This Summer just pick a mood to suit your reading - click on a category to find out more. Also, once you've chosen your story find the format that suits you best - Paperback or eBook. We really are your one stop shop for all your reading this Summer.
An entertaining and terrifically readable foray into the ultra competitive world of professional tennis. Likeable and friendly Charlie needs to gain a competitive edge to break into the top ten, she takes on a beast of a coach, but can she retain her soul as she attempts to fight her way to the top? It really feels as though you’ve joined the inner sanctums of the tennis tour, I was by Charlie’s side and firmly on her side as she practiced, played and partied her way from country to country. Charlie has extraordinary abilities, yet feels very human, she makes mistakes yet is still loveable. Lauren Weisberger, writes with a crisp, clear style, highlighting the grit and determination required to make it to the top, while also allowing free reign to the glitter and glamour on show. Even if you can guess the ultimate destination, it’s still a journey well worth taking as this a lovely hit of escapism and a perfect get away from it all read.
A deliciously readable and enjoyable relationship tale featuring a wedding photographer as she struggles to overcome her heartache and a less than healthy bank balance. 30 year old Katy Peacock started Sister Act Photography with hope and excitement, yet two years on and everything has changed. Katy is likeable, she feels as though she could be a friend, a friend with an intriguing secret! Catherine Ferguson tells the story through four seasons, she adds family, friends, fun, two interesting men and one decidedly loathsome one, ensuring an energy flows through the pages. ‘Four Weddings and a Fiasco’ is a lovely warm tale, perfect for escaping reality with as you attend four very different weddings.
A lovely, gentle read, full of interesting characters, and at the heart of it all, a rather wonderful book shop called Nightingale Books. In this charming romance, we take a peek into the lives of a number of people, and all have a link of some kind, with the book shop. The range of characters means you dip in out of lives, witness a flirtation here, and moment of drama there. You don't get the chance to know anyone very intimately, rather this is a dance across a world of relationship possibilities. Every now and then Veronica Henry includes a list of top ten books for the characters, ranging from novels set in Ireland, to cult classics, this alone made for an interesting read, and I wondered what type of book list I would have. With some rather neat endings to be discovered, ‘How to Find Love in a Bookshop’ is a delightfully easy and heart warming read. A 'Piece of Passion' from the publisher... 'What’s not to love about a novel that celebrates book shops, bookselling, and the joy of sharing the books that matter to us. When Ronnie first had the idea for HOW TO FIND LOVE IN A BOOK SHOP, I knew she’d hit on something special. Through Nightingale Books, tucked in a little Cotswold village, Ronnie introduces us to a beautifully-drawn cast of characters: Emilia, grieving for her father but hoping to continue his legacy through his book shop; Sarah finding solace among the book shop shelve from a disappointing marriage; and my favourite, Thomasina, the painfully shy, mousy teacher who cooks like Nigella, but has no one to share her feasts with. Nightingale Books plays a special part in their lives, albeit in very different ways. Tender, touching and full of Ronnie’s trademark warmth and joie-de-vive, this is a delicious novel. Sometimes a book comes along that makes you want to pack up your life and live in its very pages. This is exactly that book. I hope you enjoy it.' Kate Mills, Publishing Director, Orion June 2016 eBook of the Month.
One of our Books of the Year 2016. June 2016 Book of the Month. A fabulously quirky, ‘standalone’ romance-cum-farce from this feel-good author. Abandoned by his long-time girlfriend, travel writer Paul goes to Tuscany to research his next book. Arrangements are made but upon arrival no car is available. Enter one bulldozer, a wacky scenario which results in some charming pieces. Paul enters village life and that atmosphere is vividly and warmly described. Attempting to rescue an American ‘damsel in distress’ he falls instantly in love. Then long-time girlfriend turns up and life gets complicated. Full of joy and wellbeing, of sunshine and wine this affectionate, gently tale, a love triangle, or possibly a love square as more women seem to enter Paul’s life, is a sheer delight from start to finish. Highly recommended. A 'Piece of Passion' from the publisher... 'Alexander McCall Smith is fantastic at writing about Italy: its food & wine, its music, the history, the landscape and la bella figura. Onto this beautiful canvas he’s introduced una macchina colossale– a bulldozer. Only McCall Smith has the literary dexterity to pull this off. Funny, elegant and moving – occasionally earth-moving – this book is a joy; you’ll be swept away, literally.' ~ Neville Moir, Publishing Director, Polygon
One of our Books of the Year 2016. If you're looking for a fresh, addictive police procedural with characters who spring into vivid life, then look no further than Susie Steiner's Missing, Presumed. It's Steiner's first venture into the crime genre - her debut, Homecoming, was more literary - and it follows the efforts of DS Manon Bradshaw, a single woman in her late 30s, who is trying to get a handle on the case of the missing Edith Hind. Edith, a Cambridge post-grad, was dropped home by a friend to the house she shares with her boyfriend; the next day, he returns to find the door open, coats scattered, blood on the floor. Manon knows she has hours to find Edith before the hunt will switch to one for a body, rather than a missing person, but the time slips away and Edith can't be found. Steiner follows the case from various perspectives - Manon's, her colleagues, Edith's mother - using the effect to build a compelling, thrilling crime novel which I thoroughly recommend. ~ Alison Flood
Sparkly, fun and entertaining, even with a light touch of darker emotion, this is a bright summery read. 27 year old Kate dreams of Poldark, when she accepts a wedding invitation from the girl who shunned her at school, Kate invents steamy landscape designer Ross to be her plus one. Where better to hunt down her very own Ross Poldark before the wedding, than Cornwall? Along with Samantha Tonge’s trademark sweet wit, ‘will they won’t they’ romance, and variety of refreshing characters, she introduces a moving tender tone, that is none the less, full of hope. ‘Breakfast Under a Cornish Sun’ is a breezy, romance-filled, lovely holiday read. ~ Liz Robinson
One of our Books of the Year 2016. July 2016 Debut of the Month Penetrating and intense, ‘Try Not to Breathe’ is a chokingly dark debut thriller. Amy and Alex are the same age, Alex is divorced and drinking herself to an early grave, while Amy is trapped inside her own teenage mind in a hospital bed, 15 years after a brutal attack. Alex begins to investigate the assault, at the same time as she struggles to deal with her own demons. Fast moving chapters are headed with characters names and dates, and slide around in time from 1995 to 2011. Holly Seddon writes with a sharp intensity, casting at times a desperately sad shadow, yet there is still an element of hope that struggles for survival. There is more than one jigsaw with missing pieces here, which creates a balance to the storyline. Enough information is given to allow suspicions to grow, and flourish. As each piece slots into the jigsaw, and a clearer picture starts to emerge, the writing begins to feel lighter, just as the story moves on with a harsh and bleak intensity, ensuring this is a thought provoking and riveting read. Click here to read an interview with Holly Seddon about this book.
A short, sweet romantic tale, full of weddings, celebrities, rock stars and a rather lovely knitting shop. Callie left her home, friends and boyfriend and has worked her socks off to become a wedding dress designer. She enters a competition to design a dress for a well known actress, knowing it could bring a certain ex-boyfriend back into her life. The down to earth and friendly knitting shop that comes into Callie’s life, allows her to see things as they really are. With little glimpses into other peoples romances along the way and Callie unable to make up her mind on the relationship front, this is a readable romantic tale.
A lovely warm and hope-filled read, this is a romance with heart, soul and compassion. Faith is engaged, however she has a pain-filled secret, will it remain buried, or will life throw a great big strop in the midst of her wedding preparations? Faith is such an engaging character, she is easy to like and imagine as a friend. Occasionally the novel floats back in time, revealing Faith’s past, piece, by often jagged piece. As with Beth Moran’s previous titles, there is more to this captivating romance than the traditional will they, won’t they scenario. The author excels in making her characters feel real, she looks at the darker side of life, yet fun and frolics also abound. ‘The Name I call Myself’ is thought-provoking, yet it’s also ready to put a great big smile on your face, how delightful!
Martina does it again with another wonderful, gritty tale of violent men, dirty deeds, “family” and London’s East End gangland. It stars Sharon Conway through two marriages and eventually off into what could easily become a sequel. In a smartly paced story with believable characters and a watertight plot, no ends are left untied and not a sentence is wasted. Martina really is the queen of this genre. Highly recommended. ~ Sarah Broadhurst One of our Books of the Year 2015.
One of our Books of the Year 2016. A Maxim Jakubowski selected title. Summer might be fading over the horizon but Straub's new novel is a perfect summer novel for all seasons: witty, touching, humane and gently humorous. A tale of complicated relationships set in Brooklyn this proves as light-hearted as her father, Peter Straub's books are dark and laden with horror, and confirms Emma as a major talent with an equal knack for entertaining. The story of friends who met in college and formed a short-lived rock band, following their fate some decades later as they linger in a state of disaffection and crave earlier glories. Small epiphanies and the weight of regrets, everyday love and companionship are celebrated: a lovely demonstration that book subjects can be small and delicately formed. ~ Maxim Jakubowski The Lovereading view... A penetrating, witty and very modern look at family life. Two sets of friends from Brooklyn are now middle aged parents of teenagers, focusing on both generations, we see the highs and lows of growing up and trying to be a grown up! Emma Straub writes with a beautifully light yet discerning touch, little eye opening shots of wit pepper the page. The occasional snippets of information from local newspapers really ground the novel in the setting. As I read, I slipped into the neighbourhood and I felt as though I was a friend, just dropping in for a catch up and gossip. There is a gentle subtlety at play, secrets are slowly revealed, life is seen here, as it really is. ‘Modern Lovers’ is a wrying amusing and observationally astute novel, it crept under my skin without me realising it, and was an absolute joy of a read. ~ Liz Robinson July 2016 Book of the Month and eBook of the Month.
A delightfully effortless and lovely read, that allows you to drift off into a hot summery romance. 29 year old Carrie, part-time drama teacher and script writer has become stuck in a self inflicted rut. Carrie, her sister Angela, and niece Jade find themselves in the South of France, once there, Carrie bumps into a handsome Hollywood star, a star who Carrie used to know… rather intimately. Carrie is full of sunshine, her occasional questionable decision ensures she feels genuinely real. Jules Wake introduces the glitter of Hollywood, yet this doesn't feel like an unattainable fantasy. ‘Escape to the Riviera’ is sparkly, energising, and the perfect tale, if you'd like to escape into the blue skies of a reading daydream.
Penny is a TV producer who, when filming in Cornwall, met and fell in love with the local vicar. Now, five years and a small child later, life is not treating her well. Coupled with her present hopelessness is her back story of sibling jealousy and childhood trauma. Then her sister turns up again and despite appearances, seems not to have changed. We end with a cliff-hanger, albeit for a peripheral character, so a sequel seems almost inevitable. I do hope so for this is a charming read. It is a most enjoyable foray into the Cornish scene of small villages, gossip and real characters, like a Cornish cream tea, utterly predictable but thoroughly enjoyable and very satisfying. There is lots of action, lots of plot and plenty to keep you on tenterhooks. Highly recommended.
A truly tenacious and back to basics Nordic crime novel featuring private investigator Varg Veum. Staalesen has been writing about Veum since 1977, however this is my first foray into the series, and found it could easily be read as a standalone. 25 years after a three year old disappears in mysterious circumstances, the mother hires Veum to take one last look at the case. As Veum begins his painstaking detective work, he begins to dig deeper and further than the police have been before, and starts to uncover some disturbing links to another crime. Staalesen writes with a clipped, matter of fact style, the sharp delivery in the first person really sets Veum centre stage. There are an awful lot of characters to get to grips with and it’s worth getting them straight in your mind, right at the beginning of the novel. With plenty of surprises in store and an intriguing case, ‘Where Roses Never Die’ sets your mind working overtime and is a gripping read. A 'Piece of Passion from the Publisher... 'Gunnar Staalesen is one of the fathers of Nordic Noir and the creator of the unforgettable private investigator Varg Veum. Only six of the 20-odd titles in the series have been translated into English to date, and I am honoured to have the opportunity to publish the remainder, beautifully translated by Don Bartlett. Known as the ‘Norwegian Chandler’, Staalesen is a master of his craft, creating tightly plotted, page-turning and extraordinarily atmospheric thrillers that tackle social issues in the finest tradition of Nordic Noir. As Sarah Ward says in Crime Pieces, ‘Staalesen’s greatest strength is the quality of his writing. The incidental asides and observations are wonderful, and elevate the books from a straightforward murder investigation into something more substantial.’ I could not agree more. Where Roses Never Die is Staalesen’s best book to date, and I could not put it down until I had devoured every last word, and then re-read the stunning, completely unexpected denouement, just in case my eyes had deceived me. ~ Karen Sullivan, Publisher, Orenda Books
One of our Books of the Year 2016. A piercing, fast-paced and absolutely riveting read, the second book in ‘The Project Trilogy’ lives up to expectations. Having been gripped by the first in the series, I really do recommend starting with ‘Subject 375’ which was previously titled ‘The Spider in the Corner of the Room’. Dr Maria Martinez has been found not guilty of murder, she now races to discover the truth, but what version will she find? Nikki Owen plunges you straight into the story and straight inside Maria’s head as she tells the tale in the first person. With two different time frames, plus flashbacks, you need to concentrate to keep up, but this is oh so readably addictive. Maria has Asperger syndrome, finding myself inside her mind quickly became second nature. As I bore witness to her thoughts and actions, my own thoughts were set on a serated edge. Even though this is a wonderful all action thriller, there is a vulnerability to the writing, inducing feelings that prodded and provoked my consciousness. Placing you firmly in a different world, balancing a razor-edged tightrope of shocks and suspense, ‘The Killing Files’ is a fabulous thriller with a difference.
As light and bright as a breath of fresh air, even with the steamy summer romance that sizzles between the pages. When Alice discovers her celebrity husband is having an affair with his co-star, she tells him to leave, and resolves to keep her beloved home. To make ends meet she rents the manor out for six months to an American country music star, when sparks fly between them, is a holiday romance on the cards? Alice is delightful and Robinson gorgeous, yet Kat French really excels in adding quirky, funny, loveable friends (and animals) to the cast, ensuring this is a romance with an added sparkle. ‘One Hot Summer’ can be gobbled up, if you don't keep track of time, in one easy sitting, and is a delicious treat of a read.
June 2016 Debut of the Month. A light, flirty and oh, so much fun, debut novel by model and TV presenter Abbey Clancy. 22 year old Jess, a party entertainer from Liverpool has always dreamed of being a famous singer, so she can live like a star and look after her family. When she gets offered the chance of a lifetime, will it live up to her dreams? This is a wonderfully down to earth tale, even as it explores the heady price of fame. Jess is a loveable main character, she makes plenty of mistakes along the way, yet it is easy to emphasise with her. The quick, lively wordplay makes this a very modern romantic story and an enjoyable and entertaining read.
A gorgeous, loveable read, this hovers on the edge of the feel of a fairytale, of being almost dreamlike, yet at the same time it is startlingly believable and real. Nina Parr is 25, divorced, living at home and working in a job that she doesn't belong to. As Nina begins to learn about her family and a house called Keepsake, her world is turned upside down. There are two tales being told here, when in the depths of one, I almost forget there was another waiting to be revealed. Harriet Evans not only breathes life into these fascinating characters, she also excels in describing locations so they become a vital part of the story, the houses in particular were vibrantly intense in my minds eye. As you sink into the swirling depths of the story, you may have suspicions about the outcome, yet there are still surprises in store and ultimately, ‘The Butterfly Summer’ isn't about an ending, instead it’s discovering the beautiful pathway that leads to it.
One of our Books of the Year 2016. At the end of WWII Gus brings back an emotionally damaged German wife, Krista, to his family home on Clapham Common, London. In a bombed terrace his house remains unscathed yet possibly unstable. His two sisters are at home, one a grieving wartime widow who has also lost her baby. The other is suffering from the effect from war but we do not discover how deeply until towards the end. Gus works for an Intelligence Unit interrogating war criminals and Krista assists him until she has a baby. Gus had an English fiancée and his marriage sends emotional ripples through both his family and his ex fiancée’s. Krista has a difficult time adapting to English life and facing the obvious hostility towards Germans. Emotions run high throughout the book, personalities clash, lives change in this impressive tale. The Prologue alerts us to a dead body of a woman with child in the garden next door. We the reader, are left guessing who that woman might be until a fast-paced conclusion. Highly recommended. ~ Sarah Broadhurst
A lovely, warm-hearted and compassionate tale, this is the third in ‘The Tindledale’ series yet can easily be read as a standalone novel. April returns to the village of Tindledale, 18 months after her husband died, she looks after her great-aunt and gets to know the villagers, including Matt, the local farrier. April’s great-aunt has dementia and sometimes mistakes April for Winnie, there is a mystery in the air, can April discover the truth and learn to live her life again? Alex Brown excels in writing about characters of all ages, in particular the older generation come vibrantly to life under her considerate hand. A few characters from the other books in the series pop in to say hello, yet it’s Winnie’s hidden tale that makes this a particularly absorbing read. ‘The Secret of Orchard Cottage’ is an engaging and charming story, with the added bonus of a rather tantalising romance, what more could you ask for!
The second in the Lonely Hearts Travel Club series, featuring Georgia Green as she muddles her way through life and struggles to run her small and exclusive travel agents. Author Katy Colins gained a book deal after success with her travel blog ‘Not Wed or Dead’, she started this series with ‘Destination Thailand’, although I read ‘Destination India’ as a standalone novel quite easily. Georgia could charitably be described as a workaholic, and less charitably as a control freak, when a bad review threatens the reputation of the travel agents Georgia decides to go straight to the root of the problem in India. This is a lively spirited novel and while Georgia may at times be rather frustrating, I felt myself warming to her as she waded through a veritable catalogue of disasters. Entertaining and fun, this is a series that could travel around the world.
Lucy is worried about her financial situation and it keeps distracting her. Should she accept an offer of help from an untrustworthy source? Nadia may have a real chance at finding love but other areas of her life aren't so rosy. Something needs to change - but what? Autumn can't wait to meet someone she hasn't seen in a very long time. She's full of hope for the future but then things don't exactly go to plan ...Chantal has been through so much and she's finally starting to feel settled. The last thing she needs is the kind of bad news that could change her life all over again. And yet, despite all the ups and downs, the Chocolate Lovers' ladies know they can get through it all as long as they have each other. They're not going to let anything get in the way of their happy-ever-afters in ...The Chocolate Lovers' Wedding.
Set on the Greek Island of Kos, this is light, flirty and fun, in other words, a lovely ‘escape from it all’ read. When she was younger, Pippa adored her holidays in the village of Taxos, where she found friends, laughter and happiness. When Pippa returns after nine years, she discovers the village is struggling to survive and her daydreams of a tea-shop may in reality help save the village. Pippa tells her own story, and occasionally Samantha Tonge allows her to toy with the reader, letting Pippa’s imagination rush off and tease us. Joining Pippa are handsome men, tasty scones and gorgeous surroundings, ensuring ‘Game of Scones’ is a sparkling, delightful romance. Samantha Tonge's next sizzling summer read is coming in August and is called Breakfast at Poldark's.
One of our Books of the Year 2016. Shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award 2016. Shortlisted for the Books Are My Bag Fiction Award 2016. June 2016 Book of the Month. Award-winning novelist Maggie O’Farrell returns with her latest breathtaking novel. This Must Be The Place is a story about journeys, it’s about discovering who you are and where you’re meant to be. Daniel Sullivan is leaving on a journey, he is leaving his shotgun-toting, recluse of a wife and his two young children behind in Ireland as he flies to America to celebrate his estranged father’s birthday. Yet anyone can be easily thrown off course, especially when the past creeps in and misty, murky memories begin to haunt Daniel. After so many years it is now time to face his past but just what will it cost him? Will life ever be the same and will he ever be able to return home to Ireland? I can’t remember exactly when I first discovered the writing of Maggie O’Farrell, I do however remember the book. The Hand That First Held Mine. It was by no means her first novel but for me it was the discovery of something very special. O’Farrell’s writing is exquisite. Her characters are brought to life through her wonderful prose and you can feel their living, breathing presence as you read. Her stories will haunt you and in some small, subtle way you’ll never be quite the same again. Costa judges' comment: “An utterly involving read, both funny and heartbreaking – technically dazzling, but never losing its human touch.”
One of our Books of the Year 2016. Winner of the John Creasey (New Blood) and Goldsboro Gold Dagger Awards 2016. Maxim Jakubowski's April 2016 Book of the Month. Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer go rap! A striking literary thriller which follows the reluctant journey of East, a young ghetto kid from a world of drugs and crime in Los Angeles, across the United States on his way to a murder he must commit to prove his loyalty and gain redemption for a mistake he made back home. An old-fashioned narrative quest and road journey through the moral vacuity of America, alongside his psychopathic younger brother and other endearing junior gang members on a mission set for failure. The main protagonist's voice is both touching and engrossing, a modern version of Holden Caulfield had he been born in Compton and a generation or so later, and his itinerary both geographical and mental is a poetic as well as profane, delicate joy to behold. A character study of the highest quality as well as a thriller as addictive as crack. Without the shadow of a doubt, a book that will come to be seen as a landmark in US crime writing. April 2016 Debut of the Month.
One of our Books of the Year 2016. Shortlisted for the Books Are My Bag Breakthrough Author Award 2016. Winner of the 2016 Desmond Elliott Prize. Winner of the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction 2016. A quite simply sensational debut, one that reaches into the beastly heart of prostitution, drugs, and violence, and makes it relatable and so very very human. Set in Ireland, an accidental murder twists the lives of five Cork residents into warped disarray. The five stories nudge, then collide together as they become one. I found I had to re-read the first paragraph, it felt deliberate, a statement of intent, once I was used to the style, I quite simply devoured this stunning novel. Lisa McInerney writes with eloquent beauty, words either gang up together to punch and kick your thoughts, or they linger, waiting to kiss your soul. Lisa McInerney has a distinct and powerful voice, I found this beguiling, mesmerising and on occasion wonderfully shocking. ‘The Glorious Heresies’ made me giggle, made me sad, made me think, it basically spoke straight to my gut and I loved every earthy, raw second of it. Desmond Elliott Chair of judges Iain Pears said: “We knew we had found a major literary figure of the next generation when we made our choice last month – it’s good to see other prize judges have subsequently agreed with us. Lisa is a genuinely exciting writer – there is electricity running through her prose.” Margaret Mountford, Chair of the Baileys Prize Judges, said: “After a passionate discussion around a very strong shortlist, we chose Lisa McInerney’s The Glorious Heresies, a superbly original, compassionate novel that delivers insights into the very darkest of lives through humour and skilful storytelling. A fresh new voice and a wonderful winner".
A Maxim Jakubowski selected title. A finely-etched tale of domestic terror and a debut novel with a nod to girls gone and on a train, and unsurprisingly already snapped up by Hollywood. After a serious assault at a party, a fifteen year old teenager is given experimental treatment to help her banish the trauma but also inevitably forgets the specifics of the attack in the process. However, she now lives in dread of the unknown and it slowly tears her conflicted family apart. The psychiatrist working with the victim has to both probe for the facts and the culprit and struggle with the family break-up that ensues and treads a delicate ethical line in the process of seeking out the truth and justice for poor Jenny. A veritable page-turner with a good amount of 'you can't see them coming' twists to boot, this is a tale that will lodge deep inside your own memory. ~ Maxim Jakubowski The Lovereading view... Unique, fascinating and thought-provoking, ‘All Is Not Forgotten’ slammed into my thoughts and sent them spiralling. When the memory of the brutally violent rape on 15 year old Jenny is removed from her mind in experimental therapy, the treatment and the attack have far-reaching consequences in this chillingly provocative tale. The start sucked me straight into a vortex of shocking intensity, someone is telling us about Jenny and the attack, describing with articulate, almost dispassionate clarity what happened, just who is this narrator? I occasionally had to remind myself that this was fiction, Wendy Walker made me feel this was very real, at times as though I was reading a journal of facts. My thoughts and feelings were sent to and fro, searching for answers, uncertainty gradually becoming understanding, before being spun in a new direction. This isn't a fast-paced dash from start to finish, instead it stings, scours and bites… with bold, clever writing, I highly recommend ‘All Is Not Forgotten’. ~ Liz Robinson August 2016 Debut of the Month. July 2016 eBook of the Month.
One of our Books of the Year 2016. Shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award 2016. A gorgeously eloquent and powerfully expressive novel, ‘The Essex Serpent’ explores an unusual relationship in the 1890’s. This isn't exactly a love story, it is rather, a tale about love, in all its different forms. While Cora and Will form the heart of this novel, every member of the surrounding cast is as important as these two, each fitting into a perfectly formed relationship jigsaw. At times they may not be likeable, they may have their quirks, their differences, yet they are so well formed, it is possible to feel empathy as you question a decision or comment made. The Essex serpent coiled and waiting, exploits fear and mistrust, creating a fascinating setting in which connections flourish and wither. Sarah Perry’s ability to paint a picture with her beautifully chosen words is extraordinary. At times the Victorian setting vanished and the relationships felt very current and modern, while at others the different time period proclaimed the complications and difficulties faced by anyone judged as being different. ‘The Essex Serpent’ isn't a story to be rushed, it should be savoured, and valued, and most of all, enjoyed for the truly beautiful novel it is. June 2016 Book of the Month and eBook of the Month. Costa judges' comment: “This is the best kind of historical fiction – brimming with ideas and energy.” A 'Piece of Passion' from the Publisher... 'As an editor, there are books to which you become deeply connected. And then there are those books that you become so close to that you almost feel as though they are a part of you. The Essex Serpent, the second novel by Sarah Perry, is one such rare book, and I can’t wait for it to be out in the world. It is a sumptuously imagined novel of lives playing out against bigger historical moments, and it is the most unusual and moving love story I have ever read. It confirms Sarah Perry’s place among the finest novelists of her generation.' ~ Hannah Westland, Editor, Serpent's Tail
Seductively beautiful and evocative writing ensures ‘The Forgotten Summer’ is hard to put down. A vineyard in France holds the key to secrets and lies that have been hidden in history. 48 year old Jane finds herself torn, she is desperate for the truth, yet afraid of what she might discover as she explores the mystery surrounding her husband’s family. There were times when the vivid descriptions of the vineyard almost planted me in the fertile soil, allowing an emotional connection with the surroundings. The story seeps under your skin, there is a gentleness to the writing, interspersed with occasionally intense, slicing moments. As you read, you may have your suspicions, in fact Carol Drinkwater encourages your thoughts to explore further afield, helping you to empathise with Jane. Set aside some quality reading time as this is a lovely and entirely captivating, richly bittersweet tale. ~ Liz Robinson
August 2016 Debut of the Month. Unexpected and unique, this is a beautiful debut novel to immerse yourself and become lost in. Deb is a naturalist, studying penguins and acting as a tour guide on a research ship in the Antarctic. When tragedy strikes, it is in a world of mesmerising, stark yet brutal beauty. This tale doesn't run concurrently, instead Midge Raymond slides the story around in time, it isn't disjointed however, the flow of fractured information actually adds layer upon fascinating layer while never forgetting what is to come. Deb always tells her story in the moment, allowing a deeper understanding and connection to grow. ‘My Last Continent’ isn't just a love story, it is full of danger and suspense, it transports you to another world, and encourages reflection and compassion. I was moved, I was in fact, entirely captivated by ‘My Last Continent’ and recommend this thought provoking, eloquent novel. ~ Liz Robinson A 'Piece of Passion' from the publisher... 'Midge Raymond’s debut novel is a captivating and intelligent examination of love, and of connection—to people, place and work. The story of Deb and Keller is as much about Antarctica, that remote, beautiful and little-known place, as it is about two people for whom relationships have been a troubling mystery. My Last Continent is a wonderful piece of writing. It envelops readers in the icy air of the south and confounds our expectations of what a love story can be. And it has penguins—lots of penguins. I was immediately won over by the detail with which land and sea, characters and animals alike are sketched. Take the journey! ~ David Winter, Editor, Text Publishing
September 2016 eBook of the Month. A stirring and intoxicating story of love and twisted secrets waiting… lurking. Spanning twenty years, this tale introduces Jim and Jennifer in 1995 when they meet in Savannah, before a traumatic event forces them apart. In 2015 they meet again, with secrets snapping at their heels, will their feelings remain intact? The bewitching hot heady Deep South, encouraged me to explore the past, so evocatively described and full of promise. Waves of emotion, spilling the ups and downs of life, feeling touchable and realistic wash the pages. Tasmina Perry has the ability to immerse you entirely within the story, I lived in the moment, whether it was 1995 or 2015. 'The House on Sunset Lake’ surges towards a climatic ending, it is a moving, and truly very lovely story indeed. ~ Liz Robinson
Early on we meet Lucy, twenty-four, who needs a heart transplant. She is a plucky girl trying to live a normal life greatly hampered by her sad ill health. For eighteen months she has been on the transplant list. Preparing to go on her first holiday ever with just her sister her family watch the television News and a report on a train crash which eventually turns into a motorway crash. Among the victims are three close women friends, all badly injured. We swing back four months and get to know these three, their reliance on each other and their reason for being in that crash. Interspersed with their lives is their post-accident hospital treatment where surely one will die for Lucy to get her heart. Which one is where the suspense is ratcheted up throughout the latter half of the book where huge revelations occur which threaten to destroy the women’s friendships. This is a tale exploring many strong issues; fertility, loyalty, betrayal, responsibility, young motherhood, divorce, independence, dementia and much more. Pretty powerful stuff and excellent for reading groups.
A hot, edgy and hugely entertaining novel, with an inner molten core of provocative tension. Set between 1994 and 2014, separated twins, Calida and Teresita Santiago, find themselves on a rocky path that is set to collide. Twisted and manipulated from a young age, each seeks to prove their worth while an unknown malevolent voice, hell bent on revenge flits in and out, ensuring the glamour and sexy setting is enveloped in disquiet. Victoria Fox writes with balance, some particularly steamy steams retain an air of danger and Hollywood isn't just about the glitz and dazzle. ‘The Santiago Sisters’ is a romp of a read, full of passion, thrills and drama, a perfect novel to escape into and enjoy.
July 2016 Book of the Month. Lovely, warm and engaging, 'The Perfect Gift’ is just that, a delightful treat of a book. Loveable, spirited Roisin always knew she was adopted, she came back home to start up her food emporium and lick her wounds after a doomed love affair, then a 30th birthday letter from her birth mother speaks to her soul. Roisin may be the main character, however this is a proper family and friends story, with a range of catastrophes, thrills and celebrations all jumping up and down and adding to the drama of the tale. Emma Hannigan doesn't just bring the wonderful characters to life, I felt as though I could step into the story, walk down the streets of Ballyshore, buy yummy foodie items in Roisin’s shop and have a natter with Mo to pick up all the gossip. The pages just flew by, and although on occasion my heart ached, this is basically a book to make you smile. ~ Liz Robinson
A sophisticated, expressive, and emotional story set in the glamorous Italian film promotion world of the 1950’s. Hal and Stella meet at a party, an immediate connection flares into life, yet the spectre of war holds both in a devastating grip. The story in the present focuses on Hal, on the journey he takes with the other fascinating and intriguing characters. Occasionally Stella allows Hal a glimpse of her past. Told in the first person, as the described events are happening, creates a separation from the intimacy of the confession, and ensures the innermost being of Stella remains hidden. A 16th century journal finds it’s way into Hal’s hands, as the story takes it’s hold on him, the feelings it evokes begin to combine with the present, creating an undercurrent of unease and tension. Lucy Foley balances a fine silky edge between serenity and passion, her writing caresses obsession, fear, strength and hope. ‘The Invitation’ gently takes hold and becomes a beautifully poignant, yet seductive and heady delight of a read.
A historical family drama to sink into, to feel a part of, to be surprised by. in 1860, Florrie, a 15 year old orphan, yet raised with love, finds herself departing the Cornish Moors for the centre of London society. Flung into a harsh and uncaring household, Florrie must hold her nerve as her life changes beyond all recognition. This is a readable and engaging story, Tracy Rees ensures Florence is a captivating and loveable leading lady. The story remains focused on Florence, yet the surrounding characters add a sparkle of diversion and intensity to the story. With a tantalising love affair, yet firmly planted in the reality of the times, ‘Florence Grace’ is an engaging historical read.
July 2016 Book of the Month. Now that Clover is twelve she can have a key to her home while her father drives the local bus and she can remain there alone. She has the allotment to water and tend and then the days of the summer holidays are hers. Inspired by a school visit to a museum and a chance meeting with a curator, Clover ventures into the bedroom that was once her parents and begins to catalogue the vast quantity of her mother’s belongings still stored there. Her father is a hoarder. Clover wants answers and order. What develops is a sensitive, touching tale of father and daughter finding out much about each other and their love. Told in both their voices over one summer it does end up answering Clover’s questions and eventually allows her father to move on. Slow and minutely detailed as objects are examined and ‘displayed’ we follow Clover’s research until, on page 259, Dad is sent home unexpectedly after an accident and emotions erupt. Now we learn of the back story; sad, poignant and tender with some lovely secondary characters.
One of our Books of the Year 2016. July 2016 MEGA Debut of the Month. Pencraw Hall, Cornwall, is a beautiful old house, the holiday retreat for the well-off Alton family of four children, twins and then a couple much younger, a hard-working father and a young, gregarious American mother, very liberal. Wonderful times are had at Pencraw in the late 60s. It is nicknamed Black Rabbit Hall due to the silhouette of numerous rabbits which actually lead to the tragedy that shatters the family. We follow them and in alternating sections, Lorna, thirty years later who is looking for a wedding venue and is inexplicably drawn to the now decaying house and its mysterious occupants. This is straight down the line pure country house, classic mystery, wonderful stuff. Suspenseful, haunting, startling and full of the unexpected. It’s a family drama, beautifully written and highly recommended. You’ve got to read it.
A delicious novel that will warm your heart and have you rooting for a happy ending for the engaging, lovable characters. Verity’s love of cooking died along with the sudden loss of her best friend Mimi, the one person she used to cook with. Left with a hole in her life and her heart her cooking speciality soon became a fish finger sandwich. Now two years later, just as things are falling further apart she receives a plea for help… with the opening of a new cookery school at Plumberry. Verity is in turmoil at the thought of being at Plumberry and cooking again without Mimi. Ever since she died she’s been stuck, unable to move on. Could a dash of Comfrey and Sage along with a sprinkling of romance help her to heal and move on with her life? At the end of the book there is a wonderful selection of mouth-watering recipes from Cathy Bramley which were inspired by Plumberry School. ~ Shelley Fallows
Sarah Morgan has done it again, she has delivered another gorgeously warm (and occasionally steamy) romance. This is part of the ‘From Manhattan With Love’ series, while Paige was the focus in the first, now it’s relationship shy Frankie’s turn. The friendship between the three girls sits in the background while the romance heats up, and gives a lovely stability to the tale. You may know exactly what you are going to get when you open the page, and that is part of the comforting charm, you can just sail away on cloud of romantic fiction. The little one line snippets of thought from each of the girls at the beginning of each chapter highlight their characters and encourage a smile. With a visit to the idyllic Puffin Island you can also catch up with the girls from the previous ‘Puffin Island’ trilogy. With Eva undoubtedly the focus for the next novel, there are a few snippets of information that give a hint of what is to come. ‘Sunset in Central Park’ is a lovely treat of a read, just perfect if you'd like to escape reality for a few hours.
One of our Books of the Year 2016. A beautifully quirky, yet at the same time completely logical love story (well it is logical once you've realised that you too, have fallen in love with an alligator). ‘Carrying Albert Home’ is a nine part tale, detailing an odyssey that took place during the 1930’s, interspersed with snappy little introductions to each part of the story by the author. As Homer (the elder) and Elsie his wife, adventure their way down the east coast from West Virgina to Florida, with Albert the alligator and the Rooster, it’s sometimes easy to forget that Homer Hickam (the younger and author) is telling the ‘somewhat true’ story of the early years of his parents marriage, surely this is the most fantastical tale ever told! I believe that John Steinbeck and Ernest Hemingway would remember their parts in this tale with glee, who wouldn't want to have been introduced to the charming and rather glorious Albert? I quite simply devoured this enchanting book in one sitting, and I will want to read it again and again. One of our Books of the Year 2015.
Early on we accept that Robert is running away from something. He likes women and travel. He is lonely. He misses his daughter. On an impulse while changing planes to go 'home' to Ireland he abandons his luggage on the Dublin flight and stalks a woman to Brighton. He is not short of money. All is very mysterious and then bang ... The whole scenario changes in a chapter called "Interlude". It seems to come out of nowhere and turns our narrator into a prisoner who is appallingly treated ... Why? ... Well this is just after 9/11. Then we switch back to how he lost his daughter and why, how he turned up in Italy and why and how he survives and makes some sense of a sad life. All highly intriguing. I am a big fan of the author.
Absolutely delightful! Cecelia Ahern always writes with stirring compassion and a delicious secretive quirk, so I was really looking forward to starting this, her twelfth novel. ‘The Marble Collector’ lived up to my expectations as a really touching, quite, quite beautiful read. Not exactly a slow burner, as the writing is so eloquent, however the more you read, the more you understand, and the more you are enveloped by and become absorbed in the story. The chapters are either from daughter Sabrina’s perspective (over one day), headed ‘Pool Rules’ or from her father Fergus’s entire lifetime of ‘Playing with Marbles’. Focusing on secrets and how well we know and understand ourselves and our loved ones, this engaging novel thoroughly provokes thoughts and feelings. As I closed the last page, and had a little ponder, I found myself giving ‘The Marble Collector’ a warm and loving hug.
May 2016 Book of the Month. A captivating and deeply dark family drama and mystery, set in the midst of a London communal garden square. ‘The Girls’ begins as a party is ending, a thirteen year old girl is found unconscious in a corner of the garden. The story then spins backwards in time, to Clare and her two daughters, Pip and Grace, as they get to know their new neighbours. Focusing on several families, the story weaves among the children and adults as it begins to traverse a slippery and sinister slope. Lisa Jewell explores friendship, trust and suspicion. She writes with a familiar light touch, yet a threatening presence hovers over the pages and the innermost thoughts and feelings of the characters bubble with intensity. ‘The Girls’ is a page turning, thought-provoking and tensely gripping read, that looks at the complex structure of family life. Click here to read an exclusive interview with Lisa Jewell by Mary Hogarth.
Four young people, friends since school, are the main players in this fine portrayal of families and their secrets. The young don’t always make the right choices and with domineering fathers and big profits at stake they bend to the inevitable. Set against the fishing industry, this follows their lives through misunderstandings, trauma, huge secrets and the sad effect of mistaken parentage. It’s ace, one of Fern’s best, deeper and bigger in scope than her previous tales. A lovely read. ~ Click here to see A Seaside Affair by the same author.
Another provocative, edgy and at times unbelievably sad story from the author of ‘The Tales of the Notorious Hudson Family’ series. Julie Shaw really has hit on a winner with her bold and girtty stories based on her family and neighbours. This time she focuses on 17 year old Christine, pregnant and about to give birth in Bradford in the early 1980’s. Josie, one of the main characters from ‘Our Vinnie’ makes a welcome reappearance, and it’s good to catch up with her again. I wonder how many more Hudson tales there are to come? If this is your first in the series, you can read it as a standalone, however I really do recommend starting with ‘Our Vinnie’. There was a painful inevitability to ‘Bad Blood’, at times difficult to comprehend and emotional, this really is eye-opening stuff and well worth reading. Tales of the Notorious Hudson Family series:1. Our Vinnie2. My Uncle Charlie3. My Mam Shirley4. Blood Ties5. Bad Blood6. Blood Sisters
Escape into this hugely enjoyable, big-hearted and beautifully written debut novel, set in Vallerosa, an imaginary tea-producing, tiny European country tucked between Italy and Austria, has its election due. The President, Segio, stands hesitantly in his strong father’s shoes. The Government consists of twelve ministers whose positions have been passed from father to son for centuries for this is an ‘Elective’ Dictatorship! A letter arrives requesting a visit from the Duke of Edinburgh. Or does it? Perhaps the President’s English is not perfect. Taking advantage of this auspicious occasion the country prepares. What ensues is a pure delight. With echoes of a Peter Sellers or Peter Ustinov film, this is good old-fashioned fun. A tad wordy, a tad long-winded setting the scene but once into the style, the humour, satire, good intentions, misunderstandings and pure farce of the tale rip through the pages. Huge fun. One of our Books of the Year 2015.
Isabel Dalhousie is one of Edinburgh's most generous (but discreet) philanthropists - but should she be more charitable? She wonders, sometimes, if she is too judgmental about her niece's amorous exploits, too sharp about her housekeeper's spiritual beliefs, too ready to bristle in battle against her enemies. As the editor of the Review of Applied Ethics, she doesn't, of course, allow herself actual enemies, but she does feel enmity - especially towards two academics who have just arrived in the city. Isabel feels they're a highly destabilizing influence; little tremors in the volcanic rock upon which an Enlightened Edinburgh perches. Equally troubling is the situation of the little boy who is convinced he had a previous life. When Isabel is called upon to help, she finds herself questioning her views on reincarnation. And the nature of grief. And - crucially - the positioning of lighthouses. The only questions Isabel doesn't have to address concern her personal life.
One of the year's major new literary offerings, Jonathan Franzen's PURITY doesn't disappoint, if alone by sheer weight of pages and buzzing ideas. And with a palette of suspense twists and almost thriller like plot turns, it harks back in part to his debut novel THE TWENTY-SEVENTH CITY as he again subverts the tropes of the mystery genre to make further savage dissections of our world of disfunctional families, fractured societies and the unreliability of the press and the political establishment. Pip Tyler is just an ordinary young girl, sort of lost, averagely pretty and saddled with humongous student debt. She knows her real name is Purity but is unaware who her father is, and has, as a result, a strained relationship with her mother. The questions begin to pile up when she is hired as an intern at Andreas Wolf's Sunlight Project; he is a world-famous provocateur now exiled in Bolivia. Why is he interested in her? A corruscating survey of ethics, art, environmentalism and the corrupting power of money and fame, Franzen's meticulously detailed doorstep of a novel effortlessly pulls you into its torrential wake and hammers you into submission: complex, comedic, doctoral, but always intensely readable. ~ Maxim Jakubowski One of our Books of the Year 2015. Click below to watch Jonathan Franzen read from Purity as part of the Re4dings from 4th Estate Books.
One of our Books of the Year 2016. August 2016 Book of the Month. Tense and full of intrigue, this is a novel that sinks into the depths of obsession and discovers a very dangerous game afoot. The newly opened, glamorous lido calls to Natalie and in one summer her life changes beyond all recognition. The prologue and first chapter declare from the outset that a dramatic event has occurred. The story explores the whole of the summer, occasionally touching on the past and then suddenly switching directly to the aftermath. These jarring changes in time create a feeling of foreboding as the timelines slide towards their inevitable collision. Louise Candlish excels in looking at the darker side of relationships, she discovers thoughts and feelings that are recognisable but at the same time feel dangerously untouched. ‘The Swimming Pool’ is a slow-burning and thought-provoking read, and the last few gripping pages had me immediately reaching for the beginning.
One of our Books of the Year 2016. July 2016 Book of the Month. For the readership, this is a huge historical novel to immerse yourself in. A dramatic, violent, absorbing, long read for which you need to put aside serious time to devour. You will find it difficult to put down. Charting the lives of two families, the Sels and the Duquets from 1693 to 2013, it tells of the rape of the Canadian natural resources, namely timber and fur but predominantly timber. Hard men made fortunes with little regard for anything but power and wealth, certainly not for their workers’ lives or limbs. The first of the immigrant Sels married an Indian; their offspring are then trapped between two cultures. As you would expect, there is a huge number of characters for characters is what Proulx is all about. This is a truly impressive work detailing the destruction of the forests to the point of ecological disaster.
July 2016 Book of the Month. The publisher’s blurb for this quirky novel certainly drew me to it especially since I am an enormous fan of his first, A Man Called Ove. I’m afraid I didn’t read his second (shame on me!). Here we have a woman who is definitely on ‘the spectrum’, who has at last left a cheating, domineering husband (when he had a heart attack in the arms of another woman) and must now earn a living. She will not accept that the Job Centre has nothing for her and is eventually given a dead-end, short-term job as caretaker in a closing sports centre in a dying town. She ends up coaching the local kids’ football team in a delightful, warm-hearted tale of great charm. How she wins everyone round and makes a life for herself is poignantly realised. A lovely read.
On a small island off the south coast of France, Robert Hendricks - an English doctor who has seen the best and the worst the twentieth century had to offer - is forced to confront the events that made up his life. His host is Alexander Pereira, a man who seems to know more about his guest than Hendricks himself does. The search for the past takes us through the war in Italy in 1944, a passionate love that seems to hold out hope, the great days of idealistic work in the 1960s and finally - unforgettably - back into the trenches of the Western Front. This moving novel casts a long, baleful light over the century we have left behind but may never fully understand.
One of our Books of the Year 2016. A Maxim Jakubowski selected title. A striking thriller from an established US author and Golden Globe award winner of the Fargo TV series scriptwriter. When a private aircraft returning from a wealthy holiday hideout plunges into the sea off New York and there are only two survivors: the young son of a powerful media mogul and a painter with a troubled past, speculation grows rife as to true story behind the tragedy, because of the presence on board of the TV network head and a wealthy banker who was about to be indicted for fraud. Accident or sabotage? The mystery behind the accident is not just the only theme of the novel, but also the way the American media moves. Through flashbacks to the various passengers in the days leading up to the crash, a tangled network unfolds, making this a complex and meditative examination of both the corridors of power and the affective ties that bind the two unlikely survivors. Ambitious and rewarding. ~ Maxim Jakubowski The Lovereading view... Just stunning! A novel that surprises, seduces, and impresses. A private plane crashes into the ocean on a trip back to New York. Struggling artist Scott Burroughs not only survives, he also rescues 4 year old JJ, the son of the family who chartered the jet. This novel tells the story of each person on the plane, the investigation after the crash and focuses on Scott, is he a hero or villain? The writing dances across the characters, floating yet somehow reaching into their innermost depths and revealing hidden thoughts, desires and feelings. Noah Hawley takes us backwards and forwards in time, the writing is strangely beautiful, even when in the depths of the nightmare, the descriptive detailing has the ability to caress your senses. I found myself spinning unexpectedly as the focus changed direction, ensuring I was on high alert, seeking and grasping for answers. Occasionally, outside of each individual story, little jolting snapshots can be found, that sow both seeds of disquiet and empathy. ‘Before the Fall’ is a striking and completely captivating read, do I recommend it, yes, yes, yes…wholeheartedly! ~ Liz Robinson
One of our Books of the Year 2016. June 2016 Book of the Month. Fluctuating between the riots and massacre in Indonesia in 1965 and the second coup in 1997 with the unrest of 1998, this is a powerful tale of espionage and love. Our hero, a courier, appears to be in disgrace, hiding out in an isolated hut in the mountains in Bali. He meets a teacher, Rita, and they embark upon an affair. Each is damaged, each has much to hide which slowly is revealed, particularly John Harper’s past. A dreadful deed committed to save himself naturally still haunts him. I found this riveting. Perhaps a little slow to build but once we delve into his background and the fascinating history that led to the death of one million Indonesians, mostly members or suspectful members of the communist party, the PKI, then it is very hard to put down and stays with you long after you have finished. Louise Doughty is a fine writer indeed.
Shortlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize 2016. Longlisted for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction 2016. A wonderfully unconventional and thought-provoking read, where a mystery waiting to be solved shelters behind a penetrating and wryly emotional family tale. The first paragraph, short as it is, marks itself indelibly in your minds eye, it also encapsulates the detached and challenging personality of Morwenna, the narrator. The family from ‘The House at the Edge of the World’ hold ambivalent feelings towards each other and their home. As the story ponders the weight of family expectations it also peeks at the tricky complexity that is imagination versus recollection and how often the two blend into a murky uncertainty. Julia Rochester has a fascinating way with words, words to make you stop, think and consider, she captures your thought processes and then hurls them in an unexpected direction. This is an intelligent, discerning and surprising debut novel and deserves to be highly recommended. ~ Liz Robinson Desmond Elliott Chair of judges Iain Pears said: “Rochester’s writing is quite wonderful – she is particularly strong on her sense of place. She brings the landscape to life just as she does her characters. We all felt we were with them at key points in the book.”
May 2016 Debut of the Month. Longlisted for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction 2016. A bittersweet, page-turning love story which jumps back and forth in time. It tells of a Japanese couple, Ameterasu and Kenzo, now living in America and the loss of their daughter and grandson after the bomb dropped on Nagasaki. We learn of Ameterasu’s great love before she married and then of their daughter’s great love. The identity of these men is at the centre of this tale. We start it as a very disfigured man arrives on widowed Ameterasu’s doorstep claiming to be her grandson. So the past is revealed to us in dramatic bursts and Ameterau tells us of the emotional conflict between her and her daughter: so sad. At the beginning of each chapter there is a Japanese word and an explanation of its meaning and usage, not always relevant but always interesting, hence the title. Highly recommended.
‘Green Island’ is a breathtaking novel, it’s emotional, thought-provoking and absolutely fascinating. Set in Taiwan and the USA between 1947 and 2003, the novel focuses on one family, yet the story is presented on an epic scale. This is a work of fiction, however elements are based on fact, and the tale weaves its way through shocking, brutal times. Shawnee Yang Ryan sets the tale in motion using an unnamed narrator, she is the youngest daughter of the family set in the novel, and as the narrator she adds an intensity and greater connection to the story. There is a perceptive understanding of human nature portrayed in this tale and it all feels so very very real. The writing is expressive, vibrant and able to touch feelings with a raw intensity, yet it can also hold a moment of beauty with delicate empathy. ‘Green Island’ is a novel that encouraged me to look further into this time in Taiwan’s history, it is also, quite simply, a beautifully touching read.
April 2016 Book of the Month. Totally and utterly and completely gorgeous in every way, the thought of having to put this book down for even a second is inconceivable. The first few pages make you smile, make you laugh and charm you, there is a hint though, of the difficulties that seven (nearly eight) year old Elsa is experiencing. Elsa’s shrewd, wonderful bonkers of a Granny tells her fairy tales, and like all good fairy tales there's more than a dollop of truth and reality mixed in, so ensure you're sitting comfortably and the tale can begin. There is a beautiful simplicity to the writing, yet this is not a simple book by any means, there is a complexity to the emotions it evokes and explores. Elsa and her Granny are two of the most astonishingly different characters to ever appear in print (and that’s a compliment by the way). Set aside some quality time, so you can laugh and cry undisturbed, as the author is able to enchant, to capture your imagination and hold it spellbound from the first to the last page; this is a must have, must read, must treasure book.
A wonderfully tense and arresting Cold War relationship tale, stuffed full to the brim with suspense. Set in 1960, couple Lily and Simon become caught in an unbelievably powerful web of lies. Normal everyday life intermingles with the hidden, and secrets are set to be exposed as the story slips with subtlety along the edge of an uncertain path. Some of the characters are not necessarily likeable, others are positively loathsome, but they all feel so very real. Helen Dunmore handles the intrigue with a masterly hand, hints and suggestions slither and slide through the story, creating uneasiness and suspicion. It is the small but not insignificant things that really bring this tale to life, the descriptions and the feelings create a vibrant ring of truth. ‘Exposure’ is an evocative, thrilling tale that I recommend setting aside some quality time for, once I started reading, I simply didn't want to stop. ~ Liz Robinson August 2016 Book of the Month.
One of our Books of the Year 2016. Ten years ago Rowan and Marianne were inseperable. Rowan, our narrator, lost her mother while still a baby and Marianne's family embraced her. Then Seb, the father, is killed in a car accident and something dramatic breaks up the girl's friendship. Five days after Marianne accidentally slips off a roof and is killed, Rowan has a card from her saying 'I need to talk to you'. This story is of Rowan's investigation into Marianne's death for she believes it to be no accident. Marianne was a famous artist with an exhibition booked in New York on which she was working. She is having her portrait painted by a famous American artist and a lot of the art world and paintings are described adding great fascination to the tale. The mystery as to what split the girls' friendship is wonderfully tense and not actually revealed until the last few pages when all comes together in a shocking climax. Highly recommended. ~ Sarah Broadhurst August 2016 Book of the Month.
One of our Books of the Year 2016. The Post-Apocalyptic setting is so popular today that it is becoming annoying, so it is great to get a book like this one; not only well written but offering a new angle on the old story. Lone survivors must cope with harsh conditions, that’s always a given, but the protagonist of this story is already lost and surviving alone as part of a reality-TV wilderness show. Her first-person narrative alternates with scenes from the show’s early days of filming, when it was just a game. What results is not just a journey through the wilds but a personal struggle with inner darkness and the nature of reality. No zombies, thank goodness, just an honest and plausible thriller obviously written by someone with a brain as hints, threads and twists weave together in a compelling and disturbing tale. Excellent stuff. July 2016 Debut of the Month and eBook of the Month.
A tale that creeps under your skin, worms its way into your thoughts, and spins to an all consuming end. I’ve devoured Mary Kubica’s other novels, and personally, this is my favourite so far. Quinn and Alex tell their own tales, Quinn’s room mate Esther has unexpectedly disappeared, while Alex becomes a tad obsessed with a girl who turns up in his small lakeside town. There is a slow intensity to the writing, it isn't immediately obvious as to what is happening and I found my thoughts scrabbling for purchase and understanding. Quinn and Alex are beautifully written, from the Sunday when the tale begins, through to the Thursday when it ends, I lived their life alongside them, experiencing every moment, getting to know their intimate thoughts and feelings. ‘Don’t You Cry’ is a fabulous slow burner of a read, with an undertone of suspense that steadily increases until it comes crashing down around you. ~ Liz Robinson
Shortlisted for the John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger Award 2016. This witty and twisty tale of an elderly con man intent on a final hurrah when he initially goes on a blind date with a retired, wealthy woman, brings more than smiles to the face. However she is not all she appears to be and as his own past is slowly unveiled in parallel to the con he studiously devotes himself to, increasing layers of lies and domestic intrigue are revealed which often turn the elaborate plot upside down. With echoes of Patricia Highsmith but without the die-hard cynicism, this is an affectionate and deliberately old fashioned psychological thriller with just the right touch of humour and humanity. Engrossing and with a tightly-engineered plot that holds surprises at every corner and what is there to dislike in a thriller where the main character is in his 80s? ~ Maxim Jakubowski The Lovereading view... Just fabulous. This is one of those wonderfully rare books that sets you in the middle of a familiar location and then prowls down a previously unexplored and unexpected path. Roy, vain and full to overflowing with self belief, is a liar of the highest order, it is second nature for him to deceive, to swindle and cheat, and Betty is Roy’s next target. Exquisitely pitch perfect, with clear and self assured writing, the story slides backwards in time, releasing information, raising suspicions and spiralling down into darkness. Nicholas Searle doesn't rush this tale, he openly describes Roy’s thoughts and feelings, allowing a connection to this con man, a connection that breeds disquiet and foreboding. As I turned the last page, I paused, and felt within, one of those electrifying moments before applause bursts forth. Deceptively subtle and surprising, yet bold and fearless, I will be shouting about ‘The Good Liar’, from as many rooftops as I can find. ~ Liz Robinson A 'Piece of Passion from the Publisher... I want to tell you about this fabulously compelling novel Viking is publishing in January. The response within Penguin has been extraordinary so far – with staff in every department raving about it. There have been so many ‘water cooler moments’ with people asking: ‘when did you guess?’ or, ‘I didn’t see that coming at all!’ So, dodging any possible plot spoilers, here’s a little description of the book: The Good Liar is a story of deception, brilliantly imagined – the story of a conman, Roy, about to embark on the final con of his career. His target is Betty, a woman whom he is planning to seduce and then run off with her life savings. Roy is incredibly creepy and Betty is wonderfully admirable, if a little mysterious. The twists and turns of the narrative are endlessly surprising.I’ve been in publishing for twenty years and I have only very occasionally come across novels as original as this. I have also, only very occasionally witnessed such an amazing in-house response. It would be terrific if you liked the book as much as we all do. I would love to know what you think and please do not hesitate to get in touch with me if you’d like to know more about the novel or the author.Thanks so much for your time.Yours sincerely, Mary MountPublisher, Viking/Penguin
The latest addition to the ‘Francis Thriller’ series is an action-packed journey through the horse racing world. Jefferson Hinkley from ‘Damage’ has returned for another case, yet this can still very easily be read as a standalone novel. With plenty of violence and possible fraud on the cards, Jeff, an investigator for the British Horse Racing Authority tells his own story in a direct, no-nonsense style. He’s like a cat with nine lives, and bounces back from numerous set backs. Felix Francis has provided plenty of explanations for the racing novice, ensuring the setting is easy to settle into and feels authentic. With plenty of spills and thrills, ’Front Runner’ is an entertaining, and readable novel. ~ Liz Robinson
Haunting, dramatic and so very, very readable, Inspector Tony Mclean returns in his sixth book of the series, and in this novel, the supernatural doesn't just prowl in the background, it really comes out to play! The first chapter sets a feeling of unease and uncertainty, just who, or indeed what, is heading towards the city. Tony McLean has moved back to the sexual crimes unit, he is still reassuringly happy to stir up a hornets nest with his supervisors, yet appears to have come to a truce with the reporter Jo Dalgliesh, whatever will happen next! Scattered in amongst the here and now are thoughts and memories from different people, in their own voices, this creates a real tension as the case unfolds. James Oswald has created a deliciously creepy undertone to ‘The Damage Done’, allowing it to bite, to taunt and provoke, this really is a wonderful punch of escapism.
This truly is a crime novel to tamper with your thoughts and send them skittering off in all directions. ‘Blackout’ takes place in June 2010, following on from ‘Snowblind’, the first in the ‘Dark Iceland’ series. A fascinating murder investigation by police and a reporter takes place during the time the ash cloud from a volcanic eruption affected the country and air travel, ensuring a heightened sense of foreboding and tension. A number of main characters feature, including self reliant Ari Thor Arason, who polices the most northerly village in Iceland, and Isrun, a TV news reporter. I have to admit it did take me a little time to get to know all of the characters, however I do believe ‘Blackout’ works well as a standalone novel. Ragnar Jonasson writes with a bitingly sparse, to the point style, and Quentin Bates has translated his words skilfully, ensuring the story flows. The first part of the novel sews confusion and encourages questions, it almost feels as though two or three jigsaws of information have been thrown into the air to land in one jumbled pile. With several menacing stories, creeping and melding into one, ‘Blackout’ is a wonderfully gripping and gritty novel.
Another thoroughly entertaining, enjoyable, slinky sleuth of a whodunit, this is the third in the ‘A Mystery for DI Costello’ series, following on from ‘Dead Gorgeous’. The show must go on, but it doesn't for one member of a rock star’s road crew, when an unlikeable roadie is murdered at the stage door. DI Angela Costello and her team enter into an investigation full of whispers, mutterings and hidden truths, and where everyone on the crew is a potential suspect. DI Costello is solid, dependable and likeable, her team rely on her lead and we see the case unfold, layer by intriguing layer. Elizabeth Flynn’s background in stage management ensures an interesting and diverting foray behind the scenes. ‘End of the Roadie’ is an effortless and engaging read, and a great little puzzler, as you try to work out who did the ghastly deed!
An outrageously stunning read, that takes a tight hold from the outset and continues to squeeze until the shockingly intense end. Maya, a former Army Captain, finds herself caught up in a nightmare scenario after her husband is gunned down and events start to spiral out of control. Harlan Coben writes with a masterly hand, descriptions shot straight into my minds eye and the tale continued to twist and writhe with intrigue. Powerful and addictive, clever and memorable, ‘Fool Me Once’ is a brilliantly escapist read, the story whips along, and I just had to read it in one sitting.
A thought-provoking and gripping tale set in the Caribbean, between the pages lurk murder, voodoo, and people smuggling. This is the second in the ‘Diplomatic Crime Series’ after ‘Deadly Diplomacy’, and although it’s my first foray into this world, it certainly won’t be my last. Jean Harrod worked as a British Diplomat for years and travelled the globe, knowing this immediately adds authenticity to the background setting of the story. Diplomat Jess Turner and Australian DI Tom Sangster land on the beautiful Turks and Caicos Islands, then a murder hurls fear and suspicion in every direction. Jean Harrod writes with an authoritative hand, in the first few pages I was transported into the midst of a chokingly powerful scene. Every so often an unknown sinister voice rises from the page, encouraging the tension to multiply. ‘Deadly Deceit’ is a very readable and fascinating work of fiction, and can easily be read in one tension-filled sitting. A 'Piece of Passion' from the publisher... "Deadly Deceit put me straight in a boat, with a woman and baby, during a Caribbean storm. From then on, I just had to know 'what's-going-to-happen-next'. After a shocking and brutal start, the book is full of twists and turns as we follow British diplomat Jess, and her DI friend Tom, as they unravel a plot based on the topical issue of criminal gangs and illegal migrants. Jean Harrod brings all her diplomatic experience of such problems to bear on the tough political realities, as well as the personal tragedies in this heart-felt novel. A terrific read. " CE Roe, Editor, York Authors Coffee Shop
One of our Books of the Year 2016. July 2016 Debut of the Month. A detailed, intriguing and highly enjoyable debut historical thriller. James Greenacre is accused of murdering his bride and his mistress, Sarah Gale, is convicted of aiding him in disposing of her body. Public opinion flares up against Sarah and the Home Secretary gets a young lawyer, Edward Fleetwood, to investigate the police evidence. May there have been something amiss? Certainly the facts are puzzling. Sarah's incarceration in Newgate Jail, we are in 1837, is particularly vicious and vividly described. Our young lawyer has a deadline to deliver his evidence and a conscience to battle with. This builds to a terrific and unexpected conclusion. I was totally hooked in the last unputdownable 160 pages. Good stuff.
July 2016 Debut of the Month and eBook of the Month. With an unusual focus, ‘Baby Doll’ is a menacing, yet beautifully compassionate read. Lily escapes captivity after eight years, she has suffered the unthinkable trauma of being mentally and physically abused, when she returns home, will she find it possible to live ‘happily ever after’? Chapters centre on one of four people, each chapter is short, throbbing with intensity, highlighting thoughts and feelings. Hollie Overton has written in a simple style, which feels necessary as the heartrending after effects of the kidnapping come to the fore. With sinister precision, the offender skulks through the pages, waiting, biding his time. I simply galloped through this dramatic tale, hoping yet apprehensive, would justice prevail? Encouraging thoughts to explore different avenues, ‘Baby Doll’ is a gritty, and captivating read.
One of our Books of the Year 2016. July 2016 MEGA Debut of the Month. Margot Lewis is a classics teacher in a Cambridge school. She's also the agony aunt for the local newspaper, dealing with problems from the loneliness of a recent widower to a teenager wondering if she might be pregnant. The disappearance of local girl Katie Browne, a former student, is weighing on her mind when she receives a letter in childish handwriting from a Bethan Avery, begging for help: "I've been kidnapped and am being held prisoner by a strange man. I'm afraid he'll kill me." But Bethan vanished decades earlier, and the police brush away Margot's worries. Author Helen Callaghan, a former bookseller, intersperses scenes of Katie being held in a cellar by a violent man with Margot's attempts to get to the bottom of the letters she is receiving in this compulsive, intelligent thriller which I gulped down in a few nights. A dark and intriguing debut. If you liked Dear Amy by Helen Callaghan, try Beside Myself by Ann Morgan or Try Not to Breathe by Holly Seddon.
April 2016 Reading Group Book of the Month. A compelling, almost bittersweet read, where a shocking discovery leads to an emotional journey. Two tales fuse into one… while in the present Bella explains how she finds a letter that is set to change everything she believes, we also revisit Henry’s past. Telling Bella’s tale in the first person creates a feeling of familiarity and compassion, Henry’s tale is told on his behalf, keeping you removed, letting you consider, allowing you to ponder. Amanda Jennings encourages Bella to step out of herself, on occasion the words create an almost dreamlike quality, while on others short sharp sentences jolted me back into reality. As shafts of understanding light the pages, shocking moments still lie in wait, ready to trip up your thoughts and feelings. ‘In Her Wake’ is a thought-provoking, dramatic and gripping story and begs the question, just how well do we really know our family? A 'Piece of Passion' from the publisher... 'When talking about my list, there are few books for which words fail me, and this is one of them. In fact, I don’t even know where to start. In Her Wake is a chilling, exquisitely written and evocative thriller that hinges on the abduction of a child, and the effect this crime has on everyone connected with it. It’s also a compelling study of the nature of identity and, indeed, loss, with a series of interconnected, traumatic discoveries driving a complex and deftly orchestrated plot set on the rugged, richly described Cornish coast. It’s dark but at the same time uplifting, and the pages turn almost by themselves. Equally, one of the most moving books I’ve read in a very long time, and there are twists that force you to turn back the pages to check that you haven’t missed something. It’s a book that I knew I had to buy after reading twenty pages, and my second readers returned the same verdict in less than a day. In Her Wake has bestseller written all over it, and in terms of psychological thrillers, I cannot think of even one that matches it. When a host of highly regarded, well-known authors submitted their endorsements, one after one, in a virtual flood, my heart nearly burst with pride for Amanda. This is a book you will never, ever forget.'Karen Sullivan, Publisher, Orenda Books
Winner of the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award 2016. A hit-and-run in Bristol, a dead five year old and a CID police partnership with a spark between the partners. Good police procedural stuff. Then a first-person narrative girl, Jenna, goes into hiding in Wales and another first-person voice from her past tells a story too. There is so much left hanging, so much you assume and then find it not to be so that enables the mystery to ratchet up the tension. What starts slowly and pretty formulaically suddenly turns and becomes truly compulsive. Great stuff. ~ Sarah Broadhurst May 2015 Debut of the Month
A truly captivating and bold story that stings and provokes with fierce intensity. David Raker is back in his seventh missing person enquiry, a woman has apparently vanished into thin air, can Raker find her, or will he in fact lose himself? If you haven't yet read any of the ‘David Raker Thriller’ series, do go back to the beginning and start with ‘Chasing the Dead’. From the get go in ‘Broken Heart’, my attention was well and truly snared, I wanted to insist to Raker that he took the case. Tim Weaver’s writing ensured I felt, I believed, I lived the story. Occasionally another voice, other than Raker’s is heard, this effectively jolted me away from the investigation, made me think, made me ponder… ‘Broken Heart’ is clever and fascinating, a story where trendrils of awareness coil and twist and expand into one wonderfully intriguing and powerful tale. ~ Liz Robinson
One of our Books of the Year 2016. An audacious, fast moving, dark but oh so entertaining tale. Prepare yourself… the Butler Family are back, and we observe as they battle their way through life from 1986 to 2001. From the unwavering matriarch Queenie, to her hard as nails sons Vinny and Michael and their various offspring, this is an East End family you wouldn't want to cross. If you haven't met the Butlers before, you could read this as a standalone, however there is a tangled network of characters to get to know. Kimberley Chambers excels at breathing life into this villainous family, some are not particularly likeable, however I admit to having a soft spot for one or two of them and I couldn't help but watch the drama play out. At times it felt as though I was watching a film as the vivid, provocative story rampaged across the pages, I was grabbed from the offset by this gritty story and I thoroughly enjoyed it. ~ Liz Robinson
A sublimely creepy slow-burning thriller, a tale where the countdown to Christmas is a chilling one. Rachel tells her own story, she has just married widower David and moved into his huge family home, Carnhallow House, on the site of a tin mine. The first chapter starts in June but is headed 178 days before Christmas, a time that Rachel fears, particularly when her eight year old step-son Jamie predicts she will be dead by Christmas. S.K. Tremayne allows a quiet menace to pervade this tale, it is slow to build, I wasn't even sure when I started to feel the unease that spread from the pages through into my fingertips. As the story unfolded, I began to doubt my initial thoughts, question my feelings as information was released and the tension increased. There were times when I doubted everyone, even positively disliked them, while at the same time empathy lingered as fear stalked Carnhallow House. The descriptive detailing is supplemented by black and white photos of tin mines from the 1890’s. The photos have an eerie quality, some are angled, causing thoughts to slant as the story prods and provokes. With the suspense and tension slowly uncoiling until it strikes at lightening speed, ‘The Fire Child’ is a truly memorable story.
A fascinating and disturbing premise that has the ability to swing a profound sledgehammer into your consciousness. Set in what feels like a very possible future, Carl is isolated in a remote Scottish village and finds himself mentally as well as physically detached and confined. It takes a little while to settle in to this story, to get used to the writing style and understand the world you are in; it is worth the wait though. Chapters are grouped into a time period and at first zigzag back and forwards in time. The initial feeling of dislocation feels quite deliberate, it helps you empathise and feel a connection with the village community. There is a vulnerability to Carl, and while he isn't particularly likeable, he is an intriguing and captivating character. As time passes and Carl begins to understand his surroundings we start to hear from other villagers and they add a shot of positiveness to proceedings. This intense exploration of human instinct and glimpse into an imagined world, is ultimately an interesting and thought-provoking read.
A delightfully intriguing, gently amusing, yet fiendishly tricky murder mystery. This is the second ‘Death in Paradise Novel’ and for fans of the TV series, brings back the eccentric yet brilliant DI Richard Poole. The Saint-Marie policing team investigate the possible suicide of supermodel Polly Carter, however DI Poole believes there may be a more sinister reason for her death. Robert Thorogood writes with a light touch, even though murder is afoot, the first few sentences made me smile and set the tone for this read. I have to admit that I was absolutely certain I had worked everything out, I even felt quite smug… silly silly me! This is a jolly, lead you up the garden path, lark of a novel that harks back to the lovely classic whodunit.
June 2016 Book of the Month. A wonderfully sinister and mind-bending end to the ‘Hodges trilogy’. Yes, ‘End of Watch’ can easily be read as a standalone novel, however I really do recommend starting with ‘Mr Mercedes’, followed by ‘Finders Keepers’. Although each book is connected, each feels very different, and each is a brilliant, totally absorbing read. The team at the ‘Finders Keepers’ detective agency find themselves investigating a number of deaths and suicides that appear to connect to the diabolical Brady Hartsfield, however Hartsfield has been lying in hospital room for the last few years in an unresponsive state. With one time frame in the here and now, and one moving from the past towards the present, Stephen King takes this series to a whole new supernatural level as events take a decidedly menacing yet believable turn. I found the elements of mind control deliciously creepy, until I remembered what Hartsfield had done, and what he was capable of, and delicious became nightmarish! ‘End of Watch’ is a beautifully balanced combination of genres, and a fitting finale to what has been a simply fabulous trilogy. Click here to find out more about this title and Stephen King's other books.
This is a compelling and just fabulous start to ‘The Sea Detective’ series. Cal McGill, something of a loner, determined, yet caring, runs Flotsam and Jetsam Investigations in Scotland. As an oceanographer and environmentalist, he finds himself hounded by the police, attempts to solve a mystery, and becomes embroiled in a world of violent exploitation. The prologue plunges you into fear, into innocence about to be ravaged, the nativity and simplicity of the voiced feelings and thoughts ensure the horror is all the more vivid and shocking. I absolutely raced through this read, the research and detail of the ocean currents is fascinating, and the plot line tight and bursting with tense energy. Mark Douglas-Home writes with compassion, yet a stark, almost no nonsense approach to the exploitation makes it hit home with hammer hard precision. ‘The Sea Detective’ is a convincing read and feels original, this promises to be a thoroughly enjoyable and striking series. The Sea Detective series:1. The Sea Detective2. The Woman Who Walked into the Sea3. The Malice of Waves
Shortlisted for the John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger Award 2016. Another mighty impressive debut by a British author despite its sprawling American background and themes. Baker has the audacity to revisit the web of conspiracies surrounding the JFK assassination and despite the sterling previous contributions to the fictional subject by James Ellroy, Don De Lillo and even Stephen King, comes up trumps. This is noir at its darkest, with a palette of doomed characters, femmes fatales who are deadlier than the male, losers and no winners, sprinkled with unsettling appearances by real-life characters like Howard Hughes, Marilyn Monroe, J. Edgar Hoover and a whole cast list of names dragged into the cesspool of that fatal day in Houston. Add a merciless killer with a conscience, a writer obsessed by the killing but unaware of his true identity and connection to it and a fallen FBI agent now seeking redemption as private eye, and you have a cauldron of intrigue like no other. Considering the subject matter, I was not expecting to even like the book, but was blown away. ~ Maxim Jakubowski Maxim Jakubowski January 2016 Highly Recommended.
Another intriguing and fascinating mystery from the author of ‘The Sea Detective Series’. Oceanographer Cal McGill finds himself in a small Scottish costal town attempting to solve a 26 year old mystery. Violet was abandoned as a baby, the day before her mother walked into the sea and disappeared. This story has a menacing depth to it, it has a more intimate feel than the first in the series, and we get to know more about Cal. Cal is 29 years old, yet it feels as though he has an old soul, I felt his love for the ocean, his kindness, yet he is somehow set apart. Mark Douglas-Home’s writing dances on the darker of life, though whether covering world wide issues, or more family orientated problems, an empathy shines through. ‘The Woman Who Walked Into The Sea’ is a gripping tale, full of family drama, with the twist of a mystery, and an enigmatic investigator, what more you could want! The Sea Detective series:1. The Sea Detective2. The Woman Who Walked into the Sea3. The Malice of Waves
The third in the gripping ‘Sea Detective Series’ continues to captivate, with the rather wonderful Cal McGill investigating the disappearance of a 14 year old boy from a small private island off the Scottish coast. Cal has changed the name of his company to the appropriate ‘Sea Detective Agency’ and becomes involved in two intertwined cases. Mark Douglas-Home marks the loneliness of remote village life, of close knit communities where secrets told, are secrets exposed to the entire locality. The thoughts and feelings of villagers, a grieving family, police and Cal himself are given voice, all adding to the stewing pot of intrigue and mystery. The ocean depths come powerfully to life in the hands of Douglas-Home, the mysteries of the currents, the research undertaken, all absolutely fascinating… ensuring ‘The Malice of the Waves’ is another super read. May 2016 eBook of the Month.
One of our Books of the Year 2016. Longlisted for the John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger Award 2016. A couple of Exeter cops attempt to solve the mystery of a hanged teacher which was locally followed by a whole series of gruesome deaths in this clever psychological thriller which somehow brings a new perspective to a familiar plot by illuminating the story through the eyes of several initially disparate characters. A wonderful example of the crime thriller as a jigsaw where the author always remains that one step ahead of the reader. Splendidly engineered and a compulsive page turner which introduces a likeable set of investigators faced with a succession of rather horrible conumdrums, and thus not for the fainthearted, although assiduous readers of Thomas Harris and Patricia Cornwell will not blanch at the explicitness involved in several of the doomed protagonists' demise. ~ Maxim Jakubowski The Lovereading view... Oooh, this is disturbingly good! Two detectives with their own fair share of problems find themselves in the middle of an explosion of murders, as the macabre and gruesomely graphic deaths start to mount, whose side will you find yourself on? Katerina Diamond transports you from murder, to investigation, to inside different minds with ease, each time settling you so completely into that moment, that it comes as a shock when you move on again. If you are a little squeamish, then on occasion you might need to read between your fingers, but once you start, it’s utterly compelling and I found it impossible to put down. This is such a striking novel, it makes you consider, and ponder the meaning of justice. Deliciously thrilling and menacing, ‘The Teacher’ is a crime thriller with biting, provocative attitude and I absolutely adored it. ~ Liz Robinson March 2016 Debut of the Month.
This is a terrific thriller that really keeps you on your toes. We are introduced to our charismatic hero Solomon Creed as he runs barefoot and skimpily dressed from an air crash in Arizona. With memory loss but a burning knowledge that he must somehow save this small town, he stumbles upon a drug-related plot, a host of ‘baddies’ and a family mystery. It ends with a strange twist, that is improbable and intriguing and I am sure it will be developed in future volumes, for this starts a series. It is hugely enjoyable. One of our Books of the Year 2015.
One of our Books of the Year 2016. June 2016 Book of the Month. The third in the London based detective series featuring a man I really like, one Max Wolf, second in command in the Saville Row Crime Squad. His very human female boss here has some sad personal tragedy to cope with leaving Max in charge for a bit. The case they are chasing is vigilante stuff, where hangings are streamed live on the web. Those hanged seem unconnected but all have committed horrible crimes and got off lightly. An organised gang of four masked executioners take the law into their own hands. This is fast suspenseful stuff with lots of human touches as one would expect from the author of Man and Boy and Starting Over. We learn more of Max himself who is a single parent with a five year old daughter just starting school and a very interesting old schoolfriend, ex-Afghan veteran, who makes a dramatic appearance. This is a clever, highly recommended thriller, with some interesting historical facts about London. I loved it. Click here to read an exclusive interview with Tony Parsons by Mary Hogarth.
Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist have not been in touch for some time. Then Blomkvist is contacted by renowned Swedish scientist Professor Balder. Warned that his life is in danger, but more concerned for his son's well-being, Balder wants Millennium to publish his story - and it is a terrifying one. More interesting to Blomkvist than Balder's world-leading advances in Artificial Intelligence, is his connection with a certain female superhacker. It seems that Salander, like Balder, is a target of ruthless cyber gangsters - and a violent criminal conspiracy that will very soon bring terror to the snowbound streets of Stockholm, to the Millennium team, and to Blomkvist and Salander themselves.
Prepare yourself… for the dramatically intense and exciting new kid on the block, except Evan Smoak isn't a kid, he's a highly trained killer with his humanity surprisingly intact. Smoak has left a top secret programme, he is prepared to put his life on the line to help those in need. The first few chapters completely set the scene, allowing you immediate access to Evan’s mind, to the way he thinks, the way he has to live. The in depth detail of the security and secrecy, and the occasional glimpses of Evan’s past with his mentor, add a compelling new dimension. Gregg Hurwitz has created a ballsy, out there, wonderful hit of escapism, that non the less feels as though it could be real. I punched the air when I realised ‘Orphan X’ is the first in a series, there is most definitely more to come from Evan Smoak and this has all the hallmarks of a series to rival Bourne. This was such an exceptional and exhilarating ride, and I loved every single micro second of it! May 2016 Book of the Month.
One of our Books of the Year 2016. Longlisted for the John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger Award 2016. A breathless and perfectly-paced thriller of a particularly explosive nature, introducing Royalty Protection Team cop Robert Finlay whose own SAS past retruns to the surface after a series of colleagues are murdered. The author's own previous real-life experience in the military and then the police provides the book with a thick veneer of realism which it wears lightly but keeps the plot on the right side of credibility, unlike so many SAS action adventure-type thrillers publishers have been deluging the market with. Finlay is a fascinating character with a deceptively normal home life and quickly attracts the reader's sympathy. Anchored in the uncertainties of the present and recent past (terrorism, political turmoil, Ireland, Iran) but with a strong moral compass, this could be the beginning of a great series and a likeable British action character. ~ Maxim Jakubowski The Lovereading view... Fall headlong into a gripping and absolutely cracking story, featuring an ex-SAS, turned Met Police Officer, battling for his life. This is the first in the ‘Robert Finlay series’ and the debut novel by Matt Johnson, who has experienced one hell of a career himself. In fact, when you read the information about the author at the beginning of the book, it immediately puts a whole new spin on what you're about to read. The whammy of a prologue sets the story in 2001, you are then introduced to Bob Finlay, who is settling down into family life and a new role within the police when events take an unexpected and horrifying turn. Johnson turns his knowledge into the most fabulous and readable story that just zings along with authenticity and exhilarating attitude. I’m excited to be in at the start of what promises to be a fabulous new series, and honestly can’t wait for the next! ~ Liz Robinson April 2016 Debut of the Month. A 'Piece of Passion' from the publisher... 'Wicked Game was written by ex-Met Police Officer Matt Johnson as therapy for the PTSD he suffered after witnessing several horrific London bombings, and being present at the murder of his colleague Yvonne Fletcher. He subsequently self-published this book, and achieved extraordinary sales and reviews. We’ve worked with Matt to rewrite and polish this thriller for the trade, and the results are staggering. Not only is this a compelling, revealing and action-packed thriller, but the authentic dialogue and the inside knowledge that Matt invests in the highly orchestrated plot and well-drawn characters are simply spine-tingling. Telling the story of an ex-SAS man whose carefully concealed past comes back to haunt him, putting his family, his colleagues and his new life in jeopardy, this is a vividly written novel that has bestseller written all over it.' ~ Karen Sullivan, Publisher, Orenda Books
As decadent and scandalous as New York Society in the roaring twenties, A Certain Age will whisk you back to a time of Jazz, elegance, charm, and murder as only Beatriz Williams can. The world is slowly recovering from the horrors of the Great War. Women’s hemlines are rising and the world offers new freedoms to them. Mrs Theresa Marshall loves her husband but she’s also fallen for her young lover, Captain Octavian Rofrano. After Theresa’s brother announces his engagement to a young, beautiful heiress he asks her to find him a Cavalier to propose to the girl in question in true Marshall tradition. She turns to Rofrano to carry out this small favour and sets in motion a string of events that will change their lives forever. Thrilling and heady, A Certain Age is a delightful novel to escape into. ~ Shelley Fallows Click here to read a Q&A with Beatriz Williams. Click here to view the Reading Group Notes for this title.
Longlisted for the HWA Goldsboro Debut Crown Award Longlist 2016. This is such a stimulating, penetrating and truly beautiful novel, Kim Devereux obviously has a deeply emotional connection to Rembrandt’s work and she opens up and breathes life into his extraordinary world. While detailing the three main lovers or loves of his life, it’s the first person narrative of Hendrikje, as she starts to see the world through his eyes, that allows a profound contact with Rembrandt. It is by no means essential for you to have knowledge of this exceptional artist, if you already know of the works that head the chapters then, by the end you will see them with fresh eyes. If you haven't yet had the pleasure, it’s advisable to wait until you've finished the book before completing any research, instead allow the writing to paint the pictures for you. The author sweeps aside a shadowy curtain to allow a vivacious, exhilarating light to flood in and reveal secrets, illicit lust and deception. A piece of fiction Rembrandt’s Mirror may be, but it feels remarkably authentic and is an absolute joy to read. One of our Books of the Year 2015. A 'Piece of Passion’ from the Publisher... ‘I fell in love with this novel from the very first pages. Rembrandt is a man of dark corners, strange passions and a ruthlessness born from his need to put his art first. Kim Devereux is an extremely sensitive and talented writer, and this novel represents years spent thinking about Rembrandt the artist and the way he painted, but it is also a beautifully and astute portrait of a love affair, between the artist and the girl who became his common-law wife.’ Margaret Stead, Editor of Rembrandt’s Mirror and Publisher Director, Atlantic Books
‘The Queen’s Choice’ is a wonderfully effortless read, where historical fact blends with romance, scheming and subterfuge. Covering a period between 1396 and 1422 the story revolves around Joanna of Navarre who married King Henry IV in a time where love in a marriage was a luxury. Anne O’Brien transports you back into a world where woman were pawns in the political wrangling of court, and intelligent women had to act with stealth, even if they had husbands who understood their worth. Joanna is an engaging character, her longing for love and her frustration with the position in which she finds herself is understandable, and that’s what makes this such a captivating read; this isn't a history lesson, this is a fascinating and believable story.
Shorlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize 2016. Longlisted for the HWA Goldsboro Debut Crown Award Longlist 2016. ‘Mrs Engels’ is a stimulating and rather glorious peek at the life of Lizzie Burns, who lived alongside and supported the two men who founded Marxism. Set between 1842 and 1878, Gavin McCrea has planted this story in fact, and then weaved a magical yet earthy tale. Lizzie Burns was a woman of practical strength and determination, she takes the reader into her confidence and tells her own story, and what an amazing tale it is! Gavin McCrea not only transported me back in time, he also had me hanging on to every single word that came out of Lizzie’s mouth. The language surprises on occasion, and may cause a raised eyebrow, it is so full of attitude and down to earth. The story flowed between Lizzie’s past and present, until it felt as though it was one moment in time. Lizzie Burns was a woman who would have been extraordinary today, the voice McCrea has created is startling, and this is a simply wonderful and entirely captivating debut. Chair of judges Iain Pears said: “McCrea has cleverly included just enough historical detail to set a very evocative scene, then lets his cast tell the story. The writing always surprises, his characters are compelling without having to be likeable and, as all of we judges noted, Mrs Engels is perhaps the most feminist novel we read for the Prize.”
One of our Books of the Year 2016. Longlisted for the HWA Goldsboro Debut Crown Award Longlist 2016. A vividly striking and entirely captivating debut novel set in Calcutta, covering both the Second World War and Indian Independence during the 1940’s. Beautiful adventurous Maisy and loyal, knowing ayah Pushpa tell their own tales, which are inextricably linked to each other. Maisy’s Mam ‘entertains’ army officers, yet she has big dreams for her daughter, as Maisy becomes a woman, their world starts to crumble. Louise Brown writes with the lightest of touches, yet is able to convey earthy, vibrant tones with an expressive eloquence. There are occasional moments of heart wrenching savagery, described by a character in such an unaffected, matter of fact way, that the thrust travels all the more intensely. My imagination soaked up this moving tale, the emotion it generated constantly surprising as I found myself transported to an exotically precarious world. A 'Piece of Passion' from the Publisher... 'I’d challenge almost anyone not to be seduced by Louise Brown’s spellbinding debut novel, EDEN GARDENS. It’s the story of Maisy, who has no chance of growing up a nice British colonial girl. Her mother is a prostitute and alcoholic, and when Maisy is seduced at sixteen by her Indian tutor, her life changes forever, for better and for worse. Set in the closing days of the British Raj period, EDEN GARDENS tells of another side of British India, a world of castes, secrets, politics, ambition, and love of a different kind.What sets it apart from me is the incredibly vivid sense of location, from the backstreets of the shared housing in Calcutta to the colonial bungalows beautifully wrapped by their flower-filled gardens – both dwellings are places that provide comfort and yet entrapment, too. The author also delves into some very serious issues simmering beneath the love story that arcs over the novel. It portrays an alternative story to the usual stories of dusty haired, bored British Colonial wives. It's colourful, rich in detail, probing in subject matter and beautifully researched. Ultimately, it is a love story, but it’s also a story of survival, told in the most entrancing way.' ~ Imogen Taylor, Publishing Director, Headline
May 2016 Book of the Month. This wonderful, bawdy, fictional memoir began with Mistress of My Fate which eventually saw Henrietta Lightfoot fall for the daring Lord Allenham. Here they are off to Belgium when he gets called on to Paris leaves Henrietta. She receives a letter from him urging her to return to England but the impulsive adventurer follows her love … only this is 1792 Revolutionary France. She falls in with two powerful women and forms a number of dangerous liaisons. The author, Rubenhold, is brilliant. Lots of historical detail, lots of drama and intrigue and a fast, compulsive pace is given a light touch by the first-person narrative. It is a pure charmer. If you saw The Scandalous Lady W on TV you will know what to expect for this is the same author. ~ Sarah Broadhurst A 'Piece of Passion' from the publisher... A Tale of Two Cities meets Dangerous Liaisons - lovers of historical fiction are in for a treat with THE FRENCH LESSON. It tells of a young English woman on her own in the perilous times of the French Revolution in Paris. Henrietta Lightfoot is a single woman whose possessions have all been stolen. She stumbles into the opulent home of the most famous courtesan of the 18th century, a real historical figure – Grace Dalrymple. Little does she know that Grace has imperious plans of her own, and Henrietta becomes a pawn in a vicious power game between the most powerful women in France. Most of the protagonists in this novel, the rulers of France, the mistresses and wives, artists and revolutionaries, really did exist, and Hallie, an 18th century historian and author of THE SCANDALOUS LADY W (a hit BBC drama) has researched primary sources to tell this fabulous story, which roars with such pace, plot, detail and sensuousness. There is even a hint of murder, and all played out on a canvas of authentic bloody revolution. ~ Jane Lawson, Editorial Director, Doubleday Transworld Publishers
One of our Books of the Year 2016. May 2016 Book of the Month. 'War was declared at 11.15 and Mary North signed up at noon.' With these words begins the most breathtaking novel of the year, Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave. Join Mary, Alistair and Tom as they try to survive in a war which seems to have consumed everything, everything that is except for love and honour. WWII and Mary North escapes finishing school (unfinished) in Switzerland to sign up. Much to her surprise she gets a teaching post and later becomes an ambulance driver. Inbetween she falls for two very different men, both beneath her class, for it is class and prejudice, change and destruction that dominated this tragic novel. Set mostly in London and later in Malta with some truly horrific set-pieces, this haunts you well after you’ve finished it. The writing is brilliant, the dialogue sharp, the changing attitudes that the war imposes on folk beautifully realised. He is a very clever writer indeed. If you do not know you must read his best book The Other Hand too. Click here to read 10 reasons why you should read Everyone Brave is Forgiven.
Follow the latitude line from Malachy Tallack's home on Shetland and you voyage to Greenland, Canada, Siberia and Scandinavia before coming home, a wiser and more grounded person. We learn more of his troubled background as he travels West, troubles that include the very notion of the idea of home and surviving in often marginalised and alienating environments. You need to be strong and self-reliant to survive in such lands, some like Siberian political prisoners had no choice others have been drawn to live in these lands. This journey reveals how landscape shapes us – has shaped Malachy Tallack, that national boundaries are just sketch marks on a deeper more meaningful division of land and sea. Like for Like Reading The Magnetic North: Travels in the Arctic, Sara Wheeler True North: Travels in Arctic Europe, Gavin Francis
We can never truly know what it is like to be another species and experience their lives as they search for food, or kill and be killed – but Charles Foster has gone further than most in trying to capture that elusive experience. Through following Swifts, Red Deer, Otters, Badgers and Foxes, observing, trying to live as they do he manages to rent small tears in the barriers between us. His approach to natural history brings shocks and surprises, an otter's intense driving metabolism, why British and European badgers differ in behaviours, how deer live without their wolf predator, how Swifts, Swallows and House Martin inhabit different levels of the sky in their hunt for insects rising up the eddies and columns of air. Safe to say this unusual, intimate and passionate attempt to connect with nature is unlike anything else you'll read this year. ~ Sue Baker Like for Like Reading Corvus: A Life with Birds, Esther Woolfson Deep Country: Five Years in the Welsh Hills, Neil Ansell
June 2016 NewGen Debut of the Month. Amanda Hardy is the new girl at school. Like everyone else, all she wants is to make friends and fit in. But Amanda is holding back. Even from Grant, the guy she's falling in love with. Amanda has a secret. At her old school, she used to be called Andrew. And secrets always have a way of getting out... Zoella Book Club title Autumn 16.
Absolutely adorable, this is an autobiography full of eccentricity, charm and a penguin called Juan Salvador. As a young man in the 1970’s Tom Michell travelled to Argentina to teach at a boarding school. While in Uruguay Tom rescued a penguin from an oil slick and found himself with an unexpected companion. Writing in a fresh, chatty and friendly style, Tom introduces his colleagues, students and the beautiful country of Argentina. With super little titbits and recollections of his time in South America this a beautifully written memoir, however, I have to confess, that it is Juan Salvador who truly enchanted me. This confident, sociable little penguin must have been a joy to get to know. ‘The Penguin Lessons’ has left me with a lovely warm glow of optimism, there’s far more to be gained from these lessons than you would originally suspect.
Shortlisted for the Books Are My Bag Non-Fiction Award 2016. Mary Beard has pulled off a totally involving and immersive history of Ancient Rome. She calls it her view of why Rome matters – and it does as she makes so clear. What makes this such an involving history is that it isn't a dogged linear narrative, it darts about with Mary Beard's authorial voice acting as a guide not only to the history but the people, their language and the evidence for what we know. Bringing evidence from every corner, from funeral monuments to the contents of middens, from underwater and underground, she makes this an enthralling narrative, bringing Ancient Rome and its people to vivid life. It's well illustrated with a very good further reading list. An absolute ten out of ten from me. Like for Like ReadingCity of the Sharp-Nosed Fish, Peter Parsons Under Another Sky:Journeys in Roman Britain, Charlotte Higgins Mary Beard's Inheritance Books...1. Charlotte Bronte, Jane EyreThe classic novel about what women want, or think they want, or don't. Is 'Reader, I married him' the ultimate happy ending or not? It's a book that changes in all kinds of interesting ways as you re-read it over a lifetime.2. Homer, The OdysseyAt the very start of Western literature, the Odyssey underlies so much of what we read right down to the present day. A story of homecoming, temptation and the perilous boundary between civilisation and barbarism.3. Germaine Greer, The Female EunuchThe liveliest and punchiest classic of feminism: somethimg every woman and man should read. It still changes lives, like it changed mine.
Shortlisted for the Costa Biography Award 2015. Using new and previously unpublished material Robert Douglas-Fairhurst explores Alice in Wonderland and the life of its author, Lewis Carroll, looking too at the influence Alice in Wonderland has had on our cultural history. The author sees Wonderland as the creation of a man at odds with a changing world, a book that although inspired and written by a child it also became a refuge for Lewis Carroll himself. ~ Sue Baker Costa Judges' comment: “This sparkling account opens doors into the life of one of the most enigmatic of 19th century writers and the inspiration behind his iconic creation.” Like for Like Reading Lewis Carroll and Alice, Stephanie Lovett Stoffel In the Shadow of the Dreamchild: The Myth and Reality of Lewis Carroll, Karoline Leach
The story of one of the most recognisable and successful players in world football. Didier Drogba is renowned for his heading ability, sharp shooting and sheer strength. He has played for his native Ivory Coast and for clubs in France, China and Turkey, but it is as a Chelsea striker that he is best known. His feats with Chelsea have made him a cult hero among supporters. Off the field of play Drogba has been widely applauded for his involvement in trying to broker peace in the Ivorian civil war - he was a UN Goodwill Ambassador and Time magazine named him one of the world's 100 most influential people.
Joe Root is undoubtedly cricket's next superstar, adored by fans and the press alike for his incredible talent and his cheeky personality. At just 24 years old he has already scored nearly 3,000 Test runs, taken 12 Test wickets. Joe was the star of England's incredible 2015 Ashes campaign - his knock of 130 at Trent Bridge secured the series victory and saw him named by the ICC as the best batsman in the world.
In June 1989, Paul Du Noyer was contacted by Paul McCartney's office in London and asked to interview the star as they had met once before and enjoyed a good raport. In the years that followed, Paul Du Noyer continued to meet, interview and work for Paul McCartney on a regular basis, producing magazine articles, tour programmes, album liner notes, press materials and website editorial. It's likely that Du Noyer has spent more hours in formal, recorded conversation with McCartney than any other writer.
July 2016 New Gen Debut of the Month Absolutely compelling. I have to admit to being rather surprised by ‘The Otherlife’, I think I was expecting a rollicking fantasy adventure, instead a startling, yet subtle and thought-provoking read awaited. Either told from the viewpoint of Ben as he is about to take his GCSE’s in 2012, or through his classmate Hobie’s journal in 2008, The Otherlife focuses on the importance of friendship and a variety of issues such as the pressure of being a teenager and parent’s expectations. While Ben copes with pain, both physical and mental, Hobie bulldozes his way through the school year, with few morals, and little thought. Julia Gray sets the Otherlife flickering on the edge of the page, on the knife edge of reality... waiting. As I settled in and felt as though I was beginning to understand, the writing ripped my thoughts apart and set me off on a new path. An intruiging, slicing read, The Otherlife, is also warmly tender and compassionate, and I highly recommend it. ~ Liz Robinson
August 2016 New Gen Book of the Month. In a Nutshell: * Dystopian deception * Greek myth * Survival A labyrinthine world of brutality, deception and monstrous creatures awaits in this intense coming-of-age fantasy about fighting to survive. Being chosen to enter the angel-guarded labyrinth is the greatest honour that can be bestowed on the children of Daedelum. That's what people pray for, and that’s what Clara wants; to be chosen, and reunited with her brother. But the reality of life within the labyrinth is very different. Shortly after entering it, Clara is attacked by terrifying screeching creatures, and the novel’s unnamed protagonist is left without her cherished childhood friend. She’s taken in by the Fates, a group of Icarii dedicated to teaching newcomers “how to adapt and survive”. Within the labyrinth, people are either scavengers or caretakers. Whichever you are, it's a brutally basic existence, plagued by the ever-present threat of the screechers. “This isn't the kind of place where you play at being a hero,” she’s warned. “Escape when and however you can”. Crippled by introversion, the protagonist ends up adopting Clara's name after a Fates companion overhears her crying it out her sleep, and she can’t face correcting the mistake. But trouble comes when the truth emerges, and then there's the Executioner… Soon enough, there's danger from every quarter. Who to trust? Where to go? What to do? The tension is high, the writing is taut, and this sharp, strident fantasy will be relished by fans of The Hunger Games and The Maze Runner. A Piece of Passion from editor, Penny West; I read Children of Icarus in two days, and I would have read it in one, had I taken all of the manuscript home with me. If I can recommend one book that will captivate you into turning the pages to find out what happens next, this is it. Behind the book is an author with a story of her own. At 18, her first book was published in her home country of Canada, with the sequel following a year later. She has travelled internationally as guest author to book festivals and spoken in many schools about following a dream and never giving up. Now still only 21, with Children of Icarus publishing in the UK in July and in the US in August, Caighlan is coming to the UK this summer to promote her new book. I can’t wait for her fans to get to meet her and be inspired by her love of writing. Icarus was the surprise hit at Book Expo America. We gave away promo copies and just weren’t prepared for the queues and excitement over what fans had heard so far. One pair talked about how they follow the author online and can’t wait for the chance to meet her one day. As for the book itself, it starts with a delicious dread as the narrator spends her days secretly wishing she won’t be chosen to enter the labyrinth. Worthy teens are chosen every year to make the sacred journey that will end in them becoming angels and immortal. Why shouldn’t she be desperate to take part? But she is chosen and is, of course, right to fear the labyrinth. Then there is a twist you will never see coming that changes everything. The build-up explodes as all hell breaks loose. I fell in love with the central character in the first chapter – she’s quiet, scared, not your typical female ultra-hero, but she has an inner strength that unfolds as the story progresses, and I could really connect with that. You see, female protagonists are analysed in a way their male counterparts aren’t. Katniss has set the bar – a female lead must be strong, a born warrior. But what if she isn’t? What if she’s traumatised by the horrors she’s seen and suffers from possible social anxiety? What if she’s always lived in the shadow of a best friend she idolises and doesn’t know how to cope when forced into the spotlight? Everyone deserves to be represented in literature and told it’s ok if sometimes you’re afraid or don’t know what to do. She makes a choice to keep going and that’s when she finds true strength. The kick-ass moments we later see are all the more satisfying because we travelled alongside her and saw how hard she fought to get there. (And she is absolutely not saved by a love interest.) This is a book close to my heart and the labyrinth is one of my favourite worlds to get lost in. I can’t wait for other fans of YA to experience the same.
When the princess of Nova accidentally bewitches herself with an illegally brewed love potion, resulting in the biggest self-crush since Narcissus, there’s an urgent need for an antidote. The kingdom’s alchemists are sent out on the dangerous task of gathering ingredients. Amongst them is Sam, grand-daughter of one of the most talented alchemists ever but a definite underdog here, especially compared to the team from the giant ZoraAster Corporation. There’s nothing like a quest to set spirits soaring, and this has extra ingredients to add to the excitement: magical settings, an on-off romance for Sam with Zain, gorgeous son of ZoraAster’s chief executive, and a deadly rival in the shape of the King’s evil sister. Princess Evelyn could be one of those Made In Chelsea girls, while Sam is definitely one of us. Great fun, and perfect summer reading! Zoella Book Club title Summer 16.
Shortlisted for the Books Are My Bag Children's Book Award 2016. Winner of the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2016. Winner of The Bookseller's 2016 prize for young adult fiction. Ireland's Children's Book of the Year Award 2016. Award-winning Sarah Crossan tells an astonishing and difficult story with the surest of touches in this tender, funny and life affirming book. Grace and Tippi are twins. Not just twins but conjoined twins, sharing the lower half of their bodies. Somehow they have always managed to be individuals while also part of each other. Now teenagers, Tippi and Grace are facing increasing difficulties. They are off to school for the first time meeting new experiences and especially new friendships and relationships. While Tippi longs for things to remain the same, Grace yearns for something more. Falling in love with classmate Jon she begins to imagine a future full of romance and love. But will there be a future for Grace and Tippi? When a desperate decision needs to be taken the girls lives must change forever. Sarah Crossan tells an original and utterly gripping story brilliantly. One of our Julia Eccleshare's Pick of the Year 2015
Set against a vividly drawn desert backdrop, this spellbinding novel about love, self-sacrifice and the power of stories shimmers as vibrantly as a queen’s finely threaded robes. When cruel king Lo-Melkhiin arrives in her village, the eloquent narrator of this expertly woven novel knows that he will take her beloved, beautiful sister to be his next wife. And so she makes the ultimate sacrifice and submits herself, in the knowledge that Lo-Melkhiin has murdered over three hundred wives. But the king knows what she’s done and is fascinated by his new wife’s fearlessness, and she survives her first night in his opulent court. Over time, a curious connection develops between them, and the young queen realises that her dreams and stories seem able to take on lives on their own, and possess a power that’s perhaps even strong enough to cast out a monster… Exploring the story behind the tales of The Arabian Nights and the woman who told them, legendary Arabic queen, Scheherazade, this unique novel will haunt readers long after the final page has been turned.
In a Nutshell: Deceit • Decisions • Doing the right thing A gripping, emotionally-charged page-turner about guilt, regret and finding the strength to face the truth. 15-year-old Laurie has always been a good girl, but confesses a guilt-ridden secret right at the start of her story, before taking us on a rollercoaster ride through the months that led to the moment “poison seeped into my blood”. Before that moment, Laurie’s life was sorted. She’s always been focused on fulfilling her ambition to become a doctor, while having fun hanging out with Charlie and Maya. They were the “three peas”; best friends since primary school, until a painful chain of events are set in motion when she and Charlie get together after a party. He goes cold on her, the inconceivable happens and Laurie's world implodes. She’s alone with the burden of making an excruciatingly difficult decision, and it turns out that Charlie has a seriously high-stake secret of his own. This riveting read strikes the perfect balance between keeping you turning the pages and digging deeper into big issues that have big resonance. It’s about the ripple effect of one decision; how lives can be thrown off-course in one brief moment but, ultimately, it’s about stepping-up to put things right when everything goes wrong, which Laurie does with tremendous courage and maturity. When Charlie remarks, “there's no way back” Laurie agrees, but adds, “we can go forwards”. Tense, taut, and teeming with characters you’ll care about, this comes highly recommended for fans of thrillers with extra emotional depth.
In a Nutshell: Summer love | Short stories | Poolside pick-me-up Perfect for dipping into between dips in the pool, this varied seasonal anthology features twelve scorching stories by twelve top YA authors. Following last Christmas’s My True Love Gave to Me collection, this is a stunning summer-themed showcase of the dazzling breadth of current YA authors, including Cassandra Clare, Leigh Bardugo and Veronica Roth. Personal favourites include the beautifully bittersweet trapped-in-time tearjerker, The Map of Tiny Perfect Things (Lev Grossman), and the satisfyingly sardonic Love is the Last Resort (Jon Skovron), but the joy of this collection is its variety. It’s a fabulous feast of mix-and-pick treats, from soft-centered romance, to hardboiled thrillers. And the pretty package - a chunky sky-blue hardback resplendent with sunburst yellow edges and pink silk bookmark – makes it an ideal end-of-exam gift to chill-out with.
August 2016 NewGen Book of the Month. Hattie’s life changes forever when she meets the great aunt she never knew she had. Gloria by name, and glorious by nature, this headstrong former actress, who likes a gin sling (or three), is in the early stages of dementia. “Memories are what make us who we are,” Gloria remarks. “Without them we are nobody,” and so she and Hattie embark on an emotional road-trip, retracing significant paths from Gloria’s past. While Gloria battles memory loss and the turmoil that comes from disturbing one’s ghosts, Hattie has her own problems. She’s pregnant by her close friend Reuben. She hasn’t told him, and he’s just got together with a new “hot” French girlfriend… As Gloria relives and reveals the heartache around own experience of motherhood, there’s a strong sense of time running out for them both. Gloria doesn’t know how long she’ll have her memories, while Hattie has to make a decision about her pregnancy. “You can't be scared of regret,” Gloria advises. “All you can do is make the choice that seems right at the time." And that’s what Hattie does, as Gloria did before her.This is a beautiful, bittersweet story about family bonds, the cycle of life and love in all its forms. ~ Joanne Owen Publisher Passion Piece: Non Pratt's Trouble meets Thelma and Louise with a touch of Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey, Clare Furniss' remarkable How Not To Disappear is an emotional rollercoaster of a novel that will make you laugh and break your heart.
Rebecca Stead loves to set her readers puzzles: there are huge mysteries in her award-winning novels When You Reach Me and Liar and Spy and her new book, Goodbye Stranger also poses questions. Central character Bridge was very nearly killed by a car aged 8, and has never forgotten one of the nurses telling her that ‘you must have been put on this earth for a reason’ – the question what that reason might be circles in her head thereafter. At the time of the book’s action, Bridge is 12 and starting seventh grade, year 7 as we know it, a year that marks a real transition from childhood to the beginning of adulthood. She navigates it cautiously, even reluctantly, in contrast to her long-time best friends Tab and Em who seem more than ready to become young adults. In other plotlines, Bridge’s new friend Sherm tries to work out why his grandfather left his grandmother after fifty years of happy marriage, and – another mystery – which character, unnamed until the very end, is bunking off school in shame after betraying a friend’s trust? Full of ideas, insight and real depth, this beautifully told story examines love and friendship in all their forms, and asks us all to think about who we are.
June 2016 NewGen Debut of the Month. In a Nutshell: Boundless friendship • Real-life rawness •Surviving loss A gripping, emotionally authentic debut about grief, guilt and the tragic reality of knife crime. Adam is struggling. Burdened by believing he’s responsible for his best friend Jake being stabbed to death, the unbearable weight of grief and his feelings of guilt lead to a suicide attempt. Feeling “numb” and like he “didn't have anything to say”, Adam is unable to speak when he’s transferred from hospital to a mental health clinic, and so his therapist suggests that he keeps a notebook. Through his writing, the agonising truths that led to Adam’s current state are laid bare and we learn how the fall-out from a Christmas party triggered the sequence of events that escalated into Jake being stabbed on New Year's Eve. Though he feels isolated, Adam isn’t alone. He has Josie, a fellow patient who shows him the ropes and insists that Jake's death wasn't his fault. He also has Polly, a friend who loves him, and won't give up on him. And then there’s Jake’s mum whose tear-jerking visit makes Adam realise that he had to “find some fight from somewhere... had to carry on.” While Adam’s story is heartbreaking, this deeply affecting debut ultimately shows how light and hope can glimmer through even the darkest of circumstances. Rebecca Lloyd, Editor: “Natalie Flynn’s debut novel tackles the devastating emotional fall-out from knife crime on a group of young people, and one teenage boy in particular. The Accent YA Editor Squad – a group of keen young readers who check out advance material – were clamouring to read more, drawn to this difficult subject by the authenticity of the writing. We are hugely excited to have Natalie as part of our new YA list.”
July 2016 NewGen Debut of the Month. In a Nutshell: Trip of a lifetime • Seize the day • Perfect endings Always heartwarming, often laugh-out-loud hilarious, this is a sublime novel about living, loving and savouring every precious moment. As Maddie plans her pre-college summer vacation, her wealthy, flamboyant grandmother, Gram, drops a bombshell. She doesn't have long to live and she’s taking the whole family on a cruise, but not “one of those tacky, eat-all-you-want buffet ships”, she explains. Rather, this is a voyage for the dying and their loved ones, during which the passenger-patients aboard the good ship Wishwell will choose their time to be sent to sleep. Maddie’s family is reeling with shock when Gram springs another surprise. The love of her life wasn’t the man she spent most of her life married to. That honour goes to Bob Johns, the joyous, dreadlocked jazz-loving Jamaican whom she couldn't marry in the “backwards-ass world of the 1940s”, and he’s coming with them. During the trip of a lifetime, Maddie becomes “ship sisters” with 32-year-old Paige, and falls madly in love, as they travel to places of Gram’s choosing where she ticks off items on her incredible loose ends list before her journey ends. This remarkable debut is abundant in life lessons (live to the full, be fearless, be forgiving) but perhaps the most gorgeous message of all comes from Gram. “Take the pain and grow beauty”, she advises. Every bit as poignant on the subject of popping your clogs as it is on popping your cherry (a summary I reckon straight-talking Gram would approve of), this book will make you laugh, cry and emerge from its pages feeling monumentally uplifted.
The completely and totally wonderful wiz(z)ard of words Terry Pratchett, has departed for what I'm sure will be a very interesting conversation, with cat and curry loving Death. Terry Pratchett has been one of my favourite authors since I was a teenager, and has left behind the gobsmackingly fabulous Discworld series. Having devoured and adored every single one, I felt rather hesitant about reading this, his 41st and last novel. I had contemplated leaving it for a while, setting it by, so it could wait, knowingly, raising its eyebrows at me. In the end, of course I couldn't resist and I just sank into the story and as I read, relived all the feelings this series has evoked in me. Tiffany Aching has to be on her mettle, a twisted powerful enemy is set for battle, Tiffany needs all the help she can get, including the Wee Free Men and of course she definitely needs Granny Weatherwax. Terry Pratchett has made me laugh (a lot), cry, and all the emotions inbetween, most importantly he has has made me consider, discover and think about our own world. I loved every second, every word of ‘The Shepherd’s Crown’, it has become one of my most loved and hugged books, and sits in pride of place on my bookshelf.
The hot (cool) new cook book for 7 - 14 year old children who love food and want to understand more about where it comes from and how to create amazing real meals. Empowering (and with no rice crispy cakes in sight) the 50 easy-to-follow recipies in this guide will teach basic skills and be the springboard for a live-long love of real food.
Powerfully thought-provoking alternate-history thriller in which an unforgettable heroine seeks revenge on Hitler. It’s 1956, more than ten years since the Nazis won the war, and 17 year-old Yael belongs to a resistance movement. After enduring scientific experimentation as a child in Auschwitz, she possesses the power to change her appearance at will, along with tattoos of wolves on her arm, and a single-minded determination to kill Hitler. To this end, Yael must embark on a road-trip like no other; she must win a motorbike race that sees her traverse the world. Alternating between Yael’s epic journey as a young woman and events from her childhood, this is an extravaganza of a story, a multi-layered tapestry of alternate-history, dystopian thriller and heroine-driven quest. Like Yael, the writing is fearless, smart and energetic, and readers will be left desperate for the sequel.
Shortlisted for the Books Are My Bag Children's Book Award 2016. Shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2016. Daring, beautifully written, full of ideas that will bring the reader up short, The Rest of Us Just Live Here is a dystopian adventure that mocks dystopian adventures while acknowledging the genre’s power to reveal truths, particularly about teenage lives. As one band of teenagers – those special ‘indie kids’ familiar from so many YA novels – battle to save the world from the Immortals, the main plot of the novel concerns another group of young people. Mikey is getting through his teenage years with the help of his friends and by focusing on graduating and leaving home. He also wants to declare his love for his friend Henna. It’s enough for anyone to cope with, the possibility of someone blowing up school only adds to his problems. The indie kids’ story is told entirely in chapter head summaries, the real drama is Mikey’s, and of course his story means the most to the rest of us. Original, funny, true, it can only be Patrick Ness. One of our Books of the Year 2015 - Julia Eccleshare's Pick of the Year 2015 - September 2015 Book of the Month
May 2016 NewGen Debut of the Month. The Outliers is one of those twisty thrillers that run on paranoia. It will send readers’ heartbeats soaring as their fears for the safety of central character Wylie increase, and they realise there is no-one she can trust! Wylie is in a bad place when the story starts – her mother has died in a car accident and her father, a research scientist, seems caught up in his work to the exclusion of anything else. Then Wylie’s best friend Cassie goes missing and her boyfriend appears to ask for Wylie’s help in finding her. Could Cassie’s disappearance have something to do with Wylie’s dad’s project, and is she really, creepily, a decoy? Is the target for groups for fanatics, sinister state-backed police and even weirder types, really Wylie herself? Proceeding at break-neck speed this still finds time for romance too. ~ Readers who enjoy The Outliers would also like the Slated series by Teri Terry or Broken Sky by L.A. Weatherly.
May 2016 Book of the Month. This electrifyingly smart story of a teen girl's struggle with a tormenting voice in her head is a masterwork of contemporary YA. There's a murderer on the loose in Cassie's New Jersey hometown, the so-called Houdini Killer, which sets her quick-to-anger dad even more on edge than usual. A former Navy SEAL with untreated posttraumatic stress syndrome, he now runs the family restaurant, a site of distressing memories for them both. After finding a foot in a sneaker on the beach - one of the Houdini Killer’s victims - Cassie hears a voice telling her that she's disgusting, and it won’t let up. Convinced she's “forever doomed like Cassandra of myth - the girl who leaves a trail of violence in her wake”, the bullying voice makes Cassie promise to obey it. And she does, with near-fatal consequences, when, for example she injects herself with her Epi-Pen, which results in her being hospitalised. In the clinic she meets the irrepressible Paris. A bipolar survivor of abuse, Paris comes to play a huge part in Cassie’s life, as does one of the boys staying in her dad’s apartment for the summer. The only time the voice is really silenced is when Cassie is with him, but the voice has other plans for their burgeoning relationship. Taking the form of the “most screwed-up love letter ever” written from Cassie to the boy she falls for, this gripping, multilayered novel is an insightful exploration of grief, broken families, mental illness and the lies we tell others - and ourselves - out of fear. It’s also about losing yourself, and coming to find your true voice. Lake has a huge talent for tackling classic YA themes, but always forges his own path, cutting through clichés, stripping back the superficial, to reach the heart of his brilliantly complex characters, all delivered through spectacularly plotted storylines.
June 2016 Book of the Month. Oozing with ambition, glamour and more ruthless Hollywood backstabbing than you can shake a designer stiletto at, this is the sassy first instalment of Alyson Noël’s Beautiful Idols series.Everyone in LA either is, or aspires to be, a somebody and few are more driven than ambitious young things Layla, Aster and Tommy. Blogger Layla dreams of studying journalism in New York, while strictly-raised rich girl Aster is desperate to make it as an actress, and country boy Tommy has set his sights on becoming a Grammy-winning musician. They share one thing in common: the desire to succeed at any cost, which is what pushes them to enter a contest to promote LA nightclubs to an A-list clientele. Enter Madison Brooks, the Hollywood starlet who’s shunned her past, “seized control of her destiny and made it her bitch”, and whose presence at any club brings a whole lot of kudos, not to mention press. When the lives of the three contestants entwine with Madison’s, they get a whole lot more than they bargained for after she goes missing and they’re implicated in a suspected homicide.Part thriller, part racy peek through the keyhole of the dark side of celebrity-worshipping culture, this novel is as exhilarating and seductive as the world it depicts and dissects, posing the million dollar question: how far will a person go to get what they want?In a Nutshell: Hollywood glamour | Ambition |Thriller
Fifteen-year-old science geek Sam has returned to Cornwall from London. It’s his first time back since his dad drowned here when he was four. Sam has no idea what his new life holds, and then he meets Jade, the stunning surfer girl who lives next door. Forthright and fearless, and obsessed with finding and riding the legendary Devil’s Horn wave, Jade stirs Sam’s heart and rouses his own passion for surfing. When Sam finds his dad’s navigational charts that seem to show the site of this legendary wave, he, Jade and her close circle of friends are consumed by a desire to surf the Devil’s Horn, no matter what, and at any cost. This powerfully pacy debut swells with elemental energy, and with the exhilaration and ache of first experiences of falling in love and heartbreak. It’s a tale about following passions and forming deep connections with people and nature. Above all, it’s a poignant love story that will have readers on the edge of their seats, willing Sam and Jade to realise their dream. ~ Joanne Owen
Five years have passed since Elsie's twin brother vanished into the sea on their birthday. Her parents and brother are still broken by their loss and Elsie feels like half of her is missing, but also as if Eddie is living within her. Elsie feels guilty too. She’d promised her dad that she wouldn't let go of Eddie’s hand, but she did and now he’s gone. Memories of that day seep back to her, but the details ebb and flow like the tides Eddie was lost to. Elsie takes refuge in eating, and in an abandoned boathouse. It’s her secret hideout until Tay turns up. His passion for freediving sparks Elsie’s interest in the sport. When diving, Elsie “stopped feeling any pain at all”. Down there, in the sea, she's “not a loser” and she becomes set on reaching the bottom of a forty-three-metre drop-off to say goodbye to Eddie, and “to tell him that I'm sorry”. While Elsie’s focused on this mission, and also dealing with bullies and falling for Tay, her older brother Dillon desperately needs help for his eating disorder. And then the truth of what happened on that fateful day rises from the depths. Alongside exploring grief, guilt, male bulimia and parental alcoholism with honesty and grace, the author has created an unforgettable heroine in Elsie, whose haunting, heartfelt tale comes highly recommended. ~ Joanna Owen April 2016 NewGen Debut of the Month.
May 2016 Book of the Month. This companion novel to the bestselling Between the Lines also works wonderfully as a life-affirming standalone novel, and features a sprinkling of full-page colour illustrations that exude the feel-good nostalgic ambiance of traditional fairy tales. Sixteen-year-old Delilah finally has her prince. Literally. Oliver has stepped from the pages of Delilah’s favourite fairy tale and is now a living, breathing teenage boy after having switched places with Edgar, son of the tale’s creator. Oliver turns more than a few heads at high school with his dashing good looks and social faux pas, including “doing the queen's wave as we head down the science wing” and being punched by the president of the LGBT Alliance for his unwittingly inappropriate use of the word 'fairy'. But while Oliver and Delilah are elated at being together, love in the real world isn’t entirely a bed of roses. Meanwhile, back in the fairy tale, (which has been given a sci-fi makeover), Edgar is also struggling and, when misfortune strikes the tale’s creator, the characters she gave life to are called upon to return the favour. Whimsically entertaining throughout, Off the Page has a soft-centred heart that beats with the big themes of love, loss and searching for happy ever afters. “Home isn't where you are. It’s who you're with,” remarks the novel’s storyteller towards its end, which is an aptly warmhearted sentiment to come away with.
February 2016 NewGen Debut of the Month. 16-year-old Brightonians Caddy and Rosie have been best friends all their lives, their relationship enduring even when Caddy’s aspirational parents send her to a private school. But when an enigmatic new girl arrives at Rosie’s comprehensive, Caddy’s longing for “something of some significance to happen” in her “hopelessly average” life is set in motion, along with a shift in the dynamic of her relationship with Rosie. While Caddy is initially terrified that the beautiful, impulsive Suzanne will replace her, the three of them form a deep friendship. As Suzanne’s self-destructiveness escalates, it emerges that she’s struggling to cope with the ordeal of having suffered physical abuse at the hands of her stepfather, and Caddy finds herself laying everything on the line to save her downward spiraling friend.This powerful, punch-packing debut is an utterly compelling, authentic portrait of the intricate ebbs and flows of friendship, and of a young adult trying to navigate the tempestuous waters of past traumas. Accessible and profoundly moving, Caddy, Rosie and Suzanne’s story is sure to resonate with many a young woman - a phenomenal feat for any writer, let alone a first-time novelist. ~ Joanne Owen Zoella Book Club title Summer 16.
September 2015 NewGen Debut of the Month. A great new debut about the thrill and heartbreak that happens when we break out of our shell to do crazy, sometimes death-defying things for love. “Love makes people crazy,” observes Maddy, the eighteen-year-old protagonist of this remarkable debut. It’s “worth everything. Everything.” Exploring the risks we'll take for love, and to protect those we've given our hearts to, Maddy’s story is utterly unforgettable. Since she was an infant, Maddy’s world has been confined to the books she devours, her devoted doctor mom and her loveable full-time nurse, Carla. For seventeen years, she’s lived with Severe Combined Immunodeficiency, or ‘bubble baby disease’, which means venturing outside could trigger fatal allergic reactions. But everything changes when a new family moves into her Californian neighbourhood, and Maddy is inexorably drawn to the enigmatic, black-clad Olly. They strike up a relationship, initially via instant messaging and then in person, when Maddy persuades Carla to allow Olly into their air-sealed house. He’s the biggest risk she's ever taken, Maddy comments. And Olly likens her to a fairy tale heroine, shut away like Rapunzel, except in Maddy’s case being rescued by a prince could kill her. But the deeper they fall in love, the more necessary it becomes for Maddy to take these risks. They share their first kiss and, “just like that, everything changes,” so much so, Maddy feels ready to risk everything to realise a lifelong dream with the person she loves.With enriching illustrations by the author's husband, David Yoon, himself a designer and writer, this is a heartrending, sparkling jewel of a novel, and its subtly-laid twist will take your breath away. - Joanne Owen EXCITING NEWS - Ahead even of publication MGM has optioned the rights to this novel by debut author Nicola Yoon. The story centres on a 17-year-old girl who suffers from severe combined immune-deficiency, which leaves her housebound. J Mills Goodloe, the screenwriter for Age of Adaline starring Blake Lively and upcoming The Mountains Between Us (Rosamund Pike and Charlie Hunnam), will adapt the novel into a screenplay. MGM has a successful track record of adapting YA novels, including its partnership with New Line on If I Stay, starring Chloe Grace Moritz. Zoella Book Club title Summer 16
This is a debut novel that once read will never be forgotten. It's a vibrant, deeply romantic novel that will bring tears to your eyes but it will also bring laughter through the tears! It's also funny, sexy and deeply meaningful. This is the perfect book to share, between mothers and daughters, or amongst friends. Whatever your age, The Sky is Everywhere will touch your heart and stay with you always. Here at Lovereading we think it has the potential to be the Lovereading4kids debut book of the year for it embodies all the necessary magic and quality of the very best. Zoella Book Club title Summer 16. A message from the Publisher: Probably the most beautiful book to be published. A stunning debut novel that will speak to women everywhere, from teenagers to thirty-somethings. The story is moving yet funny, the characters are memorable and engaging, and the book itself is uniquely designed with full colour throughout with a flexi cover and elastic bookmarker. For teens this is a story of first love and family life, for older readers it is a nostalgic celebration of dreams, love and sisterhood.
Fans of John Green will love this heart-wrenching teenage novel. School students Violet and Theodore Finch first meet on the ledge at the top of the school bell-tower. Of course, it is out of bounds and neither should be there but, for different reasons and in different ways, both are struggling to believe that their lives are worth living. Together, they have something worthwhile to share and maybe, through that sharing, they can save each other – and themselves? Jennifer Niven convincingly captures their despair and their hope and the importance of friendship. Winner of the Readers Vote for Zoella Book Club title Summer 16. Jennifer Niven says “Years ago, I knew and loved a boy. The experience was life-changing. I’d always wanted to write about it—I just wasn’t convinced I would ever be able to. ‘All the Bright Places’ was written about a very hard, sad, lovely time during a very hard, sad, stressful time - and now here it is in your hands. (I am still pinching myself that it even exists.) Thank you, reader. To me, you are the brightest of places.”
May 2016 NewGen Book of the Month. An innovative, ambitious page-turner in which the inimitable Malorie Blackman has entwined two of her great passions - Shakespeare's Othello and science fiction - to create a thrilling outer-space-set epic that tingles with romance, danger, distrust and jealousy. Olivia (Vee) and her brother Aidan are alone in space and heading home to earth, the only survivors of a virus that annihilated the rest of the crew, including their family. Then brave, headstrong Vee risks her life to rescue the survivors of a Mazon attack, among them Nathan, with whom she falls in love, deeply, madly and with tempestuous consequences. This energetic riff on one of the bard's best works will also be relished by readers who don’t think they’re into Shakespeare, and Blackman also has a gift for making science fiction appeal to those who “don’t do” the genre. It takes an exceptional writer to pull off these kinds of feats, and Blackman has done so with wit, style and a slick sense of drama. ~ Joanne Owen
One of our Books of the Year 2014 A gripping story with a brilliantly shocking ending. Rich, beautiful, privileged – the Sinclair clan seem to have it all. For Cadence and her cousins that means long hot summers on their special holiday island. Days of swimming and picnics and parties. But around them swirl the problems of their parents and particularly, the complex issues of their inheritance. When Cadence hits her head in an accident she can’t remember anything about how it might have happened; a whole section of her life is missing. It is only when she goes back to the family island that the truth slowly and painfully becomes clear. Zoella Book Club title Summer 16. A Piece of Passion from Emma Matthewson, Editor-at-Large, Hot Key Books "This has been one of those books that just sucked everybody in from the moment we started reading. E. Lockhart has written a book of contrasts and of many parts, and that is what makes this book so very, very extraordinary and addictive. It is a book that was born to be talked about." Sarah Odedina, Hot Key MD, says: "Everyone at Hot Key Books is so excited and energised by having this breathtaking book on the list. It is a one-sitting heart-pounding read. It is quite simply unique and we know we are going to have a spectacular time bringing it to the attention of readers." In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title.
An utterly captivating love story about opening your heart by major US bestselling author, Rainbow Rowell, whose debut novel in the UK, Eleanor & Park was a huge hit and her ever-growing legion of fans here in the UK will love this latest tale of fan fiction, family and first love. Identical twin girls Cath and Wren have always been close but now as they head to university the outgoing one of the two, Wren, wants to branch out on her own and not forever be considered one half of a pair. Perhaps this is Cath's chance to step out from behind her sister and out of her comfort zone. Sounds easy but in practice when it comes to love, things rarely run smooth. Zoella Book Club title Summer 16. Read a Q&A with Rainbow Rowell on Fangirl. Here's a taster first: You don't usually base characters on real people - does that include yourself? Do you see yourself in one of the characters? There's a lot of me in Cath.......we both crave collaboration.... Read more here
June 2013 Debut of the Month. A potentially predictable 'girl meets boy' chick-lit standard is pulled up by its bootstraps into a highly enjoyable, bitter sweet, romantic story. Working in a local tea shop Sophie May is happy with her lot and the support she has (and gives to her friends and family). Then, without realising it, she meets a Hollywood 'A lister' and her life changes dramatically. But can it last? Zoella Book Club title Summer 16.
In May we ran a survey to discover more about the Summer Reading habits of our readers with questions like 'Do you judge a fellow holiday maker based on what they are reading?' Find out the answers and more here.
July and August are often times for holidays where you have more time to read so our Lovereading Expert reviewers have pulled together a list of books by a mix of authors, some that aren't the household names of your typical summer reading bookshop promotion but they believe are well worth reading.
And others, more well known and equally perfect for that summer break whether on the beach or in the mountains or just curling up in the evenings at home.
For even more choice try some other special categories to help you discover your next great read.
If You Like You'll Love. Perfect for discovering new authors based on ones you already enjoy.
The Desmond Elliott Prize. A must visit for anyone who has to have the latest and best debuts.
Books Reviewed by Readers. Find out what our Reading Panel of passionate readers thought.
Independent Authors. Discover a carefully chosen selection of independently published books to suit a range of tastes.
A selection of authors who will feature in this Lovereading category include: