#BookReview: THE MAIDENS by Alex Michaelides @AlexMichaelides @wnbooks @fmcmassosciates

Today the paperback edition of THE MAIDENS by Alex Michaelides is published with a brand new cover and, to celebrate, I am delighted to share again my review of this gripping and addictive novel.

Publication: 26th May 2022 – Weidenfeld & Nicolson

WE ALL KEEP SECRETS. EVEN FROM OURSELVES.

St. Christopher’s College, Cambridge, is a closed world to most.

For Mariana Andros – a group therapist struggling through her private grief – it’s where she met her late husband. For her niece, Zoe, it’s the tragic scene of her best friend’s murder.

As memory and mystery entangle Mariana, she finds a society full of secrets, which has been shocked to its core by the murder of one of its own.

Because behind its idyllic beauty is a web of jealousy and rage which emanates from an exclusive set of students known only as The Maidens. A group under the sinister influence of the enigmatic professor Edward Fosca.

A man who seems to know more than anyone about the murders – and the victims. And the man who will become the prime suspect in Mariana’s investigation – an obsession which will unravel everything…

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The author’s debut novel, The Silent Patient, was one of my favourite in 2019 and I was really excited when his new book was announced and I couldn’t wait to read The Maidens. I loved the university setting of Cambridge, the complex characters, the murder mystery, the Greek mythology, and the surprising and unexpected resolution.

Once again, the protagonist of the novel is a psychiatrist, a group therapist, to be precise. Mariana has a lots on her plate when she receives a call for help by her niece in Cambridge: she is struggling with the grief of losing her husband a year earlier and one of her patient is becoming obsessed with her, but a body has been found in Cambridge and her niece Zoe thinks it may be the body of a friend, so Mariana packs her things and travels to her former university to support her. However, she would never have imagined to find herself entangled in the investigation as she suspect the murderer is Edward Fosca, a Greek tragedy professor with his own group of Maidens who follow him around and worship him. And, even if no one believes her, Mariana won’t stop until she finds out the truth…

Slow-paced and suspenseful, The Maidens is a great read. The plot is intricate, and I loved how the author combines murder and Greek tragedy together. But, my favourite thing about The Maidens is the character of Mariana. Flawed, intricate, and driven, her story, her secrets, her family are slowly unraveled. She is haunted by the many losses she has suffered through her life, the latest one her husband who died suddenly a year earlier during a holiday and that she is so deeply grieving that she still hasn’t packed away his things. Also, she has to face daddy issue, regrets, and secrets that once uncovered, will change her life.

Once again, Alex Michaelides took me completely by surprise with shocking revelations and twists that I didn’t see coming and kept me engaged for hours with this compulsive new novel that it is out now.

ALEX MICHAELIDES was born in Cyprus in 1977 to a Cypriot father and an English mother. At 18, he moved to the UK to study English at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he received an MA. Alex then went to film school in Los Angeles and got his MA in writing at the American Film Institute. He wrote the film Devil You Know, starring Rosamund Pike, and co-wrote The Con Is On, starring Uma Thruman and Tim Roth. Disillusioned with screenwriting, he moved back to the UK and took a job at a therapeutic community for teenagers in North London while studying psychotherapy.

But before he quit writing for good, he decided to have one last throw of dice and sat down to write the detective story which became the international bestselling novel, The Silent Patient. The book went on to be a world record-breaker, debuting at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list, the first adult UK debut ever to do so. Brad Pitt’s production company, Plan B, have secured film rights and a screenwriter and director are now attached. The Maidens is his second novel.

#BookReview: SET ON YOU by Amy Lea @amyleabooks @vikingbooksuk

Publication: 12th May 2022 – Viking Books

Curvy fitness influencer Crystal Chen built her career shattering gym stereotypes. After a recent break-up, she has little time left for men, instead finding joy in the gym – her place of power and positivity.

Enter firefighter Scott Ritchie, the smug new guy who routinely steals her favourite squat rack. Soon, sparks start flying…

As the ultra-competitive foes battle for gym domination, the last thing they expect is to run into each other at their grandparents’ engagement party. And, in the lead-up to the wedding, Crystal discovers there’s a soft heart under Scott’s muscled exterior. Bonding over family, fitness and cheesy pick-up lines, she just might have found her person.

But when a photo of them goes viral, savage internet trolls put their relationship to the test… Are they strong enough to get through it?

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Crystal Chen is a fitness influencer. She quit her day job to dedicate herself completely to what she loves and she creates videos in which she promotes fitness and inspires her followers to accept and love themselves. Of course, there are haters who try to body-shame her, but she tries her best to ignore them.

Enter Squat Rack Thief, later known as Scott Ritchie, who steals her equipment and doesn’t clean it after using it, who cuts the line at the fountain water, who distracts her from her work out at the gym. Handsome, hot, and smug, he really gets on her nerves. Until, after a steamy encounter in the gym locker rooms, she finds out that there is more to Scott than what it appears and that sometimes the line between hate and love can be very thin, if only Crystal can learn to trust again.

I adored these two characters. Crystal and Scott are amazing. I loved their chemistry and their easy and sexy banter. Crystal is genuine, relatable, kind, and honest. Scott is caring, sweet, and authentic, and I couldn’t get enough of them together. I also adored their families, especially Tara, Crystal sister (who, I just found out, is the protagonist of the author’s next book and I can’t wait to read it!) and Crystal’s grandmother and Scott’s grandfather who make an adorable couple.

Set On You is an immersive, steamy, entertaining novel. There is slow-burn romance, friendship, and family, but also themes of cyber bullying, body-shaming, acceptance, and forgiveness, as well as a bi-racial component. If you love the enemies to lovers trope, if you adore a grumpy hot male protagonist, or if you are simply looking for a well-written enjoyable novel, then I can’t but recommend Set On You!

A huge thank you to Viking and NetGalley for providing me with a proof of this fantastic novel.

Amy Lea is a Canadian bureaucrat by day and contemporary romance author by night (and weekends). She writes laugh out loud romantic comedies featuring strong heroines, witty banter, mid-2000s pop culture references, and happily ever afters. When Amy is not writing, she can be found fan-girling over other romance books on Instagram (@amyleabooks), eating potato chips with reckless abandon, and snuggling with her husband and golden doodle.

#BookReview: THE AGATHAS by Kathleen Glasgow & Liz Lawson @kathglasgow @LzLwsn @Rocktheboatnews

Publication: 3rd May 2022 – Rock The Boat

After falling from grace last summer, Agatha Christie-obsessed Alice Ogilvie needs to stay out of trouble. While smart and reclusive Iris Adams just wants to get the hell out of Castle Cove.

But now they have a murder to solve. There are clues the police are ignoring, a list of suspects a mile long and some very dangerous cliffs.

Amateur detectives Alice and Iris are about to uncover just how many secrets their sleepy seaside town is hiding…

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One of the main reasons I was drawn to The Agathas is because it’s the story of two young women who, inspired by the novels of Agatha Christie, try to solve a murder in their small town of Castle Cove. I have always been a fan of Agatha Christie and, lately, I have been rereading some of my favorite of her novels (like Death on the Nile, And Then There Were None) so I had fun reading The Agathas.

“What would Agatha Christie do? I try to channel the queen.”

The protagonists of the novel are two teenagers, Alice and Iris. At the beginning of the story, they are not friends. They come from different backgrounds and they have different interests and passions. Alice is a Main (what they call the cook kids at school!). She is rich, beautiful, and, at least until a few months ago, popular. Iris is a Zoner (the not cool kids at school). She lives alone with her mother and she works two jobs. So they have absolutely nothing in common. Although they go to the same school and also attend some of the same classes, Alice is too focused on herself to know who Iris is, until she becomes her tutor. Iris accepts to tutor Alice because she needs to earn enough money so she and her mother can escape Castle Cove and the threat that haunts them.

When one of their classmates is found dead, both Iris and Alice are drawn into the investigation: it seems Iris was the last person to see her alive, while Alice had a fight with her before she disappeared. And when the victim’s boyfriend (who is also Alice’s ex-boyfriend) is arrested, Iris and Alice are convinced he is innocent and decide to start their own investigation – which involves color-coded note cards, whiteboards, and case notes.

I really enjoyed The Agathas. It is a gripping, exciting, and witty read with two fantastic heroines. Iris and Alice form an unlikely friendship. Iris is nerd, resilient, mature with a complicated family situation. Alice is more impulsive and spoiled and she feels ignored by her parents who mostly leave her at home with her former nanny. She is a huge fan of Agatha Christie’s novels and a few months back she had disappeared for a few days (just like her heroine Agatha Christie did in 1926 giving life to an unsolved mystery that still fills the pages of books) before reappearing unharmed and with no explanation, making her the talk of the school. Despite their differences, Iris and Alice work really well together, they have great chemistry, and I wish there will be more books in which the two girls play detective!

A huge thank you to Rock The Boat and NetGalley for providing me with a proof.

Kathleen Glasgow is the New York Times bestselling author of Girl in Pieces and How to Make Friends with the Dark and has been published in 26 countries. She lives in Tucson, Arizona, where she works in an office by day and spins stories by night. You can find her on Twitter @kathglasgow, on Instagram as @misskathleenglasgow or on her website kathleenglasgowbooks.com.

Liz Lawson is the author of The Lucky Ones, a Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2020, and the upcoming YA mystery The Agathas which she co-wrote with NYT Bestselling author Kathleen Glasgow.  She lives outside of Washington DC with her family and two cats.

#BookReview: SOMETHING WILDER by Christina Lauren @ChristinaLauren @PiatkusBooks

Publication: 17th May 2022 – Piatkus Books

Lily has never forgotten the man that got away… but she certainly hasn’t forgiven him either!

As the daughter of a notorious treasure hunter, Lily makes ends meet using her father’s coveted hand-drawn maps, guiding tourists on fake treasure hunts through the canyons of Utah. When the man she once loved walks back into her life with a motley crew of friends, ready to hit the trails, Lily can’t believe her eyes. Frankly, she’d like to take him out into the wilderness – and leave him there.

Leo wants nothing more than to reconnect with his first and only love. Unfortunately, Lily is all business: it’s never going to happen. But when the trip goes horribly and hilariously wrong, the group wonders if maybe the legend of the hidden treasure wasn’t a gimmick after all. Alone under the stars in the isolated and dangerous mazes of the Canyonlands, Leo and Lily must decide whether they’ll risk their lives, and their hearts, on the adventure of a lifetime…

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Romance, a bit of suspense, and treasure hunting are just some of the elements of the brilliant and addictive new novel by Christina Lauren.

When Lily Wilder was nineteen-year-old she met and fell in love with Lovesick City Boy Leo Grady, but he left her without a word or an explanation. Ten years have passed and, in the meantime, Lily has lost the family ranch she loved and her father and now she leads tourists in fake treasure hunts in Utah with the help of the journal left by her father, a famous treasure hunter. When the latest group of tourists arrives at her camp, Lily is shocked to find Leo among them. She’s never forgotten him and neither has he and, as the fake treasure hunt turns very real and stakes run high, Leo is determined to fix things with Lily and maybe have a second chance, if they manage to survive the hunt…

I loved Something Wilder. I really did. I was completely engrossed in it and I read it in less than two days. How could I not? It includes a badass female protagonist, a math genius lovesick male protagonist, treasure hunt and wild adventures in Utah, a great love and second chance romance, only one sleeping bag (to share), puzzles to solve, a Wild West car chase, a few twists that I didn’t see coming, two adorable secondary characters, witty dialogues, and an entertaining and gripping plot.

Something Wilder is not my first novel by Christina Lauren, but it is one of my favorite. It is the perfect summer read, thrilling, immersive, and witty and with fantastic characters that you can’t help but love.

A huge thank you to Piatkus and NetGalley for providing me with a proof of this beautiful novel.

Christina Lauren is the combined pen name of longtime writing partners/besties/soulmates and brain-twins Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings, the New York TimesUSA TODAY, and #1 international bestselling authors of the Beautiful and Wild Seasons series, SublimeThe House, and Autoboyography.

You can find them online at ChristinaLaurenBooks.com, Facebook.com/ChristinaLaurenBooks, or @ChristinaLauren on Twitter.

#BlogTour: THE LAST TO DISAPPEAR by Jo Spain @SpainJoanne @QuercusBooks

Publication: 12th May 2022 – Quercus Books

A luxury resort. Three missing women. One body.

When young London professional Alex Evans is informed that his sister’s body has been pulled from an icy lake in Northern Lapland, he assumes his irresponsible sister accidentally drowned. He travels to the wealthy winter resort where Vicky worked as a tour-guide and meets Agatha Koskinen, the detective in charge. Agatha is a no-nonsense single mother of three who already thinks there’s more to Vicky’s case than meets the eye.

As the two form an unlikely alliance, Alex also begins to suspect the small town where his sister lived and died is harbouring secrets. It’s not long before he learns that three other women have gone missing from the area in the past and that his sister may have left him a message.

On the surface, Koppe, Lapland is a winter wonderland. But in this remote, frozen place, death seems only ever a heartbeat away.

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Today is publication day for The Last to Disappear and I am delighted to share my review of this gripping new novel by one of my favourite authors, Jo Spain.

One of the places I absolutely must visit once in my life is Lapland, possibly at Christmas. Me and my family have been talking for years about spending a Christmas holiday there and visit the Christmas village, see the Northern Lights, and go on a sled ride. Hopefully, one day we will do it. In the meantime, Jo Spain’s new novel took me right there in Lapland, in the fictional village of Koppe, where the economy is driven by the tourists that every year fill the hotels. However, London lobbyist Alex Evans is not there on holiday, but he has arrived to take home the body of his younger sister Vicky who was working as a travel guide in one of the hotels of the village and who was found in the frozen lake. Alex assumed that Vicky’s death was an accident, but Agatha Koskinen, the detective in charge of the investigation, reveals that Vicky was killed, so Alex decides to remain and team up with Agatha in solving the case.

I loved everything about this novel: the plot, the characters, the setting. The story is very well-written and full of twists and surprises. Before Vicky, three women had disappeared and they were never found and the entire village suspects of the lonely grumpy man whose wife was the first to disappear. Are the disappearances of the three women connected to Vicky’s death? Or was Vicky involved in something else? The list of suspects is long and, of course, I didn’t figure out the right one.

I loved the two protagonists of the story, Alex and Agatha. When we first meet Alex is leaving a party with a woman. Next thing he knows, his father calls him to inform him that his sister is dead and he is on his way to Finland. Gripped by guilt and grief and not trusting that Agatha can do her job, Alex starts investigating Vicky’s death. As the story progresses, we learn more about his complex relationship with Vicky and he becomes less arrogant and more agreeable. Agatha is an excellent detective. She is smart and determined and she doesn’t let Alex undermine her. However, she has her own complicated personal life to deal with and a past that haunts her.

The setting is incredible. I was engrossed in the atmospheric and beautiful descriptions of the village of Koppe that plays a big part in the story. The descriptions are so well-written that I could imagine them as I was reading and the freezing cold, the frozen lake, the darkness helped to increase the suspense of the story.

If you are looking for a chilling and addictive read, then pick up The Last to Disappear… you won’t regret it!

A huge thank you to Milly and Quercus for inviting me to join the blog tour and providing me with a proof of the novel.

Jo Spain is a full-time writer and screenwriter. Her first novel, With Our Blessing, was one of seven books shortlisted in the Richard and Judy Search for a Bestseller competition and her first psychological thriller, The Confession, was a number one bestseller in Ireland. Jo co-wrote the ground-breaking television series Taken Down, which first broadcast in Ireland in 2018. She’s now working on multiple European television projects. Jo lives in Dublin with her husband and their four young children.

#BookReview: A LADY’S GUIDE TO FORTUNE-HUNTING by Sophie Irwin @SophieHIrwin @HarperFiction

Publication: 12th May 2022 – HarperCollins

The season is about to begin – and there’s not a minute to lose…

Kitty Talbot needs a fortune.

Or rather, she needs a husband who has a fortune. This is 1818 after all, and only men have the privilege of seeking their own riches.

With just twelve weeks until Kitty and her sisters are made homeless, launching herself into London society is the only avenue open to her. And Kitty must use every ounce of cunning and ingenuity she possesses to climb the ranks.

The only one to see through her plans is the worldly Lord Radcliffe and he is determined to thwart her at any cost.

Can Kitty secure a fortune and save her sisters from poverty? There is not a day to lose and no one – not even a lord – will stand in her way…

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I am on a historical romance spree right now and reading lots of Regency novels and A Lady’s Guide to Fortune-Hunting is another one I really enjoyed.

After the death of her parents, Kitty has one goal: marry a wealthy man who won’t mind that there is no dowry, who will pay her family’s debts and save their house, and who will take care of her and her four sisters. After her engagement is suddenly broken, Kitty travels to London for the season to find a new suitor and she lands her eyes on young Archibald De Lacy. He quickly becomes besotted with her, but when his older brother, Lord Radcliffe, learns of their relationship, he quickly leaves the country estate, where he’s been hiding since his return from the battle of Waterloo, to stop Kitty’s advances. However, he didn’t expect to find in front of him a smart and headstrong woman who makes him a deal: she will leave his brother alone and, in exchange, he will help her find a rich husband. 

I liked the character of Kitty. She is not perfect, but she is realistic and honest. She has flaws and I didn’t always agree with her choices. She schemes and she manipulates to get what she wants. She doesn’t apologize for being a fortune-hunter. She wants to save her family home and take care of her sisters even if this means spending the rest of her life with a man she doesn’t like. I also really liked the character of James, Lord Radcliffe. The battle of Waterloo left him emotionally wounded and he spent the last two years away from his family and friends. He returns to London to keep Kitty away from his brother, but their relationship soon turns from suspicious to some kind of friendship and I loved their witty exchanges and the way they naturally develop and grow throughout the story.

A Lady’s Guide to Fortune-Hunting is an enjoyable, compelling, and entertaining novel. It is well-written and with a cast of fantastic characters that you can’t help but love. Highly recommended!

A huge thank you to HarperCollins and NetGalley for providing me with a proof of the novel.

Sophie Irwin grew up in Dorset before moving to south London. She has spent years immersed in studying historical fiction, from a dissertation on how Georgette Heyer helped win World War Two, to time spent in dusty stacks and old tomes losing herself in Regency London researching this book.
A Lady’s Guide to Fortune-Hunting is Sophie’s debut novel and it has already sold in nearly thirty countries worldwide.

#BlogTour: MISRULE by Heather Walter @heatherrwalter5 @DelReyUK

Publication: 10th May 2022 – DelRey

Did they break the curse, or begin one? Sleeping Beauty’s dark sorceress reclaims her story in this sequel to Malice

Perfect for fans of Naomi Novik and Holly Black.

The Dark Grace is dead. Feared and despised for the sinister power in her veins, Alyce has spent 100 years wreaking her revenge on the kingdom that made her an outcast. Once a realm of decadence and beauty, Briar is now wholly Alyce’s wicked domain. No one escapes the consequences of her wrath.

Not even the one person who holds her heart.

Princess Aurora saw through Alyce’s thorny façade, earning a love that promised the dawn of a new age. But that love came with a heavy price: Aurora now sleeps under a curse that even Alyce’s vast power cannot seem to break, and their dream of the world they would have built together is nothing but ash.

Alyce vows to do anything to wake the woman she loves, even if it means descending into the monster Briar believed her to be. But could Aurora ever love the villain Alyce has become?

Or is true love only for fairy tales?

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Good morning and happy Sunday everyone! Today it’s my turn on the blog tour for Misrule, the new fabulous novel by Heather Walter.

Misrule is the incredible and gripping sequel to Malice, a beautiful and well-written retelling of Sleeping Beauty in which princess Aurora has to suffer through many kisses in search of the true love that will end the curse and save her life, while Alyce is the Vila everyone despises and fears.

Misrule starts a hundred years after the events of Malice. Aurora is still sleeping, under the curse that hit her, while Alyce leads the Dark Court in her revenge against those who have wronged her. The Dark Court is open to all those victims of the humans and the Fae, so goblins, demons, and Vila are all welcome. Alyce freed them from their captors and now they all live in what once was the court of Briar. For the past one hundred years, Alyce has tried to break Aurora from her sleep, but she also fears the consequences of her awakening. Will she remember her? Will their love survive?

The author crafted a brilliant conclusion to this duology. In Misrule, we see the genuine development of the characters of Alyce and Aurora. The story is told in first person from Alyce’s point of view, so we know all her thoughts, her fears, her doubts, we know the reasons behind the choices (good and bad) that she makes. Is Alyce really the villain in the story? Or is she the hero? In waging war against the humans, is she better than those who wronged her? On the other hand, Aurora is the princess who thought one day would be queen of her kingdom only to find it destroyed. The place she once called home is no longer there and she doesn’t know who she can trust.

I really enjoyed reading Misrule. I was engrossed in the characters’ development, in the intriguing story, the fantastic world-building, and the fitting ending to this magical story. Highly recommended!

A huge thank you to Daisy and DelRey for inviting me to join the blog tour and providing me with a beautiful copy of the novel.

Don’t miss @Laurensliterar1‘s stop tomorrow and follow the rest of the blog tour

Heather Walter is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, a former English teacher, and now works as a school librarian in Austin, Texas. As an LGBTQ+ author, Heather is passionate about telling and championing queer stories, and loves writing about what-ifs, flawed protagonists, and re-imagined history. Her favourite characters are usually villains. MALICE is her debut novel.

“I wrote MALICE for anyone who harbours a seed of villainy in their heart. Alyce dwells in the shadows between good and evil—perhaps more like us than we care to admit. This book is about the weak unlocking their strength, and the power and poison of love. A fairy tale that aims to hold a mirror to our darkest truths.”

#BookReview: A BRUSH WITH LOVE by Mazey Eddings @foxygrandpa27 @eternal_books

Publication: 7th April 2022 – Headline Eternal

Anxiously awaiting news from the residency program of her dreams, dental student Harper Horowitz is laser focused. So crashing (quite literally) into Dan Craige is exactly the sort of dreamy distraction that she is trying to avoid.

First-year student Dan may not have the same passion for pulling teeth that Harper does, but he’s instantly smitten. When Harper makes it clear that she’s not interested in trading fillings for feelings anytime soon, they set out to be ‘just friends’ – a plan with the best of intentions and the poorest of follow-throughs.

Late nights in the dental lab (and the rather unsubtle match-making efforts of their friends), draw Dan and Harper closer. Still, Harper can’t shake the worry that a romance with Dan might risk everything she’s worked so hard to build.

Harper may have no trouble acing her studies, but falling in love is a whole new challenge.

Nine out of ten dentists agree, A Brush with Love makes your smile brighter!*

*not scientifically proven

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I loved, loved, loved A Brush with Love! It is witty and entertaining, emotional and heartbreaking. I adored the story and I adored the characters and it is one of my favorite books of the year.

The story is told from the points of views of the two protagonists. Harper is about to graduate. She studies day and night and she is at the top of her class. She can’t afford any distraction. Enter Dan. After leaving a career in finance, he in his first year of dental studies. Unlike Harper, he is not passionate about a career in dental hygiene, but he had vowed to carry on his father’s practice and legacy. Their attraction is immediate, but, as mentioned, Harper is focused on her studies and she doesn’t have time for anything else so she wants to be just friends, but Dan wants something more. The more time they spend together, the less Harper can’t deny her feelings for him, but will she be able to overcome her fears?

Harper and Dan are incredible, adorable, authentic characters. They are flawed, under pressure, still suffering from their past and I loved them so much! Harper is a girl after my own heart. I adored this character. Of course, I loved the character of Dan, too, but Harper is the one I felt more related to. I really felt for her. I understood her fears, her obsession, her social anxieties. She was authentic and real and I loved how she developed throughout the story. I also enjoyed Dan’s development and growth. He’s so adorable and sweet!

A Brush with Love is one of those books that captured from the first page and kept me so engrossed that I keep thinking about it days after I finished reading it. There is romance and friendship and it perfectly tackles themes of mental health and social anxiety. The story is beautiful, well-written, and addictive and I already know it’s one of these books that I will reread in the future.

A huge thank you to Headline Eternal and NetGalley for providing me with a proof of the novel.

Mazey Eddings is a neurodiverse author, dentist, and (most importantly) stage mom to her cats, Yaya and Zadie. She can most often be found reading romance novels under her weighted blanket and asking her boyfriend to bring her snacks. She’s made it her personal mission in life to destigmatize mental health issues and write love stories for every brain. With roots in Ohio and North Carolina, she now calls Philadelphia home.

To learn more, visit: www.mazeyeddings.com or follow Mazey on Instagram: @mazeyeddings

#BookReview: LITTLE SISTER by Gytha Lodge @thegyth @MichaelJBooks

Publication: 22nd April 2022 – Michael Joseph

A teenage girl wanders out of the woods.

She’s striking, with flame-red hair and a pale complexion. She’s also covered in blood.

Detective Jonah Sheens quickly discovers that Keely and her sister, Nina, disappeared from a children’s home a week ago. Now, Keely is here – but Nina’s still missing.

Keely knows where her sister is – but before she tells, she wants Jonah’s full attention . . .

Is she killer, witness, or victim?

And will Jonah find out what Keely’s hiding, in time to save Nina?

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Little Sister is the new novel by Gytha Lodge and the fourth book featuring DCI Jonah Sheens and his team of detectives in Southampton. I have been reading this series since the beginning, I’ve never missed a book (and case), but I think that this latest one is my favorite so far. I really liked the characters and the suspenseful plot that kept me on edge of my seat and I enjoyed this book so much that I hated that I had to interrupt my reading for things like sleeping and work.

The story starts with Jonah Sheen trying to enjoy a relaxing Sunday in a pub with his family – despite the lack of sleep caused by his new-born baby – when a teenage girl stumbles in, covered in blood. The girl’s name is Keely Lennox and she and her younger sister Nina have been missing for a few days. Keely promises Sheens to tell him where her sister is, but first he must listen to her story. The story of how everything began.

Keely’s tale is dark, chilling, and disturbing, but some things don’t seem to add up. As her past is slowly revealed, I couldn’t help but wonder: can we trust her? Is she telling the truth? Is she a victim or a psychopath? That’s what DCI Sheens and his team must figure out in a race against time to find Nina before it’s too late.

The plot is very well-thought and intriguing. It is told from different perspectives, but I found Keely’s narrative the most fascinating. The way she tells her story kept me glued to the pages. While I was completely engrossed in the mystery of Keely and Nina’s disappearance, I also enjoyed reading about the detectives’ personal lives. DCI Jonah Sheens is struggling with a new-born baby and worried about his partner, while DC Juliette Hanson is worried about DS Ben Lightman who seems to be the one more affected by the case, while DS Domnall O’Malley is his usual relaxed himself.

Little Sister is a gripping story full of twists and surprises and I loved it from the first to the last page. I really love this series and I am already looking forward to reading book number 5!

A huge thank you to Michael Joseph and NetGalley for providing me with a proof of the novel.

Gytha Lodge is a Sunday Times bestselling writer and multi-award-winning playwright who lives in Cambridge. After studying creative writing at UEA, she was shortlisted for the Yeovil Literary Prize and the Arts’ Council England fiction awards, and developed a large online following for her young adult and children’s writing, with over seven million reads accrued on platform Wattpad.

She Lies in Wait, her debut novel, was a Richard & Judy Book Club Pick. With nail-biting cases that hook you in, and heart that keeps you coming back for more, Lodge’s highly-acclaimed Jonah Sheens series – which also includes Watching from the Dark and Lie Beside Me – has kept readers gripped from beginning to end, and Lodge has been acclaimed as ‘a gifted writer’ by Daily Mail.

#BlogTour: FIRST BORN by Will Dean @willrdean @HodderBooks @JennyPlatt90

Publication: 14th April 2022 – Hodder & Stoughton

THE LAST THING A TWIN EXPECTS IS TO BE ALONE…

Molly lives a quiet, contained life in London. Naturally risk averse, she gains comfort
from security and structure. Every day the same.

Her identical twin Katie is her exact opposite: gregarious and spontaneous. They used to be
inseparable, until Katie moved to New York a year ago. Molly still speaks to her daily without fail.

But when Molly learns that Katie has died suddenly in New York, she is thrown into unfamiliar territory. Katie is part of her DNA. As terrifying as it is, she must go there and fi nd out what happened. As she tracks her twin’s last movements, cracks begin to emerge. Nothing is what it seems. And a web of deceit is closing around her.

AMAZON

WATERSTONES

Good morning everyone and welcome on my stop for the blog tour of First Born, the incredible new novel by Will Dean.

Molly and Katie are twins, born only a few minutes apart. They have always been together, until Katie moved to New York, leaving Molly behind. Katie and Molly are twins, but they couldn’t be more different. Katie is free-spirited and lively, while Molly lives her life in safety, hyper aware of all the possible dangers around her. There are fire extinguishers in every room in her flat, she makes her own self-defense weapons, and she avoids all situations in which she could be in danger. She’s never taken a plane in her life until she is forced to fly to New York after Katie is found dead in her bedroom. The police is convinced Katie was murdered and Molly, despite her anxieties and fears, starts to dig into her twin’s life, meeting her boyfriend, friends, professors, trying to figure out who would want her sister death. As she does so, she starts to realize that maybe she didn’t know her sister as well as she thought…

I do love Will Dean’s novels because they take you right into the protagonist’s mind and yet it still manages to take you by surprise with the twists and revelations that I certainly didn’t see coming. The story is told in first person from Molly’s point of view so we experience first-hand all her fears, her anxieties, her doubts, her suspicions.

First Born is a psychological thriller with capital letters. The unpredictable and multi-layered protagonist kept me glued to the pages and the plot is very well-written, intense, intriguing, suspenseful, and with a final twist that took me completely by surprise. Highly recommended!!!

A huge thank you to Jenny and Hodder & Stoughton for inviting me to join the blog tour and providing me with a proof of this compelling novel.

Will Dean grew up in the East Midlands and had lived in nine different villages before the age of eighteen. After studying Law at the LSE and working in London, he settled in rural Sweden where he built a house in a boggy clearing at the centre of a vast elk forest, and it’s from this base that he compulsively reads and writes. His debut novel, Dark Pines, was selected for Zoe Ball’s Book Club, shortlisted for the Guardian Not the Booker prize and named a Daily Telegraph Book of the Year. Red Snow was published in January 2019 and won Best Independent Voice at the Amazon Publishing Readers’ Awards, 2019. Black River was shortlisted for the Theakstons Old Peculier Award in 2021. The Last Thing to Burn was released to widespread acclaim in January 2021.