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Science Fiction

The Timepiece and the Girl Who Went Astray

The Timepiece and the Girl Who Went Astray

Author: O.R. Simmonds Format: Ebook Release Date: 30/07/2021

William is just an unassuming American who ends up in the wrong place and definitely the wrong time! He lives an unexciting life in London, but when he goes to buy a watch for his girlfriend his life take a very dramatic turn. He ends up being accused of murder,  and being chased through history by a secret organisation who will stop at nothing to get their “timepiece” back. Travel with William through his exciting journey and enjoy a thrilling and riveting read. Maureen Gourlay, A LoveReading Ambassador

Indie Books We Love
Pelagia Between the Stars and the Abyss

Pelagia Between the Stars and the Abyss

Author: Steve Holloway Format: Paperback Release Date: 18/06/2021

An interesting and challenging speculative science fiction novel that begins in 2066. Covering a number of years and several time frames, Ben Holden is on the run after being targeted for his scientific research. It really does feel as though this world could be our future, enough is relatable and touchable to allow you to easily slip into what could be. Author Steve Holloway has a degree in Aquatic Biology and has worked around the world in marine science, it means that the scientific and oceanic world Ben finds himself in teems with possibilities and I particularly enjoyed these sections. The frequent moves in time and locations are clearly marked, which allowed me to flick between the different timelines in the plot with ease. Faith plays a part here, in terms of what is on offer in the future, and the main character’s transformation. I’m not in the slightest bit religious and found that this element, rather than overpowering proceedings, slotted into the story with ease. There is also enough action to keep the plot moving along at a good pace. Pelagia: Between the Stars and the Abyss makes for a refreshing and thought-provoking read.

Debut Books of the Month
Anna

Anna

Author: Sammy H.K. Smith Format: Hardback Release Date: 27/05/2021

I think the synopsis of ‘Anna’ describes this book perfectly. It is a “chilling” dystopian story. Many times throughout the story I felt chills and shudders of revulsion. Set in a near future where women can be captured, branded chained up and led around like an animal we meet Anna. Captured as she makes her way through the unlands we see her disturbing treatment at the hands of her captor. This is a dark and gritty story focused on domestic abuse, survival and a road to healing and recovery. It’s by no means a comfortable read and at times it reminded me of ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’. I always think there’s something expressly sinister about dystopian fiction in which characters remember “before”. There’s an initial atmosphere of loss that can be found in ‘Anna’; then not only have her loved ones been taken away, but to have her dignity and humanity stripped from her too is heartbreaking and painful at times to witness. As with ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’, what Anna experiences is at times traumatic, and it’s not fun for the reader to watch it unfold, but we do. I carried on reading in the hopes that there would be revenge, redemption or freedom of some form at the end. This is a brutal story about a woman’s survival. This is an immersive read about finding hope in a dreary landscape, and that even idylls have dark corners. There are tempo changes and moments of hope, twists, reveals and times of real darkness too. The characters in this book are well-written and complex. The style of narration is interesting, we learn as Anna does and I was compelled to keep reading to discover what happens to her. The first part of the story made me uncomfortable but, although it sounds daft, I didn’t want to leave her there. A gritty, intense and powerful read. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador

Indie Books We Love
The Other Times of Caroline Tangent

The Other Times of Caroline Tangent

Author: Ivan D Wainewright Format: Paperback Release Date: 17/05/2021

An enchanting, nostalgic tale of music, friendships, betrayal and determination. The author writes with a beautiful flowing style that carries the reader with them on short journeys back in time whilst combining present day life. Jon a university lecturer and Caroline, an artist, live in London. Jon has discovered a passion for inventing and after a day's work loves nothing more than going downstairs in the basement of their home which he has converted into an inventing room. It’s during these retreats that his plans and ideas take shape. And it’s from this very workshop that Jon and Caroline’s magical mystery tours begin. Jon’s timepen invention means the world is their oyster when it comes to what concerts to go back in time to see. They decide they prefer the ones just before the artist hits the big time as it gives a better atmosphere and smaller club setting. There’s just one problem; they can’t tell anyone about this unusual ability, not even their closest group of friends. After many successful trips using the timepen, disaster strikes following one concert in the past. A life-changing event, a new life and attempts to heal old wounds, but will a visitor offer an opportunity for everything to go back to how it was? A wonderful read and the subject would appeal to a wide scope of readers. Highly recommended! Caroline Highy, A LoveReadig Ambassador

Indie Books We Love
The End of Men

The End of Men

Author: Christina Sweeney-Baird Format: Hardback Release Date: 29/04/2021

An exquisitely unsettling and fabulous blast of speculative fiction awaits in this provocative, hard-hitting debut novel. An unknown virus that only kills men hits Glasgow in 2025, as it spreads, confusion, lies, and heartbreak follows. As Christina Sweeney-Baird explains in her author’s note, she wrote The End of Men before Covid 19 affected the world. While the current pandemic remained tucked away in my thoughts as I read, this is very much a work of fiction and the focus lies with a female lead society coping with life during and after a pandemic. This is told on a world scale over five years and is set as a gathering of memories, as though this event has already come to pass and you are reading a piercing slice of history. This novel contains a huge number of characters, and I felt as though I was observing them at a distance. Having said that, some characters return throughout the book, and I formed more of a bond, felt more of a connection with them. Short chapters, headed by the day after the outbreak and name of the character ensured my focus remained sharp and on point. There are bubbles of humour to be found along the way, as well as the more obvious emotions. Yes this is so very close to what is happening right now, but it is different enough to make this novel more readable as a result. Joining our LoveReading Star Book collection, The End of Men is a powerful, thought-provoking read that is both epic in scale and intimate in memories. The LoveReading LitFest invited Christina to the festival to talk about The End of Men.   You can view the event by subscribing to the LitFest programme for as little as £6 per month - or you can pay per view. For just £2, go, see Christina in conversation with  and find out why everyone should read this book. Check out a preview of the event here

Star Books
Hold Up the Sky

Hold Up the Sky

Author: Cixin Liu Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/04/2021

Meet eleven fabulous short stories by China’s number one science fiction writer. This is the first time they have been published in English, originally written between 1999 and 2017, a number of different translators have ensured that an exquisite reading feast awaits. Cixin Liu’s foreword ensured a few raised eyebrows and smiles on my part. It is absolutely fascinating to read these stories, that: “inevitably have a strong Chinese flavour, imbued with the culture, history, and present reality of China” as well as explore the universe beyond our understanding. These are stories that are set on an epic scale, yet focus on the intimate and essential meaning of being human. I particularly enjoyed The Village Teacher, a story that pivots on an apparently small, individually brave act. This would be the perfect introduction to science fiction for anyone who has not yet dipped a toe. For lovers of sci-fi, there is plenty here to fall into and enjoy. Hold Up The Sky is a cracking collection of stories that allows your mind to look within as well as well as travel into the unknown.

Liz Robinson's Picks of the Month
The Frequency of Us

The Frequency of Us

Author: Keith Stuart Format: Hardback Release Date: 25/03/2021

If you’re looking for a unique, transportive, immensely satisfying read then I’ll wave frantically and recommend you stop right here. Laura agrees to assess Will to establish if he is still capable of living on his own, she begins to suspect that Will isn't suffering from dementia and that his strange story may actually be true. Keith Stuart is the author of the truly beautiful Days of Wonder and A Boy Made of Blocks, books that touch emotions, encourage thoughts, and cast a spellbinding atmosphere. I was hugely excited to read his latest and it effortlessly joins the others as particular favourites of mine. Each of his novels have been completely different, yet there is a thread of connection. He opens a door to a side of being human that you might not have seen and encourages emotions to flood your heart and soul. The Frequency of Us takes a step outside of what is known, edging into fantastical and I joined the story with trust and belief. Laura and Will formed a connection with each other and in turn with me. Two time frames allow access to the past, creating intrigue and a mystery that just begs to be solved. The ending really spoke to me and set my feelings free to soar. The Frequency of Us is a mesmerising read full of love and hope, and I’m thrilled to recommend it as one of our LoveReading Star Books.  

Star Books
The Sparks In My Skull

The Sparks In My Skull

Author: I D Atkinson Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/03/2021

‘The Sparks in My Skull’ by I D Atkinson is a science fiction based Young Adult novel. An interesting concept, where young adults suffering from migraines develop additional cognitive abilities called aether varying from precognition to psychokinesis. The downside of these additional abilities are their time-bomb brain, that could suddenly develop a fatal brain bleed.  In this dystopian story, where society lashes out in fear towards things and people that they don’t fully understand, we meet Echo and Flynn, who flee to a sanctuary for others with aether, but are they really safe there?  ‘The Sparks in My Skull’ is an interesting storyline and each of the characters are infused with personality. The book introduces you slowly to each character and to the different forms and abilities that aether can take. I found the speech a little contrived and the initial incident at the party with Echo personally a bit frustratingly unbelievable. I feel a younger audience may like this book more and this book made me consider that maybe I am now a bit too old for Young Adult fiction. The plotline is interesting and entertaining, and I wanted to read more to learn about aether, and what would happen to Echo and Flynn. I would say ‘The Sparks in My Skull’ is an easy to read story that would be a great recommendation for fans of YA dystopian fiction and fantasy. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador 

Space Hopper

Space Hopper

Author: Helen Fisher Format: Hardback Release Date: 04/02/2021

Slip into this beautifully simple yet profound novel and explore love, relationships, regret and second chances while travelling through time to the 1970’s. Faye’s mother died when she was a child, 30 years later and she is able to return to her mother’s side, will she take the chance? The time-travel aspect feels utterly plausible so I suggest that you suspend thoughts of reality and just let yourself go. It’s just so easy to fall into this novel, debut author Helen Fisher encourages a connection to form as Faye tells her own story. I wanted to reach out, be a voice of reason, yet I remained by Faye’s side as I read her tale, soaking it up until I felt as though it was a part of me. I explored loss and grief, love and hope, and oh how I hoped. Emotional, yet heartwarming, sharply realistic yet joyously magical, Space Hopper really is a gorgeous tale that I can highly recommendand have chosen as a Liz Pick of the Month and LoveReading Star Book..

Star Books
Beyond Oblivion

Beyond Oblivion

Author: Trevor P. Kwain Format: Paperback Release Date: 29/01/2021

‘Beyond Oblivion’ is a collection of science fiction short stories. Each story looks at an aspect of life that we may recognise, with a futuristic twist.  In ‘The Mortgage’ I liked that nostalgia and romanticisation of the past doesn’t change even in the author’s futuristic world, It made me smile although I did quite see the twists of this story coming. The emotions of ‘The Year of the Pig’ resonate strongly with me considering our pandemic present. The themes of vaccinations and the health risks connected with low immunity and immune systems, although given an environmental and sci-fi twist, appeared pertinent. There’s also the subtle inclusion of social media posts replacing “real” news. Each of the seven stories vary in length and there’s plenty of elements from our present-day world critiqued within each I found ‘Beyond Oblivion’ an interesting collection and I can see how it could pave the way for different discussions about how we live now. As I read I was eager to see what happened within each mini-universe while also wanting to know which part of our world would be the focus next.

Of Ants and Dinosaurs

Of Ants and Dinosaurs

Author: Cixin Liu Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/01/2021

So, so readable, Of Ants and Dinosaurs with the lightest and brightest of touches, made my brain itch with its creativity and klaxon alarm. Perfect for readers from young adult on, this sets itself as a “satirical fable, a political allegory and ecological warning”. In a time long long ago ants and dinosaurs joined forces to build a magnificent civilisation, when doom threatens will the dinosaurs listen to the ants? Cixin Liu is China’s number one science-fiction writer and his The Three-Body Problem was the first translated novel to win a Hugo award. I just love the cover, and the ants marching across the chapter pages had me smiling. As soon as I started to read my attention was well and truly caught. The prologue sets the scene with wonder and I read and believed without a moment's doubt. While portraying the ant and dinosaur alliance, there is very much a warning to the human race here. Deceptively simple and brilliantly clever, Of Ants and Dinosaurs just has to sit as a Liz Pick of the Month and a LoveReading Star Book, I simply adored it. 

Star Books
Infinity Shift

Infinity Shift

Author: Robert Holding Format: Paperback Release Date: 31/12/2020

Infinity Shift is the second book in Robert Holding's Sci-Fi trilogy set in the 29th century, the sequel to 'Downtime Shift', which came out last year. The story picks up eight years after the end of the first when things on Earth have moved on dramatically towards total schism. The major cities on the planet are still under the iron rule of the Eye, a highly sophisticated Artificial Intelligence. The 'Spacers', those who lived outside the Eye's reach above the planet, are increasingly aware of the need to make a complete break with the planet, despite still being dependent on some of it's resources. They're loosely in league with the 'Outsiders', the Infinity Corps, renegade Earth dwellers, also outside the Eye's reach in the countryside. The Corps had been mobilised by Evelyn Marcin, who has become a folk hero in her eight year absence. The Eye's great advance in the meantime has been the development of Artificial Biology, bio-machines embedded in human followers, who are then able to subliminally control others emotions and behaviour. This dangerous step, however, looks like it might be about to backfire as Gaudynya, who has undergone the procedure, plots to use her power to her own advantage. Will Evelyn be able to live up to her name and legend in the fight for the stability of Earth. She knows she must take on Gaudynya and make great sacrifices for her vision, so the book ends on another cliffhanger, to be resolved in part three. If you found Downtime Shift intriguing, complex and thought-provoking, you will certainly want to read how the main characters have moved on and cope with this new twist in their fates. Drena Irish, A LoveReading Amabassador