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

BLOG TOUR: If I Let You Go by Charlotte Levin

Published: March 2nd, 2023
Publisher: Mantle
Genre: Domestic Fiction, Contemporary Fiction
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audiobook

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for If I Let You Go. Thank you to Chloe at Pan Macmillan for the invitation to take part, and to Bookbreak for the gifted copy of the book.

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SYNOPSIS:

‘Simultaneously tragic and uplifting. And I have to say at times funny. Charlotte Levin is SUCH a clever writer . . . A magnificent read.’ – Ruth Jones, author of Love Untold

A gripping, darkly comic tale of searing loss, coercive control and the consequences of taking the wrong path.


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

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

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

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

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MY REVIEW:

“That’s what she does. Smile through it all. And it’s exhausting.”

Moving, heartrending and achingly real, If I Let You Go packs an emotional punch. It is one of those books where it is best to go in blind and just enjoy watching the story unfold. Charlotte Levin has written a compelling tale enmeshed in drama and heartache that has some great moments of dark humour to lighten the mood. I was transfixed and inhaled it in just a few hours. 

Narrator Janet’s world is a bleak place filled with grief, guilt, despair and dysfunction. She lives in prison with bars made of blame and coercive control, her husband cruelly and methodically chipping away at her daily to make her a shadow of the person she once was. She dreams of freedom, but also believes she doesn’t deserve it because her daughter Claire’s death was her fault. She is very real and I liked how the author lets the reader into her innermost thoughts and feelings, allowing her to confide her darkest secrets so that we understand her rather than judge. I loved that she was morally complex, reminding us that even the nicest people with the best of intentions can make terrible choices.. The background characters are just as well written, with Colin making my skin crawl every time he was on the page. As an abuse survivor reading this story was like stepping back into the life I broke free from and I appreciate the authentic way in which it was written. It made me feel all the more invested in the story and I was rooting for Janet to finally find the strength to leave.

A deeply human story that manages to be both heartbreaking and hopeful, I highly recommend adding this one to your TBR.

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✰

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

Charlotte Levin has been shortlisted for the Andrea Badenoch Award, part of the New Writers North Awards, and for the Mslexia Short Story Competition. IF I CAN’T HAVE YOU is her debut novel, and IF I LET YOU GO is out in March 2023. Charlotte lives in Manchester with her cat Opal Moon and kittens Leonard and Walter.

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BUY THE BOOK:

Waterstones | Amazon | Bookshop.org

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Thanks for reading Bibliophiles xxx

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

*All purchase links are affiliate links

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Emma's Anticipated Treasures Most Anticipated 2023

Emma’s Anticipated Treasures – March 2023

The third month of the year is almost upon us, and it’s a month bursting with books I want to read. It’s no wonder my TBR never gets any smaller with my most anticipated releases for March alone being a whopping thirty-seven books! Lord help me. And my bank account.

So, what’s on my list? There’s some exciting new releases from favourite authors such as Helen Fields, Margaret Atwood and Louise Swanson (Beech), as well as releases from debut and new-to-me authors.

Here are are the books I’m most looking forward to next month:

The Institution by Helen Fields

Published: March 2nd, 2023
Publisher: Avon Books
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Suspense

SYNOPSIS:
They’re locked up for your safety.
Now, you’re locked in with them.

Dr Connie Woolwine has five days to catch a killer.

On a locked ward in the world’s highest-security prison hospital, a scream shatters the night. The next morning, a nurse’s body is found and her daughter has been taken. A ransom must be paid, and the clock is ticking.

Forensic profiler Dr Connie Woolwine is renowned for her ability to get inside the mind of a murderer. Now, she must go deep undercover among the most deranged and dangerous men on earth and use her unique skills to find the girl – before it’s too late.

But as the walls close in around her, can Connie get the killer before The Institution gets her?

A claustrophobic, haunting crime thriller that will keep you up at night, perfect for those who couldn’t put down The Sanatorium and Amy McCulloch’s Breathless.

Pre-order here*

Clytemnestra by Costanza Castai

Published: March 2nd, 2023
Publisher: Michael Joseph
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mythology, Fairy Tale

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

‘Vivid with fury, passion and strength, this is a fabulous myth retelling’
 JENNIFER SAINT

‘A powerhouse of a novel. Clytemnestra’s rage, heartbreak and determination radiate off the page’ ELODIE HARPER

‘A thrilling tale of power and prophecies, and the fierce Queen who fought back at those who wronged her’ COSMOPOLITAN, ‘The best books to look forward to in 2023’

‘A heroine of fierce spirit. With the fire and spark of Madeline Miller and the depths of Mary Renault, Clytemnestra will keep you reading well into the small hours’ MANDA SCOTT

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

Pre-order here*

The Book of Eve by Meg Clothier

Published: March 2nd, 2023
Publisher: Wildfire
Genre: Historical Fiction, Suspense, Historical Mystery, Historical Fantasy, Fairy Tale, Fantasy Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
The Binding meets The Handmaid’s Tale – Discovering a book of dark and ancient power, a convent librarian must defend it with her life. Perfect for fans of dark academia and historical feminist fiction.

‘A wonderfully rich and absorbing tale’ Observer
‘Expertly crafted and beautifully told’ Jennifer Saint
‘All so good. I read it in two days flat, and wish I had spaced it out more’ 
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ READER REVIEW

Beatrice is the convent’s librarian. For years, she has shunned the company of her sisters, finding solace only with her manuscripts.

Then, one carnival night, two women, bleeding and stricken, are abandoned outside the convent’s walls. Moments from death, one of them presses something into Beatrice’s hands: a bewitching book whose pages have a dangerous life of their own.

But men of the faith want the book destroyed, and a zealous preacher has tracked it to her door. Her sisters’ lives – or her obsession. Beatrice must decide.

The book’s voice is growing stronger.

An ancient power uncoils.

Will she dare to listen?

Pre-order here*

Lady MacBethad by Isabelle Schuler

Published: March 2nd, 2023
Publisher: Raven Books
Genre: Historical Fiction, thriller

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

She will be Queen. Whatever it takes…


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

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

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

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

Pre-order here*

Mother’s Day by Abigail Burdess

Published: March 2nd, 2023
Publisher: Wildfire
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Psychological Fiction, Suspense, Humour

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

Mother’s Day is terrific. So dark, so twisted’

HARRIET TYCE, AUTHOR OF BLOOD ORANGE

‘Superbly written and darkly funny. I simply couldn’t look away.’
JANICE HALLETT, AUTHOR OF THE APPEAL AND THE TWYFORD CODE

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

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

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

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

Pre-order here*

A Good House For Children by Kate Collins

Published: March 2nd
Publisher: Serpent’s Tail
Genre: Gothic Fiction, Horror Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
The perfect place to destroy a family…

The Reeve stands on the edge of the Dorset cliffs, awaiting its next inhabitants. Despite Orla’s misgivings, her husband insists this house will be the perfect place to raise their two children.

In 1976, Lydia moves to Dorset as a nanny for a family grieving their patriarch. She soon starts to hear and feel things that cannot be real, but her bereaved employer does not listen when Lydia tells her something is wrong.

Separated by forty years, both Lydia and Orla realise that the longer they stay at the Reeve, the more deadly certain their need to keep the children safe from whatever lurks inside it…

Nothing is quite what it seems at the Reeve, and with its pervasive atmosphere of claustrophobia and dread, Kate Collins’ gothic creation will chill you to the core.

Pre-order here*

If I Let You Go by Charlotte Levin

Published: March 2nd, 2023
Publisher: Mantle
Genre: Domestic Fiction, Contemporary Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
A gripping, darkly comic tale of searing loss, coercive control and the consequences of taking the wrong path.

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

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

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

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

Pre-order here*

All the Little Bird-Hearts by Viktoria Lloyd-Barlow

Published: March 2nd, 2023
Publisher: Tinder Press
Genre: Domestic Fiction, Humorous Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
‘Glorious. Unforgettable’ Melissa Harrison
‘Funny, lyrical, deft and devastating’ Amy Sackville
‘A distinct and poetic new voice’ Clare Pollard

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

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

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

Pre-order here*

No Life For A Lady by Hannah Dolby

Published: March 2nd, 2023
Publisher: Aria
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance Novel, Historical Romance, Satire, Historical Mystery

SYNOPSIS:
The most joyful book of 2023!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pre-order here*

Cursed Bread by Sophie Mackintosh

Published: March 2nd, 2023
Publisher: Hamish Hamilton
Genre: Historical Fiction, Dystopian Fiction

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

A recommended read for 2023 in The Times, Guardian, Irish Times, Scotsman, iD, Good Housekeeping, Big Issue and Our Culture

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


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


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

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

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

Pre-order here*

Strange Sally Diamond by Liz Nugent

Published: March 2nd, 2023
Publisher: Sandycove
Genre: Psychological Thriller, Suspense, Crime Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
From the Number 1 bestselling author of Our Little Cruelties and Skin Deep

Sally Diamond cannot understand why what she did was so strange. She was only doing what her father told her to do, to put him out with the rubbish when he died.

Now Sally is the centre of attention, not only from the hungry media and police detectives, but also a sinister voice from a past she cannot remember. As she begins to discover the horrors of her childhood, Sally steps into the world for the first time, making new friends and big decisions, and learning that people don’t always mean what they say.

But who is the man observing Sally from the other side of the world? And why does her neighbour seem to be obsessed with her? Sally’s trust issues are about to be severely challenged . . .

Pre-order here*

Freeze by Kate Simants

Published: March 2nd, 2023
Publisher: Viper
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Psychological Fiction, Crime Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
ON THE TOUGHEST REALITY SHOW ON TELEVISION
A KILLER IS HIDING OUT OF SHOT

Frozen Out is set to be a TV sensation. On a small ship off the coast of Greenland, eight contestants will push themselves to breaking point for a £100,000 prize.

The show is Tori Matsuka’s baby. After years working her way up the ladder, she’s finally launching her own production company with Frozen Out, and the late nights, the debts, the strain on her relationship will all be worthwhile. Everything is riding on the next twelve days. For camerawoman Dee, it’s a chance to start again after the tragedy that tanked her undercover journalism career. Not even Tori, her oldest friend, knows the full truth of why Dee left her previous job, and she plans to keep it that way.

But as errors and mishaps mount on set, tempers among the cast and crew start to fray. And when one of the contestants is found dead, only Dee realises the death wasn’t natural – and from what she’s seen from behind the camera, it won’t be the last. As the Arctic ice closes in around them and all chance of escape is cut off, it becomes clear that although the world outside wants them dead, it’s the secrets inside the ship that might cost them their lives.

Packed with suspense from the first page to the last, Freeze is a must-read for fans of Shiver, The Sanatorium and One By One. This thriller isn’t just chilling: it’s sub-zero.

Pre-order here*

The Writing Retreat by Julia Bartz

Published: March 2nd, 2023
Publisher: Magpie
Genre: Psychological Thriller, Suspense

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

A book deal to die for.

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

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

But then the women begin to die.

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

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

Pre-order here*

Wandering Souls by Cecile Pin

Published: March 2nd, 2023
Publisher: Fourth Estate
Genre: Literary Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
A Best Book of 2023 in VogueAnOther Magazinei-DIndependentEvening Standard and Huffington Post

An extraordinary, original and heartbreaking debut novel about the bonds that connect people even when separated by seas or death itself, from a thrilling new voice.

There are the goodbyes and then the fishing out of the bodies – everything in between is speculation.

One night, not long after the last American troops leave Vietnam, siblings Anh, Thanh and Minh flee their village and embark on a perilous boat journey to Hong Kong. Their parents and four younger siblings make the crossing in another vessel but as weeks go by it becomes clear that only one party has survived the voyage.

Anh, Thanh and Minh suddenly find themselves alone in the world, without family or home. They travel on, navigating refugee camps and resettlement centres until, by a twist of fate, they arrive in Thatcher’s Britain. Here they must somehow build new lives with only each other to turn to, but will that be enough in a place that doesn’t seem to want them?

In this piercing debut, the siblings’ faltering journey is deftly interwoven with the voice of their lost younger brother, Dao, following them from a place between the living and the dead, and the records of an unknown researcher intent on gathering together the strands of their story. Revelatory and inventive, Wandering Souls paints a heart-wrenching portrait of a family in unimaginable adversity while exploring the power of stories to heal generational wounds. It heralds the arrival of an essential new voice in fiction.

Pre-order here*

One Moment by Becky Hunter

Published: March 2nd, 2023
Publisher: Corvus
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Urban Fiction, Ghost Story

SYNOPSIS:
‘An emotional read about love and trust, with an OMG ending’ Jill Mansell

One moment in time can change everything…

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

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

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

Pre-order here*

The Bandit Queens by Parini Shroff

Published: March 2nd, 2023
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Genre: Thriller, Domestic Fiction, Humorous Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
***A BBC Radio 2 Book Club Pick 2023***

‘A radically feel-good story about the murder of no-good husbands by a cast of unsinkable women’ – New York Times


‘Original, memorable, and endearing’ Charmaine Wilkerson, author of BLACK CAKE


________________


For Geeta, life as a widow is more peaceful than life as a wife…

Until the other women in her village decide they want to be widows, too.

Geeta is believed to have killed her vanished husband – a rumour she hasn’t bothered trying to correct, because a reputation like that can keep a single woman safe in rural India. But when she’s approached for help in ridding another wife of her abusive drunk of a husband, her reluctant agreement sets in motion a chain of events that will change the lives of all the women in the village….

A darkly irreverent and fresh take on a feminist revenge thriller, perfect for readers of My Sister the Serial Killer, How To Kidnap The Rich and the Sharon Horgan series Bad Sisters.

Pre-order here*

The Purgatory Poisoning by Rebecca Rogers

Published: March 2nd, 2023
Publisher: HarperCollins UK
Genre: Mystery, Dark Comedy, Humorous Fiction, Cozy Mystery, Supernatural Fiction, Fantasy Fiction, Horror Fiction, Fantasy Comedy

SYNOPSIS:
Winner of the Comedy Women in Print Unpublished Prize!

How do you solve your own murder when you’re already dead?

Purgatory (noun):
1. Where the dead are sent to atone.
2. A place of suffering or torment.
3. A youth hostel where the occupants play Scrabble and the mattresses are paper thin.

When Dave wakes up in his own personal purgatory (St Ives Youth Hostel circa 1992), he’s shocked to discover he’s dead. And worse – he was murdered.

Heaven doesn’t know who did it so with the help of two rogue angels, Dave must uncover the truth.

As divine forces from both sides start to play the game, can Dave get out of this alive? Or at the very least, with his soul intact?

Pre-order here*

The Curator by Owen King

Published: March 7th, 2023
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Genre: Suspense, Horror Fiction

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

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


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

Yet it only takes a spark to ignite a revolution.

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

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

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

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

Pre-order here*

Old Babes in the Wood by Margaret Atwood

Published: March 7th, 2023
Publisher: Chatto & Windus
Genre: Literary Fiction, Short Stories

SYNOPSIS:
Margaret Atwood is celebrated as one of the most gifted storytellers in the world. This new collection showcases her many talents — and the return of her beloved characters Nell & Tig

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

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

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

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

Pre-order here*

In Memoriam by Alice Winn

Published: March 9th, 2023
Publisher: Viking
Genre: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, War Story, LGBT Literature, Gay Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
A gripping, heart-shattering love story between two soldiers in the First World War – available for pre-order now

‘Assured, affecting and moving. Alice Winn has written a devastating love story between two young men . . . Gaunt and Ellwood will live in your mind long after you’ve closed the final pages’ Maggie O’Farrell

It’s 1914, and talk of war feels far away to Henry Gaunt, Sidney Ellwood and the rest of their classmates, safely ensconced in their idyllic boarding school in the English countryside. At seventeen, they’re too young to enlist, and anyway, Gaunt is fighting his own private battle – an all-consuming infatuation with his best friend, the dreamy, poetic Ellwood – not having a clue that Ellwood is in love with him, always has been. When Gaunt’s German mother asks him to enlist as an officer in the British army to protect the family from anti-German attacks, Gaunt signs up immediately, relieved to escape his overwhelming feelings for Ellwood.

The front is horrific, of course, and though Gaunt tries to dissuade Ellwood from joining him on the battlefield, Ellwood soon rushes to join him, spurred on by his love of Greek heroes and romantic poetry. Before long, their classmates have followed suit. Once in the trenches, Ellwood and Gaunt find fleeting moments of solace in one another, but their friends are all dying, right in front of them, and at any moment they could be next.

An epic tale of both the devastating tragedies of war and the forbidden romance that blooms in its grip, In Memoriam is a breathtaking debut.

Pre-order here*

A Witch’s Guide to Fake Dating a Demon by Sarah Hawley

Published: March 9th, 2023
Publisher: Gollancz
Genre: Romance Novel, Contemporary Romance, Romantic Fantasy, Paranormal Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
Mariel Spark knows not to trust a demon, especially one that wants her soul, but what’s a witch to do when he won’t leave her side – and she kind of doesn’t want him to?

Mariel Spark is prophesied to be the most powerful witch seen in centuries of the famed Spark family, but to the displeasure of her mother, she prefers baking to brewing potions and gardening to casting hexes. When a spell to summon flour goes very wrong, Mariel finds herself staring down a demon – one she inadvertently summoned for a soul bargain.

Ozroth the Ruthless is a legend among demons. Powerful and merciless, he drives hard bargains to collect mortal souls. But his reputation has suffered ever since a bargain went awry – if he can strike a deal with Mariel, he will earn back his deadly reputation. Ozroth can’t leave Mariel’s side until they complete a bargain, which she refuses to do (turns out some humans are attached to their souls).

But the witch is funny. And curvy. And disgustingly yet endearingly cheerful. Becoming awkward roommates quickly escalates when Mariel, terrified to confess the inadvertent summoning to her mother, blurts out that she’s dating Ozroth. As Ozroth and Mariel struggle to maintain a fake relationship, real attraction blooms between them. But Ozroth has a limited amount of time to strike the deal, and if Mariel gives up her soul, she’ll lose all her emotions – including love – which will only spell disaster for them both.

Pre-order here*

Lies We Sing To The Sea by Sarah Underwood

Published: March 16th, 2023
Publisher: Electric Monkey
Genre: Mythology, Fantasy Fiction, Fantasy Romance, Young Adult Fiction, LGBTQ+ Literature

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

”A lovely, lyrical fantasy which takes the fate of the hanged maids of the Odyssey and weaves something brand new. A story overflowing with emotion and full of magic.”
Jennifer Saint, bestselling author of Ariadne and Elektra

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

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

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

Pre-order here*

The Ugly Truth by L.C. North

Published: March 16th, 2023
Publisher: Bantam Press
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Crime Fiction, Epistolary Novel

SYNOPSIS:
Melanie Lange has disappeared.

Her father, Sir Peter Lange, says she is a danger to herself and has been admitted to a private mental health clinic.

Her ex-husband, Finn, and best friend, Nell, say she has been kidnapped.

The media will say whichever gets them the most views.

But whose side are you on?
#SaveMelanie
#HelpPeter

Told via interviews, transcripts and diary entries, The Ugly Truth is a shocking and addictive thriller about fame, power and the truth behind the headlines.

‘#FreeBritney meets The Appeal in this addictively unique thriller. Get ready to be utterly hooked’ Jack Jordan, author of Do No Harm

Pre-order here*

The Half-Burnt House by Alex North

Published: March 16th, 2023
Published: Michael Joseph
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Crime Fiction, Psychological Thriller, Police Procedural, Horror Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
ARE YOU READY TO ENTER THE HALF BURNT HOUSE?

The spine-tingling new thriller from the internationally bestselling author of THE WHISPER MAN, a Richard and Judy pick.

*****

Katie always looked after her beloved younger brother Chris – until she left him alone for one selfish afternoon, and their picture-perfect family fell apart. Although Chris survived the attack, the scars ran deeper than the ones left across his face. Now they’re adults, and they haven’t spoken in years. Then she gets a call, from Detective Laurence Page.

Page is facing an unusually disturbing crime scene. Alan Hobbes, a distinguished and wealthy philosophy professor, has been brutally murdered. Hobbes was living in a sprawling mansion – but one that remains half-ruined by a decades-old fire, wind and rain howling through the gaping, creaking roof.

Page only has one suspect: Chris, caught on CCTV at the house. But he has plenty of questions. What could cause a man as wealthy as Hobbes not to repair his home? Why did he seem to know his death was coming, yet do nothing to stop it? And why was he obsessed with a legendary local serial killer?

But Katie only has one thing on her mind. She knows this is her last, best chance to finally save her brother, and make up for her negligence all those years ago.

But she can’t possibly imagine just how much danger he’s in…

Pre-order here*

Beautiful Shining People by Michael Grothaus

Published: March 16th, 2023
Publisher: Orenda
Genre: Literary Fiction. Contemporary Fiction, Science Fiction

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

Pre-order here

The Company by J.M. Varese

Published: March 16th, 2023
Publisher: Baskerville
Genre: Suspense, Thriller, Historical Fiction, Gothic Fiction, Horror Fiction, Adventure Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
The Company is diabolically good . . . J.M. Varese’s gothic tale is sinuously elegant and claustrophobic as deadly Victorian wallpaper’ Kate Griffin, author of Fyneshade

London, 1870.

Lucy Braithwhite lives a privileged existence as heir to the fortune of Braithwhite & Company – the most successful purveyor of English luxury wallpapers the world over. The company’s formulas have been respected for nearly a century, but have always remained cloaked in mystery. No one has been able to explain the originality of design, or the brilliance of their colours, leaving many to wonder if the mysterious spell-like effect of their wallpapers is due simply to artistry, or something more sinister.

When Mr Luckhurst, the company’s manager, and the man who has acted as surrogate father to Lucy and her invalid brother John since they were children, suddenly dies, Lucy is shocked to discover that there is no succession plan in place. Who will ensure that the company and her family continue to thrive?

The answer soon arrives in the form of the young and alluring Julian Rivers, who, unbeknownst to Lucy and John, has been essential to the company’s operations for some time. At first, he seems like the answer to their prayers, but as Lucy begins piecing together Julian’s true intentions, and John begins seeing spectral visions in the house’s wallpaper, it becomes clear to Lucy that she must do everything within her power to oppose the diabolic forces that have risen up to destroy her family.

Set against the backdrop of the real-life arsenic wallpaper controversy of the late 19th century, The Company is a dark and haunting slice of gothic Victoriana, following one woman’s fight to preserve all that she holds dear.

Pre-order here*

The Walled Garden by Sarah Hardy

Published: March 16th, 2023
Publisher: Manilla Press
Genre: Mystery, Romance Novel, Historical Fiction, Historical Mystery, Cozy Mystery, Coming-of-Age Story, Contemporary Romance, Holiday Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
A luminous debut novel about love, the trauma of war and the miracle of human resilience, for readers of Anna Hope, Sadie Jones and Elizabeth Jane Howard.

No one survives war unscathed. But even in the darkest days, seeds of hope can grow.

It is 1946 and in the village of Oakbourne the men are home from the war. Their bodies are healing but their psychological wounds run deep. Everyone is scarred – those who fought and those left behind.

Alice Rayne is married to Stephen, heir to crumbling Oakbourne Hall. Once a sweet, gentle man, he has returned a bitter and angry stranger, destroyed by what he has seen and done, tormented by secrets Alice can only guess at.

Lonely and increasingly afraid of the man her husband has become, Alice must try to pick up the pieces of her marriage and save Oakbourne Hall from total collapse. She begins with the walled garden and, as it starts to bear fruit, she finds herself drawn into a new, forbidden love.

Set in the Suffolk countryside as it moves from winter to spring, The Walled Garden is a captivating love story and a timeless, moving exploration of trauma and the miracle of human resilience.

Pre-order here*

The London Seance Society by Sarah Penner

Published: March 21st, 2023
Publisher: Legend Press
Genre: Historical Fiction, Supernatural Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
From the author of the intoxicating bestseller The Lost Apothecary comes an entrancing exploration of the blurred lines between truth and illusion and the grave risks women take to avenge the ones they love.

May mercy be upon the man who finds himself the enemy of a vengeful medium…

1873. At an abandoned château on the outskirts of Paris, a dark séance is about to take place, led by acclaimed spiritualist Vaudeline D’Allaire. Known worldwide for her talent in conjuring the spirits of murder victims to ascertain the identities of the people who killed them, she is highly sought after by widows and investigators alike.

Lenna Wickes has come to Paris to find answers about her sister’s death, but to do so, she must embrace the unknown and overcome her own logic-driven bias against the occult. When Vaudeline is beckoned to England to solve a high-profile murder, Lenna accompanies her as an understudy. But as the women team up with the powerful men of London’s exclusive Séance Society to solve the mystery, they begin to suspect that they are not merely out to solve a crime, but perhaps entangled in one themselves…

Pre-order here*

End of Story by Louise Swanson

Published: March 23rd, 2023
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Genre: Suspense, Thriller, Psychological Thriller, Dystopian Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
Too much imagination can be a dangerous thing

It has been five years since writing fiction was banned by the government.

Fern Dostoy is a criminal. Officially, she has retrained in a new job outside of the arts but she still scrawls in a secret notepad in an effort to capture what her life has become: her work on a banned phone line, reading bedtime stories to sleep-starved children; Hunter, the young boy who calls her and has captured her heart; and the dreaded visits from government officials.

But as Fern begins to learn more about Hunter, doubts begin to surface. What are they both hiding?

And who can be trusted?

Pre-order here*

The Lodger by Helen Scarlett

Published: March 23rd, 2023
Publisher: Quercus
Genre: Historical Fiction, Gothic Fiction, Thriller, Historical Romance

SYNOPSIS:
This second novel from the author of The Deception of Harriet Fleet takes us back to the aftermath of the Great War in another haunting, atmospheric Gothic tale.

London in 1919 was a city of ghosts and absences, haunted by the men who marched away but never came back from ‘the war to end all wars.’

Grace Armstrong believes that she has come to terms with her own loss, the death of her fiancé, the brilliant and dazzling best friend of her brother. He was declared Missing in Action during the Battle of the Somme, but he starts to reappear both in her waking life and dreams.

Grace is appalled when a body, dragged from the Thames, is identified as Elizabeth Smith, who has lodged with Grace and her family for the last eight years before suddenly disappearing.

Elizabeth had been more than a lodger; she had become a close friend to Grace, who feels compelled to find out what happened. In doing so she is drawn reluctantly into the sordid and dangerous underbelly of London and a scandal that rocked Edwardian society. Soon Grace finds herself under threat, and the only person prepared to listen is the brooding Tom Monaghan. But Tom has dark shadows of his own to navigate before being able to put his past behind him to help Grace in her quest for the truth.

Pre-order here*

The Secrets of Hartwood Hall by Katie Lumsden

Published: March 30th, 2023
Publisher: Michael Joseph
Genre: Gothic Fiction, Historical Fiction, Historical Mystery, Suspense

SYNOPSIS:
Pre-order Katie Lumsden’s mysterious and atmospheric debut novel NOW, for fans of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, Stacey Halls and Bridget Collins

‘I loved this fresh take on the gothic genre. Vivid, haunting, surprising’ STACEY HALLS, author of Sunday Times bestsellers The Familiars, The Foundling and Mrs England

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

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

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

The Secrets of Hartwood Hall is an authentic and atmospheric love letter to Victorian fiction.

Pre-order here*

The Valkyrie by Kate Heartfield

Published: March 30th, 2023
Publisher: HarperVoyager UK
Genre: Historical Fiction, Historical Fantasy, Fantasy Fiction, Romantic Fiction, High Fantasy, Fairy Tale

SYNOPSIS:
From SUNDAY TIMES bestselling author Kate Heartfield comes a glorious, lyrical retelling of one of Norse mythology’s greatest epics

Brynhild is a Valkyrie: shieldmaiden of the Allfather, chooser of the slain. But now she too has fallen, flightless in her exile.

Gudrun is a princess of Burgundy, a daughter of the Rhine, a prize for an invading king – a king whose brother Attila has other plans, and a dragon to call upon.

And in the songs to be sung, there is another hero: Sigurd, a warrior with a sword sharper than the new moon.

As the legends tell, these names are destined to be lovers, fated as enemies. But here on Midgard, legends can be lies…

For not all heroes are heroic, nor all monsters monstrous. And a shieldmaiden may yet find that love is the greatest weapon of all.

Pre-order here*

The Favour by Nicci French

Published: March 30th, 2023
Published: Simon & Schuster UK
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Suspense, Psychological Thriller

SYNOPSIS:
A good deed
Can turn deadly…
 
When Liam unexpectedly turns up in Jude’s life after ten years of no contact, asking her for a favour, she just can’t say no. He was her first love, and even though she is now a successful doctor and about to get married, he will always be someone special to her.
But after she does the favour, she is contacted by the police, informing her that Liam has been found dead, and suddenly she is caught up in a murder investigation.
 
And she realises this one decision could cost her everything – even her life…

Pre-order here*

Dirty Laundry by Disha Bose

Published: March 30th, 2023
Publisher: Viking
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Crime Fiction, Domestic Fiction, Romance Novel, Contemporary Romance

SYNOPSIS:
SECRETS, DESIRE, BLOOD… It all comes out in the wash

————-

Keep your friends close and your neighbours closer…

Ciara has it all – a loving husband, well-behaved children and an immaculate home. But behind the filters, her reality is far from what it seems.

Mishti is stuck in a loveless marriage, raising her daughter in a country that is too cold, among children who look nothing like her.

Lauren is mostly happy, despite being judged for letting her kids run naked, wild and free.

Then Ciara is found murdered in her pristine home and suddenly everyone is a suspect.

Hushed whispers, secret rendezvous and bloody betrayals . . .

Everyone has their dirty laundry, but this goes beyond gossip.

This is all-out war.

A deliciously scandalous page-turner about the dark side of suburbia that peels back the layers of Ciara’s insta-perfect life to reveal friendships gone rotten, manipulation masquerading as love and families riddled with lies . . .

Pre-order here*

Every Happy Family by Sarah Stovell

Published: March 30th, 2023
Publisher: HQ
Genre: Domestic Fiction, Humorous Fiction, Coming-of-Age Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
The closer you are, the more damage they do.

Minnie and Bert are over the moon to have their three grown-up children home for the first time in a decade. But having Lizzie, Jess, Owen and the grandchildren under one roof isn’t without its dramas.

Lizzie is off the alcohol (although emergency gin doesn’t count), Jess is juggling a toddler and a newborn, but it’s Owen who has the power to throw a grenade into everything.

It all stems from an incident that happened years ago. And it involves Nora Skelly – a name you don’t mention in front of Minnie.

With Nora also back in town, the past is about to come crashing into the present. And what better time to revisit old secrets and resentments than around the family dinner table?

Pre-order here*

Mother Hens by Sophie McCartney

Published: March 30th, 2023
Publisher: HarperNorth
Genre: Mystery, Humorous Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Domestic Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
Welcome to a hen do where the cocktails aren’t Sex on the Beach, but Revenge Served Cold …

A story of secrets, payback and finding out it’s never too late to break the rules, MOTHER HENS is hilarious, scandalous and a battle-cry for everyone who’s ever wanted to see what life is like when we stop trying to please other people.

Cara Carmichael’s bestie is finally getting hitched, and she’s over the moon because it means one thing and one thing only… Whoah, they’re going to Ibiza! Swapping the school run for old skool club classics; four friends are leaving behind their kids, partners and better judgement for a mini-break filled with sun, sea, and sex…y Spanx. Mums on Tour: What could possibly go ‘Pete Tong’?

Lazy days, crazy nights and child-free hangovers might seem like hedonistic heaven – but it turns out you can get into a hell of a lot of trouble, very fast, on the party island where rules are meant to be broken.

For Cara, it’s her first holiday post-divorce, and a chance to forget about an explosive family feud with her stardom-seeking sister and Pina-Colada-pickled mother. With emotional baggage squeezed into her 10kg hand luggage, ultimate escapism and a chance to spread her wings beckons, or so she thinks… Even on holiday, the darkness of your past has an alarming way of catching up with you.

When a twist of fate causes sparks, and feathers, to fly – a dangerous opportunity for divine retribution arises. Faced with secrets, lies, and betrayal – does it pay to be a good egg, or do bad chicks reign supreme? Ibiza may have Amnesia, but one thing’s for certain: a woman scorned may forgive, but she’ll never forget.

Four friends, three nights, two murders – one heck of an adventure. A rollocking rollercoaster ride from Ibiza to Vegas, via Cheshire, Mother Hens will make you laugh, wince, and wonder what any of us are really capable of when push comes to shove…

Pre-order here*

Camp Zero by Michelle Min Sterling

Published: March 30th, 2023
Publisher: John Murray Press
Genre: Dystopian Fiction, Science Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
‘A cold, hungry adventure story about the power of choice and the strength of solidarity’ SEAN MICHAELS

America, 2049: Summer temperatures are intolerably high, the fossil fuel industry has shut down, and humans are implanted with a ‘Flick’ at birth, which allows them to remain perpetually online. The wealthy live in the newly created Floating City off the coast, while people on the mainland struggle to get by. For Rose, a job as a hostess in the city’s elite club feels like her best hope for a better future.

At a Cold War-era research station, a group of highly trained women with the code name White Alice are engaged in climate surveillance. But the terms of their employment become increasingly uncertain.

And in a former oil town in northern Canada called Dominion Lake, a camp is being built-Camp Zero. A rare source of fresh, clean air and cooler temperatures, it will be the beginning of a new community and a new way of life. Grant believes it will be the perfect place to atone for his family’s dark legacy.

Everyone has an agenda. So who can you trust? Could falling in love be most the radical act of all?

Thrilling, immersive and disturbingly prescient, Camp Zero is about the world we’ve built and where we go from here.

Pre-order here*

********

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

Thanks for reading Bibliophiles xxxx

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Categories
Emma's Anticipated Treasures Most Anticipated 2023

Emma’s Anticipated Treasures 2023 – Captivating Contemporary

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

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

We All Want Impossible Things by Catherine Newman

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

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

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

Published January 12th by Doubleday
Pre-order here*

Are You Happy Now by Hanna Jameson

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

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

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

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

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

Published February 2nd by Viking
Pre-order here*

Cursed Bread by Sophie Mackintosh

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

Good Housekeeping recommended read for 2023

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


‘A thrilling and subversive fable’ i-D

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


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

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

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

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

If I Let You Go by Charlotte Levin

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

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

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

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

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

Old Babes in the Wood by Margaret Atwood

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Furies by Various

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

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

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

Published March 16th by Virago
Pre-order here*

Beautiful Shining People by Michael Grothaus

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

Published March 16th by Orenda Books Pre-order here

In a Thousand Different Ways by Cecelia Ahern

SYNOPSIS:
Finding your way is never a simple journey…

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

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

Alice sees the worst in people.

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

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

Where will the journey to find herself begin?

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

Oh, Sister by Jodie Chapman

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

JEN

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

ISOBEL

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

ZELDA

If I break the rules I will be sorry.

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

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

The Memory of Animals by Claire Fuller

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Island of Longing by Anne Griffin

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

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

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

Published April 27th by Sceptre
Pre-order here*

Greek Lessons by Han Kang

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

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

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

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

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

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

Honeybees and Distant Thunder by Riku Onda

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

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

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

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

Published May 4th by Doubleday
Pre-order here*

This Family by Kate Sawyer

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

This house. This family.

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

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

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

Published May 11th by Coronet
Pre-order here*

Fourteen Days by Various

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

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

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

Published May 30th by Vintage
Pre-order here*

Limelight by Daisy Buchanan

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

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

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

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

Published June 1st by Sphere
Pre-order here*

The Wind Knows My Name by Isabel Allende

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

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

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

Published June 6th by Bloomsbury
Pre-order here*

High Time by Hannah Rothschild

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

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

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

Published June 8th by Bloomsbury
Pre-order here*

The Half Moon by Mary Beth Keane

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hello Beautiful by Ann Napolitano

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

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

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

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

Published July 13th by Viking
Pre-order here*

The Twilight Garden by Sara Nisha Adams

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Apology by Jimin Han

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

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

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

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

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

**********

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

Thanks for reading Bibliophiles xxx

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Categories
Book Features Emma's Anticipated Treasures Support Debuts

4th February 2021: A Bumper Publication Day

Hello Bibliophiles! Today is a busy day in the book world with a vast array of amazing books out in Kindle, Hardback, Paperback and Audio Today. This is a last minute post so it is in no way comprehensive, but I’ve put together a list of many of the amazing books out today. Thank you to Publishers for my gifted copies of some of the books pictured above.

THE DEBUTS

The Long, Long Afternoon by Inga Vesper

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Historical Fiction, Historical Mystery
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audio
Publisher: Manilla Press

SYNOPSIS:
The sunniest places hold the darkest secrets . . .

A stunning 1950s set debut mystery brimming with atmosphere and perfect for fans of Tangerine, Small Pleasures and Mad Men.
________

Yesterday, I kissed my husband for the last time . . .

It’s the summer of 1959, and the well-trimmed lawns of Sunnylakes, California, wilt under the sun. At some point during the long, long afternoon, Joyce Haney, wife, mother, vanishes from her home, leaving behind two terrified children and a bloodstain on the kitchen floor.

While the Haney’s neighbours get busy organising search parties, it is Ruby Wright, the family’s ‘help’, who may hold the key to this unsettling mystery. Ruby knows more about the secrets behind Sunnylakes’ starched curtains than anyone, and it isn’t long before the detective in charge of the case wants her help. But what might it cost her to get involved? In these long hot summer afternoons, simmering with lies, mistrust and prejudice, it could only take one spark for this whole ‘perfect’ world to set alight . . .

A beguiling, deeply atmospheric debut novel from the cracked heart of the American Dream, The Long, Long Afternoon is at once a page-turning mystery and an intoxicating vision of the ways in which women everywhere are diminished, silenced and ultimately under-estimated.

Buy the book*

Last One at the Party by Bethany Clift

Genre: Humour, Science Fiction Comedy, Science Fiction, Dystopian Fiction
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audio
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

SYNOPSIS:
THE END OF EVERYTHING WAS HER BEGINNING

It’s December 2023 and the world as we know it has ended.

The human race has been wiped out by a virus called 6DM (‘Six Days Maximum’ – the longest you’ve got before your body destroys itself).

But somehow, in London, one woman is still alive. A woman who has spent her whole life compromising what she wants, hiding how she feels and desperately trying to fit in. A woman who is entirely unprepared to face a future on her own.

Now, with only an abandoned golden retriever for company, she must travel through burning cities, avoiding rotting corpses and ravenous rats on a final journey to discover if she really is the last surviving person on earth.

And with no one else to live for, who will she become now that she’s completely alone?

Buy the book*

The Downstairs Neighbour by Helen Cooper

Genre: Thriller, Suspense , Psychological Thriller, Domestic Fiction
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audio
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

SYNOPSIS:
In a converted Georgian townhouse in south west London, three families live under one roof.

The large flat that takes up the top two floors is home to the Harlow family: happily married Paul and Steph, and their bubbly teenage daughter Freya. The smaller first floor flat is rented by Emma, who spends most of her time alone, listening to people coming in and out of the building. And the basement flat belongs to Chris, a local driving instructor, who prefers to keep his personal life private from the neighbours.

But their lives are all upended when Freya vanishes. As the police become involved and a frantic Paul and Steph desperately search for answers, they begin to realise that the truth behind their daughter’s disappearance may lie closer to home than they were expecting.

When everyone has something to hide, can you ever really know those closest to you? Or will some secrets be taken to the grave?

Buy the book*

The Art of Death by David Fennell

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Police Procedural, Crime Fiction
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audio
Publisher: Zaffre

SYNOPSIS:
AN INTENSELY CREEPY SERIAL KILLER THRILLER DEBUT, FOR FANS OF CHRIS CARTER, M. W. CRAVEN AND THE WHISPER MAN.

Death is an art, and he is the master . . .

Three glass cabinets appear in London’s Trafalgar Square containing a gruesome art installation: the floating corpses of three homeless men. Shock turns to horror when it becomes clear that the bodies are real.

The cabinets are traced to @nonymous – an underground artist shrouded in mystery who makes a chilling promise: MORE WILL FOLLOW.

Eighteen years ago, Detective Inspector Grace Archer escaped a notorious serial killer. Now, she and her caustic DS, Harry Quinn, must hunt down another.

As more bodies appear at London landmarks and murders are livestreamed on social media, their search for @nonymous becomes a desperate race against time. But what Archer doesn’t know is that the killer is watching their every move – and he has his sights firmly set on her . . .

He is creating a masterpiece. And she will be the star of his show.

Buy the book*

Before I Saw You by Emily Houghton

Genre: New Adult Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Medical Romance
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audio
Publisher: Bantam Press

SYNOPSIS:
CAN YOU FALL IN LOVE WITH SOMEONE YOU’VE NEVER SEEN?

Alice and Alfie are strangers. But they sleep next to each other every night.

Alfie Mack has been in hospital for months recovering from an accident. A new face on the ward is about as exciting as life gets for him right now, so when someone moves into the bed next to him he’s eager to make friends. But it quickly becomes clear that seeing his neighbour’s face won’t happen any time soon.

Alice Gunnersley has been badly burned and can’t even look at herself yet, let alone allow anyone else to see her. She keeps the curtain around her bed firmly closed, but it doesn’t stop Alfie trying to get to know her. And gradually, as he slowly brings Alice out of her shell, might there even be potential for more?

Buy the book*

Lightseekers by Femi Kayode

Genre: Mystery, Crime Fiction
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audio
Publisher: Raven Books

SYNOPSIS:
Winner of the 2019 UEA Crime Writing Prize, Lightseekers is the start of a major new crime series introducing investigative psychologist Dr Philip Taiwo.

When three young students are brutally murdered in a Nigerian university town, their killings – and their killers – are caught on social media. The world knows who murdered them; what no one knows is why.

As the legal trial begins, investigative psychologist Philip Taiwo is contacted by the father of one of the boys, desperate for some answers to his son’s murder. But Philip is an expert in crowd behaviour and violence, not a detective, and after travelling to the sleepy university town that bore witness to the killings, he soon feels dramatically out of his depth.

Will he finally be able to uncover the truth of what happened to the Okiri Three?

Buy the book*

Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson

Genre: Coming-of-Age Fiction, Urban Fiction, Political Fiction
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audio
Publisher: Viking

SYNOPSIS:
Two young people meet at a pub in South East London. Both are Black British, both won scholarships to private schools where they struggled to belong, both are now artists – he a photographer, she a dancer – trying to make their mark in a city that by turns celebrates and rejects them. Tentatively, tenderly, they fall in love. But two people who seem destined to be together can still be torn apart by fear and violence.

At once an achingly beautiful love story and a potent insight into race and masculinity, Open Water asks what it means to be a person in a world that sees you only as a Black body, to be vulnerable when you are only respected for strength, to find safety in love, only to lose it. With gorgeous, soulful intensity, Caleb Azumah Nelson has written the most essential British debut of recent years.

Buy the book*

The Crow Folk: The Witches of Woodville 1) by Mark Stay

Genre: Historical Fiction, Fantasy Fiction, Cozy Mystery, Coming-of-Age Fiction, Adventure Fiction, War Fiction
Format: Paperback, Kindle
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK

SYNOPSIS:
As Spitfires roar overhead and a dark figure stalks the village of Woodville, a young woman will discover her destiny . . .

Faye Bright always felt a little bit different. And today she’s found out why. She’s just stumbled across her late mother’s diary which includes not only a spiffing recipe for jam roly-poly, but spells, incantations, runes and recitations . . . a witch’s notebook.

And Faye has inherited her mother’s abilities. 

Just in time, too. The Crow Folk are coming. Led by the charismatic Pumpkinhead, their strange magic threatens Faye and the villagers. Armed with little more than her mum’s words, her trusty bicycle, the grudging help of two bickering old ladies, and some aggressive church bellringing, Faye will find herself on the front lines of a war nobody expected.

For fans of Lev Grossman and Terry Pratchett comes this delightful novel of war, mystery and a little bit of magic . . .

Buy the book*

Space Hopper by Helen Fisher

Genre: Romance Novel, Contemporary Romance, Domestic Fiction, Coming-of-Age Fiction
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audio
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

SYNOPSIS:
This is a story about taking a leap of faith
And believing the unbelievable
 
They say those we love never truly leave us, and I’ve found that to be true. But not in the way you might expect. In fact, none of this is what you’d expect.
 
I’ve been visiting my mother who died when I was eight.
And I’m talking about flesh and blood, tea-and-biscuits-on-the-table visiting here.
 
Right now, you probably think I’m going mad. 
Let me explain…
 
Although Faye is happy with her life, the loss of her mother as a child weighs on her mind even more now that she is a mother herself. So she is amazed when, in an extraordinary turn of events, she finds herself back in her childhood home in the 1970s. Faced with the chance to finally seek answers to her questions – but away from her own family – how much is she willing to give up for another moment with her mother?
 
Space Hopper is an original and poignant story about mothers, memories and moments that shape life.

Buy the book*

The Man I Didn’t Marry by Anna Bell

Genre: Romance Novel, Contemporary Romance, Domestic Fiction
Format: Paperback, Kindle, Audio
Publisher: HQ

SYNOPSIS:
What happens when the man she married can’t remember her?

Ellie has the perfect life: a happy marriage, a gorgeous daughter and a baby on the way. But when her husband Max develops amnesia, he forgets everything about the last five years . . . including their relationship.

Now the man she said ‘I do’ to has become a stranger, and she has no idea why. Yet Ellie is determined to reconnect and find her Max again – he has to be in there somewhere, right?

As they get to know one another afresh, Ellie finds herself seeing Max clearly for the first time. But then she discovers that before his memory loss, Max was keeping a huge secret from her. Will their new beginning prove to be a false start, just as it seemed they might fall in love all over again?

Buy the book*

Black Widows by Cate Quinn

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Psychological Thriller, Police Procedural, Domestic Fiction, Religious Fiction, Southern Fiction
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audio
Publisher: Orion

SYNOPSIS:
Blake’s dead. His wife killed him.
The question is: which one?

Blake Nelson moved into a hidden stretch of land – a raw paradise in the wilds of Utah – where he lived with his three wives:

Rachel, the chief wife, obedient and doting to a fault.
Tina, the other wife, who is everything Rachel isn’t.
And Emily, the youngest wife, who knows little else.

When their husband is found dead under the desert sun, the questions pile up.
But none of the widows know who would want to kill a good man like Blake.

Or, at least, that’s what they’ll tell the police…

Buy the book*

The Secret Life of Dorothy Soames: A Foundling Story by Justine Cowan

Genre: Biography, Autobiography
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audio
Publisher: Virago Press

SYNOPSIS:
A gripping memoir and revelatory investigation into the history of the Foundling Hospital and one girl who grew up in its care – the author’s own mother.

Growing up in a wealthy enclave outside San Francisco, Justine Cowan’s life seems idyllic. But her mother’s unpredictable temper drives Justine from home the moment she is old enough to escape. It is only after her mother dies that she finds herself pulling at the threads of a story half-told – her mother’s upbringing in London’s Foundling Hospital. Haunted by this secret history, Justine travels across the sea and deep into the past to discover the girl her mother once was.

Here, with the vividness of a true storyteller, she pieces together her mother’s childhood alongside the history of the Foundling Hospital: from its idealistic beginnings in the eighteenth century, how it influenced some of England’s greatest creative minds – from Handel to Dickens, its shocking approach to childcare and how it survived the Blitz only to close after the Second World War.

This was the environment that shaped a young girl then known as Dorothy Soames, who was left behind by a mother forced by stigma and shame to give up her child; who withstood years of physical and emotional abuse, dreaming of
escape as German bombers circled the skies, unaware all along that her own mother was fighting to get her back.

Buy the book*

Waiting For Superman: One Family’s Struggle To Survive – and cure – Chronic Illness by Tracie White

Genre: Biography
Format: Papernack, Kindle
Publisher: Allen & Unwin

SYNOPSIS:
For the past six years, Whitney Dafoe has been confined to a bedroom in the back of his parents’ home, unable to walk, eat or speak. His diagnosis? The mysterious disease myalgic encephalomyelitis or chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) which affects 20 million people around the world who largely suffer in silence because the condition is little known and much misunderstood.

Waiting for Superman follows Whitney’s father, groundbreaking geneticist Ron Davis, as he uncovers new possibilities for treatments and potentially a cure. At its heart, this book is about more than just cutting-edge research or a race to find an answer – it’s about the lengths to which a parent will go to save their child’s life.

Buy the book*

The Santatorium by Sarah Pearse

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Gothic Fiction, Police Procedural, Crime Fiction
Format: Kindle (Hardcover published 18th February)
Publisher: Bantam Press

SYNOPSIS:
‘An eerie, atmospheric novel that had me completely on the edge of my seat.’ Reese Witherspoon

EVERYONE’S IN DANGER. ANYONE COULD BE NEXT.

An imposing, isolated hotel, high up in the Swiss Alps, is the last place Elin Warner wants to be. But she’s taken time off from her job as a detective, so when she receives an invitation out of the blue to celebrate her estranged brother’s recent engagement, she has no choice but to accept.

Arriving in the midst of a threatening storm, Elin immediately feels on edge. Though it’s beautiful, something about the hotel, recently converted from an abandoned sanatorium, makes her nervous – as does her brother, Isaac.

And when they wake the following morning to discover his fiancée Laure has vanished without a trace, Elin’s unease grows. With the storm cutting off access to and from the hotel, the longer Laure stays missing, the more the remaining guests start to panic.

But no-one has realized yet that another woman has gone missing. And she’s the only one who could have warned them just how much danger they’re all in . . .

Buy the book*

Everything Is Beautiful by Eleanor Ray

Genre: Humorous Fiction, Contemporary Romance
Format: Kindle (Hardcover publisher March 25th)
Publisher: Piatkus

SYNOPSIS:
When Amy Ashton’s world fell apart eleven years ago, she started a collection.

Just a few keepsakes of happier times: some honeysuckle to remind herself of the boy she loved, a chipped china bird, an old terracotta pot . . . Things that others might throw away, but to Amy, represent a life that could have been.

Now her house is overflowing with the objects she loves – soon there’ll be no room for Amy at all. But when a family move in next door, a chance discovery unearths a mystery, and Amy’s carefully curated life begins to unravel. If she can find the courage to face her past, might the future she thought she’d lost still be hers for the taking?

Perfect for fans of Eleanor Oliphant and The Keeper of Lost Things, this exquisitely told, uplifting novel shows us that however hopeless things might feel, beauty can be found in the most unexpected of places

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The Favour by Laura Vaughan

Genre: Coming-of-Age Fiction, Holiday Fiction
Format: Kindle (Hardcover published March 4th)
Publisher: Corvus

SYNOPSIS:

Fortune favours the fraud…

When she was thirteen years old, Ada Howell lost not just her father, but the life she felt she was destined to lead. Now, at eighteen, Ada is given a second chance when her wealthy godmother gifts her with an extravagant art history trip to Italy.

In the palazzos of Venice, the cathedrals of Florence and the villas of Rome, she finally finds herself among the kind of people she aspires to be: sophisticated, cultured, privileged. Ada does everything in her power to prove she is one of them. And when a member of the group dies in suspicious circumstances, she seizes the opportunity to permanently bind herself to this gilded set.

But everything hidden must eventually surface, and when it does, Ada discovers she’s been keeping a far darker secret than she could ever have imagined…

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If I Can’t Have You by Charlotte Levin

Genre: Romance Novel, Thriller, Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Psychological Fiction, Domestic Fiction, Urban Fiction
Format: Paperback, Hardcover, Kindle, Audio
Publisher: HQ

SYNOPSIS:
If I Can’t Have You by Charlotte Levin is an all-consuming novel about loneliness, obsession and how far we go for the ones we love.

My name is Constance Little.
This is my love story.
But this isn’t the way it was supposed to end.

After fleeing Manchester for London, Constance attempts to put past tragedies behind her and make a fresh start. When she embarks on a relationship with the new doctor at the medical practice where she works, she’s convinced she’s finally found the love and security she craves.

Then he ends it.

But if life has taught her anything, it’s that if you love someone, you should never let them go.

That’s why for Constance Little, her obsession is only just beginning . . .

Buy the book*

THE VETERANS

The Shadow Man by Helen Fields

Genre: Crime Thriller
Format: Paperback, Kindle, Audio
Publisher: Avon Books

SYNOPSIS:
He collects his victims. But he doesn’t keep them safe.

Elspeth, Meggy and Xavier are locked in a flat. They don’t know where they are, and they don’t know why they’re there. They only know that the shadow man has taken them, and he won’t let them go.
 
Desperate to escape, the three of them must find a way out of their living hell, even if it means uncovering a very dark truth.
 
Because the shadow man isn’t a nightmare. He’s all too real.
 
And he’s watching.

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Find You First by Linwood Barclay

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Psychological Fiction, Urban Fiction
Format: Hardcover. Kindle, Audio
Publisher: HQ

SYNOPSIS:
One will change your life.
One will end it.
Who will … FIND YOU FIRST?

It’s a deadly race against time…

Tech billionaire Miles has more money than he can ever spend, and everything he could dream of – except time. Now facing a terminal illness, Miles knows he must seize every minute to put his life in order. And that means taking a long hard look at his past.

Somewhere out there, Miles has children. And they might be about to inherit both the good and bad from him – possibly his fortune, or possibly something more sinister.

So Miles decides to track down his missing children. But a vicious killer is one step ahead of him. One by one, people are vanishing. Not just disappearing, every trace of them is wiped.

Number One Sunday Times bestseller Linwood Barclay returns with his electrifying new thriller, Find You First.

Buy the book*

A Net For Small Fished by Lucy Jago

Genre: Historical Fiction
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audio
Publisher: Bloomsbury

SYNOPSIS:
Frances Howard has beauty and a powerful family – and is the most unhappy creature in the world.

Anne Turner has wit and talent – but no stage on which to display them. Little stands between her and the abyss of destitution.

When these two very different women meet in the strangest of circumstances, a powerful friendship is sparked. Frankie sweeps Anne into a world of splendour that exceeds all she imagined: a Court whose foreign king is a stranger to his own subjects; where ancient families fight for power, and where the sovereign’s favourite may rise and rise – so long as he remains in favour.

With the marriage of their talents, Anne and Frankie enter this extravagant, savage hunting ground, seeking a little happiness for themselves. But as they gain notice, they also gain enemies; what began as a search for love and safety leads to desperate acts that could cost them everything.

Based on the true scandal that rocked the court of James I, A Net for Small Fishes is the most gripping novel you’ll read this year: an exhilarating dive into the pitch-dark waters of the Jacobean court.

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Pippo and Clara by Diana Rosie

Genre: Historical Fiction, Domestic Fiction
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audio
Publisher: Mantle Press

SYNOPSIS:
Italy, 1938. Mussolini is in power and war is not far away . . .

Clara and Pippo are just children: quiet, thoughtful Clara is the older sister; Pippo, the younger brother, is forever chatting. The family has only recently arrived in the city carrying their few possessions.

When Mamma goes missing early one morning, both Clara and Pippo go in search of her. Clara turns right; Pippo left.

As a result of the choices they make that morning, their lives will be changed forever.

Diana Rosie’s Pippo and Clara tells the story of a family and a country divided. But will Clara and Pippo – and their mother – find each other again?

Buy the book*

The Children God Forgot by Graham Masterson

Genre:Thriller, Suspense, Horror Fiction, Medical Fiction
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audio
Publisher: Head of Zeus

SYNOPSIS:
Forsake the living. Forget the dead. Fear the children… The brand new chilling page-turner from the master of horror

A TERRIFYING BIRTH
A young woman is rushed to the hospital with stabbing pains in her stomach. The chief surgeon delivers a living child with the face of an angel and the body of a tentacled monster. The doctors are unanimous that the baby must die.

AN ESCAPE FROM THE DARK
Engineer Gemma is plunged into darkness in a tunnel beneath London. Before she escapes, a strange green light illuminates a cluster of ghostly figures. Gemma is certain they were children.

A SUPERNATURAL THREAT
DC Jerry Pardoe and DS Jamila Patel, of Tooting Police, have investigated the occult before – but nothing as strange and horrible as what they must confront in the city sewers. Down here in the dark, where the dead come back to life, witchcraft is the only force strong enough to save you…

Buy the book*

Passenger 23 by Sebastian Fitzek

Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audio
Publisher: Head of Zeus

SYNOPSIS:
A high concept thriller from the author of The Package, international number one bestseller Sebastian Fitzek.

On average 23 people a year disappear from the world’s cruise ships. They are written off as accidents or suicides. But what if they’re not?

Five years ago Martin Schwarz, a police psychologist, lost his wife and son. They were holidaying on a cruise ship when they simply vanished. A lacklustre investigation was unable to shed any light on what happened – murder-suicide being the coroner’s verdict. It is a verdict that has haunted Martin ever since, blighting his life. But then he is contacted by an elderly woman, a writer, who claims to have information regarding their fate and wants him to come on board The Sultan of the Seas immediately.

She explains that his wife and son are not the only mother and child pair to have disappeared. Only a few months ago another mother and daughter also vanished. She believes there may be a serial killer on board.

But when the missing daughter reappears – carrying the teddy bear of Martin’s missing son – it becomes apparent that the truth could be much, much worse…Sebastian Fitzek is Germany’s most successful author. His books have sold 13 million copies, been translated into more than thirty-six languages and are the basis for international cinema and theatre adaptations. Sebastian Fitzek was the first German author to be awarded the European Prize for Criminal Literature. He lives with his family in Berlin.

Buy the book*

The Gilded Ones (Deathless #1) by Namina Forma

Genre: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Format: Paperback, Kindle, Audio
Publisher: Usborne Publishing Ltd

SYNOPSIS:
The must-read epic fantasy of 2021, as featured on Cosmo, Buzzfeed, BookRiot and Refinery 29. In this West African-inspired world, girls are outcasts by blood and warriors by choice, perfect for fans of Children of Blood and Bone and Black Panther.

Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in Otera, a deeply patriarchal ancient kingdom, where a woman’s worth is tied to her purity, and she must bleed to prove it. But when Deka bleeds gold – the colour of impurity, of a demon – she faces a consequence worse than death. She is saved by a mysterious woman who tells Deka of her true nature: she is an Alaki, a near-immortal with exceptional gifts. The stranger offers her a choice: fight for the Emperor, with others just like her, or be destroyed…

Buy the book*

Mother For Dinner by Shalom Auslander

Genre: Humorous Fiction, Religious Fiction
Format: Hardcover, Kindle,
Publisher: Picador

SYNOPSIS:
Seventh Seltzer has done everything he can to break from the traditions of the past, but in his overbearing, narcissistic mother’s last moments, she whispers in his ear the two words he always knew she would: ‘Eat me’.

This is not unusual, as the Seltzers are Cannibal-Americans, a once proud and thriving ethnic group, but for Seventh, it raises some serious questions. Of practical concern, she’s six-foot-two and weighs over thirty stone – even divided up between Seventh and his eleven brothers, that’s a lot of red meat. Plus, Second keeps kosher, Ninth is vegan and Sixth is dead. To make matters worse, even if he can wrangle his brothers together for a feast, the Can-Am people have assimilated, and the only living Cannibal who knows how to perform the ancient ritual is their Uncle Ishmael, a far from reliable guide.

Beyond the practical, Seventh struggles with the sense of guilt and responsibility he feels – to his mother, to his people and to his unique cultural heritage. His mother always taught him he was a link in a chain, stretching back centuries. But he’s getting tired of chains.

Shalom Auslander’s Mother for Dinner is an outrageously tasty comedy about identity and inheritance, the things we owe our families and the things we owe ourselves.

Buy the book*

The Moroccan Daughter by Deborah Rodriguez

Genre: Contemporary Romance, Domestic Fiction
Format: Paperback, Kindle
Publisher: Sphere

SYNOPSIS:
The BRAND NEW novel from the internationally bestselling author of THE LITTLE COFFEE SHOP OF KABUL

In Morocco, behind the ancient walls of the medina, secrets will be revealed . . .

Amina Bennis has come back to her childhood home in Morocco to attend her sister’s wedding. The time has come for her to confront her strict, traditionalist father with the secret she has kept for more than a year – her American husband Max.

Amina’s best friend Charlie, and Charlie’s feisty grandmother Bea, have come along for moral support, staying with Amina and her family in their palatial riad in Fès, and enjoying all that the city has to offer. But Charlie is also hiding someone from her past – a mystery man from Casablanca.

And then there’s Samira, the Bennis’s devoted housekeeper for many decades. Hers is the biggest secret of all – and the one that strikes at the very heart of the family . . .

From the twisted alleyways of the ancient medina of Fès to a marriage festival high in the Atlas Mountains, Deborah Rodriguez’s entrancing new bestseller is a modern story of forbidden love set in the sensual landscape of North Africa.

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Serpentine (Alex Delaware 36) by Jonathan Kellerman

Genre: Thriller, Suspense
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audio
Publisher: Century

SYNOPSIS
The electrifying new Alex Delaware thriller from the #1 New York Times bestselling master of suspense.

Ellie Barker never knew her mother.

When she was barely three years old, her mother was found with a bullet in her head inside a torched Cadillac, overturned on Mulholland Drive. No physical evidence, no witness and no apparent motive.

Twenty-five years on, many detectives tried and failed to get to the bottom of the case.

Desperate for answers, Ellie hires LAPD homicide lieutenant Milo Sturgis, who calls in the expertise of brilliant psychologist Alex Delaware, to investigate.

But as the duo start digging, the mystery becomes even more twisted. And they soon discover a string of dangerous threats still lurking in the present…

Buy the book*

The Art of Falling by Danielle McLaughlin

Genre: Literary Fiction, Suspense
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audio
Publisher: John Murray Press

SYNOPSIS:
Nessa McCormack’s marriage is coming back together again after her husband’s affair. She is excited to be in charge of a retrospective art exhibit for one of Ireland’s most beloved and enigmatic artists, the late sculptor Robert Locke. But the arrival of two outsiders imperils both her personal and professional worlds: a chance encounter with an old friend threatens to expose a betrayal Nessa thought she had long put behind her, and at work, an odd woman comes forward claiming to be the true creator of Robert Locke’s most famous work, The Chalk Sculpture.

As Nessa finds the past intruding on the present, she must decide whether she can continue to live a lie – or whether she’s ready to face the consequences once everything is out in the open. In this gripping debut, Danielle McLaughlin reveals profound truths about love, power, and the secrets that rule us.

Buy the book*

The Girls I’ve Been by Tess Sharpe

Genre: Young Adult, Thriller
Format: Paperback, Kindle, Audio
Publisher: Hodder Children’s Books

SYNOPSIS:
Soon to be a Netflix film starring Stranger Things‘ Millie Bobby Brown – this must-read psychological thriller, perfect for fans of One of Us Is Lying, will leave you guessing until the final page.

As an ex con artist, Nora has always got herself out of tricky situations. But the ultimate test lies in wait when she’s taken hostage in a bank heist. And this time, Nora doesn’t have an escape plan …

Meet Nora. Also known as Rebecca, Samantha, Haley, Katie and Ashley – the girls she’s been.

Nora didn’t choose a life of deception – she was born into it. As the daughter of a con artist who targeted criminal men, Nora always had to play a part. But when her mother fell for one of the men instead of conning him, Nora pulled the ultimate con herself: escape.

For five years Nora’s been playing at normal – but things are far from it when she finds herself held at gunpoint in the middle of a bank heist, along with Wes (her ex-boyfriend) and Iris (her secret new girlfriend and mutual friend of Wes … awkward). Now it will take all of Nora’s con artistry skills to get them out alive.

Because the gunmen have no idea who she really is – that girl has been in hiding for far too long.

Buy the book*

The Last Snow by Stina Jackson

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Psychological Fiction, Psychological Thriller, Crime Fiction, Noir Fiction
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audio
Publisher: Corvus

SYNOPSIS:
What secrets are hidden within the walls of a desolate farmhouse in a forgotten corner of Lapland?

Early spring has its icy grip on Ödesmark, a small village in northernmost Sweden, abandoned by many of its inhabitants. But Liv Björnlund never left. She lives in a derelict house together with her teenage son, Simon, and her ageing father, Vidar. They make for a peculiar family, and Liv knows that they are cause for gossip among their few remaining neighbours.

Just why has Liv stayed by her domineering father’s side all these years? And is it true that Vidar is sitting on a small fortune? His questionable business decisions have made him many enemies over the years, and in Ödesmark everyone knows everyone, and no one ever forgets.

Now someone wants back what is rightfully theirs. And they will stop at nothing to get it, no matter who stands in their way…

Buy the book*

His Hidden Wife by Wendy Clarke

Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Crime Fiction
Format: Paperback, Kindle, Audio
Publisher: Bookouture

SYNOPSIS:
The first time you see them, out for an evening walk on the cliffs, you’ll think they’re the perfect family. You’ll see a wife who looks so happy, strolling peacefully beside her husband in his dark winter coat, holding her daughter’s hand. But you have no idea what’s really happening in their house…

If you come a little closer you might hear the way the man speaks to his wife.

You might notice that the woman doesn’t have any close friends. That sometimes her husband doesn’t want her to leave the house. You might wonder if that’s a scar her beautiful daughter is hiding on her neck.

When you read the local newspaper and hear the news that the wife has fallen from the cliffs, you’ll question whether it was really an accident at all.

And when the husband starts dating someone new – a woman with the same long dark hair and big blue eyes as his wife – will you say something this time?

Because someone has to protect the little girl and stop history from repeating itself. And it may already be too late.

A thrilling and twisty tale, His Hidden Wife will keep you up all night, desperate to race through to its final conclusion. Readers of Gone Girl, The Couple Next Door and Lisa Jewell will be hooked.

Buy the book*

All the Lonely People by Mike Gayle

Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Romance Novel, Domestic Fiction, Urban Fiction
Format: Paperback, Hardcover, Kindle, Audio
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

SYNOPSIS:
Hubert Bird is not alone in being alone.
He just needs to realise it.

In weekly phone calls to his daughter in Australia, widower Hubert Bird paints a picture of the perfect retirement, packed with fun, friendship and fulfilment.

But Hubert Bird is lying.

The truth is day after day drags by without him seeing a single soul.

Until, that is, he receives some good news – good news that in one way turns out to be the worst news ever, news that will force him out again, into a world he has long since turned his back on.

Now Hubert faces a seemingly impossible task: to make his real life resemble his fake life before the truth comes out.
Along the way Hubert stumbles across a second chance at love, renews a cherished friendship and finds himself roped into an audacious community scheme that seeks to end loneliness once and for all . . .

Life is certainly beginning to happen to Hubert Bird. But with the origin of his earlier isolation always lurking in the shadows will he ever get to live the life he’s pretended to have for so long?

From bestselling author Mike Gayle, All the Lonely People is by turns a funny and moving meditation on love, race, old age and friendship that will not only charm and uplift, but also remind you of the power of ordinary people to make an extraordinary difference.

Buy the book*

Grown Ups by Marian Keyes

Genre: Humour, Domestic Fiction
Format: Paperback, Hardcover, Kindle, Audio
Publisher: Penguin

SYNOPSIS:
MEET JESSIE, CARA AND NELL.

Married to brothers Johnny, Ed and Liam Casey.

Three very different women tied to three very different men.

Every family occasion is a party – until the day the secrets spill out.

PLAYTIME IS OVER.

BUT WHERE ARE THE GROWN-UPS?

Buy the book*

Written In Blood by Chris Carter

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Book Series
Format: Paperback, Hardcover, Kindle, Audio
Publisher: Simon and Schuster UK

SYNOPISIS:
A serial killer who will stop at nothing…
 
The Killer
His most valuable possession has been stolen.
Now he must retrieve it, at any cost.
 
The Girl
Angela Wood wanted to teach the man a lesson. It was a bag, just like any other.
But when she opens it, the worst nightmare of her life begins.
 
The Detective
A journal ends up on Robert Hunter’s desk. It soon becomes clear that there is a serial killer on the loose.
And if Hunter can’t stop him in time, more people will die.
Starting with Angela.
 
If you have read it
You must die.

Buy the book*

Six Tudor Queens: Katheryn Howard, The Tainted Queen by Alison Weir

Genre: Historical Fiction
Format: Paperback, Hardcover, Kindle, Audio
Publisher: Headline

SYNOPSIS:
‘This six-book series looks likely to become a landmark in historical fiction’ The Times

Alison Weir, historian and author of the Sunday Times-bestselling Six Tudor Queens series, relates one of the most tragic stories in English history: Katheryn Howard, Henry VIII’s fifth queen.

A NAIVE YOUNG WOMAN AT THE MERCY OF HER AMBITIOUS FAMILY.

At just nineteen, Katheryn Howard is quick to trust and fall in love.

She comes to court. She sings, she dances. She captures the heart of the King.

But Henry knows nothing of Katheryn’s past – one that comes back increasingly to haunt her. For those who share her secrets are waiting in the shadows, whispering words of love… and blackmail.

The fifth of Henry’s queens.
Her story.

Acclaimed, bestselling historian Alison Weir draws on extensive research to recount the tale of a vivacious young woman used by powerful men for their own gain.

HISTORY TELLS US SHE DIED TO SOON.
THIS MESMERISING NOVEL BRINGS HER TO LIFE.

Buy the book*

20th Victim by James Patterson

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Legal Thriller, Book Series
Format: Paperback, Hardcover, Kindle, Audio
Publisher: Arrow

SYNOPSIS:
THREE CITIES. THREE BULLETS. THREE VICTIMS.

Simultaneous murders hit LA, Chicago and San Francisco. SFPD Sergeant Lindsay Boxer is tasked with uncovering what links these precise and calculated killings.

Lindsay discovers that the victims all excel in lucrative, criminal activity. As the casualty list expands, fear and fascination with this shocking spree provoke debate across the country.

Are the killers villains or heroes? And who will be next?

Buy the book*

A Thousand Moons by Sebastian Barry

Genre: Historical Fiction
Format: Paperback, Hardcover, Kindle, Audio
Publisher: Faber & Faber

SYNOPSIS:
Even when you come out of bloodshed and disaster in the end you have got to learn to live.

Winona is a young Lakota orphan adopted by former soldiers Thomas McNulty and John Cole.
Living with Thomas and John on the farm they work in 1870s Tennessee, she is educated and loved, forging a life for herself beyond the violence and dispossession of her past. But the fragile harmony of her unlikely family unit, in the aftermath of the Civil War, is soon threatened by a further traumatic event, one which Winona struggles to confront, let alone understand.

Told in Sebastian Barry’s rare and masterly prose, A Thousand Moons is a powerful, moving study of one woman’s journey, of her determination to write her own future, and of the enduring human capacity for love.

Buy the book*

Writers & Lovers by Lily King

Genre: Literary Fiction
Format: Paperback, Hardcover, Kindle, Audio
Publisher: Picador

SYNOPSIS:
Recently out of a devastating love affair and mourning the loss of her beloved mum, Casey is lost. The novel she has been writing for six years isn’t going anywhere, her debt is soaring, and at thirty-one, with all her friends getting married and having kids, she feels too old for things to be this way.

Then she meets Silas. He is kind, handsome, interested. But only a few weeks later, Oscar – older, fascinating, troubled – walks into her life, his two boys in tow. Suddenly Casey finds herself at the point of a love triangle, torn between two very different relationships that promise two very different futures. And she’s still got to write that book…

Buy the book*

Take A Chance On Me by Beth Moran

Genre: Romance Novel, Domestic Fiction, Travel Literature, Holiday Fiction
Format: Paperback, Kindle, Audio
Publisher: Boldwood Books

SYNOPSIS:
Meet Patrick Cooper– desperately down on his luck, and head-over-heels in unrequited love with his best friend Bridget.
Meet Bridget’s sister, Emma Donovan -eternally single maker-of-cakes for many a happy couple, whilst never making it down the aisle herself.

Emma has four younger sisters, all of whom are married or getting married, and an Italian mother who can’t understand what is ‘wrong’ with her eldest daughter, who seems to be stranded on the shelf. Despairing of her own ability to find a suitable husband, Emma agrees to be part of a compatibility project to get married at first sight.

Meanwhile Cooper is struggling to get over his crush on Bridget and seems destined to stay firmly on the shelf too. Perhaps it’s time his fate was taken out of his hands…

Is happily-ever-after just about daring to take a chance, or do you need some extra magic to make love last?

Join Beth Moran, Cooper and the Donovan sisters on this life-affirming and uplifting tale of love, family, friendship, and risking it all for happiness.

Buy the book*

Lullaby Beach by Stella Duffy

Genre: Historical Fiction, Domestic Fiction
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audio
Publisher: Virago Books

SYNOPSIS:
A compelling novel about family secrets and the legacy of trauma, set against the changing fortunes of an English seaside town, from award-winning writer Stella Duffy.

When Lucy discovers the body of her great aunt Kitty, with a puzzling note and empty pill bottles by her bed, she can’t believe that the formidable woman who held her family together is gone – or understand why she has taken her own life.

Lucy is determined to decipher Kitty’s final message. What she finds will overturn everything she thought she knew about her family.

Lullaby Beach takes the reader on a journey through three generations of a complicated, close-knit family whose joys and misfortunes track many of the most pressing conflicts and concerns of post-war Britain, from the promise and hypocrisies of 1950s London to the political divides and risky freedoms of the present day.

Told with the warmth, generosity and fierce passion which has won Stella Duffy so much praise over her career, Lullaby Beach is a brilliant story of loss and love, revenge and redemption.

Love Letters of Kings and Queens by Daniel Smith

Genre: Biography
Format: Hardcover, Kindle
Publisher: Greenfinch

SYNOPSIS:
Tender, moving, heartfelt and warm (and sporadically scandalous and outrageous too), these are the private messages between people in love. Yet they are also correspondence between the rulers of nations.

From Henry VIII’s lovelorn notes to Anne Boleyn and George IV’s impassioned notes to his secret wife, to Queen Victoria’s tender letters to Prince Albert and Edward VIII’s extraordinary correspondence with Wallis Simpson – these letters depict romantic love from its budding passion to the comfort and understanding of a long union (and occasionally beyond to resentment and recrimination), all set against the background of great affairs of state, wars and the strictures of royal duty.

Here is a chance to glimpse behind the pomp and ceremony, the carefully curated images of royal splendour and decorum, to see the passions, hopes, jealousies and loneliness of kings and queens throughout history. By turns tender, moving, heartfelt and warm (and sporadically scandalous and outrageous too), these are the private messages between people in love. Yet they are also correspondence between the rulers of nations, whose actions (and passions) changed the course of history, for good and bad.

This morning I received your dear, dear letter of the 21st. How happy do you make me with your love! Oh! my Angel Albert, I am quite enchanted with it! I do not deserve such love! Never, never did I think I could be loved so much. Queen Victoria to Prince Albert (28 November 1839)

Buy the book*


Are any of these on your tbr? If so, which ones?

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

Categories
Monthly Wrap Up

Monthly Wrap Up – July 2020

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Welcome to another wrap up. I read nineteen books this month, which is my best month yet. I read some great books and took part in two great readalongs with Tandem Collective UK and other bookstagrammers. The first was for All My Lies Are True, the sequel to The Ice Cream Girls. This took a different format and I particularly enjoyed having it start with the author reading the beginning of the book. The second was for A Court of Mist and Fury, the second book in the Court of Thorns and Roses series. I am now totally hooked on this series and am counting down to August’s readalong of book three. 

So here is what I read in July:

  1. Nine Elms by Robert Bryndza
  2. All Fall Down (DI Helen Grace 9) by M. J. Arlidge
  3. The Bad Mother’s Virus by Suzy K. Quinn
  4. The Paper Bracelet by Rachael English
  5. The Unwinding: and other dreamings by Jackie Morris
  6. Somebody’s Daughter by Carol Wyer (Natalie Ward Book 7)
  7. All My Lies Are True by Dorothy Koomson (Ice Cream Girls 2)
  8. Lost by Leona Deakin (Dr Bloom 2)
  9. Fleishman Is In Trouble
  10. If I Can’t Have You by Charlotte Levin
  11. Spirited by Julie Cohen
  12. The Resident by David Jackson
  13. Playdate by Alex Dahl
  14. Precious You by Helen Monks Takar
  15. The Storm by Amanda Jennings
  16. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Mass
  17. Eleven Lines To Somewhere by Alyson Rudd
  18. Shed No Tears by Caz Frear (DC Cat Kinsella Book 3)
  19. The Missing Pieces of Nancy Moon by Sarah Steele

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I had been trying to decide if my favourite book this month was All My Lies Are True or The Resident when The Missing Pieces of Nancy Moon swooped in at the final hour and claimed the title. I highly recommend all three books, particularly Nancy Moon.

Thank you to the tagged publishers for my gifted copies of the books.

What did you read in July? Did we read any of the same books?

Categories
Blog Tours book reviews

If I Can’t Have You by Charlotte Levin

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Published: July 9th, 2020
Publisher: Mantle
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audio
Genre: Psychological Thriller, Suspense, Urban Fiction, Domestic Fiction, Romance

I’m thrilled to be closing the blog tour for this sensational debut. Thank you to Megan ed PR for the invitation to take part and the gifted copy of the book.

SYNOPSIS:

What if the problem with your love life is you?

If I Can’t Have You by Charlotte Levin is an all-consuming novel about loneliness, obsession and how far we go for the ones we love.

Samuel, the day we met I knew I’d finally found what I’ve been waiting for.

You.

Happiness, at last.

Then you left me.

And now I am alone.

Everyone I love leaves in the end.

But not this time.

I’m not giving up on us.

I’m not giving up on you.

When you love someone, you never let them go.

That’s why for me, this is just beginning.

MY REVIEW:

“If you love someone, never let them go.” 

If I Can’t Have You is a story of love, lies and obsession. This book wasn’t what I expected, but in a good way, with the biggest surprise being how much deeper and darker of an emotional journey it takes you on as the author examines the warped, murky side of love. Laced with dark humour the author has created a story that is riveting and compelling. 

Constance was a character I both loved and loathed. She was someone I could relate to in some ways and I found her likeable at times. But she would also do the most appalling things and act in ways that can only be called crazy, which made me want to reach into the book, shake her, and tell her he wasn’t worth it. But we slowly come to understand a little more about Constance’s fragile psyche and why she behaves the way she does thanks to her sessions with Dr Franco. My heart broke for her and this time I wanted to reach into the book not to shake her, but to hug her instead. As for Samuel, I hate that man with a passion! As his true colours are revealed it was clear he was not just a bit of a cad, but a cruel manipulator who views women as objects to use and discard, calling them crazy when they are hurt by his actions. But it wasn’t all crazy and dark characters and I loved the sweet friendship between Constance and Edward. It was a great dynamic and showed another side to Constance that I think helps the reader see her as a three dimensional person rather than just a crazy stalker. 

If I Can’t Have You was as addictive for me as Samuel was for Constance. Taut, twisty, layered and simply brilliant, this is an outstanding debut. I’m excited to see what Levin writes next. 

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✮

Charlotte Levin author photo

MEET THE AUTHOR:

Charlotte Levin has been shortlisted for the Andrea Badenoch Award, part of the New Writers North Awards, and for the Mslexia Short Story Competition. Charlotte lives in Manchester and If I Can’t Have You is her first novel.

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Blog Tours

Emma’s Anticipated Treasures – July 2020

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Another month, another round of anticipated books.

July is a month filled with great books and July 9th is rivaling February 6th for it’s bumper publication day spot; I could have easily added another four or five books out that day.

So here are the books out in July that I’m most excited about:

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Spirited by Julie Cohen
Published: July 9th, 2020
Publisher: Orion
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance

It’s no secret I’m a huge fan of Historical Fiction, and as soon as I saw the cover and read the synopsis of this book I was dying to read it. I’ve been lucky enough to get a spot on the blog tour for this so look out for my review on July 16th.

SYNOPSIS:
Viola has an impossible talent. Searching for meaning in her grief, she uses her photography to feel closer to her late father, taking solace from the skills he taught her – and to keep her distance from her husband. But her pictures seem to capture things invisible to the eye . . .

Henriette is a celebrated spirit medium, carrying nothing but her secrets with her as she travels the country. When she meets Viola, a powerful connection is sparked between them – but Victorian society is no place for reckless women.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, invisible threads join Viola and Henriette to another woman who lives in secrecy, hiding her dangerous act of rebellion in plain sight.

Faith. Courage. Love. What will they risk for freedom?

Driven by passionate, courageous female characters, SPIRITED is your next unforgettable read!

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The Shadow Friend by Alex North

Published: July 9th, 2020
Publisher: Michael Joseph
Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Horror Fiction, Police Procedural

The Whisper Man was one of my favourite books of last year so when I heard the author had a second book coming out it became a must-read. This one sounds just as chilling as his last book and I can’t wait to read it.

SYNOPSIS:
The victim was his friend. So was the murderer.

Twenty-five years ago, troubled teenager Charlie Crabtree committed a shocking and unprovoked murder.

For Paul Adams, it’s a day he’ll never forget. He’s never forgiven himself for his part in what happened to his friend and classmate. He’s never gone back home.

But when his elderly mother has a fall, it’s finally time to stop running.

It’s not long before things start to go wrong. A copycat killer has struck, bringing back painful memories. Paul’s mother insists there’s something in the house.

And someone is following him.

Which reminds him of the most unsettling thing about that awful day twenty-five years ago.

It wasn’t just the murder.

It was the fact that afterwards, Charlie Crabtree was never seen again . . .

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The Waiting Rooms by Eve Smith

Published: July 9th, 2020
Publisher: Orenda
Genre: Psychological Thriller, Suspense, Mystery, Science Fiction, Urban Fiction, Dystopian Fiction

Orenda are one of my favourite publishers. I’ve loved everything I’ve read that they publish. When I heard about this earlier this year I instantly pre-ordered it and started the count down. Who would have thought it would become so timely by the time it was released. I’m on the blog tour for this one and my review will be published on June 18th.

SYNOPSIS:
Decades of spiraling drug resistance have unleashed a global antibiotic crisis. Ordinary infections are untreatable, and a scratch from a pet can kill. A sacrifice is required to keep the majority safe: no one over seventy is allowed new antibiotics. The elderly are sent to hospitals nicknamed ‘The Waiting Rooms’ … hospitals where no one ever gets well.

Twenty years after the crisis takes hold, Kate begins a search for her birth mother, armed only with her name and her age. As Kate unearths disturbing facts about her mother’s past, she puts her family in danger and risks losing everything. Because Kate is not the only secret that her mother is hiding. Someone else is looking for her, too.

Sweeping from an all-too-real modern Britain to a pre-crisis South Africa, The Waiting Rooms is epic in scope, richly populated with unforgettable characters, and a tense, haunting vision of a future that is only a few mutations away.

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If I Can’t Have You by Charlotte Levin

Published: July 9th, 2020
Publisher: Mantle
Genre: Psychological Thriller, Suspense, Urban Fiction, Domestic Fiction, Romance

I am so excited to be taking part in the blog tour for this debut thriller. Look out for my review on July 16th.

SYNOPSIS:
What if the problem with your love life is you?

If I Can’t Have You by Charlotte Levin is an all-consuming novel about loneliness, obsession and how far we go for the ones we love.

Samuel, the day we met I knew I’d finally found what I’ve been waiting for.

You.

Happiness, at last.

Then you left me.

And now I am alone.

Everyone I love leaves in the end.

But not this time.

I’m not giving up on us.

I’m not giving up on you.

When you love someone, you never let them go.

That’s why for me, this is just beginning.

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How To Disappear by Gillian McAllister

Publisher: Michael Joseph
Published: July 9th, 2020
Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Psychological Thriller,  Legal Thriller

Over the last few years Gillian McAllister has become a must-read author for me and her latest book sounds like it could be her best yet.

SYNOPSIS:
You can run, you can hide, but can you disappear for good?

Lauren’s daughter Zara witnessed a terrible crime. But speaking up comes with a price, and when Zara’s identity is revealed online, it puts a target on her back.

The only choice is to disappear.

To keep Zara safe, Lauren will give up everything and everyone she loves, even her husband.

There will be no goodbyes. Their pasts will be rewritten. New names, new home, new lives.

The rules are strict for a reason. They are being hunted. One mistake – a text, an Instagram like – could bring their old lives crashing into the new.

They can never assume someone isn’t watching, waiting.

As Lauren will learn, disappearing is easy. Staying hidden is harder . . .

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Somebody’s Daughter by Carol Wyer (Detective Natalie Ward 7)

Published: July 9th, 2020
Publisher: Bookouture
Genre: Mystery, Crime Fiction, Police Procedural

The Detective Natalie Ward Series is one of my favourites and any new installment makes my most anticipated list that month. Keep an eye out for my review as part of the blog tour on July 11th.

SYNOPSIS:
One by one the girls disappeared…

When the frail body of a teenage girl is discovered strangled in a parking lot, shards of ice form in Detective Natalie Ward’s veins. As Natalie looks at the freckles scattered on her cheeks and the pale pink lips tinged with blue, she remembers that this innocent girl is somebody’s daughter…

The girl is identified as missing teenager Amelia Saunders, who has run away from home and her controlling father. Natalie’s heart sinks further when it becomes clear that Amelia has been working on the streets, manipulated by her violent new boyfriend Tommy.

A day later, another vulnerable girl is found strangled on a park bench. Like Amelia, Katie Bray was a runaway with connections to Tommy, and Natalie is determined to find him and track down the monster attacking these scared and lonely girls.

But when a wealthy young woman is found murdered the next morning, the word ‘guilty’ scrawled on her forehead, Natalie realises that the case is more complex than she first thought. Determined to establish a connection between her three victims, Natalie wastes no time in chasing down the evidence, tracing everyone who crossed their paths. Then, a key suspect’s body turns up in the canal, a mole in Natalie’s department leaks vital information and everything seems to be against her. Can Natalie stop this clever and manipulative killer before they strike again.

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All My Lies Are True by Dorothy Koomson (Ice Cream Girls 2)

Published: July 9th, 2020
Publisher: Headline
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime Fiction

In May I took part in a readalong of The Ice Cream Girls with Tandem Collective. I loved the book so much that this one instantly went on my anticipated list for this month. You can imagine my excitement when I was offered the chance to take part in a readalong of the sequel. Keep an eye out for my posts on Instagram starting around June 25th.

SYNOPSIS:
Verity is telling lies…

And that’s why she’s about to be arrested for attempted murder.

Serena has been lying for years. . .
And that may have driven her daughter, Verity, to do something unthinkable…

Poppy’s lies have come back to haunt her . . .
So will her quest for the truth hurt everyone she loves?

Everyone lies.
But whose lies are going to end in tragedy?

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The Resident by David Jackson

Published: July 16th, 2020
Publisher: Viper
Genre: Mystery, Thriller

This is another thriller I’m excited to be on the blog tour for. Look out for my review on publication day.

SYNOPSIS:
THERE’S A SERIAL KILLER ON THE RUN
AND HE’S HIDING IN YOUR HOUSE

Thomas Brogan is a serial killer. Having left a trail of bodies in his wake, and with the police hot on his heels, it seems like Thomas has nowhere left to hide. That is until he breaks into an abandoned house at the end of a terrace on a quiet street. And when he climbs up into the loft, he realises that the can drop down into all the other houses on the street through the shared attic space.

That’s when the real fun begins. Because the one thing that Thomas enjoys even more than killing, is playing games with his victims. And his new neighbours have more than enough dark secrets to make this game his best one yet…

Do you fear The Resident? Soon you’ll be dying to meet him.

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The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue

Published: July 23rd, 2020
Published: Picador
Genre: Historical Fiction, Medical Fiction, Dystopian Fiction

Room is one of my favourite books of all time and I’m a huge fan of historical and medical fiction, so I have high hopes for this novel.

SYNOPSIS:
In an Ireland doubly ravaged by war and disease, Nurse Julia Power works at an understaffed hospital in the city centre, where expectant mothers who have come down with an unfamiliar Flu are quarantined together. Into Julia’s regimented world step two outsiders: Doctor Kathleen Lynn, on the run from the police, and a young volunteer helper, Bridie Sweeney.

In the darkness and intensity of this tiny ward, over three days, these women change each other’s lives in unexpected ways. They lose patients to this baffling pandemic, but they also shepherd new life into a fearful world. With tireless tenderness and humanity, carers and mothers alike somehow do their impossible work.

In The Pull of the Stars, Emma Donoghue once again finds the light in the darkness in this classic story of hope and survival against all odds.

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Precious You by Helen Monks Takhar

Published: July 23rd, 2020
Publisher: HQ
Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Noir Ficiton

Ever since I first heard about this debut thriller last year I’ve been desperate to read it. I’m hoping to be on the blog tour for this one so keep an eye out for my review next month.

SYNOPSIS:

She’s got your job. She wants your life

When Katherine first meets her new intern Lily, she’s captivated. Young, beautiful and confident, Lily reminds Katherine of everything she once was – and it’s not long before she develops a dark fascination with her new colleague.

But is Lily as perfect as she seems, or does she have a sinister hidden agenda? As Katherine is drawn into an obsessive power struggle with the intern, a disturbing picture emerges of two women hiding dark secrets – and who are desperate enough to do anything to come out on top…

Breathlessly addictive and deeply unsettling, Precious You is a thriller like no other. Taut, terrifying and with shocking twists at every turn, it will keep you guessing until the very last page.

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The Orphan Collector by Ellen Marie Wiseman

Published: July 28th, 2020
Publisher: Kensington Publishing
Genre: Historical Fiction, Coming-of-Age Fiction

As soon as I read the synopsis of this novel I knew I had to read it. As with The Waiting Rooms and The Pull of the Stars it also feels like a particularly timely read right now.

SYNOPSIS:
Ellen Marie Wiseman, acclaimed author of What She Left Behind and The Life She Was Given, weaves the stories of two very different women into a page-turning novel as suspenseful as it is poignant, set amid one of history’s deadliest pandemics.

In the fall of 1918, thirteen-year-old German immigrant Pia Lange longs to be far from Philadelphia’s overcrowded streets and slums, and from the anti-German sentiment that compelled her father to enlist in the U.S. Army, hoping to prove his loyalty. But an even more urgent threat has arrived. Spanish influenza is spreading through the city. Soon, dead and dying are everywhere. With no food at home, Pia must venture out in search of supplies, leaving her infant twin brothers alone . . .

Since her baby died days ago, Bernice Groves has been lost in grief and bitterness. If doctors hadn’t been so busy tending to hordes of immigrants, perhaps they could have saved her son. When Bernice sees Pia leaving her tenement across the way, she is buoyed by a shocking, life-altering decision that leads her on a sinister mission: to transform the city’s orphans and immigrant children into what she feels are “true Americans.”

As Pia navigates the city’s somber neighborhoods, she cannot know that her brothers won’t be home when she returns. And it will be a long and arduous journey to learn what happened–even as Bernice plots to keep the truth hidden at any cost. Only with persistence, and the courage to face her own shame and fear, will Pia put the pieces together and find the strength to risk everything to see justice at last.

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The Butterfly Lampshade by Aimee Bender
Published July 30th, 2020
Publisher: Hutchinson
Genre: Literary Fiction

I’ll admit it was the cover that initially drew me to this book, but it was the synopsis that earned it’s place on this list. This one sounds like a powerful novel that will linger long after reading.

SYNOPSIS:
On the night her mother is taken to a mental hospital after a psychotic episode, eight year-old Francie is staying with her babysitter. Next to the couch on which she’s sleeping, there is a lamp that catches her eye, its shade adorned with butterflies. When she wakes, Francie sees a dead butterfly floating in a glass of water. She drinks it before the babysitter can see.

Twenty years later, Francie is compelled to make sense of that moment, and two other incidents – her discovery of a desiccated beetle from a school paper, and a bouquet of dried roses from some curtains. Her recall is exact: she is sure these things were real. But despite her certainty, she wrestles with the hold these memories have over her, and with what they say about her place in the world.

Told in lush, lilting prose, The Butterfly Lampshade is a heartfelt and heartbreaking examination of the sometimes overwhelming power of the material world, and of a broken love between mother and child.