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Take a trip across time and space with the latest Sci-Fi titles; head to another universe with the latest and greatest Fantasy novels and get your heart pumping with a brilliant selection of Horror.
An English Apocalypse explores a world that faces extermination by infected meteoroids that turn people into rabid killer zombies. As I was reading I thought it was ironic that a virus was the cause of humanity’s downfall, but having researched the book, I understand that it isn’t such a coincidence. We read a record of events by Paul Collins and the journals of Francisco as their paths cross and they end up working as a part of a team to save the human race. I liked finding out how Paul misleads his team initially to get the compound built. I think this adds an aspect of realism to the story. I also enjoyed the practical details at this stage - the effort and thought required to convince people to work on the compound, how they were going to build it and what would be needed to sustain life for years on Summer Haven. I thought these details were a very nice touch that helped to make the plot believable and must have required a lot of time and research by the author. On top of the work towards surviving a potential extinction, there’s interesting character relationships and strong side-storylines that I’m not going into too much detail about to avoid spoilers. This is a well-written science fiction story with dual narration following Paul and Francisco as life as they know it ends and they try to help their people survive the end of the world. It’s set up with the intention of a sequel and may be of interest to fans of The Walking Dead.
A Thousand Years takes on the whole idea of soul mates and finding your other half to a whole new level with an interesting sci-fi twist. He-Soul and She-Soul are sent to be Level Fours souls. Their job is to spend a thousand years on earth hopefully finding each other through multiple lifetimes and helping to spread love and benefit the human race. But in their final life, a glitch in the system means She soul can communicate with Kate. Will the souls reunite in their final life? And will Kate, a romance writer that isn’t looking for love herself, find someone who will change her mind. This is an innovative twist on a relationship story and I happily flicked through the pages. The relationship central to the book is sweet if a little fast-moving to be wholly “believable”, although you are left satisfied with the ending. I enjoyed this book, I thought it was written well and it was easy to read. The main and side characters were well developed and amusing. I enjoyed that you had a glimpse into Kate’s friends’ paths as Kate traverses her own. I would have liked to have found out what the different levels mean for the souls but I think A Thousand Years is a light read that can be enjoyed easily.
Available on Amazon Complete Darkness is an action-packed science-fiction explosion. At 111 pages, though it is small, it is mighty. Following the story of Cleric20 and his sidekick GiX who perhaps unwittingly must defeat the satanic President of the World. The writing in this book flows very well and I thought the world-building was really strong. I enjoyed spotting the modern culture references throughout such as the Lloyd Weber Museum, and the integration of landmarks such as Westminster Cathedral and Tower Bridge. I think this really helped to create an “our world but not as we know it” feel that invites the reader into the futuristic setting and helps to make everything more believable. I also liked the concept of the futuristic world being built on top of the old world, it reminded me of the sunken streets below Edinburgh and reflects the building practices already used but adapted and made more futuristic. This book also deals with Armageddon, good, evil, God and the Devil but the subject is addressed in a way that I found innovative and easy to enjoy regardless of religious inclination. I thought this was a well-written book that, although it has a comic book/action hero vibe, is definitely targeted at a more mature audience, with the odd graphic moment and use of black humour. I would recommend this to science fiction and fantasy fans.
In 1886, a mysterious travelling circus becomes an international sensation. Open only at night, constructed entirely in black and white, Le Cirque des Rêves delights all who wander its circular paths and warm themselves at its bonfire. Although there are acrobats, fortune-tellers and contortionists, the Circus of Dreams is no conventional spectacle. Some tents contain clouds, some ice. The circus seems almost to cast a spell over its aficionados, who call themselves the rêveurs - the dreamers. At the heart of the story is the tangled relationship between two young magicians, Celia, the enchanter's daughter, and Marco, the sorcerer's apprentice. At the behest of their shadowy masters, they find themselves locked in a deadly contest, forced to test the very limits of the imagination, and of their love... A fabulous, fin-de-siècle feast for the senses and a life-affirming love story, The Night Circus is a captivating novel that will make the real world seem fantastical and a fantasy world real. The Starless Sea, the magical second novel from the author of the The Night Circus, is available now.
Swinging from South Africa to England: one woman's hunt for her birth mother in an all-too-believable near future in which an antibiotic crisis has decimated the population. A prescient, thrilling debut. Decades of spiraling drug resistance have unleashed a global antibiotic crisis. Ordinary infections are untreatable, and a scratch from a pet can kill. A sacrifice is required to keep the majority safe: no one over seventy is allowed new antibiotics. The elderly are sent to hospitals nicknamed 'The Waiting Rooms' ... hospitals where no one ever gets well. Twenty years after the crisis takes hold, Kate begins a search for her birth mother, armed only with her name and her age. As Kate unearths disturbing facts about her mother's past, she puts her family in danger and risks losing everything. Because Kate is not the only secret that her mother is hiding. Someone else is looking for her, too. Sweeping from an all-too-real modern Britain to a pre-crisis South Africa, The Waiting Rooms is epic in scope, richly populated with unforgettable characters, and a tense, haunting vision of a future that is only a few mutations away.
Ambition will fuel him. Competition will drive him. But power has its price. It is the morning of the reaping that will kick off the tenth annual Hunger Games. In the Capitol, eighteen-year-old Coriolanus Snow is preparing for his one shot at glory as a mentor in the Games. The once-mighty house of Snow has fallen on hard times, its fate hanging on the slender chance that Coriolanus will be able to outcharm, outwit, and outmaneuvre his fellow students to mentor the winning tribute. The odds are against him. He's been given the humiliating assignment of mentoring the female tribute from District 12, the lowest of the low. Their fates are now completely intertwined - ; every choice Coriolanus makes could lead to favour or failure, triumph or ruin. Inside the arena, it will be a fight to the death. Outside the arena, Coriolanus starts to feel for his doomed tribute... and must weigh his need to follow the rules against his desire to survive no matter what it takes.
So, so readable, Of Ants and Dinosaurs with the lightest and brightest of touches, made my brain itch with its creativity and klaxon alarm. Perfect for readers from young adult on, this sets itself as a “satirical fable, a political allegory and ecological warning”. In a time long long ago ants and dinosaurs joined forces to build a magnificent civilisation, when doom threatens will the dinosaurs listen to the ants? Cixin Liu is China’s number one science-fiction writer and his The Three-Body Problem was the first translated novel to win a Hugo award. I just love the cover, and the ants marching across the chapter pages had me smiling. As soon as I started to read my attention was well and truly caught. The prologue sets the scene with wonder and I read and believed without a moment's doubt. While portraying the ant and dinosaur alliance, there is very much a warning to the human race here. Deceptively simple and brilliantly clever, Of Ants and Dinosaurs just has to sit as a Liz Pick of the Month and a LoveReading Star Book, I simply adored it.
Inside the Sun is book three of the 8th Island Trilogy. As this is the third and final instalment of Ella’s story I would recommend starting with book one to fully understand the story, there are too many different characters species and quick references to what I assume are events in previous books to read this as a standalone. However, there is a Glossary of characters, creatures, plants and places at the back to help. A teen fantasy book which includes portal jumping, other worlds, strange creatures. This series also handles very real challenges, as Ella is suffering from Cancer and the divide between the races on Jarr-Wya reflect the divisions that can be found in our own society. Facing the ultimate battle against evil and their nemesis the Milia sands, will Ella and her friends be able to stop everything they love being destroyed. And will Ella and her family be able to find a cure for her cancer? I like the map at the start of the book and the illustrations throughout. I don’t often see illustrations in YA fiction, so I thought this was a nice addition. I also liked the illustrations as they help you to picture the different creatures, which I found useful, and also helped to drive the plot forward. I also liked the detailed descriptions of the places and creatures. The author is very good at world-building and it must have taken a lot of time and imagination to come up with the 8th Island worlds. I found the relationships between the characters interesting and the prominent place of Ella’s mum in this book different from the other YA Fiction I’ve read. The group aren’t strangers to peril and it would seem that what they face in the final book may be their biggest challenge to date. Everything is tied up satisfactorily in the final pages and the epilogue and in all, I think this is a good finale to a teen fantasy trilogy.
A collection of four uniquely wonderful long stories, including a stand-alone sequel to the No. 1 bestseller THE OUTSIDER. News people have a saying: 'If it bleeds, it leads'. And a bomb at Albert Macready Middle School is guaranteed to lead any bulletin. Holly Gibney of the Finders Keepers detective agency is working on the case of a missing dog - and on her own need to be more assertive - when she sees the footage on TV. But when she tunes in again, to the late-night report, she realises there is something not quite right about the correspondent who was first on the scene. So begins 'If It Bleeds', a stand-alone sequel to the No. 1 bestselling THE OUTSIDER featuring the incomparable Holly on her first solo case - and also the riveting title story in Stephen King's brilliant new collection. Dancing alongside are three more wonderful long stories from this 'formidably versatile author' (The Sunday Times) - 'Mr Harrigan's Phone', 'The Life of Chuck' and 'Rat'. All four display the richness of King's storytelling with grace, humour, horror and breathtaking suspense. A fascinating Author's Note gives us a wonderful insight into the origin of each story and the writer's unparalleled imagination.
Chock-a-block with chills, this supernatural thriller also beautifully evokes teenage feelings of uncertainty and how they travel with us into adulthood. Theatre usher Chloe witnesses the iconic musical Dust returning to the stage after 20 years, the very stage said to be haunted by the leading actress who was murdered in her dressing room. It feels as though this book, which crosses genres so successfully, could only have been written by Louise Beech. Her ability to delve into the deepest of emotions and describe them so they land with acute precision in your own thoughts, is handfasted with her knowledge of the theatre. The past collides with the present and boy does the tension increase with each time switch. I felt as though I was a teenager again, and with all the buckets full of feelings that Chloe has to manage, I could have gathered her into the hugest hug. While this is spooky as heck, it is also hugely considerate of emotional heartache and distress. Compelling, original, and unmistakably Louise Beech, I Am Dust glides onto my Liz Robinson picks of the month.
A multi-perspective narrative following Aiyanna and a number of other characters. This book also spans time, jumping from Aiyanna in the modern-day and back through history. This book seems to be part sci-fi, part literary fiction. Aiyanna is seeking treatment for a deep depression when she discovers a secret about herself which leads her deep into her family history. Each character we encounter throughout the book teaches us about family, love, understanding and the human condition. These lessons are also imparted on Aiyanna, an insight I’m sure anyone who believes in reincarnation would love, to be able to look into their past lives and experiences to impact the decisions or mistakes they make. The book is separated well, with the name of the character in focus at the top of each chapter. This is an interesting story about time, belief in reincarnation and in some cases the butterfly effect, the idea that one small action or decision can have a knock-on effect, sometimes throughout history.
Fried Green Tomatoes and Steel Magnolias meet Dracula in this Southern-flavored supernatural thriller set in the ’90s about a women’s book club that must protect its suburban community from a mysterious and handsome stranger who turns out to be a real monster. Patricia Campbell’s life has never felt smaller. Her ambitious husband is too busy to give her a goodbye kiss in the morning, her kids have their own lives, her senile mother-in-law needs constant care, and she’s always a step behind on thank-you notes and her endless list of chores. The one thing she has to look forward to is her book club, a close-knit group of Charleston women united by their love of true crime and paperback fiction. At these meetings they’re as likely to talk about the Manson family as they are marriage, motherhood, and neighborhood gossip. This predictable pattern is upended when Patricia meets James Harris, a handsome stranger who moves into the neighborhood to take care of his elderly aunt and ends up joining the book club. James is sensitive and well-read, and he makes Patricia feel things she hasn’t felt in twenty years. But there’s something off about him. He doesn’t have a bank account, he doesn’t like going out during the day, and Patricia’s mother-in-law insists that she knew him when she was a girl—an impossibility. When local children go missing, Patricia and the book club members start to suspect James is more of a Bundy than a Beatnik—but no one outside of the book club believes them. Have they read too many true crime books, or have they invited a real monster into their homes?
Ryan’s futuristic, Independence Day-esque battle to save his family and the planet. Ryan Ellis is an innovator at US Tech, a company that seemingly oversees advancement in a variety of sectors from construction to security and DNA databasing to Space travel. Ryan seems to be progressing well in his career but things at home aren’t running so smoothly, the loss of his first and only child has had an impact on his marriage and he is plagued by terrifying nightmares of his wife being ripped away from him. When the strange events he experiences get stranger, can he hold it together long enough to find the truth and save everyone? This is an easy to follow science-fiction thriller set in a future that isn’t too dissimilar to the world we live in now. Everything is presented to us from Ryan’s perspective, so we follow along as he tries to work out what’s happening. There’re plenty of opportunities to guess the outcome and plenty of times revelations take you by surprise. The author has done well to come up with innovative and futuristic designs such as the Space Lift and the White Giant, and depicts life in a way that seems believable. It’s 300+ pages but it didn’t take me long to get through it.
Five, successful but seemingly unconnected people around the world die suddenly. Although all are ruled as natural deaths an intelligence analyst and his journalist girlfriend think something else is happening and strive to uncover the truth. Fatal longevity is an interesting concept. The idea that the search for a long life could end with an early demise is an entertaining dichotomy. A crime mystery with a medical almost sci-fi twist set in a range of locations around the world. An interesting plot with a lot of thought behind it and at 277 pages, it’s a relatively quick, entertaining read with an intriguing plot.
No matter how far you run . . . He's never far behind Lisa needs to disappear. And her friend's rambling old home in the wilds of Yorkshire seems like the perfect place. It's miles away from the closest town, and no one there knows her or her little boy, Joe. But when a woman from the local village comes to visit them, Lisa realizes that she and Joe aren't as safe as she thought. What secrets have Rowan Isle House - and her friend - kept hidden all these years? And what will Lisa have to do to survive, when her past finally catches up with her?
Lisa needs to disappear. And her friend's rambling old home in the wilds of Yorkshire seems like the perfect place. It's miles away from the closest town, and no one there knows her or her little boy, Joe. But when Lisa meets some of the locals, and hears some disturbing rumours about the house, she realises it might not be the sanctuary she thought. What secret has Rowan Isle House - and her friend - kept hidden all these years? And what will Lisa have to do to survive, when her own past finally catches up with her?
Whether you want to join Jonathan Strange on the magic-haunted streets of London or Jon Snow and the rest of the Night’s Watch on the wall Fantasy is the genre for you. Authors from Joe Abercrombie to Zen Cho have turned the modern fantasy genre into one of the most exciting and imaginative genres around. They’ve brought magic and wonder, heroes, heroines and people like you and me, together in stories that will delight, scare and mystify you. Whether you want the romance and deceit of court, the shadows of a great city’s alleyways, the clear air of a mountain range, the terrors of a bloody field let fantasy take you to new realities.
There are characters for everyone; Scott Lynch’s charming conmen, Liz William’s artful magicians. Fantasy has worlds for all; Ursula le Guin’s Earthsea, George RR Martin’s brutal Westeros, Ben Aaronovitch’s contemporary London, Naomi Novik’s dragon haunted version of our 19th century. And the genre has a style for each and every reader; whether the playful literary trickery of Angela Carter or the imaginative epic adventures of Peter Brett. Somewhere here there is a story for everyone, so follow us and let your imagination run wild.
Established names like Stephen King and new stars like Lauren Beukes alike have taken horror into the mainstream. And it’s no surprise why – we can’t help ourselves we love a good scare from the safety of our armchairs. But there are any number of authors out there ready and willing to confront you with your darkest fears and, if you’re lucky, take you through them and out into the light again.
There’s always a fresh take on whatever has scared us down through the years. Whether the dark thrills of the demons that haunt the paranormal romances of Cassandra Clare or the hunger of the vengeful ghosts and vampires of Joe Hill. Or the high concept terrors of Sarah Lotz’s work, the insidious chills of Adam Nevill’s urban horrors. Horror can be stealthy like the classic chills of Susan Hills’ ghost stories or screaming in your face like Max Brooks’ terrifying zombies. So step this way and let us put the frighteners on you; scares that are subtle and literary or full-on ‘slap the book shut and turn on all the lights’. Or scares of the best sort – where you don’t know WHAT to expect.
If you’ve ever dreamed about the world our grandchildren will live in, thought about how life could be different, looked at a star and wondered if there’s someone or something there looking at our sun you’ve been wondering about the same things as the great writers of Sci-Fi. Or perhaps you’ve simply wanted to share the excitement and danger of life on an alien world or in the harsh expanses of space? Maybe you’re so busy you wish you had a clone of yourself to do the work while you had the fun of exploring new places and experiences – how would that feel? For both of you?
Sci-Fi is all about these questions and thoughts. And it’s about things we can never experience, perhaps not even thought about yet. It’s about putting you at the centre of wonder and excitement. Whether the wide-screen excitements from the likes of Peter Hamilton and Suzanne Collins, or the noir thrills of cyberpunk by authors such as Pat Cadigan and William Gibson or the intricate speculations of authors like Ian McDonald and Nnedi Okorafor Sci-Fi really does have something for everyone and you’ll find the very best of it here.