Feel-Good Fiction

Feel-good novels are eloquently written tales with real heart, there may be an emotional roller-coaster to travel, but ultimately these books leave you with a feeling of delicious warmth and uplifting joy.

Em & Me

Em & Me

Author: Beth Morrey Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/02/2022

Beautifully glorious, this book danced into my heart and soul and I want to dangle from the rooftops to shout about it. Since Em was born Delphine has spent her time as a single mum protecting her daughter and a secret, as she begins to taste the joy of life, her past starts to unravel. This compassionate, generous, and heart-warming novel about being brave and second chances deserves to be a huge hit. I adored Beth Morrey’s debut, the LoveReading Star Book, Saving Missy, and Beth’s unique touch is just as evident in Em & Me. She has the ability to take your thoughts into unexplored places yet plant the story in vibrantly authentic circumstances. She also develops the most charmingly relatable characters, they become known, cared for, a part of you. The plot weaves and flows through good and dark times with eloquence and empathy. I stepped into this book with trust, and came out with my heart full of warmth and emotion. Yes, I know I’m being rather gushy, but I seriously love this book! A LoveReading Star Book and Liz Pick of the Month, the wonderful Em & Me is delightfully rewarding novel I’ll be recommending far and wide.

Star Books
The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot

The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot

Author: Marianne Cronin Format: Paperback Release Date: 09/12/2021

The One Hundred years of Lenni and Margot is so special, it’s gentle yet pointed and warmly amusing as it highlights life within sight and touching distance of death. To celebrate their joint 100 years, 17 year-old Lenni and 83 year-old Margot paint their life stories while in hospital. Singing of friendship, love, and family, we discover how they can all be found in the most unexpected of places. This is Marianne Cronin’s debut novel, and I’ve added her to my list of authors to look out for. While Lenni and Margot are the stars, the other characters add essential energy. She brings these characters to vibrant life with a few perfectly chosen words. The smallest of details matter, in fact are vital. This book is so visual, slipping backwards and forwards in time, snapshots of the years appeared like magic to paint their own picture in my mind. The pages dance with joy and hope, while being realistic about death. I laughed and I cried, yes this novel is emotional, yet it also delivers the most heart-warming hug too. A well-deserved LoveReading Star Book, The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot comes with a 'must-read' label of recommendation from me.

Star Books
Wish You Were Here

Wish You Were Here

Author: Jodi Picoult Format: Hardback Release Date: 25/11/2021

This emotionally intelligent and perceptive novel is hand-on-heart gorgeous. Diana finds herself alone in the Galapagos during the early months of the pandemic while her surgeon boyfriend is back in New York. This is Jodi Picoult at her best, what seems like a simple tale is full of richly beautiful and provocative imaginings. The natural world, our world, sings with celebration. The torment of the pandemic echoes with heartbreak. Relationships, love, awareness of self, the focus is intimate and penetrating and yet feels immense and inclusive to all. I experienced a meaningful connection with the characters and plot, as though I was a part of this story somewhere in the world. And though I had that awareness, the author has the magical ability to open your thoughts and then send them in an entirely unexpected and breathtaking direction. I absolutely adored this book and felt as though it had been written just for me, and yet also for everyone. It connects us all in a time of uncertainty and fear. In a welcoming arms-open-wide hug, the Author’s Note from March 2021 explains her writing story during Covid-19. Charting the raw immeasurable pain of the pandemic, and yet also administering hope and love, Wish You Were Here sits as a LoveReading Star Book and Liz Pick of the Month. 

Star Books
The Christmas Escape

The Christmas Escape

Author: Sarah Morgan Format: Paperback Release Date: 28/10/2021

Sarah Morgan’s trademark lightness of touch and romantic warmth are on full Christmas window display in this Lapland-set story of female friendship, and letting down your guard to find (or reaffirm) love in all its forms. The Christmas Escape features a literal escape through a family and friends fleeing to Lapland for Christmas, but it’s metaphoric too, in that most of the characters have been hiding truths about themselves. This novel tells the story of their respective journeys to happiness through honesty in a romantic snowy setting backlit by the northern lights. Christy has her heart set on enjoying the perfect Christmas in Lapland with her husband Seb, five-year-old daughter Holly, and best friend Alix. It’s a big emotional trip for her too, for they’ll be staying with her estranged aunt, and she has a whole lot of questions about why her aunt was cast from the family bosom all those years ago. But as the big trip (and big day) looms ever-closer, Christy has big concerns about her marriage, and things aren’t quite right between her and Alix either. When Christy delays her flight to try to get to the source of her and Seb’s problems, Alix accompanies Holly to Lapland with her one-time lover and now-time nemesis, ruggedly handsome Arctic explorer and academic Zac. As the story stomps on through the snowy Lapland landscape, Zac becomes a mouthpiece for life advice: “There is an element of risk involved in everything worth having”, soon reiterated by “You’re only scared of the things that are important. The things that really matter”.  Meanwhile, Seb brings Christy to self-realisation as she tries to repair her relationship with Alix. With lots of recaps of characters’ quandaries and fears in the manner of TV shows (almost like “previously on The Christmas Escape…” montages), the characters are 100% transparent to the reader, even when they’re hiding the truth from each other, which also makes it something of a scream-at-the-TV kind of read - “tell the truth! Admit you fancy him! Admit you were wrong!”, and so on, until things come together in a satisfying seasonal hug.

Audiobooks of the Month
Flora's Travelling Christmas Shop

Flora's Travelling Christmas Shop

Author: Rebecca Raisin Format: Audiobook Release Date: 28/10/2021

'Tis the season for mulled wine, mince pies, and magic under the mistletoe... Flora loves Christmas more than anything else in the world, so she's gutted when her Scrooge-alike boss fires her from Deck the Halls Christmas emporium. But now she finally has a chance to follow her dreams - and what better place to start than the home of Christmas? Before she can say 'sleigh bells', Flora's on her way to Lapland in a campervan-cum-Christmas-shop. She can't wait to spend her days drinking hot chocolate and taking reindeer-drawn carriage rides, but something Flora didn't expect was meeting Connor, a Norse god of a man who makes her heart flutter and snowflakes swirl in her stomach. There's just one problem: Connor hates Christmas. Can Flora convince Connor of the joys of Christmas - and will she find a festive romance along the way? The perfect Christmas romance for fans of Debbie Johnson, Holly Martin and Jenny Colgan.

Audiobooks of the Month
The Christmas Bookshop

The Christmas Bookshop

Author: Jenny Colgan Format: Hardback Release Date: 28/10/2021

A simply joyous and magical relationship story to brighten up the darkest of times. Carmen’s sister Sofia comes to her somewhat reluctant rescue when Carmen is made redundant. The Christmas Bookshop goes to the top of my favourite books by Jenny Colgan, she is one of the most consistently fabulous romance writers out there, and if I need a boost I know just where to head. Yes there’s romance, you’ll also find intruiging family relationships and inviting new friendships. When we meet Carmen she’s not at her best, she’s definitely not perfect (who is!), and because she’s multi-dimensional it adds extra layers to this Christmas tale. I particularly loved the cast of characters, even the smallest part has depth, and then of course there is the Bookshop, which is divinely intriguing and welcoming. Edinburgh becomes a winter wonderland, with snow, beautifully decorated shops, and even if you’ve never been, the descriptions ensure a spellbinding sparkle. With a plot that weaves and twists its magical course with charm, The Christmas Bookshop is a truly lovely festive romance, and we’ve added it to our Star Book collection.

Star Books
Are We Having Fun Yet?

Are We Having Fun Yet?

Author: Lucy Mangan Format: Hardback Release Date: 14/10/2021

Oh what fun this is, written in diary form, the year in the life of Liz is a cackling, absolute fire-cracker of a read. Liz deals with all that life throws at her, from impossible questions from her two children, through to navigating family, neighbours, friendship, and work. I loved Lucy Mangan’s quick-firing and witty, yet compassionate and inclusive writing. I don’t have children, despite this, I fully participated in the family life on offer here. I could relate to the dilemmas and plights, joy and love, I sympathised, empathised, smirked, and on several occasions even laughed out loud. Although all the characters stand independently proud and fabulous, my favourite just has to be five year old Evie, who rules with an iron fist and is described as a gangster and anarchist. Author and journalist Lucy Mangan’s first novel is an absolute belter. Are We Having Fun Yet is a warm, uplifting, gloriously funny read and comes as highly recommended and a Liz Pick of the Month and LoveReading Star Book.   

eBooks of the Month
Everything is Beautiful

Everything is Beautiful

Author: Eleanor Ray Format: Paperback Release Date: 16/09/2021

When Amy Ashton's world fell apart eleven years ago, she started a collection. Just a few keepsakes of happier times: some honeysuckle to remind herself of the boy she loved, a chipped china bird, an old terracotta pot . . . Things that others might throw away, but to Amy, represent a life that could have been. Now her house is overflowing with the objects she loves - soon there'll be no room for Amy at all. But when a family move in next door, a chance discovery unearths a mystery, and Amy's carefully curated life begins to unravel. If she can find the courage to face her past, might the future she thought she'd lost still be hers for the taking? Perfect for fans of Eleanor Oliphant and The Keeper of Lost Things, this exquisitely told, uplifting novel shows us that however hopeless things might feel, beauty can be found in the most unexpected of places 

Star Books
The Man Who Died Twice

The Man Who Died Twice

Author: Richard Osman Format: Audiobook Release Date: 16/09/2021

It's the following Thursday. Elizabeth has received a letter from an old colleague, a man with whom she has a long history. He's made a big mistake, and he needs her help. His story involves stolen diamonds, a violent mobster, and a very real threat to his life. As bodies start piling up, Elizabeth enlists Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron in the hunt for a ruthless murderer. And if they find the diamonds too? Well, wouldn't that be a bonus? But this time they are up against an enemy who wouldn't bat an eyelid at knocking off four septuagenarians. Can The Thursday Murder Club find the killer (and the diamonds) before the killer finds them?

Audiobooks of the Month
How to Raise an Elephant

How to Raise an Elephant

Author: Alexander McCall Smith Format: Paperback Release Date: 02/09/2021

The latest instalment from the beloved THE NO. 1 LADIES' DETECTIVE AGENCY series Catch up on the latest from Mma Ramotswe, Mma Makutsi and other favourites in this new instalment of Alexander McCall Smith's The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series. As the temperature rises in Gaborone, Precious Ramotswe, founder of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, wonders whether the heat could be the reason that business is particularly slow. Luckily, a slower pace in life is her natural preference, unlike her colleague Mma Makutsi, who is alert to every passing observation and inclined to making snap decisions. With fewer cases to handle, Precious has time to contemplate her new neighbours, a couple who, by the sounds of it, have a rather volatile relationship . . . But then a distant cousin of Mma Ramotswe's comes to the agency with a plea for help, and the ladies decide to pursue the issue together. Armed with Mma Ramotswe's circumspection and Mma Makutsi's sharp eye, they proceed with confidence and open hearts. What, after all, could be more straightforward than a family matter? Meanwhile, their colleague Charlie is behaving oddly, borrowing Mma Ramotswe's van and returning it in an unusual condition. Digging a little deeper, the explanation is both strange and extraordinary, and takes Charlie, along with Mma Ramotswe's husband, Mr J. L. B. Matekoni, on a hair-raising night-time expedition. In the end, Precious is reminded of the need to view a picture from every angle, to accept the imperfections in people and situations, and then find a solution - preferably over a delicious slice of her friend Mma Potokwani's fruit cake.

Star Books
The Return

The Return

Author: Nicholas Sparks Format: Paperback Release Date: 02/09/2021

#1 New York Times bestselling author Nicholas Sparks returns with a moving new novel about an injured army doctor and the two women whose secrets will change the course of his life. Trevor Benson never intended to move back to New Bern, North Carolina. But when a mortar blast outside the hospital where he worked as an orthopedic surgeon sent him home from Afghanistan with devastating injuries, he comes to regroup in the dilapidated cabin inherited from his grandfather. Trevor isn't prepared to fall in love, yet from their very first encounter, Trevor feels a deep connection with deputy sheriff Natalie Masterson. Though she seems to reciprocate his feelings, Natalie remains frustratingly distant. Further complicating his stay is the presence of a sullen teenage girl, Callie. Claiming to be 17, she works at the local store and keeps to herself. Discovering that she was once befriended by his grandfather, Trevor hopes Callie can shed light on the mysterious circumstances of his grandfather's death, but she offers few clues - until a crisis triggers a race that will uncover the true nature of Callie's past. In his quest to unravel Natalie and Callie's secrets, Trevor will learn the true meaning of love and forgiveness . . . and that often, to move forward we must return to the place where it all began.

Books of the Month
Three's A Crowd

Three's A Crowd

Author: Simon Booker Format: Paperback Release Date: 24/08/2021

A thoroughly modern, wonderfully readable and clever romantic comedy that acts as a perfect pick-me-up. Tom, Dick, and Harry (well actually it’s Tom, Richard, and Harriet but who could resist!) find themselves in the most awkward of situations when they start dating. Estranged father and son Tom and Richard don’t share the same surname and when Harriet decides to date them both, by the time they realise, love has already worked its magic. I was hooked from the very first sentence, an entertaining web is woven as each distinct voice tells their own side of the story. The age range of characters is handled beautifully and there are a few knotty intrigues to unravel along the way. Simon Brooker writes with a truly witty pen, I smiled, laughed, and even exclaimed out loud. There are also sweet notes, canny moments, and a penetrating blast of reality. I genuinely had no idea where this diverting tale was going and I just want to applaud the ending, for me it was perfectly placed. Three’s A Crowd is a romantic comedy with bite, it’s a glorious blend of sweet and sharp, and sits very nicely in our LoveReading Star Books and as a Liz Pick of the Month.

Liz Robinson's Picks of the Month