Categories
Blog Tours book reviews

Blog Tour: The Forever Home by Sue Watson

Published: June 4th, 2021
Publisher: Bookouture
Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Psychological Fiction, Psychological Thriller, Noir Fiction, Domestic Fiction
Format: Kindle, Paperback, Audiobook

I’m a day late as I got mixed up, but here is my stop on the blog tour for the sizzling The Forever Home. Thank you to Bookouture for the invitation to take part and the eBook ARC.

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SYNOPSIS:

You thought you’d always be safe there… you were wrong.

Carly had thought they’d always live there. The beautiful Cornish cliffside house they’d taken on as a wreck, that Mark had obsessively re-designed and renovated – a project that had made him famous. It was where they’d raised their children, where they’d sat cosily on the sofa watching storms raging over the sea below. It was where they’d promised to keep each other’s secrets…

Until now. Because Mark has fallen in love. With someone he definitely shouldn’t have. Someone who isn’t Carly. And suddenly their family home doesn’t feel like so much of a safe haven.

Carly thinks forever should mean forever though: it’s her home and she’ll stay there. Even the dark family secrets it contains feel like they belong to her. But someone disagrees. And, as threats start to arrive at her front door, it becomes clear, someone will stop at nothing. Because someone wants to demolish every last thing that makes Carly feel safe. Forever.

An utterly unputdownable psychological thriller about what lies are hidden in the most beautiful homes. Perfect for fans of Date NightGone Girl and The Woman in the Window.

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MY REVIEW:

Mark and Carly Anderson are couple goals. Married for twenty-five years with two children, a beautiful house on the cliffs of Cornwall and a lucrative TV career, they and their lives are golden. Or so it seems. For all that glitters is not in fact gold, and behind the shimmering facade is a marriage full of secrets and betrayal that bubble over the surface when Mark’s scandalous affair is revealed. 

As Carly tries to put the shattered pieces of her life back together in the home she’s lived in all her life- the forever home – strange things  begin to occur.  Someone doesn’t think it should be hers. But how far will they go to take it from her?

Taut, tense and twisty, The Forever Home had me hooked. A story of secrets, betrayal and revenge, the author centres most of the action in and around the Anderson’s idyllic Cornwall home. The house reveals itself to be the perfect metaphor for the couple’s marriage: perfect and picturesque from a distance, but get up close and you find it is full of cracks and the foundations are crumbling slowly into the sea. 

Carly is the narrator of the story, not only taking us on her journey as she deals with the heartbreak and humiliation of her marriage ending, but also detailing the truth of their marriage. We learn the dark secrets they hid from the public, the lies she told to protect both their children and public image, and the ways she even deceived herself in order to be able to live that life. She is flawed but I liked her. And I think anyone who’s had to rebuild their life after a long marriage or relationship has ended will relate to her in some way. I was very intrigued about what her secret could be and loved how the author teased the reader with its existence, making you wonder if she’s the good person she appears to be. 

Mark is a fabulously unlikeable character. A man only concerned with himself, his career and his public persona, who’s narcissism and entitlement is fed by his fame and has taught him to expect to get his own way. As it became apparent that his world was also changing, I admit I enjoyed watching him flail as he desperately tried to keep control of his life.

The Forever Home is a gripping thriller that sizzles with suspense and I couldn’t put down. With perfectly timed jaw-dropping revelations, and twists and turns that kept me guessing, Watson had me on the edge of my seat. A fantastic read for anyone who loves a well-written psychological thriller.

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✰

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

Sue Watson was a journalist on national magazines and newspapers before becoming a TV producer with the BBC. 

Now a USA Today bestselling author, Sue explores the darker side of life, writing psychological thrillers with big twists.

Originally from Manchester, she now lives with her family in leafy Worcestershire where much of her day is spent writing – and procrastinating. Her hobby is eating cake while watching diet and exercise programmes from the sofa, a skill she’s perfected after many years of practice.

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BUY THE BOOK:

Amazon* | Google Books | Apple Books | Kobo
*This is an affiliate link

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Check out the reviews from the other bloggers taking part in the tour.

Thanks for reading Bibliophiles😊 Emma xxx

Categories
Ad Book Features book reviews

The Other Emily by Dean Koontz

Published: March 23rd
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Genre: Suspense, Thriller, Psychological Fiction, Psychological Thriller
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audio

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#Ad Welcome to my review of this gripping thriller. Thank you to Amazon Publishing and Thomas and Mercer for the gifted copy of this book.

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SYNOPSIS:

Number one New York Times bestselling master of suspense Dean Koontz takes readers on a twisting journey of lost love, impossible second chances, and terrifying promises.

A decade ago, Emily Carlino vanished after her car broke down on a California highway. She was presumed to be one of serial killer Ronny Lee Jessup’s victims whose remains were never found.

Writer David Thorne still hasn’t recovered from losing the love of his life, or from the guilt of not being there to save her. Since then, he’s sought closure any way he can. He even visits regularly with Jessup in prison, desperate for answers about Emily’s final hours so he may finally lay her body to rest. Then David meets Maddison Sutton, beguiling, playful, and keenly aware of all David has lost. But what really takes his breath away is that everything about Maddison, down to her kisses, is just like Emily. As the fantastic becomes credible, David’s obsession grows, Maddison’s mysterious past deepens―and terror escalates.

Is she Emily? Or an irresistible dead ringer? Either way, the ultimate question is the same: What game is she playing? Whatever the risk in finding out, David’s willing to take it for this precious second chance. It’s been ten years since he’s felt this inspired, this hopeful, this much in love…and he’s afraid.

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MY REVIEW:

The Other Emily is a gripping page-turner that had me guessing from start to finish. From the ominous and intriguing opening I was on tenterhooks. What had happened to Emily? And just who is Maddison? Could she really be David’s lost love? Or is she a mysterious doppelganger?

What I loved most about this book was the perpetual mystery. There’s nothing better than a book that genuinely surprises you, and this one did that again and again. What appeared to be happening seemed impossible and illogical, so you’re kept on your toes and it’s impossible to predict. It felt like the more we knew, the more the mystery deepened. As secrets were unfurled the tension rose and I was on the edge of my seat, my heart pounding as I waited for David to discover the truth about Emily’s disappearance.

The characters are all captivating and well-written. David was a great protagonist. He is likeable and easy to root for. His love for Emily is still so strong even after ten years and you can feel his heartbreak radiating from the pages. You want him to find the truth, but you also don’t because it is inevitably going to cause him even more pain. Maddison is suitably enigmatic and impossible to figure out. Common sense told me she wasn’t Emily but so many other things pointed to her being her. I couldn’t figure it out and decided to instead just enjoy the ride and see where the author took me. Ronny Lee Jessup is a fantastic villain. Both he and his house of horrors are chilling, disturbing and repulsive. I would cringe every time he was on the page and felt sick to my stomach at the thrills he got from hurting others and continuing David’s torment.

I’d obviously heard of Dean Kootz before. What thriller reader hasn’t? But this was my first time reading one of his books. I loved his style and the short, sharp chapters and am now wondering why it’s taken me so long to pick up one of his books. I will definitely be reading more of them in the future.

A tense, eerie, twisty and curious thriller, this was an entertaining read. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys the genre.

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✰

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

Dean Koontz, the author of many #1 New York Times bestsellers, lives in Southern California with his wife, Gerda, their golden retriever, Elsa, and the enduring spirits of their goldens, Trixie and Anna.

Website | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook

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BUY THE BOOK:

mght.co/OEemmasbiblio

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Thanks for reading Bibliophiles 😊 Emma xxx

Categories
Blog Tours book reviews

Blog Tour: Dead Secret (Maggie Jamieson Book 4) by Noelle Holten

Published: April 23rd, 2021
Publisher: One More Chapter
Format: Kindle, Paperback
Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Psychological Fiction, Crime Fiction, Hardboiled, Police Procedural

SYNOPSIS:

Psychopaths can take root in the unlikeliest soil…

DC Maggie Jamieson crosses paths once again with Probation Officer Lucy Sherwood when a domestic violence survivor stumbles into her new refuge, unable to speak, desperate for help.

Then another case hits Maggie’s desk. A young man has been murdered, and a curious constellation of black dots has been inked onto his cheek.

That’s when DCI Hastings goes missing and Maggie uncovers a shocking connection that turns the case on its head.

Every family may hide secrets, but not every family buries them…

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MY REVIEW:

“Psychopaths can take root in the unlikeliest soil…”

The DC Maggie Jamieson series has become a must-read series for me thanks to the author’s dark, twisty and sharply-written plots and compelling characters. Like the previous installments, this fourth installment doesn’t miss a beat and jumps straight into the action with a heart-pounding and mysterious prologue that sets us up for the tense journey we are about to be taken on. 

It was great to be back with familiar characters. Even though these books can be quite hard-hitting, there is a comfort to the familiar characters that makes reading a series so enticing for me. This installment is probably the least hard-hitting of the author’s books so far, focusing more on Maggie’s personal life and how Lucy is coping with running her new refuge than on dark and malevolent characters. And as much as I like the twisted characters I enjoyed this change. But don’t let that fool you, there is still plenty of action and the team spend a lot of time investigating two pressing cases: the murder of a young man and the disappearance of DCI Hastings and his family. And as they dig deeper, they unveil shocking secrets that reveal the cases are connected in unexpected ways. 

As with all of her books, Ms Holten addresses some tough topics in this book, including domestic abuse and self harm. While it is always written with honesty, it is also sensitive and real, showing things such as the struggle faced by survivors of abuse. Her villains are always scarily sinister, and this book does not disappoint in that regard. They may only appear for a short time, but they make quite the impact and lasting impression. 

An unpredictable, gripping and suspenseful thriller, Dead Secret will have you on tenterhooks from start to finish. The author succinctly catches you up on past events, making it readable as both a standalone of part of the series. 

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✰

TW: Domestic abuse, self harm

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

Noelle Holten is an award-winning blogger at http://www.crimebookjunkie.co.uk. She is the PR & Social Media Manager for Bookouture, a leading digital publisher in the UK, and worked as a Senior Probation Officer for eighteen years, covering a variety of risk cases as well as working in a multi agency setting. She has three Hons BA’s – Philosophy, Sociology (Crime & Deviance) and Community Justice – and a Masters in Criminology. Noelle’s hobbies include reading, attending as many book festivals as she can afford and sharing the booklove via her blog.
Dead Inside – her debut novel with One More Chapter/Harper Collins UK is an international kindle bestseller and the start of a new series featuring DC Maggie Jamieson.

Website | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook

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BUY THE BOOK:

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

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Thank you to Sarah at Book on the Bright Side Publicity and Promo for the invitation to take part in this tour and to One More Chapter for the eBook ARC. 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: The Liar’s Daughter by Rona Halsall

Published: April 26th, 2021
Publisher: Bookouture
Format: Kindle
Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Psychological Fiction, Noir Fiction

SYNOPSIS:

The call comes on an ordinary Sunday afternoon to say your sister has been admitted to hospital with a serious head injury. But you don’t have a sister… do you?

You’ve never doubted your parents. You’ve loved them without question your whole life. But your stepmother is uncharacteristically speechless, and your father isn’t well enough to understand.

So you get in your car.

Turn the key in the ignition.

Knowing everything behind you is a lie.

Not knowing what lies ahead: the truth… or something far darker?

A deliciously dark and twisty tale of deception, secrets and family ties, The Liar’s Daughter is perfect for fans of The Girl on the Train, The Woman in the Window and The Family Upstairs.

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MY REVIEW:

Rona Halsall is one of my must-read thriller authors. So anytime I hear she has a new book coming out I jump at the chance to read it and be part of the blog tour. This latest book sounded as intriguing and entertaining as her others so I was excited to start reading. 

She had me hooked with the intriguing prologue as Eva’s life is torn apart on that ordinary Sunday afternoon when she finds out she has a sister her parents never mentioned. A sister who is now in hospital with a serious head injury and needs taking care of. Feeling betrayed, Eva rushes to her side, reeling from the betrayal and searching for answers she feels only the mysterious Nancy might be willing to give. 

This readable page-turner was so expertly written that it lulled me into a false sense of security. I should have known better than to get comfortable and think I had it all figured out. But I did. And then out of the blue she delivered one of her trademark twists that revealed a skillfully crafted hall of mirrors and turned everything I thought I knew on its head. I couldn’t read fast enough and was flying through the pages as the author took me on a wild ride packed with sizzling suspense. I’ll never underestimate Rona again!

The story is filled with compelling characters that may or may not be reliable. I don’t want to ruin the surprises in store for those yet to read the book, so I’m only going to talk about Eva. She was a likeable character that I found it easy to root for. Most of us have experienced that gut wrenching feeling when we discover someone we trusted  implicitly has lied to us for a long time. I can only imagine how much more painful that is when it was your parents. Eva’s heartbreak, loss, confusion and sense of betrayal is palpable, Halsall putting us in her shoes as her whole world crumbles and she tries to rebuild it with the broken pieces of lies and truths that she never imagined. 

Riveting, unexpected and tense, The Liar’s Daughter is another morally complex and emotional story from a sensational author. 

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✰

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

Rona lives on the Isle of Man with her husband, two dogs and three guinea pigs. She has been a bookworm since she was a child and now she’s actually creating stories of her own, which still feels like a dream come true. 

She is an outdoorsy person and loves stomping up a mountain, walking the coastal paths and exploring the wonderful beaches on the Island while she’s plotting how to kill off her next victim. She also makes sure she deletes her Google history on a regular basis, because… well, you can’t be too careful when you spend your life researching new and ingenious ways for people to die.

She has three children and two step-children who are now grown up and leading varied and interesting lives, which provides plenty of ideas for new stories!

Website | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook

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BUY THE BOOK:

Amazon | Google Books | Apple Books | Kobo

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Thank you to Bookouture for the invitation to take part in this blog tour and for the eBook ARC. Please check out the reviews from other bloggers on the tour.

Thanks for reading Bibliophiles. Until next time, Emma xxx

Categories
Blog Tours book reviews Emma's Anticipated Treasures

Blog Tour: The Metal Heart by Caroline Lea

Published: April 29th, 2021
Publisher: Michael Joseph
Genre: Historical Fiction, Psychological Fiction
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audio

SYNOPSIS:

The sky is clear, star-stamped and silvered by the waxing gibbous moon.

No planes have flown over the islands tonight; no bombs have fallen for over a year.

___________

Orkney, 1940. Five hundred Italian prisoners-of-war arrive to fortify these remote and windswept islands. Resentful islanders are fearful of the enemy in their midst, but not orphaned twin sisters Dorothy and Constance. Already outcasts, they volunteer to nurse all prisoners who are injured or fall sick.

Soon Dorothy befriends Cesare, an artists swept up by the machine of war and almost broken by the horrors he has witnessed. She is entranced by his plan to build an Italian chapel from war scrap and sea debris, and something beautiful begins to blossom.But Con, scarred from a betrayal in her past, is afraid for her sister; she knows that people are not always what they seem.

Soon, trust frays between the islanders and outsiders, and between the sisters – their hearts torn by rival claims of duty and desire. A storm is coming…

In the tradition of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, The Metal Heart is a hauntingly rich Second World War love story about courage, brutality, freedom and beauty and the essence of what makes us human during the darkest of times.

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MY REVIEW:

Oh, my heart. This book is something truly beautiful. From the moment I read the chilling, tense and gripping prologue, I knew this was going to be something special, that this was going to be one of the best books I’ve read this year. But I was unprepared for just how magnificent it would be. I was mesmerised, lost in the pages, breathing the author’s words in like I needed them for my own survival. This book has reached into my soul and taken up residence there.

This is a story of love, sacrifice, fear and survival set against the backdrop of war. It explores how joy and hope can be found in the most unexpected and darkest of places, and how those who should be our enemies might turn out to be a friend. It is a story of star-crossed lovers, perfectly capturing the heady feeling of falling in love, the power of passion, and the hopefulness new romance brings. She has taken the true story of the building of the Orkney Cathedral and crafted a spellbinding story and compelling, richly drawn cast of characters that feel completely real. It is exquisitely written, with a cinematic quality that made me feel like I was watching everything happen in vivid technicolour. It was like I was right there, living every moment alongisde the characters.

Another theme that ran through this book was prisons. Selkie Holm is a prison twice over; an enforced one for the POWs and a chosen one for the sisters. There are also emotional and mental prisons, such as the ones Con’s trauma has put her in, and the prison that Dot has made for herself in order to help protect her sister. We also see how Dot, Con and Cesare all have a desire to escape their prisons; to live, be free, and find happiness. But they are all bound by their shackles, be they metal or mental, and don’t know how to break themselves free.

I loved the trio of narrators and the different perspectives they brought to the story. I was totally invested in Dorothy and Cesare’s love story and was rooting for them to have their happy-ever-after, even against seemingly insurmountable odds. I liked how different they were yet how they fit together so perfectly, overcoming language barriers and hailing from countries that are sworn enemies. While their feelings for each other are immediate, I liked that the author wrote their story slowly as it made it believable.

I admit, at first I did wonder why Constance had been given as much of a voice as Dorothy and Cesare, seeing as this was their story. But it soon became clear that she had a vital perspective and role to play in what transpired. I liked how her perspective, experience and relationship with her sister tempered the joy and excitement of the lovebirds, adding a layer of tension and unease that seems partly an overreaction, but is also understandable given the trauma she’s experienced. I also liked how it showed us a real selflessness to Dot’s character as she weighed up her loyalty to her sister against her own desires.

But it isn’t just the narrators who make this story what it is. The background cast are as important to propelling the story forward, and the backdrop is a character in itself; the vivid imagery of this bleak, unwelcoming place, creating a claustrophobic atmosphere where there is no escape, only helplessness and despair.

Hauntingly atmospheric, addictive and breathtaking, this novel reminds of the best and worst of humankind, shattering your heart and then giving you hope again. I can’t recommend this enough and even after days of agonising over this review, I worry I haven’t done justice to this phenomenal novel.

YOU NEED TO READ THIS BOOK!

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✮

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Some of the photos from the author’s research trip to Orkney as shared on her Twitter account.

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

Caroline Lea grew up in Jersey and gained a First in English Literature and Creative Writing from Warwick University, where she now teaches writing. Her fiction and poetry have been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize, and The Glass Woman was shortlisted for the HWA Debut Crown.

Instagram | Twitter | Facebook

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BUY THE BOOK:

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

********

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

Thanks for reading Bibliophiles. Until next time, Emma xxx

Categories
Blog Tours Book Features Emma's Anticipated Treasures First Lines Friday

First Lines Friday

Welcome to First Lines Friday where I share the first lines from one of the books on my shelves to try and tempt you to add it to yours.

“The girls, Selkie Holm, Orkney, November 1942.
Of all the ways to die, drowning must be the most peaceful. Water above, sounds cushioned, womb-dark. Drowning is a return to something before the knife-blade of living. It is the death we would choose, if the choice was ours to make.”

What eerie and evocative first lines! They are from a book I have been anticipating ever since the author announced it last year. It even featured on my list of the 21 books I was most anticipating in 2021 and, more recently, my most anticipated books out in April. And that book is…

The Metal Heart by Caroline Lea, which is published by Michael Joseph on April 29th.

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SYNOPSIS:

The sky is clear, star-stamped and silvered by the waxing gibbous moon.

No planes have flown over the islands tonight; no bombs have fallen for over a year.
___________

Orkney, 1940. Five hundred Italian prisoners-of-war arrive to fortify these remote and windswept islands. Resentful islanders are fearful of the enemy in their midst, but not orphaned twin sisters Dorothy and Constance. Already outcasts, they volunteer to nurse all prisoners who are injured or fall sick.

Soon Dorothy befriends Cesare, an artists swept up by the machine of war and almost broken by the horrors he has witnessed. She is entranced by his plan to build an Italian chapel from war scrap and sea debris, and something beautiful begins to blossom.

But Con, scarred from a betrayal in her past, is afraid for her sister; she knows that people are not always what they seem.

Soon, trust frays between the islanders and outsiders, and between the sisters – their hearts torn by rival claims of duty and desire. A storm is coming…

In the tradition of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, The Metal Heart is a hauntingly rich Second World War love story about courage, brutality, freedom and beauty and the essence of what makes us human during the darkest of times.

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How amazing does that sound? I absolutely loved the author’s debut novel, The Glass Woman, when I read it in 2019 and immediately pre-ordered this one when it was announced. If you also want to pre-order, you can do so here*.

I will be sharing my review for this one on April 20th as part of the blog tour. Thank you to Michael Joseph for the gifted ARC.

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Thank you for reading Bibliophiles. Until next time, Emma xxx

*This is an affiliate link

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Book Features Emma's Anticipated Treasures

Book Feature: Can you hear the hum?

𝘾𝙖𝙣 𝙮𝙤𝙪 𝙝𝙚𝙖𝙧 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙝𝙪𝙢? 

Last week some curious photos began popping up on twitter of posters asking if we can hear the hum. There was a number to call and I took the plunge, my heart thumping in my chest as I listened to the eerie message.

Today, I received a copy of The Listeners, the book that the posters and messages were talking about. I think that this exciting debut is one that many of you will want to add to your tbr…

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SYNOPSIS:

A masterful speculative novel exploring the fine lines between faith, conspiracy, and mania in contemporary America.

While lying in bed next to her husband one night, Claire Devon hears a low hum that he cannot. And, it seems, no one else can either. This innocuous noise begins causing Claire headaches, nosebleeds, insomnia, gradually upsetting the balance of her life, though no obvious source or medical cause can be found. When she discovers that a student of hers can also hear the hum, the two strike up an unlikely and intimate friendship. Finding themselves increasingly isolated from their families and colleagues, they fall in with a disparate group of neighbours who also perceive the sound. What starts as a neighbourhood self-help group gradually transforms into something far more extreme and with far-reaching, devastating consequences.

The Listeners is an exhilarating and erotic novel exploring the seduction of the wild and unknowable, the human search for the transcendent, the rise of conspiracy culture in the West, and the desire for community and connection in our increasingly polarised times.

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The Listeners is published July 8th. You can pre-order your copy here*
Thank you to 4th Estate Books for my gifted ARC.

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Will you be adding The Listeners to your tbr? Let me know in the comments.

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Thanks for reading. Until next time, Bibliophiles xxx

*This is an affiliate link

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Blog Tours Book Features Emma's Anticipated Treasures

Book Feature: Little Secrets by Jennifer Hillier

Published: March 4th, 2021
Publisher: Atlantic
Format: Paperback, Kindle, Audio
Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Psychological Fiction, Crime Series

Today I’m featuring a book that was on my list of anticipated treasures back in May last year. It is now being released in the UK and I’m thrilled to be sharing it with you all today. Thank you TLC tours for the invitation to take part in this tour and the gifted copy of the book.

SYNOPSIS:

All it takes to unravel a life… is one home truth.

Marin used to have it all. She’s married to the love of her life, Derek, she owns a chain of upscale hair salons, and is admired in her community as head of a loving family. Until the world falls apart the day her son Sebastian is taken…

A year later, Marin is a shadow of herself. The police search has gone cold. The publicity has faded. She and her husband rarely speak. With her sanity ebbing, Marin hires a private investigator to pick up where the police left off.

But instead of finding Sebastian, she learns that Derek is having an affair with a much younger woman. This discovery sparks Marin back to life. She’s lost her son; she’s not about to lose her husband. Derek’s mistress is an enemy with a face, which means this is a problem Marin can fix. Permanently.

MEET THE AUTHOR:

Jennifer Hillier writes about dark, twisted people who do dark, twisted things. Born and raised in Toronto and a proud Canadian, she spent eight years in the Seattle area, which is where all her books are set. She loves her son, her husband, the Seahawks, and Stephen King

Website | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook

BUY THE BOOK:

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

Thank you for reading. Until next time Bibliophiles, Emma xxx

Categories
Blog Tours book reviews Emma's Anticipated Treasures

Blog Tour: Deity by Matt Wesolowski

Published: February 18th, 2021
Publisher: Orenda
Format: Paperback, Kindle, Audio
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Horror Fiction, Coming-of-Age Story, Crime Fiction, Psychological Fiction, Urban Fiction

I’m a little late posting this due to ill health, but here is my review for the fifth installment in Matt Wesolowski’s Six Stories series. Thank you to Anne at Random Things Tours for the invitation to take part and to Karen at Orenda Books for the gifted ebook ARC.

SYNOPSIS:

A shamed pop star
A devastating fire
Six witnesses
Six stories
Which one is true?

When pop megastar Zach Crystal dies in a fire at his remote mansion, his mysterious demise rips open the bitter divide between those who adored his music and his endless charity work, and those who viewed him as a despicable predator, who manipulated and abused young and vulnerable girls.

Online journalist, Scott King, whose Six Stories podcasts have become an internet sensation, investigates the accusations of sexual abuse and murder that were levelled at Crystal before he died. But as Scott begins to ask questions and rake over old graves, some startling inconsistencies emerge: Was the fire at Crystal’s remote home really an accident? Are reports of a haunting really true? Why was he never officially charged?

Dark, chillingly topical and deeply thought-provoking, Deity is both an explosive thriller and a startling look at how heroes can fall from grace and why we turn a blind eye to even the most heinous of crimes…

MY REVIEW:

“This journey feels like it’s just begun — pulling apart a myth bit by bit to see what lies within.”

The fifth installment in Matt Wesolwski’s Six Stories series offers what we’ve come to expect: an eerie, mysterious and exhilarating novel exploring a fictional cold case over six episodes of the fictional podcast. This time presenter Scott King is trying to get answers about the life of music superstar Zach Crystal, a controversial, enigmatic and eccentric figure who perished in a fire in 2019.

As always, we jump straight into the action, with a chilling and sinister opening that will leave you both desperate for more and terrified to turn the page. I don’t want to talk too much about the details of the plot as the beauty of these stories is the journey of discovery, the mystery and surprises that unfold. What I will say is that once again Wesolwski has knocked it out of the park.

Wesolowski’s books are always highly anticipated in the blogging and book community; and for good reason. You will never read anything else like it. He has a style that is instantly recognisable as his and has crafted a series that is compelling, memorable and unique. Wesolowski isn’t a man afraid of taking risks or writing about the dark side. And his books aren’t for the faint hearted. They will send shivers down your spine, make you question the world around you and see monsters where there were none before. He is a genius. And I am yet to meet anyone who has read his books that doesn’t agree. I was late to discover this series and I’m still playing catch-up with the earlier books. But what is so good about them is while you will want to, and should, read every one, you can dip in at any point as each one is about a completely new case with all new characters bar the presenter.

Hypnotic, thrilling, innovative and simply brilliant, Deity is an unmissable book by one of the greatest voices in fiction.

Rating: ✮✮✮✮.5

Trigger Warnings: sexual abuse

MEET THE AUTHOR:

Matt Wesolowski is an author from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in the UK. He is an English tutor for young people in care.

‘Six Stories’ was published by Orenda Books in the spring of 2016 with follow-up ‘Hydra’ published in the winter of 2017, ‘Changeling’ in 2018, ‘Beast’ in 2019 and ‘Deity’ in 2020.

‘Six Stories’ has been optioned by a major Hollywood studio and the third book in the series, ‘Changeling’ was longlisted for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year, 2019 Amazon Publishing Readers’ Award for Best Thriller and Best Independent Voice.
‘Beast’ won the Amazon publishing award for Best Independent voice in 2020.

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BUY THE BOOK:

Bookshop.org* | Waterstones* | Amazon* | Google Books | Apple Books | Kobo
*Links to Bookshop.org, Waterstones and Amazon are affiliate links

Please check out the reviews by the other bloggers on the tour.

Thank you for reading. Until next time Bibliophiles, Emma xx

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Blog Tours book reviews Emma's Anticipated Treasures Support Debuts

Blog Tour: The Long, Long Afternoon by Inga Vesper

Published: February 4th, 2021
Publisher: Manilla Press
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audio
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Psychological Fiction, Noir Ficiton

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this mesmerising debut novel. Thank you to Tracy at Compulsive Readers Tours for the invitation to take part and to Manilla Press for the ARC.

SYNOPSIS:

The sunniest places hold the darkest secrets . . .

A stunning 1950s set debut mystery brimming with atmosphere and perfect for fans of Tangerine, Small Pleasures and Mad Men.
________

Yesterday, I kissed my husband for the last time . . .

It’s the summer of 1959, and the well-trimmed lawns of Sunnylakes, California, wilt under the sun. At some point during the long, long afternoon, Joyce Haney, wife, mother, vanishes from her home, leaving behind two terrified children and a bloodstain on the kitchen floor.

While the Haney’s neighbours get busy organising search parties, it is Ruby Wright, the family’s ‘help’, who may hold the key to this unsettling mystery. Ruby knows more about the secrets behind Sunnylakes’ starched curtains than anyone, and it isn’t long before the detective in charge of the case wants her help. But what might it cost her to get involved? In these long hot summer afternoons, simmering with lies, mistrust and prejudice, it could only take one spark for this whole ‘perfect’ world to set alight . . .

A beguiling, deeply atmospheric debut novel from the cracked heart of the American Dream, The Long, Long Afternoon is at once a page-turning mystery and an intoxicating vision of the ways in which women everywhere are diminished, silenced and ultimately under-estimated.

MY REVIEW:

“Yesterday, I kissed my husband for the last time.”

Sunnylakes, Santa Monica – a town whose radiant name and shimmering skies belies the truth. Look a little closer and you will see what the residents try to hide; a place crawling with deep, dark secrets. Secrets that are slowly unveiled after Joyce Haney disappears from her home in the town one sunny August afternoon, leaving behind a bloodstained kitchen and  two frightened little girls. 

Wow. Just, wow! I can’t believe this mesmerising book is a debut. Inga Vesper is a talented wordsmith who has woven this layered, intricate plot into a work of art. The prose is witty and poetic, transporting me to 50s suburbia and its  sexism, misogyny, and racism. The author also delves deeply into the historical side of the era, examining topics such as the aforementioned sexism and racism, as well as society’s view of women’s roles, civil rights, domestic abuse and mental health. It is a book that would make a perfect film or TV series and the imagery is so vivid that I felt like I could see the bright blue California skies, feel the sun beating down and the sweat forming at every pore. It was so vivid I felt like I was watching it on the screen in front of me; a mash-up of Mad Men and Perry Mason. 

“The world stops. Her breath sticks in her throat. A cocoon rises up around her, drowning out all sound. She can do nothing but stare at what is in her hands. So small and delicate and terrible.”

Stepford wives and fake smiles is what springs to mind when I think of the women of Sunnylake. And it is soon clear that Joyce Hanley didn’t quite fit the mould. We get to know Joyce through the eyes of her husband, friends and maid and from the woman herself, in glimpses of her that fateful August day.  She is an enigma. A presence that lingers on every page. But it’s a chorus of many voices who tell this story, and the author has created a wonderful melody for us. We have Frank, Joyce’s husband who is your typical fifties man. Nancy Ingram, Joyce’s neighbour and best friend. Mick, the detective searching for Joyce. And Ruby, the Hanley’s maid who first raises the alarm about Joyce’s disappearance. Each character, and all of the supporting cast, are richly drawn and compelling, but it was Ruby and Mick I enjoyed reading most of all. 

Atmospheric, beguiling, lush, claustrophobic and evocative, The Long, Long Afternoon is a decadent piece of classic noir. Don’t miss this breathtaking debut from an exciting new author who should be on everyone’s reading list. 

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✮

MEET THE AUTHOR:

I am a journalist and author of crime fiction. I have an MSc in climate change management and, in my day job, specialise in science journalism with a focus on EU policy, as well as writing about climate change, energy and the Global South. Available for freelance commissions.

I am a member of the National Union of Journalists, the Association of British Science Writers and the Society of Authors. I run the West London Writers, a lively and welcoming fiction writing group in Ealing.

When I am not writing I like to walk, knit and drink copious amounts of tea with sage and honey.

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BUY THE BOOK:

Bookshop.org*|Waterstones* | Amazon* |Google Books |Kobo
*Links to Bookshop.org, Waterstones and Amazon are affiliate links

Don’t forget to check out the reviews from the other bloggers on the tour.

Thank you for reading Bibliophiles. Until next time, Emma xx