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Blog Tours book reviews Emma's Anticipated Treasures Uncategorised

BLOG TOUR: Daughters of Darkness by Katharine and Elizabeth Core

Published: August 4th, 2022
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Genre: Fantasy Fiction, Greek Mythology, Roman Mythology,
Format: Paperback, Kindle, Audiobook

Today is the last day of the blog tour for Daughter of Darkness and I’m thrilled to be sharing my review for this enthralling start to a new series. Thank you to Vic at Insta Book Tours for the invitation to take part and to Hot Key Books for the gifted copy of the book

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SYNOPSIS:

DISCOVER THE EPIC NEW FANTASY INSPIRED BY ANCIENT GREEK MYTH . . .

The Underworld awaits . . .

Deina is trapped. As one of the Soul Severers serving the god Hades on earth, her future is tied to the task of shepherding the dying on from the mortal world – unless she can earn or steal enough to buy her way out.

Then the tyrant ruler Orpheus offers both fortune and freedom to whoever can retrieve his dead wife, Eurydice, from the Underworld. Deina jumps at the chance. But to win, she must enter an uneasy alliance with a group of fellow Severers she neither likes nor trusts.

So begins their perilous journey into the realm of Hades. . . The prize of freedom is before her – but what will it take to reach it?

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MY REVIEW:

“All you have to do is succeed and survive.” 

Deina, one of the Soul Severers of Hades, is trapped and desperate to escape.  But it’s years before she can buy her freedom and there are many Soul Severers who don’t live long enough to be free, losing their minds as a result of what it takes for them to escort souls from the mortal world and into the next.

Then Orpheus comes to town.  The tyrant ruler offers Soul Severers who volunteer to take part in a special crusade the chance of both fortune and freedom.  It is an opportunity too good for Deina to resist and she becomes one of a group of severers chosen to embark on the quest.  But can they survive long enough to gain their freedom?

A fantasy series inspired by Greek Mythology with a breathtakingly beautiful cover is a book I was always going to read and I couldn’t wait to start this book.  Imbued with mythology, suspense and beauty, this spellbinding tale had me hooked from the first pages.  Beautifully written, the world building is magnificent and the authors’ vivid imagery makes it feel like you are watching a movie in brilliant technicolour.  It is a complex world with an intricate and layered plot full of serpentine twists you won’t see coming.  Overflowing with tension, the creepy notes began to play in earnest as the group of Soul Severers stepped into the underworld.  There is danger in every step and a savage fight to survive that is alluring.  

I listened to the story on audiobook as I was unwell in the time leading up to my stop on the blog tour and while I know I’d have still enjoyed the book however I read it, I am glad I experienced the audiobook.  The narrator was superb, capturing the atmosphere and every emotion perfectly, transporting me from my sickbed into the world the author had created.  I didn’t just listen to this story, I lived it, my heart actually pounding and the terror creeping through my bones. 

The book is filled with a fantastic cast of characters, some of whom will be familiar because of the myths.  But our narrator, Deina, and the Soul Servers she journeys with, are creations of the authors’ imaginations.  Deina is a fierce young woman, full of fire and determination.  She and the other Soul Severers band together for the quest but it is forced and they are still filled with the competitiveness and distrust that’s been bred in them for years.  This makes their journey through the underworld all the more perilous and I enjoyed trying to guess who Deina could trust and what might happen next.  Spoiler: I was usually wrong. 

Atmospheric, enthralling and utterly breathtaking, Daughter of Darkness is a magnificent start to a new series that you will get lost in.  I was on the edge of my seat for most of the book and can’t wait for book two so I can find out what happens next.

Rating: ✮✮✮✮.5

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MEET THE AUTHORS:

From their website: We are sisters and best friends (try writing a book with someone else and you’ll see why that last bit is kind of important). After spending our childhood in Essex, we now live ten minutes away from each other in Surrey. We both studied history at university and went to work in London for a bit. When we both decided to write novels – on account of fictional people being much easier to deal with than real ones – it was obvious we should do it together.

We are authors of The Witch’s Kiss Trilogy (HarperCollins) and the Solanum Duology (Hot Key Books), including A Throne Of Swans (which topped the Amazon chart as the best seller in fantasy romance for young adults) and A Crown Of Talons. Our new duology is House Of Shadows, also with Hot Key. Book 1 (Daughter of Darkness) will be out in August 2022 and book 2 in August 2023.

Stuff Katharine likes: playing instruments badly; dead languages; LOTR; loud pop concerts; Jane Austen; Neil Gaiman; Loki; the Surrey Hills. Killing off characters.

Stuff Elizabeth likes: sketching, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, cinema, long baths, kitchen discos, Terry Pratchett, Thor, London. Saving characters.

Stuff we both like: YA / non-YA fantasy and science fiction, Star Wars, Star Trek, each other (most of the time).

Website

Katherine:

Elizabeth:

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BUY THE BOOK:

Waterstones | Amazon | Bookshop.org

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Thanks for reading Bibliophiles😊 Emma xxxx

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

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book reviews Emma's Anticipated Treasures Squadpod Book Club Uncategorised

SQUADPOD BOOK CLUB REVIEW: Caged Little Birds by Lucy Banks

Published: September 15th, 2022
Publisher: Sandstone Press
Genre: Suspense, Thriller, Psychological Fiction
Format: Paperback, Kindle, Audiobook

Welcome to my review of this superbly sinister novel. Thank you to Sandstone Press for the copy of the book, which is the Squadpod Book Club September pick.

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SYNOPSIS:

The public think Ava’s a monster. Ava thinks she’s blameless.

In prison, they called her Butcher Bird – but Ava’s not in prison any more. Released after 25 years to a new identity and a new home, Ava finally has the quiet life she’s always wanted.

But someone knows who she is. The lies she’s told are about to unravel.

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MY REVIEW:

“He thinks he knows me, that he’s got it all figured out. But really he’s only seeing the tip of what lies above the surface. The rest is hidden, and it will always stay that way.” 

Ava is trying to adjust to life again after spending twenty-five years in prison.  But that isn’t all that’s new, she also has a new identity to protect her from the public who see her as a monster.  Ava thinks they’ve got her wrong and what happens wasn’t her fault.  But there’s someone who’s sure it was and they want to see her pay.  Is her new life about to fall apart?

Dark, harrowing and haunting, this twisted tale is an intimate look inside a fractured mind.  There is an immediate sense of unease and an eerie atmosphere that lingers over the pages.  Ava’s long sentence and ominous nickname – Butcher Bird – hint at a terrible crime but she believes herself to be blameless.  A mere victim of happenstance and other people’s actions. But her subconscious seems to know what she can’t admit to herself and she is haunted by the spectre of those she’s accused of harming.  It is exquisitely written, each word infused with heartache, grief and trauma that pulls at your heartstrings even when you doubt that you should be feeling any kind of empathy for Ava.  The author drops small breadcrumbs that help the reader piece the puzzle together, slowly revealing the full, awful truth of Ava and her crime.  It sent chills down my spine as things built to a shocking and unexpected climax.

Ava is one of the most chilling and unsettling characters I’ve read. Spectacularly written, she is unlikeable and unreliable yet utterly compelling, and there is something about her that makes it impossible not to feel some sympathy for her.  She also seems pretty harmless and pathetic, if not a bit arrogant, and I found myself wondering if she wasn’t as bad as everyone seems to think, yet there was that little voice just stopping me from believing what she said.  As time goes on we begin to see Ava come apart; she is increasingly paranoid and her inner monologue reveals the true darkness harbouring within her that she tries to hide.  

Superbly sinister and tantalisingly twisty, Caged Little Birds is an unnerving thriller that you won’t be able to put down.

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✰

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

Originally from Hertfordshire, Lucy Banks moved to Devon, where she promptly fell in love with the landscape and lifestyle. Author of the Dr Ribero’s Agency of the Supernatural series, and winner of several literary awards and competitions, she lives with her husband, two children, and extremely boisterous cat.

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BUY THE BOOK:

Sandstone Press | Waterstones* | Amazon* | Bookshop.org

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Thanks for reading Bibliophiles😊 Emma xxx

Join us on Twitter tonight for a chat with the author.

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Blog Tours book reviews Emma's Anticipated Treasures

BLOG TOUR: Shrines of Gaiety by Kate Atkinson

Published: September 27th, 2022
Publisher: Doubleday
Genre: Historical Fiction, Biographical Fiction
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audiobook

I’m thrilled to be opening the blog tour for this spectacular novel. A huge thank you to Anne at Random Things Tours for the invitation to take part and to Doubleday books for the gifted ARC.

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SYNOPSIS:

1926, and in a country still recovering from the Great War, London has become the focus for a delirious new nightlife. In the clubs of Soho, peers of the realm rub shoulders with starlets, foreign dignitaries with gangsters, and girls sell dances for a shilling a time.

The notorious queen of this glittering world is Nellie Coker, ruthless but also ambitious to advance her six children, including the enigmatic eldest, Niven whose character has been forged in the crucible of the Somme. But success breeds enemies, and Nellie’s empire faces threats from without and within. For beneath the dazzle of Soho’s gaiety, there is a dark underbelly, a world in which it is all too easy to become lost.

With her unique Dickensian flair, Kate Atkinson brings together a glittering cast of characters in a truly mesmeric novel that captures the uncertainty and mutability of life; of a world in which nothing is quite as it seems.

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MY REVIEW:

“There was a reckoning coming for Nellie.  Could she outrun it?” 

Shrines of Gaiety is a fictional insight into the seedy underbelly hiding beneath the glittering nightlife of 1920s London.  It follows Nellie Coker, the scene’s undisputed queen, who has built an empire for herself and her children.  At her clubs aristocrats, royals, stars and foreighn dignitaries mingle with gangsters and pay a shilling at a time to dance with girls. But success comes at a price and Nellie’s enemies are now plotting her downfall and she must fight to keep what she built. Can Nellie triumph once again or will her enemies finally succeed?

What. A. Book.  Mesmerising and exuberant, it is not only a work of art on the outside but between its pages too.  But this is a book where the beauty lives alongside the darkness.  For behind the dancing, drinking, respectability, sparkle and splendour is a cesspit of morality; an intricate and tangled web of deception, lies, debauchery, drugs, murder and sex trafficing.  A gritty and menacing underworld that is actually behind the glittering nightlife patrons enjoy.

“The delinquent Coker empire was a house of cards that Frobisher aimed to topple. The filthy, glittering underbelly of London was converged in its nightclubs, and particularly the Amethyst, the gaudy jewel at the heart of Soho’s nightlife.” 

An example of historical fiction at its finest, Kate Atkinson has once again shown why she is a must-read for any fan of the genre.  A masterclass in storytelling, this exquisitely crafted novel had me transfixed as the roaring twenties, glamorous nightlife and seedy underworld were brought to life in vivid technicolour.  It was impossible to put down and I devoured in just two sittings as Nellie’s world consumed me and the real world surrounding me fell away.

Nellie Coker is an ambitious, strong, powerful, ruthless and notorious character who demands loyalty and is fiercely protective of her family and what she’s built.  She is someone you can’t help having a soft spot for despite the fact that she is actually quite unlikeable.  She has that spark that draws you to her and makes you want to be in her orbit even if you know she’s someone you should stay away from.  It was easy to see why she was so successful. 

“Girls like Freda are meant for the Nellie Coker’s of this world. She devours them.”

But Nellie is not our only narrator and this is a saga told by an ensemble cast of richly drawn and charismatic characters such as Nellie’s six children, spiky Chief Inspector John Frobisher, former librarian Gwendolen Kelling and young Freda Murgatroyd.  Gwendolen was my favourite character while Freda brought out my maternal side as I worried about the vulnerable young runaway falling victim to the nefarious people waiting to pounce on naive young girls. There was also an array of compelling background characters that were equally as well written. 

Dazzling, evocative and consuming, this glorious romp is one of my favourite books this year.  If you enjoy historical fiction then this is an absolute must-read.  Highly recommended.  

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✮

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

Kate Atkinson is an international bestselling novelist, as well as playwright and short story writer. She is the author of Life After Life; Transcription; Behind the Scenes at the Museum, a Whitbread Book of the Year winner; the story collection Not the End of the World; and five novels in the Jackson Brodie crime series, which was adapted into the BBC TV show Case Histories.

Website

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BUY THE BOOK:

Waterstones | Amazon | Bookshop.org

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Thanks for reading Bibliophiles 😊 Emma xxxx

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

*All purchase links are affiliate links

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BLOG TOUR: All That’s Left Unsaid by Tracey Lien

Published: September 15th, 2022
Publisher: HQ
Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Crime Fiction, Domestic Fiction, Coming-of-Age Story
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audiobook

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this remarkable debut. Thank you to HQ for the invitation to take part and the gifted copy of the book.

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SYNOPSIS:

They claim they saw nothing. She knows they’re lying.
1996 – Cabramatta, Sydney

‘Just let him go.’

Those are words Ky Tran will forever regret. The words she spoke when her parents called to ask if they should let her younger brother Denny out to celebrate his high school graduation with friends. That night, Denny – optimistic, guileless Denny – is brutally murdered inside a busy restaurant in the Sydney suburb of Cabramatta, a refugee enclave facing violent crime, and an indifferent police force.

Returning home for the funeral, Ky learns that the police are stumped by her brother’s case. Even though several people were present at Denny’s murder, each bystander claims to have seen nothing, and they are all staying silent.

Determined to uncover the truth, Ky tracks down and questions the witnesses herself. But what she learns goes beyond what happened that fateful night. The silence has always been there, threaded through the generations, and Ky begins to expose the complex traumas weighing on those present the night Denny died. As she peels back the layers of the place that shaped her, she must confront more than the reasons her brother is dead. And once those truths have finally been spoken, how can any of them move on?

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MY REVIEW:

Cabramatta, Sydney. 1996.  Seventeen-year-old Denny Tran is brutally murdered while celebrating his high school graduation with his friends.  Everyone in the busy restaurant claims to have seen nothing, their fear of retribution holding the truth hostage.  Denny’s older sister Ky refuses to accept their denials or the police force’s indifference and embarks on her own quest to find out what happened to her brother.  But is she ready for what she will learn?

This is a truly remarkable debut.  Harrowing, moving and powerful, this is the story of the aftermath of a tragedy.  A tragedy shrouded in such secrecy that the truth is almost impossible to find.  This isn’t a book you simply read but one where you live every grief-laden word, the loss and heartbreak so raw that it almost makes you weep.  Though marketed as crime and mystery fiction, the novel has more of a  literary vibe as while Denny’s murder and the mystery surrounding it are part of the essence of the book, the other topics felt more prominent in the narrative than the crime itself.  I personally loved this but am aware that some hard-core thriller lovers might struggle with a more literary novel.

Exploring themes such as grief, family dynamics and cultural and societal divides alongside darker topics such as racism and prejudice, author Tracey Lien examines the Vietnamese community and how immigration to Australia affected the generations.  I knew nothing about many of the topics covered in this book before reading and enjoyed being educated while I read as I think it is important to read books that expand our knowledge of the world and other cultures. 

As Denny’s family try to come to terms with his death, they also struggle to fathom how this all-round good kid ended up the victim of such a vicious crime.  His older sister, Ky, is our main character.  Ky is feeling overwhelming guilt as she is the one who convinced her strict mother to allow Denny to attend the celebration the night he was killed and her heartache and torment is palpable. We also see how she struggles with the different way in which her Vietnamese parents grieve his loss, a cultural divide that leaves her feeling even more alone. It is just one example of the divide between immigrants and their children, who are more immersed in Australian society than their elders, and how it affects their understanding of each other.  
The other characters are equally as compelling and I especially liked that the author ensured that Denny felt as real as any other character thanks to the flashbacks that are peppered throughout the narrative.  His life is one that was extinguished far too soon and I mourned him, the tragedy, horror and devastating impact of his murder lingering over every page.

Complex, memorable and heart-shattering, All That’s Left Unsaid is a book I’d highly recommend.  An emotional journey that I couldn’t put down, this outstanding debut highlights Tracey Lien as an author to watch and I can’t wait to see what she writes next.

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✰

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

Tracey Lien was born and raised in southwestern Sydney, Australia. She earned her MFA at the University of Kansas and was previously a reporter for the Los Angeles Times. She lives in Brooklyn, New York. All That’s Left Unsaid is her first novel.

Website

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BUY THE BOOK:

Waterstones | Amazon | Bookshop.org

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Thanks for reading Bibliophiles 😊 Emma xxx

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

*All purchase links are affiliate links

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Blog Tours book reviews Emma's Anticipated Treasures

BLOG TOUR: The Woman in the Library by Sulari Gentill

Published: September 15th, 2022
Publisher: Ultimo Press
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Crime Fiction
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audiobook

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this truly original whodunit. Thank you to Tracy at Campulsive Reader Tours for the invitation to take part and Ultimo Press for the eBook ARC.

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SYNOPSIS:

‘And then there is a scream. Ragged and terrified. A beat of silence even after it stops, until we all seem to realise that the Reading Room Rules no longer apply.’

Hannah Tigone, bestselling Australian crime author, is crafting a new novel that begins in the Boston Public Library: four strangers; Winifred, Cain, Marigold and Whit are sitting at the same table when a bloodcurdling scream breaks the silence. A woman has been murdered. They are all suspects, and, as it turns out, each character has their own secrets and motivations – and one of them is a murderer.

While crafting this new thriller, Hannah shares each chapter with her biggest fan and aspirational novelist, Leo. But Leo seems to know a lot about violence, motive, and how exactly to kill someone. Perhaps he is not all that he seems…

The Woman in the Library is an unexpectedly twisty literary adventure that examines the complicated nature of friendship – and shows that words can be the most treacherous weapons of all.

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MY REVIEW:

“And then there is a scream. Ragged and terrified. A beat of silence even after it stops, until we all seem to realise that the Reading Room rules no longer apply.”

Bestselling Australian crime writer Hannah Tigone is creating a new story set in the Boston Public Library.  It opens with four strangers sitting at a table when a bloodcurdling scream pierces the silence.  A woman has been murdered.  Finding themselves under suspicion, the four new friends embark on a quest to find out who killed the woman in the library.  But could one of them be the killer?

As she writes, Hannah shares each new chapter with fan and aspiring author Leo Johnson. But there are clues that Leo may not be all he seems…

Entertaining, addictive and suspenseful, The Woman in the Library was a heart-pounding rollercoaster ride.  Action-packed, shrewdly choreographed and twist-filled, I flew through it in under a day. Author Sunil Gentill tells the story in a truly unique way.  This is a story within a story and the chapters alternate between the murder mystery novel and letters critiquing her work.  It is a great concept and she executed it perfectly, the dual narratives working well in tandem and keeping the reader on tenterhooks as she builds things to a shocking crescendo.

Though she is elusive and never features in her own voice, Hannah lingers over every page of the book and I found myself quickly drawn into her fictional storyland with its fascinating characters, exhilarating tension and the compelling mystery that Freddie and her friends were trying to solve.  In the letters I got a creepy vibe from Leo early on and was intrigued by his character more than any other.  He’s quite the enigma as we know almost nothing about him as all he seems to discuss with Hannah is her work.  I loved how Gentill used this to heighten the tension in the novel and created a second mystery for the reader to unravel.  

Writing is a theme that is intrinsically woven into the heart of this book.  The cast of characters has many authors, aspiring authors and journalists and in addition to Hannah’s novel, we have Leo discussing his ‘opus’ and Freddie writing her novel and using her new friends for inspiration.   It was an interesting glimpse into not only the writing process but the kinds of challenges and dilemmas faced before a book makes it into our hands.

A clever multiple whodunit that had my nerves on edge, The Woman in the Library is a riveting read that has the vibe of an old-fashioned murder mystery.  Highly recommended. 

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✰

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

Sulari Gentill is an Australian author, also known under the pen name of S.D. Gentill. She initially studied astrophysics before becoming a corporate lawyer, but has since become a writer. She is the author of the award-winning Rowland Sinclair Mysteries, a series of historical crime fiction novels set in the 1930s about Rowland Sinclair, the gentleman artist-cum-amateur-detective.

Website

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BUY THE BOOKS:

Waterstones | Amazon | Bookshop.org

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Thanks for reading Bibliophiles 😊 Emma xxx

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

*All purchase links are affiliate links

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book reviews Emma's Anticipated Treasures Most Anticipated 2022 Readalong

REVIEW: Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney

Published: August 18th, 2022
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Genre: Thriller, Psychological Thriller, Suspense, Gothic Fiction
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audiobook

Today I’m sharing my review for the atmospheric and consuming Daisy Darker. Thank you to BookBreak UK and Pan Macmillan for the gifted ARC and for organising the readalong.

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SYNOPSIS:

Daisy Darker is an all-consuming tale of psychological suspense with a spectacular twist from the internationally bestselling author Alice Feeney.

Daisy Darker’s family were as dark as dark can be, when one of them died all of them lied and pretended not to see . . .

Daisy Darker is arriving at her grandmother’s house for her eightieth birthday. It is Halloween, and Seaglass – the crumbling Cornish house perched upon its own tiny private island – is at one with the granite rocks it sits on. The Darker family haven’t all been in the same place for over a decade, and when the tide comes in they’ll be cut off from the rest of the world for eight hours. When the tide goes back out, nothing will ever be the same again, because one of them is a killer . . .

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MY REIVEW:

“Daisy Darker’s family were as dark as can be. 
When one of them died, all of them lied and pretended not to see…”

Daisy Darker arrives at Seaglass, her grandmother’s house on a private island on the Cornish coast, to celebrate her eightieth birthday.  They are soon joined by the rest of the Darker family and Daisy is feeling apprehensive about seeing her whole family for the first time in a decade.  As the tide comes in and isolates them on the island for eight hours, one of them is found dead.  With a killer in their midst and no means of escape, how many of them will survive the night…

What. A. Book!  Sinister, spooky and utterly brilliant, this was not only one of my favourite reads of last month, but one of my favourite of all time. I love a claustrophobic and creepy novel and there is nothing better for those vibes than a dysfunctional family full of dark secrets that are trapped in an old house with no means of escape or contacting the outside world.  It adds an air of mystery and foreboding that hovers over the story from the first pages and sets the scene for what is to come.  As the bodies pile up the terror rises and you could cut the tension with a knife.  A cloud of suspicion hangs over everyone, including Daisy, and you have no idea who to trust. 

The Darker family are a cast of complex, unlikeable and unreliable characters.  They are a minefield of toxicity and dysfunction, the extent of which is unravelled slowly through flashbacks.   I could understand why Daisy hadn’t seen them in so long and was dreading spending time with them.  But Nana was different; an ebullient and caring character who totally stole the show and was my favourite family member. I could understand why Daisy loved her and cherished their relationship.  Narrator Daisy seems to be a quite timid character who doesn’t give us any obvious reasons not to trust her yet there was just something that felt off about her from the start.  This gave the book a magnetic quality I couldn’t resist as I love when you have an unreliable narrator or a character who you have no idea if they are friend or foe.

Alice Feeney can always be relied upon to deliver a first-class psychological thriller.  But this time she really outdid herself, expertly messing with our minds as she delivered twist after twist.  A ticking time bomb of lies, misdirection and sheer dread, I was on the edge of my seat and it wreaked havoc on my blood pressure.  But there was also an old-fashioned murder mystery feel to the story that I loved and made it easy to imagine this being adapted for the screen.  

Atmospheric, unnerving and consuming, Daisy Darker is a jaw-dropping masterpiece of a thriller that will linger long after reading.  Just make sure you have a block of free time available before picking it up, because once you start you won’t be putting it down until you’ve read the last page. 

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✮

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

Alice Feeney is a New York Times bestselling author and journalist. Her debut novel, Sometimes I Lie, was an international bestseller and has been translated into over twenty languages. His & Hers is being adapted for screen by Jessica Chastain’s Freckle Films. Rock Paper Scissors is her fourth novel and is also being made into a TV series for Netflix by the producer of The Crown.

Alice was a BBC Journalist for fifteen years, and now lives in the British countryside with her family.

Daisy Darker is her fifth novel.

Website

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BUY THE BOOK:

Waterstones | Amazon | Bookshop.org

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Thanks for reading Bibliophiles 😊 Emma xxxx

*All purchase links are affiliate links

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REVIEW: Triflers Need Not Apply by Camilla Bruce

Published: August 5th, 2021
Publisher: Michael Joseph
Genre: Historical Fiction, Thriller, Crime Fiction, Biographical Fiction
Format: Paperback, Kindle, Hardcover, Audiobook

Today I’m sharing my review for this brutal and brilliant novel. Thank you Michael Joseph for the gifted copy and Ceri for asking me to buddy read this one with her.

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SYNOPSIS:

You’ve never met a woman as dangerous as Bella Sorensen . . .

THE FASCINATING REIMAGINING OF THE LIFE AND TIMES OF HISTORY’S ORIGINAL FEMALE SERIAL KILLER
________

1900, Chicago.

Bella Sorenson knows that the world is made for men.

They control everything: jobs, property, money. Marriage makes women like her their slaves.

But now Bella is fighting back.


Because she’s angry. She’s bloodthirsty. She’s willing to kill to get what she wants – starting with her husband.

And then her next husband. And the next one . . .

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MY REVIEW:

“They thought that was it, then-that I was safe and would not bite. That I would take my lesson and learn from it, be humble and meek and know my place… They never expected me to hold a grudge…”

Bella Sorenson was the original female serial killer.  As a big true crime junkie I had heard her name but knew little about her or her crimes and knew this was a book for me.  It had been languishing on my shelves ever since I received an ARC last year so I was delighted to finally get around to reading it as part of a buddy read with my lovely blogger friend Ceri. 

Brutal, bold and brilliant, author Camilla Bruce seamlessly blends fact with fiction to reimagine Bella’s story.  It is a dark character study of the life and psyche of the woman behind the sensational headlines while never making excuses for her crimes or shying away from the grim facts.  In the must-read author’s note at the end Bruce explains that the aim of this book was to try to understand what drove Bella to commit her crimes and I think she has achieved that, helping us see the nuances of her character, bond with her and even feel some sympathy for her.  She claimed my attention instantly and kept me hooked until the final page, taking me on a journey that spans multiple decades and two continents.  And while it is well researched and mindful of attention to detail, the author never allows it to become bogged down by them, instead being driven by the story and characters.

“She had been swallowed up by something else,  something dark with terrible jaws – like a wolf.” 

Bella is a terrifying character.  She is a woman fuelled by spite, anger and contempt with an unquenchable thirst for revenge.  I both loved and loathed this ruthless and remorseless killer who fails to understand why she shouldn’t hurt those she feels have wronged her.  And knowing she was a real person, that she existed and committed these crimes rather than being simply a creation of an author’s twisted imagination, made her all the more fearsome.  But despite all of this, Bruce manages to humanise her by exploring the pivotal moments of trauma in her life she can’t escape; the things that haunt her and helped shape her into a merciless killer. And while I never condoned her actions, I did have a lot of sympathy for some of the things she had endured. 

But Bella isn’t our only narrator.  Her older sister, Nellie, also shares her perspective.  She is the voice of empathy and a morally complex character whose dilemmas raise both tension and emotion.  I really enjoyed how Nellie provided another side to everything that happened, moved the story forward, and helped to create nuance in the story that would have otherwise been missing.  There was also a cast of compelling and richly drawn background characters who leapt from the pages and helped bring the whole tragic tale to life in vivid technicolour.

“I would rise, if only to spite.”

Captivating, suspenseful, devilishly dark and dripping with malice, Triflers Need Not Apply is a phenomenal story that thriller lovers and crime junkies will love. 

Rating: ✮✮✮✮.5

********

MEET THE AUTHOR:

Camilla Bruce is a Norwegian writer of speculative and historical fiction. She has a master’s degree in comparative literature and has co-run a small press that published dark fairy tales. Camilla currently lives in Trondheim with her son and cat.

https://camillabruce.com/

*********

BUY THE BOOK:

Waterstones | Amazon | Bookshop.org

********

Thanks for reading Bibliophiles 😊 Emma xxx

*All purchase links are affiliate links

Categories
Emma's Anticipated Treasures

Emma’s Anticipated Treasures – September 2022

Welcome to the September edition of Emma’s Anticipated Treasures. I’ve gone back and forth trying to narrow this down to the thirty titles I’ve included today. The problem was there were about ten more books I wanted to include but it seemed too much to have more than thirty books on the list.

So after a lot of deliberation, here are the books out next month that I’m most anticipating:

The Skeleton Key by Erin Kelly

Published: September 1st
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Crime Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
THIS REUNION WILL TEAR A FAMILY APART …

Summer, 2021.
 Nell has come home at her family’s insistence to celebrate an anniversary. Fifty years ago, her father wrote The Golden Bones. Part picture book, part treasure hunt, Sir Frank Churcher created a fairy story about Elinore, a murdered woman whose skeleton was scattered all over England. Clues and puzzles in the pages of The Golden Bones led readers to seven sites where jewels were buried – gold and precious stones, each a different part of a skeleton. One by one, the tiny golden bones were dug up until only Elinore’s pelvis remained hidden.

The book was a sensation. A community of treasure hunters called the Bonehunters formed, in frenzied competition, obsessed to a dangerous degree. People sold their homes to travel to England and search for Elinore. Marriages broke down as the quest consumed people. A man died. The book made Frank a rich man. Stalked by fans who could not tell fantasy from reality, his daughter, Nell, became a recluse.

But now the Churchers must be reunited. The book is being reissued along with a new treasure hunt and a documentary crew are charting everything that follows. Nell is appalled, and terrified. During the filming, Frank finally reveals the whereabouts of the missing golden bone. And then all hell breaks loose.

From the bestselling author of He Said/She Said and Watch Her Fall, this is a taut, mesmerising novel about a daughter haunted by her father’s legacy . . .

Buy here*

The Last Girl To Die by Helen Fields

Published: September 1st
Publisher: Avon
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Suspense, Crime Fiction, Police Procedural, Horror Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
In search of a new life, seventeen-year-old Adriana Clark’s family moves to the ancient, ocean-battered Isle of Mull, far off the coast of Scotland. Then she goes missing. Faced with hostile locals and indifferent police, her desperate parents turn to private investigator Sadie Levesque.

Sadie is the best at what she does. But when she finds Adriana’s body in a cliffside cave, a seaweed crown carefully arranged on her head, she knows she’s dealing with something she’s never encountered before.

The deeper she digs into the island’s secrets, the closer danger creeps – and the more urgent her quest to find the killer grows. Because what if Adriana is not the last girl to die?

Beautifully haunting with twists and turns you’ll never see coming, The Last Girl to Die is your next obsession waiting to happen. Perfect for fans of Stuart MacBride and L.J. Ross.

Buy here*

Your Word or Mine by Lia Middleton

Published: September 1st
Publisher: Michael Joseph
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Suspense Psychological Thriller, Crime Fiction, Legal Story

SYNOPSIS:
WHO WILL YOU BELIEVE? PRE-ORDER THIS UNPUTDOWNABLE NEW THRILLER, PERFECT FOR FANS OF ANATOMY OF A SCANDAL

Ava Knight, a brilliant young prosecutor, always follows the rules. Until she meets Lily Hawthorne – a troubled fifteen-year-old, accused of stabbing charismatic hotel magnate Michael Osborne in cold blood.

From the outside, it seems a tragic, hopeless case. But Ava suspects something everyone else does not: MICHAEL OSBORNE IS LYING.

Because eighteen years ago, Ava was brutally assaulted. She identified her attacker; the case went to trial. But the jury let him go. His name? Michael Osborne

Back then, it was Michael’s word against Ava’s.

Now another girl’s future hangs in the balance, how far will Ava go to be believed?

Buy here*

Stone by Finbar Hawkins

Published: September 1st
Publisher: Zephyr
Genre: Young Adult Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
A second novel from the bestselling author of Branford Boase-shortlisted and Carnegie-nominated Witch. An engrossing story of fathers and sons, death and grief, and unexpected bonds, new and old, forged by dark and benign magic.

When Sam, grieving the death of his father, finds a silver-flecked stone, ice-cold to the touch, strange and eerie things begin to happen. Myth, legend, magic and witchcraft mingle on the ancient hillside where the chalk white horse has galloped for centuries. Ravens wheel. Wolves prowl. As Halloween draws close, witches dance. Odin gathers brave, fallen warriors to his side.

Only the mysterious new girl, Oona, can heal Sam’s heart, revealing tarot secrets with her bewitching ways.

Buy here*

Babysitter by Joyce Carol Oates

Published: September 1st
Publisher: Fourth Estate
Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Psychological Fiction, Crime Fiction, Urban Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
From one of America’s most renowned storytellers comes a novel about love and deceit, and lust and redemption, against a background of child abductions in the affluent suburbs of Detroit.

In the waning days of the turbulent 1970s, in the wake of unsolved killings that have shocked Detroit, the lives of several residents are drawn together, with tragic consequences. There is Hannah, wife of a prominent local businessman, who has begun an affair with a darkly charismatic stranger whose identity remains elusive; Mikey, a canny street hustler who finds himself on an unexpected mission to rectify injustice; and the serial killer known as Babysitter, an enigmatic and terrifying figure at the periphery of elite Detroit. As Babysitter continues his rampage of killings, these individuals intersect with one another in startling and unexpected ways.
 
Suspenseful, brilliantly orchestrated and engrossing, Babysitter is a starkly narrated exploration of the riskiness of pursuing alternate lives, calling into question how far we are willing to go to protect those whom we cherish most. In its scathing indictment of corrupt politics, unexamined racism, and the enabling of sexual predation in America, Babysitter is a thrilling work of contemporary fiction.

Buy here*

Before Your Memory Fades (Before the Coffee Gets Cold 3) by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

Published: September 1st
Publisher: Picador
Genre: Literary Fiction, Fantasy, Urban Fiction, Book Series

SYNOPSIS:
The third novel in the international bestselling Before the Coffee Gets Cold series, following four new customers in a cafe where customers can travel back in time.

On the hillside of Mount Hakodate in northern Japan, Cafe Donna Donna is fabled for its dazzling views of Hakodate port. But that’s not all. Like the charming Tokyo cafe Funiculi Funicula, Cafe Donna Donna offers its customers the extraordinary experience of travelling through time.

From the author of Before the Coffee Gets Cold and Tales from the Cafe comes another story of four new customers, each of whom is hoping to take advantage of the cafe’s time-travelling offer. Among some familiar faces from Toshikazu Kawaguchi’s previous novels, readers will also be introduced to:

A daughter who begrudges her deceased parents for leaving her orphaned
A comedian who aches for his beloved and their shared dreams
A younger sister whose grief has become all-consuming
A young man who realizes his love for his childhood friend too late

With his signature heart-warming characters and wistful storytelling, in Before Your Memory Fades, Toshikazu Kawaguchi once again invites the reader to ask themselves: what would you change if you could travel back in time?

Buy here*

Fairy Tale by Stephen King

Published: September 6th
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Genre: Dark Fantasy, Suspense, Thriller

SYNOPSIS:
Legendary storyteller Stephen King goes into the deepest well of his imagination in this spellbinding novel about a seventeen-year-old boy who inherits the keys to a parallel world where good and evil are at war, and the stakes could not be higher – for their world or ours.

Charlie Reade looks like a regular high school kid, great at baseball and football, a decent student. But he carries a heavy load. His mom was killed in a hit-and-run accident when he was ten, and grief drove his dad to drink. Charlie learned how to take care of himself – and his dad. Then, when Charlie is seventeen, he meets a dog named Radar and her ageing master, Howard Bowditch, a recluse in a big house at the top of a big hill, with a locked shed in the backyard. Sometimes strange sounds emerge from it.

Charlie starts doing jobs for Mr. Bowditch and loses his heart to Radar. Then, when Bowditch dies, he leaves Charlie a cassette tape telling a story no one would believe. What Bowditch knows, and has kept secret all his long life, is that inside the shed is a portal to another world.

King’s storytelling in Fairy Tale soars. This is a magnificent and terrifying tale about another world than ours, in which good is pitted against overwhelming evil, and a heroic boy – and his dog – must lead the battle.

Buy here*

A Magic Steeped in Poison by Judy I. Lin

Published: September 6th
Publisher: Titan Books
Genre: Fantasy Fiction, Thriller, Mystery

SYNOPSIS:
Discover this sweeping debut steeped in Chinese mythology, the enchanting power of brewing tea, and a magical tournament to decide a country’s fate, sure to thrill fans of Adrienne Young and Leigh Bardugo.

I used to look at my hands with pride. Now all I can think is, These are the hands that buried my mother.

For Ning, the only thing worse than losing her mother is knowing that it’s her own fault. She was the one who unknowingly brewed the poison tea that killed her―the poison tea that now threatens to also take her sister, Shu.

When Ning hears of a competition to find the kingdom’s greatest shennong-shi–masters of the ancient and magical art of tea-making–she travels to the imperial city to compete. The winner will receive a favor from the princess, which may be Ning’s only chance to save her sister’s life.

But between the backstabbing competitors, bloody court politics, and a mysterious (and handsome) boy with a shocking secret, Ning might actually be the one in more danger.

Buy here*

Ithaca (The Songs of Penelope) by Claire North

Published: September 8th
Publisher: Orbit
Genre: Historical Fiction, Historical Fantasy, Fairy Tale

SYNOPSIS:
This is the story of Penelope of Ithaca, famed wife of Odysseus, as it has never been told before. Beyond Ithaca’s shores, the whims of gods dictate the wars of men. But on the isle, it is the choices of the abandoned women – and their goddesses – that will change the course of the world.

Seventeen years ago, king Odysseus sailed to war with Troy, taking with him every man of fighting age from the island of Ithaca. None of them have returned, and the women have been left behind to run the kingdom.

Penelope was barely into womanhood when she wed Odysseus. Whilst he lived, her position was secure. But now, years on, speculation is mounting that husband is dead, and suitors are starting to knock at her door . . .

But no one man is strong enough to claim Odysseus’ empty throne – not yet. Between Penelope’s many suitors, a cold war of dubious alliances and hidden knives reigns, as everyone waits for the balance of power to tip one way or another. If Penelope chooses one from amongst them, it will plunge Ithaca into bloody civil war. Only through cunning and her spy network of maids can she maintain the delicate balance of power needed for the kingdom to survive.

On Ithaca, everyone watches everyone else, and there is no corner of the palace where intrigue does not reign . . .

From the multi award-winning Claire North comes a daring, exquisite and moving tale that breathes life into ancient myth, and tells of the women who stand defiant in a world ruled by ruthless men. It’s time for the women of Ithaca to tell their tale . . .

Buy here*

Black Lake Manor by Guy Morpuss

Published: September 8th
Publisher: Viper
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Science Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
A locked room. A brutal murder.
And a killer who can turn back time…

In the former mining town of Black Lake on the west coast of Canada, there is a story about a shipwreck. All those aboard died, except an unnamed man who staggered ashore. His descendants have a unique ability: once in their lives – and only once – they can unwind the events of the previous six hours.

More than two hundred years later, Ella Manning, marine biologist and part-time police constable, is attending a party at Black Lake Manor, the cliff-top mansion of the town’s divisive local billionaire. With a raging storm coming in from the Pacific, she and several other guests find themselves trapped. And when their host is discovered brutally murdered in a locked room, they turn to her to solve the crime.

Against the odds, Ella is sure she has identified the killer… but then time is unwound. With no memory of what she discovered before, her investigation begins again, with very different results. Someone is willing to use their gift to protect a killer, and everyone is a suspect…

Buy here*

I Told You This Would Happen by Elaine Murphy

Published: September 8th
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

SYNOPSIS:
Carrie’s sister is dead.
Four months after losing her sister, Becca-a serial killer unknown to everyone else in their town-Carrie Lawrence is finally free of her manipulative clutches. From now on, she’s keeping her hands clean, no more hiding dead bodies in the middle of the night, no more lies.

She’s never been happier.
Then she attends a meeting of the Brampton Kill Seekers, a group of amateur local sleuths, and learns that a recent victim left behind a note that incriminates her in their disappearance. All of a sudden, the quiet, law-abiding life she’s been planning starts to unravel.

She’s never had so much to lose.
In her frantic quest to keep her secret dead and buried, she discovers someone nefarious lurking in the shadows…someone who’ll go to any lengths to bring her dark truths to light. Now if Carrie wants her secrets to stay hidden, she’ll have to get her hands very, very dirty.

Buy here*

The Ballad of Never After by Stephanie Garber

Published: September 13th
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Genre: Fantasy Fiction, Romantic Fantasy, Fantasy Series

SYNOPSIS:
The Ballad of Never After is the fiercely-anticipated sequel to the #1 New York Times bestseller Once Upon a Broken Heart, starring Evangeline Fox and the Prince of Hearts on a new journey of magic, mystery, and heartbreak.

After Jacks, the Prince of Hearts, betrays her, Evangeline Fox swears she’ll never trust him again. Now that she’s discovered her own magic, Evangeline believes she can use it to restore the chance at happily ever after that Jacks stole away.

But when a new terrifying curse is revealed, Evangeline finds herself entering into a tenuous partnership with the Prince of Hearts again. Only this time, the rules have changed.Jacks isn’t the only force Evangeline needs to be wary of. In fact, he might be the only one she can trust, despite her desire to despise him.

Instead of a love spell wreaking havoc on Evangeline’s life, a murderous spell has been cast. To break it, Evangeline and Jacks will have to do battle with old friends, new foes, and a magic that plays with heads and hearts. Evangeline has always trusted her heart, but this time she’s not sure she can.

Buy here*

The Butcher and the Wren by Alaina Urquhart

Published: September 13th
Publisher: Michael Joseph
Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Crime Fiction, Police Procedural, Horror Fiction, Contemporary Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
PRE-ORDER THE CHILLING SERIAL KILLER THRILLER FROM THE CO-HOST OF CHART-TOPPING PODCAST MORBID

WREN WAS NEVER AFRAID OF THE DARK.
UNTIL SHE LEARNT THAT SOME MONSTERS ARE REAL. . .

In deep Louisiana, a serial killer with a taste for medical experimentation is completing his most ambitious project yet. The media call him ‘The Butcher’ – and, so far, he’s proved impossible to catch.

With her encyclopedic knowledge of humanity’s darkest minds, and years of experience examining their victims, forensic pathologist Dr Wren Muller is the best there is. The longer the Butcher’s killing spree continues, the more determined she is to bring him to justice. And yet, he continues to elude her.

As body after body pile up on Wren’s examination table, her obsession grows. Pressure to put an end to the slaughter mounts. And her enemy becomes more brazen.

How far is Wren willing to go to draw the Butcher into the light. . .?

An addictive read with straight-from-the-morgue details only an autopsy technician could provide, The Butcher and the Wren promises to ensnare all who enter.

Buy here*

The Butcher by Laura Kat Young

Published: September 13th
Publisher: Titan Books
Genre: Dark Fantasy, Horror Fiction, Dystopian Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
A suspenseful small-town horror novel of oppression, heartbreak and buried anguish – Shirley Jackson meets Never Let Me Go with the wild west setting of Westworld.

When Lady Mae turns 18, she’ll inherit her mother’s job as the Butcher: dismembering Settlement Five’s guilty residents as payment for their petty crimes. An index finger taken for spreading salacious gossip, a foot for blasphemy, no one is exempt from punishment.

But one day Winona refuses to butcher a six-year-old boy. So their leaders, known as the Deputies, come to Lady Mae’s house, and, right there in the living room, murder her mother for refusing her duties.

Within twenty-four hours, now alone in the world, Lady Mae begins her new job. But a chance meeting years later puts her face to face with the Deputy that murdered her mother. Now Lady Mae must choose: will she flee, and start another life in the desolate mountains, forever running? Or will she seek vengeance for her mother’s death even if it kills her?

A devastating, alarming page-turner infused with melancholy, humanity – and society’s maddening acceptance in the face of horror.

Buy here*

Stone Blind by Natalie Hayes

Published: September 15th
Publisher: Mantle
Genre: Historical Fiction, Fairy Tale, Fantasy Fiction, Greek Mythology, Domestic Fiction,

SYNOPSIS:
Natalie Haynes – the Women’s Prize-shortlisted author of A Thousand Ships – brings the infamous Medusa to life as you have never seen her before . . .

‘So to mortal men, we are monsters. Because of our flight, our strength. They fear us, so they call us monsters.’

Medusa is the sole mortal in a family of gods. Growing up with her Gorgon sisters, she begins to realize that she is the only one who experiences change, the only one who can be hurt. And her mortal lifespan gives her an urgency that her family will never know.

When the sea god Poseidon commits an unforgivable act in the temple of Athene, the goddess takes her revenge where she can – and Medusa is changed forever. Writhing snakes replace her hair, and her gaze now turns any living creature to stone. The power cannot be controlled: Medusa can look at nothing without destroying it. She is condemned to a life of shadows and darkness.

Until Perseus embarks upon a quest to fetch the head of a Gorgon . . .

Buy here*

All the Broken Places by John Boyne

Published: September 15th
Publisher: Doubleday
Genre: Literary Fiction, Historical Fiction, Contemporary Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
From the author of the globally bestselling, multi-million-copy classic, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, comes its astonishing and powerful sequel.

Ninety-one-year-old Gretel Fernsby has lived in the same mansion block in London for decades. She leads a comfortable, quiet life, despite her dark and disturbing past. She doesn’t talk about her escape from Germany over seventy years before. She doesn’t talk about the post-war years in France with her mother. Most of all, she doesn’t talk about her father, the commandant of one of the most notorious Nazi concentration camps.

Then, a young family moves into the apartment below her. In spite of herself, Gretel can’t help but begin a friendship with the little boy, Henry, though his presence brings back memories she would rather forget. One night, she witnesses a violent argument between Henry’s mother and his domineering father, one that threatens Gretel’s hard-won, self-contained existence.

Gretel is faced with a chance to expiate her guilt, grief and remorse and act to save a young boy – for the second time in her life. But to do so, she will be forced to reveal her true identity to the world. Will she make a different choice this time, whatever the cost to herself?

All the Broken Places is a devastating, beautiful story about a woman who must confront the sins of her past and a present in which it is never too late for bravery.

Buy here*

All That’s Left Unsaid by Tracey Lien

Published: September 15th
Publisher: HQ
Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Crime Fiction, Domestic Fiction, Coming-of-Age Story

SYNOPSIS:
They claim they saw nothing. She knows they’re lying.

1996 – Cabramatta, Sydney

‘Just let him go.’

Those are words Ky Tran will forever regret. The words she spoke when her parents called to ask if they should let her younger brother Denny out to celebrate his high school graduation with friends. That night, Denny – optimistic, guileless Denny – is brutally murdered inside a busy restaurant in the Sydney suburb of Cabramatta, a refugee enclave facing violent crime, and an indifferent police force.

Returning home for the funeral, Ky learns that the police are stumped by her brother’s case. Even though several people were present at Denny’s murder, each bystander claims to have seen nothing, and they are all staying silent.

Determined to uncover the truth, Ky tracks down and questions the witnesses herself. But what she learns goes beyond what happened that fateful night. The silence has always been there, threaded through the generations, and Ky begins to expose the complex traumas weighing on those present the night Denny died. As she peels back the layers of the place that shaped her, she must confront more than the reasons her brother is dead. And once those truths have finally been spoken, how can any of them move on?

Buy here*

The Bleeding by Johana Gustawsson

Published: September 15th
Publisher: Orenda
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Historical Fiction, Saga, Psychological Fiction, Religious Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
Queen of French Noir, Johana Gustawsson returns with the first in a startling new series – a dark, horrifying, powerful historical thriller with an extraordinary mystery at its heart and three women pushed so far beyond breaking point, they have only one way out…
 
1899, Belle Époque Paris. Lucienne’s two daughters are believed dead when her mansion burns to the ground, but she is certain that her girls are still alive and embarks on a journey into the depths of the spiritualist community to find them.
 
1949, Post-War Québec. Teenager Lina’s father has died in the French Resistance, and as she struggles to fit in at school, her mother introduces her to an elderly woman at the asylum where she works, changing Lina’s life in the darkest way imaginable.
 
2002, Quebec. A former schoolteacher is accused of brutally stabbing her husband – a famous university professor – to death. Detective Maxine Grant, who has recently lost her own husband and is parenting a teenager and a new baby single-handedly, takes on the investigation.
 
Under enormous personal pressure, Maxine makes a series of macabre discoveries that link directly to historical cases involving black magic and murder, secret societies and spiritism … and women at breaking point, who will stop at nothing to protect the ones they love…

Buy here

The Other Side of Night by Adam Hamdy

Published: September 15th
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Psychological Fiction, Contemporary Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
David Asha wants to tell you a story about three people:

Elliott Asha, his son, broken by a loss that will redeem him.

Ben Elmys, a surrogate father and David’s trusted friend, a man who might also be a murderer.

Harriet Kealty, a retired detective searching for answers to three mysterious deaths, while also investigating a man who might turn out to be the love of her life.

Every word David tells you is true, but you will think it fiction . . .

Bestselling author Adam Hamdy returns with a story of soulmates torn apart by circumstance and three deaths that haunt the past, present and future. The Other Side of Night is a genre-defying book unlike any you’ve ever read and a spellbinding novel about love, sacrifice and endless possibilities.

Buy here*

The Bullet That Missed by Richard Osman (The Thursday Murder Club 3)

Published: September 15th
Publisher: Viking
Genre: Mystery, Cozy Mystery, Cozy Mystery Series

SYNOPSIS:
A new mystery is afoot in the third book in the Thursday Murder Club series from record-breaking, bestselling author Richard Osman.

———-

It is an ordinary Thursday and things should finally be returning to normal.

Except trouble is never far away where the Thursday Murder Club are concerned. A decade-old cold case leads them to a local news legend and a murder with no body and no answers.

Then a new foe pays Elizabeth a visit. Her mission? Kill. . . or be killed.

As the cold case turns white hot, Elizabeth wrestles with her conscience (and a gun), while Joyce, Ron and Ibrahim chase down clues with help from old friends and new. But can the gang solve the mystery and save Elizabeth before the murderer strikes again?

Buy here*

My Darling Daughter by JP Delaney

Published: September 15th
Publisher: Quercus
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Domestic Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
The child you never knew
knows all your secrets . . .

Out of the blue, Susie Jukes is contacted on social media by Anna, the girl she gave up for adoption fifteen years ago.

But when they meet, Anna’s home life sounds distinctly strange to Susie and her husband Gabe. And when Anna’s adoptive parents seem to overreact to the fact she contacted them at all, Susie becomes convinced that Anna needs her help.

But is Anna’s own behaviour simply what you’d expect from someone recovering from a traumatic childhood? Or are there other secrets at play here – secrets Susie has also been hiding for the last fifteen years?

Buy here*

Caged Little Birds by Lucy Banks

Published: September 15th
Publisher: Sandstone Press
Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Psychological Fiction, Literary Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
The public think Ava’s a monster. Ava thinks she’s blameless.

In prison, they called her Butcher Bird – but Ava’s not in prison any more. Released after 25 years to a new identity and a new home, Ava finally has the quiet life she’s always wanted.

But someone knows who she is. The lies she’s told are about to unravel.

Buy here

Marple by Various

Published: September 15th
Publisher: Harper Collins UK
Genre: Crime, Mystery, Thriller, Anthology

SYNOPSIS:
A brand new collection of short stories featuring the Queen of Crime’s legendary detective Jane Marple, penned by twelve remarkable bestselling and acclaimed authors.

This collection of twelve original short stories, all featuring Jane Marple, will introduce the character to a whole new generation. Each author reimagines Agatha Christie’s Marple through their own unique perspective while staying true to the hallmarks of a traditional mystery.
· Naomi Alderman
· Leigh Bardugo
· Alyssa Cole
· Lucy Foley
· Elly Griffiths
· Natalie Haynes
· Jean Kwok
· Val McDermid
· Karen M. McManus
· Dreda Say Mitchell
· Kate Mosse
· Ruth Ware

Miss Marple was first introduced to readers in a story Christie wrote for The Royal Magazine in 1927 and made her first appearance in a full-length novel in 1930’s The Murder at the Vicarage. It has been 45 years since Agatha Christie’s last Marple novel, Sleeping Murder, was published posthumously in 1976, and this collection of ingenious new stories by twelve Christie devotees will be a timely reminder why Jane Marple remains the most famous fictional female detective of all time.

Buy here*

Bookish People by Susan Coll

Published: September 15th
Publisher: Harper Muse
Genre: Satire, Contemporary Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
A perfect storm of comedic proportions erupts in a DC bookstore over the course of one soggy summer week, punctuated by political turmoil, a celestial event, and a perpetually broken vacuum cleaner.

Independent bookstore owner Sophie Bernstein is burned out on books. Mourning the death of her husband, the loss of her favorite manager, her only child’s lack of aspiration, and the grim state of the world, she fantasizes about going into hiding in the secret back room of her store.

Meanwhile, renowned poet Raymond Chaucer has published a new collection, and rumors that he’s to blame for his wife’s suicide have led to national cancellations of his publicity tour. He intends to set the record straight―with an ultrafine Sharpie―but only one shop still plans to host him: Sophie’s.

Fearful of potential repercussions from angry customers, Sophie asks Clemi―bookstore events coordinator, aspiring novelist, and daughter of a famed literary agent―to cancel Raymond’s appearance. But Clemi suspects Raymond might be her biological father, and she can’t say no to the chance of finding out for sure.

This big-hearted screwball comedy features an intergenerational cast of oblivious authors and over-qualified booksellers―as well as a Russian Tortoise named Kurt Vonnegut Jr.―and captures the endearing quirks of some of the best kinds of people: the ones who love good books.

Buy here*

Shrines of Gaiety by Kate Atkinson

Published: September 27th
Publisher: Doubleday
Genre: Historical Fiction, Biographical Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
1926, and in a country still recovering from the Great War, London has become the focus for a delirious new nightlife. In the clubs of Soho, peers of the realm rub shoulders with starlets, foreign dignitaries with gangsters, and girls sell dances for a shilling a time.

The notorious queen of this glittering world is Nellie Coker, ruthless but also ambitious to advance her six children, including the enigmatic eldest, Niven whose character has been forged in the crucible of the Somme. But success breeds enemies, and Nellie’s empire faces threats from without and within. For beneath the dazzle of Soho’s gaiety, there is a dark underbelly, a world in which it is all too easy to become lost.

With her unique Dickensian flair, Kate Atkinson brings together a glittering cast of characters in a truly mesmeric novel that captures the uncertainty and mutability of life; of a world in which nothing is quite as it seems.

Buy here*

Foul Lady Fortune by Chloe Gong

Published: September 27th
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Genre: Historical Fiction, Fantasy Fiction, Historical Fantasy, Speculative Historical Noir, Young Adult Fiction, Horror Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
Assassin. Immortal. Spy.

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of These Violent Delights comes the first book in a captivating new duology following an ill-matched pair of spies posing as a married couple to investigate a series of brutal murders in 1930s Shanghai.

It’s 1931 in Shanghai, and the stage is set for a new decade of intrigue.

Four years ago, Rosalind Lang was brought back from the brink of death, but the strange experiment that saved her also stopped her from sleeping and aging – and allows her to heal from any wound. In short, Rosalind cannot die. Now, desperate for redemption for her traitorous past, she uses her abilities as an assassin for her country.

Code name: Fortune.

But when the Japanese Imperial Army begins its invasion march, Rosalind’s mission pivots. A series of murders is causing unrest in Shanghai, and the Japanese are under suspicion. Rosalind’s new orders are to infiltrate foreign society and identify the culprits behind the terror plot before more of her people are killed.

To reduce suspicion, she must pose as the wife of another Nationalist spy, Orion Hong. Although Rosalind finds Orion’s cavalier attitude and playboy demeanour infuriating, she is willing to work with him for the greater good. But Orion has an agenda of his own, and Rosalind has secrets that she wants to keep buried. As they both attempt to unravel the conspiracy, the two spies soon find that there are deeper and more horrifying layers to this mystery than they ever imagined.

Buy here*

A Sliver of Darkness by C. J. Tudor

Published: September 29th
Publisher: Michael Joseph
Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Ghost Story, Supernatural Fiction, Horror Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
PRE-ORDER THE HAUNTING SHORT STORY COLLECTION FROM THE QUEEN OF CHILLERS, C. J. TUDOR . . .

This Halloween prepare to be terrified with C. J. Tudor’s first collection of short stories.

Featuring eleven twisted tales of the macabre, including:

The Lion at the Gate in which a strange piece of graffiti leads to a terrifying encounter for four school friends . . .

Butterfly Island
 which tells the story of a group of survivors who wash up on a deserted island and make a horrifying discovery . . .

Gloria where a cold-hearted killer encounters a strange young girl at a motorway service station with unexpected consequences . . .

Buy here*

Bleeding Heart Yard by Elly Griffiths

Published: September 29th
Publisher: Quercus
Genre: Gothic Thriller, Mystery, Psychological Thriller

SYNOPSIS:
A propulsive new thriller set in London featuring Detective Harbinder Kaur from the author of the No 1 bestselling Dr Ruth Galloway Mysteries. A murderer hides in plain sight – in the police.

DS Cassie Fitzgerald has a secret – but it’s one she’s deleted from her memory. In the 1990s when she was at school, she and her friends killed a fellow pupil. Thirty years later, Cassie is happily married and loves her job as a police officer.

One day her husband persuades her to go to a school reunion and another ex-pupil, Garfield Rice, is found dead, supposedly from a drug overdose. As Garfield was an eminent MP and the investigation is high profile, it’s headed by Cassie’s new boss, DI Harbinder Kaur. The trouble is, Cassie can’t shake the feeling that one of her old friends has killed again.

Is Cassie right, or was Garfield murdered by one of his political cronies? It’s in Cassie’s interest to skew the investigation so that it looks like the latter and she seems to be succeeding.

Until someone else is killed…

Buy here*

The Family Game by Catherine Steadman

Published: September 29th
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Thriller, Suspense

SYNOPSIS:
The new must-read thriller from the bestselling author of SOMETHING IN THE WATER
 
THE RULES

    1. Listen carefully
    2. Do your research
    3. Trust no one
    4. Run for your life

 
Harriet Reed is newly engaged to Edward Holbeck, the heir to an extremely powerful American family.
When Edward’s father hands her a tape of a book he’s been working on, she is desperate to listen.
But as she presses play, it’s clear that this isn’t a novel. It’s a confession to murder.
Feeling isolated and confused, Harriet must work out if this is all part of a plan to test her loyalty. Or something far darker.
Because this might be a game to the Holbeck family – but games can still be deadly.
 
READY OR NOT, HERE THEY COME . . .

Buy here*

The Echoes of Love by Jenny Ashcroft

Published: September 29th
Publisher: HQ
Genre: Historical Romance, Romance Novel, Contemporary romance, Romantic Suspense

SYNOPSIS:
Under the Cretan sun, in the summer of 1936, two young people fall in love…

Eleni has been coming to Crete her entire life, swapping her English home for cherished sun-baked summers with her grandfather, in the shoreside villa her lost mama grew up in. When she arrives in 1936, she believes the long, hot weeks ahead will be no different to so many that have gone before. But someone else is visiting the island that year too: a young German man called Otto. The two of them meet, and – far from the Nazi’s Berlin Olympics, the brewing civil war in Spain – share the happiest time of their lives; a summer of innocence lost, and love discovered; one that is finite, but not the end.

When, in 1941, the island falls to a Nazi invasion, Eleni and Otto meet there once more. It is a different place to the one they knew. Secrets have become currency, traded for lives, and trust is a luxury few can indulge in. Eleni has returned to fight for her home, Otto to occupy it. They are enemies, and their love is not only treacherous, it is dangerous – but will it destroy them, or prove strong enough to overcome the ravages of war?

An epic tale of secrets, love, loyalty, family and how far you’d go to keep those you love safe, The Echoes of Love is an exquisite and deeply moving love letter to Crete – one that will move every reader to tears.

Buy here*

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Which of these do you like the sound of most? Are any on your TBR? Let me know in the comments.

Thanks for reading Bibliophiles 😊 Emma xxx

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Blog Tours book reviews Emma's Anticipated Treasures

BLOG TOUR: So Happy For You by Celia Laskey

Published: August 4th, 2022
Publisher: HQ
Genre: Mystery, Literary Fiction, Lesbian Literature, Satire
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audiobook

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this hilarious, addictive and outrageous novel. Thank you to HQ for the invitation to take part and the gifted hardback.

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SYNOPSIS:

Bridesmaids meets Black Mirror in the most twisted and entertaining thriller of 2022.

Robin and Ellie have been best friends since childhood. They’ve been through everything together, from Robin coming out to the death of Ellie’s dad. But when Ellie asks Robin to be her maid of honour, Robin is reluctant.

It’s not that Robin isn’t happy for Ellie, she just hates everything about weddings and marriage – plus the guy Ellie’s engaged to. There’s also the matter of the crazy (not to mention dangerous) wedding rituals that couples are resorting to in the hope of securing a lifetime of happiness.

Despite her misgivings, Robin finally says yes. But as the wedding day approaches, she gets the feeling that everyone in the bridal party is out to get her. And it seems Ellie is willing to do anything for the perfect day. After all, marriage is about sacrifice…

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MY REVIEW:

“If you want to know the story of how my best friend and I ended up trying to kill each other, I should probably start with the night she asked me to be her maid of honor.”

Opening with such an ominous and foreboding first line, So Happy For You packs a punch from the start, letting you know that you are about to embark on one of the craziest rides you’ve ever had.  I am the first to admit that a book about a crazy bride and a best friend who hates weddings might not seem the ideal read when in the middle of planning my own wedding but I loved this book.  Unique, outrageous and wickedly funny, it had me hooked.  I liked that while the ending is established immediately there is still a big air of mystery as we have no idea how they get to the point of trying to kill each other or what the outcome is, keeping me guessing until the final page.

“It kind of feels like we’re at the beginning of a darkly comic horror movie.” 

Celia Laskey is a skilled storyteller who has crafted a sinister literary thriller with some deeply vulnerable moments intricately woven in.  She brings up interesting and timely topics such as feminism, abortion, homosexuality marriage and friendship, exploring them with sensitivity but never shying away from their harsh truths.  As the blurb suggests, it is marriage that she delves deepest into, examining the assumption that all women want to be wives and mothers and picking it apart piece by piece: the societal pressure, the sinister side of the institution and the history behind the familiar customs, something I found both fascinating and thought-provoking.

 “Years later I would remember this moment and ask myself if Ellie really knew the reason she wanted me as her maid of honor, or if she didn’t decide until later.”  

The story is told in the past tense directly to the reader and moves between the events leading up to the wedding and flashbacks that tell the story of Robin and Ellie’s friendship. It is set in an undated future that is so believable it is terrifying.  In this reality the government offer incentives for getting married – even organising monthly blind-dates, women are viewed as ‘leftovers’ by the age of twenty-seven and ‘rotten’ by thirty-five, and abortion is severly restricted.  Then there’s the wedding charms.  These really disturbed me and the lengths some couples would go to in order to try and secure future happiness was frightening.  I may want my own wedding to go off without a hitch but I can honestly say I’d never even contemplate such extremes, something I’m sure my guests will be happy to hear!

“Friends didn’t even feel like the right word. It felt like our DNA was tied together in a mess of knots so complete that we wouldn’t be able to untangle it even if we made it our life’s work. At that point in our friendship, it didn’t occur to me that the knots would loosen due to forces beyond our control. “

Robin and Ellie have a very intense but toxic friendship.  While neither are really likeable, I did find Robin easy to root for.  Witty, cynical, inquisitive and tenacious, she is more vulnerable than she admits and struggles to balance standing up for what she believes with supporting her best friend’s life choices.  Our view of Ellie is biased and she is offered up as the traditional villain and I enjoyed seeing our view of her change as Robin began to understand her more.  I liked how the author explored the intricacies of friendship through their relationship, asking what it is that makes a good friend, how far we are willing to go for them, and what we are prepared to forgive.

Addictive, unflinching and charged with tension, So Happy For You is a hilarious romp that would be perfect for the big screen.  It was unlike anything I’ve ever read and I can’t wait to read more from Ms. Laskey.  Highly recommended, just keep it away from any bridezillas  😉

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✰

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

Celia Laskey is the author of So Happy for You and Under the Rainbow, a finalist for the 2020 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize. Her other work has appeared in Guernica, The Minnesota Review, Day One, and elsewhere. She has an MFA from the University of New Mexico and currently lives in Los Angeles with her wife and their dog Whiskey.

She enjoys gossiping about closeted celebrities, dissecting Taylor Swift lyrics, singing the praises of probiotics and diva cups, learning the names of plants via an app on her phone, rewatching Mad Men for the 43728th time, and picking up her holds from the library.

Website

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BUY THE BOOK:

Waterstones | Amazon | Bookshop.org

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Thanks for reading Bibliophiles 😊Emma xxxx

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

All purchase links are affiliate links

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

BLOG TOUR: The Setup by Lizzy Dent

Published: June 9th, 2022
Publisher: Viking
Genre: Romance Novel, Contemporary Romance, Holiday Fiction, New Adult Fiction, Coming-of-Age Story
Format: Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this funny, heartwarming and uplifting rom-com. Thank you to Ellie at Viking for the invitation to take part and the gifted ARC.

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SYNOPSIS:

SHE HAS A PLAN . . .
FATE HAS OTHER IDEAS.
—————–

There are two men in my life. But this is not a love triangle.



Mara Williams reads her horoscope every day – but she wasn’t expecting to be in a whole other country when destiny finally found her. Just as a fortune teller reveals that her true love is about to arrive, a gorgeous stranger literally walks into her life. And now Mara is determined to bring them together again . . . Surely even fate needs a nudge in the right direction sometimes?

But while Mara is getting ready for ‘the one’, the universe intervenes. Her new flatmate Ash is funny, and kind, and sexy as hell . . . There was no predicting this: it’s as if her destiny just arrived on her doorstep.

So will Mara put her destiny in fate’s hands – or finally trust herself to reach for the stars?

*An edgy, hilarious rom-com from the author of The Summer Job. For fans of Beth O’Leary, Starstruck and New Girl.*

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MY REVIEW:

“Fate always knows how to deliver.” 

Lizzy Dent has done it again!  Charming, witty and uplifting, The Setup is a fabulous summer read that has cemented her place as one of my Queens of rom-com.  

Alone in Budapest after her best friend Charlie dropped out of their girls trip at the last minute, Mara decides to go visit a fortune teller.  She tells her that she will meet the love of her life imminently, a prediction that seems to come true when the very man she described literally walks through the door shortly after.  But life is never simple and it seems that the universe has another plan, one that includes Mara’s sexy new flatmate, Ash.  Will Mara follow fate or finally trust herself to choose what she wants? 

I became an instant fan of Lizzy Dent when I read her debut, The Summer Job, last year and was excitedly anticipating this follow up.  I had the pleasure of meeting Lizzy recently at The Book Party and she is every bit as charismatic, funny and delightful in person as she appears online, something she also brings to her books. I love how she cleverly plays with the familiar romance tropes, making them feel fresh and entertaining and injecting them with laugh-out-loud humour and valuable life lessons.  I couldn’t put it down, reading the first ¾ of the book in one sitting and staying up until almost 2am without realising the time. And that ending! It couldn’t have been more perfect.

“I’ve never understood how people can know themselves so well that they know exactly where they’re going and what to do to get there. How to make clear decisions that truly come from just them. It’s a mystery to me.”

Mara is a wonderful character.  Quirky, shy, awkward but totally endearing, she is someone I loved from the start.  A horoscope enthusiast, she is so invested in the idea of fate and destiny that she doesn’t trust her own instincts or feelings and won’t make even the smallest of decisions without consulting what her horoscope says.  I particularly loved her system for choosing which movie to watch.  It certainly saves the many hours of flicking through the choices and trying to make a selection that is familiar to us all.  Mara is also a lonely character, her shyness leaving her with only one real friend who she feels like she’s drifted apart from lately, so I enjoyed watching her create new friendships as she tries to improve herself, especially with Samira.  I also really liked her relationship with Ash which, though predictable, felt very real and natural.  I was rooting for them and definitely Team Ash over Team Joe.  When she would waver I wanted to shake her and tell her to forget a dream and go for what was right in front of her.  But would she?

Funny, heartwarming and sweet, The Setup is a feel-good romance that should be on everyone’s tbr. 

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✰

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

Lizzy Dent (mis)spent her early twenties working in Scotland in hospitality. After years travelling the world making Music TV for MTV and Channel 4, and creating digital content for Cartoon Network, the BBC and ITV, she wrote three Young Adult novels as Rebecca Denton published in the UK. This is her debut adult novel. She lives between London, Austria, and New Zealand with her young family.

Website

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BUY THE BOOK:

Waterstones | Amazon | Bookshop.org

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Thanks for reading Bibliophiles 😊 Emma xxx

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

*All purchase links are affiliate links