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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

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book reviews Emma's Anticipated Treasures

Book Review: The Asylum by Karen Coles

Published: April 1st, 2021
Publisher: Welbeck Publishing Group
Format: Paperback, Kindle
Genre: Historical Fiction, Gothic Fiction, Suspense, Thriller, Psychological Thriller, Historical Mystery, Romance

SYNOPSIS:

1906: Being a woman is dangerous, being different is deadly.

Maud Lovell has been at Angelton Lunatic Asylum for five years. She is not sure how she came to be there and knows nothing beyond its four walls. She is hysterical, distressed, untrustworthy. Badly unstable and prone to violence. Or so she has been told.

When a new doctor arrives, keen to experiment with the revolutionary practice of medical hypnosis, Maud’s lack of history makes her the perfect case study. But as Doctor Dimmond delves deeper into the past, it becomes clear that confinement and high doses are there to keep her silent.

When Maud finally remembers what has been done to her, and by whom, her mind turns to her past and to revenge.

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Maud has been locked in the darkness of Angelton Lunatic Asylum for five years. She doesn’t remember how she got here or what caused her madness. The only thing she remembers is the man in the marsh, an eerie and ghoulish figure that haunts her nightmares. But is he real or a figment of her imagination?

When Dr Dimmond says he wants to help her by exploring her unconscious it seems like someone is finally on Maud’s side. But as the hypnosis awakens her memories, Maud begins to wonder if some things were better off buried and forgotten after all…

WHAT. A. BOOK! It’s no secret that I love historical and gothic fiction, so this book had everything I could want and more. Claustrophobic, haunting and addictive, I couldn’t put this one down. It is exquisitely written, a creeping malice seeping from every page as the author transports you to the bleak, shadowy rooms of the asylum and the anguished recesses of Maud’s mind. 

The depth of Coles’ research is clear in her striking imagery, the descriptions of the practices asylum staff use to treat patients, and in her thought-provoking exploration of topics such as the mistreatment of women and mental health, and the effects of psychological and physical imprisonment. The sense of dread, desperation and sheer helplessness are palpable, coming together to create an atmosphere that has you on the edge of your seat and your heart pounding as you wait for the secrets buried in Maud’s memory to be unlocked. 

Maud is an unreliable narrator. While there is a suspicion early on that she might not be as mad as some of the doctors would like her to think she is, even she doesn’t trust what she tells herself. Reality shifts and cracks around her, echoes of memory stir and haunt her nightmares and hallucinations. She is an enigma to the reader, and herself. A woman fighting to be heard in a place where they want her to be silent.. She is an unlikely heroine, but shows herself to be much braver and stronger than anyone could have imagined at the start of the story. 

The Asylum is a menacing, evocative, lingering and intricately woven novel. An example of storytelling and mystery at its finest, it is one fans of historical and gothic fiction won’t want to miss. Go read this book! 

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✮

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

Karen was born in Taplow, Berkshire UK to rather nomadic parents. Countryside walks with her father instilled in her a lifelong love of nature, particularly wild plants, insects and amphibians. Karen is a painter and sculptor. As a child she was a voracious reader of fairy tales, myths and legends, and this led to a fascination with dark, Gothic literature. She now lives in Wales, not far from a town which once had three Victorian asylums. Their history inspired the writing of her novel, The Asylum.

Instagram | Twitter

The pictures above were part of the author’s inspiration when writing The Asylum. They are taken from the author’s Instagram page where she talks about each one in relation to Maud and the book.

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BUY THE BOOK:

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

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Thank you to Welbeck Publishing for the gifted ARC.

Thanks for reading Bibliphiles. Until next time, Emma xxx

Categories
First Lines Friday

First Lines Friday: Flashback

“Sometimes when I close my eyes, there is a rifle in my hands. My hands are small; my fingers are pudgy. I’m eleven years old. There’s nothing special about this particular rifle, nothing to distinguish it from any other Remington, except that this is the rifle that killed my mother.”

Today is the first in a new series where on the first Friday of each month is a flashback to an older book. As soon as I read the gripping first lines above I knew this was the book to start with. And that book is…

The Wicked Sister by Karen Dionne! This was on my list of most anticipated reads when it was released last summer. I was a big fan of Karen’s first book, The Marsh King’s Daughter, so I’m very excited about reading this one.

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SYNOPSIS:

A startling novel of psychological suspense, as two generations of sisters try to unravel their tangled relationships between nature and nurture, guilt and betrayal, love and evil.

You have been cut off from society for fifteen years, shut away in a mental hospital as punishment for the terrible thing you did when you were a child.

But what if nothing about your past is as it seems?

For a decade and a half, Rachel Cunningham has chosen to lock herself away in a psychiatric facility, tortured by gaps in her memory and the certainty that she is responsible for her parents’ deaths. But when she learns new details about their murders, Rachel returns, in a quest for answers, to the place where she once felt safest: her family’s sprawling log cabin in the remote forests of Michigan.

As Rachel begins to uncover what really happened on the day her parents were murdered, she learns – as her mother did years earlier – that home can be a place of unspeakable evil, and that the bond she shares with her sister might be the most poisonous of all…

You can buy the book here*

*This is an affiliate link

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‘The Wicked Sister is massively thrilling and altogether unputdownable’ KARIN SLAUGHTER

Well, if the Queen of crime Karin Slaughter says it’s unputdownable who am I to argue?

Have I tempted you to add this to your tbr? Let me know in the comments below.

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Thank you for reading this week’s first lines Friday. Until next time Bibliophiles, Emma xxx

Categories
Blog Tours book reviews Emma's Anticipated Treasures

Blog Tour: The Broken Ones (Detective Gina Harte Book 8) by Carla Kovach

Published: March 1st, 2021
Publisher: Bookouture
Format: Paperback, Kindle, Audio
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Police Procedural, Crime Fiction, Crime Series

Welcome to my stop on the tour for The Broken Ones. Thank you to Bookouture for the invitation to take part and the gifted eBook ARC.

SYNOPSIS:

Amber applies a dash of red lipstick and checks herself out in the mirror before heading out on a date. ‘Don’t wait up!’ she calls to her housemates as she leaves. But Amber never returns home that night. Amber Slater is never seen again.

The last person to see Amber was her housemate. He remembers everything she was wearing that night. He watched her leave. He listened to every word of her phone conversation with her friend before she left. He knows more about Amber’s movements than anyone.

At university, she is well-liked by her fellow students and teachers. Her tutor’s voice shakes when he is questioned by the police. Some say he and Amber were very close. Too close. Some say his wife had just found out about their relationship.

The manager at the restaurant where Amber was supposed to eat that night says she didn’t show up. Yet the chef at the restaurant is overly chatty about her. He wasn’t working that night. He wasn’t answering his phone. Nobody knows where he was when Amber went missing.

Rumours begin to circulate about Amber, it seems that everyone has a story to tell. But when the young girl’s lifeless body is found in a local park, with her blue lips glued shut, the gossip suddenly goes quiet. As the police trace the last few hours of Amber’s life, it seems that the girl simply vanished on her way to catch her bus. And when another woman goes missing in the dead of night, it’s a race against time to find her before she too is silenced forever.

MY REVIEW:

“She’s out there and if she won’t come willingly, I will take her and I will transform her, like a caterpillar becoming a butterfly.”

Detective Gina Harte and her team are back. This time they are investigating the kidnapping and murder of Amber Slater after her body was found in a local park with her lips glued shut. As they interview those who knew her they begin to suspect the killer might have used a dating app to target and track his victim. And when he snatches another young girl, the team finds themselves up against the clock in a race to find their culprit before he can silence her too forever.  

This series was one of my first new discoveries after joining NetGalley and Bookstagram and I always look forward to coming back to these books. It’s like catching up with an old friend, just with a side order of murder. And after a week of being unable to read due to illness, this book was just what I needed to get my mojo back.

One of my favourite things is when a thriller tells you the story from the killer’s point of view and, once again, the author has done this perfectly; crafting a disturbing, sinister and eerie antagonist who I would definitely want to avoid on the street. Reading as he hunted for his perfect woman and then stalked her, all while she was completely unaware that he was about to pounce, made the suspense soar. I liked that the author toyed with us and brought Gina and her team into the fray as potential victims. The tension couldn’t have been higher and I was on the edge of my seat hoping that she wouldn’t kill off a much-loved character. 

The author keeps the reader on their toes through an abundance of suspects, curve balls and red herrings that make it impossible to predict what will happen next and who is behind the kidnappings. The scenes from the adductor and his victim’s perspective ramped up the tension and Gina’s frustration and fear was palpable as she worried they wouldn’t identify the culprit in time to save his latest victim.

Captivating, addictive and sizzling with tension, this crime series shows no signs of slowing down. Carla knocks it out of the park with every book and I can’t wait to see what she has in store for us next.

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✰

MEET THE AUTHOR:

Carla Kovach is a crime and horror author from Worcestershire. Her most popular work, the DI Gina Harte series is published by Bookouture. As well as books, she also writes stage and screenplays.

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

BUY THE BOOK:

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

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

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

Categories
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: The Lamplighters by Emma Stonex

Published: March 4th, 2021
Publisher: Picador, Pan Macmillan
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audio
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Psychological Fiction

Welcome to my stop on the tour for one of my favourite books of the year so far. Thank you Picador for the invitation to take part and the gorgeous gifted finished edition.

SYNOPSIS:

They say we’ll never know what happened to those men.
They say the sea keeps its secrets . . .
‘A mystery, a love story and a ghost story, all at once. I didn’t want it to end’ S J Watson

Cornwall, 1972. Three keepers vanish from a remote lighthouse, miles from the shore. The entrance door is locked from the inside. The clocks have stopped. The Principal Keeper’s weather log describes a mighty storm, but the skies have been clear all week.

What happened to those three men, out on the tower? The heavy sea whispers their names. The tide shifts beneath the swell, drowning ghosts. Can their secrets ever be recovered from the waves?

Twenty years later, the women they left behind are still struggling to move on. Helen, Jenny and Michelle should have been united by the tragedy, but instead it drove them apart. And then a writer approaches them. He wants to give them a chance to tell their side of the story. But only in confronting their darkest fears can the truth begin to surface . . .

Inspired by real events, The Lamplighters is an intoxicating and suspenseful mystery, an unforgettable story of love and grief that explores the way our fears blur the line between the real and the imagined.

MY REVIEW:

“This riddle has everything a fiction writer looks for – drama, mystery, peril on the sea. Only it’s real.”

The Lamplighters is the story of the disappearance of three men, their warring widows, ghostly goings-on, and the power and mystery of the sea. Told in dual timelines we follow the men in the days leading up to their disappearance, and their widows twenty years later as they are interviewed by a writer who is hoping to finally find the truth of what happened on that frigid winter day.

First of all, how is this a debut?! This book is an example of storytelling at its finest. The author shifts seamlessly between the two timelines; holding the reader in the palm of her hand as she weaves her mysterious tale. The imagery is so vivid that I can see, feel, hear the waves, smell the salty sea air, and hear the siren song of the sea as she whispers her secrets.

Based on a true story, the author has changed the time, place and people to craft her own world full of secrets, mystery and intrigue. The characters and community she created are captivating, relatable and richly drawn. We are given a first person narrative from multiple characters; in 1992 the widows tell their story, and in 1972 the doomed keepers give details of life in the lighthouse and events leading up their disappearance.

One of my favourite aspects of this book is that it is absolutely drenched in mystery. It seeps from its every pore. There isn’t just the mystery of what happened that day on the Tower, there are other puzzles that we have to piece together so we can get the final, truthful picture of what transpired. But though there were many layers and interwoven storylines, it never felt confusing. It just sent the tension through the roof and made this book impossible to put down. I had to know what happened! In my notes there are many other plot points and aspects of the book that stood out and I would love to talk about, but I won’t because I don’t want to take away from the joy of discovering these engimas for yourself.

The Lamplighters is a truly accomplished debut. It is one of those books that deserves to be huge and I have no doubt everyone will be talking about this year. It is also perfect for the big screen and I am hoping I get to see it there one day.

Atmospheric, haunting, claustrophobic and mesmerising, I found it impossible to put this one down and would have read it in one sitting if not for the pesky need to sleep. If you love an exquisitely written and layered mystery then don’t miss this book.

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✮

MEET THE AUTHOR:

Emma Stonex is a novelist and The Lamplighters is her debut under her own name; she is the author of several books written under a pseudonym. Before becoming a writer, she worked as an editor at a major publishing house. She lives in Bristol with her husband and two young daughters.

Twitter

BUY THE BOOK:

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

Pictures taken on our trip to Lands End in 2015.

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

Categories
Blog Tours book reviews

Blog Tour: Her Perfect Bones (Rockwell and Decker Book 2) by Ellery Kane

Published: February 16th, 2021
Publisher: Bookouture
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Noir Fiction, Hardboiled, Romance
Format: Paperback, Kindle, Audio

Here is my review for the second installment in the Rockwell and Decker series. This tour stop is a little late due to illness. Thank you to Bookouture for the invitation to take part and the eBook ARC.

SYNOPSIS:

The girl’s body is curled up like a shell and almost completely buried in sand. Only her fingertips can be seen, reaching helplessly up towards an escape she will never find…

Seventeen-year-old Shelby Mayfield sits alone on a bus to Fog Harbor, California. Aside from a few items of clothing, all she has with her is twenty-two dollars, the ragdoll she’s kept since kindergarten, and the devastating secret she’s been hiding.

How long will it be before her family realizes she’s gone?

Can anyone see the fresh bruise on her cheek beneath the makeup?

Perhaps she was a fool to believe the person she is meeting in this remote little town could help her…

When a girl’s body is found hidden in a barrel in a woodland cabin, the local police are at a loss. The film from an old camera found looped around her neck is their only lead, but Criminal Psychologist Olivia Rockwell’s blood turns to ice when she recognizes the ragdoll in one of the girl’s last photographs. She used to own one just like it, and it can only mean one thing: if she doesn’t dig deep into the mind of a deadly killer from her past—her own father—more innocent lives will be in danger…

A totally gripping and utterly addictive crime thriller for readers who love Lisa Regan, Kendra Elliot and Melinda Leigh. But be warned: you’ll be sleeping with the lights on after you’ve raced through the pages in one sitting!

MY REVIEW:

When the mummified corpse of a pregnant teenage girl is found in a barrel it sets in motion a series of events that will uncover secrets hidden for almost four decades in the second installment of the Rockwell and Decker series. Meanwhile, there are shocking revelations about Olivia’s father and his past that are unveiled after he is found dead following his failed parole hearing. 

I enjoyed the first book in this series last year and was looking forward to discovering if the follow up lived up to its promise. I was not disappointed. Once again the author has crafted a gripping, fast-paced thriller full of surprising twists and kept me guessing right until the dramatic finale. 

One of the key points of any series is the protagonists and the author has got it spot on with Will Decker and Olivia Rockwell. They are likeable, compelling characters, and the murky side of both their families make for riveting backstories, subplots and supporting cast. One of the highlights of both books has been their sharp banter, chemistry and reluctance to admit how they feel about one another. The author has built on this in book two and I loved their progression both as individual characters and as a duo.  I’m really rooting for them to get it together soon. 

So if  you’re looking for an exciting and absorbing mystery that will keep you on your toes, then this book is for you. 

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✰

MEET THE AUTHOR:

Forensic psychologist by day, author by night, Ellery Kane has been writing professionally and creatively for as long as she can remember. Real life really is stranger than fiction, so Ellery’s writing is often inspired by her day job. Before writing the Rockwell and Decker series with Bookouture, Ellery published the Legacy series for young adult readers and the Doctors of Darkness series of psychological thrillers. She was previously selected as one of ten semi-finalists in the MasterClass James Patterson Co-Author Competition. A Texan at heart, Ellery currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Twitter | Facebook

BUY THE BOOK:

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

Please take the time to read the reviews from the other bloggers on the tour.

Thanks for reading. Until next time Bibliophiles, Emma xxx

Categories
Blog Tours book reviews

Blog Tour: Ruthless Women by Melanie Blake

Published: February 18th, 2021
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Romance, Erotic Literature, Saga
Format: Hardcover, Kindle

Welcome to my stop on the tour for this wonderfully outrageous novel. Thank you to Head of Zeus for the invitation to take part and the eBook ARC.

SYNOPSIS:

Ambition can be deadly

Broadcast to millions from its picturesque location off the coast of Jersey, Falcon Bay was once the world’s most popular soap opera. But with ratings at an all-time low, a new network owner, the malevolent Madeline Kane, arrives on the private island determined to do whatever it takes to get the show back to the number 1 slot.

Director Farrah, leading lady Catherine and producer Amanda are the driven, ambitious women who’ve been trying to hold the production together. But thanks to their handsome but corrupt boss, Jake Monroe, Farrah is losing episodes to male colleagues, seventy-year-old Catherine is terrified of losing the public’s adoration, and Amanda is battling her desire for a forbidden affair with a handsome new employee.

As Madeline’s pressure to revive the show intensifies, she unleashes a true battle of the sexes where the women will do anything to stay in the jobs they love and on the island they call home. Can they team up to bring down their rivals? Or will jealousy, betrayal and revenge rip their friendships apart? As the story reaches its shocking climax, one thing is for certain: only the most ruthless woman will survive…

MY REVIEW:

Sexy, sassy, sharp and spectacular, Ruthless Women is like reading an episode of Dynasty. Gloriously over the top, this reads like a throwback to the days of Jackie Collins. And I’m here for it. 

Falcon Bay was once the biggest soap opera in the world, but its popularity has nosedived and the show is struggling. Thanks to a buy out of the production company it has been offered a lifeline, and the new owners have big plans for the upcoming 40th anniversary on Christmas Day. But the directions they want to take are at odds with what those at the heart of the show know to be best. Both sides are sure they’re right and will stop at nothing to save the show their love. But at what cost?

In this wonderfully written novel the author offers us a glimpse into the lives of the rich and famous, of showbiz and all its trappings, pressures and perils. She draws you into the world of Falcon Bay, where the idyllic beauty of St. Augustine, and the glitz and glamour of show business are at odds with the murky, underhanded schemes that go on behind the scenes. Ambition, power, money and sex matter more than friendship, love or loyalty in this warped world. Deceit, jealousy and betrayal are rife, and the only thing you can rely upon is that everyone is out for themselves. Pulsing with drama and adrenaline, I couldn’t tear myself away and would have devoured this in one sitting if not for the pesky need to sleep.

One of the things that stands out most about this book is it’s messages of female empowerment. The author has filled her world with a powerhouse of fierce, strong and ruthless women. They are the ones who shine and propel the plot, and the fictional show, forward. They are complex, nuanced characters who are utterly compelling, even if they aren’t always likeable. These women have had enough of being written out of their own narratives and are determined to take back what is rightfully theirs. 

Now let’s talk about sex. This is the epitome of a bonkbuster. Heat sizzles from the pages as the women enthusiastically enjoy sex and there are plenty of raunchy scenes that made me glad I wasn’t reding this in public. I loved the representation of woman in their forties and above enjoying sex and having active sex lives. Even at seventy. I don’t think I’ve ever read such a racy book that focuses on a group of mature women and it was refreshing to see. 

While some will no doubt write this off as simply a bonkbuster, there is so much more to this novel. Beneath the surface this is a layered story full of depth and social commentary. Not only is there the theme of female empowerment, but the author also addresses the ‘old boys club’ mentality, sexism, misogyny and ageism that is still rife in the entertainment industry. She also examines how society looks at women. How it controls how women are perceived and what is deemed acceptable from us in terms of our appearances and the way we live our lives. It is a powerful reminder of how far we still have to go to reach true equality. 

Steamy, salacious, funny and outrageous, this is a highly entertaining read that you can get lost in. I would love to see this made into a movie or series and recommend it to everyone – so long as you don’t blush easily. With her sophomore novel, Melanie Blake has shown that the magic of The Thunder Girls was not merely a fluke and secured her place on my auto-buy list. I can’t wait to see what she writes next. 

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✮

MEET THE AUTHOR:

Best-selling author Melanie Blake’s own real life Rags to Bitches story reads like the plot of an outrageous drama…

At fifteen years old Melanie Blake was told by her high school career advisors that her decision to do work experience at a local record shop was an ’embarrassment to the school and a clear example that she wouldn’t go far in life or her career’. They were wrong. By twenty-one she was working at the BBC’s iconic Top of the Pops show and by twenty-seven she had built a reputation as one of the UK’s leading music and entertainment managers, with her own agency and roster of award-winning artists who had sold more than 100 million records. During this time she also built up an acting agency from scratch which quickly became the most successful independent boutique agency in the UK where she manages clients from some of the biggest internationally syndicated shows in the world.

Her roster have won Baftas, Emmys and pretty much every best actress award going and Melanie is one of the most successful female agents in the world. In the UK alone – over 25 million people a week currently tune in to watch the very stars Melanie represents in their globally syndicated shows. In 2018 after two decades at the top of her game, Melanie decided to manage a smaller client list and concentrate on her other passion, writing – first as a columnist for a national newspaper, then as a playwright and now as a best-selling novelist.

Her first book The Thunder Girls became a Number 1 Best Seller in the summer of 2019 and the play she adapted from the novel broke box office records for a new work at the prestigious Lowry Theatre.

She still represents a high profile stable of some of the best known faces on British television but is also now enjoying success in her own right as a producer, author and playwright.

Website |Instagram |Twitter

BUY THE BOOK:

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

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

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

Categories
Cover Reveal Emma's Anticipated Treasures

Cover Reveal: The Serial Killer’s Wife by Alice Hunter

I have another exciting cover reveal for you all today from HarperCollins UK:

So addictive it should come with a warning… ⚠

So twisted it’ll keep you up all night… 

So plausible it’s terrifying… 

The Serial Killer’s Wife by Alice Hunter is available to pre-order now. Out 27th May. #DidSheKnow?

Pre order link: smarturl.it/SerialKillersWifeEB

FULL SYNOPSIS:

They’re saying he’s a monster. And they’re saying she knew.

Beth and Tom Hardcastle are the envy of their neighbourhood – they have the perfect marriage, the perfect house, the perfect family.

When the police knock on their door one evening, Beth panics. Tom should be back from work by now – what if he’s crashed his car? She fears the worst.

But the worst is beyond imagining.

As the interrogation begins, Beth will find herself questioning everything she believed about her husband.

They’re husband and wife – till death do them part…

Doesn’t it sound amazing. This is definitely on my list of anticipated treasures. Will you be adding it to your tbr?

Until next time Bibliophiles, Emma xxx

Categories
Blog Tours book reviews

Blog Tour: Into The Woods by David Mark

Published: January 21st, 2021
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Format: Kindle
Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Psychological Thriller

Happy Publication Day David Mark! Thank you Jade at Head of Zeus for the invitation to take part and the gifted eBook ARC.

SYNOPSIS:

If you go into the woods, you’re in for a dark surprise.
Thirty years ago, three girls followed a stranger into the woods. Only two returned. The surviving pair have never been able to remember what happened or what the fate of the third girl was. Local rumours talk of hippies and drugs and mystic rituals, but no one has learned the truth.

This story is just what Rowan Blake needs. He’s in debt, his journalistic career is in tatters – as well as his damaged body – and he’s retreated to the Lake District to write. Yet even Rowan isn’t prepared for the evil he is about to unearth, for the secrets that have been buried in that wood for far too long…


MY REVIEW:

“You can weave the most extraordinary tapestry out of lies but one loose thread and it all comes apart.” 

This is a story of decades-old secrets, missing teenagers, corruption, shamans, and maybe even murder…

Thirty years ago, three girls followed  a stranger into the woods. Only two returned. And they can’t remember what happened, only that everyone seems to want them to forget. Now pieces are coming back and one of them decides to search for the truth.

It’s just the story that down on his luck journalist Rowan Blake needs to reverse his fortune. But he is unprepared for the dark secrets he is about to unearth in the woods. Or what others will do to keep them there.

Dark, chilling, sinister and hauntingly atmospheric, this sent shivers down my spine from the start. It has a strangeness that I found fascinating, even if it did get a little too bizarre at times towards the end. The author’s eerie prose and vivid imagery drew me deeper into the story and compelled me to keep reading as I waited on tenterhooks to learn the truth about what happened in the woods thirty years ago.

The story is told in dual timelines: Rowan is our main narrator in the present, while Violet is the main voice we hear in flashbacks that tell the story leading up to the girls’ disappearance. I found both narrators intriguing, but Violet was the one who’s chapters I enjoyed most of all. I thought the author captured the voice of an antagonistic, troubled and angry teenage girl to perfection. We don’t meet Violet in the present day as more than an off-screen character for most of the book which gives her an air of mystery and allows us to really connect with teenage Violet. Rowan is equally unlikable but compelling; a man at his lowest ebb when we meet him. I enjoyed that the author was brave enough to make both main characters quite unlikable. It’s a risk as that can make it hard to enjoy the book, but he did it so well that it made it a more interesting read. 

Absorbing, eerie, twisty and suspenseful, this is a gripping thriller that I would recommend. 

Rating: ✮✮✮.5


MEET THE AUTHOR:

David spent more than fifteen years as a journalist, including seven years as a crime reporter with the Yorkshire Post – walking the Hull streets that would later become the setting for the Detective Sergeant Aector McAvoy novels.

His writing is heavily influenced by real life and have been universally praised for their originality, authenticity and heart. Industry bible Kirkus Reviews said that ‘to call David Mark’s novels police procedurals is like calling the Mona Lisa a pretty painting’. He has been championed by such industry luminaries as Val McDermid, Peter James, Mick Herron and Martina Cole.

He has written eight novels in the McAvoy series: Dark Winter, Original Skin, Sorrow Bound, Taking Pity, Dead Pretty, Cruel Mercy, Scorched Earth and Cold Bones as well as two McAvoy novellas, A Bad Death and Fire of Lies, which are available as ebooks. His first historical thriller, The Zealot’s Bones, was a Sunday Times Book of the Year. With publishers Severn House, he has written the critically-acclaimed The Mausoleum, A Rush of Blood, Borrowed Time and Suspicious Minds.

Dark Winter was selected for the Harrogate New Blood panel (where he was Reader in Residence) and was a Richard & Judy pick and a Sunday Times bestseller. Dead Pretty was long-listed for the Crime Writers Association Gold Dagger in 2016, as was Cold Bones in 2019.

David’s Radio 4 drama, A Marriage of Inconvenience, aired last year. His first novel was adapted for the stage and was twice a sell-out smash in Hull. He has also written for the stage and has contributed articles and reviews to several national and international publications. He is a regular performer at literary festivals and is a sought-after public speaker. He also teaches creative writing.

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