Informative, candid and trusted, book reviews by our own book experts are unique to Lovereading. But within our loyal members and browsers of Lovereading are also prolific readers with years of experience and a real passion for sharing their love of books. So, we decided to invite them to join the Lovereading Reader Review Panel. All the titles in this category have been selected and reviewed by our own Lovereading editorial experts but also reviewed by members of our Reader Review Panel, a panel of book lovers across the UK.
In a nutshell: passionate love story continues – in hell | Zoe and X are soulmates, even though she’s a 21st century teenager and he’s a bounty hunter from the Lowlands, ie Hell. They were brought together in The Edge of Everything, but separated at the end when he sacrificed himself for her and returned to the Lowlands. But never say forever – in this equally torrid and thrilling episode the two are reunited, Zoe recklessly plunging into the underworld to find X, now involved in a search for his missing mother. The book’s appeal lies not just in its steamy romance; Zoe is a sharp, appealing character and readers will love the supporting cast too. Despite being set in Hell, there are a surprising numbers of laughs while the ending will satisfy everyone. This is one to recommend to fans of Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone.
June 2018 Book of the Month | In a Nutshell: Problem parents | Dealing with change | Loads of LOLs | Hilarious and heartfelt Judy Blume-brilliant tale of a girl who’s struggling to come to terms with her parents’ divorce. Oh, and George Clooney makes a cameo appearance too. From the off, this novel fizzes with energy and funniness (the cat poo/stepsister incident is truly inspired), but beneath the laughs, the hilarious detective episodes and slapstick moments, Violet is struggling to come to terms with the fact that her director dad has moved to LA and has new twin daughters with a younger actress. To make matters worse, after serial-dating a succession of loser boyfriends, Mom has now hooked up with the dorkiest guy imaginable. Even worse still, he’s called Dudley Wiener. Something must be done! And so with typical verve, Violet writes to her mom’s celebrity love, George Clooney, in the hope that they’ll hook up. Then, a fortunate turn of events (plus some conniving) present Violet with an opportunity to actually meet him… What could possibly go wrong? Fast-paced and featuring a fabulous cast of side characters (especially best friend Phoebe and love interest Jean-Paul), this is a riotously funny read with an inspiring lightly-told message - “You have to be open to new experiences. You have to take the good with the bad.”
With almost 300 pages of fully updated practical information, this definitive guide to Naples, Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast will serve travellers splendidly over several trips, covering everything from cliff-top towns and must-see museums to active volcanoes, unforgettable Roman ruins and outstanding islands. It’s the one and only guide independent travellers will need! The dynamic city of Naples is covered in fabulous detail, with clear and plentiful maps, excellent advice on getting around, and inspired restaurant and shopping recommendations. It’s also great on the islands of the Bay of Naples, with advice on how to reach them, and what to do, see and eat when you step ashore. If you’re heading to stunning Sorrento – easily visited from Naples in a day - this tells you how to get there, and will help you make the most of your time, while culture vultures will be impressed by the depth of detail on both Pompeii and the lesser-visited Herculaneum. As well as being able to truly trust the reviews, recommendations and practical advice, this is also an engaging read about a richly rewarding destination. Further Fiction Recommendations; My Brilliant Friend; The Story of a New Name; Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay; The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante The Talented Mr Ripley by Patricia Highsmith Burns The Gallery by John Horne Betrayal in Naples by Neil Griffiths
This is surely the most incisive and entertaining guidebook to Malaysia, Singapore & Brunei available, whether you’re planning to hike the Taman Negara rainforest, take it easy on the idyllic Perhentian Islands or explore bustling Singapore. It’s packed with all the recommendations you to select the ideal places to sleep, eat, drink, shop and visit, with countless independent reviews and options for every budget. The ‘Things Not to Miss’ section is an excellent way of making those key pre-trip plans, and the detailed regional coverage covers both un-missable top tourist attractions and excellent suggestions for finding off-the-beaten-track experiences. The extensive full-colour maps will help you navigate the backstreets of Kuala Lumpur's Chinatown, Singapore's downtown shopping streets and dozens of sights, while the stunning colour photography provides plenty of inspiration. Further Fiction Recommendations; Passage of Arms by Eric Ambler Shadow Play by Barbara Ismail Evening Is The Whole Day by Preeta Samarasan Iban Dream by Golda Mowe
June 2018 Debut of the Month Lygia Day Peñaflor’s UK debut is a study in obsession and revenge, betrayal and forgiveness. It is full of timely talking points about the culture of celebrity and whether a person can ever change or be forgiven following a terrible deed. Lovereading Comment to follow.
In a Nutshell: Fractured families | First love | Fresh starts | 16-year-old Holly feels like an outsider, except when she’s swimming at her local pool: “Under the surface, deep in the blue-lit water, nobody can see me. There’s nobody to judge the clothes I wear, or the way my hair frizzles”. It’s at the pool she meets Ed, who’s “not like the boys at school who are either geeky or cocky and smart-arsed and think they’re all that. He’s different”. While romantic feelings, evoked in all their dizzying wonder, swell poolside, at home the seas are stormier. Struggling with depression, Holly’s mum has “become so inward-looking that she hasn’t a clue what I do with my time”. But as Holly’s home-life begins to brighten, Ed reveals that he’s grappling with a serious domestic situation of his own. Warm-hearted, highly readable and romantic, with the bleaker elements of both teenagers’ lives handled with a sensitive lightness of touch, readers will undoubtedly root for Holly and Ed to find their happy ever after. ~ Joanne Owen
The brand-new feel-good story from bestseller Veronica Henry - a perfect mix of family, friends and delicious food. So absolutely and completely gorgeous in every way! I do look forward to the latest Veronica Henry, I fairly danced with glee when ‘A Family Recipe’ arrived. Number 11 Lark Hill, Bath sits centre stage in this story, set during the Second World War and 2017. The house connects two tales, two women and the people they love. I read this in one sitting, once started, I quite simply didn’t want to stop. Jilly and Laura became known and loved, each and every character pops with intensity, fully realised, touchable, real. Veronica Henry has such a beautiful touch, she paints an entire world, deeply rich and vibrant, bringing to life thoughts, emotions, heart-ache, joy. I stepped though the pages into Bath, wandered the streets, travelled back in time, and salivating, I even looked up the food market to see if I could visit! I know I say this every time, but each new novel becomes my favourite by Veronica Henry, that is her gift, and ‘A Family Recipe’ most certainly continues that tradition.
The explosive new thriller from Sarah Pinborough, author of the NUMBER ONE Sunday Times bestseller Behind Her Eyes. Lisa has a sixteen-year old daughter Ava. They are close. She has one good friend, a work colleague, Marilyn. These three are our narrators with a few media and legal commentaries interwoven between them. It is a tale that shifts back and forth in time. Lisa has a dreadful secret that emerges when Ava saves a toddler’s life and the press move in. Ava then turns against her mother and we, the reader, get some of Lisa’s horrific childhood along with a whole lot of red herrings. The novel is full of nasty things happening to defenceless people. With false leads and trails with many twists and turns to keep you guessing, it has a pretty dramatic plot – very disturbing.
May 2018 Book of the Month A tense, Hitchcockian psychological thriller in which nothing is as it seems, every truth might be a lie, and the past looms ever larger over the present, The Old You is a nail-bitingly modern slice of domestic noir. The Old You by Louise Voss A clever, gripping and thrilling tale that just demands to be read in one sitting. Lynn’s husband Ed has been diagnosed with Pick’s disease, a rare form of progressive dementia. As their world is turned upside down, odd things start to happen, and the past begins to cause waves in the present, causing Lynn to question her life and the man she married. Louise Voss writes with a cunning pen, snippets or huge wallops of information are slowly revealed, encouraging suspicion and turning thoughts on their head. I found my mind constantly ticking over and questioning everything. Lynn tells her own story, creating an immediate connection, yet it takes a while to get to know her, to understand her. ‘The Old You’ is a surprising, stimulating read, just be careful that it doesn’t lull you into false sense of security!
The acclaimed history of the rise of the Nazis based on fascinating first-hand accounts. One of the Daily Telegraph's Best Books of 2017; A Guardian `Readers' Choice' Best Book of 2017; Without the benefit of hindsight, how do you interpret what's right in front of your eyes?; Based on fascinating firsthand accounts, this illuminating book asks what it was like to travel in the Third Reich during the interwar era. Was it possible to know what was really going on? Was it possible for a visiting outsider “to grasp the essence of National Socialism”? The accounts of a multitude of travellers are surveyed - ordinary tourists, academics and athletes, alongside royalty, celebrities and creative types like Samuel Beckett, Francis Bacon, Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West. Their experiences and responses are recounted in all their intriguing variation - bewilderment, obliviousness, internal outrage, scholarly outrage. I found the chapter on African American academic and Germanophile Professor William Edward Burghardt Du Bois particularly engrossing. Du Bois visited Germany in 1936 seeking to study race prejudice, but the organisation that commissioned his trip instead permitted him to investigate education and industry. He returned to report the “vindictive cruelty” of the “campaign against the Jews” and, while he experienced no “personal insult or discrimination” himself, he posited the view that matters might be different “if there were any number of Negroes in Germany”. Spritely in tone, and finely researched, this is an engaging must-read for those with an interest in German history, and in social history per se. It might also serve as a cautionary tale to pay closer attention to the world around us.
It begins with a nursery rhyme. Nineteen minutes later you die... The sixth gripping thriller in Lars Kepler's internationally bestselling series featuring Joona Linna. Perfect for fans of Stieg Larsson and Jo Nesbo. A hard-hitting rocket of a ride, if you’re squeamish, you may well be peeking between your fingers as you read. Superintendent Saga Bauer enlists the help of Joona Lina, who is serving time in prison, in order stop to a killer named the Rabbit Hunter. The authors are a well established, internationally best-selling writing duo, they seemlessly blend their skills into a story that blasts with fury and intensity. This is the sixth in the series, and if you’ve not come across Lars Kepler before, I would advise you start at the beginning with ‘The Hypnotist’, purely because it’s such a cracking series. I love the feeling of danger and menace that stalks the policing team themselves, who is to be trusted, who will survive, my heart was in my mouth on more than one occasion. As a nursery rhyme plays, the killer stalks his prey, violent, creepy and addictive, the tension in ‘The Rabbit Hunter’ sky-rockets through to the utterly gripping conclusion… and left me wanting more. ~ Liz Robinson
May 2018 Debut of the Month Our narrator Jasper is thirteen years old. He has synaesthesia which means he hears sounds, voices etc as colours and recognises individual by those colours and not by any physical appearances. We spend nearly a hundred pages learning about the disadvantages of such a condition becoming aware of many of the lad’s traits which are similar to autism. He lives in a confused world misinterpreting interactions and events and “blowing up” in panic attacks. It makes for harrowing reading. A couple of years ago his mother died and shortly after her his grandmother. His father finds the boy difficult to deal with. Now something has happened. Jasper thinks he has killed his neighbour Bee. Jasper is a very unreliable narrator. To discover what happened he has to recreate the colours of the last day of Bee’s life and try to match them to the events of that day. He spends a lot of time surmising and then painting naturally in those colours. The investigating police officer, “Rusty Chrome Orange” is a saint who eventually the boy learns to trust, but the poor lad is suspicious of everyone else, even at one time, his father. How it all works is naturally steeped in colour. Interesting.
Real Reviews from Real Passionate Readers
Since its inception Lovereading has taken a different approach to book reviews relying uniquely on the selection and review of books by editorial experts, all of whom have had many years of experience working within the book trade. They know what makes a good read whatever the genre and actually read the whole book before telling you what they think - radical we know, but sometimes old fashioned ways are the best.
In 2012 however, to complement our expert reviews and human-based Like-for-Like comparisons we decided to invite Lovereading members to join the newly created Lovereading Reader Review Panel. It has been a massive success.
We've now attracted over 1000 and 100's of books have now been read and reviewed by them. Many of them have their own book blogs and help us to spread the word of mouth on a book they've enjoyed. Panel members put themselves forward to read and review a book that we have advance copies of and their reviews are then loaded onto the site and complement those of our own Lovereading editorial experts. We're even now receiving feedback from visitors to Lovereading that the 'Reader Review Panel' reviews are as valued as those of our own Lovereading book experts!
With that in mind we thought it would be very helpful to everyone if we created a category and put all the books that have also been reviewed by some of our Reader Review Panel members, in one easy to find place.
Here are a few testimonials from some of our 'Reader Review Panel' members:
If I can ever do another review for you, it would be my pleasure. Thanks again Josephine S
It has been a pleasure and a privilege to review for Lovereading, it's a great site Lindsay H
Thanks for sending me another fantastic book to review! Emily W
The book reviewing has been a real treat, thank you for a wonderful experience. Tracey U
Just click on any title in this category and you will, in addition to the review from one of Lovereading's editorial experts also see a link through to reviews by members of our Reader Review Panel.