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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.
Stunningly gorgeous short stories and wonderful illustrations make for an absolute treasure trove of a book. I have quite simply fallen in love with Foxfire, Wolfskin, it makes my heart sing. Discover 13 short stories about shapeshifting women, the shortest story being three and a half pages long. All are “either reimaginings of older tales, or contain characters, beings and motifs which appear in older tales”. On opening the book, I felt as though I was walking into an age old story, the descriptions are startling, vivid, touchable. I began with Wolfskin, which is sharp and edgy, it hurts, it feels… right. After finishing Wolfskin, I immediately read it again, this time out loud. I fell headlong in once more, and at the extraordinary end, emotional goosebumps skitter-scattered down my arms. All of these stories have a unique strength to them and I disappeared into each one. Just a note on the accompanying illustrations by Helen Nicholson. They are fresh, original, and yet have that same age old feel of the stories. At the very end you will find notes on each tale, the inspiration behind them and where the idea appears in folklore. Foxfire, Wolfskin is full of beautiful stories that take hold, bite, leave their mark and I adored it so much I had to add it as one of my picks of the month!
A stark, fierce, and fascinating start to what promises to be a rewarding trilogy. The Swords of Silence is set in Japan during 1626 as the Shogun slams shut the door to outside influences. If Father Joaquim Martinez and the village he tends, fail to renounce their religion, they face a hideous death. It took a little time for me to settle into the names, the time, the land, however I was soon gripped by the story on offer. The dedication at the beginning states that between 1614 and 1643 the Shogun executed almost 5,000 Christians. Shaun Curry writes with a simplicity that to be quite honest, feels necessary in the bloodshed that follows. He doesn’t revel in the gore, instead quite matter-of-factly describes incidents that somehow feel all the more real. I have to say that I have rather fallen for Master Watanabe and do hope that he makes a reappearance in the trilogy! Exploring a time and place from long ago, The Swords of Silence took me with picture sharp clarity into a compelling story.
Most definitely sitting on the quirky side of life (and Mars), this is an amusing and mind-bending read. The robots who look down on humanity are determined to end the human rebellion that started on Earth. This is Battlestar Suburbia: Volume Two, if you’ve not read the first in the series you might want to start at the beginning. However, I joined here and felt perfectly comfortable with the Dolestars council estates circling earth and Pam the sentient bread-maker. This is an absolutely fascinating premise from Chris McCrudden, the machines aren’t quite as you may have imagined them. There is no Terminator style human robot on offer (unless you count the human who was pinched for use as a cyborg), instead lamps, photocopiers, and a particularly evil smartphone lead the machine charge. In today’s climate, the utter disdain felt by some of the machines for humanity all feels rather relevant. Battle Beyond the Dolestars is different, a little geeky, and lots of fun, oh, just as a note of warning, you may never look at your lamp in the same way again!
A stunningly beautiful, courageous read, one that crosses through time to 1612, when witchcraft allegations went hand in hand with fear, power and corruption. This is a work of fiction based on real people, local residents, Pendle witches and all. Let me tell you about the cover of this book, which really is very gorgeous indeed. The green leaves sooth, with fiery bursts of orange-red and gold, I then noticed the fox, the ring, pendant, feather… and last of all, the noose, which of course once I had seen, reached out and became all I could see. I tell you this, because the cover reminds me of how I felt about the book, mysterious, yet almost gentle, I let the words take me, I felt myself floating, and then bites of uncertainty and disquiet started gnaw at my awareness. The persecution of the women hammered home while an otherworldly existence lodged itself in my thoughts, and remains there. Deceptively powerful, moving and provocative, Stacey Hall writes with an eloquent pen. Opening a window into a vivid feast of a read, as a debut novel The Familiars stands out from the crowd.
It is time to celebrate a new and truly fabulous Stephen King novel. Children with special gifts such as telepathy and telekinesis are being abducted from across the USA, then they are tested, exploited, and kept prisoner. Is there any hope left for the kids incarcerated in the Institute? I opened the first page, settled in, and just read… isn’t it wonderful when you can do that? When you so implicitly trust the author, trust that they are going to take you on amazing journey? Stephen King has written the most readable and electrifying tale here, I didn’t doubt for one second that any of this wasn’t true, wasn’t possible, wasn’t happening right now. I just inhaled the words, fully immersed myself in the story, and squirmed on the edge of my seat as the ending hurtled towards me. The Institute knocked my socks off, it is a thrilling, chilling ride, and sits not only as a Liz Robinson pick of the month, but one of our LoveReading Star Books too.
And so I step up, into the darkness within; or else the light. When the van door slammed on Offred's future at the end of The Handmaid's Tale, readers had no way of telling what lay ahead. With The Testaments, the wait is over. Margaret Atwood's sequel picks up the story 15 years after Offred stepped into the unknown, with the explosive testaments of three female narrators from Gilead. 'Dear Readers: Everything you've ever asked me about Gilead and its inner workings is the inspiration for this book. Well, almost everything! The other inspiration is the world we've been living in.' Margaret Atwood.
The Lost Girls is a dark and twisty supernatural thriller, perfect for fans of Stephen King and Neil Gaiman. Edinburgh student Rose MacLeod has been losing time for as long as she can remember. Days and weeks disappear, leaving terrifying gaps in her memory. Now she is seeing horrifying visions - waking nightmares of violence and death. Around the world young women like her are being killed, and Rose has a ringside seat. Mal Fergusson was raised to hunt demons across Scotland. With his father dead and his brother in a coma, he no longer believes in the grand battle between good and evil. Instead, he scrapes a living as an investigator and hit man for the supernatural Mafia of Edinburgh. Tensions are rising in Scotland's capital, and Mal must capture Rose to keep his demonic boss sweet - but is he really willing to harm an innocent to do so?
An all-female high-seas YA fantasy adventure of survival and revenge, with a diverse cast and filmic feel, perfect for fans of Sarah J Maas and Leigh Bardugo.
This much-anticipated second collection of stories is signature Ted Chiang, full of revelatory ideas and deeply sympathetic characters. In 'The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate', a portal through time forces a fabric seller in ancient Baghdad to grapple with past mistakes and the temptation of second chances. In the epistolary 'Exhalation', an alien scientist makes a shocking discovery with ramifications not just for his own people but for all of reality. And in 'The Lifecycle of Software Objects', a woman cares for an artificial intelligence over 20 years, elevating a faddish digital pet into what might be a true living being. Also included are two brand-new stories: 'Omphalos' and 'Anxiety Is the Dizziness of Freedom'. In Exhalation, Ted Chiang wrestles with the oldest questions on earth - what is the nature of the universe? What does it mean to be human? - and ones that no one else has even imagined. And, each in its own way, the stories prove that complex and thoughtful science fiction can rise to new heights of beauty, meaning and compassion.
One Step Beyond is based on a time period and sub-culture that I am unfamiliar with (80's Skinhead culture - although no date is specifically mentioned). The book uses the tried and tested body swap plot, this book explores social discord and conflict that feels all too common at the moment. I found the concept of Mal and Ashraf's swap allows the other person to “walk a mile in the other person’s shoes” really intrigued me. I found this book a simple but enjoyable read and I thought that it had good attention to detail. I took an instant disliking to Mal, as we’re supposed to, but having the synopsis in mind, I wanted to persevere and see him change. As the book progressed my frustrations changed direction and I found Ash quite reedy. These are a sign to me of good character construction. I think I preferred Phil and Kate out of all of the characters and occasionally had to pay a bit more attention to make sure I had the right characters in mind -Arf, Ash, Travis and Trevor are quite similar names used in the book and I had to double-check I had read the name right once or twice. Overall, I enjoyed the book and finished it in one day, and I would recommend it to others.
This is a story of searching for the truth, brings up more questions and answers and leaves the reader doing the same. It is a complex novel - I read whilst on holiday. It is the story of Tres who is reborn as a boy called Aaron- he has a gift by the way of recalling people who lived before. It was an unusual book which needs time to read not for the skimmer. The writing is well written and it is so worth reading to the end to discover. A book of friendship. This is written by an author I am not familiar with and will seek him out now. Jane Brown, A LoveReading Ambassador
A well-crafted story, beautiful language, a mystery and a wild cat with a sense of humour. What's not to like about this book? It grabs the reader's attention from the start and holds on to it throughout the story. I also love the information about Wild Cat conservation which appears before the story starts: hopefully this will encourage readers of all ages to take an interest in the conservation of this beautiful animal. I normally clear my downloads after reviewing a book, but I will be keeping this one to reread and I can't wait to read about Catastrophe's next adventure Pauline Braisher, A LoveReading Ambassador
This hard-to-categorise quest story about an inquisitive child – Deon - who embarks on a lifelong mission to find his place in the world, is driven by the author’s desire to share his interest in imaginary realms. As a child, the narrator’s mother asked him “who he wanted to be in future”. Rather than give the expected answer of a superhero, or a fireman or policeman, Deon declares that he will “find a treasure”, but not the usual kind of treasure that’s buried in the depths of the earth or ocean. “I think I want to find a different kind of treasure.” He’s unsure as to what this means, but believes that “I’d come into this world with the word “treasure” deeply coded in me, but as a child I couldn’t have known its meaning.” Throughout his troubled childhood Deon feels “trapped entirely in my own dreamlike identity, filled with mysterious occurrences such as having transmitted, somehow, visions from objects I touched”. Deeply dissatisfied as a working adult, and desperate to “find my place in this world”, Deon decides that he must visit “magical” Glastonbury. Though much otherworldliness spills forth during this pilgrimage (during which he’s informed about chakras and the magic of crystals), the language retains a calmly straightforward tone as Deon’s quest comes to a revelatory climax. One for fans of spiritually-charged fiction.
With extraordinary imaginative power, King weaves the social, political and popular culture of his baby-boom American generation into a devastating exercise in escalating suspense. Stephen King's incredibly ambitious, heartstoppingly dramatic time travel novel, 11.22.63 is a riveting, high-stakes political story like Under the Dome, a love story like Bag of Bones and a 1950s community like IT. It's also a WHAT IF? story like no one's ever read before - a one thousand page tour de force.
Highly Recommended. More psychological thriller than strict horror I nevertheless wanted to include this because, primarily, it’s a wonderful book but also because it comes with genuine, if non-supernatural, thrills. This is a tight, claustrophobic and gripping tale centred around a group of teenaged female friends. Pinborough, a one-time teacher, has a deft and exact touch when it comes to depicting the voices, enthusiasms and fears of teenage friendship. And hatred. She’s also adept at using the pervasive nature of social media to power and inform her plotting and draw the tension tight around her story. Natasha is found in a freezing river on the edge of a small town. It quickly becomes clear that she died for 13 minutes. What is less clear is how or why she died. Natasha has no clear memory of how she got in the river but as her friends gather around her in hospital it’s obvious that someone does know. What follows is brilliantly judged, twisting journey into the lies, loves and hatreds that can exist in the pressure cooker of female teenage friendship groups. This is an empathetic novel that touches on bullying and power-plays, on the heightened emotions of youth. Pinborough maintains the tension impeccably to leave you always on the verge of knowing what’s happened but never being quite certain. This is perfect for anyone who enjoys the novels of Gillian Flynn or who loved the film Heathers.
Welcome to Sardinia: my hell, my home, my prison, my meditation these past sixteen years. What a place to die. But that's precisely why I was back. When drugged-up Time Traveller and '80s musical burnout Rock Section and his fellow English hooligans get kidnapped during Italia '90, there are ruinous implications. But now Rock has returned to Sardinia one final time to settle some scores and uncover the truth. He believes only Dutch cult leader Judge Barry Hertzog, still incarcerated on the island for the crime, can provide the answers. But through prescription drugs, the persistence of his driver Anna and a quest for the hidden ancient doorways strewn around Sardinia's only highway, the 131, Rock will discover that a greater truth awaits him. Judgement, consequences, hoodwinking on a grand scale, Gnosticism versus agnosticism...131 is a Gnostic whodunit that pursues readers' memories of all previous fiction into a peat bog and impales them with seven-foot-long pikes.
You can view this as a fantasy novel – but it is also an alternative history of epic proportions. Set in the time of James I it involves assassins, demons and incorrigible women.
A debut collection of short stories which won the British Fantasy Award, the Bram Stoker Award, the World Fantasy Award and the International Horror Guild Award … Wow! He then went on to write the superb Heart-Shaped Box proving that his launch was not just a lucky break and his literary attention not just because he is Stephen King’s son. This man can certainly write … you’ve got to read him. Most of the tales contain an element of fantasy and/or horror, but some are simply human dramas, and some, like the greatest of science fiction, use an unreal device to address a real problem. Superb. Comparison: Ray Bradbury, Michael Marshall Smith, Clive Barker.
The year is 2312. Scientific advances have opened gateways to an extraordinary future. Earth is no longer our only home; new habitats have been created throughout the solar system, on moons, planets and in between. But in 2312, a sequence of events will force humanity to confront our past, present and future. The first event takes place on Mercury, in the city of Terminator, itself a miracle of engineering on an unprecedented scale. For Swan Er Hong, it will change her life. Once a designer of worlds, now Swan will be led into a plot to destroy them.
Shelley didn't expect her posh new boyfriend Daniel to be enthralled by the quintessence of evil. She's preoccupied with the surprise success of Bessie, the oddly lifelike centrepiece of her Manhattan museum show. Her great-aunt Liza is busy ordering spooky old books from the dusty vaults below Charing Cross Road, while her friend Jack prefers brand-new books and his brand-new lover. When a little leather book arrives, Liza finds it repellent, but doesn't realise it's stained with vampire blood - until too late. Its arcane magic brings Bessie to life, and gives Daniel unimaginable power. As Daniel's supremacy grows, everyone's lives are infected. Soon the vicious vampire infestation rife in NYC threatens to spread to London - and only Bessie and her new friends can stop it...
The first in a three book series full of glitz, glamour and dark magic. Fairy tales are just that as Jane Boyle discovers when her seeming prince charming, Malcolm Doran, turns out to have a dark side and some serious family issues. Perfect for fans of Lauren Kate and Sara Manning. 666 Park Avenue Series:1. 666 Park Avenue2. The Dark Glamour3. The Lost Soul
The extraordinary new novel from one of this or any genre's most talented writers - cutting edge genre writing with an impeccable critical track record.Similar this month: None.Comparison: Richard Morgan, Nick Sagan, Michael Marshall Smith.
This is the sixth novel in the bestselling Outlander series - soon to be a major new TV series. Their love has survived the test of time. But can it survive fate? America, 1772. It is only a few years before the war of independence and the colony seethes with unrest. As battle lines are drawn up and loyalties tested, no one is safe in this new country. Jamie Fraser receives a message from Governor Josiah Martin. He wants Jamie's help to keep the backcountry safe for King and Crown. But Jamie knows what's to come. His wife, Claire, has travelled back from the twentieth century and she knows what will happen to those loyal to the King of England. Exile or death. Neither prospect appeals to Jamie. But Claire knows something else. From her own time she's read an article, dated 1776, reporting the destruction by fire of their home on Fraser's Ridge and the death of those who live there. Jamie hopes Claire is wrong, for once, about the future. But only time will tell...
In a truly beautiful reading experience, encounter the footnotes of a time long ago, meet people capable of committing murder, of holding a stinging need for vengeance, of feeling deep abiding love and friendship. If you see the term fantasy and usually turn away, please don’t, instead choose to step inside and feel the connection to the Italian Renaissance, allow the people to become known, experience their emotions, appreciate the eloquence of the writing. I adore the work of Guy Gavriel Kay, and have done since I was a teenager, epic in scale, intimate in focus, these are books that have allowed me to step outside of myself and experience a different world, though one that feels recognisably ours. You can read this as a standalone, however if you have read some of his other novels, then the land in which this is set will call to you, and there are moments of awareness as you look around and feel the landscape, architecture and even at one point the half-forgotten presence of an age-old entity. I can recommend ‘A Brightness Long Ago’ with my heart and soul, it really is wonderful and so sits as one of my picks of the month.
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.