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Looking to try something new? Check out our Debuts of the Month selection. You never know, one might become your favourite new author and a special discovery!
This is an impressive family/friends novel that you cannot fail to identify with. Itâ€™s perceptive, warm and compelling. A lovely read. Three women discontent with their isolated lives in a tiny hamlet find solace in each other and their attraction to a house. Comparison: Victoria Clayton, Joanna Trollope, Isla Dewar.Similar this month: None but try Mary Nickson or Kate Long.
Jess, the eight year old daughter of a Nigerian mother and an English father, feels ostracised but is blessed with a vivid imagination. On holiday in Nigeria she meets a girl of her own age, a kindred spirit, perhaps an imaginary friend or her dead twin. I’m not telling you, suffice to say the relationship takes some interesting twists in a challenging read.Comparison: Zadie Smith, Diana Evans, Donna Daley-Clarke.Similar this month: None but try John Bennett. Head to our 'Black Lit Matters' list to find more must-read novels by black writers. To view a reading guide for this title click here
I really enjoyed this and the second in the series, published at the same time; two more are due later in the year. Crossing romantic comedy with a Buffy-style vampire tale, they are sexy, compulsive, quick to read and the most enormous fun. Betsy, a smart, trim, well-dressed girl with a passion for designer shoes, has a bizarre accident and wakes up alive in a morgue, little knowing she is now a vampire, but no ordinary vampire for garlic, sunlight and holy water do not affect her. As she is drawn into vampire politics, these traits make her stand out and so she is hailed a queen. The mix of vampires and humans is beautifully handled, their relationships developed throughout the books, so do move on to the second.Comparison: Buffy, Laurell K Hamilton, Anne Rice.Similar this month: None.
A deeply disturbing but totally unputdownable debut novel. Youâ€™ll read it in a single sitting.
A young man finds an extraordinary statuette which drives him to steal his motherâ€™s credit card and set off round the world to find the artist. Itâ€™s a coming-of-age tale, a quest novel and a magical journey in a young, hip style, with an interesting voice. Youâ€™ll love it or hate it but you should read it.Comparison: Yann Martel, Christopher Brookmyre, Zane Radcliffe.Similar this month: None.
A poignant tale set in suburban America amidst a close-knit community of Poles and Ukranians. It is about growing up fatherless with the world against you. When all their fathers leave town one by one, the boys of the neighbourhood must grow up quickly and become men before their time. This is moving and heart-warming and a real coming-of-age tale, lyrical and rewarding. Highly recommended.Comparison: Leif Enger, Matt Dunn,Jennifer Haigh.Similar this month: John Bennett.
A nice fat, satisfying, historical novel, telling of Captain Fitzroy’s voyages to the south with Charles Darwin, and their tempestuous friendship. It draws on logs and journals of the voyages to weave an enlightening tale of one of history’s great journeys. Strong characters, vivid descriptions and a fascinating story superbly told, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Sadly this will be his only book as he tragically died at the end of last year of lung cancer although never a smoker. Comparison: Neal Stephenson, Alistair Macleod.Similar this month: None but try George MacDonald Fraser.
Single mother, Ally, juggling the problems of a neurotic boss, the sudden appearance of her exâ€™s new dolly bird and the endless demands of her children, finds life completely joyless. A good friend, Mel, takes her to a dating seminar and Ally rises to the challenge, adopting a more positive approach to life. Familiar ground, maybe, but this debut novel is surprisingly fresh, a thoroughly enjoyable read.Comparison: Anna Maxted, Allison Pearson, Lisa Jewell.Similar this month: Sophie Kinsella, Elizabeth Noble.
Reviewed on Richard and Judy on 8 February 2006. Flowing easily back and forth from the present to the 18th century and dipping in and out of two equally fascinating mysteries, in fact three by the time youâ€™ve finished, this part detective, part love, part historical story is based on fact and is truly fascinating. At the centre is a search for a rare, now extinct, bird captured during one of Cookâ€™s voyages, stuffed and owned by the celebrated naturalist of the time, one Joseph Banks, an unlikely spoil now sought by many dubious characters. It is a thumping good read.Comparison: Robert Goddard, Tracy Chevalier, Will Davenport.
A money, big business, drug linked, gangster tale with heart. Something a little different in this area which should appeal equally to both sexes. Itâ€™s a tale that concentrates as much on the conflicts and jealousies between the characters as it does on the shoddy businesses and power struggles. A very competent first novel, highly recommended.Comparison: Michael Connelly, William Diehl, Scott Turow.Similar this month: Stuart MacBride, Peter James.
Set in a hostess bar is Osaka, Japan, with an odd mishmash of interesting, seedy or sinister characters of various nationalities, this is wild underworld stuff with raw emotions, slick writing, East versus West, modern versus traditional themes all bound into an extraordinarily stylish first novel. A sort of Manga/ Blade Runner cross.Comparison: Haruki Murakami, Banana Yashimoto, Monique Truong.Similar this month: None but try Taichi Yamada for another Japanese novel.
A beautiful love story with a ghostly twist. This novel has recently been turned into a Hollywood blockbuster starring Reese Witherspoon and Mark Ruffalo, which I'm told is fantastic but quite different from the book. This debut novel from Marc Levy has at first glance an unbelievable plot, but it works. It's got everything: a boy-meets-girl love story with a bit of suspense and a touch of comedy, all guaranteed to warm your heart! Tres bien.
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