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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.
Razor-sharp tightrope time with this belter of a read, it is as dramatic and different as it is fabulous. Discover two books in one novel as true crime is enveloped by breathtaking storytelling. Read Eve Black’s memoir as she searches for the man who murdered the rest of her family 20 years ago. Sitting by its side is the story of the killer Jim Doyle as he reads the book and fears he will be unmasked. This has such a clever premise, Catherine Ryan Howard ensures that this is one of the few instances where knowing the identity of the killer actually adds to the intensity and drama. The change from one book to the other doesn’t jar in the slightest, each embraces and calls to the other and the transition is seamless. The tension increases until it is fairly reverberating through the pages. I let myself be carried away in the story, and don’t forget, this is a story, and it works because there is no sneaking a peek at the end! The Nothing Man is a blast of pure reading entertainment, and has been chosen as a LoveReading Star Book.
David Downing’s superb series of novels first appeared in 2007 with the publication of Zoo Station and I was lucky enough to get my hands on an early copy. My review of the time enthused “ A complex and edge-of the – seat thriller, think Robert Harris & Fatherland mixed with a dash of le Carre; it’s good, and there’s more to come”. I’ve had no reason to revise my opinion, through 6 novels; David Downing has evoked the feverish landscape of Germany and Europe in the Second World War period down to the last scrupulous detail. In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for Zoo Station a small number of Lovereading members were lucky enough to be invited to review this title - 'A book I couldn't put down. It's been a long time since I stayed awake all night to finish a book. This was one.' – Fiona Maclean. Scroll down to read more reviews. To read the Station titles in order: Zoo Station Silesian Station Stettin Station Potsdam Station Lehrter Station Masaryk Station
October 2015 NewGen Book of the Month. A group of Californian teenagers with superpowers should be having the time of their lives, right? Wrong… This action-packed page-turner about the self-proclaimed Zeroes shows that superpowers come at a cost. In fact, Ethan’s power, an all-knowing voice that speaks through him, has torn the group apart. And that’s also what lands him in serious trouble when he finds himself in the throes of an armed robbery. After being taken in for police questioning, Ethan, aka Scam, is compelled to call on the Zeroes for help. While still angry about the insults his voice poured on them, the old gang comes to his rescue. Chizara uses her superpower to crash the police station's systems so Ethan can escape. But that’s not enough; the shockwaves are already out there and the Zeroes, a collection of six compellingly realised characters, are drawn into increasingly high-stake situations. The first in a trilogy, and the result of a collaboration between three esteemed writers, this is an exhilaratingly original take on superpower-themed fiction. And, as the extraordinary teenagers are forced to find a way to harness their powers, it’s also an allegory about stepping up and taking responsibility. - Joanne Owen
July 2015 Debut of the Month. A fabulous debut novel, You, Me and Other People is clever, wistful and endearing. Beth and Adam have been married for years, secrets also kept for years are set to rampage though and trample over their lives. In alternate chapters over several months we hear from them both, as time passes, shocks, surprises and all the emotions they bring, lie in wait. While Fionnuala Kearney covers heartbreak and despair, this is not a melancholy book, instead it is full of smiles, warmth and hope. The author writes with a beautiful heartfelt balance, it feels as though she has reached into her characters hearts and minds and exposed their inner core. it is difficult to put this wonderful book down, each page encourages you to keep reading and once finished, to look forward with anticipation to the author's next novel. ~ Liz Robinson
“If you saw us you’d probably hate us...The perfect little family, living the perfect little life”, explains Merry, one of the three flawed narrators of this gripping debut. She and husband Sam have left New York and set up home in a picture-book-perfect little red wooden house in rural Sweden “What more could I hope for. What more could I need?” she asks rhetorically. Sam praises his perfect “busy little wife” who’s seemingly taken to rustic domesticity and motherhood like it’s all she was born for, but the cracks are visible from the early chapters. Sam is the epitome of toxic masculinity and controls Merry’s every move, while a visit from Merry’s high-flying, egoistical childhood friend disclosures her own desperate troubles. Teeming with duplicity, treachery and tragedy, this strident debut chills to the bone.
A wonderfully shiver-inducing wormhole of a read, the possibilities opened up before me while the story snapped at my heels. Elle returns home after letting her house out to slight but notable differences, the house no longer feels welcoming, small shifts have occurred, has she inadvertently allowed danger in? The prologue is quietly unsettling and sets the tone beautifully. Lucy Clarke writes with an exquisite subtlety, each layer thin as a slice of paper painstakingly constructed into a looming brooding tower. Taunting ‘Previously’ chapters lie in wait, prepared to catch you unawares, and then there are the chapters from the past, allowing knowledge freedom to hint, prod, stir. The characters felt so very real, they slid into my mind, taking up residence, making mistakes, regretting, living their lives. The ending felt real, felt right, felt perfect. You Let Me In is a razor-sharp, smartly provocative tale, and I loved every single second of it - highly recommended.
'When the person who loves the alcoholic declares their powerlessness, it is not about their own relationship with alcohol, nor necessarily about their own relationship with the alcoholic: it is about the alcoholic’s relationship with alcohol.' Robert Lockhart – piano virtuoso and former musical director of the National Theatre – met Louisa Young for the first time when they were both just 17. Their on-off relationship lasted for decades during which time Louisa also achieved great success with her Costa short-listed novel My Dear I wanted to Tell You and the sequels The Heroes’ Welcome and Devotion. You Left Early is an engaging, thought-provoking and challenging account of a partner struggling to survive a relationship with a man who has an ‘evil twin’, an alter-ego addicted to alcohol. Louisa Young has a gift, an ability to put into words and describe a subject that many, many people have been affected by, either though personal addiction or as a family member or friend. This book isn’t simply entertaining, it is an education. Reading it will leave you with understanding, sympathy and knowledge. It is a fascinating tale – of how to survive and what drives that ‘Evil Twin'.
Mary Blight, our unswervingly entertaining heroine, is a salty-talking, salty-acting woman. She picks over the corpses of those drowned off her craggy Cornish cove looking for treasures, such as the fine boots she pulls from a lady’s feet. And then she sees that the body’s earlobes are missing, leading to the national press reporting on the Porthmorvoren Cannibal, and someone saw blood around Mary’s mouth…But it’s Mary who takes in a washed-up stranger and nurses him back to health with the aid of Old Jinny’s curious cure. The man is a Methodist minister who decides to restore the cove to godliness and, observing Mary’s knowledge of the scriptures, he appoint her as Sunday School teacher, to the chagrin of the villagers who are familiar with Mary’s penchant for carnal pleasures. Mary throws herself into her new role but admits in typically honest fashion “I wanted Gideon to save me, but not so that I could kneel at the throne of King Jesus…I wanted him to help me flee the village so I could parade among all the smots in all my finery in a grand town”. As the villagers scheme against Mary, a nation-wide search for a thief gathers pace, and all the while the writing crackles with energy and atmosphere, making this an exhilarating read with something of a Dickensian spirit in the vibrant characterisation.
July 2017 Debut of the Month and eBook of the Month. A fascinating, intelligent and penetrating political thriller set in Belfast, Dublin and London. In 1991 Maire steps into the centre of a storm that will change her entire life when she is recruited as a honey trap for the IRA. In the present day DCI Carne, after an anonymous tip-off, discovers a body that will have huge repercussions for Anne-Marie who has just accepted the position as Minster of State for Security and Immigration. Layers upon intruiging layers are built throughout this story, it feels so incredibly realistic, as though you could be witnessing history. I didn't want to stop reading, this is an impressively stimulating read and I simply gobbled up the words while my mind whirred and deliberated. In ‘Woman of State’ Simon Berthon has created a contemporary thrilling tale with history ferociously snapping at its heels, ensuring one powerhouse of a read, I highly recommend it. ~ Liz Robinson
Winner of the HWA Goldsboro Debut Crown Award Longlist 2016. One of our Books of the Year 2015. November 2015 Debut of the Month. The most impressive thing about this extraordinary book is its atmosphere. You can feel the cold and the desperation of the people trying to live through the ‘wolf winter’, a term used to describe the coldest of winters. We follow a family of new settlers. This is Swedish Lapland in 1717 where the church has a grip on the community but the Lapps still believe in the ancient spirits. When a body is found folk are quick to blame a bear for his death but the new settlers see signs of a knife wound, not a claw. This is very special, a ghostly feel of menace lies just beneath the surface in a long, complicated and gripping tale. Awesome. ~ Sarah Broadhurst HWA Chair judge Andrew Taylor said: "The judges were unanimously impressed by Wolf Winter. Not only is it astonishingly accomplished for a first novel, but it plunges the reader into Swedish Lapland 300 years ago and plays havoc with your emotions. Dark, powerful and beautifully written, it's a worthy winner of the HWA Goldsboro Debut Crown.
February 2015 Debut of the Month. The most impressive thing about this extraordinary book is its atmosphere. You can feel the cold and the desperation of the people trying to live through the ‘wolf winter’, a term used to describe the coldest of winters. We follow a family of new settlers. This is Swedish Lapland in 1717 where the church has a grip on the community but the Lapps still believe in the ancient spirits. When a body is found folk are quick to blame a bear for his death but the new settlers see signs of a knife wound, not a claw. This is very special, a ghostly feel of menace lies just beneath the surface in a long, complicated and gripping tale. Awesome.
An enjoyable, comforting read, even with murder, intrigue and abuse, sneaking and scheming their way through the pages. Set after the Second World War in 1953, the author deftly takes you back to a time when rationing and making do was still a part of every day lives. The engaging cast of characters, from isolated countryside villages to the blitzed East End, are vividly portrayed. While Molly starts to really live and experience life, the background detail brings a vibrancy to the story, in particular the war torn and deprived streets of London. This is pure escapism, allowing you to float away to another time, to experience hopes and dreams along side one woman’s determination to discover exactly what has happened to her murdered friend’s missing daughter. ~ Liz Robinson
May 2015 eBook of the Month. An enjoyable, comforting read, even with murder, intrigue and abuse, sneaking and scheming their way through the pages. Set after the Second World War in 1953, the author deftly takes you back to a time when rationing and making do was still a part of every day lives. The engaging cast of characters, from isolated countryside villages to the blitzed East End, are vividly portrayed. While Molly starts to really live and experience life, the background detail brings a vibrancy to the story, in particular the war torn and deprived streets of London. This is pure escapism, allowing you to float away to another time, to experience hopes and dreams along side one woman’s determination to discover exactly what has happened to her murdered friend’s missing daughter. ~ Liz Robinson
Real Reviews from Real Passionate Readers
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.
In 2012 however, to complement our expert reviews and human-based Like-for-Like comparisons we decided to invite Lovereading members to join the newly created Lovereading Reader Review Panel. It has been a massive success.
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!
With that in mind we thought it would be very helpful to everyone if we created a category and put all the books that have also been reviewed by some of our Reader Review Panel members, in one easy to find place.
Here are a few testimonials from some of our 'Reader Review Panel' members:
If I can ever do another review for you, it would be my pleasure. Thanks again Josephine S
It has been a pleasure and a privilege to review for Lovereading, it's a great site Lindsay H
Thanks for sending me another fantastic book to review! Emily W
The book reviewing has been a real treat, thank you for a wonderful experience. Tracey U
Just click on any title in this category and you will, in addition to the review from one of Lovereading's editorial experts also see a link through to reviews by members of our Reader Review Panel.