2012 was a fantastic year for new title publishing. So many good books were published it’s quite possible even the most dedicated of readers missed a few. Below are favourites chosen by our book experts. We hope you enjoy the selection.
One of our Great Reads You May Have Missed in 2012. Prize-winning Patrick Ness displays brilliant new skills of sensitivity in this hauntingly touching story of how a boy deals with the looming threat of his mother’s death from cancer. Haunted by a monster in his dreams, denied much information by his family and treated as a weirdo by his class mates and a ‘special case’ by his teachers, Conor struggles to get to grips with the devastating emotions which threaten to overwhelm him. How he finds the courage and strength to face the end when it happens is both utterly shattering and deeply satisfying. Costa Award winner Patrick Ness spins a tale from the final idea of much-loved Carnegie Medal winner Siobhan Dowd, whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself. ------------- Winner of the 2012 Carnegie Medal AND 2012 Kate Greenaway Medal. This is the first time, in the Awards 75 year history, that one book has won both prizes! Rachel Levy chair of the 2012 CILIP Carnegie judging panel said: "A Monster Calls" is an exquisite piece of writing. It is a beautifully economical, structurally brilliant and lyrically descriptive account of a challenging episode in one child's life." FROM ARTICLE IN GUARDIAN 26TH NOV 2012. AUTHOR FAVOURITES OF 2012:David Nicholls - 'This was the year I reset my alarm in an attempt to read more, and I'm delighted that I did. I loved Laurent Binet's smart, original HHhH (Harvill Secker) and, despite never having watched more than 30 seconds of baseball, thoroughly enjoyed Chad Harbach's funny, moving The Art of Fielding (Fourth Estate). Zadie Smith's NW was a fine London novel, Robert Macfarlane's The Old Ways sent me out on many long walks, and I was both amused and appalled by the anti-hero of Ben Lerner's Leaving the Atocha Station (Granta). I finally got round to Patrick Ness and Siobhan Dodd's A Monster Calls (Walker) and found it quite devastating.'
One of our Great Reads You May Have Missed in 2012. With rave reviews from authors and comedians alike Life, Death and Vanilla Slices from Jenny Eclair, the ultimate Grumpy Old Woman, is a brilliant black comedy. A compelling family drama littered with sharp observations and unflinching dark humour we think you will be unable to put it down. Download the Opening Extract today. July 2012 eBook of the Month.
October 2012 Book of the Month. One of our Great Reads You May Have Missed in 2012. John O’Farrell’s novels are consistently funny, poking a stick at middle class angst and embarrassing social situations. These are delivered in spades in this poignant and, at times, hilarious story of a man who simply forgets 30 years of his personal life. If you have never read any of John’s fiction books then don’t miss his provocative and highly entertaining May Contain Nuts.
One of our Great Reads You May Have Missed in 2012. A beguiling and disturbing story set in 1871 New York where poverty and decadence are unhappy, but necessary bedfellows. Moth, the 12 year old central character, is sold into prostitution by an uncaring mother and as a virgin she holds the key to a mythical cure for all manner of sexually transmitted diseases. The lush descriptions by the author bring late 19C seedy New York to vivid life and make this an alluring read. October 2012 Book of the Month. A few Lovereading members have been lucky enough to get to read this novel ahead of publication. Scroll down to see what they think...
One of our Great Reads You May Have Missed in 2012. Third in her glitzy ‘bonk-buster’ series and like the first two, Fame and Scandalous, Friends and Rivals is a fantastic escapist read full of impossibly beautiful people, fueled by power, jealousy and lust and a suitcase full of emotional issues - we love it. Tilly Bagshawe has reinvented the ‘bonk buster’ for the 21st century - perfect for everyone who loves Jilly Cooper, Penny Vincenzi, Tasmina Perry and Louise Bagshawe. A few Lovereading members have been lucky enough to get to read this novel ahead of publication. Scroll down to see what they think...
One of our Great Reads You May Have Missed in 2012. Described by the author as an homage to Charles Dickens but also an incredibly well researched and re-imagined, gripping Victorian murder mystery based on his classic Bleak House. Where Dickens just hinted at Lynn Shepherd immerses you in a grim London underworld in which girls as young as ten work the night as prostitutes, unwanted babies are ruthlessly disposed of, and those who threaten the rank and reputations of great men are eliminated at once, and without remorse. September 2012 Book of the Month. In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for Tom-All-Alone's a small number of Lovereading members were lucky enough to be invited to review this title - 'a very clever, extremely entertaining and highly addictive read and one I couldn’t recommend highly enough.' Scroll down to read more reviews.
Winner of a Betty Trask Award 2013. Shortlisted for the Specsavers National Book Awards 'New Writer of the Year' 2012. One of our Great Reads You May Have Missed in 2012. A first novel to really get excited about. Set in an unnamed Eastern European country, our narrator is minding his friend's immaculate flat while the said friend is in America divorcing his wife ... easy, until alcohol raises its ugly head and small disasters turn huge. The absent owner has left little notes all over the place, the discovery of which introduces us to the man, a complete contrast to his flat-sitting friend. Beautifully written, very clever and unusual, this is an absolute gem. Highly recommended. September 2012 Debut of the Month.
September 2012 Book of the Month. One of our Great Reads You May Have Missed in 2012. A novel concentrating on the terrible effect of the death of a teenage boy on his family. He was killed in the Boxing Day tsunami in Thailand. The strain is too much for his parents' marriage and his siblings suffer badly, till into their lives comes a live in help a 'rent-a-granny', who suddenly everyone can talk to. This is a nicely woven story with lots of insight into family life, a poignant tale from a lovely author. STOP PRESS: Between a Mother and a Child has been selected as a Richard and Judy Book Club Choice this Autumn.
One of our Great Reads You May Have Missed in 2012. Shortlisted for the Specsavers National Book Awards 'Crime & Thriller of the Year' 2012. Shortlisted for the Specsavers Bestseller Dagger 2012. The first official new Sherlock Holmes mystery, written by global bestseller Anthony Horowitz. With devilish plotting and excellent characterisation, Anthony Horowitz delivers a first-rate Sherlock Holmes mystery for a modern readership whilst remaining utterly true to the spirit of the original Conan Doyle books. Sherlock Holmes is back with all the nuance, pace and powers of deduction that make him the world's greatest and most celebrated detective. September 2012 Book of the Month.
One of our Great Reads You May Have Missed in 2012. A sensitive, convincing and beautifully written novel. Full of descriptive power, it defines the beginnings and consequences of a family tragedy - from love and guilt to the difference between choices and accidents. With scenes so tense I had to skip ahead to check it was safe to continue and rounded, believable characters, this is a magnificent, moving debut. September 2012 Debut of the Month. If you want even more ammunition to read this book then scroll down the page to see some Lovereading member reviews which have been sent into us. _______________________________________ A "Piece of Passion" from the publisher Orion... "It's not often a book comes along that makes you drop everything. When Secrets of the Tides arrived one Thursday lunchtime, I started reading. Within two hours I'd called the agent to say that she really mustn't sell this anywhere else as we had to publish it."I remember finishing reading it in the garden later that night, aware that I was letting my children go slightly feral as the book demanded my full attention. But I was utterly transported to Clifftops, the big house high on the Dorset coast, where things had gone so very wrong for the Tide family and I couldn't take my eyes off the page.As Hannah Richell deftly unpeeled their story, moving seemlessly between the past and the present, it was clear that this was a family shaken by tragedy and that everyone was guilty of something. This is a delicious read but so much more as well. Hannah explores the light and shade in all our lives, and how quickly our world can change in a heartbeat. Hannah Richell shows a narrative voice that is uniquely compelling and entirely her own. Secrets of the Tides is a very remarkable debut; I hope you enjoy it." Kate Mills Publishing Director at Orion Books. _____________________________________________________________________________________
August 2012 Book of the Month. One of our Great Reads You May Have Missed in 2012. We loved her debut Heresy, with the ex-monk turned secret agent Giordano Bruno and the follow up historical mystery, Sacrilege, is just as gripping. Assassinations, threats of plague and dark secrets hidden in the crypt of Canterbury Cathedral prove a formidable challenge for renaissance man Bruno, who is also battling with demons of his own. If you enjoy authors like C J Sansom then we think you will find it hard to resist.
One of our Great Reads You May Have Missed in 2012. A group of rowdy kids on a bus, things sound nasty, they turn on a black boy, chase him off, a stranger intervenes and two boys are injured. This absolutely brilliant crime tale is told in short sections by witnesses and the victims' families. I love her writing and intend to champion her to stardom for she really is one of the best of our new crime writers. She is the creator of the ITV series "Blue Murder" and has just written its prequel ("Dead To Me"), plus a couple of other diverse thrillers. You must seek her out. August 2012 Book of the Month.
One of our Great Reads You May Have Missed in 2012. From the hugely successful author of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas comes The Absolutist, a novel that examines the events of the Great War from the perspective of two young privates, one of them who declared himself a conscientious objector but both struggling with the complexity of their emotions and the confusion of their friendship. July 2012 Book of the Month.
One of our Great Reads You May Have Missed in 2012. This charming and beautifully told debut novel, set in 1920s rural Wales, follows Wilfred Price, a young and emotionally confused undertaker! Strange as the choice of setting and characters may be the book is a wonderfully moving depiction of love and secrecy in a simpler time. July 2012 MEGA Debut of the Month.
One of our Great Reads You May Have Missed in 2012. Brighton Rock mixed with Charlotte Gray and a twist of Agatha Christie make for the perfect recipe in this new post WW2 crime series. Mirabelle Bevan worked for the secret service during the war and thinks her surveillance and detection skills won’t be needed again but the disappearance of her boss makes them invaluable. Good writing and excellent research make for a really enjoyable read. Mirabelle Bevan Mystery series:1. Brighton Belle2. London Calling3. England Expects4. British Bulldog
One of our Great Reads You May Have Missed in 2012. In a world where we have been genetically engineered so that we can photosynthesise sunlight with our hair hunger is a thing of the past, food an indulgence. The poor grow their hair, the rich affect baldness and flaunt their wealth by still eating. But other hungers remain ...The young daughter of an affluent New York family is kidnapped. The ransom demands are refused. A year later a young women arrives at the family home claiming to be their long lost daughter. She has changed so much, she has lived on light, can anyone be sure that she has come home?
One of our Great Reads You May Have Missed in 2012. A new start for a family in the seedy beauty of Phuket in Thailand, set against man-made and natural disasters. Full of trademark Parsons characters that are fully formed, and totally absorbing. Great writing from a top flight author. June 2012 Book of the Month and eBook of the Month.
One of our Great Reads You May Have Missed in 2012. Louise's books (this is her third) go from strength to strength. The Secrets Between Us is an exciting modern day gothic story full of drama, suspense, romance and quite a few heart-stopping moments. A chance encounter on holiday, for Sarah, seem to hold a chance of escape from an unfaithful husband and a recent stillborn baby but all is not so perfect in the rural paradise she moves to.
One of our Great Reads You May Have Missed in 2012. The perfectly good man of the title is a Cornish vicar who is asked, by a wheelchair-bound young man, to witness his suicide. We then follow the vicar's life, non-chronologically, from 8 years old (the last chapter) to shortly after the suicide. Each chapter provides a snapshot in a character's life when something significant occurs which weaves together the significance of the suicide on all. We even got some characters from Notes From an Exhibition. It explores the lives of ordinary people in such a way that their lives seem beyond the mundane, a truly lovely novel.
This is an enthralling novel from the million-copy bestselling author of The Island and The Return. Victoria Hislop is brilliant at setting the scene so you, the reader, really believe you're right there amongst the characters in a place so vividly imagined. It's a story both about war and politics and about love and loyalties which will sweep you along and keep you gripped to the page. Click here to see The Sunrise by Victoria Hislop which is published in September 2014. One of our Great Reads You May Have Missed in 2012. Shortlisted for the Specsavers National Book Awards 'Popular Fiction of the Year' 2012.
One of our Great Reads You May Have Missed in 2012. Witty, down to earth, heart-warming and, if it's your thing, absolutely irresistible. When she inherits a shoe shop in the rural backwater of Sticklepond, Tansy Poole runs away from a life that's not working in London. The shop flourishes but her private life doesn't follow the same trajectory! An easy and fun read.
One of our Great Reads You May Have Missed in 2012. Catherine Alliott is at her sparkling and brilliant best in this her latest feel-good read. Full of her trademark wit and characters you feel instantly drawn to. Perfect to curl up with in that 'me' time you've been promising yourself! May 2012 Book of the Month.
One of our Great Reads You May Have Missed in 2012. Three glamorous actresses gliding through a life lived on the silver screen. One Hollywood Blockbuster. An intricate web of passionate pasts, addictions, lovers and secrets, perfect for fans of Lesley Lokko and Adriana Trigiani.
One of our Great Reads You May Have Missed in 2012. Publisher turned author Fanny Blake has written another insightful, funny, addictive read that women will totally understand and men would do well to read in order to learn more about real women today. On holiday, soon to be divorced Lou meets serial mistress Ali and they strike up an instant friendship but they have a lot more in common than they realise. It raises the question, can you ever truly escape from the mistakes of the past? May 2012 Book of the Month.
May 2012 MEGA Debut of the Month. One of our Great Reads You May Have Missed in 2012. An enchanting, sweeping debut of big storytelling, of social and political change spanning the First World War and beyond, perfect for reading groups and fans of Kate Morton and Downton Abbey. It's a glorious read, highly recommended.
One of our Great Reads You May Have Missed in 2012. If you love fast-paced, topical thrillers that you simply can't put down, then Andrew Gross and especially 15 Seconds is a great place to go. Pulled over by a traffic cop who is then shot by someone else leaves surgeon Henry Steadman framed for murder and on the run trying to prove his innocence. It's thrilling stuff. May 2012 Book of the Month.
One of our Great Reads You May Have Missed in 2012. I am reminded of the 20s musical number "Anything Goes" here, for in "The Chaperone" it certainly does. This is 20s New York, the girl being chaperoned is the young Louise Brooks (the silent filmstar) and the whole prohibition and explosive atmosphere of the period is superbly realised. Our heroine is orphaned Cora, the chaperone, a lovely character in a dead-end marriage, bent on finding her biological family. What she discovers both in her marriage and her old adoption home are secrets that eventually all concerned will take to their graves. Highly recommended. May 2012 Book of the Month.
One of our Great Reads You May Have Missed in 2012. With some absolutely stunning rave reviews from established authors Solace is as tender as it is heartbreaking and a brilliant debut from an exciting new voice in Irish fiction. Solace is a work to be admired for its spare, intense lyricism, its range, and its deeply compassionate portrayal of life as it is lived now. June 2012 Debut of the Month.
April 2012 Book of the Month. One of our Great Reads You May Have Missed in 2012. At Last is a masterpiece of glittering dark comedy and profound emotional truth. If you haven't already discovered these novels then a real treat awaits you. The eagerly anticipated conclusion to the brilliant Melrose sequence from the Man Booker-shortlisted author of Mother's Milk and Some Hope is now in paperback. If you want to appreciate the full brilliance of this talented author then do read the series in order as it provides one of the most powerful reflections on pain and acceptance, and the treacheries of family, ever written. Never Mind (the first Melrose) Bad News (Melrose 2) Some Hope (Melrose 3) Mother's Milk (Melrose 4) At Last (the last Melrose)
One of our Great Reads You May Have Missed in 2012. Hayman's first novel, 'The Cutting', introduced us to detective Michael McCabe, recently moved to Portland, Maine, with his young daughter. It was a good read but very much a first novel. Now Hayman hones his skills with book number two, so much better. It is detailed crime detection stuff, and as the investigation unfolds so you slowly learn more of the characters involved, a nice approach which will carry well into future books. And the plot? It's cold, chilly stuff, intriguing and tense especially as an unreliable witness comes forward and we start seeing the case from her sad view point. Despite all its detail this is a fast paced read and a series well worth following. April 2012 Book of the Month.
One of our Great Reads You May Have Missed in 2012. Sarah Broadhurst is waxing lyrical about this haunting and mysterious coming of age story from an award winning author. It is a tale of adventure with as many twists and turns as the enchanting Somerset landscape that forms its backdrop, Two Cows and a Vanful of Smoke is, above all, a celebration of the English countryside - full of magic, history and superstition - where smoke is in the air, and where not all is what it seems.
One of our Great Reads You May Have Missed in 2012. Meticulous research, brilliant characterisation, compelling storytelling and stunning battle sequences bring this epic novel about one of Western civilisation's most traumatic events, the Fall of Constantinople, to life. From the author of the cracking Jack Absolute series.
One of our Great Reads You May Have Missed in 2012. This is another first-rate crime novel, perfect for fans of John le Carre, from an author who is establishing himself as the pre-eminent writer of the modern spy thriller. The soon to be head of MI6 goes missing and a disgraced ex-spy is approached to find her without the news of her disappearance becoming public knowledge. We were hooked! In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for A Foreign Country a small number of Lovereading members were lucky enough to be invited to review this title - 'A pacey read, with lots of plot twists and action to keep the pages turning...' - Catherine Humphris. Scroll down to read more reviews. Winner of the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger 2012. Charles Cumming said "For spy writers, the Steel Dagger is our Booker prize, so I'm thrilled to have won such a prestigious award. Some great writers have picked up the Steel Dagger, including Henry Porter, Dan Fesperman and Tom Rob Smith. I'm honoured to have joined their ranks." CWA Judges' comment: “Contemporary spy thriller. Gripping premise, expertly sustained, lots of believable spycraft and memorable supporting characters.” Winner of the Bloody Scotland Crime Book of the Year 2012. For some further intrigue, click here to see The Trinity Six by the same author.
March 2012 Book of the Month. One of our Great Reads You May Have Missed in 2012. Winner of the RNA Epic Romantic Novel Award 2012. Characters and settings are beautifully portrayed in this dramatic romance that first follows newlywed Nerys from Wales to a new and excitingly different life in 1940s Kashmir, and then her Granddaughter who embarks upon the same journey to uncover some life-changing truths. Perfect for fans of Maggie O’Farrell and Victoria Hislop.
One of our Great Reads You May Have Missed in 2012. Longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award 2012. This is a very confident debut novel that manages to be literary yet a page-turner at the same time. The author has said that he is influenced by the award winning writer and anyone who has read Margaret Atwood's The Blind Assassin will find echoes of it in his complex interwoven plot and themes of confronting your past. Interestingly, however, Flanery has said he didn’t read The Blind Assassin until a few months after finishing Absolution. Anecdotes aside this story, set in South Africa, of two novelists sharing a past and one writing the biography of the other is compelling and captivating. March 2012 Debut of the Month. FROM ARTICLE IN GUARDIAN 26TH NOV 2012. AUTHOR FAVOURITES OF 2012: A S Byatt - 'Patrick Flanery's Absolution (Atlantic) is a wonderfully constructed and gripping novel about betrayal and shadows in South Africa.'
Winner of the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award 2012. One of our Great Reads You May Have Missed in 2012. Barry Forshaw on Denise Mina and P. M. Hubbard... The parallels between the vivid and strikingly written novels of Scotland’s Denise Mina and her distinctive predecessor P.M. Hubbard lie in both writers’ remarkable use of language, burnished to a sheen that propels their work into territory well above simple genre imperatives. Mina’s prize-winning The End of the Wasp Season is a signature book, as is Hubbard’s taut novel The Tower. Shortlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger 2011. In this stunning new novel DS Alex Morrow discovers that nothing is sacred, even human life...The End of the Wasp Season is an accomplished, compelling and multi-layered novel, which traces the damaging consequences of one man's selfish actions in a world ravaged by recession and questioning everything it previously held sacred. Simon Theakston, executive director of T&R Theakston, described the novel as “a great example of "tartan noir". “Denise Mina is a fantastically talented writer and The End of the Wasp Season is a thoroughly deserving winner,” he said. “It was a very tough decision this year as all the books on the shortlist were outstanding in different ways but I’m delighted to be able to hand the trophy to Denise, the first woman to have won since 2008, for this hugely atmospheric and haunting book.” CWA Judges’ comments: 'A complex exploration of the economic motives which link a murder in Glasgow and a suicide in suburban England; Mina’s pregnant police detective’s own complicated personal background and career history give her a rare depth of character and understanding as she leads her team’s investigation into the disturbing undercurrents and repercussions of economic recession.'
One of our Great Reads You May Have Missed in 2012. The compelling, complex and multi-layered novel from Aravind Adiga is his first after The White Tiger which won the Booker in 2008. A suspense-filled story of money and power, luxury and deprivation; a rich tapestry peopled by unforgettable characters, not least of which is Bombay itself. February 2012 MEGA Book of the Month.
One of our Great Reads You May Have Missed in 2012. Shortlisted for the Specsavers National Book Awards 'New Writer of the Year' 2012. Featured on The TV Book Club on More4 on 12 February 2012. This debut novelist's coming of age story uses evocative language to transport you to late 19th century Victorian England where lost love, grief, dark secrets and hidden passions take hold of the life of seventeen year old Phoebe Turner. It's well researched and a good page turner.
One of our Great Reads You May Have Missed in 2012. An insanely fast-paced, utterly unputdownable psychological thriller from a German bestseller. What if we could permanently erase our most terrifying experiences from memory? And what could go wrong? Early in this book, it is recognised that 'what is generally held to constitute the difference between man and beast (is) self-awareness. We reflect on why we exist, when we'll die and what happens after death, whereas an animal wastes no thought on whether it's on earth at all (and) can't even recognise itself in a mirror'. It is impossible to enjoy literary fiction without being able to place oneself into someone else's mind. The more skilful the writer, the easier it becomes to do this and thus the more enjoyable - and certainly empathetic - is the novel.The core theme of 'Splinter' is the proposition that humans could 'learn to forget' a traumatic or tragic life experience - a state of deliberately induced amnesia that, in erasing the bad experience, would necessarily wipe out the memory of one's whole life. This consequences of this original and compelling thesis are successfully explored in this compulsively written, thought-provoking and thoroughly enjoyable book. If you are prepared to try reading it - and we think you should - there is a postscript at the end that you may find worth reading first. It shows that, with the aid of modern pharmaceutical developments, the core theme outlined above (which is openly revealed on the cover of the book) is not as far fetched as you might think. 'Splinter' is already an 'international bestseller'. We are not surprised.
One of our Great Reads You May Have Missed in 2012. Shortlisted for the Specsavers Bestseller Dagger 2012. Grim, gritty and totally compelling, Stuart MacBride draws you in then you are up all night! In this stand alone novel dark secrets compromise the central detective in a savage and brutal series of killings of teenage girls. But the same secret also drives him as no one has sacrificed more. September 2012 Book of the Month.
Each year thousands of new titles are published and each month we select around 60 that we feel our members and browsers will enjoy as much as we do.
More often than not they are not the obvious bestsellers but bubbling under and debuts.
Below, after much debate in the office, and the help of our resident book experts Sarah Broadhurst and Sue Baker, are the ones we think are the best of the year.
Almost all of them are available in a selection of formats including eBooks for both kindle and iPad.
So, browse away and make sure you haven't missed out on our 'must reads' of 2012.
Don't forget too, that it's worth checking out other areas of the Lovereading site for little gems that we've featured over the last year.
As well as our unrivalled selections of fiction, over 2012 we have added non fiction expert reviews to make Lovereading the one stop shop for finding your next read in whatever format you choose. Here are some suggestions to take a peek at: For armchair sports books there’s nowhere better than our Sports Books selection, if it's topicality you're looking for then take a look at The Real World or if it's History or Popular Science then we can guide you in those areas too.
For Home birds we have Cookery and Gardening. Finally, if you're still stuck then our most visited area of the site is a must for you to look at - Book Awards - it's positively choking with stunning reads.