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Piercing, wonderfully real and so very readable, this is another cracking novel from Doug Johnstone. Set in and around a funeral home in Edinburgh, three generations of Skelf women arrange funerals and handle a little private investigation on the side. I love Doug Johnstone’s writing, it feels so authentic, yet he has the ability to get under the skin and nudge new thoughts and feelings into being. Dorothy, Jenny, and Hannah are simply wonderful, and Edinburgh itself sits brooding in the background. It’s the small detail that really matters here, encouraging the most vivid and intense picture to form. As I came to the end I realised I wanted to hear more about these women, and later learned there is to be a series, so, so pleased! A Dark Matter, sitting as it does in death, crime, and wrong-doing, still felt like a breath of fresh air, it really is a fabulous read and I loved it!
A vividly disturbing, eloquent and enthralling tale set in a home for children who have been taken into care. Three girls, their childhoods irreparably altered and broken, live in a remote home. When the body of one is discovered in a nearby churchyard on the edge of a lake, the investigation begins to focus on their pasts. Sarah Stovell ushers us into a world that most know little to nothing about. The prologue and first chapter made me sit up, my thoughts snapped open, ready to receive what was coming. Three different and emotionally provocative tales move together in an inevitable collision course. The author doesn’t shy away from difficult subjects, and with the majority of the story coming from the girls themselves, the matter-of-fact telling lands with a hammer-blow intensity. The striking, thought-provoking, compulsive storytelling within The Home twisted my mind and broke my heart, and yet I feel that this is an incredibly worthwhile and meaningful read.
An intriguing and altogether thrilling tale that played games in my mind and twisted my thoughts. A man with no memory is found on a Norfolk beach, neuropsychiatrist Dr Emma Lewis is asked to assess him. Emma, however, has secrets… and Norfolk is the very last place that she wants to be. The prologue focussed my attention and stayed with me throughout. As chapter one and day one started, followed by chapter two and day six, I realised that an unsettled feeling would also be keeping me company. Time slides forwards from each of these two chapters, the jagged sequence leaving my emotions hanging as the following chapter sped away again. Catherine Steadman allowed me to see, feel, and experience, her descriptions vivid in their intensity. As suggestions whispered and cajoled, the story eventually overtook and whipped them into shape. If you like to be kept on your reading toes then Mr Nobody could just be the very book for you.
Set between 1917 and 1940, taking in the two World Wars and all the social and political upheaval between them, this intimate and thoughtfully told novel focuses on two women. A mother at 19, Alice is forced to give her up her baby, and that baby, adopted and living life miles away, grows up knowing she is different. As the two women live their lives, their two individual stories begin to intertwine. Rachel Hore shows immense compassion in her writing as this story about family, love, loss and hope travels through the decades. I found myself immersed in the story, hoping and willing for happiness to step into the end of the tale. Peppered with notes from history, the years between the wars were bright and alive in my mind. Simply, almost gently told, as bitingly fierce and emotional subjects are handled with sensitivity, The Love Child is a beautifully poignant and hopeful novel.
With a fascinating premise this tight, gripping crime novel is a seriously worthwhile read. Continuing the Tom Thorne series (now 16 books in), I would suggest if you haven’t yet joined you could step straight into this, but I think it’s best to start at the beginning. Always great to find a fabulous series isn’t it! Sarah wants more than normality, she wants thrills, meanwhile DI Tom Thorne has a niggle of doubt over a woman’s apparent suicide and starts to investigate the reasons behind it. My attention was snared from the get-go. The policing side feels authentic, I didn’t hesitate, didn’t doubt, just read and completely trusted the storyline. Mark Billingham allows us access to the opposite side of the policing tale, to thoughts and feelings that sent conflicting thoughts scudding through me. Compassion warred with flinching, biting emotions as the truth started to reveal itself. I savoured the feeling of being slightly ahead of the game, of having access to more information as I watched Tom and Nicola struggling to stitch everything together. Their Little Secret is a captivating and compelling read, prepare yourself for some eye-popping moments!
Just to let you know that I get excitement overload when I read a crime novel that allows me to simply exist in the pages without an ounce of doubt… and Gallowstree Lane, the third ‘Collins and Griffiths Detective Novel’ is a truly fabulous example (so yes I am wanting to shout about this from the rooftops). Author Kate London ended her Metropolitan Police Service career in 2014 working as a detective on a Major Investigation Team. Her knowledge and experience undoubtedly shines through, you are quite simply, in very safe hands. This story about shocking gang violence is not only extraordinarily relevant, it also entirely captivating, meaningful, and memorable. Sarah Collins and Lizzie Griffiths are beautifully written detectives, both completely fascinating, for me though, the real jewel in this particular crown is Ryan, a young gang member who is left reeling and demanding vengeance after the murder of his best friend. Kate London encourages reality, fact and fiction to blend together, and adds so much depth to the characters I felt as though I knew them. I was so in tune with Ryan that my heart truly ached for him. Gallowstree Lane has left a vividly brilliant bruise on my soul, it is wonderfully raw, exquisitely written.
In a nutshell: auld lang syne with the Spinster Club The end of What’s A Girl Gotta Do saw the three members of the Spinster Club heading off their different ways, now in this special short novel, Holly Bourne reunites them in the pressure cooker of a New Year’s Eve party: how have they coped? We discover that Lottie is planning to move to America, that Amber isn’t enjoying uni life as much as she’s been making out, and that Evie is struggling to support her boyfriend with his anxiety disorder. After an awkward start, they finally have one of those conversations that characterise their friendship, helping each other realise what is best for them, and giving themselves the confidence to go after it. Bourne understands her readership perfectly and writes for them with huge insight and affection, and this is a typically authentic, funny, and inspiring read. Readers will also enjoy Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven. ~ Andrea Reece
It seems there’s no end to QI facts or the public fascination for them. Here are another 1339 QI facts, a great gift for the person who has everything or perhaps you need a book for the smallest room or entertainment for friends and relations or even for your own personal enjoyment – warning, it’s addictive reading. ~ Sue BakerLike for Like ReadingQI: The Book of General Ignorance, John Lloyd and John MitchinsonAfterliff. John Lloyd and Jon Canter
It seems there’s no end to QI facts or the public fascination for them. Here are another 1339 QI facts, a great gift for the person who has everything or perhaps you need a book for the smallest room or entertainment for friends and relations or even for your own personal enjoyment – warning, it’s addictive reading. Like for Like ReadingQI: The Book of General Ignorance, John Lloyd and John MitchinsonAfterliff. John Lloyd and Jon Canter
Being a small “instant” humour book there is no bibliography telling you where these facts originate but we now have google so can read up on such things as why Horatio Nelson’s pension continued to be paid to 1947. Harris Hawks standing on each other’s shoulders to get a better view was quite flabbergasting although I was more horrified to read that slugs have about 27,000 teeth. It is, of course, a book designed to entertain and it certainly does that in fine style. ~ Sue BakerLike for Like ReadingFascinating Footnotes from History, Giles MiltonThe Ultimate Book of Heroic Failures, Stephen Pie
1,227 QI Facts blew your socks off. 1,339 QI Facts made your jaw drop. Now the QI team return with this year's groaning sack of astonishment. Prepare to be knocked sideways...Orchids can get jetlag. Lizards can't walk and breathe at the same time. There are 177,147 ways to tie a tie. Ladybird orgasms last for 30 minutes. Traffic lights existed before cars. Sir Bruce Forsyth is four months older than sliced bread. The soil in your garden is 2 million years old.
You are just 10% human. For every one of the cells that make your body, there are nine impostor cells. You are not just flesh and blood, muscle and bone, brain and skin, but bacteria and fungi. You are not an individual, but a colony of microbes. Far from being passive, the trillions of microbes that live on and in you are intimately involved in running your body. Even aspects that you think of entirely as 'you' turn out to be run by 'them' - like your immune system. In this riveting, shocking and beautifully-written book Alanna Collen explores the modern epidemics of 'Western' diseases - obesity, autism, mental health problems, gut disorders, allergies, auto-immunity, and even cancer - and argues that most have their root in our failure to cherish our most fundamental and enduring relationship: that with our personal colony of microbes. Antibiotics, antibacterial cleaners, rapidly changing diets and our obsession with hygiene alter the microbe community we carry. Unlike our human cells, though, we can change our microbes for the better.
As the author, Kate Sorrell, is a former associate editor of Homes & Gardens magazine this practical, no-nonsense guide really is ‘straight from the horse's mouth’. Covering the home, garden, workplace and beyond half the fun of this guide is simply to open a page and see where you find yourself - you are practically guaranteed to find out some new useful nugget. Save time, money and re-discover lost skills. I’ve not been able to see a copy of 10,000 Tips in advance so can only advise that the author is a former editor of Homes and Gardens magazine so presumably knows her stuff. The book covers advice on improving life at home, at work, at play and how to cope with sudden problems of anything from health to dicky plumbing - all this packed into 416 pages. Very interesting to compare this to Mrs Beeton which I’ve recommended as a Like for Like read, the changes in household management are both illuminating and a great comment on our changing lives. Like for Like ReadingThe Art of Good Housekeeping, Good HousekeepingMrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management, Isabella Beeton
Willem loves his children but finds them exhausting. Then, one day, he challenges them to find games that require him to lie on the sofa. They have the best day ever! This witty new book features an eclectic range of activities for kids and their dads - and all without the adult's boredom and exhaustion that often accompanies 'child's play'. Written from a personal perspective, Willem gives every activity a suggested age range and provides tips and golden rules along the way. The book includes games for at home, in the car, at the park, in the pool, at the forest - pretty much anywhere where parents and children spend time together. All games are fun for both and relaxing for dads, and none of them require money or preparation. After a long day at work, your children can either finish you off or get you to recover - depending on how you play it.
February 2012 Travel Book of the Month. Presents the 1,000 most astonishing destinations in the world and brings them to life in lively, evocative prose that reveals why the place is so wonderful. This title offers a greater variety of hotel and restaurant choices, including more budget-conscious options. Click here to read a Q & A with Patricia Schultz about this book.
February 2011 Non-Fiction Book of the Month. Ten centuries' worth of French historical 'facts' bite the dust as Stephen Clarke looks at what has really been going on since 1066... It's a light-hearted but impeccably researched account of all our great fallings-out. With Clarke's trademark humour and lightness of touch that will be remembered with fondness from A Year in the Merde and Talk to the Snail, among others this is a brilliant take on the history of our near neighbour.
What would you do if someone bet you they could balance a coin on the edge of a banknote, walk through a postcard, or make you move your limbs through the power of suggestion? Would you take that bet? From Richard Wiseman, the creator of the 350-million-view YouTube phenomenon, Quirkology, comes a thrilling mix of lateral thinking, magic tricks and scintillating science stunts which is sure to appeal to curious minds everywhere.
This tells you all the things you need to know about losing weight – diet and exercise but it also gives you great hints and tips on how to make the most of what you’ve got and how to feel good about yourself even with a few extra pounds. There may not be too much new to learn in here but it reminds you about the important things in life and is written in a very entertaining way.
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eBooks have at last come of age and although you have been able to see if an eBook is available on a title by title basis on Lovereading for a while now, we also wanted to create a special section which features all of our eBook recommended reads.
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