Categories
Blog Tours book reviews

Blog Tour: Giften by Leyla Suzan

Published: September 2nd, 2021
Publisher: Pushkin Press
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Format: Paperback, Kindle

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this entertaining debut. Thank you to Pushkin Press for the invitation to take part and the gifted ARC.

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SYNOPSIS:

One girl takes on an oppressive system in this electrifying teen dystopia, set in a post-apocalyptic world sapped of natural resources
A BLIGHTED LAND
Ever since The Darkening, survival has been a struggle. The people of the Field toil on parched earth, trying to forge a life amid dwindling resources.

A GIFT
As one of the Giften, Ruthie is a saviour to her isolated community: her hands hold the rare ability to raise food from dead soil. But she is also its greatest danger.

A SINISTER REGIME
In the City lurks a dark army, intent on hunting Giften to harness their power, destroying all who stand in their way. With the threat growing ever stronger, Ruthie and her friends must leave behind all they have ever known and embark on a quest that will pitch them towards the City, and unknowable danger. One way or another, a battle is coming.

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MY REVIEW:

“When our world was destroyed, no thought was given to what might happen to people like us, the survivors.” 

Since The Darkening life has been a constant struggle. A fight to survive that is made even harder by those in power, who insist on taking a share of the food that the isolated communities grow. But nature has provided hope in the Giften: people whose hands hold the rare ability to make food grow from the parched earth. But the Giften are in danger, hunted by an army from the City who snatch them from their homes never to be seen again, leaving behind a trail of whispered rumours about their fate. 

When Ruthie shows signs of being Giften her mother is terrified. She forbids her from using her powers to avoid being betrayed by others in the Field and being taken by the MAGs. But her gift is ultimately revealed, so, along with her friends, Ruthie embarks on a perilous journey to find a place of safety. But will they be able to outrun those who hunt them? And just what is it that they want with the Giften?

“But it was the discovery of the Giften that changed everything —it read like finding out magic was real.”

Giften is an entertaining debut novel. Set in a post-apocalyptic world in the future, things such as an abundance of food, air travel and talking with people around the world are now merely stories of old passed down from previous generations. Unimaginable concepts in the world that the characters now live in. 

I wasn’t really sure what to expect with this book, but I liked the premise and decided to venture out of my comfort zone by reading it. It took a little while for me to get into, but once the world had been built and the stage set, I found it to be gripping and I sped through the remaining pages in a few short hours. It is a book that is written for young adults, and I think the target audience would enjoy it much more as it felt a little young for me. But I was able to recognise that I’m not the intended demographic and enjoy it for what it was.  

 “I didn’t know that monsters look just like the rest of us.” 

The story is told through the eyes of Ruthie, but we get glimpses of other people’s stories at the start of each chapter in the form of snippets of the stories Logan the Recorder has written down through the years. These help the story to slowly unfold as they give us an insight into the lives of the background characters and clues to parts of the mystery surrounding the Giften. I enjoyed this as it shows the importance and power of stories; how they shape our world and offer us valuable information about the past that we can learn from. 

Ruthie is a young girl with the weight of the world on her shoulders. When we meet her she is still reeling from the disappearance of her father, Dan, two years ago and her mother subsequently replacing him with a step-father, step-brother and half-brother, when her world is turned upside down even further by a violent illness that is actually her transition into Giften. Her life is now in danger and she’s forced to leave her home to survive, her terror, heartache and confusion leapt from the pages and my heart broke for this young girl who has been forced to leave everything she’s ever known. 

“You have no idea what’s coming.”

The author brings the post-apocalyptic world to life with vivid and evocative imagery and storytelling. I could see the barren land and feel the isolation that came together to create a claustrophobic and fearful atmosphere. It is a commentary on global warming and warning of what our world could ultimately look like that manages to deliver its message without becoming preachy. 

Giften is a great start to a new series that has the potential to be a huge hit amongst young adult readers. If you liked The Hunger Games then you will probably enjoy this book. 

Rating: ✮✮✮.5

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

Leyla Suzan is an editor who has worked in publishing for many years, editing some of our most beloved authors. Now a freelancer, while she’s not writing or editing books, she can be found in her studio making woodcut prints. Giften is her debut novel.

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BUY THE BOOK:

Waterstones* |Bookshop.org*| Amazon| Google Books| Kobo
*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 Emma's Anticipated Treasures

Blog Tour: The Last Library by Freya Sampson

Published: September 2nd, 2021
Publisher: Bonnier Zaffre
Genre: Romance Novel, Contemporary Romance, Humorous Fiction
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audio

Happy Publication Day to this spectacular debut. I’m thrilled to be sharing my review for The Last Library on its special day. Thank you Bonnie Zaffre for the invitation to take part and the gorgeous personalised proof copy.

*This book is known as The Last Chance Library in the US

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SYNOPSIS:

You can tell a lot about a person from the library books they borrow

Library assistant June knows a lot about the regulars at Chalcot Library, yet they know very little about her. When her mum – the beloved local librarian – passed away eight years ago, June stepped into her shoes. But despite their shared love of books, shy June has never felt she can live up to the village’s memory of her mum. Instead, she’s retreated into herself and her memories, surviving on Chinese takeaways-for-one and rereading their favourite books at home.

When the library is threatened with closure, a ragtag band of eccentric locals establish the Friends of Chalcot Library campaign. There’s gentlemanly pensioner Stanley, who visits the library for the computers and the crosswords, cantankerous Mrs B, who is yet to find a book she approves of, and teenager Chantal, who just wants a quiet place to study away from home. But can they compel reclusive June to join their cause?

If June wants to save the library, she finally has to make some changes to her life: opening up her heart to friendship, opportunities and maybe even more . . .

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MY REVIEW:

“Libraries are boats
And the books are life jackets.
Without them we’ll drown.”

The Last Library is a truly special book. A bibliophile’s dream and a hug in book form, it has secured a place in my favourite books of all time. Nostalgic, tender and witty, it is a love letter to libraries, literature and community. And when I finally closed it after reading the last sentence I did so with a big smile on my face and a warm glow inside despite feeling sad to say goodbye to the wonderful characters that I’d taken into my heart. 

The story follows a varied bunch of characters as they fight to save their beloved library from closure. It is an impassioned fight. They face an uphill battle, many bumps in the road, and the council attempts to thwart them at every step, but they refuse to give up, proving themselves a stronger adversary than many expected. 

“As a child she used to believe that each book had its own smell, specific to its story, and the smell of a library was the combined smell of thousands of different tales.”

This glorious debut begins with a letter from the author talking about her love for libraries and what inspired her to write this story. I thought this was a great way to open the book as it immediately establishes that a library is so much more than a room full of books; it is a solace, a refuge, and a place of community. It also sparked memories of the many happy hours I’ve spent in libraries over the years in my own reading journey, and those spent with my son as a baby, toddler and child, creating an atmosphere of nostalgia that carries through right until the last page. 

“Every inch of this room was steeped with memories, her mum’s DNA woven into the story rug and well-thumbed books. If the library was lost, June’s mum would be lost again too; and that was something June could never let happen.”

It is impossible not to take these quirky, funny and endearing characters into your heart. Librarian June is a lifelong bookworm. Her whole world is the library. She took over her role after her mother’s death eight years ago and, for her, the walls are filled with not only cherished memories, but her mother’s spirit. The idea of losing that is unimaginable to June. I liked June immediately; how she imagines lives for people and the way she finds solace in books. But I also felt sad for her. She lives a very lonely life, and one of the best parts of the book for me was watching this shy, socially awkward young woman slowly blossom and develop friendships outside of the pages of her books.

We get to know the others through June’s eyes, slowly discovering their secret lives, backstories and personalities as she does. They are an eclectic cast of characters who you’d never usually put together, but they are bonded by their shared love and need for the library. Each of them is wonderfully written, the author creating a rapport between them and the reader, and I’ll admit to having favourites. I loved the friendship between Stanley and June and had a real soft spot for his character. But the author was skilled at giving even the most spiky or ‘unlikeable’ characters a warmth that drew me to them, making it impossible not to love every one of them.

“Libraries are like a net, there to catch those of us in danger of falling through the cracks. That’s what we’re really fighting to protect.”

The Last Library is everything a book lover could want and more. It is a celebration of books and the power of stories, but also a story about community, kindness, friendship, loss and courage. A journey of self-discovery. One of the biggest aspects of the story is how libraries are so much more to a town or village than a room full of books and the author highlights the many ways they are there to help. It made my heart ache thinking of the closures we see in libraries today, especially as they were such a big part of my own childhood and that of my son. It made me determined to start using my local library again so that I can do my part to ensure they are still around for future generations. 

Charming, uplifting and hopeful, this is a book that will stay with me forever. One you don’t want to miss. I urge you to read it as soon as possible.

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✮

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

Freya Sampson works in TV as an executive producer. Her credits include two documentary series for the BBC about the British Royal Family, and a number of factual and entertainment series.

She studied History at Cambridge University and in 2018 was shortlisted for the Exeter Novel Prize.

She lives in London with her husband, two young children and an antisocial cat. The Last Library is her debut novel.

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BUY THE BOOK:

Waterstones*| Bookshop.org*| Amazon| Google Books| Apple Books| Kobo
*These are affiliate links

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

Thanks for reading Bibliophiles😊 Emma xxx

Categories
book reviews Emma's Anticipated Treasures Monthly Wrap Up

Monthly Wrap Up – August 2021

August is over, and so is the summer. It was not the best summer in terms of weather here in the UK, and a difficult summer on a personal level for me, but it’s been a fantastic summer in terms of reading.

In August I read a total of sixteen books, three of which were audiobooks. Here’s a summary of those books with links to my reviews:

Home Before Dark by Riley Sager

I’ve been wanting to read a book by Riley Sager for years. So when I got the blog tour invitation for Home Before Dark I jumped at the chance to take part. Chilling, nerve-shredding and twisty, it did not disappoint.
Rating: ✮✮✮✮✮

Read my review here
Buy the book here*

The Idea of You by Robinne Lee

Sexy and seductive, The Idea of You is a sizzling debut that was perfect for summer. It follows the story of a May/December romance between a suburban mother and the lead singer of her tween daughter’s favourite group. A sharp, sassy and hilarious novel, this was a fun read that I highly recommend.
Rating: ✮✮✮✮.5

Read my review here
Buy the book here*

Patience by Victoria Scott

Normal doesn’t exist. We are all extraordinary. 
The above really is the perfect tagline for this remarkable debut. Patience is a thought-provoking look at what life is really like for people with severe disabilities and those who care for them. Patience Willow is a special and memorable character and I loved reading her story. It is one I will remember forever.
Rating: ✮✮✮✮✮

Read my review here
Buy the book here*

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

I listened to this on audiobook and enjoyed revisiting the start of this magical series.
Rating: ✮✮✮✮✰

Buy here*

The Fair Botanists by Sara Sheridan

Sumptuous, sensual and absorbing, this intoxicating blend of skullduggery, friendship, passion and empowerment transports you back to 1820s Edinburgh. The author reimagined real characters from history and brought them to life in this exquisite tale.
Rating: ✮✮✮✮.5

Read my review here
Buy the book here*

Cecily by Annie Garthwaite

Cecily was my 100th book this year. I read it as part of a readalong with The Squadpod and also took part in the blog tour. This atmospheric debut tells the story of the War of the Roses through the eyes of the women who fought from the shadows. Though I found it hard to get into at first, was slowly drawn in, and ultimately enjoyed this fascinating debut.
Rating: ✮✮✮✮✫

Read my review
Buy the book here*

Girl, 11 by Amy Suiter Clarke

I’ve found that I particularly enjoy audiobooks that have a podcast element. So when a fellow blogger raved about Girl, 11, I knew it was one I had to download. Compelling, tense and twisty, this was a great listen and one I’d highly recommend.
Rating: ✮✮✮✮.5

Buy the book here*

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling

I know it looks like I’m listening to the Harry Potter books out of order, but I actually started listening to them as I’d never finished reading the series and only got to the end of book four. I was near the end of listening to The Half Blood Prince when I paused and switched to The Philosopher’s Stone as I wanted something not quite so dark after the death of my Nan. I then finished book six once I’d finished listening to book one.
Rating: ✮✮✮✮✮

Buy the book here*

I Let Him In by Jill Childs

I Let Him In was an entertaining thriller. Full of mystery and suspense, I enjoyed trying to figure out the twists and turns, the author keeping me on my toes right until the end.
Rating: ✮✮✮.5

Read my review here
Buy the book here

Olympus, Texas by Stacey Swann

A steadily paced family saga, Olympus, Texas is a dramatic and emotional novel that follows the Briscoe family. Atmospheric and tense, this debut explores family, flaws and forgiveness in ways that really make you think.
Rating: ✮✮✮✮✰

Read my review here
Buy the book here*

She’s Mine by A.A. Chaudhuri

One of the best thrillers I’ve read this year, She’s Mine is a dark, devious and suspenseful read exploring every mother’s worst nightmare. But there is much more lurking beneath the surface that is slowly reveals. This is just the kind of twisted thriller that I love, keeping me on the edge of my seat from the start. And that ending: Wow! If you are a fan of this genre then this is an absolute must read.
Rating: ✮✮✮✮✮

Read my review here
Buy the book here*

Mimic by Daniel Cole

A gritty and addictive thriller that has your heart racing, Mimic follows a brutal killer who is recreating famous works of art through his victims. It jumped straight into the action and took me on a terrifying rollercoaster ride.
Rating: ✮✮✮✮✰

Read my review here
Buy the book here*

No Honour by Awais Khan

Mesmerising, powerful and heart-rending, I flew through this book in just a few hours. A portrait of lives lived under the constant threat of prejudice, it follows Jamil and his sixteen-year-old daughter Abida. Beautifully written and full of compassion, this is one that will break your heart but also give you hope. An absolute must read.
Rating: ✮✮✮✮✮

Read my review here
Buy the book here

The Wolf Mile (The Pantheon Series 1) by C.F. Barrington

The first in an addictive new series, I loved The Wolf Mile. It is out of my comfort zone so took a while to settle into. But once I did, I couldn’t put it down and I screamed in frustration when it ended. Thankfully it’s not long until book two.
Rating: ✮✮✮✮✰

Read my review here
Buy the book here*

Next of Kin by Kia Abdullah

Wow. Just, wow. Once again Kia Abdullah has crafted an additive, edge-of-your-seat thriller that leaves you breathless. My review will be posted later this week as part of the blog tour.
Rating: ✮✮✮✮✮

Buy the book here*

The Last Library by Freya Sampson

The Last Library is a wonderful debut that feels like a warm hug for book lovers. It follows Librarian June and the patrons of Chalcot Library as they battle to keep their beloved library open. My review will be posted on publication day this Thursday.
Rating: ✮✮✮✮✮

Buy the book here*

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For a lot of this month it was hard to pick a favourite, with a couple of the month’s early reads vying for the position. Then I read No Honour, and it seemed I had a clear book of the month. Enter Next of Kin to show me I was wrong. The third book from Kia Abdullah stands out even amongst the other fantastic five star rated reads this month. Her books just get better and better.

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What did you read this month? Did we read any of the same books? Let me know in the comments.

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Thanks for reading this month’s wrap up. See you next month Emma xxx

Categories
Blog Tours book reviews

Blog Tour: The Wolf Mile by C. F. Barrington

Published: August 5th, 2021
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Genre: Suspense, Historical Fiction, Fantasy Fiction, Adventure Fiction
Format: Paperback, Kindle

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this thrilling first book in a new series. Thank you to C. F. Barrington and Head of Zeus for the invitation to take part and the gifted ARC. Apologies that this is a day late, but I had my dates mixed up.

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SYNOPSIS:

An action-packed adventure thriller, where modern-day recruits compete in an ancient, deadly game in the streets of Edinburgh.

Welcome to the Pantheon Games. Let the streets of Edinburgh run with blood . . .

The Games are the biggest underground event in the world, followed by millions online. New recruits must leave behind their twenty-first century lives and vie for dominance in a gruelling battle to the death armed only with ancient weapons – and their wits.

Tyler Maitland and Lana Cameron have their own reasons for signing up. Now they must risk their lives and join the ranks of seven ancient warrior teams that inhabit this illicit world. Their journey will be more extraordinary and horrifying than anything they could have dreamed, testing them to breaking point.

Let the Season begin.

This action-packed adventure thriller is perfect for fans of Pierce Brown’s Red RisingBattle Royale and The Running Man.

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MY REVIEW:

The streets of Edinburgh will be their fighting ground . . . and they will run with the blood of warriors.

The Wolf Mile is the first in an addictive new series. This is a book that’s out of my comfort zone but I was drawn to it as the synopsis reminded me of The Hunger Games, which I loved. And while it did take a little time for me to get into the story, I was soon on the edge of my seat, turning the pages furiously as I awaited Tyler and Lana’s fate. 

Expertly merging fantasy and reality, the author brings the city of Edinburgh to life with his vivid imagery. And with slow, comprehensive world-building he also brings the Pantheon to life, making these brutal games feel real. By the end, I truly believed there was an underground battle raging between these seven groups and was rooting for the Horde to emerge victorious. 

Tyler and Lana are great protagonists. They have rich backstories, are likeable and fascinating. I wanted them to succeed in every way and loved the twists and turns the story took us on as the author merged their real lives with that of Vahalla. The story is also filled with some great background characters, both hero and villain, who I’m hoping we learn more about in subsequent installments of the series. 

The Wolf Mile is a thrilling and compelling debut that even those who don’t usually read the genre, like me, will love. I could have cried in frustration when it ended as I was so immersed in the story and am relieved that the follow up has already been announced for October. I need to know what happens next!

 Rating: ✮✮✮✮✰

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

C F Barrington spent twenty years intending to write a novel, but found life kept getting in the way. Instead, his career took him into major gift fundraising, leading teams in organisations as varied as Oxford University, the National Trust and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.

When his role as Head of Communications at Edinburgh Zoo meant a third year of fielding endless media enquiries about the possible birth of a baby panda, he finally retreated to a quiet desk beside the sea and discovered the inspiration for the Pantheon saga.

Raised in Hertfordshire and educated at Oxford, he now divides his time between running over the hills of the Lake District and dog walking on the beaches of Fife.

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BUY THE BOOK:

Waterstones*| Bookshop.org*| Amazon | Google Books | Kobo
*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 xxxx

Categories
Blog Tours book reviews Emma's Anticipated Treasures Support Debuts

Blog Tour: Cecily by Annie Garthwaite

Published: August 12th, 2021
Publisher: Viking
Genre: Historical Fiction, Biographical Fiction, Political Fiction
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audio

Welcome to my stop on the tour for this powerful debut. Thank you to Viking for the invitation to take part and the gifted ARC.

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SYNOPSIS:

‘Rebellion?’
The word is a spark. They can start a fire with it, or smother it in their fingertips.
She chooses to start a fire.

You are born high, but marry a traitor’s son. You bear him twelve children, carry his cause and bury his past.

You play the game, against enemies who wish you ashes. Slowly, you rise.

You are Cecily.

But when the king who governs you proves unfit, what then?

Loyalty or treason – death may follow both. The board is set. Time to make your first move.

Told through the eyes of its greatest unknown protagonist, this astonishing debut plunges you into the closed bedchambers and bloody battlefields of the first days of the Wars of the Roses, a war as women fight it.

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MY REVIEW:

‘Rebellion?’
The word is a spark. They could light a fire with it, or smother it now in their fingertips.
She chooses to start a fire.

Cecily was my 100th read of the year and one of my most anticipated books. I was drawn to it not only by the synopsis, but by its striking cover. But lying beneath that bright, luring jacket, is a dark, grim and savage story. The author pulls you in immediately, opening the book with the burning at the stake of Joan of Arc, a shocking and atmospheric scene that feels like it’s setting the tone for what is to come.

This is the story of the Wars of the Roses through the eyes of the women who fought from the shadows. It was a brutal time. A time where power is won by blood and playing the game well is the difference between life and death. A cutthroat and ruthless time when your best friend today could be your enemy tomorrow. It is meticulously researched and beautifully written, transporting you back to a time when women were often forgotten and discounted, when they had to use the voices of men to be heard. And without taking away from those things, I feel I must mention that it took me a while to really get into this book. There were times my concentration wandered and the story felt too heavy, disjointed or hard to follow. I found it a little too bogged down in politics and would have liked more emotion and insight into what makes the characters tick. I had to put it down for a few days and come back to it, and when I did I finally got to a place where it felt like Cecily finally came alive, and it was then that I really started to enjoy the book.

“Women have no swords, brother. We do our work by talking.”

Cecily is a forgotten heroine that I am glad is finally having her story told. Feisty, strong, determined and intelligent, she is a force to be reckoned with. Born at a time when women are denied a voice or any real power, she is able to become a woman of influence in politics from the sidelines. A lot of this is down to the relationship she has with her husband, Richard. Their marriage is strong, loving and respectful, and it is clear he values her opinion. Other women gain power through marrying a weak man, which is what her enemy, Marguerite, does. The two women were undoubtedly similar in many ways, but while Marguerite comes off as unlikeable and venomous, Cecily appears resolute and caring. I enjoyed their bitter feud and how both women got stronger as time went on while the men appeared to wither.

I love how many books there have been recently that have taken a familiar story from history and told it from the woman’s perspective, illuminating voices that were silenced and finally revealing to the world the true strength these women possessed and how instrumental the moments that shaped our world today. I can’t help but wonder how many more of these forgotten heroines are out there, still waiting for their chance to shine. 

A familiar story with a feminist edge, Ceicily is a powerful debut and brilliant historical read. You will never look at the Wars of the Roses the same again. 

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✫

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

Annie Garthwaite grew up in a working class community in the north-east of England. 

A schoolgirl interest in medieval history became a lifelong obsession with Cecily Neville, so, at age fifty-five, she enrolled on the Warwick Writing MA programme. Her extraordinary debut novel Cecily is the result. During a thirty-year international business career she frequently found herself the only woman at the table, where she gained valuable insights into how a woman like Cecily might have operated. 

Today she lives with her partner – and far too many animals – on the side of a green Shropshire hill close to the Yorkist stronghold of Ludlow.

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BUY THE BOOK:

Waterstones*| Bookshop.org*| Amazon| Google Books| Apple Books| Kobo
*These are affiliate links

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

Thanks for reading Bibliophiles😊 Emma xxx

Categories
Cover Reveal Emma's Anticipated Treasures

Cover Reveal: Care For Me by Farah Cook

Today I’m delighted to revealing the striking cover for Care For Me, an exciting debut out this autumn.

SYNOPSIS:

When Amira takes her mother Afrah to Ravenswood Lodge Care Home, she thinks they will both be safe. But the past is just around the corner . . .

Amira is struggling to look after her mother, Afrah. So when they arrive at Ravenswood Lodge Care Home, beautiful and imposing against the background of the Scottish Highlands, she hopes it is the right decision for them both.

But soon Afrah insists her belongings are being stolen, her photographs, her jewellery, her pill boxes, Amira and the staff are convinced it’s just Afrah’s imagination, it’s just her memory.

But Afrah knows Ravenswood Lodge isn’t a safe place. Could it have something to do with the past? She remembers newspaper clippings, hazy images of a fire years ago, a memory she’s spent years forgetting and now she just wants to remember.

Someone wants her gone. But first, she needs to convince Amira of the truth.

The compelling, heartbreaking debut novel by Farah Cook, about mothers and daughters, and secrets that are never really forgotten . . .

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Doesn’t that sound fantastic? I’ve been lucky enough to get an exclusive look at the early pages of the book and it had me hooked! I can’t wait to read the rest of the book and definitely recommend adding this one to your tbr.

The eBook is out September 30th and the paperback on October 21st.
You can pre-order the book here*

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

Farah Cook is a Danish writer of Pakistani descent. She grew up in Copenhagen with a creative and explorative childhood spent mostly outdoors. At the age of twelve, she began writing several short stories to fuel her passion for storytelling. Later, Farah graduated with a BA in Social Science from Sweden, an MA in Arts from London and an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Surrey. Farah has lived in many countries, including Germany and New Zealand, but settled in London where she worked as a Marketing Manager for a large financial conglomerate. Her passion for storytelling remained, and at night she started to write all the things she’d imagine.

An alumna of the Faber Academy in London, Farah now lives in Bad Homburg, just outside Frankfurt, with her husband and two sons. She speaks six languages fluently including Danish, Swedish and German, and writes full-time.

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Thanks for reading Bibliophiles😊 Emma xxx

*This is an affiliate link

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Blog Tours book reviews Emma's Anticipated Treasures Support Debuts

Blog Tour: Patience by Victoria Scott

Published: August 5th, 2021
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Genre: Humour, Holiday Fiction
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audio

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this phenomenal debut. Thank you to Head of Zeus for the invitation to take part and gifted ARC.

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SYNOPSIS:

If you were offered a chance to cure your child’s disease, would you take it?

‘A thought-provoking, compelling and entertaining read. I could barely put the book down until its equally heart-wrenching and heart-warming ending. A wonderful, smart and funny book – I know readers will absolutely love it’ Louise Fein, bestselling author of People Like Us

The Willows have been through a lot. Louise has devoted her life to caring for her disabled youngest daughter. Pete works abroad, almost never seeing his loved ones. And their eldest, Eliza, is burdened by all the secrets she’s trying to keep from her overloaded family.

Meanwhile, Patience observes the world while trapped in her own body. She laughs, she cries, she has opinions and knows what she wants. But those who love her most – and make every decision about her life – will never know.

Or will they? When the Willows are offered the opportunity for Patience to take part in a new gene therapy trial to cure her Rett syndrome, they face an impossible dilemma. Are the very real risks worth the chance of the reward, no matter how small?

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MY REVIEW:

Normal doesn’t exist. We are all extraordinary.

Patience is a truly remarkable debut. Heartbreaking, harrowing, honest and hopeful, this 

is a thought-provoking, no-holds-barred look at what life is like for those with severe disabilities, how it affects their families, and challenges our concept of what a good life actually looks like. 

Thirty-year-old Patience Willow has Rett Syndrome. She is unable to walk or talk and requires twenty-four hour care. When a new gene therapy offers the hope of reversing the condition, her family find themselves in an impossible dilemma. Is the chance of giving Patience the life they dreamed of for her worth the risks? And is it what she would want?

 “She realised she had spent almost all of Patience’s life waiting for a miracle.”

The author tells the story from the points of view of each of the Willow family: Louise, Pete, Eliza and Patience. This allows us an intimate glimpse at the ripple effect of disability on those around them. We see the strain it has put on all of their relationships, especially Louise and Pete’s marriage, the financial strain, the pressure Eliza feels to fulfill her parents dreams and be everything her sister can’t, how caring for another person can slowly wear you down and the guilt and anger they all feel.

The decision to give Patience a voice is my favourite part of this book. And what a loud and memorable voice she has! By giving her the voice life has denied her, the author  makes Patience visible and reminds the reader that she is a three-dimensional character who is as nuanced and complex as any other person. That she is someone who has her own thoughts, feelings, desires and dreams, despite her inability to communicate them. We get an insight into how she feels having to watch her sister have the things she can never have, how it feels knowing she is the ‘cause’ of her family’s struggles, and what life is really like for her. We are the only ones who get to see the woman she is inside, that she is an intelligent and funny person that understands everything. And I absolutely adored her. 

“Over the years I’ve heard many doctors, carers, nurses and social workers debate whether I have a decent quality of life or not. So I’d like to state here, for the record, that I do. I don’t have anything to compare my life to, of course, but then, who does?”

Through this story the author challenges the concept of what a fulfilling and happy life actually is. As someone with a disability myself, albeit a much milder one than Patience,  this is something I love and appreciate. Life doesn’t have to look a certain way to be valuable. A life with limits can be happy and meaningful and, as Patience herself observes, being able-bodied does not necessarily equal happiness and contentmentin life. This is what is at the heart of the family’s dilemma over whether to enter Patience into the gene therapy.  She seems happy, so is it worth risking that to give her a life they consider more ‘normal’? Personally, I would cure my own illnesses in a heartbeat and would love a better quality of life.  But there are some risks I wouldn’t take to achieve that and it doesn’t make my life any less joyful or meaningful as it stands. 

“But the thing was, he didn’t see her as broken. He saw her as whole, as a person in her own right, her own special variety of normal.”

Victoria Scott is a spectacular talent. She writes with heart, humour, compassion and raw honesty, managing to educate while also entertaining. I was completely invested in the lives of this family and they felt so real to me, like I could go to Oxford and pay them a visit. The Author’s Note at the end of the book is a must-read as she talks about her inspiration for the story. It was no surprise to learn that she has intimate knowledge of living alongside someone with Rett Syndrome and I believe this book will not only educate people like myself who knew nothing about the illness, but offer comfort to those who have a loved one with the illness. 

An extraordinary story about family, love and hope, this is a book that will linger long after reading and hold a special place in my heart. Read this book. I can’t recommend it enough. 

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✮

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

Victoria Scott is a British novelist, journalist, lecturer, copywriter and media trainer with two decades of experience working for online, print, TV and radio outlets around the world.

Currently, Victoria is lead tutor of the NCTJ Journalism Diploma at Sutton College, South London, and a lecturer in journalism at Kingston University.

She is also a novelist, represented by agent Hannah Weatherill at Northbank Talent Management. Her debut novel Patience will be published in 2021 by Head of Zeus, and in German translation by Droemer Knaur.

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BUY THE BOOK:

Waterstones*| Bookshop.org*| Amazon| Google Books| Apple Books| Kobo
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Please check out the reviews from the other bloggers taking part in the tour.

Thanks for reading Bibliophiles😊 Emma xxx

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Emma's Anticipated Treasures First Lines Friday

First Lines Friday

1. Monsters
I have known monsters and I have known men. I have stood in their long shadows, propped them up with my own two hands, reached for the inscrutable faces in the dark. They are harder to set apart than you know. Than you will ever know.”

Today’s chilling first lines are taken from Damage, the startling debut from Caitlin Wahrer, that was released this month. This is one of my most highly anticipated debuts this year and I’m even more excited to start it soon after reading these first lines.

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SYNOPSIS:

Sometimes, the true story is the hardest to believe.

TONY has always looked out for his younger brother, Nick. So when Nick is badly hurt and it looks like he was the victim of sexual assault, Tony’s anger flares.

JULIA is alarmed by her husband Tony’s obsession with Nick’s case. She’s always known Tony has a temper. But does she really know what he’s capable of?

NICK went out for a drink. After that, everything’s a blank. When he woke up he found himself in a world of confusion and pain, and the man who hurt him doesn’t deny doing it. But he says the whole thing was consensual.

Three ordinary people; one life-shattering event. And when the police get involved, this family in crisis might be capable of anything . . .

Set to ignite debate and as gripping as your favourite box-set, Damage is a compulsive drama from an extraordinary new writer.

You can buy the book here*

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Is this on your tbr? Let me know in the comments.

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Thanks for reading Bibliophiles. See you next week for more first lines xxx

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Emma's Anticipated Treasures

Emma’s Anticipated Treasures – August 2021

August is packed full of amazing books that are finally being released into the world. It was so hard to get my list down to the 21 books you see here.

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The Night Singer by Johanna Mo

Published: August 3rd, 2021
Publisher: Headline
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
You’ve got no idea what you’re dredging up. You’re going to ruin everything.

The past is not going to stay buried in this unputdownable crime novel, the first in a series featuring Detective Hanna Duncker. Fans of Ragnar Jonasson and Ann Cleeves will be gripped by this moving and atmospheric crime novel, already a bestseller in Sweden.

Hanna Duncker has returned to the remote island she spent her childhood on and to the past that saw her father convicted for murder. In a cruel twist of fate her new boss is the policeman who put him behind bars.

On her first day on the job as the new detective, Hanna is called to a crime scene. The fifteen-year-old son of her former best friend has been found dead and Hanna is thrown into a complex investigation set to stir up old ghosts.

Not everyone is happy to have the daughter of Lars Duncker back in town. Hanna soon realises that she will have to watch her back as she turns over every stone to find the person responsible…

Buy here*

In My Dreams I Hold A Knife by Ashley Winstead

Published: August 3rd, 2021
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Genre: Suspense, Psychological Thriller

SYNOPSIS:
Six friends.
One college reunion.
One unsolved murder.

Ten years after graduation, Jessica Miller has planned her triumphant return to her southern, elite Duquette University, down to the envious whispers that are sure to follow in her wake. Everyone is going to see the girl she wants them to see—confident, beautiful, indifferent. Not the girl she was when she left campus, back when Heather Shelby’s murder fractured everything, including the tight bond linking the six friends she’d been closest to since freshman year.

But not everyone is ready to move on. Not everyone left Duquette ten years ago, and not everyone can let Heather’s murder go unsolved. Someone is determined to trap the real killer, to make the guilty pay. When the six friends are reunited, they will be forced to confront what happened that night—and the years’ worth of secrets each of them would do anything to keep hidden.

Told in racing dual timelines, with a dark campus setting and a darker look at friendship, love, obsession, and ambition, In My Dreams I Hold A Knife is an addictive, propulsive read you won’t be able to put down.

Buy here*

A Narrow Door by Joanne Harris

Published: August 4th, 2021
Publisher: Orion
Genre: Suspense, Psychological Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
Now I’m in charge, the gates are my gates. The rules are my rules.

It’s an incendiary moment for St Oswald’s school. For the first time in its history, a headmistress is in power, the gates opening to girls.

Rebecca Buckfast has spilled blood to reach this position. Barely forty, she is just starting to reap the harvest of her ambition. As the new regime takes on the old guard, the ground shifts. And with it, the remains of a body are discovered.

But Rebecca is here to make her mark. She’ll bury the past so deep it will evade even her own memory, just like she has done before. After all…

You can’t keep a good woman down.

Buy here*

For Your Own Good by Samantha Downing

Published: August 5th, 2021
Publisher: Michael Joseph
Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Psychological Thriller

SYNOPSIS:
Teddy Crutcher won Teacher of the Year at Belmont Academy. Everyone thinks he’s brilliant.
Only you know the truth.

They all smile when he tells us his wife couldn’t be more proud.
But no-one has seen her in a while.

They’re impressed when the tragic death of a school parent doesn’t distract him.
Even when rumours start to say it was murder.

You’re sure Teddy is hiding something about what happened that day.

You’re sure you can prove it.

But you didn’t stop to think that when it comes to catching a killer, there’s no place more dangerous than just one step behind . . .

Buy here*

Patience by Victoria Scott

Published: August 5th, 2021
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Genre: Humorous Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
If you were offered a chance to cure your child’s disease, would you take it?

The Willows have been through a lot. Louise has devoted her life to caring for her disabled youngest daughter. Pete works abroad, almost never seeing his loved ones. And their eldest, Eliza, is burdened by all the secrets she’s trying to keep from her overloaded family.

Meanwhile, Patience observes the world while trapped in her own body. She laughs, she cries, she has opinions and knows what she wants. But those who love her most – and make every decision about her life – will never know.

Or will they? When the Willows are offered the opportunity for Patience to take part in a new gene therapy trial to cure her Rett syndrome, they face an impossible dilemma. Are the very real risks worth the chance of the reward, no matter how small?

Buy here*

Triflers Need Not Apply by Camilla Bruce

Published: August 5th, 2021
Publisher: Michael Joseph
Genre: Historical Fiction, Historical Mystery, Thriller, Crime Fiction, Biographical Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
THE DELICIOUSLY DARK REIMAGINING OF THE LIFE AND TIMES OF HISTORY’S ORIGINAL FEMALE SERIAL KILLER

Bella Sorensen loves men. She loves them to death . . .

Early in life Bella Sorensen discovers the world is made only for men. They own everything: jobs, property, wives. But Bella understands what few others do: where women are concerned, men are weak.

A woman unhampered by scruples can take from them what she wants. And so Bella sets out to prove to the world that a woman can be just as ruthless, black-hearted and single-minded as any man.

Starting with her long suffering husband, Mads, Bella embarks on a killing spree the like of which has never been seen before nor since.

And through it all her kind, older sister Nellie can only watch in horror as Bella’s schemes to enrich herself and cut down the male population come to a glorious, dreadful fruition . . .

Based on the true story of Belle Gunness whose killing spree began in Chicago in 1900, Triflers Need Not Apply is a novelistic tour de force exploring one woman’s determination to pay men back for all they have taken.

Buy here*

The Heights by Louise Candlish

Published: August 5th, 2021
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Psychological Thriller

SYNOPSIS:
He thinks he’s safe up there. But he’ll never be safe from you. 

The Heights is a tall, slender apartment building among the warehouses of Tower Bridge, its roof terrace so discreet you wouldn’t know it existed if you weren’t standing at the window of the flat directly opposite. But you are. And that’s when you see a man up there – a man you’d recognize anywhere. He’s older now and his appearance has subtly changed, but it’s definitely him. 

Which makes no sense at all since you know he has been dead for over two years.  You know this for a fact.  

Because you’re the one who killed him.  It’s time to confess what we did up there.

‘Kieran Watts has been dead for over two years when I see him standing on the roof of a building in Shad Thames…’

#CloseToTheEdge

Buy here*

Mrs March by Virginia Feito

Published: August 5th, 2021
Publisher: Fourth Estate
Genre: Thriller, Psychological Thriller, Satire

SYNOPSIS:
Shirley Jackson meets Ottessa Moshfegh meets My Sister the Serial Killer in a brilliantly unsettling and darkly funny debut novel full of suspense and paranoia

George March’s latest novel is a smash hit. None could be prouder than Mrs. March, his dutiful wife, who revels in his accolades and relishes the lifestyle and status his success brings.

A creature of routine and decorum, Mrs. March lives an exquisitely controlled existence on the Upper East Side. Every morning begins the same way, with a visit to her favourite patisserie to buy a loaf of
olive bread, but her latest trip proves to be her last when she suffers an indignity from which she may never recover: an assumption by the shopkeeper that the protagonist in George March’s new book –
a pathetic sex worker, more a figure of derision than desire – is based on Mrs. March.

One casual remark robs Mrs. March not only of her beloved olive bread but of the belief that she knew everything about her husband – and herself – sending her on an increasingly paranoid journey, one
that starts within the pages of a book but may very well uncover both a killer and the long-buried secrets of Mrs. March’s past.

A razor-sharp exploration of the fragility of identity and the smothering weight of expectations, Mrs. March heralds the arrival of a wicked and wonderful new voice.

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Not A Happy Family by Shari Lapena

Published: August 5th, 2021
Publisher: Bantam Press
Genre: Suspense, Psychological Thriller

SYNOPSIS:
In the quiet, wealthy enclave of Brecken Hill, an older couple is brutally murdered hours after a tense Easter dinner with their three adult children. Who, of course, are devastated.

Or are they? They each stand to inherit millions. They were never a happy family, thanks to their vindictive father and neglectful mother, but perhaps one of them is more disturbed than anyone knew. Did someone snap after that dreadful evening? Or did another person appear later that night with the worst of intentions? That must be what happened. After all, if one of the family were capable of something as gruesome as this, you’d know.

Wouldn’t you?

Buy here*

The Fair Botanists by Sara Sheridan

Published: August 5th, 2021
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Genre: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Adventure Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
Could one rare plant hold the key to a thousand riches?

It’s the summer of 1822 and Edinburgh is abuzz with rumours of King George IV’s impending visit. In botanical circles, however, a different kind of excitement has gripped the city. In the newly-installed Botanic Garden, the Agave Americana plant looks set to flower – an event that only occurs once every few decades.

When newly widowed Elizabeth arrives in Edinburgh to live with her late husband’s aunt Clementina, she’s determined to put her unhappy past in London behind her. As she settles into her new home, she becomes fascinated by the beautiful Botanic Garden which borders the grand house and offers her services as an artist to record the rare plant’s impending bloom. In this pursuit, she meets Belle Brodie, a vivacious young woman with a passion for botany and the lucrative, dark art of perfume creation.

Belle is determined to keep both her real identity and the reason for her interest the Garden secret from her new friend. But as Elizabeth and Belle are about to discover, secrets don’t last long in this Enlightenment city . . .

And when they are revealed, they can carry the greatest of consequences.

Buy here*

Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner

Published: August 5th, 2021
Publisher: Picador
Genre: Biography, Autobiography, Cookbook

SYNOPSIS:
From the indie rockstar Japanese Breakfast, an unflinching, powerful, deeply moving memoir about growing up mixed-race, Korean food, losing her Korean mother, and forging her own identity.

‘As good as everyone says it is and, yes, it will have you in tears. An essential read for anybody who has lost a loved one, as well as those who haven’t.’ MarieClaire

In this exquisite story of family, food, grief, and endurance, Michelle Zauner proves herself far more than a dazzling singer, songwriter, and guitarist. With humour and heart, she tells of growing up the only Asian-American kid at her school in Eugene, Oregon; of struggling with her mother’s particular, high expectations of her; of a painful adolescence; of treasured months spent in her grandmother’s tiny apartment in Seoul, where she and her mother would bond, late at night, over heaping plates of food. As she grew up, moving to the east coast for college, finding work in the restaurant industry, performing gigs with her fledgling band – and meeting the man who would become her husband – her Koreanness began to feel ever more distant, even as she found the life she wanted to live. It was her mother’s diagnosis of terminal pancreatic cancer, when Michelle was twenty-five, that forced a reckoning with her identity and brought her to reclaim the gifts of taste, language, and history her mother had given her.

Vivacious and plainspoken, lyrical and honest, Michelle Zauner’s voice is as radiantly alive on the page as it is onstage. Rich with intimate anecdotes that will resonate widely, Crying in H Mart is a book to cherish, share, and reread.

Buy here*

A Passion For Poison by Carol Anne Lee

Published: August 5th, 2021
Publisher: John Blake
Genre: True Crime

SYNOPSIS:
‘The whole story is so terrible. You will be disgusted and amazed.’
Graham Young, confessing his crimes to detectives

There are few criminal cases more astonishing yet less well known than that of Graham Young. A quintessentially British crime story set in the post-war London suburbs, it involves two sensational trials, murders both certain and probable, a clutch of forgiving relatives, and scores of surviving victims.

Fourteen in the summer of 1962, Graham stood in the Old Bailey dock charged with poisoning a schoolfriend and family members by adding antimony to their packed lunches, Sunday roast and morning cups of tea. Diagnosed with multiple personality disorders, Graham’s trial resulted in his detainment at Broadmoor, where he was the youngest patient.

But it was on his release from Broadmoor that Graham caused the greatest harm. Finding employment in Hadlands, a photographic supplies firm, his role as junior storeman meant he was expected to make tea and coffee for his colleagues. And very soon, numerous members of staff began experiencing crippling stomach pains…

A psychologically astute insight into the mind of a complex and intriguing individual, A Passion for Poison is true crime at its best.

Buy here*

Look What You Made Me Do by Elaine Murphy

Published: August 12th, 2021
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Genre: Suspense, Thriller

SYNOPSIS:
Carrie wants a normal life.
Carrie Lawrence doesn’t need a happily ever after. She’ll just settle for “after.” After a decade of helping her sister hide her victims. After a lifetime of lies. She just wants to be safe, boring, and not trekking through the woods at night with a dead body wrapped in a carpet.

Becca wants to get away with murder.
Becca Lawrence doesn’t believe in happily ever after because she’s already happy. She’s gotten away with murder for a decade and has blackmailed her sister into helping her hide the evidence-what more could a girl want?

But first they have to stop a serial killer.
When thirteen bodies are discovered in their small town, people are shocked. But not as shocked as Carrie, who thought she knew all the details of Becca’s sordid pastime. When Becca swears she’s not behind the grisly new crimes, they realize the town has a second serial killer who has the sisters in his sights, and what he wants is . . . Carrie.

Buy here*

The Dark by Emma Haughton

Published: August 19th, 2021
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Psychological Thriller

SYNOPSIS:
ONE DEAD BODY. TWELVE SUSPECTS. TWENTY-FOUR-HOUR DARKNESS.

In the most inhospitable environment – cut off from the rest of the world – there’s a killer on the loose.

A&E doctor Kate North has been knocked out of her orbit by a personal tragedy. So when she’s offered the opportunity to be an emergency replacement at the UN research station in Antarctica, she jumps at the chance. The previous doctor, Jean-Luc, died in a tragic accident while out on the ice.

The move seems an ideal solution for Kate: no one knows about her past; no one is checking up on her. But as total darkness descends for the winter, she begins to suspect that Jean-Luc’s death wasn’t accidental at all.

And the more questions she asks, the more dangerous it becomes . . .

Buy here*

Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney

Published: August 19th, 2021
Publisher: HQ
Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Domestic Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
Soon to be a Netflix series from the producer of The Crown

The phenomenal new thriller from the bestselling author of Sometimes I Lie

‘Not just fiendish but positively Feeneyish – dark, ingenious and very clever’ Cara Hunter, author of Close to Home

Ten years of marriage.
Ten years of secrets.
An anniversary they’ll never forget.

Adam and Amelia are spending the weekend in the Scottish Highlands. The remote location is perfect for what they have planned.

But when their romantic trip takes a dark turn, they both start to wonder – can they trust the one they’re with?

Because every couple tells little white lies. Only for Adam and Amelia, the truth is far more dangerous.

Buy here*

What Strange Paradise by Omar El Akkad

Published: August 19th, 2021
Publisher: Picador
Genre: Political Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
From the widely acclaimed author of American War, Omar El Akkad, a beautifully written, unrelentingly dramatic and profoundly moving novel that brings the global refugee crisis down to the level of a child’s eyes.

More bodies have washed up on the shores of a small island. Another over-filled, ill-equipped, dilapidated ship has sunk under the weight of its too-many passengers: Syrians, Ethiopians, Egyptians, Lebanese, Palestinians, all of them desperate to escape untenable lives in their homelands. And only one had made the passage: nine-year-old Amir, a Syrian boy who has the good fortune to fall into the hands not of the officials, but of Vänna: a teenage girl, native to the island, who lives inside her own sense of homelessness in a place and among people she has come to disdain. And though Vänna and Amir are complete strangers and don’t speak a common language, Vänna determines to do whatever it takes to save him.

In alternating chapters, we learn the story of Amir’s life and of how he came to be on the boat; and we follow the duo as they make their way towards a vision of safety. But as the novel unfurls, we begin to understand that this is not merely the story of two children finding their way through a hostile world. Omar El Akkad’s What Strange Paradise is the story of our collective moment in this time: of empathy and indifference, of hope and despair – and of the way each of those things can blind us to reality, or guide us to a better one.

Buy here*

Emily Noble’s Disgrace by Mary Paulson-Ellis

Published: August 19th, 2021
Publisher: Mantle
Genre: Historical Fiction, Historical Mystery, Mystery

SYNOPSIS:
The case is unexceptional, that is what I know. A house full of stuff left behind by a dead woman, abandoned at the last . . .

When trauma cleaner Essie Pound makes a gruesome discovery in the derelict Edinburgh boarding house she is sent to clean, it brings her into contact with a young policewoman, Emily Noble, who has her own reasons to solve the case.

As the two women embark on a journey into the heart of a forgotten family, the investigation prompts fragmented memories of their own traumatic histories – something Emily has spent a lifetime attempting to bury, and Essie a lifetime trying to lay bare.

Emily Noble’s Disgrace is the third novel from Mary Paulson-Ellis, the bestselling author of The Other Mrs Walker, a Waterstones Scottish Book of the Year.

Buy here*

No Honour by Awais Khan

Published: August 19th, 2021
Publisher: Orenda Books
Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Political Fiction, Religious Fiction, Adventure Fiction, Urban Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
A young woman defies convention in a small Pakistani village, with devastating results for her and her family. A stunning, immense beautiful novel about courage, family and the meaning of love, when everything seems lost…

In sixteen-year-old Abida’s small Pakistani village, there are age-old rules to live by, and her family’s honour to protect. And, yet, her spirit is defiant and she yearns to make a home with the man she loves.

When the unthinkable happens, Abida faces the same fate as other young girls who have chosen unacceptable alliances – certain, public death. Fired by a fierce determination to resist everything she knows to be wrong about the society into which she was born, and aided by her devoted father, Jamil, who puts his own life on the line to help her, she escapes to Lahore and then disappears.

Jamil goes to Lahore in search of Abida – a city where the prejudices that dominate their village take on a new and horrifying form – and father and daughter are caught in a world from which they may never escape.

Moving from the depths of rural Pakistan, riddled with poverty and religious fervour, to the dangerous streets of over-populated Lahore, No Honour is a story of family, of the indomitable spirit of love in its many forms … a story of courage and resilience, when all seems lost, and the inextinguishable fire that lights one young woman’s battle for change.

Buy here*

56 Days by Catherine Ryan Howard

Published: August 19th, 2021
Publisher: Corvus
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Suspense, Crime Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
No one even knew they were together. Now one of them is dead.

56 DAYS AGO
Ciara and Oliver meet in a supermarket queue in Dublin and start dating the same week COVID-19 reaches Irish shores.

35 DAYS AGO
When lockdown threatens to keep them apart, Oliver suggests they move in together. Ciara sees a unique opportunity for a relationship to flourish without the scrutiny of family and friends. Oliver sees a chance to hide who – and what – he really is.

TODAY
Detectives arrive at Oliver’s apartment to discover a decomposing body inside.

Can they determine what really happened, or has lockdown created an opportunity for someone to commit the perfect crime?

Buy here*

SYNOPSIS:
THE STANDALONE THRILLER FROM THE MILLION-COPY BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF RAGDOLL – SOON TO BE A MAJOR TV SERIES

The Women of Troy by Pat Barker

Published: August 26th, 2021
Publisher: Hamish Hamilton
Genre: Historical Fiction, War Story

SYNOPSIS:
Following her bestselling, critically acclaimed The Silence of the Girls, Pat Barker continues her extraordinary retelling of one of our greatest myths.

Troy has fallen. The Greeks have won their bitter war. They can return home as victors – all they need is a good wind to lift their sails. But the wind has vanished, the seas becalmed by vengeful gods, and so the warriors remain in limbo – camped in the shadow of the city they destroyed, kept company by the women they stole from it.

The women of Troy.

Helen – poor Helen. All that beauty, all that grace – and she was just a mouldy old bone for feral dogs to fight over.

Cassandra, who has learned not to be too attached to her own prophecies. They have only ever been believed when she can get a man to deliver them.

Stubborn Amina, with her gaze still fixed on the ruined towers of Troy, determined to avenge the slaughter of her king.

Hecuba, howling and clawing her cheeks on the silent shore, as if she could make her cries heard in the gloomy halls of Hades. As if she could wake the dead.

And Briseis, carrying her future in her womb: the unborn child of the dead hero Achilles. Once again caught up in the disputes of violent men. Once again faced with the chance to shape history.

Masterful and enduringly resonant, ambitious and intimate, The Women of Troy continues Pat Barker’s extraordinary retelling of one of our greatest classical myths, following on from the critically acclaimed The Silence of the Girls.

Buy here*

A Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins

Published: August 31st, 2021
Publisher: Doubleday
Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Literary Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
‘What is wrong with you?’

Laura has spent most of her life being judged. She’s seen as hot-tempered, troubled, a loner. Some even call her dangerous.

Miriam knows that just because Laura is witnessed leaving the scene of a horrific murder with blood on her clothes, that doesn’t mean she’s a killer. Bitter experience has taught her how easy it is to get caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Carla is reeling from the brutal murder of her nephew. She trusts no one: good people are capable of terrible deeds. But how far will she go to find peace?

Innocent or guilty, everyone is damaged. Some are damaged enough to kill.

Look what you started.

THE SCORCHING NEW THRILLER FROM THE BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN and INTO THE WATER

Buy here*

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

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Thanks for reading this month’s anticipated treasures. See you next month for more exciting reads😊 Emma xxx

Categories
Blog Tours book reviews Emma's Anticipated Treasures

Blog Tour: Before You Knew My Name by Jacqueline Bublitz

Published: July 15th, 2021
Publisher: Sphere
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Suspense
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audio

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this phenomenal debut. Thank you to Frankie at Little Brown Book Group for the invitation to take part and the gifted copy of the book.

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SYNOPSIS:

This is not just another novel about a dead girl.

When she arrived in New York on her 18th birthday carrying nothing but $600 cash and a stolen camera, Alice was looking for a fresh start. Now, just one month later, she is the city’s latest Jane Doe, an unidentified murder victim.

Ruby Jones is also trying to start over; she travelled halfway around the world only to find herself lonelier than ever. Until she finds Alice Lee’s body by the Hudson River.

From this first, devastating encounter, the two women form an unbreakable bond. Alice is sure that Ruby is the key to solving the mystery of her life – and death. And Ruby – struggling to forget what she saw that morning – finds herself unable to let Alice go. Not until she is given the ending she deserves.

Before You Knew My Name doesn’t ask whodunnit. Instead, this powerful, hopeful novel asks: Who was she? And what did she leave behind? The answers might surprise you.

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MY REVIEW:

“If I tell you my story. If I let you know what happened to me. Maybe you’ll see who I was. Who I am. Maybe you’ll like the truth of me better, and maybe you’ll wish this for every dead girl from now on. The chance to speak for herself, to be known for more than her ending.”

We are all familiar with the brutal crimes often committed against women and the sadly common stories that accompany them. In this startling debut, Jacqueline Bublitz takes those stories and gives them a twist. Instead of asking whodunnit, she asks who was the victim? What is her story? And what can we learn from her?

Narrated by Alice Lee, the eighteen-year-old girl who moves to New York for a new start and ends up dead just a few weeks later, the story is told directly to the reader as she hovers between this life and the next. She needs us to see her. Remember her. To focus on who she was and how she lived, rather than how she died. This style of narration reminded me of The Lovely Bones, which is one of my favourite books of all time. But while it echoed Susie Salmon, Alice was unique, standing out as an original, bold and memorable voice. Having Alice tell her story directly to the reader also helped me to connect with her and see her as a real person rather than just a dead body. It gives you a sense of her character, feelings, thoughts, dreams and fears. It compounds the tragedy of what happened to her as you grieve for the loss of a life that was just beginning.

“Though we come from very different places, Ruby Jones and I might as well be the same person when it comes to how we landed here in New York City.”

But it isn’t just the story of the victim that the author illuminates in this book. She also shines a light on another familiar person whose voice is rarely heard in these cases: the person who finds the body. We don’t usually know who they are or how the grim discovery reverberates through their life. Bulbitz examines these questions and more, telling the story of Ruby Jones,  a thirty-six-year-old Australian who moved to New York for a fresh start. After finding Alice’s brutalised and broken body in the park on that stormy day she is shaken, traumatised and determined to find out the name and the story of Jane Doe. 

“You may be gone but your legacy isn’t finished.”

Breathtaking beautiful, hypnotic and mesmerising, Before You Knew My Name is one of those books that goes right to your soul. I was captivated from the first page. It is a story about new beginnings and self-discovery; full of intrigue, promise and hope. But it is also a tragic story of a life extinguished before it has even really begun. This may be a story told by a dead girl, but the author’s masterful storytelling and melodic prose breathe life into every word. I lived every moment alongside Alice and Ruby, feeling a strong bond to these two compelling, fractured yet strong women. They were great characters that I enjoyed reading and I particularly loved how the author entwined their stories. I also loved how the evocative imagery made New York leap from the page like I was watching the story in technicolour on a movie screen. Alice’s feelings about the city were infectious and I found myself falling in love with it too.  the city just as Alice did.

“There is no name to be spoken, but I am recognised by each of the women present, clasped around their lifted hands, heavy on their hearts. I am their fears, and their lucky escapes, their anger, and their wariness. I am their caution and their yesterdays, the shadow version of themselves all those nights they have spent looking over their shoulders, or twisting keys between fingers.”

Timely, brave and thought-provoking, this book feels all the more pertinent with the Sarah Everard case fresh in our minds. The author explores the things that as women we have to be aware of each day, the threat we face from the men who lurk in the shadows waiting to strike. She talks about how we feel we have to smile and act a certain way, say the right things, dampen the threat, and how the onus is put on us instead of society asking those men to change. I feel like the tides are turning now though, and that this book will help ignite much-needed discussion.

“I’m ready to tell you a little more now. Stay with me as we take that closer look. But don’t you believe a single thing he said about me.”

Atmospheric, powerful, enthralling and unflinching, the answers unfold slowly in this novel. Alice is unable to speak her secrets at first, the horror of what she suffered affecting her even after she’s left this earth. The reader learns the truth almost in sync with Ruby, keeping me guessing right up until the big reveal. 

Before You Knew My Name is a phenomenal debut that stands out amongst the many mystery and thriller books I’ve read over the years. Jacqueline Bublitz is an extraordinary talent and an author to watch. I for one will be reading anything she writes. 

READ IT NOW!

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✮

TW: Sexual assault, PTSD

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

Jacqueline ‘Rock’ Bublitz is a writer, feminist, and arachnophobe, who lives between Melbourne, Australia and her hometown on the west coast of New Zealand’s North Island.

She wrote her debut novel Before You Knew My Name after spending a summer in New York, where she hung around morgues and the dark corners of city parks (and the human psyche) far too often.

She is now working on her second novel, where she continues to explore the grand themes of love, loss and connection.

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

Thanks for reading Bibliophiles😊 Emma xxx