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Emma's Anticipated Treasures

Emma’s Anticipated Treasures – December 2022

Welcome to my final list of anticipated books released in 2022. December is a quiet month, but there’s still 15 books on my list.

The Widow by Kaira Rouda

Published: December 1st
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Psychological Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
A husband with secrets. A wife with no limits. A riveting novel of marriage, privilege, and lies by Kaira Rouda, the USA Today bestselling author of The Next Wife.

Jody Asher had a plan. Her charismatic husband, Martin, would be a political icon. She, the charming wife, would fuel his success. For fifteen congressional terms, they were the golden couple on the Hill. Life was good. Until he wasn’t.

Martin’s secret affair with a young staffer doesn’t bother Jody personally. But professionally? It’s a legacy killer. Soon a reporter gets word of this scandal in the making, and Martin’s indiscretions threaten to ruin everything Jody has accomplished.

When Martin suddenly dies, it’s a chance to change the narrative―but the reporter won’t let go of his lead. As the balance of power shifts in the Asher house and on the Hill, it’s time for Jody to take control. And there’s nothing the ruthless widow won’t do to secure the future she’s entitled to. Even if she has a secret of her own.

Buy here*

Her Deadly Promise by Carla Kovach (Detective Gina Harte Book 12)

Published: December 2nd
Publisher: Bookouture
Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Psychological Fiction, Noir Fiction, Crime Fiction, Police Procedural, Crime Series

SYNOPSIS:
Four-year-old Kayden has been sitting alone on the little patch of tired grass outside his house for hours. His cheeks are wet with tears as he waits for his mother’s warm embrace. But she’ll never arrive to pick up her darling boy. She’ll never be seen again…

Church Road is a quiet corner of suburbia where happy families play in the local park and neighbours smile as they pass in the street. But behind the bright red door of number 8 lies the body of Billie Reeves, a young mum who just took her last breath.

Serena is Billie’s sister. When she found out her boyfriend had been obsessively calling Billie, she’d all but cut her from her life. But not before vowing she would make Billie pay for ruining her relationship…

Shaun is Billie’s ex-boyfriend. He left her the moment she fell pregnant. When he turned up at Billie’s door, demanding to see Kayden, she refused to take the risk of him hurting her precious son. He’ll do whatever it takes to get his little boy back…

Nadia is Billie’s best friend. Their kids attended the same school and Billie often opened up to Nadia about her struggles as a single mother. She knows Billie’s deepest, darkest secret. She promised never to tell, but that was before the argument…

When police investigate the quiet little street, they discover everyone was whispering about Billie’s late-night callers. What was going on behind the closed door of Billie’s small home? And if someone was prepared to kill her, what do they know, and who will be next?

Fans of Angela Marsons, Cara Hunter and Clare Mackintosh, will love Her Deadly Promise – a completely gripping crime thriller that will have you hooked from the very first page!

Buy here*

Behind Closed Doors by Carol Wyer

Published: December 6th
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Genre: Suspense, Psychological Thriller

SYNOPSIS:
Two kidnappings, thirty years apart. Can Stacey face her own dark past in order to save her stepdaughter?

When Stacey’s ex-husband turns up on her doorstep begging her to help save his kidnapped thirteen-year-old daughter, Lyra, the terror is all too familiar. Stacey’s own violent kidnapping thirty years ago was never solved, and while a severe case of amnesia spares her from recalling the specific horrors, she remembers enough…

Stacey knows her father never paid the ransom―she has the missing pinkie finger to prove it. She knows she was only saved because of an anonymous tip-off to the police. And she knows her captor was never apprehended.

Lyra’s kidnappers have made it clear the police must not get involved. But Stacey can’t shake the eerie similarities between the two cases, and she’ll use whatever she can, from her journalistic powers to her shady contacts, to save Lyra from the same nightmare. Desperate to find any link between Lyra’s abduction and her own, Stacey forces herself to revisit her forgotten, traumatic past for clues.

But can she make sense of the terrible secrets she unearths in time to save Lyra? And if she does, is she ready to face her own tormentor?

Buy here*

The Ingenue by Rachel Kapelke-Dale

Published: December 6th
Publisher: St Martins Press
Genre: Suspense, Coming-of-Age Story

SYNOPSIS:
My Dark Vanessa meets The Queen’s Gambit in this new novel of suspense about the bonds of family, the limits of talent, the risks of ambition, and the rewards of revenge.

When former piano prodigy Saskia Kreis returns home to Milwaukee after her mother’s unexpected death, she expects to inherit the family estate, the Elf House. But with the discovery that her mother’s will bequeathed the Elf House to a man that Saskia shares a complicated history with, she is forced to reexamine her own past––and the romantic relationship that changed the course of her life––for answers. Can she find a way to claim her heritage while keeping her secrets buried, or will the fallout from digging too deep destroy her?

Set against a post #MeToo landscape, Rachel Kapelke-Dale’s The Ingenue delves into mother-daughter relationships, the expectations of talent, the stories we tell ourselves, and what happens when the things that once made you special are taken from you. Moving between Saskia’s childhood and the present day, this dark, contemporary fairy tale pulses with desire, longing, and uncertainty, as it builds to its spectacular, shocking climax.

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No Accident by Laura Bates

Published: December 6th
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: Suspense, Young Adult Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
No matter how you try to hide it, the truth will always come out . . .

When a small plane crash ends with a group of seven teens washed up on a deserted island, their first thought is survival. With supplies dwindling and the fear of being stranded forever becoming more of a reality, they quickly discover that being the most popular kid in high school doesn’t help when you’re fighting to stay alive.

And when strange and terrifying accidents start to occur all around them, the group realizes that they are being targeted by someone who was on the plane, and that the island isn’t their only danger. A terrible secret from a party the night before the flight has followed them ashore–and it’s clear that someone is looking for justice. Now survival depends on facing the truth about that party: who was hurt that night, and who let it happen?

Buy here*

The Darlings of the Asylum by Noel O’Reilly

Published: December 8th
Publisher: HQ
Genre: Suspense, Thriller, Gothic Fiction, Historical Fiction, Psychological Fiction, Historical Mystery, Domestic Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
To marry is madness.
To escape is impossible
.

I must pull myself together. I had to find Dr Rastrick and demand my immediate release. My stomach knotted at the prospect, but I knew I was perfectly sane and that he must see reason.

In 1886, a respectable young woman must acquire a husband. But Violet Pring does not want to marry. She longs to be a professional artist and live on her own terms.

When her scheming mother secures a desirable marriage proposal from an eligible Brighton gentleman for her, Violet protests. Her family believes she is deranged and deluded, so she is locked away in Hillwood Grange Lunatic Asylum against her will.

In her new cage, Violet faces an even greater challenge: she must escape the clutches of a sinister and formidable doctor and set herself free.

This tantalizing Gothic novel from Noel O’Reilly tells a thrilling story of duty and desire, madness and sanity, truth and delusion from within a Victorian asylum.

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The Witch and the Tsar by Oleysa Salinkova Gilmore

Published: December 8th
Publisher: Harper Voyager UK
Genre: Historical Fiction, Fairy Tale, Fantasy Fiction, Historical Fantasy

SYNOPSIS:
‘A delicate weaving of myth and history, The Witch and the Tsar breathes new life into stories you think you know’ Hannah Whitten, New York Times bestselling author of For the Wolf

Yaga lives deep in the Russian forest, tending to any that call upon her for her healing potions and vast wisdom.

She has been alone for centuries, with only her beloved animals for company. But, when Tsaritsa Anastasia, wife of Tsar Ivan Vasilyevich, shows up at Yaga’s cottage on the brink of death, Yaga is compelled to travel with her to Moscow to keep her safe.

However, the Russia Yaga sees as she makes her journey to the heart of the country is one on the brink of chaos. Tsar Ivan – soon to become Ivan the Terrible – grows more volatile and tyrannical by the day, and Yaga believes the tsaritsa is being poisoned by an unknown enemy. But what Yaga cannot know is that Ivan is being manipulated by powers far older and more fearsome than anyone can imagine.

Set in sixteenth-century Russia, The Witch and the Tsar upends the stories we know of Baba Yaga as the bony-legged witch of Slavic fairy tales and the stuff of nightmares. For beyond the rumours of her iron nose, fangs for teeth, and house on chicken legs, is the story of a woman so wise and strong that she has to be cloaked in lies to hide her true power.

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The Secrets of Rochester Place by Iris Costello

Published: December 8th
Publisher: Penguin UK
Genre: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Historical Mystery

SYNOPSIS:
A LOST CHILD.
A LONG-KEPT SECRET.
THE HOUSE THAT HOLDS THE KEY

—–

Spring 1937: Teresa is evacuated to London in the wake of the Guernica bombing. She thinks she’s found safety in the soothing arms of Mary Davidson and the lofty halls of Rochester Place, but trouble pursues her wherever she goes.

Autumn 2020: Corrine, an emergency dispatcher, receives a call from a distressed woman named Mary. But when the ambulance arrives at the address, Mary is nowhere to be found. Intrigued, Corinne investigates and, in doing so, disturbs secrets that have long-dwelt in Rochester Place’s crumbling walls. Secrets that, once revealed, will change her life for ever . . .

Who is Mary Davidson? And what happened at Rochester Place all those years ago?

Buy here*

Cradles of the Reich by Jennifer Coburn

Published: December 8th
Publsiher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Genre: Historical Fiction, War Story

SYNOPSIS:
Three women, a nation seduced by a madman, and the Nazi breeding program to create a so-called master race

At Heim Hochland, a Nazi breeding home in Bavaria, three women’s fates are irrevocably intertwined. Gundi is a pregnant university student from Berlin. An Aryan beauty, she’s secretly a member of a resistance group. Hilde, only eighteen, is a true believer in the cause and is thrilled to carry a Nazi official’s child. And Irma, a 44-year-old nurse, is desperate to build a new life for herself after personal devastation. All three have everything to lose.

Based on untold historical events, this novel brings us intimately inside the Lebensborn Society maternity homes that actually existed in several countries during World War II, where thousands of “racially fit” babies were bred and taken from their mothers to be raised as part of the new Germany. But it proves that in a dark period of history, the connections women forge can carry us through, even driving us to heroism we didn’t know we had within us.

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A Deadly Covenant by Michael Stanley

Published: December 8th
Publisher: Orenda Books
Genre: Mystery, Crime Fiction, Police Procedurals, Crime Series

SYNOPSIS:
When a human skeleton is discovered at the site of a controversial new dam in remote northern Botswana, rookie Detective Kubu is drawn into a terrifying local feud, and discovers a deadly covenant that could change everything…

While building a pipeline near the Okavango Delta, a contractor unearths the remains of a long-dead Bushman. Rookie Detective David ‘Kubu’ Bengu of Botswana CID and Scottish pathologist, Ian MacGregor, are sent to investigate, and MacGregor discovers the skeletons of eight more men.

Shortly after the gruesome discoveries, the elder of a nearby village is murdered in his home. The local police are convinced it was a robbery, but Kubu isn’t so sure … and neither is the strange woman who claims that an angry river spirit caused the elder’s death.

As accusations of corruption are levelled and international outrage builds over the massacre of the Bushman families, Kubu and his colleagues uncover a deadly covenant, and begin to fear that their own lives may be in mortal danger…

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Dashboard Elvis is Dead by David F. Ross

Published: December 8th
Publisher: Orenda Books
Genre: Mystery, Psychological Fiction, Humorous Fiction, Coming-of-Age Story

SYNOPSIS:
A failed writer connects the murder of an American journalist, a drowned 80s musician and a Scottish politician’s resignation, in a heart-wrenching novel about ordinary people living in extraordinary times.

Renowned photo-journalist Jude Montgomery arrives in Glasgow in 2014, in the wake of the failed Scottish independence referendum, and it’s clear that she’s searching for someone.

Is it Anna Mason, who will go on to lead the country as First Minister? Jamie Hewitt, guitarist from eighties one-hit wonders The Hyptones? Or is it Rabbit – Jude’s estranged foster sister, now a world-famous artist?

Three apparently unconnected people, who share a devastating secret, whose lives were forever changed by one traumatic night in Phoenix, forty years earlier…

Taking us back to a school shooting in her Texas hometown, and a 1980s road trip across the American West – to San Francisco and on to New York – Jude’s search ends in Glasgow, and a final, shocking event that only one person can fully explain…

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Little Red House by Liv Andersson

Published: December 8th
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Genre: Suspense, Thriller, Psychological Thriller

SYNOPSIS:
In 1997, Eve Foster’s daughter, Kelsey, runs away to New Mexico and vanishes without a trace. Eve is convinced that she’s the victim of a serial killer who’s been hunting women in the region – but Kelsey’s body is never found. Years later, Eve dies, leaving everything to her adopted twin daughters. The majority of the wealthy estate in Vermont goes to Lisa, the ‘good daughter,’ while Connie inherits only a small stipend and a property in New Mexico. Connie, often the target of Eve’s cruelty, suspects this was another of her mother’s vindictive games. Connie arrives in New Mexico to find a small, dilapidated red house in the desert, and the home’s mysterious caretaker, Jet Montgomery, living in a shack on the property. She learns there’s been a string of women murdered in the area – murders that no one will talk about. Before Connie can get to the truth, her mother’s sadistic mind games come creeping back from the grave – and now the danger becomes all too real. With a serial killer on the loose and a trove of deadly secrets coming to the surface, Connie is in a desperate race to save herself and what little is left of her shattered family.

Buy here*

A Mother Would Know by Amber Garza

Published: December 13th
Publisher: Mira Books
Genre: Mystery, Thriller

SYNOPSIS:
A mother questions everything she knows about her son when a local woman is found dead.

Valerie has been forgetting things. Her daughter worries about her being on her own in her big Victorian house–one rumored to be haunted after a tragedy decades earlier–and truth be told, she is a little lonely. With few options, she asks her adult son to move home, but it’s not quite the reunion she hoped for. Hudson is taciturn, moody and frequently gone.

The neighbors already hold a grudge against Hudson, and they aren’t happy about his return. When a young woman is found murdered a block away, suspicion falls on him immediately, without a shred of evidence. While Valerie fights to defend her son, she begins to wonder who she really invited into her home.

It’s a horrible thing for a mother to even think…but is it possible she’s enabled a monster? A monster she is living with, alone?

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The Wrong Mother by Charlotte Duckworth

Published: December 14th
Publisher: Quercus
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Psychological Thriller, Suspense

SYNOPSIS:
One mother on the run. A safe place to hide. But you can’t escape the past forever . . .

Faye is 39 and single. She’s terrified she may never have the one thing she always wanted: a child of her own.

Then she discovers a co-parenting app: Acorns. For men and women who want to have a baby, but don’t want to do it alone. When she meets Louis through it, it feels as though the fates have aligned.

But just one year later, Faye is on the run from Louis, with baby Jake in tow. In desperate need of a new place to live, she contacts Rachel, who’s renting out a room in her remote Norfolk cottage. It’s all Faye can afford – and surely she’ll be safe from Louis there?

But is Rachel the benevolent landlady she pretends to be? Or does she have a secret of her own?

Buy here*

Someone Had To Do It by Amber & Danielle Brown

Published: December 27th
Publisher: Paitkus
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

SYNOPSIS:
Brandi Maxwell is living the fashion intern dream.

Except, the dream looks more like living on the breadline, scrubbing sick from couture dresses, and dealing with daily microaggressions about her braids – all things she’s sure she can ignore in the name of success.

The one thing she can’t ignore is Taylor Van Doren.

Model, icon, heiress to the fashion house throne. Taylor only wants two things: her father’s money and Brandi’s boyfriend. Nothing will stand in her way. Certainly not a poor Black girl from New Jersey.

But when Brandi overhears something she shouldn’t, their fates become dangerously intertwined. And she must find a way to navigate the cutthroat world of deceptively beautiful people before she becomes fashion’s latest victim.

Buy here*

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

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Thanks for reading Bibliophiles xxx

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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*
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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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book reviews Emma's Anticipated Treasures Support Debuts

Review: Midnight in Everwood by M. A. Kuzniar

Published: October 28th, 2021
Publisher: HQ
Genre: Fairy Tale, Fantasy Fiction, Historical Fantasy, Magical Realism, Coming-of-Age Story
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audiobook

SYNOPSIS:

In the darkness of night, magic awaits…

Nottingham, 1906

Marietta Stelle longs to be a ballerina but, as Christmas draws nearer, her dancing days are numbered – she must marry and take up her place in society in the New Year. But, when a mysterious toymaker, Dr Drosselmeier, purchases a neighbouring townhouse, it heralds the arrival of magic and wonder in Marietta’s life.

After Drosselmeier constructs an elaborate theatrical set for her final ballet performance on Christmas Eve, Marietta discovers it carries a magic all of its own – a magic darker than anyone could imagine. As the clock chimes midnight, Marietta finds herself transported from her family’s ballroom to a frozen sugar palace, silent with secrets, in a forest of snow-topped fir trees. She must find a way to return home before she’s trapped in Everwood’s enchanting grip forever.

In the darkness of night, magic awaits and you will never forget what you find here…

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MY REVIEW:

“Only the most magical things happen at midnight. When mortal folk are dreaming, safe in their beds, it is then that the sprites and goblins creep out and the air crackles with wild magic.”

Nottingham, 1906. Marietta longs to be a ballerina but she is torn between the life she wants and the one her high society family expects her to have.

On Christmas Eve, as she prepares for final performance, Marietta discovers a hidden magical world full of wonder hidden in the scenery built by mysterious new neighbour Dr. Drosselmeir. But this enchanting place holds magic darker than she ever imagined and Marietta soon finds herself fighting to find a way to break free of Everwood’s hold and return home.

I’d saved Midnight in Everwood to read over Christmas and I am so glad I did. I started it on Christmas Eve, which is when most of the magic happens in Everwood, and was so enthralled that I had to force myself to stop reading at 2am so I would be able to function the next day. I was spellbound by this magical tale that I feel sure will become a future Christmas classic.

“… once magic has entered your life, you stay in it’s glittering clutch forever.”

Luminous and enchanting, Midnight in Everwood is a dark fairytale for adults. An air of creeping menace lingers over every page like a silent shadow waiting to strike, making my heart race and sending shivers down my spine. Richly imagined and beautifully told, I was transported to another world as I followed Marietta’s journey. Ms. Kuzniar is a gifted wordsmith, her glorious prose and evocative imagery bringing the stifling rigidity of high society in the early 1900s and the dazzling beauty of Everwood to life as vividly as if I’d stepped inside them myself.

Like Marietta, I was enchanted by Everwood, a wondrous dreamworld with its sugar-spun castle, frozen landscape and magical charms. But beneath the glittering facade is a much darker side. Less of a dream and more of a nightmare. A place ruled by a tyrant who enjoys torture and pain.

“Never dull your sparkle for anyone else, flame fiercely into your own glittering future.”

This is a book filled with spectacular characters. Marietta is a brilliant protagonist who I immediately liked. Feisty and determined, she doesn’t fit the mould expected of her and refuses to acquiesce. I loved this and was rooting for her from the start. That feeling only grew after she’s captured in Everwood and I was cheering her on and hoping she would find a way to escape the king’s clutches. I loved the relationship she had with her brother, Frederick, himself a great character who I could have happily read a lot more of. But it was her friendship with Pirlipata and Dellara I enjoyed most of all. This wonderful trio were a delight to read, Dellara in particular bringing an ebullience to the page that made her captivating. I loved watching their bond grow and cheering them along as they came together to find a way home.

Shimmering, incandescent and haunting, Midnight in Everwood is a mesmerising debut sprinkled with magic. The perfect book to get lost in on a cold winter’s day while snuggled under a cosy blanket, I can’t recommend it highly enough. It is one that I will treasure forever.

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✮

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

Maria Kuzniar spent six years living in Spain, teaching English and travelling the world which inspired her children’s series The Ship of Shadows. Her adult debut novel Midnight in Everwood was inspired by her love of ballet and love of The Nutcracker.

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BUY THE BOOK:

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

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Thanks for reading Bibliophiles ☺️ Emma xxx

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Blog Tours book reviews Emma's Anticipated Treasures

Blog Tour: Fall by West Camel

Published: December 9th, 2021
Publisher: Orenda Books
Genre: Psychological Fiction, Urban Fiction, LGBT Literature, Coming-of-Age Story
Format: Paperback, Kindle, Audiobook

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this exquisite book. Thank you to Anne at Random Things Tours for the invitation to take part and to Karen at Orenda for the eBook ARC.

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SYNOPSIS:

Estranged brothers are reunited over plans to develop the tower block where they grew up, but the desolate estate becomes a stage for reliving the events of one life-changing summer, forty years earlier.

Twins Aaron and Clive have been estranged for forty years. Aaron still lives in the empty, crumbling tower block on the riverside in Deptford where they grew up. Clive is a successful property developer, determined to turn the tower into luxury flats.

But Aaron is blocking the plan and their petty squabble becomes something much greater when two ghosts from the past – twins Annette and Christine – appear in the tower. At once, the desolate estate becomes a stage on which the events of one scorching summer are relived – a summer that shattered their lives, and changed everything forever…

Grim, evocative and exquisitely rendered, Fall is a story of friendship and family – of perception, fear and prejudice, the events that punctuate our journeys into adulthood, and the indelible scars they leave – a triumph of a novel that will affect you long after the final page has been turned.

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MY REVIEW:

Fall is a book that unfolds slowly.  Like a flower yet to bloom, its petals gradually unfurl to reveal its full glory: a beautiful yet broken tale of  trauma and pain. 

Twin brothers Aaron and Clive Goldsworthy have not spoken for 40 years.  Their lives have taken very different paths: Aaron lives in isolation at the rundown tower block where they were raised, while Clive is a successful businessman who owns the company wanting to redevelop it.  As they battle on opposite sides of the same fight, the story moves seamlessly between the present and the life-changing summer whose ripples are still felt today.

This was my first foray into West Camel’s writing.  Exquisitely told, this multilayered story is intricately woven and compelling, filled with characters that lure you in and make you care about them. A somber atmosphere pervades over every page and as each complex layer unfolds the pain pierces your heart.   The author explores subjects such as friendships, fractured and toxic family, prejudice and self-discovery, exploring how the events of our childhood and adolescence shape our entire lives, sometimes leaving scars that will never heal. 

This is definitely one of those books where it is best to go in kind of blind so I won’t say more about the plot.  But I will urge you to pick up this book and experience it for yourself. 

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✰

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

Born and bred in south London – and not the Somerset village with which he shares a name – West Camel worked as an editor in higher education and business before turning his attention to the arts and publishing. He has worked as a book and arts journalist, and was editor at Dalkey Archive Press, where he edited the Best European Fiction 2015 anthology, before moving to new press Orenda Books just after its launch. He currently combines his work as editor at Orenda Books with writing and editing a wide range of material for various arts organisations, including ghost-writing a New-Adult novel and editing The Riveter magazine for the European Literature Network. He has also written several short scripts, which have been produced in London’s fringe theatres, and was longlisted for the Old Vic’s 12 playwrights project. Attend is his first novel (slipped into the Orenda Books submission pile under a false name), and it was shortlisted for the Polari First Novel Award and longlisted for the Guardian Not the Booker Prize. He lives in London and is currently working on his second novel.

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BUY THE BOOK:

Orenda Books| Waterstones*| Bookshop.org*| Amazon*| Kobo| Google Books| Apple Books
*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 ☺️ Merry Christmas, 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

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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

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Blog Tours book reviews

Blog Tour: Rachel’s Holiday by Marian Keyes

Published: December 9th, 2021
Publisher: Michael Joseph
Genre: Romance Novel, Humorous Fiction, Family Saga
Format: Paperback, Kindle, Audiobook, Hardcover

Welcome to my review of Rachel’s Holiday, which was published yesterday in a special 25th anniversary edition. Thank you to Rhiannon at FMcM for the invitation to take part in this tour and to Michael Joseph for the gifted book.

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SYNOPSIS:

A MUST-READ FOR FANS OLD AND NEW, THIS STUNNING 25TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION IS THE PERFECT WAY TO REDISCOVER THE 1.5 MILLION COPY, NO. 1 BESTSELLING PHENOMENON
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Meet Rachel Walsh.

She’s been living it up in New York City, spending her nights talking her way into glamorous parties before heading home in the early hours to her adoring boyfriend, Luke.

But her sensible older sister showing up and sending her off to actual rehab wasn’t quite part of her plan.

She’s only agreed to her incarceration because she’s heard that rehab is wall-to-wall jacuzzis, spa treatments and celebrities going cold turkey – plus it’s about time she had a holiday.

Saying goodbye to fun and freedom will be hard – and losing the man who might just be the love of her life will be even harder.

But will hitting rock bottom help Rachel learn to love herself, at last?

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MY REVIEW:

“How did I end up like this? Surely I was living in New York, young, independent, glamorous, successful? And not twenty-seven, unemployed, mistaken for a drug-addict, in a treatment centre in the back arse of nowhere with an empty valium bottle in my knickers?”

Before I start I have an admission. Even though I own a number of Marian Keyes books and have had them on my shelf for years, I had never read one of them until I picked up Rachel’s Holiday for this blog tour, runs to hide in the corner in shame. And now that I have experienced my first book by Ms. Keyes, I am so mad at myself for waiting so long to read them.

After being hospitalised following an accidental overdose, Rachel Walsh’s family bring her back to Ireland and send her off to rehab. But Rachel doesn’t mind. After all, the Cloisters is a place where celebrities go, and she’s looking forward to doing some celeb spotting while enjoying spa treatments. It will be like a much-needed holiday. Or so she thinks.

Uproarious, heartfelt, scathing and sexy, Rachel’s Holiday is an exploration of addiction and journey of self-discovery. Rachel is a deeply flawed and troubled character. In deep denial about her addiction, she is sure this is all a mistake and she is nothing like the others at the Cloisters. She is selfish, self-serving and lacks self-awareness, caring only how things affect her and nothing about the impact her actions have on others. She is the kind of person that would be a nightmare to have in your real life, but Ms. Keyes manages to make her someone that you care about and root for. As she tells her story she moves between rehab in rural Ireland and her life in New York, and it is soon apparent that the wild shenanigans that she finds hilarious are a smokescreen for the deep pain and self-loathing she feels. Everyone around her can see the truth, and I desperately wanted her to see clearly and accept the help she needed so she could begin to heal.

As I said earlier, this was my first foray into Marian Keyes’ books and I found that her overwhelming talent is evident on every page. I loved how she makes you laugh while telling the most heartbreaking stories and how she’s able to make a heroine you shouldn’t like into someone you can’t get enough of. It’s easy to see why this story is considered a modern classic and Ms. Keyes a national treasure. I’m sold. And I can’t wait to read more.

So if you’re looking for some uplit that is razor-sharp and thought-provoking while being wonderfully entertaining, then pick up this book.

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✰

TW: Addiction

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

Marian Keyes is one of the most successful Irish novelists of all time. Though she was brought up in a home where a lot of oral story-telling went on, it never occurred to her that she could write.

Instead she studied law and accountancy and finally started writing short stories in 1993 “out of the blue.” Though she had no intention of ever writing a novel (“It would take too long”) she sent her short stories to a publisher, with a letter saying she’d started work on a novel. The publishers replied, asking to see the novel, and once her panic had subsided, she began to write what subsequently became her first book Watermelon, published in 1995.

To date, the woman who said she’d never write a novel has published 13 of them: WatermelonLucy Sullivan is Getting MarriedRachel’s HolidayLast Chance SaloonSushi for BeginnersAngelsThe Other Side of the StoryAnybody Out ThereThis Charming ManThe Brightest Star in the Sky , The Mystery of Mercy CloseThe Woman Who Stole My Life, and The Break Her books have all been bestsellers around the world, with a total of over 30 million of her books sold to date in 33 languages. Anybody Out There won the British Book Awards award for popular fiction and the inaugural Melissa Nathan Prize for Comedy Romance. This Charming Man won the Irish Book Award for popular fiction. Marian’s latest book Grown Ups is publishing in hardback and eBook in February 2020.

The books deal variously with modern ailments, including addiction, depression, domestic violence, the glass ceiling and serious illness, but always written with compassion, humour and hope.

In 2009, Marian experienced the start of a major depressive episode, and had to stop any work. Eventually she found that baking cakes helped her survive; and in 2012, she published Saved by Cake, which combines recipes with autobiography.

As well as novels she has written short stories, and articles for various magazines and other publications. She has published three collections of her journalism, titled Under the Duvet  and Further Under the Duvet, now collected in one volume under the title Under the Duvet: Deluxe Edition, and donated all royalties from Irish sales to the Simon Community, a charity which works with the homeless. In 2016 Marian published a new collection of essays, Making It Up As I Go Along.

She was born in Limerick in 1963, and brought up in Cavan, Cork, Galway and Dublin; she spent her twenties in London, but is now living in Dún Laoghaire with her husband Tony. She includes among her hobbies reading, movies, shoes, handbags and feminism.

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BUY THE BOOK:

Waterstones*| Bookshop.org*| Amazon*| Apple 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

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Blog Tours book reviews

Blog Tour: Blue Running by Lori Ann Stephens

Published: December 2nd, 2021
Publisher: Moonflower Books
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Coming-of-Age Fiction
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audiobook

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this compelling dystopian thriller. Thank you to Sofia at Midas PR for the invitation to take part and to Moonflower Books for the gifted ARC.

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SYNOPSIS:

In the new Republic of Texas, guns are compulsory and nothing is forgiven. Blue Running is a gripping coming-of-age thriller for fans of Station Eleven and Thelma and Louise.

Fourteen-year-old Bluebonnet Andrews is on the run across the Republic of Texas. An accident with a gun killed her best friend but everyone in the town of Blessing thinks it was murder. Even her father – the town’s drunken deputy – believes she did it. Now, she has no choice but to run. In Texas, murder is punishable by death.

There’s no one to help her. Her father is incapable and her mother left the state on the last flight to America before the secession. Blue doesn’t know where she is but she’s determined to track her down. First she has to get across the lawless Republic and over the wall that keeps everyone in.

On the road she meets Jet, a pregnant young woman of Latin American heritage. Jet is secretive about her past but she’s just as determined as Blue to get out of Texas before she’s caught and arrested. Together, the two form an unlikely kinship as they make their way past marauding motorcycle gangs, the ever watchful Texas Rangers, and armed strangers intent on abducting them – or worse. When Blue and Jet finally reach the wall, will they be able to cross the border, or will they be shot down in cold blood like the thousands who have gone before them?

Some things are worth dying for.

Blue Running pulls no punches. A fast-paced, page-turning, chilling book which looks unflinchingly at what the future could hold.

A novel for both adults and young adults, Blue Running is gripping and addictive from the first page. Readers will cheer for Blue and Jet in their pell-mell rush for freedom.

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MY REVIEW:

“I didn’t know where I was running. I just knew who I was running from.”

Blue Running is a compelling coming-of-age novel that is like reading a dystopian version of Thelma & Louise.  In the new Republic of Texas it is compulsory to carry a gun, residents are prevented from crossing into America by the Wall, abortion, homosexuality and Islam are illegal and many crimes are punishable by death.  

After the accidental death of her best friend, fourteen-year-old Bluebonnet (Blue) Andrews is accused of murder and goes on the run, determined to find her mother who left on one of the last flights out of the Republic.  When Blue meets Jet, a secretive girl who is also on the run, the two decide to travel together, forming an unlikely bond and protecting each other from traffickers, gangs and the law.  Will the pair make it to America safely?  Or will they be caught or shot down before they get there?

I don’t often read dystopian fiction, but this book’s synopsis really piqued my interest.  All the same, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started reading, but ended up totally gripped and immersed in this well-written thriller.  The new Republic is brilliantly imagined and feels sadly believable.  It was far too easy for me to see how a part of the US could end up subject to such a regime and also suffering such lawlessness.  

Blue and Jet are great characters who are easy to root for and I was all-in, absorbed in their dangerous journey and desperate to know if they made it to safety.  Neither girl has had an easy life and they are both all alone in the world and facing literal life and death situations when they meet.  Jet is a little more worldly than Blue and I was glad she found someone with that wisdom to help her in her travels.  

A compelling, tense and moving story that deals with some sensitive and difficult topics, I would recommend this refreshing and riveting debut.  

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✰

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

Lori Ann Stephens is an award-winning author whose novels for children and adults include Novalee and the Spider Secret, Some Act of Vision, and Song of the Orange Moons. Her short stories have appeared in Glimmer Train Stories, The Chicago Tribune’s “Nelson Algren Awards,” and other literary presses. A lifelong Texan, she’s seen the best and worst of her home state and has come to the conclusion that Texans are truly fabulist at heart. She teaches creative writing and critical reasoning at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. 

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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

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Blog Tours book reviews

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

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

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

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SYNOPSIS:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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MY REVIEW:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rating: ✭✭✭✭✰

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

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

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

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

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

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BUY THE BOOK:

Amazon| Google Books| Apple Books| Kobo

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

Thanks for reading Bibliophiles😊 Emma xxx

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Blog Tours book reviews Emma's Anticipated Treasures

Blog Tour: The Christmas Murder Game by Alexandra Benedict

Published: September 30th, 2021
Publisher: Zaffre
Genre: Mystery, Puzzle, Crime Mystery, Holiday Fiction
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audio

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this heart-pounding locked-room murder mystery.

For those playing along, today’s clue can be is as follows:

🗝️Clue number 6

This dairy tipple has simple class
It’s Christmas cheer but in a glass

Thank you to Eleanor at Zaffre Books for the invitation to take part and the gifted copy of the book.

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SYNOPSIS:

Twelve clues.
Twelve keys.
Twelve days of Christmas.
But who will survive until Twelfth Night?

Lily Armitage never intended to return to Endgame House – the grand family home where her mother died twenty-one Christmases ago. Until she receives a letter from her aunt, asking her to return to take part in an annual tradition: the Christmas Game. The challenge? Solve twelve clues, to find twelve keys. The prize? The deeds to the manor house.

Lily has no desire to win the house. But her aunt makes one more promise: The clues will also reveal who really killed Lily’s mother all those years ago.

So, for the twelve days of Christmas, Lily must stay at Endgame House with her estranged cousins and unravel the riddles that hold the key not just to the family home, but to its darkest secrets. However, it soon becomes clear that her cousins all have their own reasons for wanting to win the house – and not all of them are playing fair.

As a snowstorm cuts them off from the village, the game turns deadly. Soon Lily realises that she is no longer fighting for an inheritance, but for her life.

This Christmas is to die for . . . Let the game begin

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MY REVIEW:

Twelve clues.
Twelve keys.
Twelve days of Christmas.
But who will survive until Twelfth Night?

Lily Armitage is reluctantly returning to Endgame House for the first time since her mother’s death twenty-one years ago. The grand house nestled in the Yorkshire Countryside is a place haunted by memories she doesn’t want to revisit. But she is heading back after receiving a letter from her late Aunt Lilliana asking her to take part in the final Christmas Game.  Because this is no ordinary Christmas Game; not only will the winner inherit Endgame House, but the game will finally reveal long-held family secrets, including the truth of Lily’s mother’s death all those years ago.  But not everyone is playing fair.  And when Lily and her cousins are stranded at the house by a snowstorm, things soon turn deadly, leaving Lily not only fighting for answers, but her life.

A suspenseful and claustrophobic Christmas murder mystery, this was like Agatha Christie with a dash of Cluedo.  I inhaled it in one sitting, drawn in from the first page and held captive, unable to turn away until the game was over and all of the dark secrets had been revealed, just like the players themselves.  

“It’s cruel, when she thinks of it, to ask her to return to this house, with its secrets written on walls and she’s the one who has to strip back the wallpaper.” 

A delightfully twisty and suspenseful puzzle, I am still in awe that this is a debut.  The story is skillfully written, cleverly plotted and filled with evocative imagery that brings the isolation and heart-pounding fear Lily felt inside this grand house in the snowy Yorkshire Dales to life.  It felt like I was inside it myself, taking every step beside her as she played the game.  She was a great protagonist who was easy to root for and get behind.  But everyone at Endgame House is hiding secrets, including Lily, some of which are darker than others.  The author had me on the edge of my seat as I tried to figure them out along with whatever other mysteries this place held.  

A heart-pounding and addictive locked-room murder mystery, this sensational debut is the perfect puzzle for crime lovers.  

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✮

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

From her website:
A K Benedict read English at Cambridge and Creative Writing at the University of Sussex. She writes in a room filled with mannequins, clowns and teapots.

Her debut novelThe Beauty of Murder (Orion), was shortlisted for an eDunnit award and is in development for an 8-part TV series. Her second novel, Jonathan Dark or The Evidence of Ghosts (Orion), was published in February 2016 and The Stone House, a tie-in novel for Doctor Who spin-off Class, was published by BBC Books in October.

Her poems and short stories have featured in journals and anthologies including Best British Short Stories, MagmaScaremongrel, and Great British Horror. Her first audio drama, The Victorian Age, was released as part of the Torchwood range at Big Finish in February, while Outbreak, a three-part Torchwood drama co-written with Guy Adams and Emma Reeves, will be released November 2016.

Before becoming a full-time writer in 2012, A K Benedict was an indie-rock singer/songwriter, playing with her band The Black Tulips and solo as Pimpernelle. She was also a composer for film and TV, with music played on BBC 1, Channel Four, Sky, XFM, Radio 1, Radio 3 and in award-winning films. She still composes occasionally and now sings with The Slice Girls, a group of female thriller writers singing songs of sex, death and criminal activities.

She is currently writing scripts, short stories, a standalone psychological thriller and the sequel to The Beauty of Murder. She lives in St Leonards-on-Sea with her dog, Dame Margaret Rutherford. 

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BUY THE BOOK:

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

********

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

Thanks for reading Bibliophiles 😊 Emma xxx