Informative, candid and trusted, book reviews by our own book experts are unique to Lovereading. But within our loyal members and browsers of Lovereading are also prolific readers with years of experience and a real passion for sharing their love of books. So, we decided to invite them to join the Lovereading Reader Review Panel. All the titles in this category have been selected and reviewed by our own Lovereading editorial experts but also reviewed by members of our Reader Review Panel, a panel of book lovers across the UK.
Three young friends set out on a summer road trip, each one carrying secrets and sorrows. Squashed into a battered old car, fuelled by warm beer and pub pies, they bicker and tease, with the ease that only comes from deep familiarity. We know even as they set out that they will never make another trip like this, that it’s the closing moment to one part of their lives. Filled with the sense of hot, dusty days, the lull between end and beginning, this is a classic summertime novel. More than just a coming-of-age story, it perfectly captures a transformative moment in the lives of its three central characters, and turns it into something that rings true for us all. ~ Andrea Reece
In a Nutshell: Mystery, memory, manipulation | A feisty thriller that fizzes with intrigue, paranoia and a cast of fascinatingly flawed characters. For Jess “every waking moment is a flashbulb moment. I recall everything from the age of eleven like a never-ending motion picture,” which is why she became part of Professor Coleman’s intensive memory study Programme. Following a family tragedy and sick of Coleman’s invasive methods, Jess fled the study and assumed a new identity. She’s an engaging, refreshingly straight-talking narrator, not always likeable, but consistently clever and ten steps ahead of everyone around her. But further tragedy follows at her new school when Hanna, her roommate, falls to her death. While Jess tries to figure out who’s behind the mysterious postcards she finds in the wake of Hanna’s death, she falls for new boy Dan and confides in him as it emerges that Professor Coleman wants her back. A tangle of questions arise as Jess tries to keep herself safe, and the answers are revealed with terrific tension as a series of damning discoveries set the stage for an explosive showdown. Recommended for YA readers who like their fiction fast-paced and full of psychological thrills and chills. Do you have a memory for faces? Could you be a Super Recogniser? Head over to the University of Greenwich website to take the test… greenwichuniversity.eu.qualtrics.com
April 2018 Book of the Month Want to cook ridiculously good plant-based food from scratch but have no idea where to start? With over 140 incredibly easy and outrageously tasty all plants meals, BOSH! The Cookbook will be your guide. “Simple recipes. Amazing food. All plants.” This smart vegan cookbook from the creators of the “biggest plant-based online channel in the world” does exactly what it says on the tin, except the last thing your shopping list needs is a tin - the 140 recipes are 100% fresh in every way. Fresh food, fresh approach, fresh results. Covering everything from creative Quick Eats (creamy carbonara, pad Thai), Big Eats (mushroom and Guinness pie, rogan Bosh!) and Showpieces (jerk jackfruit and plantain pizza, the Big Bosh! Roast), to decadent drinks (easy almond Baileys, Salted caramel espresso Martini), this no-fuss cookbook will convert even the most committed carnivore to appreciating and devouring a vegan diet. The ingredients are easy to come by, the recipes easy-to-follow, and the results are fabulous – filling, flavoursome, and packed with hearty goodness. I can’t wait to work my way through each and every recipe.
In a nutshell: passionate love story continues – in hell | Zoe and X are soulmates, even though she’s a 21st century teenager and he’s a bounty hunter from the Lowlands, ie Hell. They were brought together in The Edge of Everything, but separated at the end when he sacrificed himself for her and returned to the Lowlands. But never say forever – in this equally torrid and thrilling episode the two are reunited, Zoe recklessly plunging into the underworld to find X, now involved in a search for his missing mother. The book’s appeal lies not just in its steamy romance; Zoe is a sharp, appealing character and readers will love the supporting cast too. Despite being set in Hell, there are a surprising numbers of laughs while the ending will satisfy everyone. This is one to recommend to fans of Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone.
June 2018 Book of the Month | In a Nutshell: Problem parents | Dealing with change | Loads of LOLs | Hilarious and heartfelt Judy Blume-brilliant tale of a girl who’s struggling to come to terms with her parents’ divorce. Oh, and George Clooney makes a cameo appearance too. From the off, this novel fizzes with energy and funniness (the cat poo/stepsister incident is truly inspired), but beneath the laughs, the hilarious detective episodes and slapstick moments, Violet is struggling to come to terms with the fact that her director dad has moved to LA and has new twin daughters with a younger actress. To make matters worse, after serial-dating a succession of loser boyfriends, Mom has now hooked up with the dorkiest guy imaginable. Even worse still, he’s called Dudley Wiener. Something must be done! And so with typical verve, Violet writes to her mom’s celebrity love, George Clooney, in the hope that they’ll hook up. Then, a fortunate turn of events (plus some conniving) present Violet with an opportunity to actually meet him… What could possibly go wrong? Fast-paced and featuring a fabulous cast of side characters (especially best friend Phoebe and love interest Jean-Paul), this is a riotously funny read with an inspiring lightly-told message - “You have to be open to new experiences. You have to take the good with the bad.”
This is surely the most incisive and entertaining guidebook to Malaysia, Singapore & Brunei available, whether you’re planning to hike the Taman Negara rainforest, take it easy on the idyllic Perhentian Islands or explore bustling Singapore. It’s packed with all the recommendations you to select the ideal places to sleep, eat, drink, shop and visit, with countless independent reviews and options for every budget. The ‘Things Not to Miss’ section is an excellent way of making those key pre-trip plans, and the detailed regional coverage covers both un-missable top tourist attractions and excellent suggestions for finding off-the-beaten-track experiences. The extensive full-colour maps will help you navigate the backstreets of Kuala Lumpur's Chinatown, Singapore's downtown shopping streets and dozens of sights, while the stunning colour photography provides plenty of inspiration. Further Fiction Recommendations; Passage of Arms by Eric Ambler Shadow Play by Barbara Ismail Evening Is The Whole Day by Preeta Samarasan Iban Dream by Golda Mowe
With almost 300 pages of fully updated practical information, this definitive guide to Naples, Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast will serve travellers splendidly over several trips, covering everything from cliff-top towns and must-see museums to active volcanoes, unforgettable Roman ruins and outstanding islands. It’s the one and only guide independent travellers will need! The dynamic city of Naples is covered in fabulous detail, with clear and plentiful maps, excellent advice on getting around, and inspired restaurant and shopping recommendations. It’s also great on the islands of the Bay of Naples, with advice on how to reach them, and what to do, see and eat when you step ashore. If you’re heading to stunning Sorrento – easily visited from Naples in a day - this tells you how to get there, and will help you make the most of your time, while culture vultures will be impressed by the depth of detail on both Pompeii and the lesser-visited Herculaneum. As well as being able to truly trust the reviews, recommendations and practical advice, this is also an engaging read about a richly rewarding destination. Further Fiction Recommendations; My Brilliant Friend; The Story of a New Name; Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay; The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante The Talented Mr Ripley by Patricia Highsmith Burns The Gallery by John Horne Betrayal in Naples by Neil Griffiths
June 2018 Debut of the Month Lygia Day Peñaflor’s UK debut is a study in obsession and revenge, betrayal and forgiveness. It is full of timely talking points about the culture of celebrity and whether a person can ever change or be forgiven following a terrible deed. Lovereading Comment to follow.
The acclaimed history of the rise of the Nazis based on fascinating first-hand accounts. One of the Daily Telegraph's Best Books of 2017; A Guardian `Readers' Choice' Best Book of 2017; Without the benefit of hindsight, how do you interpret what's right in front of your eyes?; Based on fascinating firsthand accounts, this illuminating book asks what it was like to travel in the Third Reich during the interwar era. Was it possible to know what was really going on? Was it possible for a visiting outsider “to grasp the essence of National Socialism”? The accounts of a multitude of travellers are surveyed - ordinary tourists, academics and athletes, alongside royalty, celebrities and creative types like Samuel Beckett, Francis Bacon, Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West. Their experiences and responses are recounted in all their intriguing variation - bewilderment, obliviousness, internal outrage, scholarly outrage. I found the chapter on African American academic and Germanophile Professor William Edward Burghardt Du Bois particularly engrossing. Du Bois visited Germany in 1936 seeking to study race prejudice, but the organisation that commissioned his trip instead permitted him to investigate education and industry. He returned to report the “vindictive cruelty” of the “campaign against the Jews” and, while he experienced no “personal insult or discrimination” himself, he posited the view that matters might be different “if there were any number of Negroes in Germany”. Spritely in tone, and finely researched, this is an engaging must-read for those with an interest in German history, and in social history per se. It might also serve as a cautionary tale to pay closer attention to the world around us.
Whether you’re an art buff, culture vulture, foodie or intrepid explorer of the great outdoors, this fully updated guidebook provides all the information you need for multiple trips around Tuscany and Umbria across 500+ informative, inspiring pages. The extensive introduction includes an excellent section on food and drink, with a great wine guide that almost serves as a fast track to becoming a sommelier! The Florence and Pisa chapters are wonderful, with detailed information covering all the unmissable museums and galleries along with recommendations that will enrich your trips by guiding you to eat and shop like a local. This contains all the maps you’ll need too, from detailed plans of must-see churches and gardens, to comprehensible overviews of wider areas around this stunning part of Italy, while hikers and walkers will love the suggested routes for off-the-beaten track treks. Further Fiction Recommendations; The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri The Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli
From A-Z, Athens to Zakynthos, and across almost 600 pages of painstakingly researched practical information, this newly updated guide will truly enhance your exploration of dozens of dazzling islands. Indie travellers and island-hoppers will find the getting around information invaluable – this covers every mode of transport imaginable, from ferries, hydrofoils, catamarans and high-speed boats to planes, buses and going it alone along hiking routes. The in-depth area-by-area chapters take you to the heart of the islands, with a huge range of hotel recommendations and top tips on where to find the best ‘loved-by-locals’ eateries, hidden beaches and outstanding unmissable historical sites. Further Fiction Recommendations; FICTION The Island by Victoria Hislop My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres Officers and Gentlemen by Evelyn Waugh The Magus by John FowlesFOR CHILDREN Groovy Greeks by Terry Deary The Roman Mysteries by Caroline Lawrence Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan Helping Hercules by Francesca Simon
With this new edition of The Rough Guide to South Africa Lesotho and Swaziland to hand you’ll feel like you’re taking a trip with your savvy best friend and ultra-informed local guide rolled into one, with every area comprehensively covered. This feat of meticulous research and mapping will help you find perfect places to stay, whether you’re looking to splash out or working to a budget and, since this is a Rough Guide, you can truly trust the recommendations. The wildlife field guide is fabulous, with top quality photographs and notes on where to spot a host of amazing beasts, big and small, in the many reserves. The guidance on getting around will be invaluable to independent travellers, while the extensive Contexts chapter is excellent on history, music, books and language, with truly absorbing background information that will spur you to explore even further. Further Fiction Recommendations; Whiplash by Tracey Farren In a Strange Room by Damon Galgut July’s People by Nadine Gordimer Dance with a Poor Man’s Daughter by Pamela Jooste
Now in its ninth edition, the informative, entertaining Rough Guide to Nepal delivers everything you’d hope for from this outstanding range of travel guides. The introduction includes a handy suggested itineraries section, plus the editor’s top tips for maximising your exploration of Nepal, while the main bulk of the book explores every corner of this fascinating country in detail, with reliable recommendations for places to stay, eat, drink and explore. It seems that no stone has been left unturned! The cultural and historical contexts come as a great addition to the practical advice - not too dense, but providing plenty of food for thought. And the comprehensive coverage of hiking, biking, rafting and kayaking is especially excellent, with clear maps that will serve you well when you’re trekking and travelling off the beaten track. Further Fiction Recommendations; The Tutor of History by Manjushree Thapa Arresting God in Kathmandu by Samrat Upadhyay
This meticulously updated Rough Guide to Bolivia is astoundingly exhaustive - every area is prefaced by regional highlights, while the level of detail in each ensuing chapter is tremendous, featuring reliable recommendations for the likes of accommodation (for every budget), getting around, eating and drinking, shopping, and all the local contacts you’ll need. As well as providing such detailed practical information, the book is peppered with highlights that will really enhance your experiences, including sampling street food in La Paz, learning about Lake Titicaca’s Lady of the Lake, dancing with the devil at Oruro Carnaval, following in Che Guevara’s footsteps, and forest ecology, to name but a few. Special mention must be made of the maps – they appear every few pages and are easy to follow, whether you’re looking for an area overview, or trying to find your way around a village, national park or ancient site. Further Fiction Recommendations;FICTION The Fat Man from La Paz - Rosario Santos (ed) NON FICTONErnesto “Che” Guevara The Motorcycle Diaries
With over 900 pages of detailed practical guidance, this fully updated 16th edition will serve you trip after trip after trip. With a generous sprinkling of colour photography and many maps throughout, you’ll feel fully armed to explore independently. The chapters covering Madrid and Barcelona brim with inspired information about cool cultural highlights you won’t want to miss, and those travelling with a young family will really appreciate the recommended child-friendly activities and sights around the entire country, and beyond - the holiday hotspots of the Balearic Islands are covered here too, with information on what to do and see in Ibiza, Formentera, Mallorca and Menorca. Exhaustively informative, invaluable practical and written with real panache, this is a veritable bible to discovering Spain. Further Fiction Recommendations;Various books by Carlos Ruiz Zafon Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell As I walked Out One Midsummer Morning by Laurie Lee
Shortlisted for the YA Book Prize 2018 | In a nutshell: the unforgettable story of a girl with no memory. Can there ever have been a heroine like Flora Banks? She’s 17 when the book opens, but an accident aged 10 has left her with no short term memory. Then a secret kiss on the beach – with her only friend’s boyfriend – lodges in her mind. Inspired, she sets off alone to follow him, a heart-stopping journey that takes her deep into the Arctic landscapes of Norway, scribbled messages she writes to herself on her arms her only reassurance or guide. Flora does find out the truth about the boy and about herself, but she needs all her courage. A unique mix, part coming-of-age, part psychological thriller, with an almost fairy-tale setting, this is a story that readers will want to read more than once, and one they will want to share with friends too. Unforgettable!
May 2018 Book of the Month A tense, Hitchcockian psychological thriller in which nothing is as it seems, every truth might be a lie, and the past looms ever larger over the present, The Old You is a nail-bitingly modern slice of domestic noir. The Old You by Louise Voss A clever, gripping and thrilling tale that just demands to be read in one sitting. Lynn’s husband Ed has been diagnosed with Pick’s disease, a rare form of progressive dementia. As their world is turned upside down, odd things start to happen, and the past begins to cause waves in the present, causing Lynn to question her life and the man she married. Louise Voss writes with a cunning pen, snippets or huge wallops of information are slowly revealed, encouraging suspicion and turning thoughts on their head. I found my mind constantly ticking over and questioning everything. Lynn tells her own story, creating an immediate connection, yet it takes a while to get to know her, to understand her. ‘The Old You’ is a surprising, stimulating read, just be careful that it doesn’t lull you into false sense of security!
May 2018 Book of the Month Deliciously and thrillingly creepy, The Craftsman is an intensely gripping, superb read. Thirty years ago Larry Glassbrook confessed and was imprisoned for a series of child murders. Florence Lovelady was at the beginning of her career when she was involved in the case, now Larry is dead, however hauntingly similar events start to surface. The first chapter has huge impact, a mystifying and unexpected blast hit me full on, and then gently faded into the background. Set in two time frames, with thirty years between them, the story is brisk, and I loved the fact that you are expected to keep up. Sharon Bolton balances the knife edge between reality and extraordinary with a beautiful subtlety. This is just so, so readable, once in, I didn’t want to stop, and found myself reading into the small hours, be warned though, reading at night doubles the chill factor. As I raced through the final few chapters, I almost didn’t want the journey to end, yet the last few words sent the most delightful icy goosebumps snaking down my arms. I highly recommend stepping inside the pages, just give yourself up to the glory of the The Craftsman... this I have no doubt, will be one of my favourite reads of the year.
May 2018 Book of the Month An intimate, beautifully told, occasionally rambunctious tale set in 17th century England. Ursula Flight was born at an inauspicious time, she tells her own highly entertaining, yet poignant tale from birth. Ursula bounded from the page into wondrous life, I could feel her emotions, her wild, kind, impetuous nature spoke to me. Anna-Marie Crowhurst has created a vibrant, stunning setting for Ursula, the countryside of her childhood is so beautifully imagined, I found myself looking around, smelling, touching, feeling. Ursula’s own writing is scattered through the novel, her thoughts, letters and plays allow direct contact with her, as when she writes she is free, and unencumbered by the morals of the time. I have to admit to feeling a certain amount of disquiet as I read, one part of me was in the present, living life with Ursula, the other part was wondering what would become of this spirited young woman. A blistering darkness slices through ‘The Illumination of Ursula Flight’ taking its turn in the orbiting dance of life alongside the colour and passion, which creates a truly wonderful captivating read, and I loved it.
April 2018 Book of the Month “It’s a bit weird,” says Danny to James and indeed it is. Here are two thirty-six year old single young men who were once rival star scholars at an elite public boarding school now damaged. Danny was the scholarship student from a council estate, James an upper-class lad from wealthy parents. Both have sunk into a pit. How they got there and are desperately trying to climb out makes for a sensitive and highly compulsive read. Danny suffered loss and has been unable to get over the trauma, James had an “incident” which has left him brain damaged, he is now looked after by his restrictive parents. James is inadvertently responsible for Danny quitting his job and so hits upon the idea of being able to get away from his parents by having Danny look after him. A bit weird indeed. I truly loved this book, unusual for Mike Gayle and very special indeed.
April 2018 Book of the Month The nostalgic memoir of a young man, eldest of fourteen, growing up in 40s Wednesbury. The heartbreaking true account of his son struggling to come to terms with his father's dementia. A tribute to the unbreakable bond between father and son. 'At once a touching tribute to a beloved music-loving dad with Alzheimer’s and a poignant portrait of the love between a father and son, this written-from-the-heart memoir will warm the soul, and undoubtedly further the author’s magnificent endeavour to raise awareness of this devastating disease. Simon McDermott’s cherished dad, Ted, was born in the Black Country in 1936 and always loved singing. In his early twenties, following National Service, Ted seized an opportunity to air his voice publicly by becoming an announcer for Walsall Football Club, which provided him with plenty of opportunities to entertain the crowd, while coming up with ideas to draw more women to matches. Also enjoying stints as a Butlin’s redcoat and singing in clubs up and down the country, Ted never lost his love of music - not after settling down and working in a factory, and not after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2013. In fact, as Simon discovered during drives to calm his dad’s angry outbursts, singing has the power to bring back the old Ted. And so Simon posted a clip of his dad, the clip went viral and now, one single and full-length album later, Simon and Ted have raised over £150,000 for The Alzheimer’s Society. Peppered with moving and amusing family anecdotes from all stages of Ted’s life, and suffused in love and light through even the most harrowing moments, this heart-wrenchingly honest memoir is powerfully compelling, and should offer succour to others in similar situations.'
May 2018 Debut of the Month Our narrator Jasper is thirteen years old. He has synaesthesia which means he hears sounds, voices etc as colours and recognises individual by those colours and not by any physical appearances. We spend nearly a hundred pages learning about the disadvantages of such a condition becoming aware of many of the lad’s traits which are similar to autism. He lives in a confused world misinterpreting interactions and events and “blowing up” in panic attacks. It makes for harrowing reading. A couple of years ago his mother died and shortly after her his grandmother. His father finds the boy difficult to deal with. Now something has happened. Jasper thinks he has killed his neighbour Bee. Jasper is a very unreliable narrator. To discover what happened he has to recreate the colours of the last day of Bee’s life and try to match them to the events of that day. He spends a lot of time surmising and then painting naturally in those colours. The investigating police officer, “Rusty Chrome Orange” is a saint who eventually the boy learns to trust, but the poor lad is suspicious of everyone else, even at one time, his father. How it all works is naturally steeped in colour. Interesting.
The explosive new thriller from Sarah Pinborough, author of the NUMBER ONE Sunday Times bestseller Behind Her Eyes. Lisa has a sixteen-year old daughter Ava. They are close. She has one good friend, a work colleague, Marilyn. These three are our narrators with a few media and legal commentaries interwoven between them. It is a tale that shifts back and forth in time. Lisa has a dreadful secret that emerges when Ava saves a toddler’s life and the press move in. Ava then turns against her mother and we, the reader, get some of Lisa’s horrific childhood along with a whole lot of red herrings. The novel is full of nasty things happening to defenceless people. With false leads and trails with many twists and turns to keep you guessing, it has a pretty dramatic plot – very disturbing.
In a Nutshell: Fractured families | First love | Fresh starts | 16-year-old Holly feels like an outsider, except when she’s swimming at her local pool: “Under the surface, deep in the blue-lit water, nobody can see me. There’s nobody to judge the clothes I wear, or the way my hair frizzles”. It’s at the pool she meets Ed, who’s “not like the boys at school who are either geeky or cocky and smart-arsed and think they’re all that. He’s different”. While romantic feelings, evoked in all their dizzying wonder, swell poolside, at home the seas are stormier. Struggling with depression, Holly’s mum has “become so inward-looking that she hasn’t a clue what I do with my time”. But as Holly’s home-life begins to brighten, Ed reveals that he’s grappling with a serious domestic situation of his own. Warm-hearted, highly readable and romantic, with the bleaker elements of both teenagers’ lives handled with a sensitive lightness of touch, readers will undoubtedly root for Holly and Ed to find their happy ever after. ~ Joanne Owen
It begins with a nursery rhyme. Nineteen minutes later you die... The sixth gripping thriller in Lars Kepler's internationally bestselling series featuring Joona Linna. Perfect for fans of Stieg Larsson and Jo Nesbo. A hard-hitting rocket of a ride, if you’re squeamish, you may well be peeking between your fingers as you read. Superintendent Saga Bauer enlists the help of Joona Lina, who is serving time in prison, in order stop to a killer named the Rabbit Hunter. The authors are a well established, internationally best-selling writing duo, they seemlessly blend their skills into a story that blasts with fury and intensity. This is the sixth in the series, and if you’ve not come across Lars Kepler before, I would advise you start at the beginning with ‘The Hypnotist’, purely because it’s such a cracking series. I love the feeling of danger and menace that stalks the policing team themselves, who is to be trusted, who will survive, my heart was in my mouth on more than one occasion. As a nursery rhyme plays, the killer stalks his prey, violent, creepy and addictive, the tension in ‘The Rabbit Hunter’ sky-rockets through to the utterly gripping conclusion… and left me wanting more. ~ Liz Robinson
Norway rewards travellers with an enticing mix of tradition and modernity, from spectacular natural wonders to super-cool urban hubs, and this 300+ page guidebook covers all aspects of this dramatic destination. There are excellent insights into history - Ice Age origins, Vikings, Kings and Christianity - plus inspiring area-by-area information that will help you plan the perfect trip, with detailed maps of all major cities and sights, among them Oslo, Stavanger, Bergen, Trondheim and Svalbard. The thorough features on fjords, folklore and ‘Wild Norway’ are particularly fascinating, and the coverage of nature is first class. Included in the guide is a free app with travel tips and practical information which is regularly updated - find out more. Further Fiction Reading Recommendations: Hunger by Knut Hamsun Peer Gynt by Henrik Ibsen Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson In the Darkness by Karin Fossum The Sun by Jo Nesbø Wolves in the Dark by Gunnar Staalesen
Award-winning Frances Hardinge is spellbinding is this hugely entertaining and dramatic Victorian thriller. When Faith’s father dies suddenly she knows she must try to find out exactly what he was hiding in the local caves she had recently visited with him. Discovering the extraordinary Lie Tree which thrives off hearing lies and, in turn, reveals secrets long kept hidden Faith begins to uncover a web of secrets and mysteries that will change her view of the world forever. Faith is a feisty heroine whose courage combined with a determination that girls can be brave and resolute leads to the exposure of much dishonesty and many deceptions. ~ Julia Eccleshare. WINNER of the 2015 COSTA BOOK OF THE YEAR and Winner of the Costa Children's Book Award Shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2016. Winner of the UKLA 2016 Book Award in the 12 - 16 year old category. The Lie Tree is only the second children’s book to take the overall Costa Book of the Year prize, and the first since Philip Pullman won with The Amber Spyglass in 2001. James Heneage, chair of the final judges, said: “Part horror, part detective, part historical, this is a fantastic story with great central characters and narrative tension. It’s not only a fabulous children’s book but a book that readers of all ages will love."
Shortlisted for the YA Book Prize 2018 | In a nutshell: tense, super-suspenseful novel based on harrowing real life events After the Fire was inspired by the Waco siege in Texas 1993 when 82 members of the Branch Davidian sect and four US government agents died in a fire fight after a long siege. It’s not a fictionalised version, but Hill imagines life in the camp and as a survivor. Moonbeam, his central character, is beginning to doubt the teaching of Father John and to comprehend the methods he uses to control his followers. A survivor, she’s being coaxed to tell the story of the events that led up to that deadly confrontation with ‘The Authorities’. The tension rarely abates, and Hill makes readers empathise with Moonbeam’s confusion and fear. He also makes us desperate to discover the secrets she’s keeping, and long for her to achieve the freedom that’s always been denied. One of the most gripping and suspenseful books you’ll read all year.
Deceptively clever and utterly compelling, this beautifully written little book will continue to haunt your thoughts long after you've finished it. Set in Montreal, the world of Bilodo the postman is a simple one, but he regularly sneaks a peek into other peoples worlds by reading their handwritten letters; events take a darker turn as he deviates from voyeur into an obsessive usurper. The author uses Japanese haiku and tanka poetry to allow Bilodo to converse with the woman of his dreams; exquisite clusters of words will snag your attention and demand that you re-read them. This is essentially a book of love, of what might have been and of what could still come… One of our Books of the Year 2014. Selected as a BBC Radio 2 Book Club title in September 2014.
Shortlisted for the YA Book Prize 2018 | Shortlisted for the Costa Book Awards 2017, Costa Children's Book Award |In a Nutshell: Death row injustice | Undying brotherly love A book to break your heart, quicken your blood and stir your soul by one of the most outstandingly distinctive writers to have emerged in a long, long time. New Yorker Joe Moon was only seven when he took the call in which his big brother Ed told him he'd been arrested because “they think I done something real bad”. That “something” led to Ed winding up on death row, convicted of murdering a cop, though he insists he’s innocent. Ten years later, now Ed’s execution date has been set, Joe travels to Texas to say goodbye. The sublimely-formed structure slips between present and past, recounting the brothers’ troubled upbringing - how their Mom took off; how Aunt Karen took control and decided that Bible study and never mentioning Ed again was the only route to their salvation. While she insists that there’s no point wasting life or money helping someone who wasn’t sorry, Joe sees things differently. “He's my brother,” and that’s really all that matters. He has to see him. Lawyer Al, who’s taken on Ed’s case for free, offers some hope, but time is running out. “It's better to be guilty and rich, I reckon,” Joe remarks, as he experiences the excruciating injustices of a legal system in which the harshness of a sentence depends on where a crime takes place, who the victim was, and who you can afford to pay to represent you (crucially, Ed had no representation when he was first arrested). Once again, Crossan's free verse form is breathtakingly powerful - always the right word, in the right place, at the right time. Yes, this is harrowing and heartbreaking, but the kindness of the strangers Joe meets in Texas is achingly uplifting, as is the deep bond of love between Joe and Ed. This really is a magnificent feat of writing. ~ Joanne Owen The Costa Judges say: ‘An exceptional, compelling book for our time – its analysis is devastating but its message is hope.’
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Since its inception Lovereading has taken a different approach to book reviews relying uniquely on the selection and review of books by editorial experts, all of whom have had many years of experience working within the book trade. They know what makes a good read whatever the genre and actually read the whole book before telling you what they think - radical we know, but sometimes old fashioned ways are the best.
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We've now attracted over 1000 and 100's of books have now been read and reviewed by them. Many of them have their own book blogs and help us to spread the word of mouth on a book they've enjoyed. Panel members put themselves forward to read and review a book that we have advance copies of and their reviews are then loaded onto the site and complement those of our own Lovereading editorial experts. We're even now receiving feedback from visitors to Lovereading that the 'Reader Review Panel' reviews are as valued as those of our own Lovereading book experts!
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