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Blog Tours book reviews

BLOG TOUR: The Nanny by Ruth Heald

Published: September 8th, 2022
Publisher: Bookouture
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Psychological Fiction, Noir Fiction, Hardboiled
Format: Paperback, Kindle, Audiobook

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this riveting thriller. Thanks to Bookouture for the invitation to take part and the gifted ARC.

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SYNOPSIS:

As I clutched baby Chloe’s blanket, tears streamed down my face as I remembered what happened the night she disappeared. Looking up at the apartment block I once called home, my mind was crowded with memories. David’s words echoed in my head, telling me to get out and never come back. I understood why: our mistake had ruined everything.

When I accepted a job working as a nanny for David and Julie and their young children, I was excited to be making my own way in the world. I bonded with baby Chloe instantly and would have done anything for her. She had David’s thick, dark hair and smiling eyes. I fell in love with her and was excited for my future.

But when a terrible mistake led to Chloe disappearing, I was instantly blamed. With no evidence, I was let go and I returned home to rebuild my life.

Twenty years later and I am still haunted by what happened. I have a family of my own now and I’ve worked hard to be the best wife and mother I can be, but I’ve never forgotten the child who stole my heart.

Then a young woman arrives on my doorstep and the past secret that I have kept from my family comes hurtling into my present.

I try to tell myself that I am overreacting. But the woman in front of me looks so much like David. Who is she and why is she here? And if I welcome her in, will she want to be a part of my life, or destroy it?

A totally addictive psychological thriller that will have you reading late into the night. Perfect for fans of Lisa Jewell, T.M. Logan and Shalini Boland.

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MY REVIEW:

When eighteen-year-old Hayley accepts a job as a nanny for British couple David and Julie while in Bangkok she can’t believe her luck and quickly bonds with baby Chloe and her sisters Emily and Eva.  But tensions soon rise between Hayley and the couple and when little Chloe disappears the same night that Hayley leaves, she is blamed and questioned by police.  With no evidence the police release her and she is free to rebuild her life.

Twenty years later Hayley is married with a young daughter of her own but is still haunted by what happened all those years ago and the secret she’s been keeping ever since.  A secret that is now at risk of being revealed.

Tense, twisty and unpredictable, The Nanny is a compelling thriller.  The story alternates between timelines as it tells the story of what happened in Bangkok and current events.  Hayley is an unreliable narrator and we are never quite sure what secrets she is keeping or if we can really trust her.  All the same, she was a likeable character who I enjoyed reading and felt a lot of sympathy for during her time in Bangkok.  There are some well-written background characters such as Johanna, who I liked but never fully trusted.  But it was Julie who was the best character for me.  A new mother isn’t your typical villain but Heald has created someone I truly despised and, quite frankly, needed telling where to get off.  

This is one of those books that really keeps you guessing for most of the book and just when I thought I’d got it all figured out, the rug was pulled from under me with another shocking twist that changed everything I thought I knew.  As the suspense builds to a heart-stopping climax, I was on the edge of my seat and reading in breathless anticipation.

A first-rate thriller filled with mystery and foreboding, The Nanny is a riveting page-turner from one of my must-read authors. 

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✰

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

Ruth Heald is the bestselling author of psychological thrillers THE WEDDING, I KNOW YOUR SECRET, THE MOTHER’S MISTAKE and THE WOMAN UPSTAIRS, and the relationship drama 27: SIX FRIENDS, ONE YEAR.

Ruth studied Economics at Oxford University and then worked in an eclectic mix of sectors from nuclear decommissioning to management consulting. She worked at the BBC for nine years before leaving to write full time. Ruth is fascinated by psychology and finding out what drives people to violence, destruction and revenge. She’s married with two children and her novels explore our greatest fears in otherwise ordinary, domestic lives.

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BUY THE BOOK:

Waterstones | Amazon | Bookshop.org

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Thanks for reading Bibliophiles 😊 Emma xxxx

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

*All links are affiliate links

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Blog Tours book reviews

BLOG TOUR: The Midwife of Auschwitz by Anna Stuart

Published: May 31st, 2022
Publisher: Bookouture
Genre: Historical Fiction, Religious Fiction
Format: Paperback, Kindle, Audiobook

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this heart-wrenching, poignant and remarkable book. Thank you to Bookouture for the invitation to take part and the eBook ARC.

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SYNOPSIS:

Auschwitz, 1943: As I held the tiny baby in my arms, my fingers traced the black tattoo etched across her little thigh. And I prayed that one day this set of numbers, identical to her mother’s, would have the power to reunite a family torn apart by war…

Inspired by an incredible true story, this poignant novel tells of one woman’s fight for love, life and hope during a time of unimaginable darkness.

Ana Kaminski is pushed through the iron gates of Auschwitz beside her frightened young friend Ester Pasternak. As they reach the front of the line, Ana steps forward and quietly declares herself a midwife – and Ester her assistant. Their arms are tattooed and they’re ordered to the maternity hut. Holding an innocent new-born baby, Ana knows the fate of so many are in her hands, and vows to do everything she can to save them.

When two guards in their chilling SS uniforms march in and snatch a blond-haired baby from its mother it’s almost too much for Ana to bear. Consoling the distraught woman, Ana realises amidst the terrible heartache there is a glimmer of hope. The guards are taking the healthiest babies and placing them with German families, so they will survive. And there are whispers the war is nearly over… Ana and Ester begin to secretly tattoo little ones with their mother’s numbers, praying one day they might be reunited.

Then, early one morning, Ana notices the small bump under Ester’s thin striped clothing…

An absolutely heart-breaking and page-turning WW2 novel of one woman’s bravery and determination to bring life and hope into a broken world. Fans of The Tattooist of Auschwitz, The Alice Network and The Nightingale will be gripped.

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MY REVIEW:

Auschwitz, 1943: As I held the tiny baby in my arms, my fingers traced the black tattoo etched across her little thigh.  And I prayed that one day this set of numbers, identical to her mother’s, would have the power to reunite a family torn apart by war…

Heart-wrenching, harrowing, haunting and hopeful, The Midwife of Auschwitz is a story of love, strength and courage.  Based on an incredible true story, we follow two women as they fight to survive one of the darkest times in our history.  Opening the day Germany invades Poland we follow Ester, a young Jewish girl, and Ana, a Catholic midwife, as their worlds are turned upside down and even Ester’s wedding day isn’t safe from the wrath of the Gestapo. They are uprooted from their homes and later, in a cruel twist of fate, find themselves on the same transport to Auschwitz where they serve as midwives in a place where even the newest lives are far from sacred. 

“The invaders had taken their city and now they were going to divide its people. Some fool man had decided that the baby Ana had brought into the world eighteen years ago, naked and innocent, was in some way less valuable than any other and was out to eliminate her and her kin from the earth. This was surely not just war, but the end of civilisation. “

Anna Stuart is a skilled storyteller.  She takes us inside the hearts and minds of Ana and Ester, their sorrow, pain, terror and rage so palpable I was moved to tears.  Her evocative imagery makes the barbaric inhumanity of Auschwitz and the Ghetto feel so vivid that I could almost feel the lice crawling on my skin.  The Holocaust is a brutal, raw and heartbreaking subject, but Ms. Stuart also writes with compassion, allowing us to also see the characters’ resilience, their acts of kindness, and how they held onto humanity whenever they could.  Ana and Ester are true heroines who are written so evocatively that I could feel everything they did.  Their sorrow, pain, terror and rage leaps from the pages and they teach us about bravery again and again as they stand up against evil, risking their lives in the process. It is impossible not to be moved by the way some were so determined to bring hope to others even when everything around them seemed helpless.

“This is war and it isn’t all fought on battlefields.”

Powerful, poignant and moving, this remarkable story is one I’ll never forget.  While it isn’t an easy read, it is an incredibly important one that I highly recommend. 

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✮

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

Anna Stuart lives in Derbyshire with her campervan-mad husband, two hungry teenagers and a slightly loopy dog. She was hooked on books from the moment she first opened one in her cot so is thrilled to now have several of her own to her name. Having studied English literature at Cambridge university, she took an enjoyable temporary trip into the ‘real world’ as a factory planner, before returning to her first love and becoming an author. History has also always fascinated her. Living in an old house with a stone fireplace, she often wonders who sat around it before her and is intrigued by how actively the past is woven into the present, something she likes to explore in her novels. Anna loves the way that writing lets her ‘try on’ so many different lives, but her favourite part of the job is undoubtedly hearing from readers.

Website

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BUY THE BOOK:

Waterstones* | Amazon*
*These are affiliate links

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Thanks for reading Bibliophiles 😊Emma xxx

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

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Blog Tours book reviews Emma's Anticipated Treasures

BLOG TOUR: One Girl Missing by Carla Kovach (Detective Gina Harte Book 11)

Published: March 9th 2022
Publisher: Bookouture
Genre: Thriller, Psychological Thriller, Psychological Fiction, Mystery, Suspense, Crime Fiction, Police Procedural, Noir Fiction, Crime Series
Format: Kindle, Paperback, Audiobook

Today is my stop on the blog tour for this gripping thriller. Thank you to Bookouture for the invitation to take part and the eBook ARC.

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SYNOPSIS:

Five-year-old Cally waits in her pretty pink bedroom for the sound of the front door opening and her mother’s sweet voice in the hall. But when the doorbell finally rings, and Cally creeps out of bed to peer through the banister, a large man in uniform is all she sees. Her mother is missing…

Teacher Annabel Braddock was last seen drinking at the local pub with her best friend, Jennifer. Witnesses saw tears running down her cheeks, and friends say she was having problems with a colleague at work, and that her marriage had broken down.

But as the two women hugged goodbye, neither noticed the car speeding towards them. As the dust settled, Jennifer lay unconscious on the ground and Annabel was nowhere to be seen. She’d never abandon her little girl, so did someone snatch her?

As family crowd around Jennifer’s hospital bed, hoping she’ll wake up, police visit Annabel’s home and her inconsolable daughter, Cally, tells them she had seen a man outside staring into her room as she climbed into bed that evening. Was it her childish imagination, or had someone been watching Annabel’s home?

When Jennifer finally opens her eyes and tells the police what happened that night, it’s clear there are plenty of people with a reason to harm Annabel. With an unpredictable husband, a colleague who denies harassing her and a neighbour who seems to know her every move, could she be in imminent danger? As the hours turn to days, will little Cally ever see her precious mother again? Or will she be next?

If you love fast-paced, gripping crime thrillers that keep you up all night, you’ll be completely addicted to One Girl Missing. Perfect for fans of Angela Marsons, Cara Hunter and Clare Mackintosh.

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MY REVIEW:

Best friends Annabel and Jennifer are hugging each other goodbye at the end of a girls night out when a car speeds towards them.  Jennifer is left unconscious on the ground and Annabel is nowhere to be seen, only her bag and spots of her blood left behind.  Detective Gina Harte and her team are called in and as they investigate it soon becomes clear that there are multiple people who might want to harm Annabel.  But can they figure it out and find Annabel before it’s too late?

The eleventh instalment in Carla Kovach’s Gina Harte series is another compelling thriller. There are numerous suspects in this case, each with a valid motive, and they are all on the run: a cheating husband, his young girlfriend who was also the family childminder, an angry father, a teenage pupil with a crush, a colleague she was rumoured to be seeing and a friendly neighbour.  But who took Annabel?  I was sure it was each of them at one point or another and even wondered if some of them were working together.  It is a tangled web of suspicion that is full of so many twists and turns I thought I’d get book whiplash!  But was my final choice the real culprit?  Or had Ms. Kovach duped me again with her red herrings? 

One of the things I love most about reading a series is coming back to the familiar, much-loved characters and I was glad to be back with Gina and her team.  Gina is dealing with emotional turmoil after seeing  Briggs out with another woman.  Is this the end of her relationship?  And the whole team face heartache as they wait to learn if one of their own will survive, Jacob being particularly tortured as he hopes the love of his life pulls through.  
The new characters were well written as always.  I felt a real bond with Annabel and could feel her terror as she’s held captive and wonders if she will ever see her young daughter, Cally, again.  And it was Cally, along with teenage student Omar, who went right to my heart in this book.  They were such great characters who it was impossible not to feel for.  I was rooting for them, especially as young Omar takes it upon himself to save Annabel himself in order to keep her secrets.  

Dark, suspenseful, gripping and action-packed, One Girl Missing is another riveting thriller from Ms. Kovach.  Fans of this genre will love not only this book, but the whole series and I recommend them both highly.

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✰

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

Carla started writing more seriously ten years ago after having flirted with musical theatre and occasional writing in her youth.

Since then she has written & produced several stage plays, has four self-published books, has acted in several independent films and is currently in the final stages of production of her feature horror film, Penny for the Guy.

She now writes full time as well as co-owning a film, photography & video production company located in the heart of Redditch town centre.

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BUY THE BOOK:

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

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Thanks for reading Bibliophiles 😊 Emma xxx

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

Categories
Blog Tours book reviews

BLOG TOUR: A Royal Murder by Verity Bright (Lady Eleanor Swift Mystery Book 9)

Published: February 28th 2022
Publisher: Bookouture
Genre: Cozy Mystery, Historical Mystery, Historical Romance, Historical Comedy
Format: Paperback, Kindle, Audiobook

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this lively and entertaining romp. Thank you to Bookouture for the invitation to take part and the eBook ARC.

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SYNOPSIS:

At the royal boat race there are beautiful barges, plenty of bunting, a handsome prince and… is that a body in the water? Lady Swift is on the case!

Spring, 1923. One-time adventurer and now amateur sleuth Lady Eleanor Swift is attending the annual royal regatta with her new pal Tipsy Fitzroy. Tipsy has Eleanor trussed up like a debutante in a new dress, determined to turn her into a proper society lady. Even Eleanor’s favourite companion, Gladstone the bulldog, has a new outfit for the occasion.

But the sparkling prize-giving ceremony is interrupted when the devilishly handsome host gulps his glass of champagne on stage and collapses to the floor. The victim is none other than the king’s cousin, Lord Xander Taylor-Howard. He was rumoured to be entangled in a rather dubious gambling ring, but did someone kill him instead of collecting his debt? Or was this simply an ill-timed tragic accident? Either way, a right royal scandal is afoot…

Sir Percival, the head of the royal police, asks Eleanor for her help investigating. He’d do anything to keep the story under wraps. She knows it will get her into hot water with a certain dapper Detective Seldon, but she’s determined to see justice done. However, as she digs deeper, she learns Lord Taylor-Howard was hiding more than one murky secret. It isn’t until she takes a closer look at the unfortunate royal’s shattered champagne flute that she stumbles upon just the clue she needs. But can she reel in the killer before her ship is sunk too?

A warm and witty 1920s mystery that cozy fans will just adore. Addictive reading for fans of T E Kinsey, Lee Strauss and Agatha Christie.

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MY REVIEW:

We’re back for another fun romp with my favourite aristocratic amateur sleuth.  For the ninth instalment in their Lady Eleanor Swift series, Verity Bright transport us back to Spring 1923 and the annual royal regatta, which Eleanor is attending with her new friend, Tipsy Fitzroy.  Tipsy is determined to turn Eleanor into a ‘proper’ Lady and find her a suitable man at the event.  But all thoughts of love and propriety are swiftly forgotten when Lord Xander Taylor-Howard, a minor member of the royal family, collapses at the prize-giving ceremony.  Though initially reluctant, Eleanor soon finds herself drawn into the investigation into Xander’s death, trying to identify the suspect and avoid a royal scandal.  But someone doesn’t appreciate Eleanor’s investigations and once again she finds herself in danger…

I have come to view this series as a real comfort read and it was the beginning of my journey into reading cosy mysteries, which I’d always previously thought would be too tame for my dark crime-loving soul.  The characters are a delight and I love the relationship between Lady Eleanor and her butler Clifford.  This witty crime-solving duo never fails to entertain me while keeping me glued to their latest mystery.  I am also deeply invested in her burgeoning romance with Chief Inspector Hugh Sleddon, which I’m hoping will head towards the happily-ever-after they deserve. 

Once again I was glued to the pages as Eleanor finds herself embroiled in yet another murder investigation.  The poor woman can’t seem to go anywhere without a dead body turning up!  This time she’s doing it for King and country as she tries to help avoid a royal scandal after the poisoning of a maverick minor royal.  Xander was charming but left a trail of potential scandal behind him, leaving a myriad of possible killers and motives.  It’s a tangled web to unravel, but if anyone can do it it’s Eleanor and Clifford.  I loved how much this story twisted and turned, taking me by surprise and revealing truths I never even considered.  

If you’re looking for a murder mystery that is also lively, witty and uplifting then pick up this book.  

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✰

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

Confident woman at office with laptop computer, mobile phone, and schedule notebook.Gradients, Blending tool, Clipping mask is used.

Verity Bright is the pseudonym for a husband-and-wife writing partnership that has spanned a quarter of a century. Starting out writing high-end travel articles and books, they published everything from self-improvement to humour, before embarking on their first historical mystery. They are the authors of the fabulous Lady Eleanor Swift Mystery series, set in the 1920s.

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BUY THE BOOK:

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

Thanks for reading Bibliophiles ☺️ Emma xxx

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Blog Tours book reviews

BLOG TOUR: The Baby Shower by S. E. Lynes

Publisher: March 1st 2022
Publisher: Bookouture
Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Psychological Fiction
Format: Kindle, Audiobook

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this addictive psychological thriller. Thank you to Bookouture for the invitation to take part and the eBook ARC.

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SYNOPSIS:

She doesn’t know I’m there, watching her in the mirror. She slides her hand under her blouse. And then I see something impossible. She isn’t pregnant…

She bursts into my life like a storm, and nothing is the same again. She seems so perfect, with her lilting laugh and her beautiful face. One by one, I watch as my friends fall under her spell.

Only I seem to suspect something. Only I see that her smiles don’t reach her cold, furious eyes. And when I’m accused of things I didn’t do, when my home is vandalized, I know she’s behind it. But she only lets her mask slip when no one is looking, so if I say anything, I’ll look crazy.

So when the baby shower comes around I’m there, sitting on a velvet sofa in a posh hotel room, surrounded by balloons. We share gifts, we pour small glasses of champagne, and she beams, her bump just visible under her bright red shirt.

But that afternoon, I finally learn the unbelievable truth.

There is no baby…

A stunningly twisty story of toxic female friendships, guilt and lies from S.E. Lynes, author of the no.1 bestseller The Housewarming. If you like Lisa Jewell, Gillian Flynn and Paula Hawkins, you’ll be glued to The Baby Shower.

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MY REVIEW:

WHAT. A. BOOK!   S.E. Lynes has proven herself to be the psychological thriller master with this tense, mind-blowing and crazy book.  It was so addictive that I read half of it in one sitting and would have read the whole thing if it hadn’t have been 2am and my eyes were betraying me. 

It begins with a woman waking up in hospital after a car accident.  Though in pain she is full of rage towards another woman who she needs to find before the woman finds her.  Only one of them can leave the hospital alive and she’s determined it will be her.  I was full of questions: who is this other woman?  What did she do?  And why does one of them have to die?  From there the story moves between timelines, shifting from the hospital to events leading up to the crash, telling a story of lies, betrayal and toxic female friendship that will have you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end.

The story is told by multiple narrators but it was Jane who resonated most with me.  Over the course of the story we see her whole world get turned upside down and it all begins when Lexie Lane is brought into her close friendship group by Jane’s best friend, Sophie.  Sophie thinks Lexie is golden and doesn’t see the callous and spiteful things she does to push her and Jane apart, instead choosing to believe her lies and turn away from the person she’s been closest to for years.  Jane’s heartache through all of this is palpable.  She is shocked that her best friend doesn’t believe her and that another grown woman seems intent on wrecking her life for no apparent reason.  You feel her internal struggle to believe it is even happening herself and her pain as she wonders why.  Her heartache is compounded by her early menopause and infertility, especially in the face of Sophie and Lexie’s pregnancies.  Having been through infertility myself, I know that pain of longing for something so much that it hurts and being happy yet also jealous when it happens for those you love.  It is powerfully but sensitively written and really pulls you close to Jane while wondering what on earth Sophie is thinking. 

Lexie is a fantastic villain who is brilliantly written.  She is friendly and charming when she chooses, a facade that masks her true character, which is sly, calculating, cruel and manipulative.  The game she’s playing is so obvious to the reader and I immediately sided with Jane, yet I could also see why Sophie liked her and found it hard to believe she was doing such terrible things.  But I think it ultimately says more about Sophie when she refused to listen to Jane’s side of things than it did about Lexie.  After all, you can’t turn a true friend against someone with lies.  I think this will resonate with so many of us as I think most of us have unfortunately experienced these toxic kinds of female friendships at some point in our lives and will recognise someone we knew in Lexie’s character.  

Brimming with tension and foreboding, The Baby Shower is a compelling, twisty and surprising psychological thriller that will make you feel all the feelings.  Trust me when I tell you this is a book not to be missed. 

Rating: ✮✮✮✮.5

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

Former BBC Producer, S.E. Lynes is the Amazon best selling author of ‘intelligent and haunting’, ‘beautifully written’ psychological thrillers, VALENTINA, MOTHER, THE PACT, THE PROPOSAL, THE WOMEN, THE LIES WE HIDE, CAN YOU SEE HER? and her latest novel, THE HOUSEWARMING, available for pre-order NOW.

After completing her MA, Lynes taught creative writing at Richmond Adult Community College for over ten years. She now combines writing, mentoring and lecturing.

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BUY THE BOOK:

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Check out the reviews from the other bloggers taking part in the tour.

Thanks for reading Bibliophiles 😊Emma xxxx

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Emma's Anticipated Treasures Monthly Wrap Up

Monthly Wrap-Up: January 2022

Welcome to the first monthly wrap up of 2022. It has been a slow month for me and I’ve only read 9 books, but quality is more important than quantity and I’ve enjoyed what I’ve read. I’ve also enjoyed having less pressure, being able to really savour books, and felt able to take a break from reading to rest when needed because of chronic illness flares a few times this month.

So, here is what I read in January:

Demon (Six Stories Book 6) by Matt Wesolowski

Published: January 20th, 2022
Publisher: Orenda
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Fairy Tale, Horror Fiction, Suspense, Psychological Fiction, Coming-of-Age Story, Biographical Fiction

I started my reading year with Demon, the latest installment in one of my favourite series, the Six Stories Series by Matt Wesolowski. It follows Scott King who hosts a podcast called Six Stories that investigate crimes with an element of the strange and mysterious, looking at them six different ways as he tries to discover what really happened. In Demon Scott investigates a heinous crime: the brutal, senseless murder of a child by two other children, two boys mired in grief and trauma, in a rural Yorkshire village. Can he sift through the rumours and folklore and discover what really happened that summer day? Unsettling, dark, haunting and addictive, Demon has all of Wesolowski’s signature flair and style, ensuring this is a book you won’t forget.

You can read my review here
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Wahala by Nikki May

Published: January 6th, 2022
Publisher: Doubleday
Genre: Psychological Fiction, Crime Fiction, Contemporary Novel, Domestic Fiction, Urban Fiction, Political Fiction, Romance Novel

Wahala was one of my most anticipated debuts of the year and it did not disappoint. A story of friendship, family, identity, race and secrets it lives up to it’s name (Wahala is a Nigerian Pidgin word meaning trouble). The characters are flawed, fascinating and fabulous, the food makes you want to eat, and the author has filled the book with humour, chaos and tension that keeps you hooked. This is a book that everyone will be talking about and I can’t wait to binge on the series that is already in development.

You can read my review here
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The Unravelling by Polly Crosby

Published: January 6th, 2022
Publisher: HQ
Genre: Historical Fiction, Fantasy Fiction, Magical Realism, Fairy Tale

The Unravelling is a beautiful novel. Polly Crosby is a masterful storyteller who expertly weaves intricate and mutlilayered stories that are impossible to put down. I had been eagerly anticipating this book ever since reading her debut at the end of 2019 and it was worth the wait. A story of grief, mystery and metamorphosis set on an isolated island, this hypnotic, haunting and atmospheric tale is one not to be missed.

You can read my review here
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The Key in the Lock by Beth Underdown

Published: January 13th, 2022
Publisher: Viking
Genre: Gothic Fiction, Historical Fiction, Historical Thriller, Horror Thriller, Gothic Romance

Mesmerising, beguiling and darkly atmospheric, The Key in the Lock is gothic fiction at its finest. I quickly devoured this captivating story that follows Ivy Boscawen, a mother struggling to come to terms with the loss of her son who is also still haunted by events that took place three decades earlier. The evocative imagery sets an eerie, haunting scene and sent shivers down my spine, making this hard to read at night in places. The plot is clever and intricately woven, keeping you guessing right until the very end. It was my first time reading this author and I have now bumped her debut higher up my TBR.

You can read my review here
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The Twyford Code by Janice Hallett

Published: January 13th, 2022
Publisher: Viper
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime Fiction

Intriguing, mysterious and surprising, The Twyford Code is like nothing I’ve read before.  As a puzzle lover, I was intrigued by the idea of a book that contained a hidden code, and it’s no secret that I enjoy a good mystery. The author tells the story in a unique way, using transcriptions of audio files instead of traditional narration. Though I loved this novel way of narrating, it also won’t be for everyone and was tricky to read in places. An original mystery that stands out from the crowd, it is cleverly plotted and full of surprising twists, keeping me guessing from beginning to end.

You can read my review here
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All For You by Louise Jensen

Published: January 20th, 2022
Publisher: HQ
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Domestic Fiction

Wow! What a rollercoaster ride! Crazy, heart-stopping and unputdownable, All For You has everything you could want in a thriller and more. Louise Jensen has knocked it out of the park with this one, crafting a story that is twisty and hard to predict. There’s heartache, trauma, secrets and mystery alongside an exploration of family dynamics, friendship, love, loss and tragedy. Expertly written, this jaw-dropping and addictive thriller is a must read for anyone who enjoys the genre.

You can read my review here
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The Guest Room by Rona Halsall

Published: January 31st. 2022
Publisher: Bookouture
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Crime Fiction

Rona Halsall is the queen of the twisty, morally complex thriller, and she’s delivered another knock-out with The Guest Room. This gripping tale will pull you in, mess with your mind and then spit you out when it’s done.  I thought I could predict where this was going but I was totally wrong, once again fooled by Ms. Halsall’s skillfully written red herrings. If you love thrillers and this author isn’t on your TBR, then you need ot change that now!

You can read my review on February 1st as part of the blog tour.
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The Gosling Girl by Jacqueline Roy

Published: January 20th, 2022
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Genre: Suspense, Literary Fiction

The Gosling Girl is another debut that was on my list of most anticipated debuts this year. Thought-provoking, poignant and totally riveting, this is a story that will linger long after you close it’s pages. The author examines some heavy topics such as the nature of evil, childhood crime and racism in this powerful story, asking difficult questions and unnerving you with some of the emotions you will feel. It follows a young woman who is fresh out of prison and trying to adjust to life on the outside. It’s a life that she has never really known after being imprisoned aged just ten after murdering a four-year-old in one of the country’s most shocking murders. She has had to change her identity to prevent vigilante justice and lives in fear of people finding out who she really is. The Gosling Girl is a powerful and piercing novel that I think everyone should read.

You can read my review on February 3rd as part of the blog tour.
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The Language of Food by Annabel Abbs

Published: February 3rd, 2022
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Genre: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance

It’s probably no surprise that the gorgeous cover of this book is what first made me want to pick it up, but I was delighted to discover that this is one of those times where what is on the inside is just as beautiful as what is on the outside. A story of food, poetry, strength, endurance and friendship, the author merges fact and fiction to tell the story of how Eliza Acton wrote what would become the greatest British cookbook of all time. Told in alternating chapters by Eliza and her assistant Ann Kirby, this spectacular and immersive novel made me fall in love. Read it now!

You can read my review on February 4th as part of the blog tour.
Buy the book*

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Despite only reading nine books, it has been so hard to choose a book of the month. Five of the books could have taken the title with The Unravelling, The Key in the Lock, All For You, The Gosling Girl and The Language of Food all being contenders. After a lot of deliberation, I have decided that my book of the month is…

Ok, technically it’s books of the month. I just couldn’t choose between The Gosling Girl and The Language of Food, two spectacular books that I think will be in my top books of 2022.

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Did we read any of the same books this month? Or are any of these on your TBR? Let me know in the comments.

Thanks for reading Bibliophiles ☺️ Emma xxxx

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Blog Tours book reviews Emma's Anticipated Treasures

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

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

Welcome to my stop on the tour for this compelling thriller. Thank you to Bookouture for the invitation to take part and the gifted eBook.

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SYNOPSIS:

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

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

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

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

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

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MY REVIEW:

A match is struck and the house goes up in flames, a candle left outside like a memorial to their victim.  Detective Gina Harte is determined to catch the killer but also desperately trying to keep her own dark secret that could end her career while under pressure from a journalist that refuses to quit.  After a second attack the mystery deepens, and Harte and her team are in a race against the clock before more lives are taken.

Her Dying Wish is the tenth book in the Detective Gina Harte series and it is another tense, twisty and pacy thriller from the talented Carla Kovach.  Ms. Kovach knows how to pull you in with a compelling plot while keeping you guessing and on the edge of your seat as she takes you on an electrifying rollercoaster ride.  And this book did that more than ever. 

I’ve become very fond of Gina over the last ten books of this series and feel a personal connection to her as a survivor of an abusive marriage.  I’ve been with her through her journey and the many pressures she’s faced, but she is facing her biggest challenge yet and under immense pressure as a local journalist relentlessly pursues her past and threatens to uncover her darkest secret.  This ramps up the tension as the secret she’s hiding has the potential to end her career, and probably this series.  I was rooting for her every step of the way and the idea of all being revealed felt as terrifying for me as it did for Gina.  But did she manage to keep her secret?  You’ll have to read to find out. 

But there is more to this book than Gina’s secret.  There is also a sick killer on the loose who is setting fire to people’s homes while they sleep inside.  Their motives appear to be personal but other than that there are no real clues.  Gina and her team are in a race against the clock with little to go on and the stakes get higher at each turn.  I found myself reading with breathless anticipation as Gina tries to solve the case and save her own skin. 

Once again Carla Kovach has delivered a compelling first-class thriller that you won’t want to put down.  I highly recommend both this book and the whole series to anyone who enjoys well-written crime fiction. 

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✰

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

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

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BUY THE BOOK:

Amazon*| Google Books| Apple Books| Kobo
*This is an affiliate link

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

Thanks for reading Bibliophiles 😊 Wishing you all a Merry Christmas Emma xxx

Categories
Blog Tours book reviews

Blog Tour: Stillwater Island (Detective Megan Carpenter 4) by Gregg Olsen

Published: December 7th, 2021
Publisher: Bookouture
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Noir Fiction, Crime Fiction, Crime Series
Format: Kindle, Paperback

I’m delighted to be opening the blog tour and sharing my review for this gripping thriller on it’s publication day. Thank you to Bookouture for the invitation to take part and the gifted eBook ARC.

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SYNOPSIS:

“Mommy, I’m scared.” Marlena’s precious boy lies with his little arm thrown over her thigh. It’s pitch-black, and she can hear seagulls. She realises they must be near water, and a new panic rises in her.

At 2 a.m. one icy winter morning, in the smart suburbs of Jefferson County, local father Ben Parker reports his wife Marlena and their little boy missing.

Rushing to the impressive family home, Detective Megan Carpenter finds the halls adorned with pictures of the beautiful, stay-at-home mom and their bright-eyed son. But that’s not all she finds…

A bottle of prenatal vitamins in the bathroom cabinet reveal that Marlena is pregnant. Why didn’t Ben mention this in his panicked call to the police?

Digging deeper into their seemingly perfect marriage, Megan’s fear begins to grow. The couple are separated, there’s talk of an affair, and the neighbors report loud fights. And then, Megan tracks a young woman believed to be Ben’s secret girlfriend, only to find her lifeless body in a secluded wood.

Ben’s watch lies in the undergrowth, and Megan’s team think she’s cracked the case, but she’s sure something’s not right. Ben’s family has wealth including a private island, and connections in high places. Is someone trying to block their investigation?

As Megan starts to wonder if the answer lies on the Parkers’ closely guarded island, just offshore, a shocking revelation makes her question everything. With a killer on the loose, can Megan find the missing pieces to the most complex case of her career and bring Marlena and her little boy home alive? Or will it be too late to save them?

A totally edge-of-your-seat mystery thriller that will have you racing to the end, from a number one, New York TimesWall Street Journal and Amazon Charts bestselling author. Perfect for fans of Robert Dugoni, Michael Connelly and James Patterson.

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MY REVIEW:

“There were real monsters. Not just the ones hiding under the bed or in the closet. The ones that masquerade as people.”

Happy Publication Day to this tense, twisty and addictive thriller.  

When Ben Parker reports his wife Marlena and their four-year-old son Bennie missing, the investigation quickly reveals secrets he’s keeping from the police, leaving them to wonder what else he could be hiding.  As Detective Megan Carpenter and her partner Ronnie dig deeper into the picture-perfect couple, further cracks and dark secrets appear, leaving them wondering if Ben could be involved in the mother and son’s disappearance.  Hoping to bring them hope safely, the team widens their investigation.  But the more they uncover, the more questions they have, and Megan worries that time is running out to bring Marlena and Ben home alive.  Will she find them before it’s too late?

This series just gets better and better.  Once again I was hooked from start to finish, reading this in under a day.  From the prologue the reader knows that Marlena and Bennie are being kept somewhere by an unknown kidnapper and the chapters from Marlena were some of the most memorable moments in the book.  They certainly added to the heart-stopping tension as I knew if they were alive and I was on tenterhooks as I silently screamed at Megan and her team to find them before it’s too late.  Ben is a fantastic villain.  He’s instantly unreliable and unlikable and you feel sure he’s behind it all.   As the story goes on he gets more and more sinister and detestable, making my skin crawl every time he appears on the page.

One of the things I love about a series is the familiarity of the characters, and with this being the fourth installment, we know them well.  But these books are also able to be read as a standalone, with the author quickly and succinctly catching the reader up with past events.  Our protagonist, Megan, is now in her first real relationship and trying to rebuild her relationship with her brother.  But as always her dark past is ever-present, a spectre looming over her every thought and moment and influencing her decisions.  But the actions she’s willing to take to punish the bad guys are changing, though she’s still the same feisty, tough and determined woman who we’ve come to love.  This time we don’t get many new revelations about her past, but instead get to watch her character grow, which was fun to read and I’m excited about where the author will take her in book five. 

Deliciously dark, suspenseful and unflinching, this is one I’d recommend to anyone who enjoys a well-written crime thriller. 

Rating: ✭✭✭✭✰

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

A #1 New York Times, Amazon Charts, Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author, Gregg Olsen has written nine nonfiction books, seventeen novels, a novella, and contributed a short story to a collection edited by Lee Child.

The award-winning author has been a guest on dozens of national and local television shows, including educational programs for the History Channel, Learning Channel, and Discovery Channel.

The Deep Dark was named Idaho Book of the Year by the ILA and Starvation Heights was honoured by Washington’s Secretary of State for the book’s contribution to Washington state history and culture.

Olsen, a Seattle native, lives in Olalla, Washington with his wife, twin daughters, three chickens, Milo (an obedience school dropout cocker) and Suri (a mini dachshund so spoiled she wears a sweater).

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BUY THE BOOK:

Amazon| Google Books| Apple Books| Kobo

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

Thanks for reading Bibliophiles😊 Emma xxx

Categories
Blog Tours book reviews

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

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

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

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SYNOPSIS:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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MY REVIEW:

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

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

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

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

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✰

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

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

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BUY THE BOOK:

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

Thanks for reading Bibliophiles ☺️ Emma xxx

Categories
Blog Tours book reviews

Blog Tour: The Second Marriage by Jess Ryder

Published: November 3rd, 2021
Publisher: Bookouture
Genre: Thriller, Psychological Thriller, Mystery, Suspense, Crime Fiction
Format: Paperback, Kindle, Audiobook

Welcome to my stop on the tour for this twisted domestic thriller. Thanks to Bookouture for the invitation to take part and the eBook ARC.

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SYNOPSIS:

My best friend warned me that it was too soon to marry Edward, a widower with an adorable but troubled little boy. She said we were moving too fast. But all I could see was a kind, loving man, struggling with grief, who needed my help.

Yet as storm clouds gather above our small wedding ceremony, my hopes and dreams fall apart. None of my husband’s family turn up to support us. Instead of a honeymoon, we have a quiet night in. My wedding bouquet is placed on his first wife’s grave. And then my new stepson tells me he’s sure his mother is still alive.

What does Noah remember and why is his father trying to make him forget? Have I been completely wrong about my husband? What happened to the woman who came before me, and how far will he go to stop me finding out the truth?

An utterly unputdownable, gripping, twisty psychological thriller, perfect for fans of Before I Go To SleepThe Girl on the Train and Gone Girl.

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MY REVIEW:

“They think I’ve forgotten, but I remember everything. She’s not dead, Lily. Mummy’s still alive.”

This tense and twisted domestic thriller was a crazy rollercoaster ride that had me on the edge of my seat from start to finish. There is an air of malevolence and foreboding that hovers over the story from the first pages, but I was still unprepared for the dark and sinister story I was about to read. 

A big reason I found this book so hard to put down is the characters. Each one is fascinating but flawed, making them compelling to read. The author makes their emotions leap from the pages and manages to make even the villains likeable and sympathetic at times. Lily is a great protagonist. She is a little naive but it is easy to understand. Afterall, we’ve all had blinders on and done silly things when in love. As the story went on I came to appreciate how strong, feisty and determined she is, even in the face of fear. I liked that the author showed us the battle that raged inside her as she struggled to come to terms with the truth about Edward; desperately wanting to believe in him and their marriage, but slowly accepting what she had discovered was real. Her anger, pain, betrayal and fear was so vivid I could feel it. 

There was something off about Edward from the moment we met him. It was clear he was hiding something and like Lily I was suspicious about why he was so insistent that Noah should forget his mother. He is brilliantly written, bringing a menacing and ominous atmosphere to the book even when not on the page while also showing enough charm that you understand why Lily fell in love with him and buys his lies. 

But the star of the show is Noah, a shy, strange child who we slowly come to understand as the story unfolds. My heart broke for him as we discovered all he had gone through and I was grateful that he had Lily in his corner. I loved the bond they shared and how the author portrayed the bumpy road that comes with blending families even when the child loves and likes a new partner. 

Intelligently written and full of intrigue and suspense, The Second Marriage is the kind of twisty thriller that makes my heart sing. One for any fans of a dark domestic thriller. 

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✰

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

Jess Ryder is the pseudonym of Jan Page, author, screenwriter, playwright and award-winning television producer. After many years working in children’s media, she has recently embarked on a life of crime. Writing, that is. So she’s very excited about the publication of her debut thriller Lie to Me. Her other big love is making pots.

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BUY THE BOOK:

Amazon| Google Books |Apple Books| Kobo

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

Thanks for reading Bibliophiles ☺️ Emma xxx