Each week our team of book lovers choose a selection of books they have loved and think deserve an extra shout out. Everyone fights to get theirs on the list. Here are this week’s faves…
First the accident, then the nightmares and the thief who steals the colour from Izzy's world. Will her neighbour and a nest of cygnets help solve the mystery of the colour thief?
Shortlisted for the YA Book Prize 2018 | In a nutshell: the unforgettable story of a girl with no memory. Can there ever have been a heroine like Flora Banks? She’s 17 when the book opens, but an accident aged 10 has left her with no short term memory. Then a secret kiss on the beach – with her only friend’s boyfriend – lodges in her mind. Inspired, she sets off alone to follow him, a heart-stopping journey that takes her deep into the Arctic landscapes of Norway, scribbled messages she writes to herself on her arms her only reassurance or guide. Flora does find out the truth about the boy and about herself, but she needs all her courage. A unique mix, part coming-of-age, part psychological thriller, with an almost fairy-tale setting, this is a story that readers will want to read more than once, and one they will want to share with friends too. Unforgettable!
‘One of the chief worries besetting any author of an introduction to a novel is that of letting the cat out of the bag… From its opening pages, through the utterances of its protagonist, the butler Lister, Not to Disturb disburdens the introduction-writer of any such worry… Muriel Spark appears to have decided that foreshadowing, or mere adumbration of catastrophe, was not for her… It is for its foregrounding of the spoiler, and for the tension that results, between life’s openness and life’s plotted-ness, that I place Not to Disturb near the centre of the Spark canon…And there exist other reasons to find the novel central, among which the fact that it may be the funniest of all Spark’s novels, the most concentrated, too… And it is, further, the centre of what is almost a trilogy – a triptych, perhaps? – that includes The Driver’s Seat (1970) and The Hothouse by the East River (1973); all three are short, concerned with murder and/or suicide, and written principally in the present tense.’ From the Introduction by Dan Gunn This is one novel in the absolutely glorious, must-have, complete collection of all 22 novels by Muriel Spark. This series is a wonderful way to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Muriel Spark’s birth. Edited by Alan Taylor, author of Appointment In Arezzo, A Friendship with Muriel Spark, each perfectly sized and beautiful hardback book is introduced by a leading writer. Each introduction, while individually touching on thoughts and feelings, mentions the originality, the wit and humour, the cleverness of the writing. Whether an existing fan, or new to her works, this collection from one of our greatest writers, beckons, and quite simply, just asks to be read and re-read. ~ Lovereading.co.uk
From the bestselling author of The Keeper of Lost Things, Ruth Hogan, comes another irresistible novel of unexpected friendships, second chances ... and dark secrets. Gloriously gorgeous in every way. After tragedy crashed into her life, Masha often sits on the bottom of the pool at the local lido, unable to look forward, to join in. Sally Red Shoes and Kitty Muriel nudge Masha’s awareness, and life begins to look interesting again. I absolutely adored ‘The Keeper of Lost Things’ which was one of my books of the year 2017, so looked forward with relish to Ruth Hogan’s next offering. ‘The Particular Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes’ is just as special, and cements this particular author as one of my firm favourites. Ruth Hogan has the very special ability to look beyond the veil of unremarkable to find a sometimes painful, yet beautifully quirky existence. Each character (and I include the dogs in this), is fully realised and absolutely essential to the storyline. Kitty and Sally are so stuffed full of life I found myself wanting them in my life too. Words such as enchanting, captivating, and charming are spilling out of my mind, yet this is not a sickly sweet tale, also added to the mix are poignant, emotional, heart-ache…and I both laughed and cried, sometimes at the same time. Quite simply, ‘The Particular Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes’ is a must-read, and I adored every single second of it. ~ Liz Robinson
Tilly Frost has grown up reading her grandmother's bestselling romance novels - so when the one and only Beatrix Frost is taken ill, Tilly finishes writing her latest work. Then Tilly agrees to start the next book. But what is her gran hiding from her? And how can Tilly write a heart-pounding romance when she's never been in love? Can she turn her school crush into something more? One thing Tilly should know is that the course of true love never did run smooth... If you liked FANGIRL, you'll love this!
Brilliantly constructed speculative crime fiction A classic whodunit Dark psychological suspense Doug Johnstone returns with his most explosive and original thriller yet... Short, sharp, punchy. As a reimagined Edinburgh sits with a volcano on the doorstep, volcanologist Surtsey discovers the very dead body of her lover, and a split-second decision turns her entire world upside down. Doug Johnstone sets the pace from the very beginning, fast moving chapters kept my thoughts whirring. Surtsey is a fascinating character, living her life in the moment, her actions reverberated across the surface of the pages. I could feel her shock, her confusion, yet she didn’t allow me close enough to form a bond, consequently I found myself evaluating, sifting, perhaps even judging. It feels as though a reckoning is thundering towards Surtsey, and I sat waiting, expectantly tense, ready to view the outcome. ‘Fault Lines’ cranks up the volume on original, yet feels intensely raw, earthy, and real, for a short book, it packs a mighty wallop.