No catches, no fine print just unadulterated book loving, with your favourite books saved to your own digital bookshelf.
New members get entered into our monthly draw to win £100 to spend in your local bookshop Plus lots lots more…Find out more
Take a trip across time and space with the latest Sci-Fi titles; head to another universe with the latest and greatest Fantasy novels and get your heart pumping with a brilliant selection of Horror.
A powerful, provocative and quite wonderful modern literary fairy tale, but if you enter expecting ‘happily ever after’ you’ll be sorely disappointed. Rather than sugar and spice and all things nice, you’ll instead find a novel brimming with exquisitely sharp and pointed attitude. Thirteen and a half years after Cinderella married the man of her dreams and she’s had enough, she wants out. The prologue pierces love, and binds hate, firmly setting the tone, yet wicked humour and gentle observations also tickle the page. The echoes of well known fairy tales make themselves felt, adding to the enchantment. There is much to take delight in, yet beware, all magic is paid for and you’ll need to be on the look out for hidden snares. I adore the tale that runs alongside the main story, of the two mice that accompanied Cinderella and live in a world circling through an entire civilisation. How easy it is to view what you want to see, rather than what is actually there. As the fairy tale splinters and a shimmer of reality breaks through, I found my thoughts tossed high in the air, and where they will land, I still don’t know. So bright, so clever, and thought-provoking this just had to sit as a Liz Pick of the Month. I danced through the deep dark magic of The Charmed Wife, long live the fairy tale that lives beyond 'happily ever after'.
An absolute whammy of a read, and a must for anyone who enjoys a smart, fast-paced, hugely entertaining blast of speculative fiction. When Jimmy agrees to smuggle data in his headspace, he really didn’t expect it to start talking to him. Honey the bioform bear needs to make contact with an entity on Mars, and Jimmy finds himself an unwitting accessory. While you could definitely read this as a standalone, I really do recommend reading Dogs of War, in which Honey also appears, as an introduction to this fabulous bioform world. Arthur C Clarke Award winning Adrian Tchaikovsky has successfully combined weighty, thought-provoking moments, with a Trump-like baddie, full-on action and smirky humour. And oh, how I smirked, Jimmy acts as a beautifully timed foil to the powerfully intense Honey. This is one of those books where you can just throw yourself and abandon yourself to a fabulous story, knowing you will be entertained throughout. A LoveReading Star Book and Liz Pick of the Month, Bear Head comes with a colossal thumbs up from me.
This high-octane, smart, whip-sharp novel is one heck of a reality and fantasy clash. It perhaps shouldn’t work, but it does, it really really does and has popped itself on my list of favourite reads. Meet Vern, he is currently hiding out in a Louisiana swamp, he doesn’t trust anyone, loves his vodka, has a thing for Flashdance, oh, and he’s a dragon. Having lived a few thousand years he really doesn’t need the escalating feud between Squib Moreau and crooked Officer Hooke to spoil his peace and quiet. This is the first novel for adults from the bestselling author of the Artemis Fowl series, Eoin Colfer. I feel as though Highfire has been waiting for me, to welcome it to my bookshelves. The balance between the different genres is beautifully done. Different emotions skittered through me as I read, there’s violence aplenty, and some wicked smirks waiting to be found too. Highly entertaining and exciting, Highfire is my kind of book, in fact if you could marry books, I’d be Mrs Highfire in no time!
Iatrogenesis is a thrilling science fiction centered around a pandemic, when faulty upgrades of microscopic medical robots, nanodocs, leads to mass mayhem and many lives on the line. I really enjoyed this book and I think it’s a great afternoon read. I would guess that the idea for this book was in part inspired by the events of 2020, and there’s some familiar measures mentioned as ways to stop the spread both before and after the cause of death and illness has been explained. The book starts with an intriguing prologue, and the “what could go wrong” stance immediately lets the reader in on what is exactly about to go wrong. We are then introduced to Dr. “TJ” Short, a doctor in a time where microscopic robots implanted in the blood cure most ailments, who is present as the devastating effects of the upgrades become apparent and becomes central in the fight to stop the spread. I found both the science-fiction and the medical language throughout this book believable and I think the author has done a lot of research to create a believable and well-rounded world that I was eager to learn more about and didn’t want to put down until I found out how it ended. There’s also a bit of a relationship story towards the end too. This is a short Sci-fi thriller that I think is well worth the read.
Matthew William Frend's Life Before Death is a book of two halves for me, one half of which I enjoyed, the other not so much. I thought the author's remit was too ambitious but then, had he chosen to write two separate books, would I have wanted to read the second one and would I have missed out? The majority of the book follows a group of four young Australians in the 1990s who, frustrated by government policies restricting their chosen lifestyle, decide to plant a cannabis farm in the outback. Their road trip to the chosen site, the narrow escapes from both the weather and the authorities and what they do while waiting at a 'safe' distance for harvest-time all make exciting, informative and dramatic reading. The suspense the author builds is incredible and the detailed descriptions of the Red Centre and the wilds of the Northern Territory are amazing, as they're based on the personal experiences of the author when he lived in Oz himself. However, I suppose a story about a group living, sometimes only just surviving, on the edge of 'normal' society, a counterculture, has to go into their reasoning and motivation, their search for the meaning of life. There are surreal descriptions of the mind expansion that takes place when using drugs and experiences that border on the paranormal. The lessons the reader should surely take from this book are to try to live in the moment, be mindful of your surroundings, to truly live before you die, though I doubt that you need drugs to do all that.
Cycles of the Phoenix is a collection of shorter stories previously published separately by C. A Nicholas compiled together for one epic read. Within this book you will find ‘Sanity’s War’ ‘Strange’ and ‘Kaya: Where Have You Gone?’ of the Interlaced Souls series. Cycles of the Phoenix remains within the realm of fantasy while it explores a wide range of topics and themes from war, to Anxiety and PTSD. I thought that this book was very well written, there is a good degree of word-building and I enjoyed the imaginative ways that the author manages to turn both mental and physical struggles into fantastical demons for the characters to face. The most poignant to me are the events in the final pages, but I shan’t risk spoilers by sharing any more. As I’ve said this book does focus on a number of themes, with references to violence and sexual abuse throughout the different stories. I liked how the author used events in the stories to demonstrate that actions can have a long term emotional impact. I enjoyed the author’s style of writing. I found it quite traditional, it reminded me slightly of a style used to tell a story of old knights, which added to the fantasy atmosphere to me. Cycles of the Phoenix is mighty, but I think that it could be enjoyed as one epic tale or by enjoying each of the Interlaced Souls books in turn. This is a book for readers looking for something to think deeply about an analyse.
Firstly I’d like to say I love the play on words with this title. This Soul’d World is presented as a new interpretation on old practices, in terms of looking both outwards and inwards to answer philosophical/ spiritual questions about life with a sci-fi twist. A science fiction adventure that crosses dimensions and themes. I liked that this book uses science fiction tropes to explore philosophical questions. The chapters are short and easy to read, and you find yourself reading “just one more” to progress further in the story. Interestingly, the main character of this story is Callison Trebla, a man about to retire, not a character at the start of a career embarking on an adventure. I liked this characterisation, I think it adds a sense of honest reflection to the more spiritual themes in this book. I was drawn in to this story early on and Callison early on and I was interested to see how the story progressed and in which ways the science fiction elements would be incorporated. I think that this book has a bit of something for everyone, there’s science fiction, spirituality and exploration into people and behaviour with a family that has endured a tragedy. As well as an entertaining story with endearing characters, this is a thought-provoking read that I would recommend for anyone looking for a multi-dimensional book.
This hard-to-categorise quest story about an inquisitive child – Deon - who embarks on a lifelong mission to find his place in the world, is driven by the author’s desire to share his interest in imaginary realms. As a child, the narrator’s mother asked him “who he wanted to be in future”. Rather than give the expected answer of a superhero, or a fireman or policeman, Deon declares that he will “find a treasure”, but not the usual kind of treasure that’s buried in the depths of the earth or ocean. “I think I want to find a different kind of treasure.” He’s unsure as to what this means, but believes that “I’d come into this world with the word “treasure” deeply coded in me, but as a child I couldn’t have known its meaning.” Throughout his troubled childhood Deon feels “trapped entirely in my own dreamlike identity, filled with mysterious occurrences such as having transmitted, somehow, visions from objects I touched”. Deeply dissatisfied as a working adult, and desperate to “find my place in this world”, Deon decides that he must visit “magical” Glastonbury. Though much otherworldliness spills forth during this pilgrimage (during which he’s informed about chakras and the magic of crystals), the language retains a calmly straightforward tone as Deon’s quest comes to a revelatory climax. One for fans of spiritually-charged fiction.
With extraordinary imaginative power, King weaves the social, political and popular culture of his baby-boom American generation into a devastating exercise in escalating suspense. Stephen King's incredibly ambitious, heartstoppingly dramatic time travel novel, 11.22.63 is a riveting, high-stakes political story like Under the Dome, a love story like Bag of Bones and a 1950s community like IT. It's also a WHAT IF? story like no one's ever read before - a one thousand page tour de force.
Highly Recommended. More psychological thriller than strict horror I nevertheless wanted to include this because, primarily, it’s a wonderful book but also because it comes with genuine, if non-supernatural, thrills. This is a tight, claustrophobic and gripping tale centred around a group of teenaged female friends. Pinborough, a one-time teacher, has a deft and exact touch when it comes to depicting the voices, enthusiasms and fears of teenage friendship. And hatred. She’s also adept at using the pervasive nature of social media to power and inform her plotting and draw the tension tight around her story. Natasha is found in a freezing river on the edge of a small town. It quickly becomes clear that she died for 13 minutes. What is less clear is how or why she died. Natasha has no clear memory of how she got in the river but as her friends gather around her in hospital it’s obvious that someone does know. What follows is brilliantly judged, twisting journey into the lies, loves and hatreds that can exist in the pressure cooker of female teenage friendship groups. This is an empathetic novel that touches on bullying and power-plays, on the heightened emotions of youth. Pinborough maintains the tension impeccably to leave you always on the verge of knowing what’s happened but never being quite certain. This is perfect for anyone who enjoys the novels of Gillian Flynn or who loved the film Heathers.
Welcome to Sardinia: my hell, my home, my prison, my meditation these past sixteen years. What a place to die. But that's precisely why I was back. When drugged-up Time Traveller and '80s musical burnout Rock Section and his fellow English hooligans get kidnapped during Italia '90, there are ruinous implications. But now Rock has returned to Sardinia one final time to settle some scores and uncover the truth. He believes only Dutch cult leader Judge Barry Hertzog, still incarcerated on the island for the crime, can provide the answers. But through prescription drugs, the persistence of his driver Anna and a quest for the hidden ancient doorways strewn around Sardinia's only highway, the 131, Rock will discover that a greater truth awaits him. Judgement, consequences, hoodwinking on a grand scale, Gnosticism versus agnosticism...131 is a Gnostic whodunit that pursues readers' memories of all previous fiction into a peat bog and impales them with seven-foot-long pikes.
You can view this as a fantasy novel – but it is also an alternative history of epic proportions. Set in the time of James I it involves assassins, demons and incorrigible women.
A debut collection of short stories which won the British Fantasy Award, the Bram Stoker Award, the World Fantasy Award and the International Horror Guild Award … Wow! He then went on to write the superb Heart-Shaped Box proving that his launch was not just a lucky break and his literary attention not just because he is Stephen King’s son. This man can certainly write … you’ve got to read him. Most of the tales contain an element of fantasy and/or horror, but some are simply human dramas, and some, like the greatest of science fiction, use an unreal device to address a real problem. Superb. Comparison: Ray Bradbury, Michael Marshall Smith, Clive Barker.
The year is 2312. Scientific advances have opened gateways to an extraordinary future. Earth is no longer our only home; new habitats have been created throughout the solar system, on moons, planets and in between. But in 2312, a sequence of events will force humanity to confront our past, present and future. The first event takes place on Mercury, in the city of Terminator, itself a miracle of engineering on an unprecedented scale. For Swan Er Hong, it will change her life. Once a designer of worlds, now Swan will be led into a plot to destroy them.
Shelley didn't expect her posh new boyfriend Daniel to be enthralled by the quintessence of evil. She's preoccupied with the surprise success of Bessie, the oddly lifelike centrepiece of her Manhattan museum show. Her great-aunt Liza is busy ordering spooky old books from the dusty vaults below Charing Cross Road, while her friend Jack prefers brand-new books and his brand-new lover. When a little leather book arrives, Liza finds it repellent, but doesn't realise it's stained with vampire blood - until too late. Its arcane magic brings Bessie to life, and gives Daniel unimaginable power. As Daniel's supremacy grows, everyone's lives are infected. Soon the vicious vampire infestation rife in NYC threatens to spread to London - and only Bessie and her new friends can stop it...
The first in a three book series full of glitz, glamour and dark magic. Fairy tales are just that as Jane Boyle discovers when her seeming prince charming, Malcolm Doran, turns out to have a dark side and some serious family issues. Perfect for fans of Lauren Kate and Sara Manning. 666 Park Avenue Series:1. 666 Park Avenue2. The Dark Glamour3. The Lost Soul
The extraordinary new novel from one of this or any genre's most talented writers - cutting edge genre writing with an impeccable critical track record.Similar this month: None.Comparison: Richard Morgan, Nick Sagan, Michael Marshall Smith.
This is the sixth novel in the bestselling Outlander series - soon to be a major new TV series. Their love has survived the test of time. But can it survive fate? America, 1772. It is only a few years before the war of independence and the colony seethes with unrest. As battle lines are drawn up and loyalties tested, no one is safe in this new country. Jamie Fraser receives a message from Governor Josiah Martin. He wants Jamie's help to keep the backcountry safe for King and Crown. But Jamie knows what's to come. His wife, Claire, has travelled back from the twentieth century and she knows what will happen to those loyal to the King of England. Exile or death. Neither prospect appeals to Jamie. But Claire knows something else. From her own time she's read an article, dated 1776, reporting the destruction by fire of their home on Fraser's Ridge and the death of those who live there. Jamie hopes Claire is wrong, for once, about the future. But only time will tell...
In a truly beautiful reading experience, encounter the footnotes of a time long ago, meet people capable of committing murder, of holding a stinging need for vengeance, of feeling deep abiding love and friendship. If you see the term fantasy and usually turn away, please don’t, instead choose to step inside and feel the connection to the Italian Renaissance, allow the people to become known, experience their emotions, appreciate the eloquence of the writing. I adore the work of Guy Gavriel Kay, and have done since I was a teenager, epic in scale, intimate in focus, these are books that have allowed me to step outside of myself and experience a different world, though one that feels recognisably ours. You can read this as a standalone, however if you have read some of his other novels, then the land in which this is set will call to you, and there are moments of awareness as you look around and feel the landscape, architecture and even at one point the half-forgotten presence of an age-old entity. I can recommend ‘A Brightness Long Ago’ with my heart and soul, it really is wonderful and so sits as one of my picks of the month.
If you prefer your worlds dystopian, check out our Dystopian Fiction category too!
Whether you want to join Jonathan Strange on the magic-haunted streets of London or Jon Snow and the rest of the Night’s Watch on the wall Fantasy is the genre for you. Authors from Joe Abercrombie to Zen Cho have turned the modern fantasy genre into one of the most exciting and imaginative genres around. They’ve brought magic and wonder, heroes, heroines and people like you and me, together in stories that will delight, scare and mystify you. Whether you want the romance and deceit of court, the shadows of a great city’s alleyways, the clear air of a mountain range, the terrors of a bloody field let fantasy take you to new realities.
There are characters for everyone; Scott Lynch’s charming conmen, Liz William’s artful magicians. Fantasy has worlds for all; Ursula le Guin’s Earthsea, George RR Martin’s brutal Westeros, Ben Aaronovitch’s contemporary London, Naomi Novik’s dragon haunted version of our 19th century. And the genre has a style for each and every reader; whether the playful literary trickery of Angela Carter or the imaginative epic adventures of Peter Brett. Somewhere here there is a story for everyone, so follow us and let your imagination run wild.
Established names like Stephen King and new stars like Lauren Beukes alike have taken horror into the mainstream. And it’s no surprise why – we can’t help ourselves we love a good scare from the safety of our armchairs. But there are any number of authors out there ready and willing to confront you with your darkest fears and, if you’re lucky, take you through them and out into the light again.
There’s always a fresh take on whatever has scared us down through the years. Whether the dark thrills of the demons that haunt the paranormal romances of Cassandra Clare or the hunger of the vengeful ghosts and vampires of Joe Hill. Or the high concept terrors of Sarah Lotz’s work, the insidious chills of Adam Nevill’s urban horrors. Horror can be stealthy like the classic chills of Susan Hills’ ghost stories or screaming in your face like Max Brooks’ terrifying zombies. So step this way and let us put the frighteners on you; scares that are subtle and literary or full-on ‘slap the book shut and turn on all the lights’. Or scares of the best sort – where you don’t know WHAT to expect.
If you’ve ever dreamed about the world our grandchildren will live in, thought about how life could be different, looked at a star and wondered if there’s someone or something there looking at our sun you’ve been wondering about the same things as the great writers of Sci-Fi. Or perhaps you’ve simply wanted to share the excitement and danger of life on an alien world or in the harsh expanses of space? Maybe you’re so busy you wish you had a clone of yourself to do the work while you had the fun of exploring new places and experiences – how would that feel? For both of you?
Sci-Fi is all about these questions and thoughts. And it’s about things we can never experience, perhaps not even thought about yet. It’s about putting you at the centre of wonder and excitement. Whether the wide-screen excitements from the likes of Peter Hamilton and Suzanne Collins, or the noir thrills of cyberpunk by authors such as Pat Cadigan and William Gibson or the intricate speculations of authors like Ian McDonald and Nnedi Okorafor Sci-Fi really does have something for everyone and you’ll find the very best of it here.