Heart-racing high-octane and a happy place for many of us, let us help you find your next fuel-injected foray into the fields of battle, espionage, danger, heroism and even history rewritten. You’ll be over the waves, under the radar, up mountains, outside the law, beyond help, dicing with danger, battling monsters, rescuing the stricken, flying through flack, laying mines, playing political parlour-games, conning Congress, kidnapping commandos clashing with conquistadors and crossing swords with Crusaders... and all from the safety of your favourite chair.
With echoes of the Renaissance Guy Gavriel Kay brings intrigue, revenge, war, and exile face to face with love, friendship, and hope. This powerful and striking story begins with those tasked with an assassination, and grows to encompass many more people and places. Here we continue on in the times from A Brightness Long Ago featuring new as well as previously met characters. If you’ve not yet stepped foot into this particular world (not all of his novels are from these lands), then the quality of writing is such that you can most certainly read All the Seas of the World as a standalone. Please do though visit past books as not only are there truly beautiful stories to discover and the obvious connection to the previous novel, there are other whispers too from longer ago. The map had me poring over memories, and within the list of principal characters I welcomed old friends. While I immediately felt a sense of coming home, my emotions were hung above a sharpened knife edge. The narrator, occasionally present, sits in overview, words sinking into thoughts and feelings, and a little way in I met one particular friend from Brightness who again spoke directly to me. I folded into and around a story that boldly and brilliantly ventures onto the seas. I particularly loved the small slices of individual lives and how they knitted together and influenced the larger scale events. The most inconsequential moment could seem momentous as it formed around one person. It felt as though both history, the present, and the future was being told. Just as a little aside, I have been reading Guy Gavriel Kay’s novels since I tipped into my twenties. He is one of two authors who I count as being hugely positive influences, and from my late teens on I have been able to trust in their integrity, empathy, and principles as I read. You can probably tell from my thoughts and feelings about All The Seas of the World, that I still hold Guy Gavriel Kay’s writing in the highest regard and this new book will sit as a particular favourite. His words, they really make my emotions sing, and that was certainly the case here. So it will come as no surprise that All the Seas of the World sits as a LoveReading Star Book and Liz Pick for its month of publication, it also comes with a standing ovation from me.
Satisfying, convincing, and rewarding, the final book of the Ration Book series is appropriately set in the last months of the war. Even more appropriately the focus is matriarch Queenie (a particular favourite of mine), and we float between her early life in Ireland, and the Queenie in her 70’s of the Second World War. If you haven’t yet started, I would recommend going back to the beginning of this series with A Ration Book Dream as A Ration Book Victory is a coming together of storylines and characters. It is obvious that Jean Fullerton has a passion as well as well researched knowledge about this period. You can feel the life on the home front, the ploys to stretch your food, the fear for loved ones fighting, living life on the edge waiting for a silent V2 to explode into your life. As ever, the characters feel vibrantly real and the plot ticks along highlighting Queenie’s life. Her strength of will is apparent as we visit her in Ireland, and the feelings she still holds for her first love are heartbreaking. The trademark humour surrounding this character is very much on show, often coming out punching as a result of her fiery nature when protecting the people she loves. For those who have adored this series from the beginning, A Ration Book Victory is a fitting end to a compelling and poignant wartime family saga.
For readers with an interest in what happens behind the scenes in the newsrooms – of which there are many – The Shot is sure to satisfy their thirst for the next big scoop. Given her first chance in the spotlight, young TV journalist Samira is out to prove her worth. Alongside seasoned photographer Kris, they take a photograph – a shot that has thrown their whole mission and lives in peril. As a former CNN news executive, author Sarah Sultoon packs her novel with the kind of details that only someone who’s been on the frontline of war reporting can – from what life is like in conflict zones, to the petty squabbles in the newsroom. What many readers may be left with is the full effect and exposure of the realities of war reporting. Sultoon’s style never veers into gratuitous violence, but her book is made only more visceral by the current conflict in Ukraine.
Set against the sizzling backdrop of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip’s first royal tour to Australia, this is historical fiction simmering with the drama of banquets and betrayal, seduction and scandal! For identical twins Daisy and Violet Chettle, stepping aboard the royal ship marks the start of a new chapter in their lives. A chance to serve at the very highest level, and the opportunity to leave behind the tragedies of their own shared past. Daisy won’t stop at anything for a taste of the high life – much to her sister’s outrage. But when Violet’s own secrets catch up with her on the other side of the world, their fragile relationship grows ever more turbulent. Andrew Mackie has created a tantalising world inhabited by characters that are both desirable and despicable, often behaving badly behind the façade of regal splendor. The consequences are heartbreaking, unexpected and sometimes comical - but that’s all part of the book’s charm. You’re never quite sure how the drama will unfold from chapter to chapter! The Journey after the Crown is most definitely a piece of fiction. But isn’t it thrilling to imagine how life behind the scenes of the real tour of 1954 may have played out? Mackie has given the Queen’s landmark trip the Bridgerton treatment to brilliant effect; the writing sparkles like Queen Elizabeth’s sumptuous wardrobe and the secrets concealed below deck match the intensity of the adoring crowds and landscape above.
Neil Lancaster has written a twisty, high-octane police procedural that thrilled and intrigued me from beginning to end. Starting with several dramatic scenes, this book drew me in straightaway, following DS Max Craigie and colleagues as they investigate two seemingly linked deaths. I've not read the first book in this series - Dead Man's Grave - but this didn't matter at all, as The Blood Tide works well as a standalone, with enough back story to fill in any gaps. The writing is beautifully descriptive, bringing the diverse characters, stunning Scottish countryside and fast-paced action scenes to life (it seemed as though everything was springing out of the page in front of me), and the humorous banter between the team brought some light relief to break up the darkness of the plot. The author's own police background provides realism, authenticity and insights to a gripping and gritty read. Highly recommended Scottish Noir - I'll be picking up the first book in this series soon, and look forward to the third.
Reacher never backs down from a problem. And he's about to find a big one, on a deserted Arizona road, where a Jeep has crashed into the only tree for miles around. Under the merciless desert sun, nothing is as it seems. Minutes later Reacher is heading into the nearby border town, a backwater that has seen better days. Next to him is Michaela Fenton, an army veteran turned FBI agent, who is trying to find her twin brother. He might have got mixed up with some dangerous people. And Reacher might just need to pay them a visit. Their leader has burrowed his influence deep into the town. Just to get in and meet the mysterious Dendoncker, Reacher is going to have to achieve the impossible. To get answers will be even harder. There are people in this hostile, empty place who would rather die than reveal their secrets. But then, if Reacher is coming after you, you might be better off dead.
THE FINAL NOVEL IN THE BESTSELLING SHIPYARD GIRLS SERIES! January 1945. Spring is in the air. And so is victory... Wedding bells are ringing at long last for Gloria and her soon-to-be husband Jack. But she can't rest until her youngest son is safely home. Head welder Rosie is delighted her own husband has returned from enemy territory. But the promise of victory brings more change. Her squad has come so far - what will happen when the war ends? Meanwhile Helen is caught between two men - but must hide her true feelings from the one she loves. Can her fellow women welders help Helen follow her heart? Only by working together will the Shipyard Girls win the day.
If you’ve read the Sam Shephard series, you’ll know all about Vanda Symon, New Zealand’s Queen of Crime. If you’ve not read them, please do, they are cracking. Faceless is jam-packed with suspense, utterly gripping and I promise you’ll clench all the way through. Certain bits I felt I stopped breathing altogether! And don’t get me started on the final few chapters… Billy is a vulnerable, homeless artist who turns tricks to fund her art. When Bradley, a stressed, middle-aged man picks up Billy, his frustration leads him down a path, and pushes him into acting to prove he’s not weak, he lashes out and kidnaps Billy. Pals from the streets, Max is forced to come out of the shadows to find his only friend, confront his demons and boy, he’s committed. Your heart breaks as you follow Billy’s ordeal and as her plight becomes more and more desperate. Symon’s powerful storytelling delivers an emotional rollercoaster of a thriller, and doesn’t let you go. You follow the jaw-dropping journey as the faceless street dwellers become real people and we understand what led them to the streets; a thought-provoking thriller that will have your heart racing.
Hugely provocative, powerful, and suffused with a stinging, haunting beauty, The Clockwork Girl thoroughly deserves its inclusion as a LoveReading Star Book. Set in Paris during 1750, Madeleine is tasked with discovering the truth about a clockmaker who designs mechanical objects that appear to come to life. Three women sit centre stage, all from different backgrounds, yet struggling to survive in a male dominated world.Oh my word, from the very beginning this made me flinch, unapologetically raw and intense the words burrowed their way inside me. Anna Mazzola really is the most gifted storyteller, I was taken captive as I read, consumed by the fierce thrilling plot and the characters who invaded, and still remain in my mind. I loved the sharp edge of the unreal I found myself hovering over, the insinuations and suggestions that allowed my thoughts to run riot. While the spellbinding clockworks danced eerily featherlight in their own world, the reality of the time created a layer of foreboding that sat glowering, waiting, ready. As it soared into chilling evocative life in front of my eyes I fell in love with this tale. I just had to include The Clockwork Girl as a Liz Pick of the Month, it’s an entirely and gloriously captivating stunner of a read.
The clock is ticking for ex-MI5 agent, Joe Mason. An elderly professor under his protection has been ruthlessly murdered in the Vatican archives; if he doesn’t act fast to track down the people responsible, and the book of secrets in their possession, the threat to the Church and the world at large could be devastating. David Leadbeater brings his codebreaking quest to life by perfectly balancing explosive action sequences with key historical detail. Car chases, boat crashes, hand-to-hand combat and a healthy dose of brutal murder all help to keep the blood pumping and the pages turning. But there’s plenty to discover too about the ancient cities, churches and artefacts that lie at the heart of Christianity. The relationships between Mason and Roxy - his feisty fellow agent - and other comrades they encounter on their chase are also central to the unfolding drama. Each carries their own physical or psychological scars that are explored sensitively as the action builds. The success of this mission could help them all atone for past mistakes and misjudgments - so failure is not an option. The Vatican Secret is a thrilling novel that whisks you through crypts and catacombs, across stormy waters and treacherous caves. But it’s also a timely story about corruption, fake news and the danger posed by power hungry leaders. In a world as dark as this, it feels like Joe Mason has arrived on the scene just when we need him the most.
THE SUNDAY TIMES TOP TEN BESTSELLER From one of our greatest living writers comes a sweeping novel of unrequited love and exile, war and family. The Magician tells the story of Thomas Mann, whose life was filled with great acclaim and contradiction. He would find himself on the wrong side of history in the First World War, cheerleading the German army, but have a clear vision of the future in the second, anticipating the horrors of Nazism. He would have six children and keep his homosexuality hidden; he was a man forever connected to his family and yet bore witness to the ravages of suicide. He would write some of the greatest works of European literature, and win the Nobel Prize, but would never return to the country that inspired his creativity. Through one life, Colm Toibin tells the breathtaking story of the twentieth century.
In Willow Close, everyone is a suspect . . . Nina and Conrad thought they'd discovered their dream home. But on the day they move in, a body is found - the victim attacked and killed in the woods. As police interview witnesses, they soon discover each resident hiding their own secrets. Because few in the Close are exactly who they seem . . . Nina and Conrad thought they'd found their dream home. Now, it might just be their worst nightmare . . .
A carefree hope and joy is lost in the fateful Summer of 1914. ‘The Lost Summer’ by Paul Jenkins follows the young student, Michael Davies as he joins friends for the Summer at the base of the Pyrenees in Banyuls sur Mer. A sunshine and joy filled time, with new friends, experiences and new love is cut short as the spectre of conflict looms ever larger. What follows will change the lives of every person gathered at Madame de Vallespir’s as war breaks out with devastating consequences. I found the opening to this historical fiction very poignant, it would be hard not to given the current climate, and I found that Michael’s tale is told with sensitivity and insight. The atmosphere in this book felt very much like Atonement (minus the self-serving narrator) with many bleak moments but also moments of peace and hope throughout as the reader prays that Michael and Lisette will be reunited after the war. ‘The Lost Summer’ demonstrates the innocence and “Summer” of youth lost in the events of WWI in this powerfully poignant historical fiction. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador
Let Bernard Cornwell sweep you back to Arthurian times, or into the heat of battle with Richard Sharpe. Sail the high seas with Patrick O'Brian. Raise your pulse-rate with Michael Crichton. Experience the adrenaline of combat with Andy McNab. Feel the clear and present danger of Tom Clancy's thrilling Jack Ryan stories... Live on the edge with Lee Child's itinerant hero Jack Reacher? Navigating your way through all the twists and turns of this roller-coaster genre can be an adventure in itself.
So, let us help you find your next fuel-injected foray into the fields of battle, espionage, danger,heroism and even history rewritten. From Dan Brown, Tom Clancy and Ken Follett to Wilbur Smith, David Gibbins and Stieg Larsson, you’ll be over the waves, under the radar, up mountains, outside the law, beyond help, dicing with danger, battling monsters, rescuing the stricken, flying through flack, laying mines, playing political parlour-games, conning Congress, kidnapping commandos clashing with conquistadors and crossing swords with Crusaders … and all from the safety of your favourite chair.