Fantasy

May 2022 Featured Books

All the Seas of the World

All the Seas of the World

Author: Guy Gavriel Kay Format: Hardback Release Date: 17/05/2022

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.

Star Books
Equinox

Equinox

Author: David Towsey Format: Hardback Release Date: 12/05/2022

Equinox is a historical mystery with a sixteenth century feel and a fantasy twist. The writing is highly descriptive, and the graphic world-building drew me into the setting straight away, with its gloomy backdrop of war and witchcraft. This is a tale of two halves, literally. Two brothers inhabit the same body, one by day and one by night, with echoes of Jekyll and Hyde. They have distinct personalities and careers - the cynical witch hunter versus the musician - and know very little about how they each spend their time, yet they end up having to work together somehow. Tension rises between the two siblings as the book gathers pace from a steady but slowburning beginning to a dramatic ending. This dark read is more witchcraft thriller than crime thriller, and it contains some gruesome scenes so it's not for the fainthearted. As a standalone, it's certainly unique and imaginative.

Book of Night

Book of Night

Author: Holly Black Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/05/2022

#1 New York Times bestselling author Holly Black makes her stunning adult debut with Book of Night, a modern dark fantasy of shadowy thieves and secret societies. Charlie Hall has never found a lock she couldn't pick, a book she couldn't steal, or a bad decision she wouldn't make. She's spent half her life working for gloamists, magicians who manipulate shadows to peer into locked rooms, strangle people in their beds, or worse. Gloamists guard their secrets greedily, creating an underground economy of grimoires. And to rob their fellow magicians, they need Charlie. Now, she's trying to distance herself from past mistakes, but going straight isn't easy. Bartending at a dive, she's still entirely too close to the corrupt underbelly of the Berkshires. Not to mention that her sister Posey is desperate for magic, and that her shadowless and possibly soulless boyfriend has been keeping secrets from her. When a terrible figure from her past returns, Charlie descends back into a maelstrom of murder and lies. Determined to survive, she's up against a cast of doppelgangers, mercurial billionaires, gloamists, and the people she loves best in the world - all trying to steal a secret that will allow them control of the shadow world and more.

Diary of a Heretic

Diary of a Heretic

Author: Ross Stein Format: Paperback Release Date: 12/04/2022

Luxury and debauchery leads to a frantic quest to save a soul in this historical fantasy. The opening to ‘Diary of a Heretic’ by Ross Stein immediately made me inquisitive. The strange and stealth-like actions of the characters and the impression of urgency, the appearance of a figure in a mirror raises questions as we are sent back in time to discover how Al Valentine ended up standing in front of that mirror in Damascus. When Etienne appears in a stupor at the door of Al Valentine’s shop the cogs are set in motion for Al to discover a diary detailing Etienne’s past and setting him on the path to help Etienne reclaim his soul from a demon. The plot, explained simply like that may sound far-fetched, but there’s plenty of nuance and body throughout the narrative so that the fantasy elements blend in seamlessly. As a reader I saw the tortured shell Etienne has become while hearing about the exploits, loves and losses to get him there. I grew to admire the courage of the character that, despite his struggles, faced the challenge to take back the soul he sold. As pieces of the puzzle and the path to achieving such a feat are unravelled, I marvelled at the events of that first chance encounter which brought Etienne to Al, the best placed person to help him. Perhaps it was divine intervention? ‘Diary of a Heretic’ is a richly detailed story. I felt as though I walked the streets of Paris with them, and gazed upon the same pieces of art. This is a story of love and redemption and I think it would appeal to other historical fantasy fans. 

Indie Books We Love

April 2022 Featured Books

Sea of Tranquility

Sea of Tranquility

Author: Emily St. John Mandel Format: Hardback Release Date: 28/04/2022

The award-winning author of Station Eleven, Emily St. John Mandel returns with a wondrous novel of time travel that precisely captures the reality of our current moment. Sea of Tranquility is a virtuoso performance and an enormously exciting offering from one of our most remarkable writers. In 1912, eighteen-year-old Edwin St. Andrew crosses the Atlantic, exiled from English polite society. In British Columbia, he enters the forest, spellbound by the beauty of the Canadian wilderness, and for a split second all is darkness, the notes of a violin echoing unnaturally through the air. The experience shocks him to his core. Two centuries later Olive Llewelyn, a famous writer, is traveling all over Earth, far away from her home in the second moon colony. Within the text of Olive's bestselling novel lies a strange passage: a man plays his violin for change in the echoing corridor of an airship terminal as the trees of a forest rise around him. When Gaspery-Jacques Roberts, a detective in the black-skied Night City, is hired to investigate an anomaly in time, he uncovers a series of lives upended: the exiled son of an aristocrat driven to madness, a writer trapped far from home as a pandemic ravages Earth, and a childhood friend from the Night City who, like Gaspery himself, has glimpsed the chance to do something extraordinary that will disrupt the timeline of the universe. Sea of Tranquility is a novel that investigates the idea of parallel worlds and possibilities, that plays with the very line along which time should run. Perceptive and poignant about art, and love, and what we must do to survive, it is incredibly compelling.

The Dying Squad

The Dying Squad

Author: Adam Simcox Format: Paperback Release Date: 28/04/2022

DYING IS HELL . . . SOLVING YOUR OWN MURDER IS PURGATORY When Detective Inspector Joe Lazarus storms a Lincolnshire farmhouse, he expects to bring down a notorious drug gang; instead, he discovers his own dead body and a spirit guide called Daisy-May. She's there to enlist him to the Dying Squad, a spectral police force made up of the recently deceased. Joe soon realises there are fates far worse than death. To escape being stuck in purgatory, he must solve his own murder. A task made all the more impossible when his memories start to fade. Reluctantly partnering with Daisy-May, Joe faces dangers from both the living and the dead in the quest to find his killer - before they kill again.

Star Books
Saint Death's Daughter

Saint Death's Daughter

Author: C. S. E. Cooney Format: Hardback Release Date: 14/04/2022

Life gets complicated when Death gets involved. To be born into a family of royal assassins pretty much guarantees that your life is going to be... rather unusual. Especially if, like Miscellaneous Lanie Stones, you also have a vicious allergy to all forms of violence and bloodshed, and an uncanny affinity for bringing the dead back to life. To make matters worse, family debt looms - a debt that will have to be paid sooner rather than later if Lanie and her sister are to retain ownership of the ancestral seat, Stones Manor. Lanie finds herself courted and threatened by powerful parties who would love to use her worryingly intimate relationship with the goddess of death for their own nefarious ends. But the goddess has other plans...

Amongst Our Weapons

Amongst Our Weapons

Author: Ben Aaronovitch Format: Hardback Release Date: 07/04/2022

PRE-ORDER THE HIGHLY-ANTICIPATED BRAND NEW NOVEL IN THE #1 BESTSELLING RIVERS OF LONDON SERIES NOW There is a world hidden underneath this great city... The London Silver Vaults - for well over a century, the largest collection of silver for sale in the world. It has more locks than the Bank of England and more cameras than a celebrity punch-up. Not somewhere you can murder someone and vanish without a trace - only that's what happened. The disappearing act, the reports of a blinding flash of light and memory loss amongst the witnesses all make this a case for Detective Constable Peter Grant and the Special Assessment Unit. Alongside their boss DCI Thomas Nightingale, the SAU find themselves embroiled in a mystery that encompasses London's tangled history, foreign lands and, most terrifying of all, the North! And Peter must solve this case soon because back home his partner Beverley is expecting twins any day now. But what he doesn't know is that he's about to encounter something - and somebody - that nobody ever expects... Effortlessly original, endlessly inventive and hugely entertaining - step into the world of the much-loved, Number One bestselling Rivers of London series. 

Wild and Wicked Things

Wild and Wicked Things

Author: Francesca May Format: Hardback Release Date: 31/03/2022

Darkly suggestive and consuming, this historical fantasy novel offers a nod to The Great Gatsby. Annie Mason finds herself in an unknown world of blood magic and murder when she investigates her inheritance. This is set just after the First World War, where witchcraft, which had a huge influence in the war, has been all but banned. At the beginning I wondered if I had entered a realm already formed as I found myself hesitating and searching for information that wasn’t immediately available. However, I soon settled in and immersed myself in the stormy and decadent atmosphere, where the urge to live as large a life as possible after the effects of the war hits hard. The plot bubbled along in the background as the characters took centre stage. While Annie and Emmeline throbbed with energy as they explored their feelings for each other, the secondly characters added real depth and flavour before pulling the story together. Author Francesca May successfully evokes the excess of the time, and also balances the abuse, dark magic, and violence that can be found in the story with the innocence of Annie, love and friendship. Chosen as a Liz Pick of the Month, Wild and Wicked Things successfully steals into thoughts and thoroughly provokes feelings.

Liz Robinson's Picks of the Month
The Reversible Mask An Elizabethan Spy Novel

The Reversible Mask An Elizabethan Spy Novel

Author: Loretta Goldberg Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/12/2018

Loved it and can highly recommend. It is obvious lots of research has been done of the times, politics, war, people and European countries. The storyline starts off quite slowly in the early years of Queen Elizabeth's reign. Edward Latham is a witness to her progress to Oxford, the token Papist in a Protestant court. To ensure his soul is not lost he leaves hastily for Scotland to serve Queen Mary. All does not go to plan there and he ends up as a clerk to the Duke of Guise. Rashly he decodes a letter and so begins his career as a spy. The book continues with Latham encountering danger in many forms up to the Armada. Hopefully there will be a next book to continue Latham's story.  Linda Amos, A LoveReading Ambassador

Indie Books We Love

March 2022 Featured Books

Chivalry

Chivalry

Author: Neil Gaiman Format: Hardback Release Date: 30/03/2022

From the award-winning creators Neil Gaiman and Colleen Doran comes a stunning new graphic novel. An elderly widow buys what turns out to be the Holy Grail from a second-hand shop, setting her off on an epic journey with an ancient knight who lures her with ancient relics in the hope of winning the cup. From the Eisner and Bram Stoker-award winning team of Snow, Glass, Apples comes a beautiful, brand-new graphic novel adaptation.

Gallant

Gallant

Author: V. E. Schwab Format: Hardback Release Date: 08/03/2022

From the Sunday Times-bestselling author of The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, and A Darker Shade of Magic comes a standalone novel where The Secret Garden meets Stardust. Fourteen-year-old Olivia Prior is missing three things: a mother, a father, and a voice. Her mother vanished all at once, and her father by degrees, and her voice was a thing she never had to start with. She grew up at Merilance School for Girls. Now, nearing the end of her time there, Olivia receives a letter from an uncle she's never met, her father's older brother, summoning her to his estate, a place called Gallant. But when she arrives, she discovers that the letter she received was several years old. Her uncle is dead. The estate is empty, save for the servants. Olivia is permitted to remain, but must follow two rules: don't go out after dusk, and always stay on the right side of a wall that runs along the estate’s western edge. Beyond it is another realm, ancient and magical, which calls to Olivia through her blood…

The Atlas Six

The Atlas Six

Author: Olivie Blake Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/03/2022

The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake is the runaway TikTok must-read fantasy novel of the year. If you loved Ninth House and A Deadly Education, you’ll love this. Originally a self-published sensation, this edition has been fully edited and revised, including gorgeous new illustrations. Secrets. Betrayal. Seduction. Welcome to the Alexandrian Society. When the world’s best magicians are offered an extraordinary opportunity, saying yes is easy. Each could join the secretive Alexandrian Society, whose custodians guard lost knowledge from ancient civilizations. Their members enjoy a lifetime of power and prestige. Yet each decade, only six practitioners are invited – to fill five places. Contenders Libby Rhodes and Nico de Varona are inseparable enemies, cosmologists who can control matter with their minds. Parisa Kamali is a telepath, who sees the mind’s deepest secrets. Reina Mori is a naturalist who can perceive and understand the flow of life itself. And Callum Nova is an empath, who can manipulate the desires of others. Finally there’s Tristan Caine, whose powers mystify even himself. Following recruitment by the mysterious Atlas Blakely, they travel to the Society’s London headquarters. Here, each must study and innovate within esoteric subject areas. And if they can prove themselves, over the course of a year, they’ll survive. Most of them. The story continues in The Atlas Paradox, the heart-stopping sequel.