#BookReview: THE VERY SECRET SOCIETY OF IRREGULAR WITCHES by Sangu Mandanna @SanguMandanna @HodderBooks

Publication: 23rd August 2022 – Hodder & Stoughton

She found magic in the most unlikely of places.

The House in the Cerulean Sea meets Practical Magic in this cosy, heartwarming, and uplifting magical romance about an isolated witch whose opportunity to embrace a quirky new family – and a new love – changes the course of her life.

As one of the few witches in Britain, Mika Moon has lived her life by three rules: hide your magic, keep your head down, and stay away from other witches. An orphan raised by strangers from a young age, Mika is good at being alone, and she doesn’t mind it . . . mostly.

But then an unexpected message arrives, begging her to travel to the remote and mysterious Nowhere House to teach three young witches, and Mika jumps at the chance for a different life.


Nowhere House is nothing like she expects, and she’s quickly tangled up in the lives and secrets of its quirky, caring inhabitants . . . and Jamie, the handsome, prickly librarian who would do anything to protect his charges, and who sees Mika’s arrival as a threat. An irritatingly appealing threat.

As Mika finds her feet, the thought of belonging somewhere starts to feel like a real possibility. But magic isn’t the only danger in the world, and soon Mika will need to decide whether to risk everything to protect the found family she didn’t know she was looking for…

AMAZON

WATERSTONES

The Very Secret Society of Witches meets on the third Thursday of every third month.  They never meet in the same place twice and this is the only chance for its members to connect and socialize as witches can stay too long together because it attracts too much magic. 

Mika Moon is one of its members, one of the youngest. Orphaned right after her birth, she was raised by a string of nannies and tutors. Mika is used to being alone and she never stays long in the same place. She posts online videos where she pretends to be a witch and that’s how she attracts the attention of a particular inhabitant of Nowhere House who contacts her to teach three young witches to control their magic. When she arrives at Nowhere House she is welcomed warmly by most of the residents, which include two caretakers and one retired actor, except for one of her charges, Terracotta, who comes up with different ideas on how to murder her, and Jamie, the handsome and grumpy librarian, whose constant scowl is proof she doesn’t trust her. As Mika starts to feel like she belongs, someone threatens her happiness and that of the people she has come to care about…

I LOVED THIS BOOK!!! I loved the setting, the writing, the plot, but, most of all, the characters. They are eccentric, witty, vivid, and engaging and you can’t help but love them. Mika is relatable, funny, and smart; Jamie is charming and prickly and he would do anything to protect the three young witches; Ian, an energetic and eccentric retired actor, who likes to play Cupido; kind and considerate Ken who, despite not having any powers, has a magical touch in the garden; Lucie, the caring housekeeper who tries to keep everyone in line; and all of them would do anything – including come up with far-fetched and absurd plans – to protect the three young witches in their care: Rosette, Terracotta, and Altamira.

I can’t recommend The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches enough. There is romance, magic, entertaining plans and much more. It was such such an enjoyable, addictive, and superb read and I am really hoping for a sequel in the future.

A huge thank you to Hodder & Stoughton and NetGalley for providing me with a ARC of this amazing book.

Sangu Mandanna is the author of The Very Secret Society of Irregular WitchesKiki Kallira Breaks a Kingdom, and other novels about magic, monsters and myths. She lives in Norwich with her husband and kids.

#BlogTour: THE IT GIRL by Ruth Ware @RuthWareWriter @simonschusterUK @RandomTTours

Publication: 4th August 2022 – Simon & Schuster UK

Everyone wanted her life
Someone wanted her dead

It was Hannah who found April’s body ten years ago.
It was Hannah who didn’t question what she saw that day.
Did her testimony put an innocent man in prison?
 
She needs to know the truth.
 
Even if it means questioning her own friends.
Even if it means putting her own life at risk.
 
Because if the killer wasn’t a stranger, it’s someone she knows…

AMAZON

WATERSTONES

Today, it’s my stop on the blog tour for The It Girl, the addictive new novel by Ruth Ware.

The It Girl is the seventh novel by Ruth Ware and, like the ones before, it kept me engrossed from the first to the last page. The protagonist of the novel is Hannah Jones. Smart, bookish, a bit shy, raised by her middle-class mother, she is the opposite of rich, spoiled, vivacious, April Coutts-Cliveden and yet they became best friends on their first day at Oxford. Before the end of their first year, April was murdered and it was Hannah’s testimony to help the police find the killer and send him to prison.

Ten years later, Hannah is living in Edinburgh, working in a bookstore and married to one of her university friends, Will, and they are expecting their first child together. The news of the death in prison of April’s killer and a call from a journalist convinced that there is something missing from the investigation in April’s murder lead Hannah to revisit her first year of university and wonder if the real killer is still out there. It was not easy to be friends with April, she could be jealous and vengeful and her jokes were not always that funny. Was there someone else who wanted April dead?

There are so many things that I liked about The It Girl. First of all, half of the story is set in Oxford, one of my favorite places in the world. Also, I loved the dark academia atmosphere. And the narrative that switches between the past and the present. And the twists that kept me guessing until the end. And the unreliable and multi-layered characters.

The story is told from the perspective of Hannah Jones. I found it difficult to understand her friendship with April because they are completely different characters. April was mean and used to always have her way, while Hannah was kind-hearted and generous. Notwithstanding their unlikely friendship, April’s death and finding her body has completely changed Hannah’s life. Her testimony sent a man to prison, but what if he wasn’t the real killer? She needs to find out the truth.

Dark, suspenseful, and captivating, The It Girl is another masterpiece from the queen of crime Ruth Ware and I enjoyed every page of it. Highly recommended!

A huge thank you to Anna Cater and Simon & Schuster for inviting me to join the blog tour and providing me with a proof of the novel. 

Ruth Ware is an international number one bestseller. Her thrillers In a Dark, Dark WoodThe Woman in Cabin 10, The Lying Game, The Death of Mrs Westaway, The Turn of the Key and One by One have appeared on bestseller lists around the world, including the Sunday Times and New York Times. Her books have been optioned for both film and TV, and she is published in more than 40 languages. Ruth lives near Brighton with her family. You can find her on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @ruthwarewriter or at ruthware.com

#BookReview: STAY AWAKE by Megan Goldin @megangoldin @StMartinsPress

Publication: 9th August 2022 – St. Martin’s Press

A murder she doesn’t remember committing. A killer she doesn’t remember meeting. Megan Goldin’s Stay Awake is an electrifying novel that proves memory can be deadly.

Liv Reese wakes up in the back of a taxi with no idea where she is or how she got there. When she’s dropped off at the door of her brownstone, a stranger answers―a stranger who claims to live in her apartment. She reaches for her phone to call for help, only to discover it’s missing. In its place is a bloodstained knife. Her hands are covered in scribbled messages, like graffiti on her skin: STAY AWAKE.

Two years ago, Liv was thriving as a successful writer for a trendy magazine. Now, she’s lost and disoriented in a New York City that looks nothing like what she remembers. Catching a glimpse of the local news, she’s horrified to see reports of a crime scene where the victim’s blood has been used to scrawl a message across a window, similar to the message that’s inked on her hands. What did she do last night? And why does she remember nothing from the past two years? Liv finds herself on the run for a crime she doesn’t remember committing. But there’s someone who does know exactly what she did, and they’ll do anything to make her forget―permanently.

A complex thriller that unfolds at a breakneck speed, Stay Awake will keep you up all night.

AMAZON

Liv Reese has the perfect life. She works as a journalist for the magazine Cultura, she lives in an apartment in Brooklyn with her best friend Amy, and she has a boyfriend, Marco, who she adores. However, one night she wakes up in the back of a taxi, a knife covered in blood in her hands, and writing on her hands warning her not to fall asleep. She doesn’t know where the knife comes from or who the blood belongs to and when she tries to get inside her apartment, she finds strangers living there. Her last memory is working at the office and answering the phone, then blank. Except that this happened two years ago. With no memory of the last two years and sensing that she is in danger, Liv knows she must figure out what happened, but, most importantly, she mustn’t fall asleep, because every time she does she forgets the last two years of her life.

In the meantime, in an apartment in Manhattan the body of a man has been found naked with a stab wound to the heart. Detective Darcy Halliday, temporarily assigned to the murder unit, is the first on the scene. There is blood writing on the window, the weapon is missing, and the identity of the victim is unknown, but as Halliday and her new partner, Detective Jack Lavelle, investigate they discover that the clues lead to Liv. However, they are not the only ones looking for her. There is someone who knows exactly what happened to Liv and wants to stop her before she figures it out…

I loved Megan Goldin’s previous novels and this new one didn’t disappoint. Packed with suspense, tension, and twists that I didn’t see coming, Stay Awake kept me on the edge of my seat from the first to the last page. The story is split between different timelines and points of views. Two years ago, we meet Liv before her memory loss, with her dream job, house, and boyfriend, and we learn what happened to her. In the present time, the narrative switches between the two smart, determined, and bold female protagonists: on the one side, there is a confused and afraid Liv, on the run from someone who doesn’t want her to remember and from a crime that she doesn’t know if she committed. On the other side, Darcy Hallidays, after various tours in Afghanistan, has chosen a life in the police and hopes to prove her worth and remain in the murder unit.

If you are looking for an exciting, action-packed, intense read, and two fantastic and likable protagonists then I can recommend Stay Awake enough!!!

Stay Awake is out today and I would like to thank St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for providing me with a proof of the novel.

MEGAN GOLDIN, author of THE ESCAPE ROOM and THE NIGHT SWIM, worked as a correspondent for Reuters and other media outlets where she covered war, peace, international terrorism and financial meltdowns in the Middle East and Asia. She is now based in Melbourne, Australia where she raises three sons and is a foster mum to Labrador puppies learning to be guide dogs.

#BookReview: HOPE TO DIE by Cara Hunter @CaraHunterBooks @VikingBooksUK

Publication: 18th August 2022 – Penguin Books UK

Midnight.
A call out to an isolated farm on the outskirts of Oxford.
A body shot at point-blank range in the kitchen.


It looks like a burglary gone wrong, but DI Adam Fawley suspects there’s something more to it.

When the police discover a connection to a high-profile case from years ago, involving a child’s murder and an alleged miscarriage of justice, the press go wild.

Suddenly Fawley’s team are under more scrutiny than ever before. And when you dig up the past, you’re sure to find a few skeletons…

AMAZON

WATERSTONES

The DI Adam Fawley series is one of my favorite and each year I wait eagerly for a new book. Hope to Die is the sixth book in the series and it starts with a gunshot heard in an isolated farmhouse late at night. A passerby calls the police and when they arrive they find the body of a man killed by a gunshot. The elderly couple living there claims that they don’t know who he is and that he was shot in self-defense. It should be an easy case to solve, but the couple failed to call the police, cold cases are reopened, and dark secrets are revealed. As DI Adam Fawley and his team investigate, they find out that the truth is far more complicated than a burglary gone wrong. 

After the events of The Whole Truth, I couldn’t wait to see what DI Adam Fawley and his team were up to. Adam and his wife Alex are now enjoying their newborn daughter Lily Rose and, while DC Erica Somer is recovering from a health issue, we are introduced to new characters as three new members join the team.

Once again, Cara Hunter created a gripping and twisty story that kept me engrossed from the first to the last page. I love how she includes other formats in the narrative, like extracts from Netflix documentaries, transcripts of police interviews, newspaper articles, psychiatric reports, and social media comments that add a bit of humor to the story. The plot is complex and unpredictable, the pace is fast and the suspense is way high, and I raced through the pages to see what would happen next.

Cara Hunter is, without a doubt, one of my favorite authors and Hope to Die is yet another fantastic and thrilling addiction to this terrific series. Book number 7 can’t come soon enough!

A huge thank you to Penguin Books and NetGalley for providing me with an early proof of this gripping novel.

Cara Hunter is the author of the Sunday Times bestselling crime novels Close to HomeIn the DarkNo Way OutAll the Rage and The Whole Truth all featuring DI Adam Fawley and his Oxford-based police team. Close to Home was a Richard and Judy Book Club pick and was shortlisted for Crime Book of the Year in the British Book Awards 2019. No Way Out was selected by the Sunday Times as one of the 100 best crime novels since 1945. And The Whole Truth was a Richard and Judy pick in 2021. Cara’s novels have sold more than a million copies worldwide, and the TV rights to the series have now been acquired by the Fremantle group. She lives in Oxford, on a street not unlike those featured in her books.

#BookReview: GIRL, FORGOTTEN by Karin Slaughter @SlaughterKarin @HarperFiction

Publication: 23rd June 2022 – HarperCollins

A girl with a secret…
Longbill Beach, 1982. Emily Vaughn gets ready for prom night, the highlight of any high school experience. But Emily has a secret. And by the end of the evening, she will be dead.

A murder that remains a mystery…
Forty years later, Emily’s murder remains unsolved. Her friends closed ranks, her family retreated inwards, the community moved on. But all that’s about to change.

One final chance to uncover a killer…
Andrea Oliver arrives in town with a simple assignment: to protect a judge receiving death threats. But her assignment is a cover. Because, in reality, Andrea is here to find justice for Emily – and to uncover the truth before the killer decides to silence her too…

AMAZON

WATERSTONES

Karin Slaughter is one of my auto-buy authors. Whether it is a new Will Trent novel, or a stand alone, or an Andrea Oliver new novel, I am going to read it.

Girl, Forgotten is the second book in the Andrea Oliver series and it takes place two years after the events of Pieces of Her. Andy Oliver has just finished her training as a US Marshal and her first assignment is to protect judge Esther Vaughan who has been receiving threats. Her daughter Emily was killed forty-years earlier, the killer never found, and Andy has her own personal reasons to get closer to the judge and investigate her daughter’s murder. Andy and her new partner Leonard Bible arrive to Longbill Beach to protect the judge, but they also come across a series of suicides of young women who were volunteering at a local fava bean farm.

In 1981, eighteen-year-old Emily Vaughan discovers she is pregnant after attending a party with her friends. She doesn’t remember anything of that night, but she could never believe that any of her friends would hurt her. Shunned not only from her family and friends, but from the entire community of Longbill Beach, Emily is determined to find out who the father of her baby is.

The story is told from two different points of view and the chapters alternate on two different timelines. The plot is compulsive, dark, and gripping. Some of the themes can be disturbing and not easy to read (especially the way Emily is treated following her pregnancy), but luckily the new character of Leonard Bible, Andy’s US Marshal partner, brings some comic-relief moments with his relationship with his wife Cussy and his witty humor.

I liked how the character of Andy has developed since Piece of Her. Even though her past and the truth about her father still haunt her, she is more independent, determined, and she has found a job she is really good at. I really liked this version of Andy and I enjoyed how her relationship with her mother Laura has grown.

Once again, Karin Slaughter didn’t disappoint and created another thrilling and immersive story and I am already hoping for a sequel very soon… I want more of Andy, Mike, Laura, and Bible!

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

Karin Slaughter is one of the world’s most popular storytellers. Published in 120 countries with more than 40 million copies sold across the globe, her novels have all been Sunday Times bestsellers. Slaughter lives in Atlanta, Georgia, and is the founder of the Save the Libraries project―a nonprofit organization established to support libraries and library programming. Her standalone novel Pieces of Her is now a Netflix series, and the Grant County and Will Trent series are in development for television.

#BlogTour: AN ESCAPE TO PROVENCE by Sophie Claire @SClaireWriter @HodderBooks

Publication: 21st July 2022 – Hodder & Stoughton

Where there’s a will, can love find a way?

When cynical divorce lawyer Daisy Jackson unexpectedly inherits a ramshackle farmhouse in Provence, she sets off for the French countryside to oversee renovations herself.

But Gabriel Laforet has other ideas. A local builder with ties to the property, Gabriel is determined to see Daisy off and preserve the characterful, charming farmhouse – which, but for a missing will,he knows is rightfully his.

When the two meet, it’s clear they couldn’t be more different: Gabriel has lived in the small country village all his life; Daisy is a city girl whose career means everything. He is laid-back and messy;she is used to being in control. As they begin to work together, sparks fly. Yet they’re inexplicably drawn to each other and, in the heat of the Provence sun, secrets begin to spill. Perhaps Daisy can trust him with her carefully guarded heart after all?

But Gabriel is still searching for the missing will that proves the farmhouse belongs to him – and in doing so, risks upturning everything he and Daisy have started to build together…

AMAZON

WATERSTONES

I am thrilled to welcome you on my stop for the blog tour of An Escape to Provence, the entertaining new novel by Sophie Claire.

I also want to escape to Provence after reading this latest beautiful and enjoyable novel by Sophie Claire. I loved the characters, the setting, the food, and the story is emotional and heart-warming.

Daisy has inherited the farmhouse Le Mazet in Provence from a relative she didn’t even know she had and she plans to turn it into a rental house for tourists. The house needs a lot of work so she hires local builder Gabriel to transform it into a house more suited to her modern taste. However, Gabriel, who has his own personal attachments to the farmhouse and thinks he should be the rightful owner, has no intention to follow her instructions. When no other construction company accepts the job, Daisy has no choice but to take a few days off her work – for the first time in years! – and travel to Provence to convince Gabriel to do the job. After they finally reach an agreement, Daisy decides to stay for a few days to oversee the works, but, as her relationship with Gabriel turns into friendship and days turn into weeks, Daisy realizes that her life in London is not as perfect as she thought…

The story is told from the point of view of the two protagonists who couldn’t be more different. Daisy Jackson is a pragmatic and busy divorce lawyer in London who doesn’t do relationships and lives for her job. When she initially arrives in Provence, she finds it difficult to adapt to the slow pace of the village or to Gabriel long breaks from his work. Gabriel Laforet is more laid back, a builder with romantic views on life who is waiting to meet the love of his life and start a family. And yet the chemistry between these two characters is fantastic and I enjoyed how their relationship develops. 

The setting is appealing, evocative, and very-well described and I could picture in my head the rundown yet charming farmhouse or the sleepy French village where everyone knows everyone.

An Escape to Provence is the third novel by Sophie Claire that I’ve read so far and, once again, I enjoyed every page of it. I read it in two days, so immersed in this well-written, entertaining, romantic story and its relatable, well-developed characters that I couldn’t help but love. Highly recommended!!!

A huge thank you to Oliver and Hodder & Stoughton for inviting me to join the blog tour and providing me with a copy of this beautiful novel.

Sophie Claire, born to a French mother and Scottish father, grew up in Manchester where she still lives with her husband and two sons.

She writes stories centred around sunny Provence, where she spent her summers as a child.

#BookReview: THE WEDDING SEASON by Katy Birchall @KatyBirchall @HodderBooks

Publication: 26th May 2022 – Hodder & Stoughton

Freya Scott is getting married. Her wedding to Matthew, her long-term boyfriend, is the first of eight in her calendar this year, and as someone who prides herself on being meticulously organised, Freya is intent on making it the perfect day to remember.

But when Matthew calls things off hours before they walk down the aisle, Freya’s entire life plan goes up in smoke. Humiliated and heartbroken, the last thing she wants is to attend a summer of other peoples’ nuptials on her own.

Fortunately, her friends have an idea: together they devise a series of outrageous challenges for Freya to complete at each event, designed to distract her from Matthew and what might have been.

From getting stuck in an old church bathroom and needing to be rescued by the vicar to making out with a barman at a French chateau, Freya realises that despite herself, she might just be having fun.

By the time the final wedding arrives, she’s not the same woman she was at the start of the season. And maybe her own love story isn’t over just yet…

AMAZON

WATERSTONES

The day before her wedding, while guests are arriving and peacocks are loose in the house (a gift from her brother), Freya is dumped by her fiancé, the man she spent the last twelve years with, – in a broom closet. Heartbroken and with a full wedding season ahead of her (seven weddings to attend to, without counting the hen dos), her best friends, Ruby and Leo, encourage her to set herself a challenge for each wedding. From being the last one standing on the dance floor to getting a pair of cufflinks from a man, from making an impromptu speech to kissing someone at midnight to running naked in the corridor of a hotel (inspired by the Spice Girls), Freya will distract herself, enjoy herself, and stop thinking about the wedding that never was. 

I had so much fun reading The Wedding Season. I laughed a lot, but there are also a few serious and thought-provoking moments. Freya is an incredible protagonist. The Wedding Season is her journey as she heals from her heartbreak and she rediscovers herself. Freya is a hilarious, relatable, and authentic character and I enjoyed reading how she developed throughout the novel.

There is some romance, but what I loved most about this novel is the friendship theme. Freya is surrounded by a group of dynamic and entertaining characters that support her throughout the novel. I loved their witty exchanges, their group chats that always made me laugh, and their loyalty, especially with Ruby and Leo. 

Last year, I really enjoyed the author’s adult debut novel, The Secret Bridesmaid, and The Wedding Season was even better. It is entertaining, compelling, and addictive and it is one of my favorite books of the summer.

A huge thank you to Hodder & Stoughton and NetGalley for providing me with a ARC of the novel.

Katy is the author of romantic-comedies The Secret Bridesmaid and The Wedding Season. She has also written several young adult novels including The It Girl series, the Hotel Royale series and Morgan Charmley: Teen Witch. She is the co-author of the middle grade Lightning Girl series and Star Switch with Alesha Dixon, and the Find the Girl teen series with YouTube stars Lucy and Lydia Connell. Katy was proud to be the author of a retelling of Jane Austen’s Emma for the Awesomely Austen series, a collection of Austen’s novels retold for younger readers. She has also written a non-fiction book, How to be a Princess: Real-Life Fairy Tales for Modern Heroines.

Katy lives in London with her husband, Ben, and her rescue dog, Bono.

#BookReview: THE RETREAT by Sarah Pearse @SarahVPearse @TransworldBooks

Publication: 21st July 2022 – Bantam Press

This is a warning for all our guests at the wellness retreat.

A woman’s body has been found at the bottom of the cliff beneath the yoga pavilion.

We believe her death was a tragic accident, though DS Elin Warner has arrived on the island to investigate.

A storm has been forecast, but do not panic. Stick together and please ignore any rumours you might have heard about the island and its history.

As soon as the weather clears, we will arrange boats to take you back to the mainland.

In the meantime, we hope you enjoy your stay.

AMAZON

WATERSTONES

Detective Elin Warner is back and, once again, she finds herself in a remote location, with bad weather conditions, murder to solve, and a killer on the loose (and I loved it!). This time, the murder scene is a bit a closer to home, a recently opened hotel on a island just off the coast which her boyfriend Will designed and where his sister Farrah works as a manager. A few years earlier, the island had been the setting of another crime scene when a group of teenagers camping there had been murdered. Now, the victim is a young woman who wasn’t supposed to be on the island, and then someone else is found dead…

While I enjoyed The Sanatorium and The Retreat both in the same way, I have to say that I liked more the Elin Warner that we see in The Retreat. She has a new working partner, while her relationship with her boyfriend Will becomes a bit strained during the investigation. She is surer of herself and tougher working her first murder case since leaving the Major Crimes Investigation Team.

The plot is suspenseful and chilling. Secrets, lies, resentment, revenge, and jealousy start a series of murders while the island, renamed Reaper’s Rock, is itself a protagonist of the story. Once it housed a school that burnt down, then became an Outward Bound center where a group of teenagers was brutally murdered, and now people are being killed in the newly built retreat while a storm outside prevents people from leaving the island. As the storm raged I was on the edge of my seat to see what would happen. And once the killer is found, the twists don’t end with a final shocking surprise that I didn’t see coming.

I was completely immersed in The Retreat and I am already hoping for more adventures and cases for Detective Elin Warner.

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

Sarah Pearse lives by the sea in South Devon with her husband and two daughters. She studied English and Creative Writing at the University of Warwick and worked in Brand PR for a variety of households brands before following her passion for writing.

Her experiences living in the Swiss Alps in her early twenties inspired her acclaimed debut novel, The Sanatorium, which was an instant No.1 Sunday Times and New York Times Top Ten bestseller in hardback, and a Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick.

You can find Sarah on Twitter @SarahVPearse and Instagram @sarahpearseauthor

#BlogTour: LISTEN TO ME by Tess Gerritsen @tessgerritsen @TransworldBooks @RandomTTours #ListenToMe

Publication: 7th July 2022 – Bantam Press

The murder of Sofia Suarez is both gruesome and seemingly senseless. Why would anyone target a respected nurse who was well-liked by her friends and her neighbours? As Detective Jane Rizzoli and Forensic Pathologist Maura Isles investigate the baffling case, they discover that Sofia was guarding a dangerous secret — a secret that may have led the killer straight to her door.

Meanwhile, Jane’s mother Angela Rizzoli is conducting an investigation of her own. She may be a housewife, not a police detective, but she’s savvy enough to know there’s something very strange, perhaps even dangerous, about the new neighbours across the street. The problem is, no one believes her, not even her own daughter.

Immersed in the hunt for Sofia’s killer, Jane and Maura are too busy to pay attention to Angela’s fears. With no one listening to her, and danger mounting in her neighbourhood, Angela just may be forced to take action on her own…

AMAZON

WATERSTONES

I am really excited to welcome you on my stop for the blog tour of Listen to Me, the gripping new novel by Tess Gerritsen.

I have been watching and rewatching the Rizzoli & Isles tv series for years now (I know some of the episodes by heart), but I am ashamed to admit that I am a little behind with the books and I have a bit of catching up to do. Luckily, I had no trouble reading the latest one in the series, Listen to Me, because, even though it is the 13th book in the Rizzoli & Isles series, it can be easily read as a stand alone.

The story focuses on different cases. Detective Jane Rizzoli and her friend and medical examiner Maura Isles are investigating the brutal murder of a nurse. She was loved by everyone and led a quiet and normal life, so Jane Rizzoli is having trouble finding a motive for her murder. In the meantime, they also discover that a young woman is being stalked and she could be in danger. If a seemingly unmotivated murder and a stalker aren’t enough, Jane is also kept busy by her mother, Angela Rizzoli, who is convinced that her new neighbours are hiding something. They weren’t interested in her welcome-in-the-neighbourhood zucchini bread, they have installed bars over the windows, and the husband carries a gun. And while spying the new neighbours takes most of Angela’s time, she is also worried about the teenager neighbour who ran away. Since Jane doesn’t want to help her, Angela decides to start investigating on her own.

I loved Listen to Me. Angela’s storyline was the more entertaining and intriguing one. I always liked the character of Angela. Nothing goes past her, especially in her quiet suburb that it’s not so quiet right now. In fact, it seems that each one of her neighbours has a secret and, somehow, she manages to uncover them all… it’s true that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. 

The plot is fast-paced and full of twists and turns. Even though I started suspecting the truth before it was revealed, there were still many things that took me by surprise. I really enjoyed reading Listen to Me and I plan to catch up on the books that I haven’t read yet (I have already bought a couple of books). Highly recommended!

A huge thank you to Random Things Tours and Transworld Books for inviting me to join the blog tour and providing me with a proof of the novel.

Follow the rest of the blog tour:

Bestselling author TESS GERRITSEN is also a physician, and she brings to her novels her first-hand knowledge of emergency and autopsy rooms. Her thrillers starring homicide detective Jane Rizzoli and medical examiner Maura Isles inspired the hit TV series Rizzoli & Isles. But Tess’s interests span far more than medicine and crime. As an anthropology student at Stanford University, she catalogued centuries-old human remains, and she continues to travel the world, driven by her fascination with ancient cultures and bizarre natural phenomena.

#BookReview: THIS VICIOUS GRACE by Emily Thiede @EKTwrites @hodderscape

Publication: 28th June 2022 – Hodder & Stoughton

Three weddings. Three funerals. Alessa’s gift from the gods is supposed to magnify a partner’s magic, not kill every suitor she touches.

Now, with only weeks left until a hungry swarm of demons devours everything on her island home, Alessa is running out of time to find a partner and stop the invasion. When a powerful priest convinces the faithful that killing Alessa is the island’s only hope, her own soldiers try to assassinate her.

Desperate to survive, Alessa hires Dante, a cynical outcast marked as a killer, to become her personal bodyguard. But as rebellion explodes outside the gates, Dante’s dark secrets may be the biggest betrayal. He holds the key to her survival and her heart, but is he the one person who can help her master her gift or destroy her once and for all?

AMAZON

WATERSTONES

It doesn’t happen often that I start reading a book in the morning and I finish it on that same day, especially since I spent eight hours of that day at work (working, not reading 😉), but that’s what happened with This Vicious Grace. I was hooked from the first page and I stayed up late at night to finish reading it.

Alessa is the Finestra. Chosen by the goddess, she has a gift that will magnify the power of her chosen partner, the Fonte, so they can protect the island of Saverio from the attack that it’s coming. The only problem is that everytime she touches them they instantly die. After the death of three partners, a few assassination attempts instigated by a priest, and the escape of Fonte candidates from the island, Alessa asks for the help of Dante, a fighter marked as a killer, to protect her.

I loved the characters of Alessa and Dante. Their chemistry is off the charts and their easy and witty banter made me often laugh. Alessa is a fantastic and interesting protagonist that you can’t help but like and feel for her. When she became the island’s Finestra she had to give up any relationship with her family. Also, since her touch kills, all the Fontes are afraid of her and stay away. She longs for friendship and contact and the only one who is not scared of her is Dante, but he has his own demons and secrets to face.

The writing is addictive and the world-building is incredible and compelling. It is based on Italy and the Italian language, used as an old language, is often used for proverbs and swear words. 

This Vicious Grace has romance, friendship, action, and twists and it kept me hooked from the first to the last page. I can’t wait for the sequel to come out!

A huge thank you to Hodder & Stoughton and NetGalley for providing me with a proof of one of my favorite novels of the year!

Emily Thiede is the author of This Vicious Grace. A former school teacher, Emily is a creative writing instructor and board member for Writer House, a local nonprofit, and a co-host of the Basic Pitches podcast. When she isn’t writing, Emily enjoys exploring second-hand bookstores, fostering rescue kittens, and getting lost in the woods near her home in central Virginia. You can find her across social media platforms @ektwrites and on her website, www.ekthiede.com.