#ForeverHome by @grahnort

Carol is a divorced teacher living in a small town in Ireland, her only son now grown. A second chance at love brings her unexpected connection and belonging. The new relationship sparks local speculation: what does a woman like her see in a man like that? What happened to his wife who abandoned them all those years ago? But the gossip only serves to bring the couple closer.

When Declan becomes ill, things start to fall apart. His children are untrusting and cruel, and Carol is forced to leave their beloved home with its worn oak floors and elegant features and move back in with her parents.

Carol’s mother is determined to get to the bottom of things, she won’t see her daughter suffer in this way. It seems there are secrets in Declan’s past, strange rumours that were never confronted and suddenly the house they shared takes on a more sinister significance.

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The Back Quay of Ballytoor was where things used to be.

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(@CoronetBooks, 29 September 2022, e-book, 364 pages, ARC from the publisher via @NetGalley)

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I really enjoyed Forever Home. I’ve read the author’s other books so knew I was in for a treat. This book, like his other ones looks like an innocent family saga based on the front cover and the blurb and the first few chapters lure you into a false sense of security and then things start to get dark. Forever Home doesn’t get as dark as A Keeper but there are some unpleasant moments. There is also a lot of humour which works well against the darker moments in the book. I really enjoyed this.

Ashes in the Snow by @OrianaRamunno

A young Jewish prisoner…

Auschwitz, 1943. It’s snowing outside and Block 10 looks even bleaker than usual. Gioele Errera, a young Jewish boy imprisoned in the camp, finds the body of an SS officer.

A detective with everything to prove…

Hugo Fischer is sent to investigate the unexplained death of the renowned Nazi. But Hugo is hiding a secret – he is suffering from a degenerative disease. The only way for him to survive is to give his support to the Reich and hide his condition.

A confrontation with pure evil…

In Auschwitz, Hugo comes face to face not only with a complex murder, but with a truth – that of the Final Solution. And he is forced to decide what is most important to him – and who, if anyone, he should try to save…

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‘Eins, zwei!;. Gioele counted the steps between the dormitory and the doctor’s office in German.

PROLOGUE, AUSCHWITZ, 21 DECEMBER 1943

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(@HarperCollinsUK, 20 October 2022, e-book, 336 pages, ARC from the publisher via @NetGalley)

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This is a new author for me. I really enjoyed Ashes in the Snow. I read a lot of historical fiction and have read a decent amount with Nazi’s as the subject matter so I was on familiar ground with this book but the subject matter is the murder of an SS Officer which is a new one for me. As you’d expect from a book set in this era, this is a rather grim read, brutal at times but well-written and compelling.

#TheDeception by Kim Taylor Blakemore

A sleight of hand. A trick up the sleeve. A call for the dead. It’s all part of the game in this twisty tale by the bestselling author of After Alice Fell.

New Hampshire, 1877. Maud Price was once a celebrated child medium, a true believer in lifting the veil between the living and the dead. Now penniless, her guiding spirits gone, the so-called “Maid of Light” is desperate to regain her reputation—but doing so means putting her faith in deceiving others.

Clementine Watkins, known in spiritualist circles for her bag of tricks and utmost discretion, creates the sort of theatrics that can fill Maud’s parlour again, and with each misdirection, Maud’s fame is restored. But her guilt is a heavy burden. And the ruse has become a risk. Others are plotting to expose the fraud, and Clem can’t allow anyone—even Maud—to jeopardize the fortune the hoax has made her.

When the deception hints at a possible murder, Maud realizes how dangerous a game she’s playing. But to return to the light from which she’s strayed, she must first survive the darkness created by Clem’s smoke and mirrors.

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Dear Miss Watkins, I am in difficulty.

SPRING, 1877, HARROWBORO, NEW HAMPSHIRE

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(Lake Union Publishing, 27 September 2022, e-book, 348 pages, ARC from the publisher via @NetGalley)

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This is a new author for me. I liked The Deception a lot. I read a lot of historical fiction and have read a surprising number of books that feature spiritualists and mediums. It’s a popular subject. This book takes a different stance that other books I’ve read, pitting a once famous child medium fallen on hard times against a ruthless trickster. Maud finds herself in murky waters when her situation forces her to take drastic action and trust someone she would normally avoid. I found this gripping from start to finish.

A Brighter Flame by @christinenolfi

She’s always wanted a sense of belonging. The last place she expects to find it is home.

Vale Lightner’s dreams turn to ash when the Pittsburgh bar she owns goes up in flames. Just like the past she escaped, very little seems salvageable. Facing unavoidable change, Vale returns to her hometown of Philadelphia to stay with her grandmother.

She knows that returning also means facing everything she left behind: a mother and stepfather who shunted her into the background from the day they married, and her charmed and favoured half-sister, Blythe, who has abandoned a perfect marriage and is now at a crossroads of her own. Everyone has their secrets, and this reunited family racked by them is about to reach a crisis point.

For a mother and her two daughters, this reunion is a chance for closure, newfound love, and forgiveness. As each of them reassesses her own memories of the past, only the truth can bring them together—in ways that could last forever. From the bestselling author of The Passing Storm comes a poignant novel about family secrets, healing, and the hope of second chances.

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Vale awoke to the scream of sirens.

CHAPTER 1

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(Lake Union Publishing, 27 September 2022, e-book, 301 pages, #ARC from the publisher via @NetGalley)

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I loved A Brighter Flame. This is a book that made me cry a lot and gave me all the feels. Vale is a great character. She’s not perfect but she’s strong-willed, tough, and very relatable. I cried a few times reading this. I loved the way the author explores family relationships in the book especially Vale and her sister Blythe. This is a powerful novel. I’d highly recommend it.

#Happyish by @AuthorEscudero

It was supposed to be a good day.

On the one-year anniversary of her divorce, Alex Martinez is getting closure—and margaritas with her two best friends. But just before the celebratory meetup, Alex is clobbered by life once again. Damping the cheer is the diagnosis of a brain tumour she can’t pronounce, a procedure she’d rather postpone, and the prospect of what to say to an already heartbroken mother. Not that Alex plans to tell her anything anytime soon.

Going from blissful to blindsided in one afternoon, Alex has other plans: to be impulsive and embark on an adventure she’ll never forget. Expected destinations: the Grand Canyon, Puerto Rico, and zip-lining through Costa Rica. Unexpected companion: a hiker named David who’s found a woman after his own heart. But no matter how enriching the journey, how long can Alex keep running? It’s time to accept past griefs, reconnect with her mother, and find her way back to happy. For Alex, whatever the future holds, maybe everything she really needs to face is right where she left it.

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I’m a feminist.

PROLOGUE

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(Lake Union Publishing, 20 September 2022, e-book, 250 pages, #ARC from the publisher via @NetGalley)

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I loved Happyish. It’s the kind of book that makes you laugh, cry and infuriates you all at the same time. Alex is a great character. She’s so real I felt like I got to know her really well. Her behaviour frustrated the hell out of me at times. Why did she need to make everything so hard? She was so hard on herself. I wanted to hug her and shake her at the same time. Her decision-making process is not the best but understandable. She was so human and real and flawed. I’d highly recommend this.

#TheDeathofJaneLawrence by @see_starling

Practical, unassuming Jane Shoringfield has done the calculations, and decided that the most secure path forward is this: a husband, in a marriage of convenience, who will allow her to remain independent and occupied with meaningful work. Her first choice, the dashing but reclusive doctor Augustine Lawrence, agrees to her proposal with only one condition: that she must never visit Lindridge Hall, his crumbling family manor outside of town.

Yet on their wedding night, an accident strands her at his door in a pitch-black rainstorm, and she finds him changed. Gone is the bold, courageous surgeon, and in his place is a terrified, paranoid man―one who cannot tell reality from nightmare, and fears Jane is an apparition, come to haunt him. By morning, Augustine is himself again, but Jane knows something is deeply wrong at Lindridge Hall, and with the man she has so hastily bound her safety to.

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Dr. Augustine Lawrence’s cuffs were stained with blood and his mackintosh had flailed against the persistent drizzle.

CHAPTER 1

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(@TitanBooks, 20 September 2022, e-book, 464 pages, #ARC from the publisher via @NetGalley)

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I really loved The Death of Jane Lawrence. It’s got that good old fashion horror story feel to it plus dark gothic overtones. The book starts off innocently enough with Jane’s practical proposition to Dr Lawrence. She doesn’t know him or his past so has no idea what she’s getting into. Things start to take a dark turn when she’s forced to spend the night at his family estate, a place he has told her is out of bounds, piquing her curiosity. I was hooked within a few pages and couldn’t wait to find out the dark secrets or Dr Lawrence and Lindridge Hall. This is a fantastic read.

#AMagicSteepedInPoison by @judyilin

I used to look at my hands with pride. Now all I can think is, “These are the hands that buried my mother.”

For Ning, the only thing worse than losing her mother is knowing that it’s her own fault. She was the one who unknowingly brewed the poison tea that killed her—the poison tea that now threatens to also take her sister, Shu.

When Ning hears of a competition to find the kingdom’s greatest shennong-shi–masters of the ancient and magical art of tea-making–she travels to the imperial city to compete. The winner will receive a favour from the princess, which may be Ning’s only chance to save her sister’s life.

But between the backstabbing competitors, bloody court politics, and a mysterious (and handsome) boy with a shocking secret, Ning’s life might be the one in more danger.

***

From one of America’s most renowned storytellers—the best-selling author of Blonde—comes a novel about love and deceit, and lust and redemption, against a backdrop of shocking murders in the affluent suburbs of Detroit.

In the waning days of the turbulent 1970s, in the wake of unsolved child-killings that have shocked Detroit, the lives of several residents are drawn together with tragic consequences.

There is Hannah, wife of a prominent local businessman, who has begun an affair with a darkly charismatic stranger whose identity remains elusive; Mikey, a canny street hustler who finds himself on a chilling mission to rectify injustice; and the serial killer known as Babysitter, an enigmatic and terrifying figure at the periphery of elite Detroit. As Babysitter continues his rampage of abductions and killings, these individuals intersect with one another in startling and unexpected ways.

Suspenseful, brilliantly orchestrated, and engrossing, Babysitter is a starkly narrated exploration of the riskiness of pursuing alternate lives, calling into question how far we are willing to go to protect those whom we cherish most. In its scathing indictment of corrupt politics, unexamined racism, and the enabling of sexual predation in America, Babysitter is a thrilling work of contemporary fiction.

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From one of America’s most renowned storytellers—the best-selling author of Blonde—comes a novel about love and deceit, and lust and redemption, against a backdrop of shocking murders in the affluent suburbs of Detroit.

In the waning days of the turbulent 1970s, in the wake of unsolved child-killings that have shocked Detroit, the lives of several residents are drawn together with tragic consequences.

There is Hannah, wife of a prominent local businessman, who has begun an affair with a darkly charismatic stranger whose identity remains elusive; Mikey, a canny street hustler who finds himself on a chilling mission to rectify injustice; and the serial killer known as Babysitter, an enigmatic and terrifying figure at the periphery of elite Detroit. As Babysitter continues his rampage of abductions and killings, these individuals intersect with one another in startling and unexpected ways.

Suspenseful, brilliantly orchestrated, and engrossing, Babysitter is a starkly narrated exploration of the riskiness of pursuing alternate lives, calling into question how far we are willing to go to protect those whom we cherish most. In its scathing indictment of corrupt politics, unexamined racism, and the enabling of sexual predation in America, Babysitter is a thrilling work of contemporary fiction.

SEE LESS

From one of America’s most renowned storytellers—the best-selling author of Blonde—comes a novel about love and deceit, and lust and redemption, against a backdrop of shocking murders in the affluent suburbs of Detroit.

In the waning days of the turbulent 1970s, in the wake of unsolved child-killings that have shocked Detroit, the lives of several residents are drawn together with tragic consequences.

There is Hannah, wife of a prominent local businessman, who has begun an affair with a darkly charismatic stranger whose identity remains elusive; Mikey, a canny street hustler who finds himself on a chilling mission to rectify injustice; and the serial killer known as Babysitter, an enigmatic and terrifying figure at the periphery of elite Detroit. As Babysitter continues his rampage of abductions and killings, these individuals intersect with one another in startling and unexpected ways.

Suspenseful, brilliantly orchestrated, and engrossing, Babysitter is a starkly narrated exploration of the riskiness of pursuing alternate lives, calling into question how far we are willing to go to protect those whom we cherish most. In its scathing indictment of corrupt politics, unexamined racism, and the enabling of sexual predation in America, Babysitter is a thrilling work of contemporary fiction.

SEE LESS

From one of America’s most renowned storytellers—the best-selling author of Blonde—comes a novel about love and deceit, and lust and redemption, against a backdrop of shocking murders in the affluent suburbs of Detroit.

In the waning days of the turbulent 1970s, in the wake of unsolved child-killings that have shocked Detroit, the lives of several residents are drawn together with tragic consequences.

There is Hannah, wife of a prominent local businessman, who has begun an affair with a darkly charismatic stranger whose identity remains elusive; Mikey, a canny street hustler who finds himself on a chilling mission to rectify injustice; and the serial killer known as Babysitter, an enigmatic and terrifying figure at the periphery of elite Detroit. As Babysitter continues his rampage of abductions and killings, these individuals intersect with one another in startling and unexpected ways.

Suspenseful, brilliantly orchestrated, and engrossing, Babysitter is a starkly narrated exploration of the riskiness of pursuing alternate lives, calling into question how far we are willing to go to protect those whom we cherish most. In its scathing indictment of corrupt politics, unexamined racism, and the enabling of sexual predation in America, Babysitter is a thrilling work of contemporary fiction.

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TBC

They say you can spot a true shennongh-shi by their hand – palms coloured by the stain of the earth, fingertips scarred from thorns, a permanent crust of soil and blood darkening the screcents of their nails.

CHAPTER ONE

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(@TitanBooks, 6 September 2022, e-book, 432 pages, #ARC from the publisher via @NetGalley)

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I chose A Magic Steeped In Poison at random from my approved titles on NetGalley. I really enjoyed it. There’s going to be at least one follow-up, so I look forward to reading it. I really enjoyed the world-building and the way Ning’s culture, and society is brought to vivid, memorable life. I especially enjoyed the detail added about the history of tea-making. This fascinated me. This is well-written and engaging with great characters. I liked it a lot.

#MyOtherHusband by @DorothyKoomson

What if your murderous fantasies start to come true?

Someone is trying to frame me for murder.

They’re hurting people in the ways I write about – and making sure I’m the prime suspect.

I think I know why.

But I can’t tell the police or even use my rock-solid alibi . . .

Because then I’d have to confess about my other husband.

A series of terrifying murders. A set of complex lies.

And a woman with no way to clear her name.

***

‘Cleo Forsum Pryce, I am arresting you on the suspicion of attempted murder’.

PROLOGUE

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(@headlinepg, 18 August 2022, e-book, 432 pages, copy from the publisher via @NetGalley)

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I’m a huge fan of the author and have read all of her books. I couldn’t wait to read The Other Husband and had high hopes for the book. Thankfully, I loved it. It has everything I’ve come to expect from the author; seemingly innocuous domestic setting, action, drama, plenty of thrills and a lot of twists and turns. I kept changing my mind about what Cleo’s secrets were and discovered I was way off track when all the cards were laid on the table. This is a terrific domestic thriller.

Broken Summer by @joeyverse

A death, a lie, a secret. For twenty-six summers he didn’t have the courage to face the past.

Lee Hanjo is an artist at the peak of his fame, envied and celebrated. Then, on his forty-third birthday, he awakens to find that his devoted wife has disappeared, leaving behind a soon-to-be-published novel she’d secretly written about the sordid past and questionable morality of an artist with a trajectory similar to Hanjo’s. It’s clear to him that his life is about to shatter and the demons from his past will come out. But why did his wife do it? Why now?

The book forces Hanjo to reflect on a summer from his youth when a deadly lie irreversibly and tragically determined the fates of two families.

From master storyteller J. M. Lee, one of Korea’s most renowned authors, comes an unforgettable novel of hidden truths, denials, and their inevitable repercussions. Everyone still left standing from that terrible summer so long ago must finally reckon with the deceptions that started it all and, twist after shocking twist, reap both the suffering and the vindication that comes with revenge.

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The people of the city knew him well.

HANJO

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(Amazon Crossing, I September 2022, ebook, 251 pages, bought from @AmazonKindle, #AmazonFirstReads)

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This is a new author for me. Broken Summer appealed to me the most from this month’s titles. I thought this was a terrific book. I loved the way the events move between the past and present gradually revealing Hanjo’s dark secrets and what they have to do with his wife and her book. There are a lot of twists and turns and misdirection in the book and I was never sure the direction things would take. This is well worth a read.

The Rising Tide by @AnnCleeves

Vera Stanhope, star of ITV’s Vera, returns in the tenth novel in number one bestseller Ann Cleeves’ acclaimed series.

Fifty years ago, a group of teenagers spent a weekend on Holy Island, forging a bond that has lasted a lifetime. Now, they still return every five years to celebrate their friendship and remember the friend they lost to the rising waters of the causeway at the first reunion.

Now, when one of them is found hanged, Vera is called in. Learning that the dead man had recently been fired after misconduct allegations, Vera knows she must discover what the friends are hiding, and whether the events of many years before could have led to murder then, and now…

But with the tide rising, secrets long-hidden are finding their way to the surface, and Vera and the team may find themselves in more danger than they could have believed possible.

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Philip was the first of the group on the island.

CHAPTER ONE

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(@panmacmillan, 1 September 2022, ebook, 384 pages, #ARC from the publisher via @NetGalley)

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I’ve read a few of the Vera books and tend to enjoy them. I loved The Rising Tide. I cried at the end as Vera suffers a tragic loss. You need to read this fantastic book to find out what happens. Like other books in the series, the events are slow to unwind but the pace is still quite fast as Vera urges her team to find answers, complicated by the fact that her own boss is on the perimeter of the investigation so they need to tread delicately. I loved the chapters set on Holy Island, they are gripping and atmospheric. This is a terrific book.

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