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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.
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. Dinah Jefferies has presented another beautifully told and vividly stunning tale, this time set in 1950’s Vietnam. The story revolves around 18 year old Nicole, half French and half Vietnamese, Nicole finds herself torn as war between the ruling French and indigenous population prowls ever closer. Nicole hovers between two men, both from opposing worlds, both with their own journey to take. It feels as though you are watching a wide framed view of history, from the personal perspective of Nicole, her disorientation and heartfelt feelings clamour and writhe from the pages. It is the moments of quiet that really set this story apart, the descriptions of the surroundings, of the small and simple but oh so important things that shape, colour and bring this world to such vibrant life. The colours, smells and heat are all within touching distance, allowing Vietnam to sit beguilingly in the background, adding depth and flavour to the story of Nicole. Visually and emotionally powerful, ’The Silk Merchant’s Daughter' is quite simply a gorgeous read.
Discover NEVERWHERE, Neil Gaiman's extraordinary modern classic, illustrated for the first time with breathtaking pictures by Children's Laureate Chris Riddell. Under the streets of London lies a world most people could never dream of. When Richard Mayhew helps a mysterious girl he finds bleeding on the pavement, his boring life changes in an instant. Her name is Door, she's on the run from two assassins in black suits and she comes from London Below. His act of kindness leads him to a place filled with monsters and angels, a Beast in a labyrinth and an Earl who holds Court in a Tube train. It is strangely familiar yet utterly bizarre.
In a Nutshell: Dead gripping • Dead funny • Deadpan urban fantasy Full of fantastical thrills, supernatural spills and wail-out-loud wit, this sublimely plotted sequel to “Thirteen Days of Midnight” is a riotously riveting read. There was a time when Luke Manchett was Mr Popular, but all that changed when he inherited a bunch of ghosts from his necromancer dad. After doing a deal with the Devil to banish the ghosts, he’s now doing his best to get on with his life. But, as Luke knows only too well, “life doesn’t give you a friendly warning when everything changes. There’s no five-minute call before the ice breaks under your feet”, which is what happens when Ash, a glamorous Californian with a shock of white hair, rocks up at his school. Ash’s presence has an immediate and profound impact on Luke, and it’s not long before he discovers that she’s the daughter of his dead dad’s greatest enemy. It’s his dad’s fault that Ash’s twin sister is on a life support machine and has to be sustained by Ash’s life force. That’s what turned her hair white and dulled her blue eyes to grey. And now Ash needs Luke and his Book of Eight to save her sister, and herself… Luke’s wry, dry narrative voice is an absolute joy - for example, on the subject of striking a deal with the actual Devil he deadpans, “I think it's fair to say that was one of the more eventful nights of my life” - and this is a spine-tinglingly refreshing take on paranormal-themed YA, with more unexpected twists than the rivers of the Ancient Greek Underworld. ~ Joanne Owen
Special Agent Will Robie left his hometown in Mississippi when he was a teenager.Its residents remember him as a wild sports star and girl-magnet. He left a lot of hearts broken, and a lot of people angry. Now, over twenty years later, he's back. His estranged father, Dan, who is the local judge, has been arrested for murder and Will wonders if it's time to try to heal old wounds. A lot of bad blood has flowed between father and son, but Robie's fellow agent, Jessica Reel, persuades him to stick around and confront his demons. Then another murder changes everything, and stone-cold killer Robie will finally have to come to grips with his toughest assignment of all. His family.
No. 1 New York Times bestselling author Patricia Cornwell delivers the twenty-third engrossing thriller in her high-stakes series starring medical examiner Dr. Kay Scarpetta. You are being watched The death of a Hollywood mogul's daughter has the police convinced it's an accident. But Dr. Kay Scarpetta knows better. It's almost as if someone is leaving evidence only she would spot. They are always three steps ahead Scarpetta is sidetracked when she receives a video clip revealing disturbing secrets about her niece, Lucy. But before she can react, the FBI raid Lucy's estate. Time is running out Scarpetta suspects one person is behind it all: the murder, the videos, the FBI. She needs to stop them before it's too late - and everyone she loves is destroyed.
Set in turbulent times before and during WW1, The Silent Land is an interesting exploration of loss, grief, love and hidden family secrets. The death of Rebecca’s mother in 1903 triggers a total change of lifestyle from Fens village to London society, but sadly this is just the start of the tragedy that she must face as she also loses her father to a heart attack and her husband to the war.With strong, believable characters combined with good research to add depth and realism this historical novel, from a woman’s perspective, is sad but the novelist’s skill is to make you want to keep reading as you are invested in the characters and you care what happens to them.
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.
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.
In the late 80s, Katherine Carlyle is created using IVF. Stored as a frozen embryo for eight years, she is then implanted in her mother and given life. By the age of nineteen Katherine has lost her mother to cancer, and feels her father to be an increasingly distant figure. Instead of going to college, she decides to disappear, telling no one where she has gone. What begins as an attempt to punish her father for his absence gradually becomes a testing-ground of his love for her, a coming-to-terms with the death of her mother, and finally the mise-en-scene for a courageous leap from false empowerment to true empowerment.
Here is the simple wonder that remains at the heart of an experience which modern travellers all too easily take for granted: the transcendent joy of motion, and the remarkable new perspectives that height and distance bestow on everything we love. Mark Vanhoenacker has written the ideal book: a description of what it's like to fly by a commercial pilot who is also a master prose stylist and a deeply sensitive human being. This is a man who is at once a technical expert - he flies 747s across continents - and a poet of the skies. This couldn't be more highly recommended . (Alain de Botton).
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