EXQUISITE by Sarah Stovell
Orenda Books; 6/15/17 (UK) & 10/1/17 (US)
Summer Reading Preview
Listen up, psychological thriller readers: I have a must-read book recommendation for you.
Yesterday I finished reading EXQUISITE by Sarah Stovell, and I'm still reeling from it. This blend of Fatal Attraction-meets-twisty thriller must be one of the most entertaining books I've read all year, and today I'm sharing 3 reasons why this book belongs on your TBR! I'll be sharing my full review of this book as part of its blog tour in June (my tour date is June 17th. to be specific!!) but in the meantime, here's a preview of why EXQUISITE by Sarah Stovell is a must-read.
But first things first: plot summary!
Bo Luxton has it all—a loving family, a beautiful home in the Lake District, and a clutch of bestselling books to her name. Enter Alice Dark, an aspiring writer who is drifting through life, with a series of dead-end jobs and a freeloading boyfriend. When they meet at a writers’ retreat, the chemistry is instant, and a sinister relationship develops. Or does it? Breathlessly pacey, taut and terrifying, Exquisite is a startlingly original and unbalancing psychological thriller that will keep you guessing until the very last page.
3 Reasons to Add EXQUISITE to your TBR
1. It's a thriller about writers. There's something perennially appealing about books that explore the literary world. EXQUISITE sets a psychological suspense plot within the world of writers, as it traces the progression of attraction to deadly obsession between a bestselling author and an aspiring author. Books are central to this thriller—and honestly, who could ask for a better combination?
2. It's tense and sexy. I'm not one for romance novels, and EXQUISITE definitely isn't a romance—but it is laced with sexual tension between its two main characters. I couldn't help but love the way the author illustrates the affection and obsession between these two. It's dark, taut, and sensual. Don't think of this as a romantic suspense novel - it's NOT that; think of it as a Fatal Attraction-like story where forbidden romance turns deadly.
3. It's mind-bending, twisty fun. This book is surprising and entertaining in all the right ways. With twists a plenty and genuine surprises in store, EXQUISITE kept me questioning everything until the very last page. (And even after the last page, let's be honest.) Readers looking for escapist, addictive psychological thriller reading will find their perfect match in EXQUISITE.
EXQUISITE will release in the U.K. on June 15th, and in the US on October 1st. (American readers, remember: you can always use our friend BookDepository to snag a copy before October!)
And make sure to follow along with the upcoming EXQUISITE blog tour for reviews, author interviews, and more!
No matter how many domestic suspense novels you’ve read, chances are you haven’t read one quite like BEAUTIFUL BAD by Annie Ward. Intimate yet expansive, BEAUTIFUL BAD takes readers into the most private secrets of a troubled marriage via pit stops in that same married couple’s history. Traveling from the Balkans to England to post-9/11 New York, BEAUTIFUL BAD draws readers into a story epic in scope, but decidedly personal at its core. This suspense novel has all the hallmarks of your favorite domestic thriller: a marriage with a dark side, a cast of unreliable characters, and some engaging, page-turning twists along the way. But what makes me particularly glad to have read this book is the authenticity that fills its every page. BEAUTIFUL BAD is based on the real-life experiences of its author, and the author’s closeness to the material is evident here in the best possible way. Ward writes with sensitivity about topics including PTSD, the complexities of friendship, and the pressures and challenges of marriage and motherhood—not to mention the utterly compelling portrait she paints of the world as seen through her protagonist’s eyes. BEAUTIFUL BAD is a multifaceted suspense novel brimming with energy, emotion, and entertainment value. Highly recommended for readers who want complex yet binge-worthy domestic suspense.
There’s something so special about discovering a debut author whose work just clicks for you. It’s that thrill of discovering something new - a hidden gem, an author whose work you’ll want to follow for years to come. 2018 was a hugely exciting year for new crime fiction talent, but there were five debut crime writers whose work stood out to me in particular - and those are the authors whose work you will find in this list! The authors featured in this list write in very different crime fiction spaces, but their work has one very important thing in common: it’s exceptional. From a harrowing coming-of-age story to a Scandinavian domestic drama to a modern take on a classic procedural and much more, this list highlights the expansive, elastic quality of the crime fiction genre—and proves that women are leading the charge across the board. I can’t wait to see what these talented writers will do next. In no particular order (because I loved them all!), let’s dive in to my picks for Best Debut Crime Novels of 2018.
Iceland’s Queen of Crime returns in 2019 with the second installment in her superb Children’s House series: THE RECKONING. Picking up where her 2018 release THE LEGACY left off, Sigurdardottir’s newest crime novel delivers a gritty, layered procedural exploring the longstanding implications of childhood trauma. Readers follow series protagonists Detective Huldar and psychologist Freyja as they find themselves immersed in a bizarre case: a school’s time capsule is opened, and in it is discovered a note predicting the deaths of six people. A child wrote it… it can’t be real, can it? But when a string of inexplicable - and gruesome - events take place, Huldar and Freyja begin to suspect the note isn’t just the product of a child’s imagination after all—and, if they’re right, there’s much more darkness to come. Living up to her work’s well-earned reputation as crime fiction that borders on horror, Sigurdardottir’s THE RECKONING is guaranteed to give you goosebumps. In a story both gruesome and heart-wrenching, Sigurdardottir weaves a masterful mystery that belongs on the bookshelf of every Scandinavian crime fiction reader.
What do you get when you cross an Agatha Christie-inspired plot, a stylish-yet-rugged atmosphere, and some seriously dark secrets between old friends? Enter Lucy Foley’s addictive, binge-worthy suspense novel THE HUNTING PARTY. A college reunion over New Year’s Eve goes very wrong when a snowstorm descends, trapping the friends in the luxury lodge where they’re spending their holiday. As claustrophobia mounts and old secrets rear their ugly heads, things get darker still… and when one of the group is found dead, the truth is clear: one among them is a murderer. Fans of Ruth Ware will find much to love in Foley’s deliciously atmospheric and transportive writing. Come for the book’s classic crime-inspired premise, stay for its delectable drama and sly plotting—you’ll be left guessing “whodunnit” until the book’s final shocking pages.
2019 is shaping up to be a fantastic year for crime fiction, and today’s featured thriller is proof of exactly that! I’m thrilled to share with CBTB readers a sneak peek into one of the hottest crime novels releasing this spring: BEAUTIFUL BAD by Annie Ward, available March 19th. Thanks to the team at Park Row Books, CBTB readers can dig into the first two chapters of this gripping thriller right here! I’m absolutely hooked on what I’ve read of this book so far, and can’t wait to share this one with you. Read on for a preview of Annie Ward’s BEAUTIFUL BAD!
This past weekend, I had the incredible opportunity to travel to Reykjavik, Iceland for Iceland Noir 2018 - a crime fiction festival that takes place in Iceland's capital city every other year. And what an incredible trip it was! In this blog post, I’ll be sharing a day-by-day recap of my time in Iceland, including panel notes, book recommendations, lots of photos, and a whole lot more. A huge thanks to the entire Iceland Noir team for organizing such a memorable festival!
Two years ago, I went on my very first solo international trip to Reykjavik for Iceland Noir 2016. I had never met anyone at the conference in “real life”; I was still a relatively new blogger, and, to be honest, I wasn’t quite sure what I was getting into. Well, to make a long story short, it was the absolute best thing I could’ve done for myself and for the development of CBTB. I made great friends, learned about tons of new crime books, and fell head over heels in love with the beauty and magic of Iceland. Now, two years later, I’m more than ready to pack my bags and head back to Reykjavik for Iceland Noir 2018! I’ve been to quite a few crime festivals all around the world now, and I can honestly say that Iceland Noir remains my favorite festival yet. I can’t wait to see what Iceland Noir 2018 has in store for me!
With another new year on the horizon, it’s time to begin one of my personal favorite blog series: Buzzworthy 2019 Books! If you’re new to CBTB, my “Buzzworthy Books” picks are aimed at highlighting early 2019 releases that might still be a few months away, but are worth adding to your TBR now. In these posts, I will highlight three key elements that make the featured book a must-read. I will be periodically releasing these Buzzworthy Books selections as we approach the new year—and once 2019 arrives, I’ll have a blog post up giving you a complete list of my Buzzworthy 2019 Books! So now, on to my first pick… STALKER by Lars Kepler, available February 5th, 2019! When I want a crime novel that’s gritty, unputdownable, and very dark, Kepler is one of my go-to authors - and this is exactly the kind of reading experience that STALKER delivers.
One of the trickiest things about blogging for me personally is finding time to highlight books that I loved before starting Crime by the Book. Recently, though, I’ve been feeling particularly inspired to put together a post on one of the very first Scandinavian crime series I fell in love with—so that’s exactly what I’m doing today! After reading (and loving) Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy many years ago, I found myself on a personal quest to learn as much as I could about the Nordic Noir genre. It was during this time period that I discovered Jo Nesbø, Sara Blaedel, and today’s featured author: Camilla Läckberg. In the years since, my love of Camilla Läckberg’s endearing, engrossing Fjällbacka Series has only grown. If you’re a reader who prefers mysteries that focus less on violence and more on character development, these books will be right up your alley; they are undeniably lighter novels than many of their Nordic peers, but that’s not at all a negative. Instead, think of these books as the kind of “comfort read” that you’ll want to come back to over and over, thanks to their rich atmosphere, endearing characters, and chilling (but not terrifying) mysteries. I couldn’t be more excited to finally be taking the time to share exactly why I love this series - and why I think you’ll love it, too.
You heard it here first: Riley Sager has a new book releasing next year, and it looks fantastic. LOCK EVERY DOOR will release on July 2nd, 2019, and I’m absolutely thrilled to be able to help reveal its gorgeous cover today! In this post, you can see the stunning cover of LOCK EVERY DOOR, learn more about the book’s plot, and pre-order it! A huge thanks to Dutton Books for letting me participate in this cover reveal—it’s a genuine honor to help celebrate the newest book from one of crime fiction’s hottest rising stars. Happy reading - and the countdown to LOCK EVERY DOOR begins now.