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Fans of the blockbuster crime thrillers like One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus would like no better Christmas treat than this, another novel full of fascinating characters and a plot full of family secrets, jaw-dropping twists and a touch of romance. Narrated in the first person by the three eponymous cousins and occasionally by their parents at the same age, we can see the secrets they are keeping as well as watching the Story story gradually unravel. The original quartet of Story siblings were brought up in the lap of luxury on a glamorous tiny resort island off the East Coast but, not long after the death of their father, they were disinherited by a terse note from their mother “ You know what you did”. Since then, no contact with her, nor each other, so even the Cousins know nothing of each other’s very different lives. Until a mysterious invitation from their grandmother invites them to spend the summer working at the resort and they bond in their determination to find out what caused the rift. What follows is a thoroughly satisfying and skilful unveiling of what has made the Story family the stuff of local legend and what makes the Cousins tick and the unexpected twists surprise the characters as convincingly as the readers. Altogether this is sure to be a book that does not dwell neglected upon shelves but will be in constant demand.
AN UNEXPECTED QUEST. TWO WORLDS AT STAKE. ARE YOU READY? Days after winning OASIS founder James Halliday's contest, Wade Watts makes a discovery that changes everything. Hidden within Halliday's vaults, waiting for his heir to find it, lies a technological advancement that will once again change the world and make the OASIS a thousand times more wondrous - and addictive - than even Wade dreamed possible. With it comes a new riddle, and a new quest: a last Easter egg from Halliday, hinting at a mysterious prize. And an unexpected, impossibly powerful, and dangerous new rival awaits, one who'll kill millions to get what he wants. Wade's life and the future of the OASIS are again at stake, but this time the fate of humanity also hangs in the balance. Lovingly nostalgic and wildly original as only Ernest Cline could conceive it, Ready Player Two takes us on another imaginative, fun, action-packed adventure through his beloved virtual universe, and jolts us thrillingly into the future once again.
Continuing the immersive, suspenseful story began in Tidelands, Philippa Gregory’s Dark Tides is a sweeping family saga that takes in the poverty and wealth of Restoration London, decadence and distrust in Venice, and hope and unrest in the New World. It’s 1670, 21 years after the events of Tidelands, and Alinor now runs a humble wharf warehouse in London with her daughter Alys, while her grandchildren Sarah and Johnnie are apprenticed to trades. The arrival of two visitors shakes their existence. Firstly, James, Alinor’s former lover who once failed her and now comes offering to share his wealth. And secondly beautiful Venetian Livia, widower of Alinor’s beloved son Rob, who comes in a whirlwind of glamour and ambition. While Livia and Alys form a close bond, and Livia promises to transform their lives if they’ll help her transport valuable antiquities from Venice, wise woman Alinor doesn’t believe Rob is dead, and so sends Sarah across the seas to discover the truth. Thousands of miles away, in the New World, Alinor’s ferryman brother Ned isn’t enjoying the new life he’d hoped for. A former New Model Army infantryman, he’d hoped “to get away from all the money-making and grabbing from each other.” Unlike his fellow Britons, he’s respectful of Native Americans, and with growing conflict between indigenous communities and the settlers, Ned might have to choose a side. I especially enjoyed Sarah’s sojourn in Venice - her voyage of discovery in this “city of spies” where “imaginings can come to life” takes as many twists as the tangled streets of Venice itself. She’s a fabulously adventurous character, determined not to “get stuck here, hoping for a man to rescue me." The narratives of London, Venice and America unfold with delectable drama, driven by the characters’ desires, and underpinned by a tremendous sense of time and place.
A riveting, deeply personal account of history in the making-from the president who inspired us to believe in the power of democracy In the stirring, highly anticipated first volume of his presidential memoirs, Barack Obama tells the story of his improbable odyssey from young man searching for his identity to leader of the free world, describing in strikingly personal detail both his political education and the landmark moments of the first term of his historic presidency-a time of dramatic transformation and turmoil. Obama takes readers on a compelling journey from his earliest political aspirations to the pivotal Iowa caucus victory that demonstrated the power of grassroots activism to the watershed night of November 4, 2008, when he was elected 44th president of the United States, becoming the first African American to hold the nation's highest office. Reflecting on the presidency, he offers a unique and thoughtful exploration of both the awesome reach and the limits of presidential power, as well as singular insights into the dynamics of U.S. partisan politics and international diplomacy. Obama brings readers inside the Oval Office and the White House Situation Room, and to Moscow, Cairo, Beijing, and points beyond. We are privy to his thoughts as he assembles his cabinet, wrestles with a global financial crisis, takes the measure of Vladimir Putin, overcomes seemingly insurmountable odds to secure passage of the Affordable Care Act, clashes with generals about U.S. strategy in Afghanistan, tackles Wall Street reform, responds to the devastating Deepwater Horizon blowout, and authorizes Operation Neptune's Spear, which leads to the death of Osama bin Laden. A Promised Land is extraordinarily intimate and introspective-the story of one man's bet with history, the faith of a community organizer tested on the world stage. Obama is candid about the balancing act of running for office as a Black American, bearing the expectations of a generation buoyed by messages of 'hope and change,' and meeting the moral challenges of high-stakes decision-making. He is frank about the forces that opposed him at home and abroad, open about how living in the White House affected his wife and daughters, and unafraid to reveal self-doubt and disappointment. Yet he never wavers from his belief that inside the great, ongoing American experiment, progress is always possible. This beautifully written and powerful book captures Barack Obama's conviction that democracy is not a gift from on high but something founded on empathy and common understanding and built together, day by day.
In the latest thrilling collaboration from #1 New York Times bestselling author and “Queen of Suspense” Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke, television producer Laurie Moran must solve the kidnapping of her fiancée’s nephew—just days before her wedding. Television producer Laurie Moran and her fiancée, Alex Buckley, the former host of her investigative television show, are just days away from their mid-summer wedding, when things take a dark turn. Alex’s seven-year-old nephew, Johnny, vanishes from the beach. A search party begins and witnesses recall Johnny playing in the water and collecting shells behind the beach shack, but no one remembers seeing him after the morning. As the sun sets, Johnny’s skim board washes up to shore, and everyone realizes that he could be anywhere, even under water. A ticking clock, a sinister stalker, and fresh romance combine in this exhilarating follow up to the bestselling *You Don’t Own Me—*another riveting page-turner from the “Queen of Suspense” Mary Higgins Clark and her dazzling partner-in-crime Alafair Burke.
From the author of the divinely dark The Binding and several acclaimed novels for young adults, Bridget Collins’s The Betrayals murmurs with menace and the mystery of the grand jeu, an arcane intellectual game that melds music, maths, poetry and philosophy. The novel’s world - at once familiar and strange - is conjured with crystalline clarity and populated by a cast of distinctly charismatic characters. Set in an unnamed disintegrating European country in the 1930s, the story begins when thirty-two-year-old Leo is removed from his post as Minister for Culture and exiled to his former academy, the exclusive Montverre. Here the nation’s cleverest are schooled in the art of the grand jeu, and here Leo is forced to face tragedy from his past as he forms an unsettling connection with the academy’s new female Magister Ludi. Part homage to Hermann Hesse’s The Glass Bead Game, this boasts a compellingly jolting plot that will keep readers on their toes, and a delicious dénouement - it’s a delight for lovers of literary conundrums. Find out more about Bridget Collins in our 'Putting Authors in the Picture' blog!
The follow up to James Smith’s international number one bestseller, Not a Diet Book. • Do you love your job? • Does your future excite you? • Are your relationships working for you? James Smith is back to challenge everything you thought you knew about the path to fulfilment and happiness. With hard-hitting home truths and a helping of tough love, be prepared to re-set your outlook, redefine your goals and truly consider: What does SUCCESS truly mean to you? Now, more than ever, is the time to take back control. Time to stop sleep-walking through your life; to challenge the status quo; and to truly ask yourself if you’re on the right path to success, happiness and fulfilment. Only you can take the reins of your own life and choose to make a change, but with invaluable experience, a hunger for genuine happiness, and a drive to be the kind of coach he needed when his life was broken, James can give you the tools to do it.
Following the bestselling retellings of the Greek myths in Mythos and Heroes, Stephen Fry's bewitching third volume Troy - concerning love and war, passion and power - is now ready for ordering. The story of Troy speaks to all of us - the kidnapping of Helen, a queen celebrated for her beauty, sees the Greeks launch a thousand ships against the city of Troy, to which they will lay siege for ten whole and very bloody years. It is Zeus, the king of the gods, who triggers the war when he asks the Trojan prince Paris to judge the fairest goddess of them all. Aphrodite bribes Paris with the heart of Helen, wife of King Menelaus of the Greeks, and, naturally, nature takes its course. It is a terrible, brutal war with casualties on all sides as well as strained relations between allies. The Greek's most fearsome warrior, Achilles, argues with King Agamemnon, his commander, over another woman, the Trojan slave Briseis. The consequences lead to terrible tragedies. In Troy you will find heroism and hatred, love and loss, revenge and regret, desire and despair. It is these human passions, written bloodily in the sands of a distant shore, that still speak to us today. It is a myth in which we seek the truth about ourselves and which Stephen Fry brings breathtakingly to life.
This Christmas, you are cordially invited to the wedding of the year! When fiercely independent chambermaid Nancy Nettleton first moved to London and the Buckingham hotel, the last thing on her mind was finding love, let alone falling for the debonair demonstration dancer Raymond De Guise. As the festive season approaches, life at the exclusive hotel is busier than ever, with guests arriving from around the world, seeking comfort, relaxation and refuge as tensions build across Europe and it looks like another war is imminent. Behind the scenes, the staff work tirelessly, ensuring the smooth operation of the hotel, guarding the secrets of their guests - but they have many of their own that they fear will be revealed. As the band strikes up in the Grand Ballroom to celebrate the nuptials of Raymond and Nancy, one thing is certain - this will be a Christmas to remember.
''So lithe,' they say. 'So spry and sparkling. So uncannily youthful. How on earth do you do it?' Well, what can I tell you? An hour of tai chi first thing in the morning, an HIIT work-out with my personal trainer, a bowl of steamed kale and a handful of almonds for lunch, and then two hours of yoga in the afternoon followed by an ice bath - this is a routine which I'm sure would work miracles for anyone of any age, although I can't be entirely sure because I haven't myself adopted any aspect of it at any point. Fortunately, during my life and career I have been given all sorts of advice and learned huge amounts from some great and enormously talented people. I've been blessed to play characters such as Derek Trotter, Granville, Pop Larkin and Frost, who have changed my life in all sorts of ways, and taught me lessons that go far beyond the television set. And I've worked a few things out for myself as well, about friendship, ambition, rejection, success, failure, adversity and fortune. With any luck, some of these thoughts and observations will chime with episodes and challenges you have faced, or are facing, in your own life. And if they don't... well, hopefully, at the very least you'll get to have a good old laugh at my expense. So lean back, pour yourself a glass, and try not to fall through the bar flap . . .
From Frazzles to Foie Gras: a memoir of wanting more. From an early age, Grace Dent was hungry. As a little girl growing up in Currock, Carlisle, she yearned to be something bigger, to go somewhere better. Hungry traces Grace’s story from growing up eating beige food to becoming one of the much-loved voices on the British food scene. It’s also everyone’s story – from treats with your nan, to cheese and pineapple hedgehogs, to the exquisite joy of cheaply-made apple crumble with custard. It’s the high-point of a chip butty covered in vinegar and too much salt in the school canteen, on an otherwise grey day of double-Maths and cross country running. It’s the real story of how we have all lived, laughed, and eaten over the past 40 years. Warm, funny and joyous, Hungry is also about love and loss, the central role that food plays in all our lives, and how a Cadbury’s Fruit ‘n’ Nut in a hospital vending machine can brighten the toughest situation.
It’s nearly Christmas and it’s snowing, hard. Deep in the Yorkshire Moors nestles a tiny hamlet, with a pub at its heart. As the snow falls, the inn will become an unexpected haven for six people forced to seek shelter there… Mary has been trying to get her boss Jack to notice her for four years, but he can only see the efficient PA she is at work. Will being holed up with him finally give her the chance she has been waiting for? Bridge and Luke were meeting for five minutes to set their divorce in motion. But will getting trapped with each other reignite too many fond memories – and love? Charlie and Robin were on their way to a luxury hotel in Scotland for a very special Christmas. But will the inn give them everything they were hoping to find – and much more besides? A story of knowing when to hold on and when to let go, of pushing limits and acceptance, of friendship, love, laughter, mince pies and the magic of Christmas. Gorgeous, warm and full of heartfelt emotion, I Wish it Could be Christmas Every Day is the perfect listen this winter!
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