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Liz Robinson has been an Editorial Expert writing reviews for LoveReading since February 2014. At LoveReading we only recommend books we love, and each month Liz now has the tricky task of choosing a small selection that really caught her eye. All are highly recommended and come with Liz's seal of approval.
An addictive, thrilling, supernatural crime novel and the first in what promises to be a fabulous new series. The death of a woman is classed as murder, the policing team can’t work out how the killer entered the room, and a sinister element suggests the supernatural is at work. This, the first in the Rose Gifford series really does pack a punch, as well as introducing us to Rose and the UCIT (a secret police department), it also sits as a cracking story in its own right. With a spooky first chapter C.S. Green then introduces the policing team. Creepy layers build on creepy layers, yet it isn’t overplayed and all feels plausible. I was hooked enough, bearing in mind the tag of: “Even in your dreams, he’ll find you,” to continue reading right through into the night. You’ll discover that Rose has her own problems to deal with, she feels as relatable as can be, and I was firmly on and by her side as I read. I want to learn more about the UCIT and can’t wait for the next in the series. Sleep Tight is a satisfyingly enthralling read, and stimulating as heck, it just had to be included as one of my Liz Picks of the Month
A wonderful addition to one of my favourite series, if you have a somewhat suspect and dark sense of humour and can cope with a serial killer telling you her story then step right up! Rhiannon is on the run and stuck on a cruise ship as it heads into the Mediterranean. She attempts to take on a new persona, will she succeed or will she be sucked back into a killing spree? You most definitely need to have read the first two books in this series (Sweetpea and In Bloom) before embarking on Dead Head. Rhianna’s, ahem sorry… Rhiannon’s story begins to turn in a different direction, and I welcomed this path. Her kill lists remains, however her murderous mojo appears to have wandered off for a tea break. I still smirked, I still snorted with laughter, and I still found a deliciously wicked story. C.J. Skuse has the most sharp and smart writing style, balancing humour and absurdity with insightful and penetrating reasoning. The yo-yo effect from horror to compassion to incitement had me questioning my own judgement! Strutting to become a Liz Pick of the Month, it joins its sisters with style. Dead Head is a book you can escape into, it’s refreshingly different, and twisted as heck.
Slip into this beautifully simple yet profound novel and explore love, relationships, regret and second chances while travelling through time to the 1970’s. Faye’s mother died when she was a child, 30 years later and she is able to return to her mother’s side, will she take the chance? The time-travel aspect feels utterly plausible so I suggest that you suspend thoughts of reality and just let yourself go. It’s just so easy to fall into this novel, debut author Helen Fisher encourages a connection to form as Faye tells her own story. I wanted to reach out, be a voice of reason, yet I remained by Faye’s side as I read her tale, soaking it up until I felt as though it was a part of me. I explored loss and grief, love and hope, and oh how I hoped. Emotional, yet heartwarming, sharply realistic yet joyously magical, Space Hopper really is a gorgeous tale that I can highly recommendand have chosen as a Liz Pick of the Month and LoveReading Star Book..
An intelligent, brooding yet vibrant crime thriller debut that just thrums with atmosphere. Investigative psychologist Philip Taiwo walks straight into trouble when he is hired to investigate the brutal crowd murder of three students known as the Okiri Three in Nigeria. It is an absolute thrill to be in at the start of a new series that promises so much. Femi Kayode has created a relatable and likeable main character who is quickly out of his depth, and Philip tells his own tale. The setting was brought so vividly to life I found myself wide-eyed as I looked around and soaked up the sense of place. I could reach out and touch, could feel Nigeria and it’s history. Another story sits alongside Philip’s, it’s intense and provocative, it felt as though it was hunting down the main tale, ready to attack. While Philip investigates, the link to his home life allows a further connection and understanding of his background. There are a number of other characters that I sincerely hope will make a return and I am already excitedly waiting for the next book in this series. Lightseekers is a smart, action-packed and intriguing read. I want to shout about this one, so it’s not only a Liz Pick of the Month, it’s also a LoveReading Star Book too.
February 2021 Book Club Recommendation Click here to see our Reading Group Questions. Excuse me while I rave about this book, it’s so different, so powerful, so fabulous that I’m experiencing reading elation after finishing it. When Wolf Willeford meets Mrs Death, he becomes her scribe and travels with her to view humanity as it circulates from life to death. A renowned performance poet, this is Salena Godden’s debut novel. In 2018 a BBC Radio 4 documentary was broadcast as it followed the novel as it was written over twelve months. Containing poetry, chants, commentary, recollections, moments in time, and all within the most wonderful story, this is a recognisable yet totally unique take on death. Her words entered my thoughts and made me see, search, examine, they entered my heart and made me feel. Small intimate and intricate moments sit alongside huge stories that are all linked by death. My feelings span from humour to heartbreak, from darkness to light, and all the while the story flows with strength and beauty. There may well be some emotionally difficult paths to explore along the way, and while uncomfortable reading in places this is as much about life, love, and hope as it is death. This is a reading experience I won’t forget and I just had to choose it as one of my Liz Picks of the Month and of course a LoveReading Star Book. Celebrating life and opening up questions on how we view death, Mrs Death Misses Death is a wake-up call of a book that I will be recommending far and wide.
With vivid action-packed scenes this is a wonderful adrenaline rush of a political thriller. Russia is blamed when cyber attacks hit at the heart of Washington, D.C. and Hayley Chill is faced with trying to avert World War Three. Yes, you could step in here and read this as a standalone, but my advice is to start with Deep State, which is one of my books of the year from 2020. This is just as readable, just as addictive, and just as fabulous, I read until I couldn’t keep my eyes open, and then continued the moment I woke up. It felt as though there was more of an introduction to this story and as a British reader, once the prologue had finished kicking off, I appreciated the slower pace at the start to get to grips with the political and intelligence community. Having said that, slower doesn’t mean quiet, and it quickly turned into a full on the throttle riotous ride. I loved that Chris Hauty continues with the snapshots of walk-on characters, miniature stories summarising lives to be played out. He has the ability to transfer words into images, full-on scenes that felt as though I was a part of the action. The story has a few well-aimed kicks lying in wait, and even though I was alert and ready, didn’t expect the story to head in the final direction it did. Savage Road continues the Hayley Chill series in fine style, and comes with a whopping thumbs up from me as a Liz Pick of the Month.
What a gloriously dark and thrilling treat of a read this is! If I’m not careful I will go into exclamation mark overdrive as I adored every single moment spent with this novel, from the cover on the outside to the content within. Silhouette artist Agnes believes that her clients are being murdered, in an attempt to find answers she asks spirit medium Pearl to make contact with the dead. Victorian Bath is the setting with a dramatic and shadowy atmosphere that oozes from the pages. The characters are beautifully constructed, I found myself investing in their every word and move. The plot is fascinating, the uncanny elements thrilling, and yet it all feels so convincing, so vividly real. And oh, that ending, it gave me goosebumps in the best possible way! If you delight in a deeply satisfying story containing elements of the supernatural then this is the book for you. Slithering between thoughts into the darkest of places The Shape of Darkness is an eloquent, mesmerising gothic tale and one of my Liz Picks of the Month.
A powerful, provocative and quite wonderful modern literary fairy tale, but if you enter expecting ‘happily ever after’ you’ll be sorely disappointed. Rather than sugar and spice and all things nice, you’ll instead find a novel brimming with exquisitely sharp and pointed attitude. Thirteen and a half years after Cinderella married the man of her dreams and she’s had enough, she wants out. The prologue pierces love, and binds hate, firmly setting the tone, yet wicked humour and gentle observations also tickle the page. The echoes of well known fairy tales make themselves felt, adding to the enchantment. There is much to take delight in, yet beware, all magic is paid for and you’ll need to be on the look out for hidden snares. I adore the tale that runs alongside the main story, of the two mice that accompanied Cinderella and live in a world circling through an entire civilisation. How easy it is to view what you want to see, rather than what is actually there. As the fairy tale splinters and a shimmer of reality breaks through, I found my thoughts tossed high in the air, and where they will land, I still don’t know. So bright, so clever, and thought-provoking this just had to sit as a Liz Pick of the Month. I danced through the deep dark magic of The Charmed Wife, long live the fairy tale that lives beyond 'happily ever after'.
A sparkling bright and entertaining contemporary romance, and just to make you smile even more there’s a rescue dog who shares (steals) the limelight. When Margot and Will meet and both fall in love with Blossom at the rescue centre, they reluctantly agree to share custody. Sarra Manning has the most wonderfully light touch, she adds notes of sunshine to proceedings even when darkness threatens. With poo bags, dog treats, and increasingly bad behaviour Blossom is an absolute delight. Margot or Will head each chapter with each given equal billing, they feel entirely relatable, flaws and all. The background characters add colour and vibrancy to an already lovely novel. This really is the perfect read for anyone wanting to escape from reality for a while. So, wrap yourself up in the comforting embrace of an uplifting modern romance and sit back and relax with Rescue Me.
Our January 2021 Book Club Recommendation Click here to see our Reading Group Questions. A complete joy of a debut, bright, observational and incredibly intimate, this book has lodged itself in my heart. Take twelve independent yet linked stories over twelve months about people who are connected to a London park community. The focus changes with each month, allowing individual stories to shine, yet they add up to a vibrantly wonderful whole. Gemma Reeves is beautifully eloquent, she has the ability with a few words, to give you admittance to someone’s soul. While she creates penetrating access to each person, there isn’t always a conclusion, instead life carries on, suggesting potential pathways. I fell in love with this powerfully blended infusion of life. The variety of characters, in age, personality, and beliefs crackle with energy. A new character might wander in for a few moments and then star in the next tale. Some connections may be obvious and linger, others lightly touch before moving on. The stories themselves tug at heartstrings and encourage thoughts to roam, the ending is simply divine and brought tears to my eyes. Thought-provoking and emotionally intelligent, Victoria Park slips with glorious ease onto our LoveReading Star Books list and is a Liz Pick of the Month, it really is very special indeed.
An absolute whammy of a read, and a must for anyone who enjoys a smart, fast-paced, hugely entertaining blast of speculative fiction. When Jimmy agrees to smuggle data in his headspace, he really didn’t expect it to start talking to him. Honey the bioform bear needs to make contact with an entity on Mars, and Jimmy finds himself an unwitting accessory. While you could definitely read this as a standalone, I really do recommend reading Dogs of War, in which Honey also appears, as an introduction to this fabulous bioform world. Arthur C Clarke Award winning Adrian Tchaikovsky has successfully combined weighty, thought-provoking moments, with a Trump-like baddie, full-on action and smirky humour. And oh, how I smirked, Jimmy acts as a beautifully timed foil to the powerfully intense Honey. This is one of those books where you can just throw yourself and abandon yourself to a fabulous story, knowing you will be entertained throughout. A LoveReading Star Book and Liz Pick of the Month, Bear Head comes with a colossal thumbs up from me.
Oooh, juicy and gossipy sliding into captivating and provocative, this is such an entertaining read! An £18 million lottery win fractures 15 year old friendships, alters family relationships, and changes lives forever. Adele Parks really does know how to tell a story, and she has the ability to shine a light into the darkest recesses of what it is to be human. Two plot lines run side by side, the sinister side of greed is examined in both, and as the story unfolds the links become clear. They aren’t always the most likeable bunch, I do so love it when a character (deliberately) gets under my skin and annoys the heck out of me! There’s nothing like a goodly burst of indignation or side-eye towards the more frustrating members of this cast! With surprises and revelations galore, Just My Luck is an absolute romp of a read, and I just had to add it as a Liz Pick of the Month.
Liz Robinson has been an Editorial Expert writing reviews for LoveReading since February 2014. Reading has always played a huge part in her life and she can quite happily chat books all day. Liz previously spent twenty years working as a member of police support staff, including roles as Criminal Intelligence Analyst, Briefing Officer and Crime Reduction Advisor. She relishes her time spent exploring all genres, and particularly enjoys novels that encourage her emotions to run riot, or fling her back in time or to unknown places, Liz is also thrilled when broadsided by an unexpected twist. Liz was delighted to have been asked to be a judge for the Romantic Novelists' Association Goldsboro Romantic Novel of the Year Award 2018, the LoveReading Very Short Story Award 2019, and the Chiddingstone Castle Literary Festival Short Story Competition 2019. She would describe herself as a reader, a lover of all things books, and can be found on twitter as @LRLizRobinson.