor sharp and painfully relatable, Really Good, Actually is an irresistible debut novel about the uncertainties of modern love, friendship and happiness from a stunning new voice in fiction, Monica Heisey.

Published January 17th by Fourth Estate
Buy here*

So Pretty by Ronnie Turner

SYNOPSIS:
A young man arrives in a small town, hoping to leave his past behind him, but everything changes when he takes a job in a peculiar old shop, and meets a lonely single mother… A chillingly hypnotic modern-gothic thriller and a mesmerising study of identity and obsession.
 
When Teddy Colne arrives in the small town of Rye, he believes he will be able to settle down and leave his past behind him. Little does he know that fear blisters through the streets like a fever. The locals tell him to stay away from an establishment known only as Berry & Vincent, that those who rub too closely to its proprietor risk a bad end. 
 
Despite their warnings, Teddy is desperate to understand why Rye has come to fear this one man, and to see what really hides behind the doors of his shop.
 
Ada moved to Rye with her young son to escape a damaged childhood and years of never fitting in, but she’s lonely, and ostracised by the community. Ada is ripe for affection and friendship, and everyone knows it. 
 
As old secrets bleed out into this town, so too will a mystery about a family who vanished fifty years earlier, and a community living on a knife edge. 
 
Teddy looks for answers, thinking he is safe, but some truths are better left undisturbed, and his past will find him here, just as it has always found him before. And before long, it will find Ada too.

Published January 19th by Orenda Books
Pre-order here

The Clositers by Katy Hays

SYNOPSIS:
The Secret History meets Ninth House in this sinister, atmospheric novel . . . the discovery of a mysterious deck of tarot cards lays bare shocking secrets within a close-knit circle of researchers at New York’s famed Met Cloisters museum.

**********

Ann Stilwell arrives in New York City, hoping to spend her summer working at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Instead, she is assigned to The Cloisters, a gothic museum and garden renowned for its medieval and Renaissance collections.

There she is drawn into a small circle of charismatic but enigmatic researchers, each with their own secrets and desires, including the museum’s curator, Patrick Roland, who is convinced that the history of Tarot holds the key to unlocking contemporary fortune telling.

Relieved to have left her troubled past behind and eager for the approval of her new colleagues, Ann is only too happy to indulge some of Patrick’s more outlandish theories. But when Ann discovers a mysterious, once-thought lost deck of 15th-century Italian tarot cards she suddenly finds herself at the centre of a dangerous game of power, toxic friendship and ambition.

And as the game being played within the Cloisters spirals out of control, Ann must decide whether she is truly able to defy the cards and shape her own future . . .

Bringing together the modern and the arcane, The Cloisters is a rich, thrillingly-told tale of obsession and the ruthless pursuit of power.

Published January 19th by Bantam Press
Buy here*

Amazing Grace Adams by Fran Littlewood

SYNOPSIS:
‘Sometimes I have so much rage it scares me . . .’
________

Grace Adams is one bad day away from saving her life.

One hot summer day, stuck in traffic on her way to pick up the cake for her daughter’s sixteenth birthday party, Grace Adams snaps.

She doesn’t scream or break something or cry. She simply abandons her car and walks away.

But not from her life – towards it. To the daughter who won’t live with her anymore and has banned her from the party. To the husband divorcing her. Towards the terrible thing that has blown their family apart . . .

Today she’ll show her daughter that no matter how far we fall we can always get back up again. Because Grace Adams was amazing. Her husband and daughter once thought so. They and the world might have forgotten. But Grace is about to remind them …

Amazing Grace Adams tells the story of a life, a marriage, a family, set against a single north-London day. A rollercoaster ride of redemption and discovery, it’s a powerful celebration of womanhood.

Published January 19th by Michael Joseph
Buy here*

River Sing Me Home by Eleanor Shearer

SYNOPSIS:
Powerful, moving and redemptive, RIVER SING ME HOME tells of a mother’s desperate search to find her stolen children and her freedom.

—————————-

We whisper the names of the ones we love like the words of a song. That was the taste of freedom to us, those names on our lips.

Mary Grace, Micah, Thomas Augustus, Cherry Jane and Mercy. These are the names of her children. The five who survived, only to be sold to other plantations. The faces Rachel cannot forget. It’s 1834, and the law says her people are now free. But for Rachel freedom means finding her children, even if the truth is more than she can bear. With fear snapping at her heels, Rachel keeps moving. From sunrise to sunset, through the cane fields of Barbados to the forests of British Guiana and on to Trinidad, to the dangerous river and the open sea. Only once she knows their stories can she rest. Only then can she finally find home.

Published January 19th by Headline
Buy here*

For Thy Great Pain Have Mercy On My Little Pain by Victoria MacKenzie

SYNOPSIS:
An astounding debut, both epic and intimate, about grief, trauma, revelation, and the hidden lives of women – by a major new talent

‘The best first novel I’ve read in years … So full and so vivid; it is amazing’ RODDY DOYLE
‘Moving and unexpected … I tore through this’ JULIA ARMFIELD

In the year of 1413, two women meet for the first time in the city of Norwich.

Margery has left her fourteen children and husband behind to make her journey. Her visions of Christ – which have long alienated her from her family and neighbours, and incurred her husband’s abuse – have placed her in danger with the men of the Church, who have begun to hound her as a heretic.

Julian, an anchoress, has not left Norwich, nor the cell to which she has been confined, for twenty-­three years. She has told no one of her own visions – and knows that time is running out for her to do so.

The two women have stories to tell one another. Stories about girlhood, motherhood, sickness, loss, doubt and belief; revelations more the powerful than the world is ready to hear. Their meeting will change everything.

Sensual, vivid and humane, For Thy Great Pain Have Mercy On My Little Pain cracks history open to reveal the lives of two extraordinary women.

Published January 19th by Bloomsbury Publishing
Pre-order here*

Godkiller by Hanah Kaner

SYNOPSIS:
You are not welcome here, godkiller

Kissen’s family were killed by zealots of a fire god. Now, she makes a living killing gods, and enjoys it. That is until she finds a god she cannot kill: Skedi, a god of white lies, has somehow bound himself to a young noble, and they are both on the run from unknown assassins.

Joined by a disillusioned knight on a secret quest, they must travel to the ruined city of Blenraden, where the last of the wild gods reside, to each beg a favour.

Pursued by demons, and in the midst of burgeoning civil war, they will all face a reckoning – something is rotting at the heart of their world, and only they can be the ones to stop it.

Published January 19th by Harper Voyager UK
Pre-order here*

Home by Cailean Steed

SYNOPSIS:
Someone has broken into Zoe’s flat. A man she thought she’d never have to see again.
They call him the Hand of God.

He knows about her job in the cafe, her life in Dublin, her ex-girlfriend, even the knife she’s hidden under the mattress.

She thought she’d left him far behind, along with the cult of the Children and their isolated compound Home – but now he’s found her, and Zoe realises she must go back with him if she’s to rescue the sister who helped her escape originally. But returning to Home means going back to the enforced worship and strict gender roles Zoe has long since moved beyond; back to the abuse and indoctrination she’s fought desperately to overcome…

Going back will make her question everything she believed about her past – but could also risk her hard-won freedom. Can she break free a second time?

Published January 19th by Raven Books
Pre-order here*

In the Blink of an Eye by Jo Callaghan

SYNOPSIS:
‘THE MOST ORIGINAL CRIME NOVEL YOU’LL READ THIS YEAR’ CLARE MACKINTOSH 
‘THIS HAS TO BE A STRONG CONTENDER FOR CRIME DEBUT OF THE YEAR’ T. M. LOGAN
In the UK, someone is reported missing every 90 seconds.
Just gone. Vanished. In the blink of an eye. 


DCS Kat Frank knows all about loss. A widowed single mother, Kat is a cop who trusts her instincts. Picked to lead a pilot programme that has her paired with AIDE (Artificially Intelligent Detective Entity) Lock, Kat’s instincts come up against Lock’s logic. But when the two missing person’s cold cases they are reviewing suddenly become active, Lock is the only one who can help Kat when the case gets personal. 

AI versus human experience. 
Logic versus instinct.
With lives on the line can the pair work together before someone else becomes another statistic? 

In the Blink of an Eye is a dazzling debut from an exciting new voice and asks us what we think it means to be human

Published January 19th by Simon & Schuster
Pre-order here*

Weyward by Emilia Hart

SYNOPSIS:
THEY TRIED TO CAGE US.

BUT A WEYWARD WOMAN BELONGS TO THE WILD.

WE CANNOT BE TAMED.
________________________________________________________

KATE, 2019
Kate flees London – and her abusive partner – for Cumbria and Weyward Cottage, inherited from her great-aunt. There, a secret lurks in the bones of the house, hidden ever since the witch-hunts of the 17th century.

VIOLET, 1942
Violet is more interested in collecting insects and climbing trees than in becoming a proper young lady. Until a chain of shocking events changes her life forever.

ALTHA, 1619
Altha is on trial for witchcraft, accused of killing a local man. Known for her uncanny connection with nature and animals, she is a threat that must be eliminated…

UNIQUE. ORIGINAL. UNFORGETTABLE.
Discover the power of being Weyward in 2023’s biggest debut

Published Februrary 2nd by The Borough Press
Buy here*

Clara & Olivia by Lucy Ashe

SYNOPSIS:
“Surely you would like to be immortalised in art, fixed forever in perfection?”

Sadler’s Wells, 1933.

I would kill to dance like her.

Disciplined and dedicated, Olivia is the perfect ballerina. But no matter how hard she works, she can never match identical twin Clara’s charm. 

I would kill to be with her.

As rehearsals intensify for the ballet Coppélia, the girls feel increasingly like they are being watched. And, as infatuation turns to obsession, everything begins to unravel.

Published February 2nd by Magpie
Buy here*

The Heroines by Laura Shepperson

SYNOPSIS:
In Athens, crowds flock to witness the most shocking trial of the ancient world. The royal family is mired in scandal. Phaedra, young bride of King Theseus, has accused her stepson, Hippolytus of rape.

He’s a prince, a talented horseman, a promising young man with his whole life ahead of him. She’s a young and neglected wife, the youngest in a long line of Cretan women with less than savoury reputations.

The men of Athens must determine the truth. Who is guilty, and who is innocent?

But the women know truth is a slippery thing. After all, this is the age of heroes and the age of monsters. There are two sides to every story, and theirs has gone unheard.

Until now.

Published February 9th by Sphere
Buy here*

The Silence Project by Carole Hailey

SYNOPSIS:
Monster. Martyr. Mother.

On Emilia Morris’s thirteenth birthday, her mother Rachel moves into a tent at the bottom of their garden. From that day on, she never says another word. Inspired by her vow of silence, other women join her and together they build the Community. Eight years later, Rachel and thousands of her followers around the world burn themselves to death.

In the aftermath of what comes to be known as the Event, the Community’s global influence quickly grows. As a result, the whole world has an opinion about Rachel – whether they see her as a callous monster or a heroic martyr – but Emilia has never voiced hers publicly. Until now.

When she publishes her own account of her mother’s life in a memoir called The Silence Project, Emilia also decides to reveal just how sinister the Community has become. In the process, she steps out of Rachel’s shadow once and for all, so that her own voice may finally be heard.

Published February 9th by Corvus
Buy here*

Dazzling by Chikodili Emelumadu

SYNOPSIS:
Soon you will become the thing all other beasts fear.

Treasure and her mother lost everything when Treasure’s daddy died. Haggling for scraps in the market, Treasure meets a spirit who promises to bring her father back – but she has to do something for him first.

Ozoemena has an itch in the middle of her back that can’t be scratched. An itch that speaks to her patrilineal destiny, to defend her people by becoming a leopard. Her father impressed upon her what an honour this was before he vanished, but it’s one she couldn’t want less.

But as the two girls reckon with their burgeoning wildness and the legacy of their fathers’ decisions, Ozoemena’s fellow students at her new boarding school start to vanish. Treasure and Ozoemena will face terrible choices as each must ask herself: in a world that always says ‘no’ to women, what must two young girls sacrifice to get what is theirs?

Published February 16th by Wildfire
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House in the Pines by Ana Reyes

SYNOPSIS:
This is the story of a house.

The cabin lies deep in the woods, where the trees are so dense it’s easy to miss. On the outside it might look like it’s crumbling, crawling with weeds, but on the inside it’s warm and cosy. A fire crackles in the fireplace. Dinner simmers on the stove.

Maya once saw this cabin as an idyllic place, like a cottage from a fairy tale, but now she knows the danger that lurks beneath. The summer she visited the cabin was the summer her best friend Aubrey died.

Now, another woman from Maya’s hometown has died in the same strange, unexplained way, and Maya believes only she can save the next innocent girl.

Guided by her fractured memory and a mysterious, unfinished book by her late father, Maya returns home to face the house in the pines and the man who waits there – the man she’s tried so hard to forget . . .

Published: February 16th by Constable
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Maame by Jessica George

SYNOPSIS:
*THE MOST POWERFUL DEBUT OF 2023*

Maame (ma-meh) has many meanings in Twi, but in my case, it means woman.

Meet Maddie.

All her life, she’s been told who she is. To her Ghanaian parents, she’s Maame: the one who takes care of the family. Her mum’s stand-in. The primary carer for her father, who suffers from Parkinson’s. She’s the responsible sister, the quiet friend. The one who keeps the peace – and the secrets.

It’s time for her to speak up.

Maddie knows what kind of woman she wants to be. One who wears a bright yellow suit, dates men who definitely aren’t on her mum’s list of prospective husbands, and stands up to her boss’s microaggressions. Someone who doesn’t have to google all her life choices. Who demands a seat at the table.

But will it take losing everything to find her voice?

Unique, unfiltered and unforgettable, Maame is a deeply moving, achingly funny debut about finally finding where you belong.

Published February 16th by Hodder & Stoughton
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The Garnett Girls by Georgina Moore

SYNOPSIS:
A brilliant debut and powerful tale of sisterhood and home, set on the beautiful beaches of the Isle of Wight…

‘Love makes you do things you never thought you were capable of.’

Forbidden, passionate and all-encompassing, Margo and Richard’s love affair was the stuff of legend– but, ultimately, doomed.

When Richard walked out, Margo locked herself away, leaving her three daughters, Rachel, Imogen and Sasha, to run wild.

Years later, charismatic Margo entertains lovers and friends in her cottage on the Isle of Wight, refusing to ever speak of Richard and her painful past. But her silence is keeping each of the Garnett girls from finding true happiness.

Rachel is desperate to return to London, but is held hostage by responsibility for Sandcove, their beloved but crumbling family home.

Dreamy Imogen feels the pressure to marry her kind, considerate fiancé, even when life is taking an unexpected turn.

And wild, passionate Sasha, trapped between her fractured family and controlling husband, is weighed down by a secret that could shake the family to its core…

The Garnett Girls, the captivating debut from Georgina Moore, asks whether children can ever be free of the mistakes of their parents.

Published February 16th by HQ
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Lady MacBethad by Isabelle Schuler

SYNOPSIS:
Power. History. Love. Hate. Vengeance.

She will be Queen. Whatever it takes…


Daughter of an ousted king, descendant of ancient druids, as a child it is prophesied that one day Gruoch will be queen of Alba.

When she is betrothed to Duncan, heir elect, this appears to confirm the prophecy. She leaves behind her home, her family and her close friend MacBethad, and travels to the royal seat at Scone to embrace her new position.

But nothing is as Gruoch anticipates. Duncan’s court is filled with sly words and unfriendly faces, women desperate to usurp her position, and others whose motives are shrouded in mystery. As her coronation approaches, a deadly turn of events forces Gruoch to flee Duncan and the capital, finding herself alone, vulnerable and at the mercy of an old enemy. Her hope of becoming Queen all but lost, Gruoch does what she must to survive, vowing that one day she will fulfill her destiny and take up the future owed to her. Whatever it may take.

A suspenseful, sweeping historical epic, Lady MacBethad is the origin story of the woman who inspired one of Shakespeare’s most iconic characters

Published March 2nd by Raven Books
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Clytemnestra by Costanza Casati

SYNOPSIS:
As for queens, they are either hated or forgotten. She already knows which option suits her best . . .

Perfect for fans of ARIADNE and THE SONG OF ACHILLES, pre-order this extraordinary retelling of history’s most infamous heroine.
_______

Mother. Monarch. Murderer. Magnificent.

You are born to a king, but marry a tyrant. You stand helplessly as he sacrifices your child to placate the gods. You watch him wage war on a foreign shore and comfort yourself with violent thoughts of your own.

You play the part, fooling enemies who deny you justice. Slowly, you plot.

You are Clytemnestra.

But when the husband who owns you returns in triumph, what then?

Acceptance or vengeance – infamy follows both. So you bide your time and wait, until you might force the gods’ hands and take revenge. Until you rise. For you understood something that the others don’t. If power isn’t given to you, you have to take it for yourself.

A blazing novel set in the world of Ancient Greece and told through the eyes of its greatest heroine, this is a thrilling tale of power and prophecies, of hatred, love, and of an unforgettable Queen who fiercely dealt out death to those who wronged her.

Published March 2nd by Michael Joseph.
Pre-order here*

Mother’s Day by Abigail Burdess

SYNOPSIS:
She gave you life. What if she wants it back?
Perfect for fans of MY SISTER, THE SERIAL KILLER, MAGPIE and HOW TO KILL YOUR FAMILY.

The last thing Anna needs is a baby. Abandoned, adopted and living hand to mouth, she never dreamt of having a real family.

But when she meets her birth mother, everything changes – because the same day, she learns she’s going to be a mother too.

Marlene is eccentric, generous with her considerable fortune and overjoyed to become a grandmother. Anna’s living the dream. But is it her dream, or someone else’s?

Now she will have to decide what she’s willing to sacrifice for a real family – her future, her freedom, even her unborn child.

Published March 2nd by Wildfire
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All the Little Bird-Hearts by Viktoria Lloyd-Barlow

SYNOPSIS:
I lived for and loved a bird-heart that summer; I only knew it afterwards.

Sunday Forrester lives with her sixteen-year-old daughter, Dolly, in the house she grew up in. She does things more carefully than most people. On quiet days, she must eat only white foods. Her etiquette handbook guides her through confusing social situations, and to escape, she turns to her treasury of Sicilian folklore. The one thing very much out of her control is Dolly – her clever, headstrong daughter, now on the cusp of leaving home.

Into this carefully ordered world step Vita and Rollo, a couple who move in next door, disarm Sunday with their charm, and proceed to deliciously break just about every rule in Sunday’s book. Soon they are in and out of each others’ homes, and Sunday feels loved and accepted like never before. But beneath Vita and Rollo’s polish lies something else, something darker. For Sunday has precisely what Vita has always wanted for herself: a daughter of her own.

Published March 2nd by Tinder Press.
Buy here*

No Life For A Lady by Hannah Dolby

SYNOPSIS:
The most joyful book of 2023!

Violet Hamilton is a woman who knows her own mind. Which, in 1896, can make things a little complicated…

At 28, Violet’s father is beginning to worry she will never find a husband. But every suitor he presents, Violet finds a new and inventive means of rebuffing.

Because Violet does not want to marry. She wants to work, and make her own way in the world. But more than anything, she wants to find her mother Lily, who disappeared from Hastings Pier 10 years earlier.

Finding the missing is no job for a lady, but when Violet hires a seaside detective to help, she sets off a chain of events that will put more than just her reputation at risk.

Can Violet solve the mystery of Lily Hamilton’s vanishing before it’s too late?

A delightfully quirky and clever book club read, perfect for fans of Dear Mrs BirdThe Maid and Lessons in Chemistry.

Published March 2nd by Aria.
Pre-order here*

The Writing Retreat by Julia Bartz

SYNOPSIS:
The dark, atmospheric, feminist offspring of Squid GameThe Hunting Party and Misery

A book deal to die for.

Five attendees are selected for a month-long writing retreat at the remote estate of Roza Vallo, the controversial high priestess of feminist horror. Alex, a struggling writer, is thrilled.

Upon arrival, they discover they must complete an entire novel from scratch, and the best one will receive a seven-figure publishing deal. Alex’s long-extinguished dream now seems within reach.

But then the women begin to die.

Trapped, terrified yet still desperately writing, it is clear there is more than a publishing deal at stake at Blackbriar Estate. Alex must confront her own demons – and finish her novel – to save herself.

This unhinged, propulsive, claustrophobic closed-door thriller will pull you in and spit you out…

Published March 2nd by Magpie.
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Lies We Sing to the Sea by Sarah Underwood

SYNOPSIS:
A fantasy romance, by dazzling new talent Sarah Underwood, inspired by Greek mythology and the tale of Penelope’s twelve hanged maids.

In the cursed kingdom of Ithaca, each spring brings the hanging of twelve maidens, a gift to the vengeful Poseidon. But when Leto awakens from her death on the shore of a long-forgotten island, its enigmatic keeper Melantho tells her that there’s only one way the curse can be broken. Leto must kill the last prince of Ithaca . . .

In Lies We Sing to the Sea, debut author Sarah Underwood delivers a thrilling and breathtaking tale that will enthral readers from the very first page as they are transported to the cursed shores of Ithaca.

A reclamation of a story from thousands of years ago, Lies We Sing to the Sea is about love and fate, grief and sacrifice, and, ultimately, the power we must find within.

Published March 16th by Electric Monkey
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Her by Mira V Shah

SYNOPSIS:
YOU WANT TO BE JUST LIKE HER. BUT DO YOU REALLY KNOW HER?

Rani has always felt like an outsider. First growing up among her white, wealthy peers. And now next to her successful, child-free friends. From the tiny rented flat she lives in with her family, she imagines being the kind of woman who owns the beautiful house across the street.

Then Natalie moves in. With her expensive clothes, adoring husband and high-powered job, she has everything Rani wants, and Rani can’t help but be drawn to her new neighbour.

But as the two women strike up a friendship and begin open up, Rani wonders – is Natalie’s perfect-seeming life too good to be true?

Published March 23rd by Hodder & Stoughton
Pre-order here*

The Secrets of Hartwood Hall by Katie Lumsden

SYNOPSIS:
It’s 1852 and Margaret Lennox, a young widow, is offered a position as governess at Hartwood Hall. She quickly accepts, hoping this isolated country house will allow her to leave her past behind.

Cut off from the village, Margaret soon starts to feel there’s something odd about her new home, despite her growing fondness for her bright, affectionate pupil, Louis. There are strange figures in the dark, tensions between servants and an abandoned east wing. Even stranger is the local gossip surrounding Mrs Eversham, Louis’s widowed mother, who is deeply distrusted in the village.

Margaret finds distraction in a forbidden relationship with the gardener, Paul. But despite his efforts to reassure her, Margaret is certain that everyone here has something hide. And as Margaret’s own past threatens to catch up with her, she must learn to trust her instincts before it’s too late…

The Secrets of Hartwood Hall is a chilling gothic mystery, and an authentic and atmospheric love letter to Victorian fiction.

Published Marhch 30th by Michael Joseph
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Dirty Laundry by Disha Bose

SYNOPSIS:
A deliciously scandalous story about the dark side of suburbia, DIRTY LAUNDRY bristles with lies, desire and the secrets that can make or break a marriage.

————-

Ciara, Lauren and Mishti are three mothers, friends, wives. But, underneath the perfectly managed routines of their lives, they are not the women you expect – and neither are the secrets they keep. We all have our dirty laundry to air, but when their carefully curated world is threatened, the devastation goes beyond scandal – it leads to murder . . .

Thoroughly entertaining and suspenseful, DIRTY LAUNDRY tackles the impossibility of who we fall in love with and the innate urge to create better versions of ourselves in our children.

Published March 30th by Viking.
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Crow Moon by Suzy Aspley

SYNOPSIS:
First in a series: A Martha Strangeways Investigation
 
An investigative reporter gives up her job when her young twins are killed in a fire, but when she stumbles across the body of a missing teenager, she’s thrust into a chilling investigation that will leave no one unscathed…
 
Strathban, Scotland. A village steeped in folklore and impenetrable mists and a horrifying mystery…
 
Martha Strangeways is struggling to find purpose in her life, after giving up her career as an investigative reporter when her young twins died in a house fire. Overwhelmed by guilt and grief, she carries their teeth in a matchbox wherever she goes…
 
But her life changes when she stumbles across the body of a missing teenager – a tragedy that turns even more sinister when a poem about crows is discovered inked onto his back… 
 
When another teenager goes missing in the remote landscape, Martha is drawn into the investigation, teaming up with DI Derek Summers, as malevolent rumours begin to spread and paranoia grows. 
 
As darkness descends on the village of Strathban, it soon becomes clear that no one is safe, including Martha…
 
Both a nerve-shattering, enthralling and atmospheric thriller and a moving tale of grief and psychological damage, Crow Moon is a staggeringly accomplished debut and the start of an addictive, unforgettable series.

Published April 13th by Orenda Books
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Go As A River by Shelley Read

SYNOPSIS:
A MESMERIZING READ FOR FANS OF WHERE THE CRAWDADS SINGGREAT CIRCLE AND THE PAPER PALACE
____________________

I’ve come to understand how the exceptional lurks beneath the ordinary like the deep and mysterious world beneath the sea.


On a cool autumn morning, Torie Nash heads into her village pulling a rickety wagon filled with late-season peaches. As she nears an intersection, a mysterious drifter with grimy thumbs and smudged cheeks stops to ask her the way.

She could turn left or cross over. But she does not. ‘Go as a river,’ he tells her.

So begins a mezmerising story that unfolds over a tumultuous lifetime as Torie begins to absorb and follow his words.

Gathering all the pieces of her small and extraordinary life, spinning through the eddies of desire, heartbreak and betrayal, she will arrive at a single rocky decision that will change her life for ever.

Published April 13th by Doubleday.
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The Grief Nurse by Angie Spoto

SYNOPSIS:
Imagine you could be rid of your sadness, your anxiety, your heartache, your fear.

Imagine you could take those feelings from others and turn them into something beautiful.

Lynx is a Grief Nurse. Kept by the Asters, a wealthy, influential family, to ensure they’re never troubled by negative emotions, she knows no other life.

When news arrives that the Asters’ eldest son is dead, Lynx does what she can to alleviate their Sorrow. As guests flock to the Asters’ private island for the wake, bringing their own secrets, lies and grief, tensions rise.

Then the bodies start to pile up.

With romance, intrigue and spectacular gothic world-building, this spellbinding debut novel is immersive and unforgettable.

Published April 13th by Sandstone Press
Pre-order here*

Love & Other Scams by PJ Ellis

SYNOPSIS:
There’s no thrill like breaking the rules…

******

Cat has a dangerously dwindling bank balance. She also has:

· a month before her landlord kicks her out
· a surprise wedding invitation from rich mean girl, Louisa
· a secret talent for con artistry

A priceless jewel the size of a cocktail olive is glinting on Louisa’s finger.

And when Cat meets her ideal plus one, Jake – who’s gifted at hustling and posing as the perfect boyfriend – this wedding becomes a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. After all,

How hard can a diamond heist be?

******

THE MOST RIOTOUSLY ESCAPIST NOVEL OF 2023

PERFECT FOR FANS OF HOW TO KILL YOUR FAMILYCRAZY RICH ASIANS AND PORTRAIT OF A THIEF

Published April 13th by HarperNorth
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Pineapple Street by Jenny Jackson

SYNOPSIS:
This unputdownable debut follows three women in an old Brooklyn Heights clan: one who was born with money, one who married into it, and one who wants to give it all away.

Darley, the eldest daughter in the well-connected, carefully guarded Stockton family, has never had to worry about money. She followed her heart, trading her job and her inheritance for motherhood, sacrificing more of herself than she ever intended. Sasha, Darley’s new sister-in-law, has come from more humble origins, and her hesitancy about signing a pre-nup has everyone worried about her intentions. And Georgiana, the baby of the family, has fallen in love with someone she can’t (and really shouldn’t) have, and must confront the kind of person she wants to be.

Rife with the indulgent pleasures of life among New York’s one-percenters, Pineapple Street is a smart, escapist novel that sparkles with wit. Full of recognisable, loveable – if fallible – characters, it’s about the peculiar unknowability of someone else’s family, the miles between the haves and have-nots, and the insanity of first love – all wrapped in a story that is a sheer delight.

Published April 13th by Hutchinson Heinemann
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The Consultant by Im Seong-Sun

SYNOPSIS:
Sometimes work can be murder…

The Consultant is very good at his job. He creates simple, elegant, effective solutions for. restructuring. Nothing obvious or messy. Certainly nothing anyone would ever suspect as murder.

The ‘natural deaths’ he plans have always gone well: a medicine replaced here, a mechanism jammed there. His performance reviews are excellent. And it’s not as though he knows these people.

Until his next ‘customer’ turns out to be someone he not only knows but cares about, and for the first time, he begins to question the role he plays in the vast, anonymous Company. And as he slowly begins to understand the real scope of their work, he realises just how easy it would be for the Company to arrange one more perfect murder…

But how far will he go to escape The Company? And how far will they go to stop him?

The electrifying first novel from award-winning Korean thriller-writer Im Seong-Sun – now in English for the first time – combines the tension of the best crime fiction with searing social criticism to present a searing take-down of global corporate life.

Published April 13th by Raven
Pre-order here*

Death of a Bookseller by Alice Slater

SYNOPSIS:
A BOOKSHOP. A TRUE CRIME CASE. A DEADLY FRIENDSHIP.

Roach – bookseller, loner and true crime obsessive – is not interested in making friends. She has all the company she needs in her serial killer books, murder podcasts and her pet snail, Bleep.

That is, until Laura joins the bookshop.

Smelling of roses, with her cute literary tote bags and beautiful poetry, she’s everyone’s new favourite bookseller. But beneath the shiny veneer, Roach senses a darkness within Laura, the same darkness Roach possesses.

As Roach’s curiosity blooms into morbid obsession, it becomes clear that she is prepared to infiltrate Laura’s life at any cost.

Published April 27th by Hodder & Stoughton
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The Maiden by Kate Foster

SYNOPSIS:
Inspired by a real-life case and winner of the Bloody Scotland Pitch Perfect Award, Kate Foster’s The Maiden is a remarkable story witha feminist revisionist twist, giving a voice to women otherwise silenced by history.

“In the end, it did not matter what I said at my trial. No one believed me.”

Edinburgh, October 1679. Lady Christian Nimmo is arrested and charged with the murder of her lover, James Forrester. News of her imprisonment and subsequent trial is splashed across the broadsides, with headlines that leave little room for doubt: Adulteress. Whore. Murderess.

Only a year before, Christian was leading a life of privilege and respectability. So, what led her to risk everything for an affair? And does that make her guilty of murder? She wasn’t the only woman in Forrester’s life, and certainly not the only one who might have had cause to wish him dead . . .

Published April 27th by Mantle
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The Daughters of Madurai by Rajasree Variyar

SYNOPSIS:
‘A girl is a burdern A girl is a curse.’

Madurai, 1992. A young mother in a poor family, Janani is told she is useless if she can’t produce a son – or worse, bears daughters. They let her keep her first baby girl, but the rest are taken away as soon as they are born – murdered before they have a chance to live. The fate of her children has never been in her hands. But Janani can’t forget the daughters she was never allowed to love.

Sydney, 2019. Nila has a secret, one she’s been keeping from her parents for far too long. Before she can say anything, her grandfather in India falls ill and she agrees to join her parents on a trip to Madurai – the first in over ten years. Growing up in Australia, Nila knows very little about where she or her family came from, or who they left behind. What she’s about to learn will change her forever…

Perfect for fans of Christy Lefteri and Delia Owens, The Daughters of Madurai is a moving and powerful debut from an unforgettable new voice.

Published April 27th by Orion
Pre-order here*

Orphia and Eurydicius by Elyse John

SYNOPSIS:
A stunning, enthralling story about unconventional love, the power of creativity and the courage of women who struggle to make their voices heard – for fans of Jennifer Saint, Madeline Miller and Pat Barker.

Their love transcends every boundary. Can it cheat death?

Orphia dreams of something more than the warrior crafts she’s been forced to learn. Hidden away on a far-flung island, her blood sings with poetry and her words can move flowers to bloom and forests to grow … but her father, the sun god Apollo, has forbidden her this art.

A chance meeting with a young shield-maker, Eurydicius, gives her the courage to use her voice. After wielding all her gifts to defeat one final champion, Orphia draws the scrutiny of the gods. Performing her poetry, she wins the protection of the goddesses of the arts: the powerful Muses, who welcome her to their sanctuary on Mount Parnassus. Orphia learns to hone her talents, crafting words of magic infused with history, love and tragedy.

When Eurydicius joins her, Orphia struggles with her desire for fame and her budding love. As her bond with the gentle shield-maker grows, she joins the Argonauts on their quest for the Golden Fleece. Facing dragons, sirens and ruthless warriors on the voyage, Orphia earns unparalleled fame, but she longs to return to Eurydicius.

Yet she has a darker journey to make – one which will see her fight for her love with all the power of her poetry.

Published May 3rd by Harper Collins Australia
Buy here

The Dive by Sara Ochs

SYNOPSIS:
Escape to paradise.
Scuba diving instructor Cass leads her students out for their first dive off the beautiful coast of Koh Sang, Thailand’s world-famous party island. It’s supposed to be a life-changing experience, but things quickly spiral out of control…

Leave your secrets behind.
By the time she gets back to the shore, one of her students is dead, another badly injured, and she knows that her idyllic life is about to be smashed to pieces on the rocks.

But don’t get lost for ever…
Someone has discovered Cass’s secret, and on an island as remote as this, accidents happen. Plenty of backpackers choose to stay here for ever – but some are never heard from again…

Published May 11th by Bantam Press
Pre-order here*

Fyneshade by Kate Griffin

SYNOPSIS:
I have come to Fyneshade to take up a position as governess. Many would find much to fear in its dark and crumbling corridors, its unseen master and silent servants. But not I. For they have far more to fear from me…

On the day of her grandmother’s funeral, Marta discovers that she is to be sent away from the only home she has ever known. Away from her aunt who despises her, and the man she has been forbidden to marry. She is to be governess at Fyneshade, her charge the young daughter of the owner, Sir William Pritchard.

All is not well at Fyneshade. Sir William is mysteriously absent, and his son and heir Vaughan Pritchard is forbidden to enter the house. Marta finds herself drawn to him, despite the warnings of the housekeeper, Mrs Petrie, that Vaughan is a danger to all around him. But Marta is no innocent to be preyed upon. Guided by the dark gift taught to her by her grandmother, she has made her own plans. It will take more than a family riven by murderous secrets to stop her…

Perfect for readers of Laura Purcell, Jessie Burton and Stacey Halls, Fyneshade is a dark and twisted gothic novel unlike any you’ve read before…

Published May 18th by Viper Books
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The Girls of Summer by Katie Bishop

SYNOPSIS:
Destined to be THE dark book-club debut of 2023. A compulsive and timely exploration of the complicated nature of memory and trauma, power and consent, victimhood and shame.

**********

Rachel has loved Alistair since she was seventeen.

Even though she hasn’t seen him for sixteen years and she’s now married to someone else.

Even though she was a teenager when they met.

Even though he is almost twenty years older than her.

Now in her thirties, Rachel has never been able to forget their golden summer together on a remote, sun-trapped Greek island. But as dark and deeply suppressed memories rise to the surface, Rachel begins to understand that Alistair – and the enigmatic, wealthy man he worked for – controlled much more than she ever realized.

Rachel has never once considered herself a victim – until now.

Published May 25th by Bantam Press
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Psyche and Eros by Luna McNamara

SYNOPSIS:
A stunning, exciting and hotly-anticipated feminist retelling of one of the greatest love stories in Greek mythology!

The greatest love story ever told…

Born into an era of heroes, a prophecy claims that Psyche – Princess of Mycenae – will defeat a monster feared even by the gods themselves. Rebelling against society’s traditions, she spends her youth mastering blade and bow, preparing to fulfil her destiny.

But she is soon caught up in powers beyond her control, when the jealous Aphrodite sends the God of Desire, Eros, to deliver a fatal love-curse. The last thing Eros wants is to become involved in the chaos of the mortal world, but when he is pricked by the very arrow intended for Psyche, he is doomed to love a woman who will be torn from him the moment their eyes meet.

Thrown together by fate, headstrong Psyche and world-weary Eros will face challenges greater than they could have ever imagined. And as the Trojan War begins and the whole of the heavens try to keep them apart, will they find their way back to each other… before it’s too late?

Published May 25th by Orion.
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Savage Beasts by Rani Selvarajah

SYNOPSIS:
A propulsive retelling of the Greek myth, Medea, like you’ve never seen her before.

A woman wronged will shake an empire

Calcutta, 1757.

Bengal is on the brink of war. The East India Company, led by the fearsome Sir Peter Chilcott, are advancing and nobody is safe. Meena, the Nawab’s neglected and abused daughter, finds herself falling under the spell of James Chilcott, nephew of Sir Peter, who claims he wants to betray the company . . . for a price.

Caught between friend and foe, Meena and James escape Calcutta, their hands stained in blood and pockets filled with gold. In Ceylon, they’re cleansed of their sins by Meena’s beloved aunt Kiran, before the young lovers set sail for the Dutch controlled Cape of Good Hope, with the promise of a new life.

Yet past resentments and present betrayals begin to pile up as they struggle to overcome their differences. And as Meena yet again finds herself in a foreign land without anyone to turn to, she is forced to find out what she is willing to sacrifice when love turns to hate.

The perfect read for fans of The Song of Achilles, Ariadne and Pandora

Published May 25th by One More Chapter
Pre-order here*

The Miniscule Mansion of Myra Malone by Audrey Burges

SYNOPSIS:
Audrey Burges The Minuscule Mansion of Myra Malone is a charming and magical debut novel, with a love story at its heart, woven across multiple periods and perspectives, about a mystical dolls’ house.

Once upon a time there was a house . . .

From her attic in the Arizona mountains, thirty-four-year-old recluse Myra Malone blogs about a miniature mansion – a dolls’ house – which captivates thousands of readers worldwide. Myra herself is tethered to the Mansion by a strange magic she can’t understand – there are rooms that appear and disappear overnight, music that plays in its corridors.

Across the country, Alex Rakes, the thirty-four-year-old heir of a furniture business, encounters two Mansion fans trying to recreate a room. Alex is shocked to recognize his own bedroom in minute scale. The Mansion is his family’s home, handed down from the grandmother who disappeared mysteriously when Alex was a child. Searching for answers, Alex begins corresponding with Myra. Together, the two unwind the lonely paths of their twin worlds – big and small – and trace the stories that entwine them, setting the stage for a meeting rooted in loss, but defined by love.

Published June 1st by Pan Macmillan
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The Interpreter by Brooke Robinson

SYNOPSIS:
INNOCENT OR GUILTY. IT’S ALL A MATTER OF INTERPRETATION…

A clever, compulsive thriller for readers of Louise Candlish, Harriet Tyce and Sarah Vaughn, Launching 2023

A childhood spent moving around the world left Revelle Lee with an unusual gift – the ability to fluently speak 11 languages. Now, Revelle spends her days translating for witnesses, victims, and the accused across London crime scenes and courtrooms. It’s a stressful job, though not as stressful as the process she is currently going through to adopt little boy, Elliot. She is determined to be the mother to him that she never had, and to make up for her own past mistakes.

But when it seems a murderer will go free, Revelle puts the adoption and her job at risk, deliberately mis-translating the alibi to ensure he is found guilty. No one can ever find out that she interfered or she will lose her son and her livelihood.

The problem is someone already knows what she’s done… and they want justice of their own.

IF YOU LIKED THE SILENT PATIENT, YOU’LL LOVE THE INTERPRETER

Published June 8th by Harvill Secker
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The Burnings by Naomi Kelsey

SYNOPSIS:
Nothing scares men like witchcraft . . .

1589. Scottish housemaid Geillis and Danish courtier Margareta lead opposite lives, but they both know one thing: when a man cries “witch”, no woman is safe.

Yet when the marriage of King James VI and Princess Anna of Denmark brings Geillis and Margareta together, everything they supposed about good, evil, men, and women, is cast in a strange and brilliant new light.

For the first time in history, could black magic – or rumours of it – be a very real tool for women’s political gain?

As the North Berwick witch trials whip Scotland – and her king – into a frenzy of paranoia, the clock is ticking. Can Margareta and Geillis keep each other safe? And once the burnings are over, in whose hands will power truly lie?

Inspired by the incredible true story that set 16th-century Scotland and Denmark alight, The Burnings is 2023’s most bewitching debut novel, by a multi-awardwinning new star of historical fiction.

Published June 8th by Harper North
Pre-order here*

Speak of the Devil by Rose Wilding

SYNOPSIS:
All of us knew him. One of us killed him…

Seven women stand in shock in a seedy hotel room; a man’s severed head sits in the centre of the floor. Each of the women – the wife, the teenager, the ex, the journalist, the colleague, the friend, and the woman who raised him – has a very good reason to have done it, yet each swears she did not. In order to protect each other, they must figure out who is responsible, all while staying one step ahead of the police.

Against the ticking clock of a murder investigation, each woman’s secret is brought to light as the connections between them converge to reveal a killer.

A dark and nuanced portrait of love, loyalty, and manipulation, Speak of the Devil explores the roles in which women are cast in the lives of terrible men…and the fallout when they refuse to stay silent for one moment longer.

Published June 22nd by Baskerville
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The Other Side of Mrs Wood by Lucy Barker

SYNOPSIS:
The irresistible historical comedy about two rival mediums in Victorian London

Mrs Wood is London’s most celebrated medium. She’s managed to survive decades in the competitive world of contacting the Other Side, has avoided the dreaded slips that revealed others as frauds and is still hosting packed-out séances for Victorian high society.

Yet, some of her patrons have recently cancelled their appointments. There are reports of American mediums nearly materialising full spirits and audiences are no longer satisfied with the knocking on tables and candle theatrics of years gone by. And then, at one of Mrs Wood’s routine gatherings, she hears something terrifying – faint, but unmistakable: a yawn.

Mrs Wood needs to spice up her brand. She decides to take on Emmie, a young protégé, to join her show. But is Emmie Finch the naïve ingenue she seems to be? Or does she pose more of a threat to Mrs Wood’s reign and, more horrifyingly, her reputation than Mrs Wood could ever have imagined?

Published June 22md by Fourth Estate
Pre-order here*

The Housekeepers by Alex Hay

SYNOPSIS:
YOU ARE CORDIALLY INVITED TO THE MOST AUDACIOUS LAUNCH OF 2023…



Mayfair, 1905. The grandest house on Park Lane has just dismissed its housekeeper.

All manner of treasures lie behind the pillared doors – and scandalous secrets too. With the event of the season looming, nothing must go wrong.

But what no one knows is that Mrs King will be back at Park Lane on the night of the ball. She has an audacious plan in mind… and knows just who to recruit to help her clean up.

Housekeeper. Sewing maid. Kitchen girl. Thief.

Never underestimate the women downstairs.

IT’S YOUR HOUSE. BUT IT’S THEIR RULES.

Dazzling, stylish and wildly entertaining, The Housekeepers lets loose an outlandish alliance of women you’ll never forget.

Published July 6th by Headline
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House Woman by Adorah Nworah

SYNOPSIS:
My name is Ikemefuna Nwosu, and I am your wife.

One day in Lagos, young dancer Ikemefuna is put on a plane to Houston to meet her new husband, Nna. Promises are made to her – about her education, about the man she will marry, about her freedom.

None of them are kept.

A few months later, self-professed feminist Nna finds a beautiful woman cooking in his parents’ kitchen. They tell him Ikemefuna is his wife, there to give them the grandson they’ve been waiting for. She appears obedient, malleable.

But she is no ordinary wife.

In the Texas heat, patience runs on short supply and the atmosphere in the house becomes increasingly strained, increasingly violent. Desperation makes people do strange things…

Unpredictable and unsettling, HOUSE WOMAN is a delicious thriller you will never be able to forget.

Published July 6th by The Borough Press
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The Witching Tide by Margaret Meyer

SYNOPSIS:
THERE IS POWER IN SILENCE

East Anglia, 1645. Martha Hallybread, a midwife, healer and servant, has lived peacefully for more than four decades in her beloved Cleftwater. Everyone in the village knows Martha, but no one has ever heard her speak.

One bright morning, Martha becomes a silent witness to a witch hunt, led by sinister new arrival Silas Makepeace. As a trusted member of the community, she is enlisted to search the bodies of the accused women for evidence. But whilst she wants to help her friends, she also harbours a dark secret that could cost her own freedom.

In desperation, Martha revives a wax witching doll that she inherited from her mother, in the hope that it will bring protection. But the doll’s true powers are unknowable, the tide is turning, and time is running out . . .

A spellbinding and intoxicating novel inspired by true events, The Witching Tide is a magnificent debut from a writer to watch.

Published July 6th by Phoenix
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My Murder by Katie Williams

SYNOPSIS:
SOMETIMES THE ONLY PERSON WHO CAN SOLVE YOUR MURDER IS YOU.

‘Completely absorbing. A smart, speculative twist on domestic suspense.’ – Ashley Audrain, bestselling author of The Push

Lou has been murdered.


She was the fifth victim of the serial killer Edward Early. A young wife and new mother, Lou’s death outraged a public breathlessly following the story of the serial murders.

Lou has been cloned.

Along with Early’s other four victims, Lou has been brought back to life by the government-funded replication commission. The women gather at a weekly support group, helping each other to navigate a society obsessed with their very existence.

Lou has been lied to.

But when Lou agrees to help fellow murder victim Fern secure a visit with Edward Early, a shocking revelation causes Lou to investigate the events around her death and question everything she thought she knew about her murder.

Can she finally uncover the truth?

Published July 6th by Wildfire
Pre-order here*

The List by Yomi Adegoke

SYNOPSIS:
From award-winning journalist and bestselling co-author of Slay in Your Lane, Yomi Adegoke, comes The List, a sensational, page-turning debut novel about secrets, lies and our lives online.

Ola Olajide, a high-profile journalist at Womxxxn magazine, is marrying the love of her life in one month’s time. Young, beautiful, successful – she and her fiancé Michael are the ‘couple goals’ of their social networks and seem to have it all.

That is, until one morning when they both wake up to the same message:

‘Oh my god, have you seen The List?’

Compulsively page-turning, wildly entertaining and piercing with fearless insight, The List is perfect for fans of Such A Fun Age by Kiley Reid and Michaela Coel’s I May Destroy YouThe List by Yomi Adegoke is set to be the most hotly debated debut novel of 2023.

Published July 6th by Fourth Estate
Pre-order here*

Ink Blood Sister Scribe by Emma Torzs

SYNOPSIS:
Some books should never be opened.

A spellbinding, edge-of your seat thriller, Ink Blood Sister Scribe follows a family tasked with guarding a trove of magical but deadly books, and the shadowy organisation that will do anything to get them back . . . even murder.
____________

Joanna Kalotay lives alone in the woods of Vermont, the sole protector of a collection of rare books; books that will allow someone to walk through walls or turn water into wine. Books of magic.

Her estranged older sister Esther moves between countries and jobs, constantly changing, never staying anywhere longer than a year, desperate to avoid the deadly magic that killed her mother. Currently working on a research base in Antarctica, she has found love and perhaps a sort of happiness.

But when she finds spots of blood on the mirrors in the research base, she knows someone is coming for her, and that Joanna and her collection are in danger.

If they are to survive, she and Joanna must unravel the secrets their parents kept hidden from them – secrets that span centuries and continents, and could cost them their lives …

Published July 6th by Century
Pre-order here*

You’d Look Better as a Ghost by Joanna Wallace

SYNOPSIS:
I have a gift. I see people as ghosts before they die.
Of course, it helps that I’m the one killing them.

The night after her father’s funeral, Claire meets Lucas in a bar. Lucas doesn’t know it, but it’s not a chance meeting. One thoughtless mistyped email has put him in the crosshairs of an extremely put-out serial killer. But before they make eye contact, before Claire lets him buy her a drink, even before she takes him home and carves him up into little pieces, something about that night is very wrong. Because someone is watching Claire. Someone who is about to discover her murderous little hobby.

The thing is, it’s not sensible to tangle with a part-time serial killer, even one who is distracted by attending a weekly bereavement support group and trying to get her art career off the ground. Let the games begin…

Dexter meets Killing Eve in this superb thriller, perfect for fans of How To Kill Your Family and My Sister the Serial Killer.

Published September 7th by Viper
Pre-order here*

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What do you think of my choices? Are any of these on your TBR for 2023? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading Bibliophiles xxx

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REVIEW: All About Evie by Matson Taylor

Published: July 21st, 2022
Publisher: Scribner UK
Genre: Domestic Fiction, Historical Fiction, Historical Fantasy, Literary Fiction
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audiobook

The year is almost over so I’m finally sharing my long-overdue review for what is one of my favourite books this year. Thank you to Matson Taylor and Scribner UK for the gifted proof copy of this book, which was our Squadpod Book Club pick for July.

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SYNOPSIS:

EVIE EPWORTH IS TEN YEARS OLDER. BUT IS SHE ANY WISER?!

Ten years on from the events of The Miseducation of Evie Epworth, Evie is settled in London and working as a production assistant for the BBC. She has everything she ever dreamed of (a career, a leatherette briefcase, an Ossie Clark poncho) but, following an unfortunate incident involving a Hornsea Pottery mug and Princess Anne, she finds herself having to rethink her future. What can she do? Is she too old to do it? And will it involve cork-soled sandals? 

As if this isn’t complicated enough, her disastrous love life leaves her worrying that she may be destined for eternal spinsterdom, concerned, as she is, that ‘even Paul had married Linda by the time he was 26’. Through it all, Evie is left wondering whether a 60s miseducation really is the best preparation to glide into womanhood and face the new challenges (strikes, power cuts, Edward Heath’s teeth) thrown up by the growing pains of the 70s.

With the help of friends, both old and new, she might just find a way through her messy 20s and finally discover who exactly she is meant to be…

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MY REVIEW:

When the previous book in a series is not only one of your favourite books of that year, but of all time, there is some trepidation about reading the follow up. Would I enjoy this one as much and still love Evie with the same fierceness? The answer is yes! Once again Matson Taylor has knocked it out of the park with this hilarious, heartwarming and addictive novel that feels like a cup of Yorkshire tea and a piece of parkin on a cold day.  

This time, Taylor transports us to the Summer of 1972, 10 years after the events of The Miseducation of Evie Epworth, to reunite us with the eponymous heroine for more entertaining exploits. Evie is working for the BBC and living the life she’s always dreamed of  in London when a mishap involving Princess Anne and a Hornsea mug leads to her dismissal, and Evie is now forced to reassess her life. But what direction will she choose from the overwhelming number of possibilities open to her? And then there is her love life. At the ripe old age of 26 and a half she feels in danger of becoming over-the-hill and wonders why she hasn’t yet met Mr. Right. There is fun, laughter and lots of emotion, as Evie embarks on her greatest journey of self discovery yet.

Oh, Evie. How I love her. She truly feels like an old friend and I never get tired of reading her. She’s an iconic northern heroine who pole-vaults off the pages and straight into your heart. It is a slightly more sophisticated and wise Evie we meet in this book, yet she’s still the same feisty, funny, quirky and unforgettable Yorkshire lass we love. It has been great to watch her grow and I loved her metamorphosis from teenager to young woman in this story. And the snippets of information about her ex boyfriends were hilarious. 

Matson Taylor is a comedy genius and had me laughing out loud within the first few pages. He has a talent for writing witty, offbeat and uproarious characters and storylines that are also heartfelt. He paces the story perfectly, switching seamlessly between the serious and lighter moments to ensure things never feel too heavy. There are so many moments that were pure comedy gold and still make me laugh when they randomly pop into my head many months after reading the book. The evocative imagery and attention to detail brought 1970s London to life so vividly it felt like I’d stepped into a time machine and appeared in 1972. The book is filled with blasts from the past: Old Jamaica bars, Wimpy burgers, cheese and pineapple hedgehogs etc. I was assailed by memories and the nostalgia took over and thoroughly enjoyed the walk down memory lane.

Uplifting, witty and utterly magnificent, All About Evie is another must-read from Mr. Taylor. And that ending! I need book 3 now!

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✮

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

Matson Taylor grew up in Yorkshire (the flat part not the Brontë part). He comes from farming stock and spent an idyllic childhood surrounded by horses, cows, bicycles, and cheap ice-cream. His father, a York City and Halifax Town footballer, has never forgiven him for getting on the school rugby team but not getting anywhere near the school football team.

Matson now lives in London, where he is a design historian and academic writing tutor at the V&A, Imperial College and the Royal College of Art. Previously, he talked his way into various jobs at universities and museums around the world; he has also worked on Camden Market, appeared in an Italian TV commercial and been a pronunciation coach for Catalan opera singers. He gets back to Yorkshire as much as possible, mainly to see family and friends but also to get a reasonably-priced haircut.

He has always loved telling stories and, after writing academically about beaded flapper dresses and World War 2 glow-in-the-dark fascinators, he decided to enrol on the Faber Academy ‘Writing A Novel’ course. The Miseducation of Evie Epworth is his first novel. 

Website

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BUY THE BOOK:

Waterstones | Amazon | Bookshop.org

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Thanks for reading Bibliophiles xxxx

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