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Blog Tours book reviews Emma's Anticipated Treasures

BLOG TOUR: Summer Fever by Kate Riordan

Published: May 12th 2022
Publisher: Michael Joseph
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Crime Fiction, Holiday Fiction
Format: Paperback, Kindle, Audiobook

Welcome to my stop on the tour for this sizzling summer thriller. Thank you to Jen at Michael Joseph for the invitation to take part and the gifted ARC.

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SYNOPSIS:

Two couples. One sweltering Italian villa . . .

Nick and Laura are the hosts:
pretending their marriage isn’t on the rocks.

Madison and Bastian are the guests:
neither is remotely who they claim to be.

Under the scorching Mediterranean sun
no secret is safe.
No betrayal goes unnoticed.

Two couples. But will either survive the summer . . .

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MY REVIEW:

After the heartbreak of infertility takes them to breaking point, Laura and Nick decide to start again in Italy.  Luna Rossa promises to be that fresh start and when their first guests arrive it looks like things are finally looking up.  But Madison and Bastian aren’t who they claim to be, and all four of them are hiding secrets that threaten to turn this dream into a nightmare.

Sexy, sultry and suspenseful, Summer Fever is an edge-of-your seat thriller full of lust, secrets and betrayal.  Kate Riordan is a skilled storyteller who had me transfixed from the first page as she opened with an ominous and foreboding prologue that sets the scene for the rest of the book.

Told in two parts with sporadic flashbacks to the mysterious past love who broke Laura’s heart, I loved how the atmosphere crackled with a deliciously dark tension and overwhelming sense of dread that kept me on tenterhooks.  The flashbacks had that sense of haziness that only looking back on our past with rose-tinted glasses can bring and left me apprehensive about what was in store for Laura, who seemed to be hurtling back towards the fire that had already burned her.  I wanted to yell at her to stop but knew she would never have listened.  There was an air of inevitability that left you feeling powerless to do anything but wait and see just how bad the fallout would be when it came.

The dynamics between each of the four main characters are compelling and I liked how having Laura as our only narrator makes the others a bit of an enigma and you aren’t always sure what to make of them.  But one of my favourite things is how she transported me to the sweltering shores of Italy with such realism that I could almost feel the sun beating down on me and see the gorgeous view from Luna Rossa.  Italy has always been at the top of my bucket list and I felt like I got a virtual holiday there thanks to this book, albeit one with a lot of turmoil. 

Alluring, addictive and sizzling with tension, this is the perfect thriller to read in the sun with a glass of wine in hand.  

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✰

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

Kate Riordan is a writer and journalist. She is an avid reader of Daphne du Maurier and Agatha Christie, both of whom have influenced her writing. She lives in the Cotswolds, where she writes full-time. Her previous novels include The Girl In The Photograph, The Shadow Hour, The Stranger and The Heatwave, which was a Richard and Judy Book Club pick. Summer Fever is her fifth novel.

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BUY THE BOOK:

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

********

Thanks for reading Bibliophiles 😊 Emma xxx

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

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Blog Tours book reviews Emma's Anticipated Treasures

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

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

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

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SYNOPSIS:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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MY REVIEW:

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

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

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

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

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✰

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

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

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

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

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BUY THE BOOK:

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

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Thanks for reading Bibliophiles 😊 Emma xxx

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

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Blog Tours book reviews Emma's Anticipated Treasures

BLOG TOUR: Nasty Little Cuts by Tina Baker

Published: February 24th 2022
Publisher: Viper
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Crime Fiction
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audiobook

I’m delighted to be opening the blog tour for this terrifically twisted thriller. Thank you to Viper Books for the invitation to take part and the gifted ARC.

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SYNOPSIS:

WHO WILL SURVIVE THE NIGHT?

A nightmare jolts Debs awake. She leaves the kids tucked up in their beds and goes downstairs. There’s a man in her kitchen, holding a knife. But it’s not an intruder. This is her husband Marc, the father of her children. A man she no longer recognises.

Once their differences were what drew them together, what turned them on. Him, the ex-army officer from a good family. Her, the fitness instructor who grew up over a pub. But now these differences grate to the point of drawing blood. Marc screams in his sleep. And Debs hardly knows the person she’s become, or why she lets him hurt her.

Neither of them is completely innocent. Neither is totally guilty. Marc is taller, stronger, and more vicious, haunted by a war he can’t forget. But he has no idea what Debs is capable of when her children’s lives are at stake…

A powerful exploration of a relationship built on passion, poisoned by secrets and violence. Perfect for readers of Blood Orange and Big Little Lies.

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MY REVIEW:

“What if the thing she’s most afraid of isn’t some threat lurking outside the safety of this cosy home, clawing at the doors, peering into her double-glazed windows, its breath frosting the panes? 

What if it’s right here in the kitchen beside her?” 

Debs wakes early Christmas Eve from a nightmare.  Quietly, she makes her way downstairs and discovers she has woken up to something even more terrifying than what haunts her dreams; her husband, Marc, standing in the kitchen holding a knife.  She no longer recognises the man she married and as fear courses through her, she wonders what he has planned.  Over the course of a few hours that cold morning, the couple’s problems in their marriage come to a head.  But will Debs and her children make it out alive?

Tina Baker has done it again!  Nasty Little Cuts jumps straight into the action, taking no prisoners with a twisted opening, heavy with foreshadowing.  There’s an unbearable sense of dread as Debs and Marc face off against one another in the kitchen,  the story unfolding slowly as it moves between that December morning and flashbacks to the past; small clues about their characters and relationship unveiling as the reader is kept on a knife edge wondering how Debs will escape.  

“Each word, a tiny snag, each shallow cut stings. A word, a look, a sigh. One after the other after the other, all in a row, like the teeth on a bread knife. Tiny, tiny serrations. Eventually, they could slice you in half.”

My love for Ms. Baker is no secret.  I adore her.  And I have been waiting with bated breath for this follow up ever since I finished her fantastic debut, Call Me Mummy.  Once again she has delivered a knock-out thriller that is complex, layered and nuanced.  It is a psychological puzzle that not only examines the characters in uncomfortabledetail, but explores topics such as depression, PTSD, infertility and the need for communication in relationships.  She breathes pain into the story that will make your heart break in two.  I loved the imagery she used to describe depression, anxiety and PTSD; the dark, haunting, overwhelming feelings that you can’t escape and eat you up from the inside.  It is so vivid and raw, helping those who might never have experienced these things really understand how it feels.  The writing is ebullient, sharp, funny and riveting, much like the lady herself, and she creates a tone that moves between deeply unsettling, heart-wrenchingly emotional and darkly amusing, keeping me hostage as I was unable to tear myself away. 

“For a long time now a syrupy blackness has seeped back into this vacuum inside him.” 

The characters are deeply flawed and achingly real.  Richly drawn and compelling, they are superbly written and jump from the pages.  Dolly is a vivacious, fun child and I couldn’t get enough of her.  I loved little Pat-Pat, who reminded me of my own son when he was young, right down to the ‘Duracell bunny’ comparison.  And while there are multiple narrators, Debs feels like the main character.  The true heart of the story.  And it is her I felt the strongest connection with.  Her terror during those hours in the kitchen is palpable, making my heart race as if I was in the room myself.  Marc is someone we see as the villain from the start, but I found my heart breaking for him as I learned of his past and the inner turmoil he was trying to keep locked inside.  It isn’t easy to make a character someone the reader can both loathe and feel sympathy for, but Ms. Baker shows her talent as an author when she manages to accomplish this with Marc. 

“Bruises fade. Another blooms internally.” 

This is a portrait of a failing marriage and we soon discover the idyllic, happy relationship they try to portray isn’t the truth. Theirs is a marriage filled with misery, misunderstanding, isolation, abuse and fear.  A toxic relationship that is slowly killing them both on the inside but neither knows how to fix.  They are both adrift and desperately trying to reach out and tell each other what they feel and need.  Only they never come out and say it, leading to a minefield of miscommunication and resentment.  It is devastating to watch as they destroy not only themselves, but each other, all building up to the morning that Debs finds Marc in the kitchen holding the knife.  They have reached their breaking point. 

Nasty Little Cuts is a pacy, punchy and gripping thriller.  A harrowing, brutal and tortured story that will make your heart pound and leave your nerves on edge.  I can’t recommend this book enough.  Go and read this as soon as possible.

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✮

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

Tina Baker, the daughter of a window cleaner and fairground traveller, worked as a journalist and broadcaster for thirty years and is probably best known as a television critic for the BBC and GMTV. After so many hours watching soaps gave her a widescreen bum, she got off it and won Celebrity Fit Club. She now avoids writing-induced DVT by working as a Fitness Instructor.

Call Me Mummy is Tina’s first novel, inspired by her own unsuccessful attempts to become a mother. Despite the grief of that, she’s not stolen a child – so far. But she does rescue cats, whether they want to be rescued or not.

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BUY THE BOOK:

Waterstones*| Amazon*| Bookshop.org*

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

Thanks for reading Bibliophiles ☺️Emma xxx

Categories
Blog Tours book reviews

BLOG TOUR: The House of Ashes by Stuart Neville

Published: February 3rd 2022
Publisher: Zaffre
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Gothic Fiction, Crime Fiction, Psychological Fiction
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audiobook

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this unsettling gothic tale. Thanks to Tracy at Compulsive Readers Tours for the invitation to take part and Zaffre for the ARC.

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SYNOPSIS:

A house built on secrets
An old woman haunted by her past
A young woman fighting for her life

For Sara Keane, it was supposed to be a second chance.
A new country. A new house. A new beginning.

Then came the knock on the door.

Elderly Mary Jackson can’t understand why Sara and her husband are living in her home.
She remembers the fire. She remembers the house burning down. But she also remembers the children. The children who need her. The children she must protect.

‘The children will find you,’ she tells Sara, because Mary knows she needs help too. As Sara becomes obsessed with what happened in that house nearly sixty years ago, and the family wiped out in one bloody night, she begins to see things. Things that can’t be real.

In a story that spans six decades, the truth will not stay buried, and the ghosts of the past can never remain in the shadows . . .

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MY REVIEW:

“The children. They’ll find you… They’re hiding. Waiting for me. Waiting for you.”

A fire tears through The Ashes in the dead of night, forcing Mary to flee the only home she’s ever known and reducing it to a shell.  Sara and Damien Keene move in as it is being rebuilt, but strange occurrences leave Sara feeling uneasy.  Then one morning, an old woman turns up, her feet bloodied, demanding to know why Sara is in her house and where the children are.  Who is this woman?  And what children is she talking about?  Unsatisfied with her husband’s explanation, Sara is determined to discover what secrets he and the house is hiding.  The old woman is the key.  But can she get Mary to finally speak the secrets she’s been holding in for decades?

The House of Ashes is a dark, twisted and unsettling gothic novel that you don’t want to read in the dark.  From the first pages I had chills, reading on tenterhooks with an almost unbearable feeling of dread in my stomach.  It isn’t a book for the faint hearted; the author explores dark themes such as abuse that are written with both brutal honesty and heartwarming compassion.  It is in these themes that we see Mary and Sara’s lives mirror each other; both kept prisoner in The Ashes by men who terrify them.  And just as the house kept them captive, the book did the same to me, refusing to let me go until I’d read the final page and its story had been told. 

“People about the town would say she’s mad in the head. Some of the children would call her Scary Mary. And fair enough, she might be a wee bit touched, but who wouldn’t be after what she went through.” 

Told by multiple narrators, the story unfolds in the past and the present.  Sara and Mary are the main narrators and while Sara’s story mostly focuses on the present, Mary tells the story of her past.  She finally speaks the secrets she’s been silent about for sixty years, slowly revealing to the reader the dark secrets that the house holds within its walls and the true horror of that bloody night.  I had a real soft spot for all of the women but felt for Mary most.  She was a young girl who knew nothing but a life within the walls of The Ashes. A life of neglect, abuse and fear that made the house both her misery and her solace.  Seeing the story through her eyes was heartrending and I loved how the author managed to convey such childish innocence alongside her resignation to things no one should ever know.  

“Maybe you shouldn’t know too much about that place. Not if you’re going to live in it.” 

The Ashes is more than just a house. It is like another character that lives and breathes.  A sense of malevolence and foreboding radiating from this chilling place.  But the strange and unnerving occurrences aren’t merely there to torment it’s inhabitants, it is the past returning to try and warn those in the present.  Warnings they must heed in order to survive.  

Darkly atmospheric, harrowing and haunting, The House of Ashes is a chilling gothic tale.  Just make sure you read with the lights on!

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✰

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

Stuart Neville’s debut novel, THE TWELVE (published in the USA as THE GHOSTS OF BELFAST), won the Mystery/Thriller category of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and was picked as one of the top crime novels of 2009 by both the New York Times and the LA Times. He has been shortlisted for various awards, including the Barry, Macavity, Dilys awards, as well as the Irish Book Awards Crime Novel of the Year. He has since published three critically acclaimed sequels, COLLUSION, STOLEN SOULS and THE FINAL SILENCE.

His first four novels have each been longlisted for the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year, and RATLINES was shortlisted for the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger.

Stuart’s novels have been translated into various languages, including German, Japanese, Polish, Swedish, Greek and more. The French edition of The Ghosts of Belfast, Les Fantômes de Belfast, won Le Prix Mystère de la Critique du Meilleur Roman Étranger and Grand Prix du Roman Noir Étranger.

His fourth novel, RATLINES, about Nazis harboured by the Irish state following WWII is currently in development for television.

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BUY THE BOOK:

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

********

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

Thanks for reading Bibliophiles ☺️ Emma xxx

Categories
Blog Tours book reviews

BLOG TOUR: The Guest Room by Rona Halsall

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

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

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SYNOPSIS:

You think you’re safe in your home. You’re wrong.

Steph used to think her life was perfect. A happy marriage, two wonderful kids, and a home she felt safe in and called her own. But now her husband has walked out after thirty years, her daughter Bea is married and lives miles away, and Steph’s estranged son hasn’t made contact in years. Home doesn’t feel like the safe haven it once did.

When she begins to hear noises in the night, at first she thinks she’s imagining things. But then she finds open windows she knows she left closed, and a strange smell in the kitchen – and she knows none of it feels right.

Then her front window is smashed, and a young man named Noah helps her fix it. He’s fallen on hard times and Steph impulsively offers him a place to stay. He reminds her of her missing son, and as a mother she finds herself wanting to help him. Also, if he is there, she won’t be home alone.

Before long Noah is living in Bea’s old bedroom, paying rent, and getting his life back on track. Steph’s ex-husband and Bea are furious. But Steph feels secure at last, and that’s what matters.

Until the strange things start happening once more.

And Steph realises that someone is out to scare her…

Someone who will stop at nothing to make her never, ever feel safe again.

The most twisty and unputdownable thriller of the year – perfect for fans of Lisa Jewell, Mark Edwards and Gone Girl.

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MY REVIEW:

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Rona Halsall is the queen of the twisty, morally complex thriller. And she’s delivered another knock-out with her latest offering, The Guest Room, a gripping tale that will pull you in, mess with your mind and then spit you out when it’s done.  I thought I knew what was happening and where it was heading, but I couldn’t have been more wrong.  My jaw hit the floor when Halsall pulled the rug from under me and turned everything I thought I knew on its head in a spectacular finale that I’m still reeling from. 

But I’m getting ahead of myself.  Let’s go back to the beginning…

Steph is trying to put her broken life back together and embrace a new beginning after being left by her husband of thirty years.  But her new beginnings don’t mean acquiescing to her ex and agreeing to sell her home, which is her comfort and safety as well as the place where all her precious memories are held.  Although lately it hasn’t felt so safe with all the strange happenings and break-ins that have occurred.  She decides to take in a lodger, offering shelter to a young homeless man named Noah, much to the anger of her ex and their daughter.  But Noah makes her feel safer.  Or at least he does at first.  Soon strange things begin to happen again and Steph is certain that this is personal.  Someone is out to get her.  But who is it and what do they want? 

As with all of Ms. Halsall’s books, this is well written and evocative, Steph’s fear, loneliness and isolation leaping from the page and giving me chills as she is terrorised in her own home.  I was on the edge of my seat wondering what would happen next and trying to figure out who she could trust.  Was her ex-husband really trying to force her out of their home?  Or is someone else behind it all?  I had my suspicions.  And they were completely wrong.  I don’t think I would have guessed where this was going if I’d had an infinite number of guesses. 

I really liked Steph and felt an immediate kinship with her, having also found myself adrift after the end of a marriage at one time.  I really felt for her as she grappled with all of her new decisions and responsibilities while trying to come to terms with a new life that she never wanted.  I could understand why she was holding onto her home at all costs; it’s her anchor, her familiarity, and a way to stand up to the man who walked out and took away the life she loved.  My heart went out to her as she wondered if she is paranoid, imagining things or over sensitive when things begin to happen and then doesn’t know who to trust as she becomes sure someone is out to get her.  Where do you turn when you don’t know who is after you?  

Compelling, tense and utterly riveting, The Guest Room is an outstanding thriller.  And Rona Halsall is an author all thriller fans should be reading.  Don’t miss this book.

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✰

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

Rona is the author of bestselling psychological thrillers published by Bookouture. Her challenge in writing is to find domestic storylines with twists that her readers will never guess.

She was born in Nottingham, grew up near Blackpool and went to college in Leeds. She then moved to Snowdonia, North Wales where she brought up her family while working as a business mentor. She now lives on the Isle of Man with her husband, two dogs and two guinea pigs.

She is an outdoorsy person and loves stomping up a mountain, walking the coastal paths and exploring the wonderful glens and beaches on the Island while she’s plotting her next book. She has three children and two step-children who are all grown up and leading varied and interesting lives, which provides plenty of ideas for new stories.

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BUY THE BOOK:

Amazon
*This is an affiliate link

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

Thanks for reading Bibliophiles ☺️ Emma xxx

Categories
Blog Tours book reviews Emma's Anticipated Treasures Most Anticipated 2022

BLOG TOUR: The Twyford Code by Janice Hallett

Published: January 13th 2022
Publisher: Viper
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime Fiction
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audiobook

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this intriguing mystery. Thank you to Anne at Random Things Tours for the invitation to take part in the tour and Viper for the gifted ARC.

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SYNOPSIS:

It’s time to solve the murder of the century…

Forty years ago, Steven Smith found a copy of a famous children’s book by disgraced author Edith Twyford, its margins full of strange markings and annotations. Wanting to know more, he took it to his English teacher Miss Iles, not realising the chain of events that he was setting in motion. Miss Iles became convinced that the book was the key to solving a puzzle, and that a message in secret code ran through all Twyford’s novels. Then Miss Iles disappeared on a class field trip, and Steven has no memory of what happened to her.

Now, out of prison after a long stretch, Steven decides to investigate the mystery that has haunted him for decades. Was Miss Iles murdered? Was she deluded? Or was she right about the code? And is it still in use today?

Desperate to recover his memories and find out what really happened to Miss Iles, Steven revisits the people and places of his childhood. But it soon becomes clear that Edith Twyford wasn’t just a writer of forgotten children’s stories. The Twyford Code has great power, and he isn’t the only one trying to solve it…

Perfect for fans of Richard Osman, Alex Pavesi and S.J. Bennett, The Twyford Code will keep you up puzzling late into the night.

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MY REVIEW:

Disgraced children’s author Edith Twyford has long been rumoured to have hidden secret codes in her many books.  When 14-year-old Steve Smith finds a copy of one of her famous books full of annotations he is intrigued and takes it to his English teacher, Miss Iles, who is convinced it is the key to solving the secret puzzle that runs through Twyford’s books.  But when Miss Isles disappears during a class field trip she leaves Steve and his classmates with a second mystery to solve.  One that has haunted him for forty years and he now believes is tied to the Twyford Code.  

Intriguing, mysterious and surprising, The Twyford Code is like nothing I’ve read before.  The author tells the story in a unique way, using transcriptions of audio files instead of traditional narration.  They were recorded on an old iPhone 4 by Steve Smith, and are imperfect because of faults in the transcribing technology and how Steve talks.  This makes them tricky to read at first and meant it took me a while to get into the flow of the book.  I liked the original way of formatting the book and how the author uses it as a plot point but it did make it difficult to read at times and may put some people off.  I   think I would have enjoyed the story more if the audio files had been combined with more traditional narration so that I could have a break from decoding what Steve was actually saying.  

One positive aspect of the audio files is that we truly get to know Steve through his distinct voice.  In Steve, the author created a character who feels both familiar and mysterious at the same time.  Fresh out of prison, there is no denying the very troubled past of this character, but he has a charm that means you just can’t help but like him.  In the recordings he not only shares his investigation into the Twyford Code and disappearance of Miss Iles, but also discusses his troubled past, his time in prison, his determination to make a better life for himself and the love and pride he feels for his son, who he has only just connected with.  I couldn’t help but root for him and want him to succeed in solving the mysteries.

I love puzzles so I was really excited about the puzzle-solving aspect of the story.  But unfortunately these were the kind of puzzles that I’m not very good at so I decided to just enjoy the story instead of trying to figure things out.  The whole story was cleverly plotted and I was genuinely surprised by some of the twists the author had in store and the truth that was waiting to be revealed.

While there were a lot of things I enjoyed about this book, I have to admit that it was a bit of a mixed bag for me and I was left feeling unsure how I felt about it at the end.  But I encourage people to read this book for themselves as overall The Twyford Code is an original, intelligent and surprising mystery that stands out from the crowd.

Rating: ✮✮✮.5

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

Janice Hallett is a former magazine editor, award-winning journalist and government communications writer. She wrote articles and speeches for, among others, the Cabinet Office, Home Office and Department for International Development. Her enthusiasm for travel has taken her around the world several times, from Madagascar to the Galapagos, Guatemala to Zimbabwe, Japan, Russia and South Korea. A playwright and screenwriter, she penned the feminist Shakespearean stage comedy NetherBard and co-wrote the feature film Retreat, a psychological thriller starring Cillian Murphy, Thandiwe Newton and Jamie Bell. The Appeal is her first novel.

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BUY THE BOOK:

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

********

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

Thanks for reading Bibliophiles ☺️Emma xxx

Categories
Blog Tours book reviews Emma's Anticipated Treasures Most Anticipated 2022

BLOG TOUR: Wahala by Nikki May

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

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this sensational debut. Thank you to Anne at Random Things Tours for the invitation to take part in the tour and to Doubleday for the gifted ARC.

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SYNOPSIS:

SEX AND THE CITY with a killer edge for fans of QUEENIE, EXPECTATION and MY SISTER, THE SERIAL KILLER

SOON TO BE A MAJOR BBC TV SERIAL

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Ronke, Simi, Boo are three mixed-race friends living in London.
They have the gift of two cultures, Nigerian and English.
Not all of them choose to see it that way.

Everyday racism has never held them back, but now in their thirties, they question their future. Ronke wants a husband (he must be Nigerian); Boo enjoys (correction: endures) stay-at-home motherhood; while Simi, full of fashion career dreams, rolls her eyes as her boss refers to her urban vibe yet again.

When Isobel, a lethally glamorous friend from their past arrives in town, she is determined to fix their futures for them.

Cracks in their friendship begin to appear, and it is soon obvious Isobel is not sorting but wrecking. When she is driven to a terrible act, the women are forced to reckon with a crime in their past that may just have repeated itself.

Explosive, hilarious and wildly entertaining, this razor-sharp tale of love, race and family will have you laughing, crying and gasping in horror. Fearlessly political about class, colourism and clothes, the spellbinding Wahala is for anyone who has ever cherished friendship, in all its forms.

PICKED AS ONE OF STYLIST MAGAZINE’S ‘FICTION BOOKS YOU CAN’T MISS OF 2022’

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MY REVIEW:

Wahala is a Nigerian Pidgin word meaning ‘trouble’, and there is trouble aplenty in this exciting debut. 

A story of friendship, family, identity, race and secrets, Wahala is narrated by three friends: Ronke, Simi and Boo.  Now living in London, the trio met at university in Bristol and bonded over being of Nigerian and English descent.  Their shared dual heritage made them outsiders and created a connection that they thought was unbreakable.  But when Isobel, a childhood friend of Simi from Lagos, comes into their lives, cracks in their friendships soon begin to appear and  soon all four women are forced to confront their darkest secrets and deepest vulnerabilities.  Will their friendships survive?

Wow!  What a sensational debut.  This book has a great vibe from the start and is full of humour, warmth, chaos and tension, it pulled me in immediately and didn’t let go until the final page.  Nikki May brings her characters and their world to life in vivid technicolour, educating the reader on life in Nigeria and exploring how it feels to be mixed race while also making you laugh and feel entertained.  And the food.  I was so happy to find there are recipes for some of the traditional Nigerian cuisine that is mentioned as it made my mouth water and stomach rumble reading about it. 

A book like this is nothing without great characters and Ms. May has created an enthralling group of flawed, fascinating and fabulous women.  Ronke is a dentist who just wants to find Mr. Right and have babies.  She loves cooking, especially Nigerian food, and seems to be the heart of the group.  Simi is the glamorous one, at least until Isobel arrives.  She likes the finer things in life and cares about what others think of her, always keen to project a picture perfect image of her life even if it’s falling apart at the seams.  Boo is unsatisfied with her life and feels like the grass is always greener.  She loves her husband and child but feels stifled by them and wants something more.  And then there’s Isobel, newly divorced, vivacious and exuding confidence.  I liked her at first but it didn’t take long for me to realise that this woman was a sniper from the side.  I could see her calculating to come between these three friends but couldn’t figure out why or what she wanted.  And I was on the edge of my seat trying to figure it out.  They were all such fun to read and I loved how the author portrays many facets of womanhood and female friendship through these women. There is something that we can all relate to in some way.  

Entertaining and explosive, Wahala is the debut that everyone is going to be talking about.  I was thrilled to learn that it has already been picked up for TV because it is utterly bingeable.  Read it now!

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✰

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

Born in Bristol, raised in Lagos, I’m proud to be Anglo-Nigerian. I ran a successful ad agency before turning to writing and now live in Dorset with my husband, two standard schnauzers, and way too many books.

My debut novel WAHALA was inspired by a long (and loud) lunch with friends. It will be published around the world in January 2022 and is being adapted into a major BBC TV drama.

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BUY THE BOOK:

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

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

Thanks for reading Bibliophiles ☺️Emma xxx

Categories
Blog Tours book reviews

Blog Tour: Search No Further by A.J. Campbell

Published: December 8th 2021
Publisher: Code Grey Publishing
Genre: Thriller, Psychological Thriller, Crime Fiction, Crime Series
Format: Paperback, Kindle

I’m closing out the year with a review for a heart-pounding thriller by an author I’ve loved reading this year. Thank you A.J. Campbell for the invitation to take part in the tour and the gifted eBook ARC.

SYNOPSIS:

Someone is dying. Everyone is lying.

Glamorous Cara De Rosa has it all: a rapidly expanding chain of family-run Italian restaurants, friends aplenty and an imminent marriage to a much younger man.

When she collapses during a family party, all signs point to a heart attack. But Cara knows better. She confides in her beloved granddaughter, Sienna. Someone wants her dead.

Sienna, a troubled single parent, is exasperated with the police for failing to find the culprit of her husband’s death five years earlier. Her lack of confidence in the justice system leads her to delve into Cara’s chilling allegation.

It’s a race against time to save her grandmother’s life. The more Sienna searches for the truth, the more she discovers her family is riddled with dark secrets, lies and deceit.

But who would want to see the end of the popular Cara De Rosa?

A psychological suspense thriller full of twists and turns

Great for fans of Lisa Jewell, Harlan Coben, Shari Lapena, Adele Parks, Mark Edwards, Miranda Rijks, Daniel Hurst and Lucy Foley.

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MY REVIEW:

When De Rosa family Matriarch, Cara, collapses at her great-granddaughter’s birthday party all signs point to a heart attack. But while in hospital Cara confides in her granddaughter Sienna that she has been poisoned, and she knows who wants her dead…

A thrilling mystery skillfully interwoven with compelling family drama, Search No Further is a story of family, secrets, lies and betrayal. It will take you on a rollercoaster ride of emotions, breaking your heart as Cara fights for life in her hospital bed and Sienna continues to grapple with the devastating loss of her husband five years earlier, making you smile as young Lola shares the wisdom only children can possess, and making your heart race as you work to untangle the web of mystery surrounding them all to discover if one of them is a potential killer.

I’ve now read all of A.J. Campbell’s novels and she just keeps getting better. This book is a departure from her Eva Barnes series but I found the De Rosa family utterly compelling. Even without their deep cavern of family secrets this family is entertaining enough for multiple books, a colourful cast of characters who leapt from the page. I especially loved Cara and the sweet relationship she and Sienna shared. It reminded me of the close relationship I enjoyed with my own Grandmother, who I lost earlier this year, right down to how Cara dotes on her great-grandchild, just as mine did. This made me feel even more invested in the story and whether or not Cara would pull through. As we approached the finale I couldn’t read fast enough, my heart pounding so hard I thought it might beat out of my chest right up until the shocking truth was revealed.

A pacy and twisty psychological puzzle that will keep you guessing, read this book if you enjoy a well-written thriller.

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✰

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

AJ Campbell is the debut author of the bestselling novel Leave Well Alone, which readers describe as ‘a gripping story with a killer twist’. An alumna of the Faber Academy, AJ writes in the psychological suspense, thriller and mystery genres. Her latest novel Don’t Come Looking, although a standalone story, is a sequel to her debut and was released in April 2021.

The human mind and how different people react to each other and interact in society fascinates AJ. She draws inspiration for her novels from many facets of everyday life. Asking, ‘How can that have possibly happened?’ AJ loves to immerse herself in developing threads, plotting and letting her creative energy help her characters evolve.

Until the birth of her twins in 2005, which radically changed her life, AJ worked as an accountant in London. One of her twins was born with severe disabilities, as a result of which she had to give up work to care for him.  During this incredibly challenging (and rewarding) time, AJ began to draw on her love of the written word, partly for daily inspiration and partly for her own mental health. 

Reading or writing, AJ loves nothing more than settling down with a good book. She enjoys reading most genres, especially thought-provoking novels that beg the question – what would I have done in that situation?

AJ lives on the Essex / Hertfordshire border with her husband, two of her three sons, and her cocker spaniel, Max. She is a firm believer in daily exercise for mental health and enjoys walking Max in the local fields. AJ also loves cooking oriental food while sipping a good glass of white wine.

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BUY THE BOOK:

Amazon*
*This is an affiliate link

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

Thanks for reading Bibliophiles 😊 Emma xxx

Categories
Blog Tours book reviews Emma's Anticipated Treasures

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

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

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

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SYNOPSIS:

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

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

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

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

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

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MY REVIEW:

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

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

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

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

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

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✰

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

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

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BUY THE BOOK:

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

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

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

Categories
Blog Tours book reviews

12 Audiobooks of Christmas Blog Tour: Murder Most Festive by Ava Moncrief

Published: December 1st 2021
Publisher: Vintage/Isis Audio
Genre: Mystery, Cozy Mystery, Historical Fiction, Historical Mystery, Crime Fiction, Holiday Fiction
Format: Audiobook

Welcome to my stop on the 12 Audiobooks of Christmas Blog Tour. Thank you Danielle for the invitation to take part and to Isis Audio for the gifted audiobook.

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SYNOPSIS:

It’s Christmas at Westbury Manor and amateur detective Hugh Gaveston must unravel a fiendish mystery…

Christmas Eve, 1938. The Westbury family and assorted friends have gathered for another legendary celebration at their beautiful country house. The champagne flows, the silverware sparkles and upstairs the rooms are ready for their occupants.

But one bed will lie empty that night. On Christmas morning, David Campbell-Scott is found dead in the snow. There’s a pistol beside him and only one set of footprints.

Yet something doesn’t seem right to amateur sleuth Hugh Gaveston. Campbell-Scott had just returned from overseas with untold wealth – why would he kill himself? Hugh sets out to investigate…

‘If you’re a fan of historical mysteries, then Murder Most Festive should be at the top of your to-read list’ Cultured Vultures

Wonderfully atmospheric, with charming wit and brilliant plotting, Murder Most Festive is perfect for fans of Agatha Christie, M.C. Beaton and James Runcie’s Grantchester series.

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MY REVIEW:

It’s Christmas at Westbury Manor and amateur detective Hugh Gaveston must unravel a fiendish mystery…

On Christmas Eve 1938 the Westbury family and some of their friends have gathered for a celebration at their beautiful country house. Everyone is in the festive spirit as the champagne flows and Christmas games begin. But on Christmas morning, one of the guests is found dead in the snow. All clues seem to point to suicide, but ameutur sleuth Hugh Gaveston thinks that something is amiss. Could there be a killer in their midst?

I listened to this charming festive cozy mystery as part of the 12 Audiobooks of Christmas blog tour. While I admit that it took me a few chapters to get into it, once I did I enjoyed this story. The combination of the prose and narration came together to create a witty and atmospheric read that transported me back in time. It has a Christie-esque charm that I loved, making me feel like I was in an episode of Poirot. I was surprised to discover that this is Ava Moncrief’s first novel and I look forward to either reading or listening to more of her books.

A fabulous, fun and festive read, this is the ideal book to listen to this Christmas for anyone who enjoys historical fiction or cozy mysteries.

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✰

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

Ada Moncrieff was born in London and has lived in Madrid and Paris. She studied English at Cambridge University, and has worked in theatre, publishing and as a teacher. A Christmas Murder is her first novel.

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BUY THE BOOK:

Buy from The Reading House here

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

Thanks for reading Bibliophiles And Merry Christmas! Emma xxx