Published: January 20th, 2022 Publisher: Harper Voyager UK Genre: Fantasty Fiction, Fairy Tale, High Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy Series Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audiobook
Thank you Harper Voyager UK for my gifted proof copy of this mesmerising debut.
The bestselling debut fantasy inspired by the legend of the Chinese moon goddess.
A young woman’s quest to free her mother pits her against the most powerful immortal in the realm, setting her on a dangerous path where those she loves are not the only ones at risk…
*THE INSTANT TOP 5 SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER*
Growing up on the moon, Xingyin is accustomed to solitude, unaware that she is being hidden from the powerful Celestial Emperor who exiled her mother for stealing his elixir of immortality. But when her magic flares and her existence is discovered, Xingyin is forced to flee her home, leaving her mother behind.
Alone, powerless, and afraid, she makes her way to the Celestial Kingdom, a land of wonder and secrets. Disguising her identity, she seizes an opportunity to train in the Crown Prince’s service, learning to master archery and magic, despite the passion which flames between her and the emperor’s son.
Lush, evocative and heartfelt, this sweeping debut is a mythological love story and coming-of-age story inspired by the legend of the Chinese moon goddess. And I can’t start this review without talking about that gorgeous cover. It is a work of art that screams ‘read me’, and the Fairyloot version just takes things to another level. As soon as I saw it I knew this was a book I had to read, and my only regret is that I waited so long to do so.
Xingyin has been raised on the moon. It is an isolated life, and as she grows, so does her desire to explore and experience new things—a wish that is about to come true in the worst possible way. When her magic flares, Xingyin discovers that her mother, Chang’e, is imprisoned in the moon as punishment for stealing the elixir of immortality from the Celestial Emperor and that her own existence is a secret. Faced with the danger of discovery, her mother’s attendant, Ping’er, helps Xingyin flee her home, and she is forced to hide in the Celestial Kingdom, concealing her identity while she works as a servant. But a chance meeting changes her destiny, and she is chosen to train alongside Crown Prince Liwei, learning battle skills and mastering her magic, eventually becoming an elite warrior who is revered throughout the Celestial Kingdom. A skill she hopes will win the Emperor’s favour and a chance to finally free her mother.
This mesmerising debut is a fantasy lovers’ dream. Enchanting and dreamlike, it is filled with mythical creatures, epic battles, humour, passion and gripping tension. It is both ambitious in scope and intimate in detail, author Sue Lynn Tan’s vivid imagery bringing her richly imagined world to life as clearly as if it was on a movie screen in front of me. Tan also paints pictures with prose that is almost poetic, each word carefully chosen to propel me into her magical world.
Xingyin is a likeable heroine who is easy to root for. She begins the story full of wide-eyed innocence and daydreams, and we follow her journey of self-discovery as she grows into a fierce, courageous warrior with a fire that cannot be extinguished. I was rooting for her from the start. I loved the beautiful mother/daughter bond she and Chang’e shared and trying to guess if her friends-to-lovers romance with Prince Liwei would have a happy ending.
A dazzling and gloriously escapist fantasy that pulls on the heartstrings, Daughters of the Moon Goddess is a debut not to be missed.
MEET THE AUTHOR:
Sue Lynn Tan writes stories inspired by the myths and legends she fell in love with as a child. After devouring every fable she could find in the library, she discovered fantasy books, spending much of her childhood lost in magical worlds.
Daughter of the Moon Goddess is her debut, the first in the Celestial Kingdom duology – a fantasy of immortals, magic and love, inspired by the beloved legend of the Chinese moon goddess, Chang’e.
When not writing or reading, she enjoys exploring the hills, lakes, and temples around her home. She is also grateful to be within reach of bubble tea and spicy food, which she unfortunately cannot cook.
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.
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!
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?
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.
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?
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.
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.
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?
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.
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…
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…
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.
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?
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?
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.