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Monthly Wrap Up

Monthly Wrap Up -April 2021

It’s the end of another month so it’s also time to share what I’ve been reading. April was a busy month for me; I finished thirteen books and was part-way through another when the month ended. Four of these were five star reads and I may have even found my book of the year. So here is what I read in April:

Look What You Made Me Do by Nikki Smith

As well as making me have the Taylor Swift song buzzing round my head, this book is an addictive and twisty page-turner that will knock your socks off. I was already a fan of Ms. Smith’s writing after reading her debut, but this has confirmed her place on my list of auto-read authors.
Read the review here

The Lost Hours by Susan Lewis

The Lost Hours is a compelling mystery that follows a family through their worst nightmare. It was the author’s ability to convey the emotion of the story that made this one so enjoyable for me, though I did also like how she keeps the reader guessing right until the very end.
Read the review here

The Source by Sarah Sultoon

A story of survival, strength, power, abuse and justice, this is a book that elicits strong emotions. Unflinchingly and sensitively written, it isn’t an easy read, but it’s one I’m glad I picked up.
Read the review here

The Dinner Guest by B. P. Walter

One of the best thriller’s I’ve read in a while, this had me on the edge of my seat from start to finish. Skillfully written, atmospheric and intoxicating, this might have been my first time reading this author, but it won’t be my last.
Read the review here

Bibliomysteries Vol.1

I enjoyed listening to this anthology of thirteen short stories with a bookish theme which was my first audiobook review for NetGalley. A great listen for anyone who enjoys a mystery with stories from some famous names in crime.

The Plague Letters by V. L. Valentine

I’ve long had a fascination with anything related to the plague of the 17th Century so this book was one of my most anticipated books this year. And it didn’t disappoint. The Plague Letters is a gripping whodunnit with a sinister and supernatural twist that is made me feel like I had gone back in time. A sensational debut, I’m looking forward to seeing what this author writes next.
Read the review here

Circus of Wonders by Elizabeth MacNeal

As a huge fan of the author’s debut novel, The Doll Factory, I was so excited to read this book. I was worth the wait. Once again Ms. Macneal has written a magnificent and truly wonderful story. I got lost in the world and characters she created and didn’t want it to end. This was very nearly my book of the month and is one fans of historical fiction don’t want to miss.

The Bone Code by Kathy Reichs

I haven’t read this series in years but it was still like meeting up with old friends. I had forgotten just how amazing this series, and Reich’s writing, are and am so glad I decided to jump back into it. A twisty, taut and tense thriller that I highly recommend.
Read the review here

The Metal Heart by Caroline Lea

This book is truly something special. I was unprepared for how much I’d fall in love with this book and it’s characters as they reached into my soul and took up residence there. The writing is exquisite, the imagery so vivid you feel like you are there, and the characters utterly compelling. Dorothy and Cesare will make you believe in true love as they find something beautiful in the darkest and most unexpected of places.
Read the review here

The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

I’m not going to deny the beautiful cover is partly what enticed me to add this book to my tbr. And it lived up to the expectation of beauty for sure, with its luxurious prose and evocative imagery. I also really liked how the author addressed the topic of female agency and power. The only thing that let this down was that it is sold as Fantasy but there was no real magical element to it. It is a great book for those who enjoy historical romance.
Read the review here

The Liar’s Daughter by Rona Halsall

This was another amazing thriller from one of my favourite voices in psychological fiction. Halsall had me fooled for a while, lulling me into a false sense of security where I thought I had it all figured out, before pulling the rug from under me and turning everything on it’s head.
Read the review here

Don’t Come Looking by A. J. Campbell

The second installment in the Eva Barnes is even better than the first! An intriguing, suspenseful and gripping thriller that I couldn’t put down, keep an eye out for my review soon.

Dead Secret by Noelle Holten

This has become a must-read series for me thanks to the author’s dark and twisty plots and razor-sharp writing. This wasn’t as dark as the previous books in the series and I enjoyed exploring more of the character’s personal lives. Unexpected and addictive, I flew through this in just a few hours.
Read the review here

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While there were a few books that stood out this month, as soon as I began reading The Metal Heart I knew this was my Book of the Month. It is something truly beautiful and special that reached into my soul.

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Did we read any of the same books this month? What was your favourite read in April? Let me know in the comments.

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Thanks for reading Bibliophiles, Emma xxx

Categories
Blog Tours book reviews Emma's Anticipated Treasures

Blog Tour: Look What You Made Me Do by Nikki Smith

Published: April 1st, 2021
Publisher: Orion
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audio
Genre: Psychological Thriller, Domestic Fiction

SYNOPSIS:

Two people can keep a secret . . . if one of them is dead.

Sisters Jo and Caroline are used to hiding things from each other. They’ve never been close – taking it in turns to feel on the outside of their family unit, playing an endless game of favourites.

Jo envies Caroline’s life – things have always come so easy to her. Then a family inheritance falls entirely to Jo, and suddenly now Caroline wants what Jo has. Needs it, even.

But just how far will she go to get it?

You’ll be riveted by the new psychological suspense from Nikki Smith – a gripping gut-punch of a novel . . .

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MY REVIEW:

“Ooh, look what you made me do. Look what you made me do. Look what you just made me do.” I can’t be the only one that sings that every time I see this cover? Well as it turns out that anthem is the perfect soundtrack for this addictive, twisty page-turner as, once again, Ms. Smith knocks our socks off with this outstanding thriller.

Sisters Jo and Caroline have always had a strained relationship full of rivalry, but these things hit an all-time high in the midst of their grief over the death of their father and upon the revelation that he left the bulk of the family inheritance to Jo. The sisters have very different ideas about what should be done with the family business and now that Jo has the final say, it creates a deeper rift between them. This is a story of a fractured family that is coming apart at the seams. A family where secrets, lies, trauma, conflict and betrayal bubble beneath the surface, threatening to boil over and destroy everything in its path.

Emotionally charged, compelling and mysterious, this book bristles with a gloriously sinister tension from start to finish, keeping you on the edge of your seat. I was a huge fan of Smith’s debut and she has secured her place on my list of must-read authors with this sensational follow up. Exquisitely written, pacy and full of surprising twists, she knows how to hold the reader in the palm of her hand. I love how she can entertain while also addressing deeper topics, making the reader think as she looks at the masks we wear around those closest to us and just how far people are prepared to go for those they love. And her exploration of grief, how it is something very different to each individual and the effect it can have on your relationships, is heart-achingly raw and real.

She also addresses domestic abuse in a candid and unflinching manner that may be hard for some to read but, as an abuse survivor, I appreciated for the authenticity of the characters and storyline. Caroline’s all-consuming terror radiated from the page, turning the clock back thirteen years for me, and I could sadly recognise Rob’s vile, soulless and cowardly character.

This is an adrenaline-filled thrill ride that will have you reading with bated breath. So addictive that I had to force myself to put it down at 4am so I could sleep, I devoured this one in almost one sitting. It is a must-read for anyone who enjoys this genre, just make sure you don’t have anything else to do because you won’t want to put it down.

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✮

TW: Domestic Abuse

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

Nikki Smith studied English Literature at the University of Birmingham and went on to forge a career in finance; working for companies including a city bank and a trampoline park. She’d always wanted to write, and prompted by someone she hadn’t seen since school contacting her to ask if she’d ever done anything with her writing, signed up for a Curtis Brown creative writing course in 2017. She went on to win a short story competition and mentorship by the author Amanda Reynolds before being accepted for representation by Sophie Lambert at C+W. Her debut novel, ALL IN HER HEAD, went on submission in January 2019 and she accepted a pre-empt offer for a two book deal by Orion ten days later. LOOK WHAT YOU MADE ME DO is her second novel and will be published in April 2021. She lives in Guildford with her husband, two daughters and a burmese cat, Saffi, who thinks she’s a dog.

Website | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook

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BUY THE BOOK:

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

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Thank you Orion for the gifted ARC and invitation to take part in the tour. Please check out the reviews from the other bloggers taking part.

Thanks for reading Bibliophiles. Until next time, Emma xxxx

Categories
Blog Tours book reviews Monthly Wrap Up

Monthly Wrap Up – April 2020

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I can’t believe we’re a third of the way through the year already. April has been a strange month for the world with us being in lockdown. For me, that’s meant mostly getting used to not having a quiet house during the day Monday to Friday, which is when I do a lot of my reading and blogging. I’ve also had to hand over my laptop to our eldest as his is broken so I’m restricted in my times I can write.

In terms of reading, April has been another strong month for me. I’ve read thirteen books, taken part in fifteen blog tours, two cover reveals, one readalong and one buddy read. So here is what I’ve read this month:

  1. Mine by Clare Empson ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  2. Strangers by C.L. Taylor ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  3. The Philosopher’s Daughters by Alison Booth ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  4. Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  5. All In Her Head by Nikki Smith ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  6. The Fallout by Rebecca Thornton ⭐⭐⭐.5
  7. The Switch by Beth O’Leary ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  8. I Am Dust by Louise Beech ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  9. What’s Left of Me Is Yours by Stephanie Scott ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  10. My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell ⭐⭐⭐⭐.5
  11. The Thunder Girls by Melanie Blake ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  12. The House Guest by Mark Edwards ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  13. We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  14. So Many Lies by Paul J. Teague ⭐⭐⭐⭐

You can read the synopsis and reviews for what I’ve read this month by clicking on the links above except for The House Guest, which will be reviewed next month.

So many great books means it’s hard to choose a favourite. And this month it was almost impossible. I loved Hamnet and was sure nothing would top that; until I read the breathtaking debut novel, What’s Left Of Me Is Yours. I still think about that book many times each day and am constantly recommending everyone read it. So if you haven’t yet bought a copy you can use the links in my review to do it now! Other books I feel deserve a shout out are the fantastic thrillers Strangers and All In Her Head, the heartwarming and uplifting The Switch, and the brilliantly sinister I Am Dust. Each of these were also contenders for my book of the month.

Thank you to the publishers for my gifted copies of the books and the blog tour organisers for all their hard work.

What have you read this month and what was your favourite? Comment below.

Categories
Blog Tours book reviews

All In Her Head by Nikki Smith ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Published: April 2nd, 2020
Publisher: Orion
Format: Hardcover, Kindle
Genre: Psychological Thriller, Domestic Fiction

Today is my stop on the blog tour for this debut thriller. Thank you Anne at Random Things Tours for the invitation to take part and to Orion and NetGalley for the eBook ARC.

SYNOPSIS:

Her life is a pack of lies. But what if she is the liar?

Alison is more alone than she’s ever been. She is convinced that her ex-husband Jack is following her. She is certain she recognises the strange woman who keeps approaching her at work.

She knows she has a good reason to be afraid. But she can’t remember why.

Then the mention of one name brings a whole lifetime of memories rushing back in.

Alison feels like she’s losing her mind . . . but it could just lead her to the truth.

MY REVIEW:

Nothing is as it seems in this compelling, haunting and emotionally charged debut. I raced through the pages, not wanting to put the book down until all my questions were answered. 

OMG! What a rollercoaster ride! This complex, multi-layered thriller dripped with suspense and had me on the edge of my seat from start to finish. Told in dual timelines by two narrators, there’s an atmosphere of foreboding from the start. What did Jack do that ended their marriage and fills Alison with fear? What is it that Alison isn’t remembering? Who is Sarah and what does she want? 

The brilliance of this book is in its iceberg quality – so much is hidden beneath its smooth surface. A masterclass in thriller writing., it is spectacularly written, deftly plotted and full of so many twists and turns it made my head spin. My head was full of theories and questions, which shifted as truths were slowly revealed. And while I did guess some of the twists early on, I also fell for many of the red herrings expertly plotted along the way. Alison and Jack are both complex, captivating but flawed characters. I felt for Alison immediately, her fear and anxiety radiating from the pages. It also made her an unreliable narrator, making the story all the more intriguing and unguessable. 

A merging of psychological thriller, suspense and domestic fiction, All In Her Head is a breathtaking debut from an exciting new talent. There are a lot of great thrillers out at the moment, but this is one you shouldn’t miss.

Nikki Smith Author

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Nikki studied English Literature at Birmingham University before pursuing a career in finance, working in a variety of different companies including an investment bank and a trampoline park. She always had a passion for writing and in 2017 she had a ‘now or never’ moment and applied for a Curtis Brown Creative 3 month writing course which she absolutely loved. Later that year she had a short story published in the Writer’s Forum Magazine, and submitted the opening chapters of her novel to a competition where she won the opportunity to be mentored by the author Amanda Reynolds. She lives near Guildford with her husband, two daughters and a very friendly Burmese cat called Saffi.

CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR:

Website
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BUY THE BOOK:

Amazon
Waterstones
Book Depository
Kobo
Google Books

All In Her Head BT Poster