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Hot off the press! Check out the books we think are the best of the best this month!
May 2009 Book of the Month. Adam Kellas is a war reporter pursuing the woman he has fallen in love with and been separated from. Moving over time and continents this is a beautifully written and yet gritty story of love, loss and war and politics. Quite unputdownable.
Winner of the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2010. April 2009 Book of the Month. R J Ellory was shortlisted for the CWA Dagger in the Library 2009 - the prize awarded for an author's body of work. This one is big, 500 pages, but all go too fast. It is a police procedural one, the story of murdered women who appear not to exist. Taking place in Washington in the mid-term elections, it’s the last thing the police want but we get election politics mixed into a complicated investigation, which is fascinating. Moving, disturbing and thought-provoking, it grips from the start. Comparison: Dennis Lehane, Stieg Larsson, Tom Rob Smith.
April 2009 Book of the Month. A major seller in her native Australia, this author has only recently been introduced over here. This is her second book to be published in the UK. They are tremendous reads. Wild, brave girls live and love in a male-dominated world. The vast open spaces, the hard life, the tragedy and violence of rural communities are beautifully portrayed in passionate, romantic adventures with lots of grit and heart. You will love them. Comparison: Nora Roberts, Lesley Pearse, Jojo Moyes.
April 2009 Book of the Month. The perfect book for the armchair traveller as well as those of you visiting cities around the globe. With extracts from over 60 authors such as Joanne Harris talking about chocolate in Montmartre or Victor Hugo describing the view from the top of Notre Dame. Whether it be fiction, non-fiction, blogs or journalism, lose yourself in the Paris discovered by others and be inspired to visit and indulge in the city as never before. These guides are perfect for dipping in to and will transport you to the city of your choice through the wonderful writings of those who have been before. A few words about Paris from Stephen Clarke... 'Paris is not entirely unique. You can sit in cafés, wear designer clothes and even have sex in lots of other towns. It just feels unique, as if everything you do, from buying underwear to chewing a hunk of baguette, is somehow more stylish because you’re doing it in Paris. Certainly Parisians act as if they’re unique – not as a community but each individual one of them. It is the city of moi. As they walk down the street they’re thinking, look at moi. Even when they’re kissing a friend on the cheeks, they’re saying it – moi, moi. And the obsession driving each moi is its lifestyle. Parisians have elevated lifestyle to an art – no, more than an art, it is (as only the French can say properly) a raison d’être.' City-Lit Paris is Introduced by Stephen Clarke, bestselling author of A Year in the Merde. To read more of Stephen Clarke's introduction download the extract. A 'piece of passion' from Heather Reyes, series editor of the Cit-Lit series: 'I’ve been in love with Paris since my very first visit as a teenager. In those pre-Eurostar days, it seemed an adventure just getting there — the slow, musty train down through Kent, struggling your luggage onto the ferry at Dover, the worry about the weather for ‘the crossing’ (would I need the Kwells?), watching the white cliffs recede and searching the horizon for the first glimpse of the French coast, the wind pulling your hair and putting salt on your lips. Then those magical letters, SNCF, on the side of the oddly high-up train from Calais, the long stop at Amiens and finally … finally …(the excitement overcoming the fatigue of the journey)…PARIS. But, oh the relief of that first, fast, simple Eurostar journey! The exhilaration of knowing you could get THERE so quickly and easily. But still the same feeling, stepping onto the platform at Gare du Nord, of life moving into higher gear. That’s what Paris is to me — life lived more intensely, more vividly, both in the senses (that smell of strawberries from the stall at the foot of rue Moufftard) and in the mind (favourite bookshops … La Hune, Gibert Jeune, Shakespeare and Company, … the streets haunted by the ghosts of writers and philosophers past … Abelard, Montaigne, Diderot, Voltaire, Hugo, Balzac, Sartre, de Beauvoir, Camus …)So, to have the opportunity of choosing and editing material for a collection of writing about the city was a dream come true, and I had the time of my life.' To read more of Heather Reyes' 'piece of passion' download the extract. You can also visit the Twitter page for this title by clicking here.
March 2009 Book of the Month. As with her first novel, His Other Lover, this is chic-lit with a dark twist. It’s about what happens when friendship turns sour. She’s very good at putting a thumb on a bruise and pushing until it hurts. Comparison: Linda Green, Jane Fallon, Jane Moore.
May 2011 Book of the Month. The Richard & Judy-selected author of How to Talk to a Widower returns with a funny, touching, moving, powerful and poignant novel. It really is Jonathan Tropper at his best. When Judd’s dad dies his dying request is that his family sit Shiva (the Jewish week-long period of mourning). Judd has just found out his wife has been having an affair and the last place he wants to be is in the bosom of his dysfunctional family but as the week progresses perhaps that is the best place he could have gone. Jonathan Tropper writes with great humour and pathos creating vivid and colourful characters that make this a real page turner that will have you laughing out loud frequently. Dear Reader, Of all the books that I have published over the years, there is one that always topped my ‘friends’ chart’, and that is HOW TO TALK TO A WIDOWER by Jonathan Tropper. I’ve had emails about how it made friends sob their eyes out, or how it made them laugh so hard (sometimes, bizarrely, mentioning the exact same sections!). In fact, when generally they love to give their constructive criticisms, I’ve never received a bad word about this one. It obviously gave me enormous pleasure that it was picked for RICHARD & JUDY and sold 150,000 copies…But I was cautious about THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU. Jonathan has changed editors in the USA and had talked about making this one slightly edgier (something that always rings alarm bells) and, frankly, how could he top WIDOWER anyway?Well, somehow the extra freedom that he has now got has allowed him to manage it. Yes, it turns out that when Jonathan said ‘edgier' what he meant was ‘more raw', ‘more powerful', 'more heartfelt', 'more moving’, ‘a little more rude' and ‘just as funny’.Basically it’s about a young guy, Judd Foxman, who loses his wife (she’s shagging his boss, it turns out), his job (well it was his boss) and his father (just died) in quick succession. The real sting in the tail is that his father has asked the entire (completely insane) Foxman family to ‘sit Shiva’ for a week – basically to lock themselves in the family home and receive mourners. Complete romantic, sexual and familial chaos ensues! Relationships are destroyed and rebuilt and (many, many) old secrets are revealed…THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU is a wonderful, warm, acerbic, powerful novel (with occasional very rude bits). You will laugh, you will occasionally get something in your eye that will make it water, you will love it. Enjoy!Best Wishes Jon Wood
March 2009 Debut of the Month. This is definitely not for the feint hearted, but if your stomach is strong enough then this is an original debut from a terrific new voice in teenage fiction. This is the first in a chilling three part series and for anyone who enjoys reading that’s disturbingly dark, very quirky and full of the supernatural then grab it now. The protagonist is a 15 year old boy whose seen a lot of death – he’s a mortician, a sociopath but he’s not, at least I don’t think he is, a serial killer. It’s gripping stuff. 1. I am Not a Serial Killer 2. Mr Monster
February 2009 Book of the Month. Moral dilemmas, motherhood, secrets, lies, murder? and miscarriage of justice? It’s all here in a strong tale that deserves a comparison with Jodi Picoult for as this builds, one does indeed wonder if all will come right in the end. It is an area the Americans are very good at. Comparison: Jodi Picoult, Joshilyn Jackson, Jacquelyn Mitchard.
February 2009 Book of the Month. Following the success of The Secret River, Grenville's latest novel is a story loosely based on fact, following the young Daniel Rooke travelling to Australia to set up an observatory. Rooke has been trying to find his place in society and when he starts to integrate with the Aborigines feels he has found something worthwhile at last. However, this is still a time where his loyalties will be tested. Beautifully written, with evocative descriptive prose, perfect for any reading group. Click the screen below to view a video of Kate Grenville talking about The Lieutenant.
February 2009 Book of the Month. In a multi-voiced, first person narrative we follow characters large and small through a convoluted plot that has groups of people crossing and their experiences laid one on top of another. It is most impressive, highly hypnotic and illustrates a slice of contemporary urban life that I would recommend to readers of both genders and any age. Don’t look at the cover which slants the book towards the female market for this is a tale of life today. Brilliant. Comparison: Joshua Ferris, Nick Hornby, John O’Farrell.
April 2009 Book of the Month. Frey’s style doesn’t suit all but you cannot escape from the fact that he creates fascinating characters that you can’t help but become enthralled by. In this story of LA, told through a myriad of characters, you really get a feel for the diversity of the place, as well as a history of how the city came to be the LA we now love and loathe in equal measures. Gritty, witty and never a dull moment, we are glad Frey didn’t let a little controversy in his past stop him writing.
January 2009 Book of the Month. This is a series that grows on you the longer it continues. The warm, laid-back Sicilian setting with the locals’ love for food and wine add to the joy of the mystery. Inspector Salvo’s mix of humour, cynicism and compassion are nice traits in a central character. Indulge, relax and enjoy. Comparison: Alexander McCall Smith, Donna Leon, Georges Simenon. Inspector Montalbano series:1. The Shape of Water2. The Terra-Cotta Dog3. The Snack Thief4. The Voice of the Violin5. Excursion to Tindari6. The Scent of the Night7. Rounding the Mark8. The Patience of the Spider9. The Paper Moon10. August Heat11. The Wings of the Sphinx
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