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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

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Blog Tours book reviews Emma's Anticipated Treasures

BLOG TOUR: Summer Fever by Kate Riordan

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

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

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SYNOPSIS:

Two couples. One sweltering Italian villa . . .

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

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

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

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

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MY REVIEW:

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

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

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

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

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

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✰

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

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

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BUY THE BOOK:

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

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Thanks for reading Bibliophiles 😊 Emma xxx

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

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Blog Tours book reviews

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

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

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

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SYNOPSIS:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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MY REVIEW:

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

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

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

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

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✰

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

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

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BUY THE BOOK:

Buy from The Reading House here

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

Thanks for reading Bibliophiles And Merry Christmas! Emma xxx

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Blog Tours book reviews Emma's Anticipated Treasures

Blog Tour: The Christmas Murder Game by Alexandra Benedict

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

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

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

🗝️Clue number 6

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

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

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SYNOPSIS:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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MY REVIEW:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✮

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

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

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

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

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

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

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BUY THE BOOK:

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

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

Thanks for reading Bibliophiles 😊 Emma xxx

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Blog Tours book reviews Emma's Anticipated Treasures

Blog Tour: Call of the Penguins by Hazel Prior

Published: November 11th, 2021
Publisher: Black Swan
Genre: Humorous Fiction, Adventure Fiction, Holiday Fiction, Pensioners in the Pages
Format: Paperback, Kindle, Audiobook

Today is my stop on the tour for this delightful and uplifting book. Thank you to Anne at Random Things tours for the invitation to take part and to Black Swan for the eBook ARC.

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SYNOPSIS:

Meet the heroine everyone’s talking about . . .

Fiercely resilient and impeccably dressed, Veronica McCreedy has lived an incredible 87 years. Most of them alone, in her huge house by the sea.

But Veronica has recently discovered a late-life love for family and friendship, adventure and wildlife.

More specifically, a love for penguins!

And so when she’s invited to co-present a wildlife documentary, far away in the southern hemisphere, she jumps at the chance.

Even though it will put her in the spotlight, just when she thought she would soon fade into the wings.

Perhaps it’s never too late to shine?

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MY REVIEW:

‘Penguins,’ I remind her, ‘are not only a source of endless entertainment; they are an example to us all.’

Hazel Prior has done it again. Call of the Penguins is another absolute gem of a book. Full of wit, warmth and wisdom, she reunites us with our unlikely heroine in this delightful sequel to one of my favourite books of last year.

Jumping straight in, the story picks up with Veronica McCreedy back at her house in Scotland by the sea. Her adventures in Antarctica with her beloved penguins are never far from her mind. So when she is offered the chance to venture to Australia and the Falklands to present a wildlife documentary on her favourite bird, she jumps at the chance. It seems the octogenarian’s adventures are not over yet.

My love of this book and it’s protagonist are no secret, so I was thrilled when I learned that Hazel Prior had written a follow up and immediately ordered the book. I couldn’t wait to be back with Veronica, although I admit to a little trepidation that I might not love this book as I did the first one. I need not have worried. Call of the Penguins is filled with the same heartwarming and heart-rending emotions of the first book as the author dives deeper into the lives of these now-familiar characters.

“I am fizzing with excitement like a bottle of vintage champagne.”

87-year-old Veronica McCreedy is the same intrepid, bold, sharp, feisty and determined woman from book one, only with less of the cantankerous protective layer she used to surround herself with. Instead, she is now surrounded by people she loves. And her memories of the penguins. And just like Veronica, the other characters in the book are a colourful, intriguing and richly drawn bunch. I had a particular soft spot for Daisy, a nine-year-old battling cancer.  Gutsy, ebullient and utterly compelling, Daisy reminded me a lot of Veronica. It was impossible not to love her, especially during her cute and comical interactions with the penguins. 

This is a story about family, self-discovery, self-reflection, unlocking hidden secrets and penguins. Lots of cute penguins. It is clear that not only does Ms. Prior adore these wobbly creatures, but also has a wide range of knowledge about them. This book is filled with even more penguin trivia, this time taking us to the southern hemisphere and featuring a variety of species. It even gave me a new favourite: the Little penguin. 

Once again the book also contains commentary on climate change, plastics and our responsibilities to change our habits in order to create a world that is safe for the birds and animals we love. Reading it certainly made me stop and think about my own part in this and left me with a desire to change some of my shopping habits. But it never preachy, instead expertly woven into the story so all you feel is the passion of the characters for this vital cause. I love how she educates while entertaining the reader and I’ve learned so much reading these books. 

Utterly addictive, joyous and uplifting, Veronica’s story reminds us all that it is never too late to have an adventure or to make the most of life. It is the perfect book to cosy up with under a blanket on a cold day and totally lose yourself in. After all, that’s what I did. So grab a blanket, hot chocolate and some biscuits, and go read this book.

Rating: ✮✮✮✮.5

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

Hazel is an enthusiastic and experienced harp-player based in Somerset and Exmoor. Her repertoire spans many styles of music and includes singing with harp accompaniment.  

Hazel is also an author. Her two bestselling novels, published by Penguin Random House, are described as ‘quirky’, ‘lyrical’ and ‘life-affirming’. AWAY WITH THE PENGUINS (USA tile = HOW THE PENGUINS SAVED VERONICA) is a Richard and Judy and a BBC Radio 2 Book Club pick.

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BUY THE BOOK:

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

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

Thanks for reading Bibliophiles ☺️ Emma xxx

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Blog Tours book reviews

Blog Tour: Walking On Sunshine by Giovanna Fletcher

Published: November 11th, 2021
Publisher: Michael Joseph
Genre: Romance, Contemporary Romance, Humorous Fiction, Holiday Fiction
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audiobook

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this beautiful novel. Thank you to Michael Joseph for the invitation to take part and the gifted ARC.

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SYNOPSIS:

Escape this winter with the heart-warming and uplifting new novel from the No 1 bestselling author, Giovanna Fletcher

In the darkness, we all need a little light . . .
________

After Mike loses Pia, his partner of seventeen years, their best friends Vicky and Zaza try to help pick up the pieces.

But though Pia’s gone, she left a plan. A list of loving instructions to help Mike and her friends come to terms with their loss.

And they’re each going to need it . . .

Just-engaged Zaza fears committing any further.
Exhausted mother and wife Vicky has lost sight of herself.
While Mike just feels all the colour has gone from his life.

When the list sends them trekking to Peru, where high mountains and sweltering rainforests push them to the brink, all they have to guide them is their faith in Pia and in themselves.

But will they learn that anything is possible when you’re walking on sunshine?

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MY REVIEW:

“Maybe we’re all meant to unravel every so often to take stock of where life has taken us and try to rebuild.”

Walking on Sunshine is a story of love, loss, hope and learning to live.

Narrated by Zaza, Vicky and Mike, the story explores the different ways we can be lost in life. Each of the characters feel like they are at a kind of crossroads, asking themselves, ‘Is this it?’ There are times we’ve all felt lost, trapped or in need of guidance. And though most of us don’t go trekking though the mountains and rainforests of Peru to find the answers, at the heart of the book is a story we can all relate to and find comfort in. For me, reading this book was also a kind of healing. I lost my dear friend of 25 years suddenly last year and found myself relating to the pain the characters all feel at losing a lifelong friend. But I also related to the joy they found in remembering her, the beauty in keeping her alive in their hearts, and their determination to make the most of every day after realising how short it can be. 

This was my first foray into Giovanna Fletcher’s books and she exceeded all my expectations. I had heard great things and after reading this book I can see why she garners so much praise. Wonderfully written, it is full of warmth and humour that injects lightness and joy into what would have otherwise been a melancholy tale. She has a new fan in this reader and I will be reading her back catalogue, particularly if I ever need a pick-me-up. 

Warm, witty and utterly delightful, I highly recommend this book. Just be warned that you will need tissues.

I’d like to end this review with a quote that I’m dedicating to my late friend, Faye: “The world isn’t the same without you in it, but it was made a better place because you were. Thank you.”

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✰

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

Giovanna grew up in England, Essex with her Italian dad Mario, mum Kim, big sister Giorgina and little brother Mario, and spent most of her childhood talking to herself (it seems no one wanted to listen) or reading books.

At thirteen she left Essex behind to attend the full-time Sylvia Young Theatre School, where she met her husband Tom Fletcher. Following SYTS she completed an acting BA (hons) at Rose Bruford – since then she’s been acting, chaperoning mini actors and dabbling in a spot of freelance journalism for heat, Bliss and Recognise magazines. She currently writes a weekly blog for Hello! Online and posts weekly vlogs on her YouTube channel. Most importantly, she is also mum to two little boys called Buzz and Buddy.

Giovanna is a firm believer in the power of magpies and positive energy. 

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BUY THE BOOK:

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

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

Thanks for reading Bibliophiles ☺️ Emma xxxx

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Blog Tours book reviews Emma's Anticipated Treasures Support Debuts

Blog Tour: Patience by Victoria Scott

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

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

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SYNOPSIS:

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

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

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

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

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

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MY REVIEW:

Normal doesn’t exist. We are all extraordinary.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✮

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading Bibliophiles😊 Emma xxx

Categories
Blog Tours book reviews

Blog Tour: You and Me on Vacation by Emily Henry

Published: July 22nd, 2021
Publisher: Penguin UK
Genre: Romance Novel, Contemporary Novel, Humorous Fiction, Domestic Fiction, New Adult Fiction, Holiday Fiction, Coming-of-Age Fiction
Format: Paperback, Kindle, Audio

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this fun summer romance that is published tomorrow. Thank you to Penguin UK for the invitation to take part and the gifted copy of the book.

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SYNOPSIS:

TWO FRIENDS
TEN SUMMER TRIPS

THEIR LAST CHANCE TO FALL IN LOVE

12 SUMMERS AGO: Poppy and Alex meet. They hate each other, and are pretty confident they’ll never speak again.

11 SUMMERS AGO: They’re forced to share a ride home from college and by the end of it a friendship is formed. And a pact: every year, one vacation together.

10 SUMMERS AGO: Alex discovers his fear of flying on the way to Vancouver.
Poppy holds his hand the whole way.

7 SUMMERS AGO: They get far too drunk and narrowly avoid getting matching tattoos in New Orleans.

2 SUMMERS AGO: It all goes wrong.

THIS SUMMER: Poppy asks Alex to join her on one last trip. A trip that will determine the rest of their lives.

You and Me on Vacation is a New York Times bestselling love story for fans of When Harry Met Sally and One Day. Get ready to travel the world, snort with laughter and – most of all – lose your heart to Poppy and Alex.

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MY REVIEW:

“It’s fascinating. How much of love is who you are with someone.”

You and Me on Vacation is a warm, witty, slow-burning romance that is perfect to read on a hot summer’s day. 

The story follows the familiar best friends to lovers trope, exploring the trepidation, fear and complications that can arise when you fall in love with your closest friend. While it was often predictable, this wasn’t a bad thing, and the author injected some additional mystery and tension with the inclusion of an unknown event two years earlier that had led to them not speaking since. I liked this as it made the book  more than a simple ‘will they or won’t they’ story and I felt like their tentative steps to rebuilding their friendship made me root for them from the start. There were times it felt like it was a little too drawn out, but the author soon picked up the pace and it was an entertaining read overall. 

I liked Poppy and Alex both individually and as a pair. They had a great dynamic and the spark was clear even before Poppy admitted her feelings. There were some great background characters too and I enjoyed how the author wrote little descriptions when introducing a new character that gives the reader an instant picture of what they are like. 

Being centred around a travel writer and the vacations she takes with her best friend gave this book a vibe of pure escapism and I loved being able to travel to the various destinations from my back garden during a pandemic. But the current situation also made the book feel wistful and it felt like I was reading about another life. It really made me miss the days where we could just hop on a plane and go somewhere new without a second thought. *Sigh* 

If you’re looking for a book to escape with and a good way to wile away a few hours in the sun, then this entertaining romance is the book for you. 

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✰

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

Emily Henry is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of People We Meet on Vacation and Beach Read, as well as several young adult novels. She lives and writes in the Cincinnati and the part of Kentucky just beneath it.

Her books have been featured in Buzzfeed, Oprah Magazine, Entertainment Weekly, The New York Times, The Skimm, Shondaland, Betches, Bustle, and more.

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BUY THE BOOK:

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

********

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

Thanks for reading Bibliophiles😊 Emma xxx

Categories
Emma's Anticipated Treasures First Lines Friday

First Lines Friday: The Favour by Laura Vaughan

“On my return, I found the city bleached of all colour, shimmering dullt in an August heatwave. The water was almost as full of glare as the sky. Once again, I had miscalculated. Once more, I was unprepared. Ancient treasure gleamed in doorways, shopfronts winked with made-in-China trash, and their competing glister seemed one and the same. My armpits were swampy, my mouth sour. My hands shook. So when I realised it was him, my first thought, absurdly, was I don’t want him to see me like this. After all those years, he still had that effect on me.

Cheer up Ada, he said. You look like you’re going to a funeral.

His mouth crooked. And then, of couse, we laughed.”

Today’s first lines are from The Favour, a book that piqued my interest as soon as I read the synopsis. When I received the fabulous parcel pictured above from the publishers, I became even more intrigued and knew I had to share this one with you all.

SYNOPSIS:

Fortune favours the fraud…

When she was thirteen years old, Ada Howell lost not just her father, but the life she felt she was destined to lead. Now, at eighteen, Ada is given a second chance when her wealthy godmother gifts her with an extravagant art history trip to Italy. In the palazzos of Venice, the cathedrals of Florence and the villas of Rome, she finally finds herself among the kind of people she aspires to be: sophisticated, cultured, privileged. Ada does everything in her power to prove she is one of them. And when a member of the group dies in suspicious circumstances, she seizes the opportunity to permanently bind herself to this gilded set. But everything hidden must eventually surface, and when it does, Ada discovers she’s been keeping a far darker secret than she could ever have imagined…

The Favour is out now in eBook and out March 4th in Hardcover, You can buy the book here*

Will you be adding this one to your tbr? Let me know in the comments. Until next time Bibliophiles, Emma xxx

Thank you to Corvus for the gifted ARC.

*This is an affiliate link.

Categories
Blog Tours book reviews Emma's Anticipated Treasures

The Heatwave by Kate Riordan

Published: September 3rd, 2020
Publisher: Michael Joseph
Format: Paperback, Kindle, Audio
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Psychological Thriller, Historical Fiction, Domestic Fiction, Holiday Fiction

I’m delighted to be sharing my review for this outstanding thriller as part of the blog tour. Thank you to Ella at Michael Joseph for the invitation and copy of the novel.

SYNOPSIS:

Elodie was beautiful. Elodie was smart. Elodie was troubled. 

Elodie is dead.

Sylvie hasn’t been back to her crumbling French family home in years. Not since the death of her eldest daughter Elodie.

Every corner of the old house feels haunted by memories of her – memories she has tried to forget.

But as temperatures rise, and forest fires rage through the French countryside, a long-buried family secret is about to come to light.

Because there’s something Sylvie’s been hiding about what really happened to Elodie that summer.

And it could change everything.

MY REVIEW:

Sultry, evocative and alluring, The Heatwave is an outstanding summer sizzler. Set in 1993, the story moves between timelines to tell the story of the Winters family and the dark secrets they have kept for a decade. Sylvie and her fourteen-year-old daughter, Emma, return to La Reverie, Sylvie’s family home in the south of France, after a fire. They haven’t been back since Sylvie fled a decade ago following tragic events and the loss of her oldest daughter, Elodie. What happened has always been shrouded in mystery, with Sylvie only obliquely referring to her eldest daughter and never explaining the full story to her youngest child. But the house feels haunted, echoes of the truth living in its walls like a ghost, Elodie’s presence becoming stronger. As Emma begins to ask questions, Sylvie is scared she’s starting to remember. That the truth is coming back to haunt her, and her family will be shattered once again.

I devoured this book quickly, the author’s exquisite prose transfixing me from the first pages. A smouldering thriller that shimmers like the summer sun, it transported me to the south of France from the comfort of my own home so vividly that I could almost feel the heat. I loved that the author wrote it in two parts, each having their own distinct vibe while also continuing the steady temp loopo of malevolence and foreboding and the eerie and suspenseful atmosphere that had me on the edge of my seat from beginning to end.

The characters are richly drawn and compelling, with Elodie casting a particularly sinister and mysterious presence throughout the novel. I liked Sylvie and found her easy to relate to, though I did wonder what secrets she was harbouring, why she was so convinced Emma would hate her if she knew the truth. I had my suspicions, but with each new twist I was left questioning what I thought I knew.

An intoxicating and tantalising read, The Heatwave gave me vibes of We Need To Talk About Kevin, one of my all-time favourite books, and has earned a place on my forever shelf and I can’t wait to read more by this author. A beautifully written, layered and immersive thriller that you don’t want to miss.

Rating: ✮✮✮✮. 5

MEET THE AUTHOR:

Kate Riordan is a writer and journalist. She is an avid reader of Daphne du Maurier and Agatha Christie, both of whom have influenced her writing. She lives in the Cotswolds, where she writes full-time. The Heatwave is her fourth novel.
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