Blog Tours book reviews Emma's Anticipated Treasures Uncategorised

BLOG TOUR: The Gifts by Liz Hyder

Published: February 17th 2022
Publisher: Manilla Press
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Historical Fiction, Gothic Fiction, Magical Realism
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audiobook

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this mesmerising and magical tale. Thank you to Tracy at Compulsive Readers Tours for the invitation to take part and Manilla Press for the gifted ARC.



‘Haunting, thrilling, wonderful. I loved it’ Stacey Halls

The luminous debut adult novel from the Waterstones Prize Winner, perfect for fans of The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock, The Essex Serpent and The Doll Factory

In an age defined by men, it will take something extraordinary to show four women who they truly are . . .

October 1840. A young woman staggers alone through a forest in Shropshire as a huge pair of impossible wings rip themselves from her shoulders.

Meanwhile, when rumours of a ‘fallen angel’ cause a frenzy across London, a surgeon desperate for fame and fortune finds himself in the grip of a dangerous obsession, one that will place the women he seeks in the most terrible danger . . .

THE GIFTS is the astonishing debut adult novel from the lauded author of BEARMOUTH. A gripping and ambitious book told through five different perspectives and set against the luminous backdrop of nineteenth century London, it explores science, nature and religion, enlightenment, the role of women in society and the dark danger of ambition.



In an age defined by men, it will take something extraordinary to show four women who they truly are…

October, 1840. A scared young woman is fleeing from an unknown assailant, running for her life in a dark forest when the impossible happens: a huge pair of wings rip from her shoulders and she transforms into something extraordinary and impossible;  she becomes an angel.  
A man finds the corpse of a woman in the Thames. But she is no ordinary woman, wings sprouting from her shoulders like an angel.  The man seizes the opportunity and sells her to an ambitious surgeon who swears him to secrecy.  But rumours are soon rife about ‘the Angel of the Thames’, spreading through the city like wildfire, though most dismiss it as folly. As tales of more impossible beings spread through the city, the surgeon seeks out these extraordinary women to add to his collection, seeing an opportunity to make his fortune and live in infamy.  But he isn’t the only one on their trail, a would-be journalist is also seeking out these women, determined to find out the truth behind these rumours and further her writing career.

“It is an extraordinary story, he thinks, utterly fantastical and yet… could it really be that there is something to it?” 

The Gifts is an enthralling gothic fairy tale.  A story about girl power, self-belief and finding out who you really are set against a backdrop of the Victorian era with a little bit of magical realism woven into the narrative. Liz Hyder has crafted a novel that combines great storytelling, vivid imagery, compelling characters and authentic social history that lured me in from the first page and kept me guessing right until the last.  The short, punchy chapters give the story fluidity and the five narrators: Etta, Annie, Mary, Natalya and Edward, add their own unique voices to the story as it explores themes of patriarchy, religion, science, power and social class.

“It is her first day with wings. It is also her first day as a prisoner.” 

Told from multiple points of view, the varied cast of characters are richly drawn and entertaining.  The four female narrators are each in a dark place and feeling marginalised when we meet them and we follow as they try to find out who they are and what their place is in a patriarchal society that doesn’t want their voices to be heard.  It is a journey that will see these four strangers come together in the most unexpected of ways and I loved reading every one of them.  Even in their darkest hours they are quietly determined, fierce and strong, showing a resilience that carries them through.  Etta and Mary were women who pushed the envelope, going beyond what society tells them is acceptable for a woman to live the life they want, although they do this in very different ways.  
Natalya has a heartbreaking story but her strength still shines through as she refuses to give up time and time again.  Annie is a woman who has given up her dreams for herself to be a wife and then found herself infertile, longing for a child she seems unable to have.  My heart broke for her as I know that pain; though  I did laugh at the idea that reading causes blood to drain from the uterus and therefore stops a woman getting pregnant.
Though there were times I’d wish the author would allow them to push social boundaries and not rely on men even more, I did enjoy how each of these women were written. I particularly enjoyed watching Etta harnessing her rage into a power and using her intelligence to outwit the men who would try to hold her back or keep her captive. 

“He smiles to himself as his lips run over the words.  It will be outstanding, he thinks, and is greatly pleased – even overwhelmed – by his own magnificence.”

Though this is ultimately a story about women, it is Edward who is at the centre of the story.  He is a truly fantastic villain, so brilliantly written that he made me incandescent with rage.  I despised him.   Edward is a man possessed by ambition, religious fanaticism and delusion; a dangerous combination that sets him on a path that merges with the four women with catastrophic consequences.  After watching him mercilessly kill an animal early in the book I wasn’t surprised when he later showed no compassion towards ‘his angels’.  He sees these women as merely tools to aid his ascension to greatness, possessions given to him to use in any way he desires and gives no thought for them as human beings with autonomy or feelings.  He also sees his wife as an extension of himself, only there to further him socially, treating her with increasing disdain.  It was disturbing to watch as his mania grew and he became more paranoid, unable to be reasoned with and only caring about his notoriety and God’s so-called plan.  I was itching for him to meet his downfall.

“And perhaps the world is not ready for women such as us.  Not yet.” 

The Gifts is a mesmerising piece of historical and gothic fiction that will delight, enthral and enrage you.  The author weaves an illuminating tale that builds to a dramatic climax as the women finally discover their power.  I would recommend this book and can’t wait to read more by Ms. Hyder. 

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✰



Liz Hyder is a writer, creative workshop leader and arts PR Consultant. Bearmouth, her debut for Young Adults, won the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize for Older Readers, the Branford Boase Award and was named Children’s Book of the Year in The Times. The Gifts, her debut book for grown-ups, is out in February 2022.



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

Thanks for reading Bibliophiles ☺️ Emma xxx

Blog Tours book reviews Uncategorised

Blog Tour: The Girl at my Door by Rebecca Griffiths

Published: September 23rd, 2021
Publisher: Bookouture
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Historical Fiction, Crime Fiction
Format: Kindle, Paperback, Audio

Happy Publication Day to this addictive and menacing thriller. Thank you Bookouture for the invitation to take part and the gifted ARC.



The young friends were unaware of the man who had followed them through the park. With his trilby pulled down, he moved stealthily through the trees. He was careful and kept to the shadows. He worried it might not have been his wisest move to join the girl on the bench but hadn’t been able to resist seeing her sitting alone like that: she was his absolute ideal.

London 1949: Queenie Osbourne and her best friend Joy are walking through the bustling city streets looking forward to a bright future. The two friends have a striking beauty which draws everyone to them. Queenie dreams of making her fortune as a singer in America and Joy is engaged to wealthy bachelor Charles Gilchrist.

As they prepare for the wedding, it becomes clear that there is a spark between Queenie and Charles and soon they commit the ultimate betrayal. But Queenie’s dream is shattered in an instant when she discovers she is pregnant.

With nowhere else to turn, Queenie is told about a man named John Reginald Christie. He helps women like her and will keep her secret. But as she stands on the steps outside 10 Rillington Place, she feels instantly threatened.

On the other side of the door, Reg Christie is waiting. Queenie doesn’t know that he has been watching her for a long time. To Reg she is perfect in every way. Now, all she has to do is knock…

Inspired by the true crime story of the Rillington Place killer John Reginald Christie, this is a chilling mystery based on a fictional cast of characters. Fans of Gregg Olsen, Louise Douglas and Jess Lourey will be hooked.



“He’s a dark one, he is. A right queer fish… It seems we got him quite wrong.”

As soon as I read the synopsis for this book I knew I had to read it. True crime mixed with a historical murder mystery? It was like it was written for me.

I think most of us are familiar with the name John Reginald Christie and the awful  events that occurred behind the closed doors of 10 Rillington Place. The address alone lives in infamy; conjuring up images of helpless young women at the mercy of a sick and depraved man. In this novel the author merges fact with fiction, taking real people and real things that occurred, and combining them with fictional characters and events to create an intoxicating thriller that reads like non-fiction. I found myself googling characters and events to double check what was fact and what wasn’t as it all felt so authentic that it could have been featured in a true crime documentary. 

Atmospheric and utterly engrossing, Griffiths transported me back to post-war London with such evocative descriptions and prose that I felt like I could see the dim gaslit streets and choking smog. The story is told by multiple narrators that were richly drawn, captivating and memorable, vividly putting me in each of their shoes. But as wonderfully as they were all written, what stood out to me most of all was Christie. It felt like she really got inside the mind of this sick and twisted killer. There is a pervading sense of unease as we witness him skulking around and stalking his prey, get glimpses into his depraved fantasies, and watch as he wears a mask of ordinariness to disguise himself. He sent shivers down my spine every time he was on the page and it felt authentic and I never questioned what I was reading, except that it was fiction. It was as if she’d found his journals and transcribed them.

Part of the problem with writing a book based on a well-known serial killer, is that we know how the story ends. Or we think we do. By combining fact and fiction the author is able to surprise the reader with unexpected twists. But for me, the real talent is when they can take those familiar events and still have you on the edge of your seat with your heart in your throat. And Ms. Griffiths did that again and again. As we hurtle towards those scenes where we know how it ends, there is still that rising sense of foreboding and frisson of fear that makes it impossible to stop reading. I was so invested in the story and so connected to the characters that I wanted to jump into the pages and stop it. To find a way to travel back in time to change the course of history. To scream a warning at Queenie not to go to Rillington Place because she wouldn’t find a solution, only her doom. My heart was racing so fast I felt like it was going to beat out of my chest as I waited to see if she was saved, forgetting for a moment that history has already been written and, those who step inside Rillington Place are beyond our help. 

In 1949 Britain was still recovering from the war and was in a time of great change: rationing was still in effect, homes were being rebuilt, people were readjusting to normal life, women were gaining independence and the newly established NHS was changing medicine and health for the better. But it was a time caught between the old and the new as patriarchal expectations remained prevalent and homosexuality and abortion were still illegal. The author touches on and examines these topics in varying detail over the course of the book. I was deeply moved by how she portrayed Terrance’s fear that his homosexuality will be discovered and his torment at being seen as a criminal for simply loving another man. And I found the discussion of desperate, backstreet abortions to be particularly timely with the recent legislation in Texas of the so-called ‘Heartbeat Bill’. It is a potent reminder that making such things against the law doesn’t stop them, only puts lives in danger as desperate people take desperate risks.

Deliciously dark, menacing, suspenseful and unsettling, The Girl at my Door is an addictive thriller that you won’t be able to put down. This was my first foray into Rebecca Griffiths’ books but it certainly won’t be my last. 

Rating: ✮✮✮✮.5



Rebecca Griffiths grew up in mid-Wales and went on to gain a first class honours degree in English Literature. After a successful business career in London, Dublin and Scotland she returned to rural mid-Wales where she lives with her husband, a prolific artist, their four black rescue cats, two pet sheep the size of sofas and writes full time. 



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

Thanks for reading Bibliophiles😊 Emma xxx

Book Features Uncategorised

Quick Reads 15th Anniversary

One in six adults in the UK – approximately 9 million people – have difficulty reading, and one in three people do not read regularly for pleasure. Quick Reads was created by The Reading Agency to help address those statistics. They are a collection of books released each year by well known authors designed to be a short and entertaining read. The hope is that they will help those who find they’ve little time to read, struggle with a longer book or have just simply fallen out of the habit of reading, to get back into a love of books by indulging in a Quick Read.

This year Quick Reads is celebrating their 15th Anniversary. Over five million copies of their titles have been distributed since the programme began in 2006. To celebrate, for every book bought until July 31st 2021, another copy will be gifted to someone to help them discover the joy of reading.


I was contacted by Midas PR offering me a choice of one of this years Quick Reads to read and review. This years titles are:

The Baby Is Mine by Oyinkan Braithwaite
When his girlfriend throws him out during the pandemic, Bambi has to go to his Uncle’s house in lock-down Lagos. He arrives during a blackout and is surprised to find his Aunty Bidemi sitting in a candlelit room with another woman. They are fighting because both claim to be the mother of the baby boy, fast asleep in his crib. At night Bambi is kept awake by the baby’s cries, and during the days he is disturbed by a cockerel that stalks the garden. There is sand in the rice. A blood stain appears on the wall. Someone scores tribal markings into the baby’s cheeks. Who is lying and who is telling the truth?

Oyinkan Braithwaite gained a degree in Creative Writing and Law at Kingston University. Her first book, My Sister, the Serial Killer, was a number one bestseller. It was shortlisted for the 2019 Women’s Prize and was on the long list for the 2019 Booker Prize.

Oyinkan Braithwaite, author of The Baby is Mine (Atlantic) said: “When I am writing, I don’t know what my readers will look like or what challenges they may be facing. So it was an interesting experience creating work with the understanding that the reader might need a story that was easy to digest, and who might not have more than a few hours in a week to commit to reading. It was daunting – simpler does not necessarily mean easier – I may have pulled out a couple of my hairs; but I would do it again in a heartbeat. Quick Reads tapped into my desire to create fiction that would be an avenue for relief and escape for all who came across it.”

The Skylight by Louise Candlish
They can’t see her, but she can see them… Simone has a secret. She likes to stand at her bathroom window and spy on the couple downstairs through their kitchen skylight. She knows what they eat for breakfast and who they’ve got over for dinner. She knows what mood they’re in before they even step out the door. There’s nothing wrong with looking, is there? Until one day Simone sees something through the skylight she is not expecting. Something that upsets her so much she begins to plot a terrible crime…

Louise Candlish is the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Other Passenger and thirteen other novels. Our House won the Crime & Thriller Book of the Year at the 2019 British Book Awards. It is now in development for a major TV series. Louise lives in London with her husband and daughter.

Louise Candlish, author of The Skylight (Simon & Schuster) said: It’s an honour to be involved in this [next] year’s Quick Reads. Reading set me on the right path when I was young and adrift and it means such a lot to me to be a part of literacy campaign that really does change lives.”

Saving the Day by Katie Ffjord
Allie is bored with her job and starting to wonder whether she even likes her boyfriend, Ryan. The high point in her day is passing a café on her walk home from work. It is the sort of place where she’d really like to work. Then one day she sees as advert on the door: assistant wanted. But before she can land her dream job, Allie knows she must achieve two things: 1. Learn to cook; 2. End her relationship with Ryan, especially as through the window of the café, she spies a waiter who looks much more like her type of man. And when she learns that the café is in danger of closing, Allie knows she must do her very best to save the day …

Katie Fforde lives in the beautiful Cotswold countryside with her family and is a true country girl at heart. Each of her books explores a differentjoband her research has helped her bring these to life. To find out more about Katie Fforde step into her world at, visit her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter @KatieFforde.

Katie Fforde, author of Saving the Day (Arrow, Penguin Random House) said: “As a dyslexic person who even now can remember the struggle to read, I was delighted to be asked to take part in the scheme. Anything that might help someone who doesn’t find reading easy is such a worthwhile thing to do.”

Wish You Were Dead by Peter James
Roy Grace and his family have left Sussex behind for a week’s holiday in France. The website promised a grand house, but when they arrive the place is very different from the pictures. And it soon becomes clear that their holiday nightmare is only just beginning. An old enemy of Roy, a lowlife criminal he had put behind bars, is now out of jail – and out for revenge. He knows where Roy and his family have gone on holiday. Of course he does. He’s been hacking their emails – and they are in the perfect spot for him to pay Roy back…

Peter James is a UK number one bestselling author, best known for his crime and thriller novels. He is the creator of the much-loved detective Roy Grace. His books have been translated into thirty-seven languages. He has won over forty awards for his work, including the WHSmith Best Crime Author of All Time Award. Many of his books have been adapted for film, TV and stage.

Peter James, author of Wish You Were Dead (Macmillan) said: “The most treasured moments of my career have been when someone tells me they hadn’t read anything for years, often since their school days, but are back into reading via my books. What more could an author hope for? Reading helps us tackle big challenges, transports us into new worlds, takes us on adventures, allows us to experience many different lives and open us up to aspects of our world we never knew existed. So I’m delighted to be supporting Quick Reads again – I hope it will help more people get started on their reading journeys and be the beginning of a life-long love of books.”

How To Be A Woman (abridged) by Caitlin Moran
It’s a good time to be a woman: we have the vote and the Pill, and we haven’t been burnt as witches since 1727.  But a few nagging questions remain… Why are we supposed to get Brazilians? Should we use Botox? Do men secretly hate us? And why does everyone ask you when you’re going to have a baby? Part memoir, part protest, Caitlin answers the questions that every modern woman is asking.

Caitlin Moran became a columnist at The Times at eighteen and has gone on to be named Columnist of the Year six times. She is the author of many award-winning books and her bestseller How to Be a Woman has been published in 28 countries and won the British Book Awards’ Book of the Year 2011. Her first novel, How to Build a Girl, is now a major feature film. Find out more at her website and follow her on Twitter @caitlinmoran

Caitlin Moran, author of How to Be a Woman (abridged) (Ebury) said: “I wrote How To Be A Woman because I felt that feminism is such a beautiful, brilliant, urgent and necessary invention that it should not be hidden away in academic debates, or in books which most women and men found dull, and unreadable. Having a Quick Reads edition of it, therefore, makes me happier than I can begin to describe – everyone deserves to have the concept of female equality in a book they can turn to as a chatty friend, on hand to help them through the often bewildering ass-hattery of Being A Woman. There’s no such thing as a book being too quick, too easy, or too fun. A book is a treat – a delicious pudding for your brain. I’m so happy Quick Reads have allowed me to pour extra cream and cherries on How To Be A Woman.”

The Motive by Khurrum Rahman
Business has been slow for Hounslow’s small time dope-dealer, Jay Qasim. A student house party means quick easy cash, but it also means breaking his own rules. But desperate times lead him there – and Jay finds himself in the middle of a crime scene. Idris Zaidi, a police constable and Jay’s best friend, is having a quiet night when he gets a call out following a noise complaint at a house party. Fed up with the lack of excitement in his job, he visits the scene and quickly realises that people are in danger after a stabbing. Someone will stop at nothing to get revenge…

Born in Karachi, Pakistan in 1975, Khurrum moved to England when he was one. He is a west London boy and now lives in Berkshire with his wife and two sons. Khurrum is currently working as a Senior IT Officer but his real love is writing. His first two books in the Jay Qasim series, East of Hounslow and Homegrown Hero, have been shortlisted for the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year and CWA John Creasey Debut Dagger.

Khurrum Rahman, author of The Motive (HQ) said: “I started reading late in life, as the idea of reading a book always seemed overwhelming. I hesitantly began a book a friend had recommended and quickly became totally immersed in the story. I found joy and comfort and most importantly, an escape. It’s for this very reason that I am so proud to be involved with Quick Reads. This initiative is so important for people, like I once was, to engage in stories that may mirror their own lives or to read experiences far beyond their imagination. Just like a friend once did for me, I hope I am able to play a small part in encouraging somebody to pick up a book.”


Released May 27th, each book is just £1, or 88p on Amazon. An absolute bargain for a great read by a contemporary author. As I had already pre-ordered one of the books, I requested a copy of The Baby Is Mine. Keep an eye out for my review on publication day.


Are you planning to buy an of this years Quick Reads? Let me know in the comments.

Thanks for reading Bibliophiles😊 Emma xxx

Book Features Emma's Anticipated Treasures First Lines Friday Uncategorised

First Lines Friday: Flashback

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

“The morning one of the lost twins returned to Mallard, Lou LeBon ran to the diner to break the news, and even now, many years later, everyone remembers the shock of sweaty Lou pushing through the glass doors, chest heaving, neckline darkened with is own effort. The barely awake customers clamored around him, ten or so, although more would lie and say they’d been there too, if only to pretend that this once, they’d witnessed something truly exciting. In that little farm town, nothing surprising every happened, not since the Vignes twins had disappeared. But that morning in April 1968, on his was to work, Lou spotted Desiree Vignes walking along Partridge Road carrying a small leather suitcase.”

Today’s first lines are taken from The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett, which is one of the books shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2021. It’s been on my shelf since it’s release in June last year and is one of the 21 books I’ve committed to reading from my backlist this year.



The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it’s not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it’s everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Ten years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters’ story lines intersect?

Weaving together multiple strands and generations of this family, from the Deep South to California, from the 1950s to the 1990s, Brit Bennett produces a story that is at once a riveting, emotional family story and a brilliant exploration of the American history of passingLooking well beyond issues of race, The Vanishing Half considers the lasting influence of the past as it shapes a person’s decisions, desires, and expectations, and explores some of the multiple reasons and realms in which people sometimes feel pulled to live as something other than their origins.

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Have I tempted you to add this one to your shelves? Or have you already read it? Let me know in the comments.


Thank you to Dialogue Books for the gifted copy of the book.


Thanks for reading Bibliophiles, Emma xxx


Introducing the #SquadPod Book Club!

I am really excited to be announcing that I am heading up (with the help of some of my wonderful fellow bloggers) the SquadPod book club! We are taking our love of books official with a brand new book club for 2021 that will be the home of chatting about and championing our new favourite […]

Introducing the #SquadPod Book Club!

Red Stack For Faye

Today I’m sharing very important stack for a cause.

Each year, the British Heart Foundation (BHF) declares February as National Heart Month in the UK. This is a charity and cause that is close to my heart partly because of my dear friend Faye.

Faye was born with heart problems and over the years she’d had to have a pacemaker fitted and some of her valves replaced with artificial ones. But despite her condition she was active, fit and healthy. A person truly living her best life.

Sadly, in March last year she was taken ill with endocarditis, a rare and potentially fatal infection of the inner lining of the heart (the endicardium). Though she had survived the condition after surgery twenty years earlier, she fell into a coma during surgery and never recovered, passing away on March 14th last year at just 40 years old. Writing this hurts my heart so much. With lockdown hitting days later I’ve never been able to say goodbye to my friend and her sudden loss still feels unreal.

With the first anniversary of her death approaching and February being National Heart Month, I thought this was the perfect time to create the #redstackforFaye and ask as many of you as possible to join in on Instagram and Twitter to raise awareness of this rare condition. I have made a donation to the British Heart Foundation and ask you to consider doing the same here.

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

book reviews Emma's Anticipated Treasures Uncategorised

Blog Tour: One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot by Marianne Cronin

Published: February 18th, 2021
Publisher: Doubleday
Genre: Literary Fiction
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audio

Today is my stop on the tour for this remarkable debut. Thank you to Anne at Random Things Tours for the invitation to take part and to Doubleday for the eBook ARC.


An extraordinary friendship. A lifetime of stories. Their last one begins here.

‘This is something special: moving, joyful and life-affirming’ GOOD HOUSEKEEPING Book of the Month

‘Heartwarming, remarkable stories’ BBC BOOKS FOR 2021
Life is short. No-one knows that better than seventeen-year-old Lenni living on the terminal ward. But as she is about to learn, it’s not only what you make of life that matters, but who you share it with.

Dodging doctor’s orders, she joins an art class where she bumps into fellow patient Margot, a rebel-hearted eight-three-year-old from the next ward. Their bond is instant as they realize that together they have lived an astonishing one hundred years.

To celebrate their shared century, they decide to paint their life stories: of growing old and staying young, of giving joy, of receiving kindness, of losing love, of finding the person who is everything.

As their extraordinary friendship deepens, it becomes vividly clear that life is not done with Lenni and Margot yet.

Fiercely alive, disarmingly funny and brimming with tenderness, THE ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF LENNI AND MARGOT unwraps the extraordinary gift of life even when it is about to be taken away, and revels in our infinite capacity for friendship and love when we need them most.


“Living and dying are both complete mysteries, and you can’t know either until you’ve done both.”

Every once in a while you will come across a book that reaches into your heart and soul and changes you forever. The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot is such a book. A story of life, death, all the magical moments in between, it is hard to believe that this is a debut. Utterly mesmerising, this is a book that lingers long after reading. 

I loved Lenni. She is smart, sassy, fierce and funny. I loved how she thrived on challenging those around her; everyone from Father Arthur to the exasperated nurses, how she travelled via her imagination each day and the fact that she refused to be held back by the confines of impending death and the hospital ward. She is so alive that it is hard to believe she is dying, leaping from the page straight into my heart. Margot’s impact is a little more subtle, much like the lady herself. She has a dignified and graceful air about her, but from the moment we first meet her you also get a sense of rebellion. As we learn more, it becomes clear she has lived an extraordinary life and I could have read a whole other book about her without getting bored. I love a good multi-generational tale and their friendship is truly special and remarkable and will remain one of my favourites.

Marianne Cronin is a phenomenal new talent and this novel is storytelling at its finest. She immerses you in Lenni’s world, making you feel the helplessness, frustration, loneliness and claustrophobia of being confined to the hospital’s walls and her fear of death as she laments she has so much more she wants to experience. She has also crafted rich, compelling and memorable characters who occupy Lenni’s small world, each one vital to propelling the story forward, just like those in the stories they share through their paintings. 

What makes this book so special is how it makes you feel, which is obviously something you need to experience for yourself. I doubt I have managed to do it justice, but I’ve done my best.  Beautiful, poignant, heart-rending and hypnotic, this is a book everyone needs to read. It will make you laugh, smile, cry, break your heart, and when you close that final page you will not be the same. 

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✮


Marianne Cronin was born in 1990. She studied English and Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning a PhD in Applied Linguistics from the University of Birmingham. She now spends most of her time writing, with her newly-adopted rescue cat sleeping under her desk. When she’s not writing, Marianne can be found performing improv in the West Midlands, where she lives. Her debut novel The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot is to be published around the world and is being adapted into a feature film by a major Hollywood studio.

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

Thanks for reading. Until next time Bibliophiles, Emma xxx

Blog Tours book reviews Emma's Anticipated Treasures Uncategorised

Blog Tour: The Shape of Darkness by Laura Purcell

Publisher: Raven Books
Published: January 21st, 2021
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audio
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Gothic Fiction, Romance Fiction

Happy Publication Day to one of my favourite authors. I’m thrilled to be taking part in the tour for this novel on release day. Thank you to Raven Books for my gifted ARC and to Anne at Random Things Tours for the invitation to take part in the blog tour.


Wicked deeds require the cover of darkness…

A struggling silhouette artist in Victorian Bath seeks out a renowned child spirit medium in order to speak to the dead – and to try and identify their killers – in this beguiling new tale from Laura Purcell.

Silhouette artist Agnes is struggling to keep her business afloat. Still recovering from a serious illness herself, making enough money to support her elderly mother and her orphaned nephew Cedric has never been easy, but then one of her clients is murdered shortly after sitting for Agnes, and then another, and another…

Desperately seeking an answer, Agnes approaches Pearl, a child spirit medium lodging in Bath with her older half-sister and her ailing father, hoping that if Pearl can make contact with those who died, they might reveal who killed them. But Agnes and Pearl quickly discover that instead they may have opened the door to something that they can never put back…

What secrets lie hidden in the darkness?


“Wicked deeds require the cover of darkness.” 

A clever mix of whodunnit and ghost story, The Shape of Darkness is told with Purcell’s signature flair of haunting, gothic prose against a chilling and beautiful historic backdrop with richly drawn and memorable characters. 

Agnes is a silhouette artist struggling to make ends meet thanks to advancements in the field that have made her craft almost obsolete. When the few customers she does have start to turn up viciously murdered, she becomes the police’s prime suspect and sets out to find a way to prove her innocence; determined to both clear her name and save her business. 

Eleven-year-old Pearl is a spirit medium who lives with her sister and gravely ill father. She is the main attraction at the seances she and her sister hold, with people coming far and wide to see her in hope of connecting with a loved one they’ve lost. She is the person that Agnes turns to in hope of finding out who has killed her clients. But they soon learn that when you lift the veil to welcome the other side, you might get more than you bargained for. 

“The ghosts are coming. Her arms are glowing, her breath is glowing. She’s being swallowed.” 

Laura Purcell is one of my favourite authors so I was giddy with excitement when I received a stunning proof copy of her latest novel. Atmospheric and chilling, the vivid imagery and descriptions transported me back to 1854, making me feel like I was walking the streets of Bath beside Agnes or cowering in the dark beside Pearl. As always, the book is well researched and includes fascinating historical facts that will both thrill and horrify you (phossy jaw, I’m looking at you). 

Ms. Purcell has a great recipe for the eerie ambience that lingers throughout this book. First, she sets the book in Victorian Bath and its large, gothic houses. Next, she adds a lonely woman mourning a lost love and an albino child whose mother died in childbirth and father hovers on the edge of death. Then, she includes a generous helping of mesmerism, seances, dark shadows, ghostly happenings and murder. Finally, with a sprinkle she includes the mysterious appearance of notes in the handwriting of someone gone from this world that Anges is trying to forget and a pinch of things from beyond the veil that linger when they should have left, you have a deliciously menacing and gothic read. 

Sinister, spooky and mysterious, this book keeps you guessing right until the end. Are Agnes and Pearl really communicating with the dead? Is Agnes really seeing ghosts? Could she be the murderer? 

There were times I found this book a bit slow and, for me, it didn’t quite live up to the glory of her first two books (I am yet to read Bone China), but overall this was a gripping gothic read I would recommend to those who love the genre.

Rating: ✮✮✮✮


Laura Purcell is a former bookseller living in Colchester, Essex with her husband and pet guinea pigs.

She began her career with two historical novels about the Hanoverian monarchs, Queen of Bedlam and Mistress of the Court.

Her first Gothic novel for Raven Books, The Silent Companions, was a Radio 2 Book Club pick, was selected for the Zoe Ball ITV Book Club and was the winner of the Thumping Good Read Award. Her other Gothic titles include The Corset, Bone China and the upcoming The Shape of Darkness.

In the USA Laura is published by Penguin Books, where The Corset is titled The Poison Thread and Bone China is called The House of Whispers.

Additionally, Laura’s short stories have been published in a number of collections. These include Cameo, featured in Phantoms, Vanitas in the Audible Original Homeless Bodies and Other Stories and Creeping Ivy, coming October 2020 in After Sundown.

Website |Twitter |Facebook

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20 Favourites of 2020 – Squadpod Recommends

I decided that as well as sharing my favourite 20 books of 2020 (see yesterday’s post), I would also ask some of my blogger friends in a group we call the Squadpod for their lists too. I love how many of the same books appear on these lists as well as how different they are. They’ve certainly given me lots of reading ideas for 2021!

Read to the end to see which books from this stack gets our overall recommendation of the year.

Beth at Beth’s Booketlist

  • The Sun Sister by Lucinda Riley
  • A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
  • 10 Minutes, 38 Seconds in this Strange World by Elif Shafak
  • My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward by Mark Lukach
  • The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christie Leferti
  • The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon
  • Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Russell
  • Dear Mrs. Bird by AJ Pearce
  • A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
  • A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
  • A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer
  • City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert
  • Black Flamingo by Dean Atta
  • Sadie by Courtney Summers
  • The Other Bennett Sister by Janice Hadlow
  • Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
  • The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
  • The Moon Sister by Lucinda Riley
  • The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
  • Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton

You can follow Beth here

Claire at SecretWorldofABook

  • Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell
  • A More Perfect Life by Tammye Huf
  • Tsarina by Ellen Alpsten
  • Ariadne by Jennifer Saint
  • The Life We Almost Had by Amelia Henley
  • The Binding by Bridget Collins
  • The Shape of Darkness by Laura Purcell
  • Madam by Phoebe Wynne
  • ACOTAR Series by Sarah J. Maas
  • Magpie Lane by Lucy Atkins
  • The Waiting Rooms by Eve Smith
  • Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton
  • The First Time I Saw You by Emma Cooper
  • The Testaments by Margaret Atwood
  • Precious You by Helen Monks Kidd
  • Q by Christina Dalcher
  • Starve Acre by Andrew Michael Hurley
  • Beyond the Moon by Catherine Taylor
  • The Foundling by Stacey Halls
  • The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson

Follow Claire on Instagram, Twitter and her blog.

Clare at The Fallen Librarian Reviews

  • Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski
  • Mr. Nobody by Catherine Steadman
  • Saving Missy by Beth Morrey
  • The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley
  • The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
  • Sins of the Father by Sharon Bairden
  • Recipe For A Perfect Wife by Karma Brown
  • Miss Benson’s Beetle by Rachel Joyce
  • The Switch by Beth O’Leary
  • Keeper by Jessica Moor
  • When I Come Home Again by Caroline Scott
  • Love Orange by Natasha Randall
  • The Winter Garden by Heidi Swain
  • Pine by Francine Toon
  • The Other People by C. J. Tudor
  • Nine Elms by Robert Bryndza
  • The Silent Treatment by Abbie Greaves
  • Never Forget by Michel Bussi
  • We Are All the Same in the Dark by Julia Heaberlin
  • Letters from the Dead by Sam Hurcom

Follow Clare on Instagram, Twitter and her blog

Sue at Brown Flopsy’s Book Burrow

  • A Ghost in the Throat by Doireann Ni Ghrofia
  • The Pretenders by Agatha Zaza
  • The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harwood
  • Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart
  • City of Spies by Maria Timon
  • The Sound Mirror by Heidi James
  • Fleishman is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner
  • The Miseducation of Evie Epworth by Matson Taylor
  • The Silence by Susan Allott
  • The Switch by Beth O’Leary
  • Big Girl, Small Town by Michelle Gallen
  • Nothing To See Here by Kevin Wilson
  • Love Orange by Natasha Randall
  • The Dragon Lady by Louisa Treger
  • The Philosopher’s Daughters by Alison Booth
  • Exit Management by Naomi Booth
  • Dear Emmie Blue by Lia Louis
  • Small Pleasures by Clare Chambers
  • This Lovely City by Louise Hare
  • Our Fathers by Rebecca Wait

Follow Sue on Instagram, Twitter and her blog.

Karen at The Book Blogging Bureau

  • The Miseducation of Evie Epworth by Matson Taylor
  • Piranesi by Susanna Clarke
  • In the Sweep of the Bay by Cath Barton
  • The Watchmaker of Filligree Street by Natasha Pulley
  • The Mist by Ragnar Jonasson
  • The Extraordinary Hope of Dawn Brightside by Jessica Ryn
  • The Diabolical Bones by Bella Ellis
  • Strangers by C. L. Taylor
  • The Storm by Amanda Jennings
  • All the Lonely People by Mike Gayle
  • The Truants by Kate Weinberg
  • The Winter Garden by Heidi Swain
  • A Wedding at the Beach Hut by Veronica Henry
  • Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell
  • Love Orange by Natasha Randall
  • Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton
  • The Snow Song by Sally Gardner
  • The Killings at Kingfisher Hill by Sophie Hannah
  • I Made A Mistake by Jane Corry
  • Starry Skies over the Chocolate Pot Cafe by Jessica Redland

Follow Karen on Instagram, Twitter and her blog.

Zoe at Zoe’s Book Nook

  • The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
  • The Thief on the Winged Horse by Kate Mascarenhas
  • Doctor Sleep by Stephen King
  • Famished by Anna Vaught
  • Christine by Stephen King
  • Hermit by S. R. White
  • Nothing Can Hurt You by Nicola Maye Goldberg
  • Rose Madder by Stephen King
  • The Shining by Stephen King
  • Misery by Stephen King
  • Carrie by Stephen King
  • All Your Twisted Secrets by Diana Urban
  • The Cat and the City by Nick Bradley
  • Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata
  • Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
  • Good Girls Die First by Kathryn Foxfield
  • Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton
  • Washington Black by Esi Edugyan
  • The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale
  • Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo

Follow Zoe on Instagram, Twitter and her blog.

Hayley at The Lotus Readers Blog

  • Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell
  • The Miseducation of Evie Epworth by Matson Taylor
  • When We Fall by Carolyn Kirby
  • When I Come Home Again by Caroline Scott
  • Magic Lessons by Alice Hoffman
  • If I Could Say Goodbye by Emma Cooper
  • Mix Tape by Jane Sanderson
  • The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harwood
  • A Song of Isolation by Michael J. Malone
  • The Waiting Rooms by Eve Smith
  • The Museum of Broken Promises by Elizabeth Buchan
  • The Big Chill by Doug Johnstone
  • When the Music Stops by Joe Heap
  • A Girl Made of Air by Nydia Hetherington
  • The Missing Pieces of Nancy Moon by Sarah Steele
  • Miss Benson’s Beetle by Rachel Joyce
  • The Secrets of Strangers by Charity Norman
  • Magpie Lane by Lucy Atkins
  • Spirited by Julie Cohen
  • This Lovely City by Louise Hare

Follow Hayley on Instagram, Twitter and her blog.

Vikkie at Little Miss Book Lover 87

  • All My Lies Are True by Dorothy Koomson
  • The Education of Ivy Edwards by Hannah Tovey
  • No Child of Mine (Trilogy) by Susan Lewis
  • The Never Have I Ever Club by Mary Jayne Baker
  • The School of Starting Over by Lisa Swift
  • Meet Me at Fir Tree Lodge by Rachel Dove
  • The Stolen Sisters by Louise Jensen
  • People Like Her by Ellery Lloyd
  • Predator Zoe Caldwell
  • Second Chance Hotel by Rachel Dove
  • The Life We Almost Had by Amelia Henley
  • One Step Behind by Lauren North
  • After the Silence by Louise O’Neill
  • Don’t Tell Teacher by Suzy K. Quinn
  • Trust No One by Kerri Beevis
  • The Shelf by Helly Acton
  • Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton
  • A Christmas Rescue by Samantha Chase
  • Mother Loves Me by Abby Davies
  • Love Songs for Skeptics by Christina Pishiris

Follow Vikkie on Instagram, Twitter and her blog.

Ellie at Elspells

  • The Animals at Lockwood Manor by Jane Healey
  • Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi
  • Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
  • The Truth Must Dazzle Gradually by Helen Cullen
  • Saving Lucia by Anna Vaught
  • Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo
  • Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones
  • You Will Be Safe Here by Damian Barr
  • The Sound Mirror by Heidi James
  • Conjure Women by Afia Atakora
  • The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
  • A Different Drummer by William Melvin Kelley
  • For When I’m Gone by Rebecca Ley
  • Inside the Beautiful Inside by Emily Bullock
  • Love Orange by Natasha Randall
  • A Girl Made of Air by Nydia Hetherington
  • Should We Fall Behind by Sharon Duggal
  • The Night of the Flood by Zoe Somerville
  • The Miseducation of Evie Epworth by Matson Taylor
  • Exit Management by Naomi Booth

Follow Ellie on Instagram, Twitter and her blog.

Kirsty at Kirsty’s Book Buying Addiction

  • It Started With A Secret by Jill Mansel
  • Maybe One Day by Debbie Johnson
  • The Secret Seaside Escape by Heidi Swain
  • The Sight of You by Holly Miller
  • The Life We Almost Had by Amelia Henley
  • Our Story by Miranda Dickinson
  • If I Could Say Goodbye by Emma Cooper
  • All I Want For Christmas by Joanna Bolouri
  • A Christmas Wedding at the Castle by Eliza J. Scott
  • A Perfect Paris Christmas by Mandy Baggot
  • The Lake House by Christine Barlow
  • I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday by Milly Johnson
  • The Little Vintage Carousel by the Sea by Jaimie Admans
  • Daisy’s Vintage Cornish Camper Van by Ali McNamara
  • Meet Me at Pebble Beach by Bella Osborne
  • The Minute I Saw You by Paige Toon
  • The Day We Met by Roxie Cooper
  • The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver
  • Pretending by Holly Bourne
  • The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley

Follow Kirsty on Twitter and her blog.

Danielle at The Reading Closet

  • Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton
  • The Abduction by A. A. Chaudhuri
  • A Good Neighbourhood by Therese Ann Fowler
  • Ash Mountain by Helen Fitzgerald
  • Here To Stay by Mark Edwards
  • Three – Fifths by John Vercher
  • The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
  • Whispers in the Dark by Chris McDonald
  • What Lies Between Us by John Marrs
  • Hinton Hollow Death Trip by Will Carver
  • Block 46 by Johana Gustawsson
  • A Song of Isolation by Michael J. Malone
  • Deity by Matt Wesolowski
  • The Push by Ashley Audrain
  • The Last House On Needless Street by Catriona Ward
  • Call Me Mummy by Tina Baker
  • This Little Family by Ines Bayard
  • How To Be Brave by Louise Beech
  • Three by D. A. Mishani
  • The Sin Eater by Megan Campisi

Follow Danielle on Instagram, Twitter and her blog.

Ceri at The Lil’ Book Blog

  • The Secret Seaside Escape by Heidi Swain
  • The Seven Year Itch by Lyndsey Gallagher
  • 15 Minute Parenting by Joanna Fortune
  • An Almost Perfect Holiday by Lucy Diamond
  • With or Without You by Drew Davies
  • Under Your Skin by Rose McClelland
  • The Miseducation of Evie Epworth by Matson Taylor
  • The Child Who Never Was by Jane Renshaw
  • Memories We Bury by H A Leuschel
  • Autumn Skies over Ruby Falls by Holly Martin
  • Longhand by Andy Hamilton
  • Lovesongs for Skeptics by Christina Pishiris
  • The Boy Between by Amanda Prowse and Josiah Hartley
  • The First Time We Met by Jo Lovett
  • The Violinist of Auschwitz by Ellie Midwood
  • The School of Starting Over by Lisa Swift
  • The Hidden Beach by Karen. Swan
  • Hungry by Grace Dent
  • The Wife by Shalini Boland
  • The Lost Children by Shirley Dickson

Follow Ceri on Instagram, Twitter and her blog.

Cara at Welsh Book Lover

  • The Education of Ivy Edwards by Hannah Tovey
  • The Wish List by Sophia Money-Coutts
  • What Happens Now? By Sophia Money-Coutts
  • The Plus One by Sophia Money-Coutts
  • Something Borrowed by Emily Griffin
  • The Switch by Beth O’Leary
  • The Shelf by Helly Acton
  • Shagged. Married. Annoyed. by Chris and Rosie Ramsey
  • The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley
  • The Lies You Told by Harriet Tyce
  • We Are Family by Nicola Gill
  • The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware
  • The Never Have I Ever Club by Mary Jayne Baker
  • The New Girl by Harriet Walker
  • The Stranger on the Beach by Michelle Campbell
  • The Guest List by Lucy Foley
  • Saturdays at Noon by Rachel Marks
  • Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
  • The Chain by Adrian McKinty
  • Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce

Follow Cara on Instagram and Twitter.

Tilly at Tilly Loves Books

  • Betty by Tiffany McDaniel
  • Leave The World Behind by Rumaan Alam
  • Imperfect Women by Araminta Hall
  • The Pretenders by Agatha Zaza
  • The System by Ryan Gattis
  • Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
  • Paris By Starlight by Robert Dinsdale
  • Ghosts by Dolly Alderton
  • The Perfect World of Miwako Sumida by Clarissa Goenawan
  • Paris Savages by Katherine Johnson
  • Should We Fall Behind by Sharon Duggal
  • When Life Gives You Mangoes by Kereen Getten
  • The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyln
  • An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
  • Dear Reader by Cathy Rentzenbrink
  • The Consequences of Love by Gavanndra Hodge
  • Against The Loveless World by Susan Abulhawa
  • When The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
  • All Adults Here by Emma Straub
  • The Warmth of Other Sons by Isabel Wilkerson

Follow Tilly on Instagram and Twitter.

Vicky at Gingerbread Book Reviews

  • The 24 Hour Cafe by Libby Page
  • Starting Over at Acorn Cottage by Kate Forster
  • The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley
  • The Wish List by Sophia Money-Coutts
  • The Shelf by Helly Acton
  • The Seven Sisters by Lucinda Riley
  • The Winter Garden by Heidi Swain
  • The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse
  • One More For Christmas by Sarah Morgan
  • Uncoupling by Lorraine Brown
  • Away with the Penguins by Hazel Prior
  • Someday at Christmas by Lizzie Byron
  • Pretending by Holly Bourne
  • I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day by Millie Johnson
  • Miracle on Christmas Street by Annie O’Neil
  • Very Nearly Normal by Hannah Sunderland
  • My One True North by Milly Johnson
  • Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton
  • The Six Tales of Christmas by Anne Marie Ryan
  • A Home on Bramble Hill by Holly Martin

Follow Vicky on Instagram, Twitter and her blog.

Sarah At The Book Whiskers

  • When I Come Home Again by Caroline Scott
  • The Parisians by Marius Gabriel
  • Coming Up For Air by Sarah Leipciger
  • Fields of Grace by Wendy Waters
  • People Like Us by Louise Fein
  • After the Party by Cressida Connolly
  • The Strawberry Thief by Joanne Harris
  • Catch The Moon, Mary by Wendy Waters
  • The End of Mr Y by Scarlett Thomas
  • False Value by Ben Aaronovich
  • Tangerine by Christine Mangan
  • The Lies You Told by Harriet Tyce
  • The Scorched Earth by Rachael Blok
  • The Appeal by Janice Hallett
  • The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George
  • Heatstroke by Hazel Barkworth
  • Little White Secrets by Carol Mason
  • Official Secrets by Andrew Raymond
  • In The Crypt With A Candlestick by Daisy Waugh
  • The Health of Strangers by Lesley Kelley

Follow Sarah on Instagram, Twitter and her blog.

Jackie and Hayley didn’t have a top 20 but still wanted to share their favourite reads of the year.

Jackie at Jackie’s Reading Corner

  • Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton
  • The Miseducation of Evie Epworth by Matson Taylor
  • Whispers in the Dark by Chris McDonald
  • The Curator by M.W Craven
  • The Last Crossing by Brian McGilloway
  • Strangers by C. L. Taylor
  • Witness X by SE Moorhead
  • Death of a Painter by Matthew Ross
  • The Creak in the Stairs by Eva Bjorg. Aegisdottir
  • How To Disappear by Gillian McAllister

Follow Jackie on Instagram, Twitter and her blog.

Hayley at Shelf.lyfe

  • The Thief on a Winged Horse by Kate Mascarenhas
  • The Secret Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab
  • Conjure Women by Afia Atakora
  • A Girl Made of Air by Nydia Hetherington
  • The Illustrated Child by Polly Crosby
  • The Hungry Ghost by HS Norup
  • Why I’m No Longer Talking (to White People) about Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
  • Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton
  • Three Women by Lisa Taddeo

Follow Hayley on Instagram and Twitter.


Our group favourite was a close call between two fantastic books: Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton and The Miseducation of Evie Epworth by Matson Taylor. In the end it came down to one vote, with Three Hours taking the win with eight recommendations out of nineteen bloggers.

A number of books made a few of the lists. Here are the ones that came stood out as the most recommended:

Are any of these on your books of the year?


Cozy Mysteries: December 2020 Releases

Today is the first post in a new series called Cozy Mysteries. Each month I will post a list of upcoming releaes in this genre. I’m doing this after I was approached by the moderators of CozyMystery on Reddit to compile a monthly list for them.

When I happily agreed to do this I hadn’t realised that I know very little about the genre and authors, so this hasn’t been an easy task. I am still compiling a list of authors and following them on Amazon so I don’t miss any future releases. I’ve enjoyed learning more about this genre, which I enjoy but don’t often read. Let’s just say my tbr has grown while researching this list.

So, without further ado, here are the Cozy Mystery books being released in December:

The Murder at the Mayfair Hotel (Cleopatra Fox Mysteries 1) by C. J. Archer

December 1899. After the death of her beloved grandmother, Cleopatra Fox moves into the luxury hotel owned by her estranged uncle in the hopes of putting hardship and loneliness behind her. But the poisoning of a guest throws her new life, and the hotel, into chaos.

Cleo quickly realizes no one can be trusted, not Scotland Yard and especially not the hotel’s charming assistant manager. With the New Year’s Eve ball approaching fast and the hotel’s reputation hanging by a thread, Cleo must find the killer before the ball, and the hotel itself, are ruined. But catching a murderer proves just as difficult as navigating the hotel’s hierarchy and the peculiarities of her family.

Can Cleo find the killer before the new century begins? Or will someone get away with murder?

Published December 1st, 2020

Murder on a Midnight Clear (High Society Lady Detective Book 6) by Sara Rosett

A snowbound country mansion, a missing butler, and a Christmas case . . .

Olive and Jasper have never been closer—except in one area. Jasper is still reticent about his frequent disappearances from polite society. With the holidays approaching and no paying client on the books, Olive decides to shadow Jasper when he’s unexpectedly called away. Her search brings her to Holly Hill Lodge where an eclectic group has gathered to celebrate an old-fashioned English Christmas.

The guest list includes a celebrated lawn tennis champion, a fussy scientist studying snowflakes, a persuasive luggage salesman, a famous lady explorer, and the family’s eccentric aunt who has a fondness for the newfangled drinks called cocktails.

When the butler goes missing, Olive and Jasper must work together to solve the Christmas crime—as well as the secret Jasper hides. Murder on a Midnight Clear is the latest installment in USA Today bestselling author Sara Rosett’s popular High Society Lady Detective series.

Unwrap this 1920s Christmas mystery with all the trimmings—carols, a Yule log, plum pudding . . . and murder.

Published December 1st, 2020

Hush-Hush (The Village Library Mysteries Book 4) by Elizabeth Spann Craig

It’s hard keeping secrets in small towns.

At first, librarian Ann Beckett is delighted her director hired another full-time staff member. The Whitby Library is a busy place and another librarian should make life much easier there.

Instead, she soon discovers that the new hire, Ellie, seems to be bent on creating issues instead of solving them. When she’s found dead at the library, no one is as shocked as they might have been.

With time running out and a desperate killer on the loose, Ann starts uncovering all the secrets Ellie was trying to keep hush-hush.

Published December 1st, 2020

Murder on the Ballot (A Myrtle Clover Cozy Mystery Book 17) by Elizabeth Spann Craig

If you can’t beat them, join them.

Octogenarian Myrtle Clover is so annoyed by the infighting at tiny Bradley, North Carolina’s town council meetings that she decides on a radical course of action: she’ll run for the open seat on the council. After all, she taught most of the elected officials—she should be able to enact some order.

But order apparently isn’t in the works. This becomes clear when a fellow candidate is found . . . murdered.

Myrtle and her senior sidekick Miles must uncover the killer before someone else becomes a lame duck.

Published December 1st, 2020

Heather and Homicide (The Highland Bookshop Mystery Series) by Molly MacRae

The new novel in the acclaimed Highland Bookshop mystery series finds a true-crime author murdered in the charming seacoast town of Inversgail—can the women of Yon Bonnie Books discover the killer’s identity before he or she strikes again?

True crime writer Heather Kilbride arrives in the seacoast town of Inversgail, Scotland, to research a recent murder for her new book. But if that’s true, why does she seem more interested in William Clark, a shadowy lawyer with no connection to the murder? Her nosy questions arouse the suspicions of Constable Hobbs, the members of a local writers’ group, and Janet Marsh and her crew of amateur sleuths at Yon Bonnie Books.

Heather’s unconventional research methods prove deadly when Janet discovers her lifeless body. Except the “body” turns out to be a dummy dressed-up to look like Heather. Meanwhile, Heather is sitting at a safe distance observing Janet’s reactions.

Then Heather is found dead—again—sprawled at the base of an ancient standing stone; and this time it’s for real. Clutched in her hand is a valuable miniature book last seen at Yon Bonnie Books, and now the police want to know how Heather, the miniature book, and Janet are all connected. But Janet and her group of sleuths have two questions of their own: Who else is interested in knowing that connection—and is that person a cold-blooded killer?

Published December 1st, 2020

Premeditated Mortar (Fixer-Upper Mysteries) by Kate Carlisle

Shannon Hammer is about to embark on one of the biggest projects of her career. Her best friend Jane Hennessey has purchased one wing of the Gables, formerly the old state insane asylum, located on a bucolic hillside two miles northeast of Lighthouse Cove. Jane plans to turn her section into a small luxury hotel complete with twenty ocean-view rooms, a spa, and a restaurant.

Shannon is raring to get started on the enormous project and is shocked when a group of unruly protesters shows up at the groundbreaking ceremony and wreaks havoc. She’s even more freaked-out when someone pushes her into a pit of bricks in a closed-off room of the asylum. Despite her close call, Shannon wants nothing more than to get back to work . . . until she finds a body not far from where she was pushed. Now Shannon is determined to get to the bottom of the goings-on at the Gables even if it kills her. . . .

Published December 1st, 2020

Witch is the New Black (A Supernatural Speakeasy Mystery Book 4) by Lily Harper Hart

Ofelia Archer has faced demons, evil witches, and freaky zombies, but nothing could prepare her for the horror of meeting her boyfriend’s mother, Madeline Sully. She thinks she’s ready and able, but she’s really not.
For his part, Zacharias “Zach” Sully isn’t any more thrilled by his mother’s visit than his girlfriend. He’s simply better at dealing with Madeline’s brand of madness.
After one meal, a magical barrage of fire rains down on the group as they’re walking down Bourbon Street. When the flames clear, a young woman is left for dead, and the only thing they know about her is that she was part of a multi-level marketing scheme called Hexential Oils.
Before they realize what’s happening, Sully and Ofelia find themselves knee-deep in an odd world that neither of them really understand … and it leads straight to trouble, as usual. It seems New Orleans is teeming with suspects, and they have no idea which one to focus on.
Ofelia and Sully have a bond that can’t be broken. That won’t stop outsiders from trying. When the hierarchy of Hexential Oils leads to long-forgotten magic and a creature of mythical proportions, they realize they’re in over their heads.
They’ll die to protect one another … and someone desperately wants to make that a reality. It will take both of them working together to make sure that doesn’t happen

Published December 1st, 2020

The Banshee Brouhaha (A Charlie Rhodes Cozy Mystery Book 8) by Amanda M. Lee

Charlie Rhodes has spent her entire life wondering who her birth parents were, why they abandoned her, and where the magic she’s been learning to hone came from.
She’s finally going to get some answers.
With proof that the new member of the Legacy Foundation is really her brother, Charlie sets off to visit Salem with him and her boyfriend Jack Hanson. She’s never been to the city before and finds that the history swirling is only one of the things that has her excited.
Not long after landing, a body is strung up in Salem Common, and witnesses say it was ghosts doing the dirty work. Jack is intrigued enough to call in the rest of the team. Since Charlie’s parents are supposedly taking refuge within the city limits, the investigation makes for a nice cover.
It’s not long before Charlie realizes that there’s more going on in Salem than witches and white magic. Something dark is festering under the surface, and whatever it is seems to be taking aim at her.
Charlie wants answers. She’s also afraid to get them. During the search for what she’s lost, though, she becomes more determined than ever to hold onto what she has.
There’s evil afoot, and a woman who looks like an older version of Charlie is stalking the group. Could the two things be connected? Charlie won’t leave until she knows for certain.
Salem’s history might be coming back to haunt those who venture into the city and it’s up to the Legacy Foundation to figure out why … that is if they survive long enough to uncover the answers.
Hold onto your broomsticks, because it’s going to be a witchy ride.

Published December 1st, 2020

The Kensington Kidnap (Epiphany Bloom Mystery Book 1) by Katie Gayle

A missing teenager, a mysterious cult and a case of mistaken identity – just another day’s work for Epiphany Bloom.

Epiphany ‘Pip’ Bloom is down on her luck. She can barely afford cat food, and just because Most has three legs doesn’t mean he eats any less. So she absolutely can’t afford to mess up her latest temp job. But when she walks through the door of the private investigation firm, her new boss mistakes her for a missing persons expert. He then charges her with finding Matty Price – the teenage son of two A-list celebrities – who has mysteriously disappeared from his home in Kensington.

It ought to be a disaster, but Pip reckons it’s actually an opportunity. She’s always been curious (nosy, her mother calls it) and has an uncanny knack for being at the wrong place at the right time (she doesn’t want to know what her mother thinks of that). After years of trying to find something she’s good at, has Pip managed to walk straight into the job she was born to do?

She owes it to herself and poor missing Matty to find out.

But searching for Matty takes Pip into the strange, intimidating world of the rich and famous. And it soon becomes clear that some of these people’s love for themselves doesn’t extend to their fellow humans.

As Pip investigates further, she realises the question isn’t whether Matty ran away – it’s whether Pip will find him alive and make it home safely herself…

Published December 2nd, 2020

A Wreath of Ruin: A Supernatural Mystery Christmas Special (Belinda Drake Mysteries Book 4) by Kate Krake

It’s Christmas in Blackthorn Springs, and Belinda Drake has big plans to make this the best Christmas ever for her and Conri, and she doesn’t want to use a single drop of her new magic to pull it off.

When culinary catastrophe strikes, Belinda and Conri end up spending the holiday with Lila’s family, including Lila’s grandmother, who’s not at all like Lila had built her up to be. Is Gran just a little bit strange, or is something supernatural threatening to ruin Christmas?

When things take a turn for the worst, Belinda has to reach deeply into herself and the nature of the magic she’s not sure she can trust.

Published December 2nd, 2020

The Fatal Flying Affair (A Lady Hardcastle Mystery Book 7) by T. E. Kinsey

August 1911. Emily Hardcastle and her inimitable lady’s maid Florence Armstrong are enjoying a fine summer until Harry, Lady H’s brother, turns up out of the blue with a mystery for them to solve.

A routine parachute test at a local aeroplane factory has gone horribly wrong—with pilot Dickie Dupree plummeting to his death. Harry is certain there is more to this ‘tragic accident’ than meets the eye, having discovered that someone at the airfield is leaking top secret intelligence to foreign rivals.

In between strolls to the Dog & Duck and planning for the annual village show, the daring duo dust off the Crime Board and go undercover at Bristol Aviation. With international powers investing heavily in aeronautics, the stakes are high—sky high—and the suspects soon mount up.

Can Lady Hardcastle find the culprit before someone else falls down dead?

Published December 3rd, 2020

Christmas Corpse (A Christmas Cozy Mystery Book 1) by Mona Marple

Welcome to Candy Cane Hollow, where every day feels like Christmas!
Holly Wood (yes, that’s her real name) is driving home for Christmas and not feeling too happy about the empty house waiting for her.

When her car skids into a snow bank, she’s rescued by a sweet old lady who promises her name is Mrs Claus.

Holly is taken to Candy Cane Hollow to recover, and finds herself in a genuine winter wonderland.

As Christmas Day approaches, the grouchy medical receptionist appears to have been poisoned by a mince pie.

And to Holly’s surprise, Mrs Claus is the prime suspect.

With Mrs Claus under suspicion, Holly vows to return the woman’s generosity by clearing her name.

Maybe it will impress Mrs Claus’ dimpled dish of a son, too?

Published December 3rd, 2020

Shooting Pains (Dr Cathy Moreland Book 3) by Mairi Chong

When one of Dr Cathy Moreland’s patients attends the surgery with a disturbing story of marital tension, accompanied by a suggestive bruise on her upper arm, the doctor is understandably concerned. The young woman confides that she is afraid of her husband, a local farmhand, but refuses to allow the doctor to help any further.

The following week, Dr Moreland, both overworked and strained, is horrified to hear of a fatal shooting on the local farm estate, and even more so when she realises that the woman and her husband are at the very centre of the tragedy. Was the shooting an accident, or is something more sinister taking place in the sleepy Scottish countryside?

Dr Moreland must draw on all of her courage to uncover the truth, even if it means risking, not only her own mental health but her life.

Published December 3rd, 2020

Dashing Through the Sand (Beach Christmas Mysteries Books 1) by Katherine Hayton

My name is Santa and I’m fed up. The stress of single-day delivery, elf wrangling, and squeezing through chimneys that grow smaller every year is getting me down, so I decide to take a well-deserved holiday on a sun-drenched beach in Australia.

Sure, there’ll be a lot less milk and cookies but according to my cardiologist, that can only be a good thing.

But when I take my towel down to the glorious foreshore of Mission Beach, Queensland, the world has a nasty surprise in store. A dead body washes up among the sand-bubbler crabs and a witness swears the man was last seen in my company.

The Christmas spirit is nowhere in evidence as I work to clear my name. If I can’t hunt down the true killer and get back home in time for the big day, the Mrs will put me at the top of the naughty list!

Published December 3rd, 2020

Mystery at the Old Mill (An Eve Mallow Mystery Book 4)by Clare Chase

When the calm of Saxford St Peter is disrupted by a deadly fire at the Old Mill, amateur sleuth Eve Mallow finds herself investigating a most surprising mystery!

Everyone in Saxford St Peter is desperate to know more about Harry Tennant, the newcomer who owns the Old Mill. He usually keeps himself to himself, but he’s finally invited the villagers round for drinks, and Eve Mallow isn’t the only one looking forward to having some questions answered.

But two days before the party, a terrible fire sweeps through the mill, and Harry is found dead. When Eve passes the burned remains of his beautiful house, she can’t resist the call to investigate. Especially when it turns out quiet, charming Harry was living a double life as the famous advice writer Pippa Longford. Eve has to wonder what revelations were contained in the letters he received… and whether one of them was worth killing for.

Accompanied by her reliable dachshund sidekick Gus, Eve starts digging. She soon realises Harry was at the centre of a web of lives – and lies. There’s an uncle desperate to inherit, two women who thought they were his one and only, not to mention everyone who shared their darkest secrets with him. Was one of those strangers much closer to home than Harry knew? And can Eve untangle the truth before she finds herself face to face with a killer?

Published December 7th, 2020

Rocco & the Snow Angel (An Inspector Rocco Mystery) by Adrian Magson

A former village priest shot dead execution-style in a snow-covered field re-opens memories of a wartime scandal around the villages of Poissons-les-Marais and Fouillmont, when young infatuation led to a spate of coldly efficient assassinations.

But who’s responsible for this particular killing? And why so long after the event?

For Inspector Lucas Rocco, it means pushing aside the veil surrounding old Resistance activities and fighting dangerous political connections to track down a deadly long-range killer with the ability to hide in open countryside.

Published December 7th, 2020

Ghostly Graves (A Harper Harlow and Maddie Graves Mystery) by Lily Harper Hart

Maddie and Nick Winters are embarking on the biggest adventure of their lives: parenthood. They’re nervous, excited, and prepared to go shopping. That leads them to a special baby boutique in Whisper Cove, where they just happen to participate in a cemetery tour run by Michigan’s most famous ghost hunter.
Maddie and the tour guide Harper Harlow recognize each other for what they are right off the bat, although they don’t initially say anything. Everything spills out in the open, though, when a ghost leads Maddie to the body of a local plastic surgeon.
The dead doctor has an interesting reputation with the women around town, and Maddie recognizes him from her days of nursing. Before anybody realizes what’s happening, the two women have formed a crime-fighting team and they’re determined to uncover answers.
Nick would prefer Maddie shop and embrace their incoming baby but he knows when her inner detective can’t be silenced. While the men bond – and discuss loving a magical woman – the women (and Zander, of course) dig deep and uncover exactly how sordid the tale of an unethical doctor can be.

Published December 8th, 2020

Ghostly Graves and Gunslingers by Lily Harper Hart

Four women, four magical talents, four mysteries, and four chances at romance.
Spend some time with Hannah Hickok, Maddie Graves, Harper Harlow and Rowan Gray as they crossover in three different mysteries and stir up a whole host of trouble.
You’ll laugh, cry, and be amazed.

Published December 8th, 2020

Cold Wind (Alaska Wild 2) by Paige Shelton

Beth Rivers is still in Alaska. The unidentified man who kidnapped her in her home of St. Louis hasn’t been found yet, so she’s not ready to go back.

But as October comes to a close, Benedict is feeling more and more like her new home. Beth has been working on herself: She’s managed to get back to writing, and she’s enjoying these beautiful months between summer and winter in Alaska.

Then, everything in Benedict changes after a mudslide exposes a world that had been hidden for years. Two mud-covered, silent girls appear, and a secret trapper’s house is found in the woods. The biggest surprise, though, is a dead and frozen woman’s body in the trapper’s shed. No one knows who she is, but the man who runs the mercantile, Randy, seems to be in the middle of all the mysteries.

Unable to escape her journalistic roots, Beth is determined to answer the questions that keep arising: Are the mysterious girls and the frozen body connected? Can Randy possibly be involved? And—most importantly—can she solve this mystery before the cold wind sweeping over the town and the townspeople descends for good?

Published December 8th, 2020

Reluctant Bumpkin (County Cousins Mysteries Book 6) by Sam Cheever

She’s just a girl with a dog, a cat, and a pig. And since she’s been drafted into helping her boyfriend scare his younger brother straight, she’s a girl who’s suddenly glad she’s an only child.
Hal’s younger brother has been banished to Deer Hollow because of his proclivity for getting into trouble. Hal’s parents are hoping he’ll take the kid under his wing and straighten him out. But Asher Amity has a knack for finding trouble, and it doesn’t take him long to find it in Deer Hollow. When Asher steps into a steaming pile of murder and treachury, Hal and Joey are destined to get dragged into the mess with him. Who knew how dangerous babysitting could be?

Published December 8th, 2020

Rivera Gold (Mary Russell & Sherlock Holmes) by Laurie R. King

It’s summertime on the Riviera, where the Jazz Age is busily reinventing the holiday delights of warm days on golden sand and cool nights on terraces and dance floors. Just up the coast lies a more traditional pleasure ground: Monte Carlo, where fortunes are won, lost, stolen, and hidden away. So when Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes happen across the Cote d’Azur in this summer of 1925, they find themselves pulled between the young and the old, hot sun and cool jazz, new friendships and old loyalties, childlike pleasures and very grownup sins…

Published December 10th, 2020

A Matter of Murder (Campbell & Carter 7) by Ann Granger

Two years ago, Miff Ferguson chose to opt out of the rat race. Since then he’s been living rough and happily so. That is until now. For, as the first signs of winter approach, everything changes. While looking for shelter, Miff stumbles across the dead body of a young woman inside a dilapidated warehouse. Quickly realising he’s not alone, and what’s worse he’s been spotted, Miff becomes embroiled in a game of cat-and-mouse with a killer that forces him to abandon his life on the streets and take refuge with his aunt and uncle in the village of Weston St Ambrose. But, despite his best efforts to lie low, trouble seems to follow him and when another dead body is discovered at a local farm, it’s clear Miff is not free from danger.

With the clock ticking, Inspector Jess Campbell and Superintendent Ian Carter must join forces once again with the team of police at Bamford to piece together the puzzle before another innocent life is lost…

Published December 10th, 2020

A Dodgy Death (Kat McCoy Lake County Cozy Mystery Series Book 1) by Jacqueline M. Green

“Kat, someone is trying to kill me!”
A dotty aunt. A death on the staircase. And valuable drawings that have disappeared.
With her aunt’s prophetic final phone call ringing in her ears, Kat McCoy’s visit to England takes a sharp turn. She learns her aunt discovered and subsequently hid four historical drawings reportedly worth thousands of British pounds – and Kat’s not the only one who knows about them. Did her elderly aunt die from an accidental fall or something more sinister?
With help from new friends, including the handsome village constable, Kat tries to settle the question of her aunt’s death, all the while knowing the killer is still out there. Can Kat unmask the killer, find the drawings and still make her flight home to the States? Or will the drawings – and the truth – be lost forever?

Published December 10th, 2020

Preserves & Premonitions (A Southern Charms Cozy Mystery Book 7) by Bella Falls

Magic and mystery are only part of the Southern Charms of Honeysuckle Hollow…

Charli Goodwin’s future seemed to be nothing but smooth sailing…until the last spell she cast changed the course of everything! Now, it’s not only her life but the lives of others she cares deeply for that are tied up in her fate. Not even help from the creepy and mysterious soothsayers, the Weird Sisters, can give her a clue how to get out of the mess she’s in.

If Charli can’t figure out a way to fix what she’s done and get things back on track, according to the premonitions from the sisters, the future for herself and all of Honeysuckle Hollow is at stake. Will she be able to reverse the effects of her spell in time?

Published December 10th, 2020

Sledding Away with Murder (Sweetfern Harbor Mystery Book 21) by Wendy Meadows

This winter wonderland isn’t quite so innocent after all…
Determined to create a picturesque winter experience at the Sheffield Bed and Breakfast inn, Brenda Rivers eagerly awaits the arrival of her new guests for the weekend. This year brings a wide selection of visitors from all walks of life – from a soft-spoken Amish couple to a plastic surgeon and Anaesthesiologist who just can’t seem to get along. Brenda tries her best to keep the peace and make sure all her guests have a good time.

But when one of their guests turns up brutally murdered and left almost unrecognizable in the midst of a harmless sledding contest, Brenda’s hopes of a perfect weekend are shattered. With her guest’s rival going strangely quiet, his wife crying crocodile tears, and the Amish couple mysteriously coming last in a sport they claimed to be the best at, Brenda must put all of her sleuthing skills to the test if she wants to unravel the truth.

Can Brenda unmask a killer for Christmas? Or will her guest’s murder slip into the background of cold cases?

Published December 10th, 2020

Waffles at the Wake (Murder in the Mix Book 29) by Addison Moore

It’s the dead of winter in Honey Hollow, and I’ve got jury duty. As if that wasn’t terrible enough, Carlotta is stirring up trouble with the mob again, and soon enough a member of the family ends up biting the big one. And you will never guess which ghost comes back to help me solve the crime this time… Something like this has never happened before, and I’m hoping it will never happen again. It’s cold outside, and so is the heart of the killer.

Baker Lottie Lemon has a bakery to tend to, one too many suitors, and the supernatural ability to see the dead—which are always harbingers for ominous things to come. Throw in a string of murders, and her insatiable thirst for justice, and you’ll have more chaos than you know what to do with.

Published December 10th, 2020

Holly & the Grand Opening (The Holly Lewis Mystery Series Book 10) by Dianne Harmann

The excitement is building for the grand opening
Of the long-awaited addition to the Read It Again bookstore
And Holly’s in charge of making sure everything is ready for it.
But when the books to be put on the shelves
Are stolen from a storage unit,
Her best-laid plans fall apart.
Obviously, someone has a grudge against
The bookstore, Holly, or the owner, Fiona.
But who and why?
And even worse,
Holly worries that her best friend may be the one responsible
And she, herself, is to blame.

December 12th, 2020

Red Roses (Hope Herring Cozy Mystery Book 4) by J. A. Whiting and Nell McCarthy

It is February in North Carolina and Valentine’s Day is fast approaching The holidays are hard for Hope since losing her husband, and this one, in particular, will be difficult.
She and her resident ghost keep looking for clues to his hundred-year old murder and as she continues to research her husband’s death, she finds things that frighten her.
If all that wasn’t enough, Hope is worried about one of her students, and when one thing leads to another she ends up embroiled in a mess of a situation.
Will Hope be able to keep her daughter, Cori, her student, and herself safe or will danger strike before she figures out what’s going on?

Published December 12th, 2020

The Lurid Possibility of Mystery (The Mysteries of Severine DuNoir Book 5) by Beth Byers

December 1925.

Severine DuNoir has discovered who has been hunting her. Now she needs to discover why. As the foes circle each other, their friends and family get drawn into the conflict.

Just who can Severine trust? How can she stop the rogue? And what will happen to those she loves if she fails? She’s all too afraid the answer is one she won’t be able to live with.

Published December 13th, 2020 by

Courting Can Be A Killer (An Amish Matchmaker Mystery) by Amanda Flower

Some Amish men don’t know what’s good for them. That’s what Millie Fisher told herself when young Ben Baughman set his heart on marrying Tess Lieb. With Tess’ father refusing to give his blessing and Tess’ ex-boyfriend being a wet blanket, the hapless couple was bound to butt heads more than Millie’s Boer goats. But when Ben tragically dies in a mysterious fire, Millie wonders if someone in her hometown of Harvest, Ohio wanted Ben out of the wedding picture altogether…With the help of her quilting buddies, and her outspoken Englischer friend Lois, Millie is determined to patch together all the clues without even dropping a stitch. She only hopes it won’t be the death of her…

Published December 14th, 2020

Ropes, Riddles & Robberies (A Camper & Criminals Cozy Mystery Book 15) by Tonya Kappes

Welcome to Normal, Kentucky~ where nothing is normal. A Campers and Criminal Mystery Series is another brainchild of USA Today Bestselling Author Tonya Kappes. If you love her quirky southern characters and small town charm with a mystery to solve, you’re going to love her new cozy mystery series!

Published December 17th, 2020

The Zachery Case (Markham Sisters 26) by Diana Xarissa

Janet Markham is looking forward to Edward Bennett’s arrival at the bed and breakfast she runs with her sister Joan. She and Edward have been seeing one another for a while now, and he’s meant to be retiring and moving to Doveby Dale for good. Joan is just anxious to get the carriage house cleared out so that she can turn it into a guest room.

When Janet moves the last few boxes and finds a skeleton, though, Joan’s plans get put on hold as the sisters find themselves caught up in a murder investigation. Inspector Harold Colbert from Derby is in charge of the case, and he doesn’t seem interested in getting any help from the sisters’ friend Robert Parsons, the local constable.

When Edward arrives, he’s eager to help with the investigation, but Harold has his own ideas about how things should be done.

Can Janet and Edward work out whose body was hidden in the carriage house? Was it murder or did the victim meet with an unfortunate accident? And will Edward finally give Janet the combination to the safe in the library?

Published December 18th, 2020

Murder Over Easy (A Sunny Side Up Cozy Mystery Book 1) by Rosie A. Point

Murder has never been this easy…

When Sunny Charles arrives in small-town Parfait, Florida, the last thing she expects is a note from her aunt instructing her to take control of the famous Sunny Side Up Café. After going through a vicious divorce, losing her entire life savings, and, oh yeah, having the Russian mob on her tail, Sunny’s willing to give it a shot, even if it means trying her hand at cooking. Let’s face it, eggs over easy aren’t exactly ‘easy’ to make, but they beat facing off against armed men with guns.

All things considered, her first day in the café goes well, that is, until one of the customers, a food vlogger, tries her aunt’s eggs over easy and drops dead on the spot. Sunny’s set to lose the café unless she can prove her innocence. But with a handsome chef as a distraction, the creeping suspicion she’s being watched, and a detective on her case, she’s got her work cut out for her.

Can Sunny solve the mystery before the murderer stops her? Find out in this funny starter in a brand new cozy mystery series!

Published December 18th, 2020

A Fashionable Fate (Rosa the Cuban Psychic Mystery) by Ileana Munoz Rebfroe

A psychic, a fashion gala and the death of a runway model.

Not what Boutique owner, Rosa de los Reyes hoped for when she organized the Colten Island Fashion Show.

To save the gala and stop the killer from striking again, she must use her psychic abilities, sift through the gossip at La Misteriosa and navigate increasing danger all while racing against the clock.

Will Rosa, her familiar Raul, and Las Cubanitas find the truth before the murderer kills again?

Published December 18th, 2020

Scones and Scofflaws (A Cape May Cozy Mystery, Book 1) by Jane Gorman

When a gorgeous man dressed as Bridgette Bardot buys her a Scofflaw and asks her out on a date, Anna McGregor begins to suspect her murder investigation has taken a wrong turn. Her previous work as a medical anthropologist exposed her to a variety of unexpected situations, but none quite like this.

It all seemed so simple: fix up the Cape May Victorian mansion she’d inherited from Great Aunt Louise and re-open it as the exceptional B&B it used to be. Everything’s going great, until her very first guest turns up dead at the breakfast table, crumbs from Anna’s blueberry scones scattered on the lace tablecloth.

As the town’s gossip mill goes into overdrive, Anna leaps into the fray to save her reputation, her business and Great Aunt Louise’s legacy.

With help from a handsome handyman eager to solve all of Anna’s problems and a young police officer new to murder investigations, Anna does her best to convince the town — and her future guests — that while her scones may be killer, someone else was responsible for this murder.

Published December 20th, 2020

Murder Under the Mistletoe (A Darcy Sweet Cozy Mystery Book 30) by K. J. Emrick

A nice family trip away for Christmas is just what Darcy Sweet needs…

There’s only one problem – trouble tends to follow her wherever she goes.

But she’s determined it won’t this time…

With her track record though, Jon is not convinced.

But hey, what does it matter?

Trouble can just as easily find her in Misty Hollow – and it frequently does.

So why shouldn’t they take some time to relax at the cozy Hideaway Inn?

And if any trouble were to happen, she can handle it…

She hopes.

Published December 21st, 2020

Murder in Hyde Park (A Ginger Gold Mystery Book) by Lee Strauss

Murder’s a fashion faux pas…

The summer of 1926 brings high fashion to Hyde Park. Ginger’s Regent Street dress shop, Feathers & Flair, is a major sponsor, and when top designer Coco Chanel makes an appearance, the London fashion scene lights up.

Until a model drops dead and Miss Chanel is suspected of murder. The fashion icon hires Lady Gold Investigations to clear her name, but can Ginger discover the murderer before becoming a lifeless mannequin herself?

Published December 22nd, 2020

The Easter Sunday Slaughter (Claire Anderson Murder For All Seasons Book 2) by Imogen Plimp


And a bouquet of murderous intrigue…

Amateur sleuth (and ace baker) Claire Andersen is back! Winter melts to spring in scenic Galway, Maryland, uncovering blooming friendships new and old, a shyly budding romance, the rotten stench of organized crime, and family drama more garish than Claire’s emerging blood lilies.

Settling in just fine to her new Appalachian digs (and getting the hang of this whole proprietress of a B&B thing, too!), NYC native Claire Andersen is living a cozy small town fairy tale. There are quirky local characters and adorable little shops, not to mention a kitchen full of mouth-watering baked goodies. She’s a veritable June Cleaver—if Leave It to Beaver were nestled in the mountains and June were a recently retired empty nester, that is.

There’s just one problem. Claire can hardly say “Gee, golly” before her newly-acquainted and much-beloved neighbor winds up murdered in cold blood, right before Galway’s annual Easter parade. Hot off the heels of her last murder, Claire can’t help but get involved (much to the chagrin of the well-meaning albeit bumbling town sheriff). She can hardly help herself, after all. The murder did take place right next door … and the victim’s family is staying in her B&B… Ever the hostess, poking around is the least she could do.

Little does Claire know the victim’s family is just the tip of the iceberg. The rest of the iceberg consists of age-old secrets so duplicitous, they’d make Eddie Haskell run for the hills.

Mix in Claire’s feisty sidekick Evelyn, her ever-lovable bloodhound Rupert, and a mountain of mocha and strawberry buttercream cupcakes—and Claire finds she’s in business. The sleuthing business. Perhaps even the mafia business. But she’d better tread carefully—or she’ll wind up another discarded, frozen body in the aforementioned iceberg (with a spring thaw nowhere in sight).

Published December 25th, 2020

Corgis & Conspiracy (A Dog Town USA Cozy Mystery) by Meg Muldoon

The cozy Pacific Northwest town of Dog Mountain is happily humming this December as residents prepare for the season of light.
But when celebrity and controversial pet treat industry guru Madison Shaw is found dead at the bottom of the historic Howliday Inn’s staircase one chilly morning, ace reporter Winifred Wolf finds herself covering a national story.
Was Madison’s fall just a tragic accident?
Or is there more to the story than meets the eye?

Published December 25th, 2020

Ink and Shadows (A Secret, Book, and Scone Novel 4) by Ellery Adams

Nora Pennington is known for her window displays, and as Halloween approaches, she decides to showcase fictional heroines like Roald Dahl’s Matilda and Madeline Miller’s Circe. A family-values group disapproves of the magical themes, though, and wastes no time launching a modern-day witch hunt. Suddenly, former friends and customers are targeting not only Nora and Miracle Books, but a new shopkeeper, Celeste, who’s been selling CBD oil products.
Nora and her friends in the Secret, Book, and Scone Society are doing their best to put an end to the strife—but then someone puts an end to a life. Though the death is declared an accident, the ruling can’t explain the old book page covered with strange symbols and disturbing drawings left under Nora’s doormat, a postcard from an anonymous stalker, or multiple cases of vandalism.
The only hope is that Nora can be a heroine herself and lead the Secret, Book, and Scone Society in a successful investigation—before more bodies turn up and the secrets from Celeste’s past come back to haunt them all . .

Published December 26th, 2020

Wedding Cake and Widows: A Comedy Cozy Mystery by Christy Murphy

You’re invited!
It’s the wedding everyone in Fletcher Canyon has been waiting for. The bride is beautiful. The groom is nervous, and…

There’s a dead body.

But no need to worry, Mom and Christy are on the case.

Published December 26th, 2020

Murdered Mayor (High Desert Cozy Mystery Series 13) by Dianne Harmann

The famous cowboy movie star
Had become the dearly beloved mayor of Palm Springs.
Too bad he was murdered.
But who could have done it and what was their motive?
Greed? Political rival? An environmental extremist?
Son? Stepdaughter? Ex-wives?
And what about his present trophy wife?
Then there’s that pesky proposed desert windmill turbine project.
They kill a lot of birds,
And the Desert Bird Sanctuary members were certainly
Against the proposal.
The mayor’s vote was needed to approve it.
Maybe he was going to vote against it.
Was that why Monty Madsen was murdered?
And maybe Monty wasn’t the only person in Palm Springs
Who wanted to be the mayor!
There’s a colorful cast of characters,
But only one of them is a murderer.

Join Marty, her husband, Detective Jeff Combs, and their psychic boxer dog, Patron, as they determine not only who had the motive, but also who had the means.

Published December 26th, 2020

Sweet Violet’s Ghost (A Sweet Cove Mystery Book 19) by J. A. Whiting

It is September in Sweet Cove and Angie and Jenna are taking a walk after work to the town park and up the hill to the cemetery overlooking the ocean. Their daughters are growing fast and are already crawling and saying words. Angie and Jenna take the girls out of the strollers so they can play on the grass, but moments later, something unexpected appears to them and it’s about to draw them into a mystery with connections that reach to another state.It will take all four of the Roseland sisters, Mr. Finch, Chief Martin, two fine felines, and a new friend to find the evil-doer responsible for ending two lives, and maybe more. Will they find the answers they need before it’s too late?

Published December 26th, 2020

Prime Time Murder: A Humorous Cozy Mystery (Hollywood Whodunit Book) by Brittany E. Brinegar

She’s little. She’s feisty. Spoiler alert, she’s not the killer.

Move to Hollywood. Catch her big break. Become a movie star. Nowhere on Becky Robinson’s to-do list does it say discover a dead body or become the prime suspect.

Becky’s first day on set is anything but glamorous. Between coffee runs and walking the star dog, she discovers the body of a prominent actress. Not exactly how she pictured seeing her name in the papers. And they didn’t even spell it right.

After finding evidence at the crime scene, the cops are on her trail and a Hollywood hunk is in the hot seat.

To clear her name and discover whodunit, Becky rubs elbows with Tinseltown insiders. With the help of her best friend and an adorable puppy, they attempt to expose the killer before he claims his next victim.

Published December 26th, 2020

Chilled to the Cone (A Bakeshop Mystery, 12)by Ellie Alexander

The deep freeze has thawed in Ashland, Oregon and Torte is gearing up for a busy spring. When a surprise opportunity to launch a pop-up ice cream shop comes her way, Jules jumps at the chance to showcase Torte’s signature iced drinks and cold custards. But selling the desserts of her dreams comes at a price. . .and, before she knows it, Jules’s life swirls into a nightmare. One of the town’s most colorful characters, a street performer known for wearing capes and a cone-shaped hat, turns up dead just as Torte 2.0 is set to open its doors. Can Jules get the scoop on what happened to “The Wizard” of Ashland before her new business venture reaches a chilling conclusion

Published December 29th, 2020

Closely Harbored Secrets (Seaside Cafe Mystery Book 5) by Bree Baker

It’s almost Halloween, and the small island of Charm, North Carolina is decked out for the festivities. When Everly Swan agrees to close her iced tea shop early to help her aunts host their annual haunted historic walking tour, she expects some good-natured spooks. But the night turns grave when one of the ghostly actors is found dead. To complicate matters, the victim scratched Everly’s name into the ground before she died, making her a key suspect.

The murder mystery heats up when Everly’s potential boo, Detective Grady, takes the case—and he definitely doesn’t want her getting involved. Will their seaside romance be threatened by all the ghostly drama? But when a phantom sailor straight out of local legend starts leaving Everly threatening messages, she has to get involved… With a local election under way, ghosts on the loose, and a search for long-lost buried treasure, Everly can’t help but stir the pot!

Published December 29th, 2020

A Purr-fect Storm (Meow for Murder Book 6) by Addison Moore and Bellamy Bloom

Confession. I’m no psychic. But I can sort of see the future—albeit not accurately. And you better believe, I’ve never let that little detail stop me from prognosticating my way into a pickle. So when I ticked off the mob, the feds, and my wily ex, I decided to take my Uncle Vinnie’s advice and start over with a new name and new hair color while relying on my old shtick—getting my psychic wires crossed and putting myself in danger.

It’s beginning to look a lot like murder. It’s winter in Starry Falls, the snow is falling and the mobsters are coming in strong. My freedom is in the balance and the only question on my mind is should I stay or should I go now? Shep is willing to risk it all for me—and a thank you, I might just get us both killed.

Living in Starry Falls is proving to be deadly.

Published December 30th, 2020

Marvellous Mary Brown and the Mysterious Manhunt (Mary Brown Mysteries 2) by Bernice Bloom

Mysterious Manhunt continues the story, as Mary and the unlikely Mysterious Invitation crowd head off in search of a missing family. There are twists and turns and moments of madness. Featuring Juan Pablo on the stage, her boyfriend, Ted, in a fight and Mary Brown in the middle of it all, wondering what in the name of the lord she’s got herself all caught up in…

Mary proves herself to be super sleuth extraordinaire as she finds the clues to help crack the code. But will it be enough?

Published December 31st, 2020

Let’s Bake A Deal (Twin Berry Bakery Book 2)by Wendy Meadows

Rita and Rhonda Knight set out to enjoy the annual Clovedale Falls Pumpkin Festival. They arrive at the local fairgrounds on a crisp autumn morning full of excitement. With their purses full of money and the morning ahead of them, what could possibly go wrong? Only murder.

When Sheriff Bluestone shows up at the festival and tells Rita and Rhonda that a murder had taken place at the remote Clovedale Falls Retirement Home mansion, a dark cloud rolls over the fun morning. Suddenly, the smell of pumpkin pies, funnel cakes, and apple cider is replaced by the foul stench of crime, involving uncaring kitchen staff and suspicious nurses…and one innocent old man who can barely remember his own name. Together, Rhonda and Rita dive into a mystery that takes them into a mansion filled with secrets and heartbreaking truths as they track down a killer lurking in the shadows.

Will the Knight sisters solve a murder and prove the innocence of an old man, and reveal the secret histories that have brought these shadows down on their beautiful autumn day? Or will they fall victim to a hideous crime and never be remembered again?

Published December 31st, 2020

Are any of these on your wishlist? What’s your favourite Cozy Mystery Series? Let me know in the comments.