Sharing Diverse Voices

Our Diversity genre celebrates a wide range of inclusive narratives. It's about empowering people by respecting and appreciating what makes them different, in terms of age, gender, ethnicity, religion, disability, sexual orientation, education, and national origin. As a team, we read widely and make sure that we offer intersectional representation in our book recommendations.

The Shadows of Men

The Shadows of Men

Author: Abir Mukherjee Format: Paperback Release Date: 16/06/2022

Calcutta, 1923. When a Hindu theologian is found murdered in his home, the city is on the brink of all-out religious war. Can officers of the Imperial Police Force, Captain Sam Wyndham and Sergeant Surendranath Banerjee track down those responsible in time to stop a bloodbath? Set at a time of heightened political tension, beginning in atmospheric Calcutta and taking the detectives all the way to bustling Bombay, the latest instalment in this 'unmissable' (The Times) series presents Wyndham and Banerjee with an unprecedented challenge. Will this be the case that finally drives them apart?

Star Books
People Person

People Person

Author: Candice Carty-Williams Format: Hardback Release Date: 28/04/2022

If you could choose your family, you wouldn't choose The Penningtons. Dimple Pennington knew of her half siblings, but she didn't really know them. Five people who don't have anything in common except for faint memories of being driven through Brixton in their dad's gold jeep, and some pretty complex abandonment issues. Dimple has bigger things to think about. She's thirty, and her life isn't really going anywhere. An aspiring lifestyle influencer with a terrible and wayward boyfriend, Dimple's life has shrunk to the size of a phone screen. And despite a small but loyal following, she's never felt more alone in her life. That is, until a dramatic event brings her half siblings Nikisha, Danny, Lizzie and Prynce crashing back into her life. And when they're all forced to reconnect with Cyril Pennington, the absent father they never really knew, things get even more complicated.

My Name Is Why: Quick Reads 2022

My Name Is Why: Quick Reads 2022

Author: Lemn Sissay Format: Paperback Release Date: 14/04/2022

SPECIALLY ABRIDGED FOR QUICK READS How does a government steal a child and then imprison him? How does it keep it a secret? This story is how. This story is true. My Name Is Why is a true story about growing up in care and fighting to succeed despite the cruelty and failures of the care system.

Red, White and Royal Blue

Red, White and Royal Blue

Author: Casey McQuiston Format: Paperback Release Date: 14/04/2022

What happens when America's First Son falls in love with the Prince of Wales? When his mother became President, Alex Claremont-Diaz was promptly cast as the American equivalent of a young royal. Handsome, charismatic, genius-his image is pure millennial-marketing gold for the White House. There's only one problem: Alex has a beef with the actual prince, Henry, across the pond. And when the tabloids get hold of a photo involving an Alex-Henry altercation, U.S./British relations take a turn for the worse. Heads of family, state, and other handlers devise a plan for damage control: staging a truce between the two rivals. What at first begins as a fake, Instragramable friendship grows deeper, and more dangerous, than either Alex or Henry could have imagined. Soon Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret romance with a surprisingly unstuffy Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations and begs the question: Can love save the world after all? Where do we find the courage, and the power, to be the people we are meant to be? And how can we learn to let our true colors shine through? Casey McQuiston's Red, White & Royal Blue proves: true love isn't always diplomatic.  

Lucky

Lucky

Author: Rachel Edwards Format: Paperback Release Date: 17/03/2022

A tense, twisty novel about love, betrayal, survival - and an addiction so compelling it threatens to destroy everything in its path   Etta is in her mid thirties and keen to nudge her loving but commitment-phobic partner, Ola, towards marriage and children. Ola is reluctant to get engaged before they have enough saved for a house deposit, so Etta takes matters into her own hands and finds a way to start secretly making money: online gambling. What a delightful discovery! And what a stroke of luck that Etta just happens to be so brilliant at it.   Soon she's playing quite a lot. She doesn't like lying to Ola, but it's all for the good of their relationship. She's even made a friend on the site, StChristopher75, and she's invited to a special VIP party. And even if she is losing a little money here and there - or even quite a lot of money - she'll win it back eventually. Or maybe even StChristopher75 can help her out with a little loan, once she's met him in real life. He's just won big, and he's been so friendly and helpful on the site.   Why wouldn't he want to help her?

Liz Robinson's Picks of the Month
Razorblade Tears

Razorblade Tears

Author: S. A. Cosby Format: Paperback Release Date: 17/03/2022

Hitting with hammer hard precision, thrilling storytelling is balanced with pointed social commentary in this fabulous novel set in the USA. Two fathers, both ex-cons, seek revenge for the murder of their sons. One of my favourite books from last year was S. A. Cosby’s debut Blacktop Wasteland which I read for the Crime Writers’ Association Gold Dagger Award judging, it spoke to us all and was a highly commended shortlisted title. So I came to this, his second book, with a huge sense of anticipation. The writing style is passionately and fiercely bold yet holds moments of quiet gentleness and real compassion. The characters rumble with authenticity and charged with emotion, I could see, hear, touch them. Delivering an all-consuming blast of violence, raw grief, and blistering regret, I was taken to an unknown place which made me feel the social issues on offer. The plot screams, really screams at the top of its voice as it races along and as with his first book I was left feeling stunned and emotionally drained after I had finished. This is a writer who is able to touch hearts and minds, all while offering an immensely entertaining read. Razorblade Tears is a provocative, powerful, beautiful novel that is both a LoveReading Star Book, and a Liz Pick of the Month.

Star Books
Brown Girls

Brown Girls

Author: Daphne Palasi Andreades Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/02/2022

Daphne Palasi Andreades’s Brown Girls is a triumph. Ambitious in scope, and realised with radiance, heart and bone-deep power, it lays bare the lives of a group of brown girls from Queens through blending detail with a chorus of voices (the narrative uses a collective “we”). It’s an all-consuming, all-encompassing musical ode; a beautiful book that takes in the complex, often conflicted ways women’s lives and communities come together, diverge, return and shift, while also taking in themes around immigration, diaspora, class, and colonialism. The writing is electric from the off: “We live in the dregs of Queens, New York, where airplanes fly so low that we are certain they will crush us. On our block, a lonely tree grows. Its branches tangle in power lines. Its roots upend side-walks where we ride our bikes before they are stolen. Roots that render the concrete slabs uneven.” These opening lines, this opening image, serves as a smart foreshadowing of the girls’ lives. As we follow them through childhood, girlhood, adolescence, college, careers, motherhood, and beyond, many move beyond their Queens’ roots, some return to their ancestors’ roots for a time, and there are tangles at every turn. The uneven footings and upended paths are perhaps most sharply seen when some of the young women experience alienating visits to their mother and fatherlands, and return to the US to realise all the more sharply that “existing in these bodies means holding many worlds within us”, with white people deeming “us and our families the good immigrants, the hard-working ones,” and the girls expected to be “grateful brown people” in the US. Then there’s the paradox that those among the girls who become big shots (“paragons of the American dream”) wind up being rendered faceless, leading to existential “Who the fuck are we?” questions. What an extraordinary debut - it’s ablaze with wisdom and love.

Debut Books of the Month
Lives Like Mine

Lives Like Mine

Author: Eva Verde Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/02/2022

I’m thrilled to introduce you to the most thought-provoking and intoxicating debut novel. Constantly ambushed by prejudiced in-laws and estranged from her own parents, Monica struggles to play happy families. Her loving husband fails to challenge his racist family, however a chance meeting on a school outing brings Joe into her life. The style of writing conjures a conversation, Monica pours out feelings, occasionally fractured but flowing into your own thoughts. Spaces lurk, they caught me unaware, and I stumbled before I settled in and started to feel at home. This novel really spoke to me, it slowly gathered me up, allowing me to get to know Monica at her pace, and she is the most fascinating, flawed, yet beautiful character. I felt as though she was speaking directly to me, trusting me with her honesty. Eva Verde has the most compassionate yet bold writing style, there is a subtlety at play even when the words gang up and get punchy. I flinched, laughed, raged, ached, as emotions hurled and curled themselves around me. I have given Monica a piece of my heart, her authenticity shines, as does this fiery, powerful story. Lives Like Mine, a LoveReading Star Book and Liz Pick of the Month, is hand on heart gorgeous and I proclaim it a must-read.

Star Books
Love Marriage

Love Marriage

Author: Monica Ali Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/02/2022

From the acclaimed author of Brick Lane and In the Kitchen, Monica Ali’s Love Marriage tells an un-put-down-able tale of two couples, two cultures and two families in present-day London. It’s an incisive, huge-hearted window into flawed individuals haunted by their pasts, love, desire, class and race delivered with the wit and honesty of a true storyteller. Yasmin and her fiancée Joe are both junior doctors, on the verge of starting a new life together, though they come from very different worlds. White and wealthy Joe has grown up in his overbearing mother’s Primrose Hill pile, while Yasmin is of Indian heritage, a south Londoner who’s fulfilling her father’s dream by following his footsteps into medicine. As the wedding edges closer, their families spend more time with each other, and Yasmin’s mother strikes up an unexpected bond with Joe’s mother and one of her feminist friends. At the same time, Joe is presented with harrowing truths about his upbringing and addiction during therapy, while Yasmin starts to question what she really wants, who she really is, and what marrying for love (the “Love marriage” of the title) really means. Though often suffused in warm humour, the novel is also starkly, movingly honest. Its pages shiver with damaged individuals; flawed and flailing lost souls at all stages of life. As the characters struggle with the lies they‘ve told themselves, and the secrets they’ve kept from others, readers are presented with remarkable moments of authentic pain and joy, not least when truths are finally faced. 

We Are All Birds of Uganda

We Are All Birds of Uganda

Author: Hafsa Zayyan Format: Paperback Release Date: 27/01/2022

'You can't stop birds from flying, can you, Sameer? They go where they will...' 1960s UGANDA. Hasan is struggling to run his family business following the sudden death of his wife. Just as he begins to see a way forward, a new regime seizes power, and a wave of rising prejudice threatens to sweep away everything he has built. Present-day LONDON. Sameer, a young high-flying lawyer, senses an emptiness in what he thought was the life of his dreams. Called back to his family home by an unexpected tragedy, Sameer begins to find the missing pieces of himself not in his future plans, but in a past he never knew. Moving between two continents and several generations over a troubled century, We Are All Birds of Uganda is a multi-layered, moving and immensely resonant novel of love, loss, and what it means to find home. It is the first work of fiction by Hafsa Zayyan, co-winner of the inaugural #Merky Books New Writers' Prize, and one of the most exciting young novelists of today. 

Books of the Month
The Second Cut

The Second Cut

Author: Louise Welsh Format: Hardback Release Date: 27/01/2022

Auctioneer Rilke has been trying to stay out of trouble, keeping his life more or less respectable. Business has been slow at Bowery Auctions, so when an old friend, Jojo, gives Rilke a tip-off for a house clearance, life seems to be looking up. The next day Jojo washes up dead. Jojo liked Grindr hook-ups and recreational drugs - is that the reason the police won't investigate? And if Rilke doesn't find out what happened to Jojo, who will? Thrilling and atmospheric, The Second Cut delves into the dark side of twenty-first century Glasgow. Twenty years on from his appearance in The Cutting Room, Rilke is still walking a moral tightrope between good and bad, saint and sinner.

Mrs Death Misses Death

Mrs Death Misses Death

Author: Salena Godden Format: Paperback Release Date: 20/01/2022

Mrs Death has had enough. She is exhausted from spending eternity doing her job and now she seeks someone to unburden her conscience to. Wolf Willeford, a troubled young writer, is well acquainted with death, but until now hadn't met Death in person - a black, working-class woman who shape-shifts and does her work unseen. Enthralled by her stories, Wolf becomes Mrs Death's scribe, and begins to write her memoirs. Using their desk as a vessel and conduit, Wolf travels across time and place with Mrs Death to witness deaths of past and present and discuss what the future holds for humanity. As the two reflect on the losses they have experienced - or, in the case of Mrs Death, facilitated - their friendship grows into a surprising affirmation of hope, resilience and love. All the while, despite her world-weariness, Death must continue to hold humans' fates in her hands, appearing in our lives when we least expect her . . .

Star Books