2022 Preview - Exciting New Books On The Horizon

As we start to think about waving goodbye to 2021, we look ahead to the New Year and the exciting new books on the horizon in 2022. We’re always on the lookout for our next favourite books to shout about and share far and wide and boy, although we’ve still got a few weeks to go, 2022 is already looking to be an absolute cracker! We’re positively giddy about some of the books coming out next year. And we’re sure you will be too!

As well as the thrilling news that Marian Keyes is revisiting the Walsh family, releasing Again, Rachel, the sequel to the simply superb Rachel’s Holiday, author of stand-out debut Saving Missy, Beth Morrey returns with her second book Em & Me, which Liz Robinson describes as “gorgeous in every possible way…an eloquent heart-warming novel about second chances”. She added: “beautifully glorious, this book danced into my heart and soul and I want to dangle from the rooftops to shout about it.” So here we are!

Whilst we’re on the topic of new fare from some of our favourite authors, we have some terrific thrillers for you with David Gilman, author of the outstanding spy action thriller The Englishman returning in 2022 with Betrayal. Author of the “smashing first novel”  I am Pilgrim Terry Hayes finally, after quite a gap, re-appears on our bookshelves with the much-awaited The Year of the Locust. And let’s not forget James Paterson’s new book; we’re so intrigued about his collaboration with the one and only Dolly Parton: Run, Rose, Run. From America's most beloved superstar and its greatest storyteller - a thriller about a young singer-songwriter on the rise and on the run, and determined to do whatever it takes to survive. Sold! And of course we are big fans of Lucy Foley, of The Hunting Party and The Guest List fame who is set to release The Paris Apartment in March. And finally, LoveReading fave Chris Hammer returns with his next book Opal Country, yes!

You might have guessed that we love a debut. There’s nothing more thrilling about being with an author from their very first outing and seeing them grow. Editorial Expert Joanne Owen has given us a heads up about a brilliant debut coming to our shelves in February. Brown Girls by Daphne Palasi Andreades is “potent and poetic, personal and choral, this exceptional work explores the experiences of a group of brown women from Queens, New York, through life." We are super excited about debut Nobody but Us by Laure Van Rensburg which is being billed as a cross between My Dark Vanessa and Gone Girl. Firmly on our TBR pile! The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois sounds breathtaking - a multi-generational story of one family, from the centuries of the colonial slave trade through the Civil War to our present day, by prize-winning poet Honorée Fanonne Jeffers. And book-loving Sara Cox has her “big-hearted” debut Thrown out in May, we gotta get our hands on that too.

If a touch of darkness is your thing, then look no further than Caitriona Ward’s new offering Sundial. The Last House on Needless Street was one of our books of 2021 and Liz Robinson has already named Sundial a shining star: “a unique blend of a twisted reality and chilling beauty form to create the most thrilling and disturbing read”. Liz is also highly recommending The Unravelling by Polly Crosby who wowed us with her debut The Illustrated Child. Liz says: “this gloriously bittersweet and intensely dark novel swims into the very depths of emotion and takes you with it.”

For those who love a series, there are new installments from Peter James with the 18th Roy Grace novel out in September, Billingham’s Thorne is on top form for another case in The Murder Book and Richard Osman tries for the hat trick with Thursday Murder Club 3 in September. We're also being treated to a new instalment from Detective Jack Warr, as Vanished by Lynda La Plante is due in March. And LoveReading fave Chris Hauty comes back with the third in his Hayley Chill series Storm Rising. Giddy.

We’re also excited to get our hands on the latest books from Freya North, Guy Gavriel Kay, Hanya Yanagihara, Veronica Henry, Josie Silver, Emily St John Mandel, Neil Gaiman and Isabel Allende

Keep reading to find out more about the books that we’re reading now, that are on our huge to-be-read piles, as well as the ones we can’t wait to get our grubby little mitts on! Whether we’ve read them yet or not, we are excited about them, and will share the reviews with you as usual as our reading allows.

Bring on 2022 and more reading joy!

Pandora

Pandora

Author: Susan Stokes-Chapman Format: Hardback Release Date: 27/01/2022

'Weaves together Ancient Greek myth with suspenseful mystery and beguiling romance...utterly irresistible' Jennifer Saint, author of Ariadne A pure pleasure of a novel set in Georgian London, where the discovery of a mysterious ancient Greek vase sets in motion conspiracies, revelations and romance. Perfect for readers who loved The Binding and Hamnet. London, 1799. Dora Blake is an aspiring jewellery artist who lives with her uncle in what used to be her parents' famed shop of antiquities. When a mysterious Greek vase is delivered, Dora is intrigued by her uncle's suspicious behaviour and enlists the help of Edward Lawrence, a young antiquarian scholar. Edward sees the ancient vase as key to unlocking his academic future. Dora sees it as a chance to restore the shop to its former glory, and to escape her nefarious uncle. But what Edward discovers about the vase has Dora questioning everything she has believed about her life, her family, and the world as she knows it. As Dora uncovers the truth she starts to realise that some mysteries are buried, and some doors are locked, for a reason. Gorgeously atmospheric and deliciously page-turning, Pandora is a story of secrets and deception, love and fulfilment, fate and hope.

The Key In The Lock

The Key In The Lock

Author: Beth Underdown Format: Hardback Release Date: 27/01/2022

I read this beautifully stormy dark gothic mystery while perched high up on the edge of my seat. A dreadful fire has haunted Ivy for years, she mourns two deaths, and now seeks the truth. Beth Underdown’s debut  The Witchfinder's Sister was a bestseller and winner of the Historical Writers’ Association Debut Crown Award 2017, this is her second novel and it more than lived up to my expectations. The two time frames, sitting either side of the First World War, are initially fractured before they gradually fuze together. Information dripped and then seeped into the pages before hiding in my thoughts. The story is secretive, occasionally sullen as it begins to unfurl. Cornwall, and the house in particular cast a brooding presence which adds to the intensity of this tale. The characters are perfectly imperfect, trust is a scare commodity, and each casts a deep shadow. I was held in limbo while I read, totally immersed in the writing. Expressively powerful The Key in the Lock thrills and chills in equal measure. Chosen as a Liz Robinson Pick of the Month and LoveReading Star Book, this historical mystery is a worthy contender for the very top of your reading list.

Star Books
To Paradise

To Paradise

Author: Hanya Yanagihara Format: Hardback Release Date: 11/01/2022

From the author of the modern classic A Little Life, a bold, brilliant novel spanning three centuries and three different versions of the American experiment, about lovers, family, loss and the elusive promise of utopia. In an alternate version of 1893 America, New York is part of the Free States, where people may live and love whomever they please (or so it seems). The fragile young scion of a distinguished family resists betrothal to a worthy suitor, drawn to a charming music teacher of no means. In a 1993 Manhattan besieged by the AIDS epidemic, a young Hawaiian man lives with his much older, wealthier partner, hiding his troubled childhood and the fate of his father. And in 2093, in a world riven by plagues and governed by totalitarian rule, a powerful scientist's damaged granddaughter tries to navigate life without him - and solve the mystery of her husband's disappearances. These three sections are joined in an enthralling and ingenious symphony, as recurring notes and themes deepen and enrich one another: A townhouse in Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village; illness, and treatments that come at a terrible cost; wealth and squalor; the weak and the strong; race; the definition of family, and of nationhood; the dangerous righteousness of the powerful, and of revolutionaries; the longing to find a place in an earthly paradise, and the gradual realization that it can't exist. What unites not just the characters, but these Americas, are their reckonings with the qualities that make us human: Fear. Love. Shame. Need. Loneliness. To Paradise is a fin-de-siecle novel of marvellous literary effect, but above all it is a work of emotional genius. The great power of this remarkable novel is driven by Yanagihara's understanding of the aching desire to protect those we love - partners, lovers, children, friends, family and even our fellow citizens - and the pain that ensues when we cannot.

Audiobooks of the Month
The Unravelling

The Unravelling

Author: Polly Crosby Format: Hardback Release Date: 06/01/2022

This gloriously bittersweet and intensely dark novel swims into the very depths of emotion and takes you with it. Tartelin’s new job on near deserted island Dohhalund off the East Anglian coast tests her own grief and the secrets of her employers past. Polly Crosby’s debut novel was the stunning LoveReading Star Book The Illustrated Child. This, her second novel more than lived up to my high expectations, Polly Crosby is most definitely an author to watch. She isn't afraid to slice open, peel back and expose layers of pain, and she does so in the most beautifully eloquent way. I advise taking your time with this novel, step into and soak up the words. A hushed quiet descends, and yet the island, the tone, the words, create a powerful and vivid reality. A sense of unease kept me company as I read, alongside that unease something else embraced me in welcome as I settled in and explored with Tartelin. The two time frames shimmered and almost flexed into one as I read. The story hides, remaining watchful and patient before revealing itself, and oh, that ending! Captivating and uniquely atmospheric, The Unravelling has been chosen as both a LoveReading Star Book and Liz Pick of the Month.

eBooks of the Month
A Terrible Kindness

A Terrible Kindness

Author: Jo Browning Wroe Format: Hardback Release Date: 20/01/2022

When we go through something impossible, someone, or something, will help us, if we let them . . . It is October 1966 and William Lavery is having the night of his life at his first black-tie do. But, as the evening unfolds, news hits of a landslide at a coal mine. It has buried a school: Aberfan. William decides he must act, so he stands and volunteers to attend. It will be his first job as an embalmer, and it will be one he never forgets. His work that night will force him to think about the little boy he was, and the losses he has worked so hard to forget. But compassion can have surprising consequences, because - as William discovers - giving so much to others can sometimes help us heal ourselves.  

Thirty Things I Love About Myself

Thirty Things I Love About Myself

Author: Radhika Sanghani Format: Hardback Release Date: 20/01/2022

IT'S TIME FOR A BRAND NEW KIND OF LOVE STORY. Are you ready? Because Nina Mistry isn't . . . When Nina Mistry hits rock bottom - because no one plans to turn thirty in a prison cell - a tatty little self-help book finds its way into her hands. She doesn't think she needs it; why would a strong, sensible Taurus like her go on a 'life-changing journey' to fix herself? But her inner journalist is curious. Within minutes, she's hooked. By the time the sun comes up, she knows exactly what she needs to do . . . 'This book will change your life . . . if you're brave enough to let it.' This will not be a journey for the faint-hearted, but whatever else Nina has messed up in her life, she's never been afraid of a challenge. '30 bold steps. One year.' Her mother is - as always - appalled. Her brother is too depressed to care. The love of her life? He's already moved on. And her friends . . . well, that's another story. But Nina has Nina. And she's about to find out if that's enough.

The Second Cut

The Second Cut

Author: Louise Welsh Format: Hardback Release Date: 27/01/2022

Auctioneer Rilke has been trying to stay out of trouble, keeping his life more or less respectable. Business has been slow at Bowery Auctions, so when an old friend, Jojo, gives Rilke a tip-off for a house clearance, life seems to be looking up. The next day Jojo washes up dead. Jojo liked Grindr hook-ups and recreational drugs - is that the reason the police won't investigate? And if Rilke doesn't find out what happened to Jojo, who will? Thrilling and atmospheric, The Second Cut delves into the dark side of twenty-first century Glasgow. Twenty years on from his appearance in The Cutting Room, Rilke is still walking a moral tightrope between good and bad, saint and sinner.

Everyday Wellness

Everyday Wellness

Author: MaryRuth Ghiyam Format: Paperback Release Date: 06/01/2022

Do you want to nourish your body, but don't have the time, energy or motivation to make the necessary changes? Everyday Wellness contains twelve easy, actionable, and inspiring steps that are specially tailored toward anyone who feels stuck in terms of their health or happiness. Including everything from simple lifestyle changes, such as how 15 minutes of sunshine a day and positive thinking can literally change your life, to bigger hacks that cover how we eat, sleep, and move, these basic but profound steps will help you to harness your energy and take back control. Backed-up with case studies and scientific facts, Everyday Wellness is a tried and tested method that will help you to live more fully and constructively, even in the busiest of times.

Betrayal

Betrayal

Author: David Gilman Format: Hardback Release Date: 06/01/2022

If you get your reading kicks diving into an espionage thriller full of heart-pounding action running alongside a wickedly intricate plot, then hello, THIS is your book. Former Foreign Legion operative Dan Raglan is called to support a Pentagon intelligence officer and ex-comrade. Joining the first novel The Englishman as a LoveReading Star Book, Betrayal continues The Englishman Series in fine style and cements these books as ones to follow. This is a series where you can just throw yourself in with abandon and trust in David Gilman. The main man Raglan is most definitely someone you would want on your side, however he operates within a murky field of grey obeying his own set of rules and conscience. The other characters support the energy that builds around Raglan, and highlight his essence and caliber. The highly volatile nature of work within the intelligence community is confirmed and trust is in very short supply. As with the first novel Raglan travels to different countries, and the fiery finale plays out in the Honduran rainforest. Charging around the world works so successfully as it not only adds to the intensity but also confirms Raglan’s skills and willingness to do whatever is needed. Allowing a much-needed escape from reality, Betrayal is an absolute corker of a read and as energising and satisfying as can be.

Star Books
End of Days

End of Days

Author: Brad Taylor Format: Hardback Release Date: 06/01/2022

The Taskforce and Mossad join forces to bring down a fanatical organisation in this action-fuelled thriller from New York Times bestselling author and former special forces officer, Brad Taylor. Was it an accident or assassination? When the former head of Israeli intelligence is killed on a paragliding trip, it's the latest in a series of 'accidental' deaths befalling key members of the American and Israeli governments. Mossad bring in terrorist hunters Aaron and Shoshana to investigate - and they know just who to call. Taskforce operator Pike Logan has been out of action for too long, so he jumps at the chance to take on the mission. An Iranian-funded militia group, operating in Iraq, has recently claimed responsibility for the deaths. But something doesn't add up, and Logan is determined to uncover the truth. He'll have to wade deep into the complex religious and political currents of the Israeli-Palestinian region, and it's up to the Taskforce to determine who is pulling the strings. What they find could have disastrous consequences not only for the Middle East, but for the entire world... Read the latest book in the electrifying Taskforce thrillers. Perfect for fans of Lee Child, Vince Flynn and Jack Ryan.

Opal Country

Opal Country

Author: Chris Hammer Format: Hardback Release Date: 06/01/2022

A fierce and fiery beast of a crime novel, definitely one to add to the top of your reading lists. A crucified opal miner brings investigators Ivan Lucic and Nell Buchanan to outback town Finnigans Gap in Australia. I have absolutely loved the Martin Scarsden Thriller series, believe me when I say they are fabulous. Opal Country, I think, is Chris Hammer’s best yet, it’s linked to the series, yet highlights detective Ivan Lucic rather than Scarsden who is only mentioned in passing. Although this book can easily be read as a standalone, I would still recommend starting with award-winning Scrublands and working your way through, as you really don’t want to miss out. Chris Hammer has the ability to paint the most vividly vibrant picture while delving into the inner workings of his characters. The location is in essence a character, and a starring one at that. Every aspect is felt, I soaked up the smallest details as they steered me towards the difficulties of living in a ferocious land that can easily destroy the unaware. There is beauty to be found too, an admiration that encourages you to look beyond the obvious. Ivan and Nell make an interesting pairing, and I hope we see more of them. The plot circles and twists, allowing connections to form, and pieces to slide into place. With dynamic strength and a sharp edge Opal Country hammers home to become a LoveReading Star Book and Liz Pick of the Month. Highly recommended.

Star Books
The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois

The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois

Author: Honorée Fanonne Jeffers Format: Hardback Release Date: 20/01/2022

A soaring, sweeping, truly beautiful and far-reaching novel that calls for emotions to respond on every level. Ailey’s maternal line has lived in a small Georgia town since arriving from Africa in bondage, as she grows up she begins to uncover her family’s past. Author Honoree Fanonne Jeffers is a published award-winning poet, and it shows. This debut novel feels urgently and vibrantly alive and yet also slips into feelings like a lyrical dreamy song. While Ailey and her family remain as a constant through the book, other stories enter and initially read as a separate tale before slowly joining to create a whole. I felt as though I was part of a wave on the ocean and I was gathered in to live in each moment. This story breathes. It exists. It was. It will be. The intensity of the pain flows through every page, gaining strength, knowledge, and love. Already published in the US, The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois was chosen as an Oprah Book Club pick, it was a New York Times bestseller, and the Washington Post stated it is: “The kind of book that comes around only once in a decade”. This is a novel to read slowly, to allow yourself to feel, to soak up the words. I hope you get a sense in my review of just how stunning it is. For me, it’s a must-read and I will be recommending this book far and wide. Both hugely epic and intimate in scale, The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois is extraordinarily powerful. Convincing and commanding, we declare it a LoveReading Star Book as well as Liz Pick of the Month, it deserves to be on everyone’s reading lists and a future classic.

Star Books
Little Wing

Little Wing

Author: Freya North Format: Hardback Release Date: 20/01/2022

Little Wing is the powerful story of two families over three generations. In the 1960s, a pregnant 16-year-old is banished to one of the remotest parts of the UK. Years later, Nell and Dougie are both at critical moments in their lives when their paths cross. Between Camden, Colchester and the Outer Hebrides, the three story lines collide when secrets are uncovered and answers sought. Little Wing is a novel about resilience, forgiveness and the true meaning of family, about finding one's place in the world and discovering how we all belong somewhere and to someone.

The Last House on the Street

The Last House on the Street

Author: Diane Chamberlain Format: Hardback Release Date: 20/01/2022

A compelling, tense, and emotional family drama focusing on two young women whose stories shatter then fuse together with disturbing consequences. A fight for civil rights takes place in 1960’s North Carolina, while in 2010 a newly built house is cause for contention. The land within this corner of the South is seeped in a burning history, be prepared to be pummelled. Each time frame sucked me in whole, yet when in 1965 I completely forgot that 2010 existed. 1965 felt completely separate, in its own contained fiery universe and I re-entered the future with a bump. As 1965 plays a role in 2010 I had a totally different experience in that story, and was able to see how and why the past had a hand in the future. Diane Chamberlain builds the intricate detailed layers of the plot with such care and attention. The mood of the story as it blends felt as though I was walking on a crumbling cliff edge. Hate, love, despair and hope are constant companions during this novel. The Author’s Notes have huge impact, not only explaining the aspects of history that are built into the story, but also the politics that are still in play. The Last House on the Street is a powerfully dramatic tale that encourages more research into the history of this time.  

eBooks of the Month
Violeta

Violeta

Author: Isabel Allende Format: Hardback Release Date: 25/01/2022

One extraordinary woman. One hundred years of history. One unforgettable story. Violeta comes into the world on a stormy day in 1920, the first daughter in a family of five boisterous sons. From the start, her life is marked by extraordinary events, for the ripples of the Great War are still being felt, even as the Spanish flu arrives on the shores of her South American homeland almost at the moment of her birth. Through her father's prescience, the family will come through that crisis unscathed, only to face a new one as the Great Depression transforms the genteel city life she has known. Her family loses all and is forced to retreat to a wild and beautiful but remote part of the country. There, she will come of age, and her first suitor will come calling. In a letter to someone she loves above all others, Violeta recounts devastating heartbreak and passionate affairs, times of both poverty and wealth, terrible loss and immense joy, and a life shaped by some of the most important events of history: the fight for women's rights, the rise and fall of tyrants and, ultimately, not one but two pandemics. Through the eyes of a woman whose unforgettable passion, determination, and sense of humour will carry her through a lifetime of upheaval, Isabel Allende once more brings us an epic that is both fiercely inspiring and deeply emotional.

Daughter of the Moon Goddess

Daughter of the Moon Goddess

Author: Sue Lynn Tan Format: Hardback Release Date: 20/01/2022

Hand on heart this is truly beautiful, a delightful mix of ancient myth and modern storytelling creates a spellbinding tale. When Xingyin has to leave her mother and flee her home, she finds herself alone in the Celestial Kingdom attempting to master archery and magic. From the very first page I was held, captivated by the words and story. This is Sue Lynn Tan’s debut fantasy, the first in a duology, and she is most definitely an author I will be keeping an eye out for. She writes with a lyrical, otherworldly energy, yet I immediately felt comfortable and at home in this story. The characters feel touchable and relatable, they also hold a legendary magic through their very being which adds a fascinating vitality. The spirit, the magic, it feels grounded, but oh how it sparkles with intensity! The core of strength and power that runs through the pages, lies in the vulnerabilities that are as much a part of the characters as their life force. I was left feeling fully satisfied and rewarded by this debut, and yet excited and longing for the next. Daughter of the Moon Goddess glows with intoxicating energy and heartfelt emotion. It has been chosen as both a LoveReading Star Book, and Liz Pick of the Month, it’s just gorgeous! 

Audiobooks of the Month
Free Love

Free Love

Author: Tessa Hadley Format: Hardback Release Date: 20/01/2022

From Tessa Hadley, bestselling author of Late in the Day and The Past, comes a compulsive new novel about one woman's sexual and intellectual awakening in 1960s London 1967. While London comes alive with the new youth revolution, the suburban Fischer family seems to belong to an older world of conventional stability: pretty, dutiful homemaker Phyllis is married to Roger, a devoted father with a career in the Foreign Office. Their children are Colette, a bookish teenager, and Hugh, the golden boy. But when the twenty-something son of an old friend pays the Fischers a visit one hot summer evening, and kisses Phyllis in the dark garden after dinner, something in her catches fire. Newly awake to the world, Phyllis makes a choice that defies all expectations of her as a wife and a mother. Nothing in these ordinary lives is so ordinary after all, it turns out, as the family's upheaval mirrors the dramatic transformation of the society around them. With scalpel-sharp insight, Tessa Hadley explores her characters' inner worlds, laying bare their fears and longings. Daring and sensual, Free Love is a compulsive, irresistible exploration of romantic love, sexual freedom and living out the truest and most meaningful version of our lives.

Winchelsea

Winchelsea

Author: Alex Preston Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/02/2022

Set in an English smuggling town in 1742, Alex Preston’s Winchelsea tells a thoroughly gripping, atmospheric tale of a young woman’s journey from life as a gentlewoman, to smuggler, to pirate in the name of avenging her father’s murder. Shot-through with much mystery, desire and vengeance, this is Moonfleet meets du Maurier, with deliciously evocative language that conjures a wonderful sense of time, place and its heroine’s engagingly headstrong character. As a baby, Goody Brown was recused from drowning and taken in by a wealthy couple in Winchelsea, where smugglers’ command of the windswept cliffs, coves and secret caves seeps into all aspects of life. As Goody’s beloved brother Francis declares (he was himself adopted by her parents after escaping enslavement), “It is a time for brazen men… A time for the shameless, the vulturous, the shillers and under-merchants to thrive while honest folk struggle and starve”. This is borne out when their father is murdered by a group of men he’d considered to be friends. Already wildly discontent with the prospect of living a gentlewoman’s life, this tragedy spurs Goody to devote herself to avenging his death, setting her on a perilous, exhilarating path of smuggling, piracy and personal transformation.

Books of the Month
Devotion

Devotion

Author: Hannah Kent Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/02/2022

1836, Prussia. Hanne is nearly fifteen and the domestic world of womanhood is quickly closing in on her. A child of nature, she yearns instead for the rush of the river, the wind dancing around her. Hanne finds little comfort in the local girls and friendship doesn't come easily, until she meets Thea and she finds in her a kindred spirit and finally, acceptance. Hanne's family are Old Lutherans, and in her small village hushed worship is done secretly - this is a community under threat. But when they are granted safe passage to Australia, the community rejoices: at last a place they can pray without fear, a permanent home. Freedom. It's a promise of freedom that will have devastating consequences for Hanne and Thea, but, on that long and brutal journey, their bond proves too strong for even nature to break . . . From the bestselling author of Burial Rites and The Good People, Devotion is a stunning story of girlhood and friendship, faith and suspicion, and the impossible lengths we go to for the ones we love.

Outside, the Sky is Blue

Outside, the Sky is Blue

Author: Christina Patterson Format: Hardback Release Date: 17/02/2022

OUTSIDE, THE SKY IS BLUE is a beautifully drawn, heart-breaking yet also joyful memoir of growing up, of living with mental ill health and cancer, and of working out what it means to be in a family, what it means to lose a family - and what's left when you're the last one left. When Christina Patterson's brother Tom died very suddenly, she faced the harrowing task of clearing out his house. Tom had always been the one who held on to the family treasures and memories, but now Christina had to sift through box after box of letters, papers, photos and belongings, not just of Tom's, but of their parents and their older sister, Caroline. Those boxes, albums and papers tell the story of a young couple who decide, when their children are small, to swap a glamorous diplomatic life in Rome for a housing estate in Surrey. But their new suburban life, of trips to National Trust houses, fizzy drinks over TV costume drama and walks at Wisley Gardens, is increasingly disrupted by Caroline's, erratic behaviour. As she is diagnosed with schizophrenia, Tom seeks solace in sport and Christina in a youth club where she hopes to meet boys, but finds God.

The Last Supper

The Last Supper

Author: Rosemary Shrager Format: Hardback Release Date: 24/02/2022

The irresistible debut novel from celebrity TV chef Rosemary Shrager where cosy crime and cookery collide! When an old television rival, Deirdre Shaw, is found dead at the Cotswolds manor house where she was catering for a prestigious shooting weekend, Prudence is asked to step into the breach. Prudence is only too happy to take up the position and soon she is working in the kitchens of Farleigh Manor. But Farleigh Manor is the home to secrets, both old and new. The site of a famous unsolved murder from the nineteenth century, Farleigh Manor has never quite shaken off its sensationalist past. It's about to get a sensational present too. Because, the more she scratches beneath the surface of this manor and its guests, the more Prudence becomes certain that Deirdre Shaw's death was no accident. She's staring in the face of a very modern murder. . .

Wivenhoe

Wivenhoe

Author: Samuel Fisher Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/02/2022

Never thought he would miss the mud: the gleaming, slickness of it. The slap and suck at the turning of the tide; its rich, bird-shit stink after a hot day and a couple of pints at the Rose. Or the green-blue-yellow hues that marked the changes in the light, as the days and seasons marched over the village and the river. And now, just snow. Endless snow. A young man is found brutally murdered in the middle of the snowed-in village of Wivenhoe. Over his body stands another man, axe in hand. The gathered villagers must deal with the consequences of an act that no-one tried to stop. WIVENHOE is a haunting novel set in an alternate present, in a world that is slowing waking up to the fact that it is living through an environmental disaster. Taking place over twenty-four hours and told through the voices of a mother and her adult son, we see how one small community reacts to social breakdown and isolation. Samuel Fisher imagines a world, not unlike our own, struck down and on the edge of survival. Tense, poignant, and set against a dramatic landscape, WIVENHOE asks the question: if society as we know it is lost, what would we strive to save? At what point will we admit complicity in our own destruction?

Take Your Breath Away

Take Your Breath Away

Author: Linwood Barclay Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/02/2022

Fiendishly full of twists and turns this is one heck of a thrilling domestic mystery. Andy has finally moved on after his wife disappeared in suspicious circumstances, having been number one suspect he has hidden his past, however it refuses to remain concealed. I always look forward to a new Linwood Barclay novel, he has the ability to send chills coursing through your veins, while encouraging thoughts to rummage in dark recesses. I always have confidence in the writing and throw myself in with abandon, giving myself up to the new world I’m about to enter. The characters here are intriguingly complicated and various viewpoints hit thoughts and sending them spinning. My suspicions levels spiralled and worked overtime, I didn’t trust anyone and my wariness conspired against me. While the main storyline runs, various subplots dig in alongside and ensure you never settle. Highlighting the secrets and lies that can rip apart second chances, Take Your Breath Away is an absolute blast of a read.

Liz Robinson's Picks of the Month
The Gifts

The Gifts

Author: Liz Hyder Format: Hardback Release Date: 17/02/2022

The luminous debut adult novel from the Waterstones Prize Winner, perfect for fans of The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock, The Essex Serpent and The Doll Factory In an age defined by men, it will take something extraordinary to show four women who they truly are . . . October 1840. A young woman staggers alone through a forest in Shropshire as a huge pair of impossible wings rip themselves from her shoulders. Meanwhile, when rumours of a 'fallen angel' cause a frenzy across London, a surgeon desperate for fame and fortune finds himself in the grip of a dangerous obsession, one that will place the women he seeks in the most terrible danger . . . THE GIFTS is the astonishing debut adult novel from the lauded author of BEARMOUTH. A gripping and ambitious book told through five different perspectives and set against the luminous backdrop of nineteenth century London, it explores science, nature and religion, enlightenment, the role of women in society and the dark danger of ambition.

Dark Horse

Dark Horse

Author: Gregg Hurwitz Format: Hardback Release Date: 17/02/2022

Pre-order the electrifying new adventure in the Sunday Times bestselling series - in which Orphan X faces his most challenging mission ever . . . THE HERO Evan Smoak: former off-the-books assassin - code name Orphan X. His world is divided into those who deserve his help and those who've brought his singular brand of justice upon themselves. THE VICTIM A desperate father reaches out. His teenage daughter Anjelina has been kidnapped by a brutal criminal cartel and spirited over the border into Mexico. And while money is no object, Evan soon realises that his prospective client's past is as clouded and compromised as his own. THE MISSION If Evan is going to put his life on the line to rescue Anjelina, he must first decide whether he can act on behalf of a bad man. And even then, up against the men who are holding his daughter, there will be no guarantee of success ... Packed with edge-of-your-seat suspense, memorable characters, explosive action and razor-sharp plotting, Dark Horse confirms Gregg Hurwitz's place alongside Lee Child, David Baldacci, James Patterson and Harlan Coben as a master of the modern thriller.

Ten Survival Skills for a World in Flux

Ten Survival Skills for a World in Flux

Author: Tom Fletcher Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/02/2022

To thrive in the twenty-first century, we all need to understand the challenges coming our way. And start adapting, now. We all know there are major, overlapping, global crises ahead of humanity: climate change, mass migration, new warfare, big tech, further pandemics, authoritarian capitalism. Rather than be daunted, this book charts a way that we can respond. With expertise from his work at the highest levels of international politics, education, activism and business, Tom Fletcher offers a practical manifesto that can help us transform the way we learn, live, and work together. Amongst its key survival skills, this book offers ideas on how we renew education, restore society and reimagine the future. It helps us chart a course to take back control, to find purpose, and to become better ancestors. It helps us to learn the language of technology - without thinking like computers. It offers 39 steps that each of us can start to take today to boost our survivability. Vital, practical and accessible, this is a book about how we can anticipate the threats and opportunities of tomorrow and be ready for them - individually and collectively.

No One Round Here Reads Tolstoy

No One Round Here Reads Tolstoy

Author: Mark Hodkinson Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/02/2022

Mark Hodkinson grew up among the terrace houses of Rochdale in a house with just one book. His dad kept it on top of a wardrobe with other items of great worth - wedding photographs and Mark's National Cycling Proficiency certificate. If Mark wanted to read it, he was warned not to crease the pages or slam shut the covers. Today, Mark is an author, journalist and publisher. He still lives in Rochdale, but is now snugly ensconced (or is that buried?) in a 'book cave' surrounded by 3,500 titles - at the last count. No One Round Here Reads Tolstoy is his story of growing up a working-class lad during the 1970s and 1980s. It's about schools (bad), music (good) and the people (some mad, a few sane), and pre-eminently and profoundly the books and authors (some bad, mostly good) that led the way, and shaped his life. It's also about a family who just didn't see the point of reading, and a troubled grandad who, in his own way, taught Mark the power of stories. In recounting his own life-long love affair with books, Mark also tells the story of how writing and reading has changed over the last five decades, starting with the wave of working-class writers in the 1950s and 60s, where he saw himself reflected in books for the first time.

Otherlands

Otherlands

Author: Thomas Halliday Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/02/2022

Otherlands succeeds in covering millions of years of paleobiological history and life on earth in a way that is more accessible and enlightening than any previous written attempt to do this that I can think of. That is a remarkable achievement when you consider that if the entire 4.5 billion years of our geological history were condensed into just one hour, then human history would only last two thousandths of a second. Halliday’s approach is to drop in on specific moments in time on this planet and then create a reconstruction of what that would have looked like. Each reproduction is detailed, beautifully imagined and vividly portrayed by this scientist with an extraordinary writing talent. There are sixteen chapters, starting with the Northern Hemisphere 20,000 years ago and concluding with Ediacaran Earth 550 million years ago. The effect of this approach is to explain the title of the book - you really do feel as though you have travelled through time to other lands and that you are witnessing our deepest origins. I found myself thinking of the parallel worlds of Philip Pullman, or even the planets visited by Captain Kirk - often they would be familiar but unrecognisable, our memory scrambled and repurposed in a way that makes some sort of sense, like a weird dream. The moon may be brighter, the penguins may be larger, there are camels in what is now Alaska, and so on. Otherlands is an incredible achievement of the imagination, anchored in scientific fact and travelling through time.

Home Cooked

Home Cooked

Author: Kate Humble Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/02/2022

A celebration of simple, seasonal home cooking full of flavour, comfort and joy. With more than 100 recipes from Kate Humble's kitchen table, this is food to share from breakfast time to the evening meal - for lazy days, busy weeknights or gatherings, and everything in between. Recipes include: SPRING A Ham Sandwich on Beer Bread with Piccalilli Spring Chicken with Wild Garlic & New Potatoes Rhubarb Vodka SUMMER Tomatoes with Steak & Wild Salsa Verde Elderflower Jellies Summer in a Teapot AUTUMN Beet Bourguignon Apple Crumble Ice Cream with Blackberry Ripple Butternut Tea Loaf WINTER A Soda Bread for Winter with Oats & Black Treacle Sausages in Red Wine Clementine Cake with an Orange & Pomegranate Salad

The Impulse Purchase

The Impulse Purchase

Author: Veronica Henry Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/02/2022

A friendly and heart-felt embrace awaits in this wonderfully entertaining and rewarding novel. You’ll find a multi-generational story covering tots to great-grandparents and a return to the village of Rushbrook as visited in A Home from Home. This is a standalone novel, but if you follow Veronica Henry there will be some recognisable elements. Cherry, Maggie, and Rose take on a run-down pub in the hope of breathing life back into the heart of the village. Veronica Henry is a firm favourite with the LoveReading team, her feel-good novels have such emotional reach, and it’s always incredibly easy just to sink into their warm and welcoming arms. She’s an author I am always happy to recommend, and this particular tale allows an escape from our current reality. She excels in finding love and joy, and creating a family that you feel a part of. While men feature with some pretty fabulous characters among them, it’s the women who really shine. I felt as though I was stepping into their story, their pub and village. The smaller parts are full of exuberant life too, and alongside the vividly realised location, ensure a well-rounded tale. I needed this story, this uplifting tale in my life, The Impulse Purchase is a little slice of reading heaven. Sitting as a LoveReading Star Book, and Liz Pick of the Month, we can happily recommend this book far and wide.

Books of the Month
Defenestrate

Defenestrate

Author: Renee Branum Format: Hardback Release Date: 10/02/2022

Infused with Prague’s spectral atmosphere and a powerfully haunting evocation of mental illness (and finding a way through it), Renee Branum’s Defenestrate feels at once utterly unique and entirely authentic. At its heart is an exploration of how we tell ourselves stories to cope with trauma, depression, repression, feeling disengaged with the world, and how we might find a place in the world after many falls. Written in short, shard-like episodes, this bold, enigmatic novel speaks to the soul in unexpected ways. Twins Marta and Nick have been haunted by the tragic tale of their great-great-grandfather Jiri for their entire lives. The story goes that he was pushed to his death in his native Prague, whereupon his family left the city to make a new life in the American Midwest. In the throes of a Buster Keaton obsession since childhood, the twins spend time in Prague as adults, two lost souls, evasive of reality, with their religious mother struggling to accept that Nick is gay. In this city that exudes a “mythic glow”, Marta comes to realise that they’re not living, that Nick is sinking: “I saw the ways the city had took shape in Nick, watching the liquor reach his veins, and spread along them like a highlighter over the correct route on a road map.” When he’s seriously injured after falling from a window, Marta wonders whether the fall was intentional. She’s stirred to try to ground herself, to stop her family from falling apart for good. Realising that faith has many forms, that you can have faith “in your own life, in the unseen shapes the world sometimes takes, in the stories you tell yourself to gain back trust”, she comes to a kind of peace: “If we still live, we live more carefully, hopefully.”

Debut Books of the Month
Brown Girls

Brown Girls

Author: Daphne Palasi Andreades Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/02/2022

Daphne Palasi Andreades’s Brown Girls is a triumph. Ambitious in scope, and realised with radiance, heart and bone-deep power, it lays bare the lives of a group of brown girls from Queens through blending detail with a chorus of voices (the narrative uses a collective “we”). It’s an all-consuming, all-encompassing musical ode; a beautiful book that takes in the complex, often conflicted ways women’s lives and communities come together, diverge, return and shift, while also taking in themes around immigration, diaspora, class, and colonialism. The writing is electric from the off: “We live in the dregs of Queens, New York, where airplanes fly so low that we are certain they will crush us. On our block, a lonely tree grows. Its branches tangle in power lines. Its roots upend side-walks where we ride our bikes before they are stolen. Roots that render the concrete slabs uneven.” These opening lines, this opening image, serves as a smart foreshadowing of the girls’ lives. As we follow them through childhood, girlhood, adolescence, college, careers, motherhood, and beyond, many move beyond their Queens’ roots, some return to their ancestors’ roots for a time, and there are tangles at every turn. The uneven footings and upended paths are perhaps most sharply seen when some of the young women experience alienating visits to their mother and fatherlands, and return to the US to realise all the more sharply that “existing in these bodies means holding many worlds within us”, with white people deeming “us and our families the good immigrants, the hard-working ones,” and the girls expected to be “grateful brown people” in the US. Then there’s the paradox that those among the girls who become big shots (“paragons of the American dream”) wind up being rendered faceless, leading to existential “Who the fuck are we?” questions. What an extraordinary debut - it’s ablaze with wisdom and love.

Debut Books of the Month
Em & Me

Em & Me

Author: Beth Morrey Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/02/2022

Beautifully glorious, this book danced into my heart and soul and I want to dangle from the rooftops to shout about it. Since Em was born Delphine has spent her time as a single mum protecting her daughter and a secret, as she begins to taste the joy of life, her past starts to unravel. This compassionate, generous, and heart-warming novel about being brave and second chances deserves to be a huge hit. I adored Beth Morrey’s debut, the LoveReading Star Book, Saving Missy, and Beth’s unique touch is just as evident in Em & Me. She has the ability to take your thoughts into unexplored places yet plant the story in vibrantly authentic circumstances. She also develops the most charmingly relatable characters, they become known, cared for, a part of you. The plot weaves and flows through good and dark times with eloquence and empathy. I stepped into this book with trust, and came out with my heart full of warmth and emotion. Yes, I know I’m being rather gushy, but I seriously love this book! A LoveReading Star Book and Liz Pick of the Month, the wonderful Em & Me is delightfully rewarding novel I’ll be recommending far and wide. The LoveReading LitFest invited Beth Morrey to the festival to talk about Em & Me. The digitally native, all year round, online literature and books festival, with new content released every week is a free-for-all-users festival. What are you waiting for? Check out a preview of the event and sign up to become a member. And see why you'll love Beth and this book as much as us!

Books of the Month
Again, Rachel

Again, Rachel

Author: Marian Keyes Format: Hardback Release Date: 17/02/2022

If you met Rachel in the 90s, you’ll remember she was an absolute mess. In Keyes’ 1998 book Rachel’s Holiday, Rachel Walsh had such a fondness for recreational drugs that her family had forked out the cash for a spell in Cloisters - Dublin's answer to the Betty Ford Clinic. She’s come a long way since then…rehab sorted her out. She even enjoys gardening now, who’d have ever thought it? Everything looks hunky dory until the reappearance of an old flame makes her question everything. In this much anticipated sequel the wonderful Marian Keyes does it again as Rachel bursts back into our lives in this heart-warming sequel. Tackling complex issues in the way only Marian Keys can, it’s charming, it’s joyful, it’s funny, it’s poignant and I loved it. Welcome back Rachel…and thank you Marian!

eBooks of the Month
One Night on the Island

One Night on the Island

Author: Josie Silver Format: Paperback Release Date: 17/02/2022

One cottage. Two strangers. Every great love story starts somewhere... Cleo writes about love stories every day. She just isn't living one of her own. When the editor of her dating column asks her to marry herself on a remote Irish island - a sensational piece to mark Cleo's thirtieth birthday - Cleo agrees. She's alone but not lonely, right? She can handle a solo adventure. Cleo arrives at her luxury cabin to find a tall, dark, stubborn American who insists it's actually his. Mack refuses to leave, and Cleo won't budge either. With a storm fast approaching, they reluctantly hunker down together. It's just one night, after all . . . But what if one night on the island is just the beginning? Following Cleo and Mack through heartbreak, self growth and friendship, One Night on the Island is an uplifting and immensely moving love story for fans of The Holiday, Lucy Diamond and Jojo Moyes.

Black Cake

Black Cake

Author: Charmaine Wilkerson Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/02/2022

Taking in generations of troubled lives, reinvented identities and family connections across the Caribbean diaspora, Charmaine Wilkerson’s Black Cake is a stirring triumph with an unforgettable matriarch, and love, at its heart. When she dies in California, Eleanor Bennett's children are forced to face a succession of long-buried secrets about their mother’s life  - and to confront their own estrangement - when she leaves them her Caribbean black cake and a recording in which she tells the story of a young female swimmer who fled her Caribbean island in the aftermath of a murder. In her message, Eleanor instructs Byron and Benny to “share the black cake when the time is right”. The novel unravels the siblings’ journey towards this “right time” through a masterful switching between the swimmer’s story and their present-day struggles with personal hurt, and the revelations of their mother’s recording. Spanning sixty years, the novel’s scope is immense, with nuanced detail on island life, the racism encountered by Caribbean commonwealth citizens in 1960s England (and by Byron in the present-day), and women’s struggles (“Why do we women let shame get in the way of our well-being?”). Like the cake of its title, this is a richly flavoursome read. At once intense and subtle, it’s a story to savour and return to, when the time is right.

Star Books
The House of Ashes

The House of Ashes

Author: Stuart Neville Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/02/2022

Compelling, compassionate, yet deeply unnerving and dark, this is a novel that will delve into and haunt your thoughts as you’re reading it. Mary knocks at the door to Sara’s new home claiming it’s hers and demanding to know what she has done with the children. As Sara begins to investigate, she opens up a chilling and shocking window to the past. Stuart Neville writes with huge empathy, yet he doesn’t hold back, and I felt a shiver of dread as I began to read. Featuring the two women in the tale, two time frames vibrate with tension. Their voices are as individually distinctive as can be, yet there are aspects within the two stories that mirror the other. The sense of place is piercing, with the house featuring as a third main character. A supernatural element hides in the shadows, it brushed against my awareness then kept me company, blending with the entirely realistic and harrowing story, heightening emotions and keeping nerves taut as can be. I found myself wincing with regret and anguish while hopeful for the present, and the writing ensures this balance is encouraged and maintained with care and attention. I felt, really felt the ending as it resonated within my heart and soul and I sat a while, contemplating. While The House of Ashes is a formidable and provocative read, a contemplative beauty can be found within the pages and I’ve chosen this stunner as a Liz Pick of the Month.  

Star Books
It Could Never Happen Here

It Could Never Happen Here

Author: Eithne Shortall Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/02/2022

It’s Big Little Lies without the glamour but all of the tantrums (and we don’t mean the kids!) centred around Glass Lake Primary School, a small town community in Ireland. The book opens with a mysterious body in the river and the plot heats up from there. The character driven plot is led by Bev Franklin, the queen bee of the hive. Every school has one. She’s the pushy mum of Amelia and director of the school's musical. She will do whatever it takes for success and woe betide anyone who gets in her way. When a scandal involving her own daughter threatens to derail the annual school musical’s appearance on telly, Bev takes it to another level. It’s a sharp, funny and oh so relatable tale. Despite the darker moments, I howled through as I remembered similar scenarios through my years of experiencing competitive parenting at the school gates. Secrets, double standards, scandal, one upmanship, tragedy, skeletons in the closet. And a murder to solve. It’s deliciously entertaining. And I loved it!

eBooks of the Month
A Very Nice Girl

A Very Nice Girl

Author: Imogen Crimp Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/02/2022

Darkly funny and emotionally engaging, Imogen Crimp’s A Very Nice Girl explores the struggles, desires and conflicts faced by a fledging opera singer in expensive, competitive and often-lonely London. An absorbing story of finding strength and focus in the wake of trembling, debilitating crises of confidence unfolds as its protagonist, Anna, struggles to overcome a deep-rooted compulsion to be driven by what others say and think of her. Though her insular parents believe she’d have been better off staying closer to home, Anna has accepted a scholarship to study opera at a prestigious London music school. But it’s not easy fitting into to the conservatory’s highly-strung, privileged culture, not least because Anna is struggling financially. To pay her rent, she sings jazz at a bar in the City, and here meets Max, a financier fourteen years her senior. After a brief cat and mouse game when they first meet, they hook up, and agree to keep it simple - this isn’t a relationship; it’s sex, it’s companionship. But matters of the heart rarely remain simple and it’s not long before both Max and the opera demand much more than Anna can bear, rendering her fractured, casting her adrift, unsure of anything, except that something has to change. She cannot remain in such a helpless situation, dependent on Max’s money, dependent on him emotionally, and feeling increasingly alienated from what was supposed to be her focus - opera. In A Very Nice Girl Imogen Crimp has created a gripping coming of age story that explores a young woman’s shift from a state of lonely drifting to one of self-determination with enthralling compassion, wit, and considered pace.

Debut Books of the Month
Breathless

Breathless

Author: Amy McCulloch Format: Hardback Release Date: 17/02/2022

When struggling journalist Cecily Wong is invited to join an expedition to climb one of the world's tallest mountains, it seems like the chance of a lifetime. She doesn't realise how deadly the climb will be. As their small team starts to climb, things start to go wrong. There's a theft. Then an accident. Then a mysterious note, pinned to her tent: there's a murderer on the mountain. The higher they get, the more dangerous the climb becomes, and the more they need to trust one another. And that's when Cecily finds the first body . . .

The Leviathan

The Leviathan

Author: Rosie Andrews Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/02/2022

Set in the 17th-century during “a time of witches, a time of saints”, an era of “Gods and monsters, myths and legend”, Rosie Andrews’ The Leviathan smoulders with atmosphere and the tension of its turbulent political context. It’s unique enchantments will surely delight fans of The Essex Serpent, The Binding and The Familiars. It’s 1643 and England is in the throes of civil war when Esther Treadwater calls her brother back to their family farm fearing their father has been drawn into the “corruptions” of their new servant. From the off, the writing dances and enthrals with absorbing imagery and detail to create an utterly immersive world. By the time Thomas reaches home, their father has suffered a stroke and the servant has been accused of witchcraft, whereupon readers are plunged into village life, the courtroom, rural inns, and the increasingly beleaguered family home. Indeed, the siblings’ conflicts and predicaments have you in their thrall as much as the richly-realised world - these are characters who feel thoroughly alive. Considering himself a forward-thinking man, Thomas has little time for superstition, but it’s not long before Esther is afflicted by unknown internal torments, and he uncoils an uncanny ancient event that might explain their present tribulations. What a divinely dark, accomplished debut this is.

Debut Books of the Month
Vanished

Vanished

Author: Lynda La Plante Format: Hardback Release Date: 31/03/2022

When an eccentric elderly widow claims she is being stalked, Detective Jack Warr is the only person willing to dig into the truth behind her wild claims. Jack soon finds himself embroiled in an international drugs operation, art theft - and a murder investigation. On the back foot throughout, he is forced to play second fiddle to the Drug Squad, confront an old adversary, and even fight off accusations of assault. But Jack believes that every aspect of this multi-faceted case is simply a distraction from the one person who lies at the heart of it all - the widow's elusive stalker. Find him, and the truth will come out...

Careering

Careering

Author: Daisy Buchanan Format: Hardback Release Date: 10/03/2022

careering (verb) 1. working endlessly for a job you used to love and now resent entirely 2. moving in a way that feels out of control There's a fine line between on the right track and coming off the rails. Imogen has always dreamed of writing for a magazine. Infinite internships later, Imogen dreams of any job. Writing her blog around double shifts at the pub is neither fulfilling her creatively nor paying the bills. Harri might just be Imogen's fairy godmother. She's moving from the glossy pages of Panache magazine to launch a fierce feminist site, The Know. And she thinks Imogen's most outrageous sexual content will help generate the clicks she needs. But neither woman is aware of the crucial thing they have in common. Harri, at the other end of her career, has also been bitten and betrayed by the industry she has given herself to. Will she wake up to the way she's being exploited before her protege realises that not everything is copy? Can either woman reconcile their love for work with the fact that work will never love them back? Or is a chaotic rebellion calling... Hilarious and unflinchingly honest, Careering takes a hard look at the often toxic relationship working women have with their dream jobs.

Reptile Memoirs

Reptile Memoirs

Author: Silje O. Ulstein Format: Hardback Release Date: 17/03/2022

Uncoiling monstrous extremes of human behaviour through traumatised, obsession-driven characters, Silje Ulstein’s Reptile Memoirs is a thriller like no other. An audaciously bizarre, taboo-tangled marvel of a debut. Guilefully plotted, the multi-timeframe, multi-voiced narrative is wildly original. In 2003, Liv becomes obsessed with the idea of having a snake, so she and her flatmates buy Nero, a young Burmese python that comes to dominate her life, evoking unnervingly intense emotions, and providing her with a strange sense of security. In 2017, Mariam’s daughter goes missing, prompting a twisting, shifting investigation that unveils the long-submerged secrets and traumas of everyone involved, including one of the chief investigators. Reader, there’s no escape from the serpentine onslaught of this story. Reptile Memoirs takes the notion of unexpected plot twists to seething, shocking extremes as characters slough their identities and the timelines converge, with the snake-narrated “reptile memoirs” of the title providing an unnerving, cold-blooded perspective on cold-blooded human actions.

Star Books
The Soul Stealer

The Soul Stealer

Author: Graham Masterton Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/03/2022

'God, he's good.' Stephen King A Native American demon is unearthed in the present day. Original, disturbing and utterly terrifying, this is the new standalone from master of horror, and author of The Manitou, Graham Masterton. Nemo Frisby used to be a detective. Now he drives an Uber between billionaire mansions in California. But he never lost the nose for the case - and when his housecleaner Trinity Fox discovers a young woman lying dead in her neighborhood, she persuades him to help her prove it wasn't suicide. Their investigation leads them to the Bel Air home of a wealthy movie producer, who built his mansion over a Native American burial site. Ancient mythology tells of a demon who, if unearthed, can imbue evil men with terrible power. But only if the demon is fed by the sacrifice of innocent lives... Graham Masterton is a true master of his genre, famous for his original, disturbing, and utterly terrifying novels. The Soul Stealer will stand alongside The Manitou as one of horror's most chilling explorations of the native magic of the ancients.

The Instant

The Instant

Author: Amy Liptrot Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/03/2022

Wishing to leave behind the quiet isolation of her Orkney island life, Amy Liptrot books a one-way flight to Berlin. Searching for new experiences, inspiration and love, she rents a loftbed in a shared flat and looks for work. She explores the streets, nightclubs and parks and seeks out the city's wildlife - goshawks, raccoons and hooded crows. She looks for love through the screen of her laptop. Over the course of a year Amy makes space hoping for the unexpected. And it comes with an erotic jolt, in the form of a love affair that obsesses her. The Instant is an unapologetic look at the addictive power of love and lust. It is also an exploration of the cycles of the moon, the flight paths of migratory birds, the mesmerising power of Neolithic stonework and the trails followed by a generation who exist online.

The Exhibitionist

The Exhibitionist

Author: Charlotte Mendelson Format: Paperback Release Date: 17/03/2022

The longer the marriage, the harder truth becomes . . . Meet the Hanrahan family, gathering for a momentous weekend as famous artist and notorious egoist Ray Hanrahan prepares for a new exhibition of his art - the first in many decades - and one he is sure will burnish his reputation for good. His three children will be there: beautiful Leah, always her father's biggest champion; sensitive Patrick, who has finally decided to strike out on his own; and insecure Jess, the youngest, who has her own momentous decision to make . . . And what of Lucia, Ray's steadfast and selfless wife? She is an artist, too, but has always had to put her roles as wife and mother first. What will happen if she decides to change? For Lucia is hiding secrets of her own, and as the weekend unfolds and the exhibition approaches, she must finally make a choice. The Exhibitionist is the extraordinary fifth novel from Charlotte Mendelson, a dazzling exploration of art, sacrifice, toxic family politics, queer desire, and personal freedom.

Run Rose Run

Run Rose Run

Author: Dolly Parton, James Patterson Format: Hardback Release Date: 07/03/2022

From America's most beloved superstar and its greatest storyteller - a thriller about a young singer-songwriter on the rise and on the run, and determined to do whatever it takes to survive. Every song tells a story. She's a star on the rise, singing about the hard life behind her. She's also on the run. Find a future, lose a past. Nashville is where she's come to claim her destiny. It's also where the darkness she's fled might find her. And destroy her. Run, Rose, Run is a novel glittering with danger and desire - a story that only America's #1 beloved entertainer and its #1 bestselling author could have created. Also available: an album of 12 original Dolly Parton songs made for the novel!

Audiobooks of the Month
Get Changed

Get Changed

Author: Kat Farmer Format: Hardback Release Date: 31/03/2022

Get Changed is for the countless women out there who are wondering whether they know who they are anymore. Loss of identity is an experience all too familiar to Instagram style guru and professional stylist Kat Farmer. In her own life, she found that fashion helped her regenerate herself and rediscover her confidence. In Get Changed, Kat's authentic, down-to-earth voice, trademark humour, and insights into some of her personal anxieties make you feel like she's right there in the room with you. The book delivers the personal stylist experience to readers, a step-by-step practical guide to building the ultimate new wardrobe. Borrowing from the structure of a recipe book, the prep, the ingredients and the method, Kat breaks down the process with easy-to-remember tips and tricks; the reader will come away inspired and confident that they can build a wardrobe of clothes they love. Most importantly, Kat will show that finding your confidence again and discovering the new you can be as simple as getting changed. The book covers all the basics - sorting out and assessing your current wardrobe, working out what works for your body type and your lifestyle, how to shop successfully, key wardrobe pieces (crucially that will work together) all tackled with Kat's helpful, warm and funny approach.

The Paris Apartment

The Paris Apartment

Author: Lucy Foley Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/03/2022

Populated with dysfunctional, unreliable characters who live in the eponymous upmarket building, Lucy Foley’s The Paris Apartment is as potent as its stifling, steamy summer-in-the-city setting. With this clearly-defined space providing the tingling tension of a classic mystery, this will have fans of twisty, psychological thrillers on the very edge of their seats. Pretty much penniless, Jess has fled her bar job in Brighton hoping to start afresh in Paris, where her half-brother Ben is working to make a name for himself as a journalist. Though they shared a mother, their lives took very different paths when Ben was taken-in by a well-to-do family who helped him make it to Cambridge University, which is kind-of how he came to be living in a stunning Paris apartment while Jess has been struggling. But Jess’s hopes for a new life are immediately thrown off-course when Ben’s not home when she arrives. As the hours - and days - pass, with Jess wondering how Ben can possibly afford to live in a place like this, she begins to ask questions of the apartment’s extremely well-heeled residents. It’s clear all the dysfunctional occupants are harbouring secrets (and carrying a whole lot of high-end Hermès baggage), but what might they have to do with Ben’s disappearance? And who is the most likely suspect? Readers are led on a grippingly twisting journey alongside Jess, one that lays bare many monsters beneath the luxury beds.

Audiobooks of the Month
Yinka, Where is Your Huzband?

Yinka, Where is Your Huzband?

Author: Lizzie Damilola Blackburn Format: Hardback Release Date: 31/03/2022

Yinka, a 31 year old Nigerian is fed up of her family constantly asking “so, where is your huzband?” (pronounced auz-band). After her Aunty Debbie offers up a very public prayer for her and asks the Lord to intervene and save her from singledom, Yinka decides she needs a plan to find a man before her cousin Rachel’s wedding. Femi broke her heart when he moved to New York and decided he didn’t want to settle down. As we join Yinka on her mission fraught with twists and turns on her journey to self-love. A hug in a book, this is a joyous read. I chuckled and sped my way through, wishing and hoping for a happy ending for Yinka. She struggles and bumbles her way  through navigating dating, female relationships and the challenges of extended families, and I loved every page of it.

Debut Books of the Month
River Clyde

River Clyde

Author: Simone Buchholz Format: Paperback Release Date: 17/03/2022

A thoughtfully lyrical yet full-on blast of, well, just how do I describe a novel that doesn’t neatly slot into any traditional genre. Bestselling and award winning Simone Buchholz is well known for her beautifully provocative Chastity Riley series, I’ve adored them from the beginning with Blue Night. Here she tunes her unique voice to a slightly different dial. Noir - oh yes, fantasy - perhaps, relationship story - potentially, family drama - yup, modern and contemporary - bang on, in other words, don’t even attempt to pigeon-hole, just read. Chastity leaves her grieving friends and her job as a State Prosecutor in Hamburg behind to explore her roots in Glasgow. Chastity is one of my favourite characters in fiction, at 48 she’s lived through hell, and is broken yet strong. As I read goosebumps skittered down my arms. The River Clyde character lends an almost otherworldly feel, it travels to the parts of the mind that lurk in dark and hidden places. Even so this smacks of authenticity, it feels so blimmin real! This is a novel that pushes you to think, it grabs thoughts, chews them up, and spits them back out again. Is it an end or a new beginning, only time will tell. Big shout out to translator Rachel Ward, it feels as though she and Simon Buchholz are as one. River Clyde is 230 pages of fabulous, joining an exciting and oh so satisfying series. 

Books of the Month
Moon Witch, Spider King

Moon Witch, Spider King

Author: Marlon James Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/03/2022

Moon Witch, Spider King, the second book in Marlon James' epic Dark Star fantasy trilogy, blazes with African myth and the unconquerable force of a 177-year-old moon witch who insists she isn’t a witch at all — a woman who’s refused to be silenced or supressed through her long, traumatic, ferocious life. While the rich fantasy world and characters bring Neil Gaiman to mind, and the raging, carousing language evokes the spirit of Angela Carter, Moon Witch, Spider King is fiercely original, instantly captivating, and soaked in history. Despised and abused by her family as a child for being a “motherslayer”, Sogolon escapes their shackles and enters a whorehouse, whereupon the madam seeks to groom her “to be the next forbidden lily”. But it’s not long before she’s taken by a noblewoman, later transcending her orphan origins and captive childhood as she becomes a woman, and transforms into a moon witch, a powerful female force in a misogynistic world of shapeshifting creatures, rising and falling empires, and detonating feuds. Haunting, harrowing and utterly immersive, Moon Witch, Spider King is shot-through with a potent exploration of power, and quite unlike anything else.

The Clockwork Girl

The Clockwork Girl

Author: Anna Mazzola Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/03/2022

Hugely provocative, powerful, and suffused with a stinging, haunting beauty, The Clockwork Girl thoroughly deserves its inclusion as a LoveReading Star Book. Set in Paris during 1750, Madeleine is tasked with discovering the truth about a clockmaker who designs mechanical objects that appear to come to life. Three women sit centre stage, all from different backgrounds, yet struggling to survive in a male dominated world.Oh my word, from the very beginning this made me flinch, unapologetically raw and intense the words burrowed their way inside me. Anna Mazzola really is the most gifted storyteller, I was taken captive as I read, consumed by the fierce thrilling plot and the characters who invaded, and still remain in my mind. I loved the sharp edge of the unreal I found myself hovering over, the insinuations and suggestions that allowed my thoughts to run riot. While the spellbinding clockworks danced eerily featherlight in their own world, the reality of the time created a layer of foreboding that sat glowering, waiting, ready. As it soared into chilling evocative life in front of my eyes I fell in love with this tale. I just had to include The Clockwork Girl as a Liz Pick of the Month, it’s an entirely and gloriously captivating stunner of a read.

Star Books
A Spoonful of Murder

A Spoonful of Murder

Author: J.M. Hall Format: Paperback Release Date: 31/03/2022

Retirement can be murder... Once a week, three retired school teachers have their 'coffee o'clock' sessions at the Thirsk Garden Centre cafe. But one fateful Thursday morning, they bump into their ex-colleague, Topsy, during their weekly coffee and catch-up. By the next Thursday, Topsy's dead. The last thing Liz, Thelma and Pat imagined was that they would become embroiled in a murder. But they know there's more to Topsy's death than meets the eye - and it's down to them to prove it... Sit down with a cup of tea, a slice of cake and this perfectly witty, page-turning cosy crime novel. Fans of The Thursday Murder Club, Death in Paradise and Midsomer Murders will be hooked from the very first page.

Chivalry

Chivalry

Author: Neil Gaiman Format: Hardback Release Date: 30/03/2022

From the award-winning creators Neil Gaiman and Colleen Doran comes a stunning new graphic novel. An elderly widow buys what turns out to be the Holy Grail from a second-hand shop, setting her off on an epic journey with an ancient knight who lures her with ancient relics in the hope of winning the cup. From the Eisner and Bram Stoker-award winning team of Snow, Glass, Apples comes a beautiful, brand-new graphic novel adaptation.

The Curfew

The Curfew

Author: T. M. Logan Format: Hardback Release Date: 17/03/2022

Do you know where your kids are? It's time to preorder the brand new up-all-night thriller from the Sunday Times bestselling author of Richard and Judy pick The Holiday and The Catch. I should have known something was wrong. I should have sensed it. Felt it in the air, like the build-up of pressure before a thunderstorm, that heavy, loaded calm. The curfew Andy and Laura are good parents. They tell their son Connor that he can go out with friends to celebrate completing his exams, but he must be home by midnight. The lie When Connor misses his curfew, it sets off a series of events that will change the lives of five families forever. The truth? Because five teenagers went into the woods that night, but only four came out. And telling the truth might mean losing everything... WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

Good Intentions

Good Intentions

Author: Kasim Ali Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/03/2022

Hugest of huge recommendations from me for this bold, provocative, compassionate and thoughtful, yet real as heck debut novel. I adored the characters, plot, and writing, Kasim Ali is an author to watch. After falling in love Nur is welcomed into Yasmina's family, but after four years he can’t bring himself to tell his own that he’s even got a girlfriend let alone living with Yasmina. Love, it should be simple, but with outside influences so often isn’t. Kasim Ali zigzags through the years of the relationship, allowing you to see ahead of time, to feel the weight of the decisions taken. As the little pops of understanding were released Nur, Yasmina, and their friends and family slipped into my heart. The characters are finely drawn, the flaws, the imperfections all add credibility. This is just so easy to read, yet the bittersweet plot ensures a level of tension remains throughout. I cared so much for these characters I was genuinely fearful of what was to come. I thought the ending was perfect in every way, standing ovation time for Kasim Ali. Wonderfully stimulating yet subtly thought-provoking Good Intentions emotionally connects with heart and mind. I’ve chosen this absorbing and rewarding read as a LoveReading Star Book, and Liz Pick of the Month. 

Star Books
French Braid

French Braid

Author: Anne Tyler Format: Hardback Release Date: 24/03/2022

The major new novel from the beloved prize-winning author -- a brilliantly perceptive, painfully true and funny journey deep into one family's foibles, from the 1950s right up to the changed world of today When the kids are grown and Mercy Garrett gradually moves herself out of the family home, everyone determines not to notice. Over at her studio, she wants space and silence. She won't allow any family clutter. Not even their cat, Desmond. Yet it is a clutter of untidy moments that forms the Garretts' family life over the decades, from giving a child a ride to a painstaking Easter lunch, a fateful train journey to an unexpected homecoming. And it all begins in 1959, with a family holiday to a cabin by a lake. It's the only one the Garretts will ever take, but its effects will ripple through the generations.

Sundial

Sundial

Author: Catriona Ward Format: Hardback Release Date: 10/03/2022

So exquisitely haunting it hurts, Sundial slithers into thoughts to carve out a spot and make itself at home. Fearing for the future of both her daughters, Rob takes troubled Callie to her own childhood home in the Mojave Desert and revisits the past. I have been of fan of Catriona Ward since her debut Rawblood, each of her subsequent novels has become my new favourite, and that is most certainly the case here. Just reading the synopsis sent a shiver through me, I had to have this book! As I started to read, goosebumps shivered and skittered their way down my skin to declare just how special this was going to be. A quiet menace slipped past my boundaries to create a heightened sense of fear for what was to come. The smallest yet most vital of moments are created to tip feelings already in the balance. Trust is a scarce commodity, love though, love is more than evident as mother and daughter test their relationship. There is also a grace to be found, in the eloquence of words as they slice and then stitch to form the most vividly real and vibrant story. Sundial is an intensely dark and blazingly beautiful novel about the love that can hold us together, or shatter us into pieces. This stunning tale that hovers on a sharp edge of horror has been chosen as a LoveReading Star Book, and Liz Pick of the Month, it will undoubtedly be one of my books of the year.

Star Books
People Person

People Person

Author: Candice Carty-Williams Format: Hardback Release Date: 28/04/2022

Every bit as engaging and compulsive as her debut Queenie, Candice Carty-Williams’s People Person tells the poignant, funny, of-the-moment story of five siblings who share the same absent father, Jamaican-born Brixtonite Cyril Pennington. Initially solely united by their hazy childhood memories of Cyril picking them up in his legendary gold jeep, the siblings come together later in life in the wake of an accident, with an appealingly outlandish story arc that has family bonds at its heart. At thirty, aspiring influencer Dimple is something of a lost soul. She still lives at home with her barrister mother, her reach as an influencer is woefully small, and her boyfriend is utterly unreliable. When an evening with him goes somewhat awry, Dimple reconnects with her siblings, which in turns sparks a reconnection with Cyril and his mother. The way the siblings have each other’s backs when they farcically attempt to fix Dimple’s problem is an amusing joy, and her rocky road to self-determination addresses mental health and abandonment issues with a deft lightness of touch. Pacey, driven by mighty fine dialogue and a wild-dance of a plot, Dimple is sure to have to have Queenie fans rooting for her to find a sense of peace and belonging.

A Tidy Ending

A Tidy Ending

Author: Joanna Cannon Format: Hardback Release Date: 28/04/2022

A uniquely twisted and thought-scrambling psychological thriller set in the most routinely humdrum of circumstances, it made me think, wince, raise my eyebrows, and even cackle! Linda lives a mundane life, she looks out and dreams of more, but then her neighbourhood is shattered when young women start to go missing just as her husband begins to act differently, secretively even. I so love Joanna Cannon’s writing, she has real compassion and yet the ability to turn things, everyday normal things, inside out so that you see them differently and question your own thoughts. The prologue caught me, it felt like a truth, and I was held in thrall for the rest of the book. This is all about Linda, her thoughts, her feelings, she is different, wonderfully and deliciously different. I found myself wondering, doubting, hesitating, questioning my reactions to her choices and actions. The plot twists and turns and yet feels remarkably real, I believed! There is a quiet, but decidedly menacing dark edge to the fabulousness that is A Tidy Ending, it’s one heck of a compelling and entertaining read.  

Star Books
Saint Death's Daughter

Saint Death's Daughter

Author: C. S. E. Cooney Format: Hardback Release Date: 14/04/2022

Life gets complicated when Death gets involved. To be born into a family of royal assassins pretty much guarantees that your life is going to be... rather unusual. Especially if, like Miscellaneous Lanie Stones, you also have a vicious allergy to all forms of violence and bloodshed, and an uncanny affinity for bringing the dead back to life. To make matters worse, family debt looms - a debt that will have to be paid sooner rather than later if Lanie and her sister are to retain ownership of the ancestral seat, Stones Manor. Lanie finds herself courted and threatened by powerful parties who would love to use her worryingly intimate relationship with the goddess of death for their own nefarious ends. But the goddess has other plans...

Sea of Tranquility

Sea of Tranquility

Author: Emily St. John Mandel Format: Hardback Release Date: 28/04/2022

The award-winning author of Station Eleven, Emily St. John Mandel returns with a wondrous novel of time travel that precisely captures the reality of our current moment. Sea of Tranquility is a virtuoso performance and an enormously exciting offering from one of our most remarkable writers. In 1912, eighteen-year-old Edwin St. Andrew crosses the Atlantic, exiled from English polite society. In British Columbia, he enters the forest, spellbound by the beauty of the Canadian wilderness, and for a split second all is darkness, the notes of a violin echoing unnaturally through the air. The experience shocks him to his core. Two centuries later Olive Llewelyn, a famous writer, is traveling all over Earth, far away from her home in the second moon colony. Within the text of Olive's bestselling novel lies a strange passage: a man plays his violin for change in the echoing corridor of an airship terminal as the trees of a forest rise around him. When Gaspery-Jacques Roberts, a detective in the black-skied Night City, is hired to investigate an anomaly in time, he uncovers a series of lives upended: the exiled son of an aristocrat driven to madness, a writer trapped far from home as a pandemic ravages Earth, and a childhood friend from the Night City who, like Gaspery himself, has glimpsed the chance to do something extraordinary that will disrupt the timeline of the universe. Sea of Tranquility is a novel that investigates the idea of parallel worlds and possibilities, that plays with the very line along which time should run. Perceptive and poignant about art, and love, and what we must do to survive, it is incredibly compelling.

Nobody But Us

Nobody But Us

Author: Laure Van Rensburg Format: Hardback Release Date: 14/04/2022

Steven Harding is a handsome, well-respected professor. Ellie Masterson is a wide-eyed young college student. Together, they are driving south from New York, for their first holiday: three days in an isolated cabin, far from the city. Ahead of them, the promise of long, dark nights - and the chance to explore one another's bodies, away from prying eyes. It should be a perfect, romantic trip for two. EXCEPT THAT HE'S NOT WHO HE SAYS HE IS. BUT THEN AGAIN, NEITHER IS SHE . . .

Eyes of the Void

Eyes of the Void

Author: Adrian Tchaikovsky Format: Hardback Release Date: 28/04/2022

Eyes of the Void is the second high-octane instalment in Adrian Tchaikovsky's Final Architecture space opera trilogy. After eighty years of fragile peace, the Architects are back, wreaking havoc as they consume entire planets. In the past, Originator artefacts - vestiges of a long-vanished civilization - could save a world from annihilation. Yet the Architects have discovered a way to circumvent these protective relics. Suddenly, no planet is safe. Facing impending extinction, the Human Colonies are in turmoil. While some believe a unified front is the only way to stop the Architects, others insist humanity should fight alone. And there are those who would seek to benefit from the fractured politics of war - even as the Architects loom ever closer. Idris, who has spent decades running from the horrors of his past, finds himself thrust back onto the battlefront. As an Intermediary, he could be one of the few to turn the tide of war. With a handful of allies, he searches for a weapon that could push back the Architects and save the galaxy. But to do so, he must return to the nightmarish unspace, where his mind was broken and remade. What Idris discovers there will change everything.

Young Mungo

Young Mungo

Author: Douglas Stuart Format: Hardback Release Date: 14/04/2022

Powerful, thought-provoking, and stunningly eloquent, this remarkable novel will be one of my books of the year. Two young men meet, under normal circumstances they would battle on different sides of the Glaswegian Catholic and Protestant divide, instead they fall in love. Although no date is given, this potentially takes place in the 90’s. Two different time frames slip into and through each other, with the past rushing to meet the present. Gangs of words squared up, pushing and shoving their way into my thoughts. While the focus remains on the main character Mungo, Booker prizewinner Douglas Stuart doesn’t skim the surface of the other characters, he took me deep down into who they truly were. Mungo will remain a part of me, he feels entirely real, and I lived every exquisitely written second alongside him. This travels into extremely dark places, and yet it’s full of love too. Family obligations, abuse, self-worth, violence, religion, toxic relationships, the struggle of being different, the purity of first love all swirl together, creating a darkly addictive pull that on occasion threatens to overwhelm. A LoveReading Star Book and Liz Pick of the Month, Young Mungo is a swaggeringly beautiful novel that I recommend, heart and soul.

Star Books
None of This Is Serious

None of This Is Serious

Author: Catherine Prasifka Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/04/2022

Dublin student life is ending for Sophie and her friends. They've got everything figured out, and Sophie feels left behind as they all start to go their separate ways. She's overshadowed by her best friend Grace. She's been in love with Finn for as long as she's known him. And she's about to meet Rory, who's suddenly available to her online. At a party, what was already unstable completely falls apart and Sophie finds herself obsessively scrolling social media, waiting for something (anything) to happen. None of This Is Serious is about the uncertainty and absurdity of being alive today. It's about balancing the real world with the online, and the vulnerabilities in yourself, your relationships, your body. At its heart, this is a novel about the friendships strong enough to withstand anything.

The Maid

The Maid

Author: Nita Prose Format: Hardback Release Date: 14/04/2022

I am your maid. I know about your secrets. Your dirty laundry. But what do you know about me? Molly the maid is all alone in the world. A nobody. She's used to being invisible in her job at the Regency Grand Hotel, plumping pillows and wiping away the grime, dust and secrets of the guests passing through. She's just a maid - why should anyone take notice? But Molly is thrown into the spotlight when she discovers an infamous guest, Mr Black, very dead in his bed. This isn't a mess that can be easily cleaned up. And as Molly becomes embroiled in the hunt for the truth, following the clues whispering in the hallways of the Regency Grand, she discovers a power she never knew was there. She's just a maid - but what can she see that others overlook? Escapist, charming and introducing a truly original heroine, The Maid is a story about how everyone deserves to be seen. And how the truth isn't always black and white - it's found in the dirtier, grey areas in between . . .

Audiobooks of the Month
You Made a Fool of Death With Your Beauty

You Made a Fool of Death With Your Beauty

Author: Akwaeke Emezi Format: Hardback Release Date: 26/05/2022

Brimming, barely contained, with bone-deep grief and all-consuming awakenings of the sexual and soulful kind, Akwaeke Emezi’s You Made a Fool of Death With Your Beauty is a uniquely compelling story about bravely risking setting lives aflame for love, for a chance to embrace a new, fulfilling life. Five years have passed since Feyi’s husband died in a car accident. Though still grieving, her life is beginning to shift. She’s getting herself together as an artist in Brooklyn and, with the encouragement of her straight-talking, loving best friend, she’s ready to have sex for the first time since her husband’s death — urgent sex with no strings: “Feyi didn’t think she could stand it, to be touched so tentatively. People had turned her into webbed glass after Jonah died; it made her feel like a relic, not a person.” Feyi’s first frantic carnal encounter spirals into her jetting to a Caribbean island with a guy whose well-connected art collector father, also a famous celebrity chef, has seen her art and offered to introduce her to a major curator who wants to show her work in a major exhibition of Black diaspora artists on the island. Seismic emotional shifts erupt the moment Feyi steps foot in the stylish, tropical mountain home, where she faces tremendous conflicts of loyalty and pulls between the past and her possible future. Messy, moving, heart in-your-mouth stuff, told in dazzling prose.

Books of the Month
The Familia Grande

The Familia Grande

Author: Camille Kouchner Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/05/2022

The family's secret weighs on everyone... THE FAMILIA GRANDE is a tender, groundbreaking and lacerating memoir written by a sister who could no longer remain silent... Set in amongst the French intellectual elite in Paris and their lavender scented estates in Provence, it tells a story of a corrosive secret that sits in a family for decades and ultimately razes it and the political, literary elite that enabled its silence, to the ground. Already an international bestseller, it has touched a nerve across the globe and has brought about a powerful reckoning of incest, and its far-reaching trauma. The Familia Grande is a book of a generation. 

Keep Her Sweet

Keep Her Sweet

Author: Helen FitzGerald Format: Paperback Release Date: 26/05/2022

Expect to wince, flinch, and occasionally grimace in this highly charged and darkly amusing novel. Two grown up daughters return home to their parents and so begins the breakdown of a family. As expected this is an entirely different offering to her previous novels and yet the voice of Helen Fitzgerald is unmistakable. She does this every time, and I love it! Each of her books slips, sometimes swaggers into thoughts sending them spinning. She looks at ‘normal', picks it to pieces, and shows you something you hadn’t even considered. Here we see a family, with parents too intimately involved in their own issues to even begin to notice that sibling rivalry has turned to the dark side. The family therapist adds an extra dimension, keeps the story twisting, the unexpected ready to stick an oar in. The ending is intensely dramatic and yet oh-so convincing, no spoilers but for me it was pitch-perfect. Keep her Sweet is fabulously entertaining, and yet as confrontational and powerful as heck.

eBooks of the Month
Nightcrawling

Nightcrawling

Author: Leila Mottley Format: Hardback Release Date: 07/06/2022

Sparked by a real-life police abuse scandal in Oakland, California, Leila Mottley’s intensely affecting Nightcrawling debut, written when she was just seventeen, burns with brutal truths and a raw beauty that lays bare an astounding spirit of love and survival. Though not quite 18, Kiara has long had to play an adult role in life. Her former Black Panther father is dead, as is her little sister. Her mama is in a halfway house “prison without the bars”, while her older brother clings to a dream of making it in rap music. So, it’s fallen to Kiara to take responsibility for paying rent and putting food on the table. What’s more, she also cares for Trevor, a ten-year-old child whose mother keeps going AWOL. Trapped in poverty, and unable to get a job, Kiara is forced to nightcrawl. “It’s just a body,” she tells herself. After being picked up by a couple of cops, Kiara is forced to have sex with them and their colleagues. Though she had no choice, she wishes she’d never given them her number - “they only want me to show themselves they can have me…These are the men who load their guns and point them with a grin, and find a girl in an alley and decide she is theirs”. Later, when one of the cops is found dead, Kiara finds herself at the heart of an investigation into police corruption and sexual exploitation, but being named as a key witness puts everything and everyone she knows into danger. As the case exposes the adultification of Black girls and the corrupt core of an unjust system, Kiara keeps on caring for Trevor, keeps on trying to help her brother, keeps on living and loving.

Debut Books of the Month
Storm Rising

Storm Rising

Author: Chris Hauty Format: Hardback Release Date: 26/05/2022

Intensely and gloriously entertaining, while being as provocative and thrilling as can be.  Operative Hayley Chill stumbles into a conspiracy to start a second civil war as she heads to Texas searching for answers about her father. This is the third in the Hayley Chill Thriller series which began with the glorious Deep State. I have to admit that I did wonder where we would go after Savage Road as the story itself was so immense. In Storm Rising, the focus changes slightly, we get to see and feel more for Hayley. While she has always sat centre stage, it has been the plot that has consumed. This really feels like a personal story, it is as much about her as it is the white supremacy conspiracy plot of the story. The prologue hits punch hard, and my attention didn’t flicker for the rest of the book. Author Chris Hauty really knows how to set a scene, to paint a picture that arrives in your minds eye ready to taunt, to provoke. I so enjoy the small moments of lives flitting in and out of the novel, foretelling of a future, giving hidden flesh to the story. Chris Hauty also excels in placing unexpected moments, from small to absolutely blimmin humongous in his books. Each so far has differed, and while we are lead towards one particular one in Storm Rising, it still affected me when it hit. Chosen as Liz Pick of the Month, Storm Rising offers a gripping new chapter for Hayley Chill I can recommend with my heart and soul.

Liz Robinson's Picks of the Month
All the Seas of the World

All the Seas of the World

Author: Guy Gavriel Kay Format: Hardback Release Date: 17/05/2022

With echoes of the Renaissance Guy Gavriel Kay brings intrigue, revenge, war, and exile face to face with love, friendship, and hope. This powerful and striking story begins with those tasked with an assassination, and grows to encompass many more people and places. Here we continue on in the times from A Brightness Long Ago featuring new as well as previously met characters. If you’ve not yet stepped foot into this particular world (not all of his novels are from these lands), then the quality of writing is such that you can most certainly read All the Seas of the World as a standalone. Please do though visit past books as not only are there truly beautiful stories to discover and the obvious connection to the previous novel, there are other whispers too from longer ago. The map had me poring over memories, and within the list of principal characters I welcomed old friends. While I immediately felt a sense of coming home, my emotions were hung above a sharpened knife edge. The narrator, occasionally present, sits in overview, words sinking into thoughts and feelings, and a little way in I met one particular friend from Brightness who again spoke directly to me. I folded into and around a story that boldly and brilliantly ventures onto the seas. I particularly loved the small slices of individual lives and how they knitted together and influenced the larger scale events. The most inconsequential moment could seem momentous as it formed around one person. It felt as though both history, the present, and the future was being told. Just as a little aside, I have been reading Guy Gavriel Kay’s novels since I tipped into my twenties. He is one of two authors who I count as being hugely positive influences, and from my late teens on I have been able to trust in their integrity, empathy, and principles as I read. You can probably tell from my thoughts and feelings about All The Seas of the World, that I still hold Guy Gavriel Kay’s writing in the highest regard and this new book will sit as a particular favourite. His words, they really make my emotions sing, and that was certainly the case here. So it will come as no surprise that All the Seas of the World sits as a LoveReading Star Book and Liz Pick for its month of publication, it also comes with a standing ovation from me.

Star Books
The Mind Manual

The Mind Manual

Author: Alex George Format: Paperback Release Date: 12/05/2022

Dr Alex is on a mission to empower us to make our own health choices, take positive control and feel equipped and inspired to make those small changes today that energise and future-proof for life. 'Health and happiness come from the cumulative effects of many small and positive daily changes to our lifestyle. It's about building sustainable and healthy habits - taking small and purposeful steps to a healthy future. By the end of the book I hope my readers have developed their own "bespoke health toolkit" to be used across every aspect of their lives, and to make long-lasting and meaningful change.' What you do consistently has a direct impact on your day-to-day health, your immune system, your mental health, your metabolism, your bone density, your heart health, your blood pressure, your energy levels and how you fight disease genreally. Your lifestyle is often your body's biggest support system and the more robust you can make that, the more you can rely on it to get you through. Think of it like your life insurance policy.

One Last Letter from Greece

One Last Letter from Greece

Author: Emma Cowell Format: Paperback Release Date: 26/05/2022

The breathtaking, escapist debut novel from Emma Cowell, perfect for fans of Victoria Hislop, Carol Kirkwood and Karen Swan. Devastated by her mother’s death, Sophie longs to get away from an empty house full of memories and a life that hasn’t quite turned out as she had imagined. So when a chance discovery among her mother’s belongings hints at a past Sophie knows nothing of, she jumps at the opportunity for escape and a chance to heal. The magical, idyllic Greek town of Methoni awaits… But Sophie – determined to uncover her mother’s secrets – is about to discover so much more. Among the tranquil waters and cosy tavernas, Methoni’s locals offer Sophie the answers she craves, along with unexpected romance and, if she’ll take it, a chance at her own happiness… Will walking in her mother’s footsteps help Sophie discover who she was meant to be all along…?

The Year of the Locust

The Year of the Locust

Author: Terry Hayes Format: Hardback Release Date: 12/05/2022

THE AMAZING NEW THRILLER FROM TERRY HAYES. IF YOU THOUGHT I AM PILGRIM WAS GOOD...

Thrown

Thrown

Author: Sara Cox Format: Hardback Release Date: 12/05/2022

The wise and gloriously big-hearted debut novel from the much-loved broadcaster, Sara Cox Becky: a single mum who prides herself on her independence. She knows from painful experience that men are trouble. Louise: a loving husband, gorgeous kids. She ought to feel more grateful. Jameela: all she's ever done is work hard, and try her best. Why won't life give her the one thing she really wants? Sheila: the nest is empty, she dreams of escaping to the sun, but her husband seems so distracted. The inhabitants of the Inventor's Housing Estate keep themselves to themselves. There are the friendly 'Hellos' when commutes coincide and the odd cheeky eye roll when the wine bottles clank in number 7's wheelie bin, but it's not exactly Ramsay Street. The dilapidated community centre is no longer the beating heart of the estate that Becky remembers from her childhood. So the new pottery class she's helped set up feels like a fresh start. And not just for her. The assorted neighbours come together to try out a new skill, under the watchful eye of their charismatic teacher, Sasha. And as the soft unremarkable lumps of clay are hesitantly, lovingly moulded into delicate vases and majestic pots, so too are the lives of four women. Concealed passions and heartaches are uncovered, relationships shattered and formed, and the possibility for transformation is revealed.

Menopausing

Menopausing

Author: Davina McCall Format: Hardback Release Date: 15/09/2022

'Menopausing is more than just a book, it's a movement. An uprising. Menopause affects every woman, and yet so many approach it with shame, fear, misinformation or silence. Why is no one talking about this? Who has the correct information? And how can we get it? That's how this book has come about. We are going to tell you the truth, so you can make an informed decision about your life and your body ... mic drop.' For too long, women have had to keep quiet about the menopause - its onset, its symptoms, its treatments - and what it means for us. Menopausing will build an empowered, supportive community to break this terrible silence once and for all. By exploring and explaining the science, debunking damaging myths, and smashing the taboos around the perimenopause and menopause, this book will equip women to make the most informed decisions about their health... and their lives. Menopausing will also celebrate the sharing of stories, enabling women to feel less alone and more understood, and talk openly and positively about menopause. No more scaremongering: just evidence-based info No shame: real women, real menopause stories, real empathy, real community Honest, no-holds-barred advice: Dry vagina? Zero sex drive? Hair loss? We've got it covered The start of a movement: to get everyone talking about the menopause in every home, GP surgery and workspace

The Murder Book

The Murder Book

Author: Mark Billingham Format: Hardback Release Date: 09/06/2022

A satisfyingly shocking and oh-so-readable novel, make sure you’re sitting comfortably when you begin! When your home life feels settled you have the most to lose, and Tom Thorne comes to realise this in the most horrifying way when the past screams hello. The Murder Book is the eighteenth in the addictive Tom Thorne series which began with the fabulous Sleepyhead, and Mark Billingham’s writing is as on-point as ever. These police procedurals have it all, a tight knit policing team, flawed characters that you’d still want on your side, and twisty plots alongside skilful writing. The writing is such that I do believe you could read this as a standalone even with the references to what has gone before, but of course, this being Mark Billingham, I have to recommend that you go back and start at the beginning. This is a book that fires-up and teases the accelerator, gradually building up until it hits top speed and then, well, it just doesn’t let up. I was genuinely fearful for Thorne and co, for their physical and mental welfare, as their opponent is truly terrifying. I read late into the night, not wanting to leave them, desperately needing to know the outcome. With a hoard of reading gold to discover, The Murder Book electrifies as it corkscrews through to a heart-pounding conclusion. Highly recommended, and a LoveReading Star Book.

Star Books
The Mirror Man

The Mirror Man

Author: Lars Kepler Format: Hardback Release Date: 23/06/2022

Seventeen-year-old Jenny is abducted in broad daylight and taken to a dilapidated, isolated house where she is chained and caged along with several other girls. Their captor is unpredictable, and as wily as he is cruel: he foils every one of their desperate attempts to escape . . . and once caught they rarely survive their punishment. Five years later, Jenny is found dead in a public park, and the police are scrambling to find a lead among the scant evidence. But Detective Joona Linna realizes that this murder has an eerie connection to a death that was declared a suicide years before. And now when Mia, a seventeen-year-old orphan, goes missing, it becomes clear to Joona that they are dealing with a serial killer-and the murderous rampage has just begun. As the police close in on the killer, Mia and her fellow captives are plunged into ever greater danger, and Joona finds himself in a seemingly impossible race against time to save their young lives.

This Vicious Grace

This Vicious Grace

Author: Emily Thiede Format: Hardback Release Date: 28/06/2022

Highly entertaining, this stimulating introduction to a new world ensures the love story sits within thrilling action, blossoming friendships, and magical abilities. When rebellion threatens just as Alessa is due to choose her magical partner, she hires outcast Dante as her personal bodyguard. While This Vicious Grace is described as a Young Adult novel, it’s suitable for adults of all ages if you enjoy romantic fantasy. Emily Thiede has built this world in the most vivid way, plunging you immediately into the possibilities of gods, demons, and magic. This feels like a fresh and smart take, with friendship featuring as strongly as the romance. Tough times and difficult themes feature with compassion and empathy. The setting is gorgeous, the characters captivating, and the plot just hums along. I trust that this is the start of a new series, as it just begs to be continued. This Vicious Grace is a Liz Pick of the Month and perfect if you want to abandon yourself to  a lively and engaging debut fantasy novel.  

The Measure

The Measure

Author: Nikki Erlick Format: Hardback Release Date: 07/07/2022

Every adult on earth suddenly shares the same surreal experience, when overnight a box arrives on the doorstep of everyone aged 22 and older across the world. The measure of your life lies within. Each person is presented with a string of a different length, and the string determines how long you have left on Earth. Would you open the box? It's a brilliant concept, brilliantly written, brilliantly realised dystopian world which pits "long-stringers" against "short-tringers", fear drives the divides in society as people struggle to come to terms with the new reality. By a debut author who we are sure will be one to watch, The Measure is a fantastic first outing for Nikki Erlick. As the world comes to terms with their fates, we follow the lives of eight ordinary people finding and fighting their way through the fear. We meet the unforgettable cast of characters and as the months fly by we come to root for them, care for them and understand their interconnectedness. A beautiful story about family, friendship, hope, fate and destiny that encourages us to live life to the fullest. We care for the couple who are deeply in love: long-stringer Nina and short-stringer Maura. We mourn for architect Ben whose girlfriend left him when she found out about his short-string, for Hank, the doctor who saves everyone apart from himself. For Javier and Jack the best friends, the soldiers who have been through everything together. The lives of the main characters are all set against the backdrop of Anthony Rollins the blue blooded congressman from Virginia who sees the arrival of the strings as a blessing from God and uses them to create fear and uncertainty to bolster his campaign. It's a timely, page-turning triumph and I can't recommend it enough.

The Night Ship

The Night Ship

Author: Jess Kidd Format: Hardback Release Date: 12/07/2022

Based on a real-life event, an epic historical novel from the award-winning author of Things in Jars that illuminates the lives of two characters: a girl shipwrecked on an island off Western Australia and, three hundred years later, a boy finding a home with his grandfather on the very same island. 1629: A newly orphaned young girl named Mayken is bound for the Dutch East Indies on the Batavia, one of the greatest ships of the Dutch Golden Age. Curious and mischievous, Mayken spends the long journey going on misadventures above and below the deck, searching for a mythical monster. But the true monsters might be closer than she thinks. 1989: A lonely boy named Gil is sent to live off the coast of Western Australia among the seasonal fishing community where his late mother once resided. There, on the tiny reef-shrouded island, he discovers the story of an infamous shipwreck...? With her trademark "thrilling, mysterious, twisted, but more than anything, beautifully written" (Graham Norton, New York Times bestselling author) storytelling, Jess Kidd weaves a unputdownable and charming tale of friendship and sacrifice, brutality and forgiveness.

A Woman's World, 1850–1960

A Woman's World, 1850–1960

Author: Dan Jones, Marina Amaral Format: Hardback Release Date: 04/08/2022

This third volume in Marina Amaral and Dan Jones's Histories in Colour series examines women’s roles across domestic, cultural, social and professional realms from 1850 to 1960, just before the transformative second-wave feminist movement took hold. Gratifyingly global in scope, and celebratory in tone, with incredible colourised historic photographs on every page, this is an enlightening must-have for anyone interested in global history, women’s history, and world affairs during a period of tremendous change. With fascinating profiles of exceptional women who were seminal in their fields, the book covers women at play (female athletes), at school (women who broke moulds in the education field), at the wheel, in war, in charge, in the arts, on stage, in the wild, on the shop floor, and in white coats. Alongside familiar figures like Queen Victoria, Virginia Woolf, Simone de Beauvoir, Frida Kahlo, Emmeline Pankhurst, Harriet Tubman, and Florence Nightingale, we’re also given insights into lesser-known women whose contributions to society deserve to be known  – from revolutionaries in Cairo, Cuba and China, to women who blazed a trail for American civil rights, to pioneering women who worked as nurses, pilots, scientists, explorers and creatives. This hugely impressive, huge book packs undeniable punch.

Star Books
Thursday Murder Club Book 3

Thursday Murder Club Book 3

Author: Richard Osmond Format: Hardback Release Date: 15/09/2022

A new mystery is afoot in the third book in the Thursday Murder Club series from million-copy bestselling author Richard Osman. Coming Autumn 2022! Pre-order your copy now.

Picture You Dead

Picture You Dead

Author: Peter James Format: Hardback Release Date: 29/09/2022

Discover the darkness that lurks around every corner in the latest instalment of Peter James’s award-winning detective series, which is now a major ITV programme starring John Simm as Roy Grace.

The Weather Woman

The Weather Woman

Author: Sally Gardner Format: Hardback Release Date: 10/11/2022

London, January 1789 The weather is so severe the River Thames completely freezes over. The people of London decide to hold an impromptu Frost Fair, with dancing bears, jugglers and puppet shows. Neva and her Russian parents operate a chess-playing bear, so convincing people believe it is real. But a dreadful tragedy is waiting just around the corner for Neva, as the treacherous ice begins to crack. All of a sudden she finds herself alone in the world, until her fortunes change and she is adopted by eccentric clock and automata maker, Victor Friezland. As Neva grows up, she discovers she has a gift that will prove to be as dangerous as it is desirable: she can predict the weather, and her adoptive father devises a machine to help her. Now Neva, a woman ahead of her time, must find a way to disguise her true identity from those who would destroy her.

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