Fantasy

September 2021 Featured Books

The Cat Who Saved Books

The Cat Who Saved Books

Author: Sosuke Natsukawa Format: Hardback Release Date: 16/09/2021

An absolute little treasure! After the death of his grandfather, Rintaro finds himself on an adventure with Tiger the talking cat, to help books that desperately need saving. This incredibly quirky and beautiful novel highlights the importance of books, friendship, and self-belief. The simplicity of the story highlights the warmth, the love, and the true power of books. It also encouraged me to explore my own relationship with books. Sosuke Natsukawa painted images straight into my thoughts, simple, clear, vividly bright, they still sit in my minds eye. A shout out to the translation by Louise Heal Kawai, as I felt as though I was reading the original Japanese version. If you, like me, think of books as being more than words on paper, if you talk to them and pat them, are moved by them and have thoughts altered by them, then I recommend The Cat Who Saved Books with my heart and soul. Chosen as one of my Liz Picks of the Month, it really would make the perfect gift, either for you, or another book-lover in your life.

Liz Robinson's Picks of the Month
Empire of the Vampire

Empire of the Vampire

Author: Jay Kristoff Format: Hardback Release Date: 07/09/2021

From the Sunday Times bestselling and award-winning author of the Nevernight Chronicle, comes this masterful new series. It has been twenty-seven long years since the last sunrise. For nearly three decades, vampires have waged war against humanity; building their eternal empire even as they tear down our own. Now, only a few tiny sparks of light endure in a sea of darkness. Gabriel de Leon, half man, half monster and last remaining silversaint - a sworn brother of the holy Silver Order dedicated to defending the realm from the creatures of the night - is all that stands between the world and its end. Now imprisoned by the very monsters he vowed to destroy, the last silversaint is forced to tell his story. A story of legendary battles and forbidden love, of faith lost and friendships won, of the Wars of the Blood and the Forever King and the quest for humanity's last remaining hope: The Holy Grail.

The Tenets in the Tattoos

The Tenets in the Tattoos

Author: Becky James Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/07/2021

‘The Tenets in the Tattoos’ by Becky James is the first in an ambitious YA Fantasy series. In a world where everyone has a soulmate, another person who compliments and completes them, though not necessarily in a romantic sense. Thorrn has lived for a lot longer than most without finding his. When he does, he must not only learn to accept her but then work together with a collection of unlikely allies to save the kingdom. With secrets, revelations and plot twists along the way, ‘The Tenets in the Tattoos’ is certainly an action-packed adventure. I enjoyed this book, I liked the characters and found the unfamiliar descriptions of familiar things and places (trying to be vague to avoid spoilers) laugh out loud funny. The storyline is ambitious in its scope and really is one for fans of fantasy and science fiction, with multiple tropes all utilised to great effect as Thorrn and Evyn’s path unfolds. I liked Thorrn as a character, he’s arrogant enough in the beginning to not be particularly likeable, but not too arrogant that his work to earn forgiveness for his behaviour rings false. Each character is multi-dimensional and have their own skills that are utilised in the more tense parts of the plot. I think this is a strong new fantasy title and would be interested in reading the rest of the series.  Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador

Indie Books We Love
TTEO Take The Emotion Out

TTEO Take The Emotion Out

Author: Ren Laws Format: Paperback Release Date: 16/06/2021

The book charts the story of 18-year-old Brissy Jayne Yah. All she wants is to go to university and start her new chapter. Brissy does not want to dwell on the unusual things about herself, she just wants to be a normal teenager. When she finds out that she is a Gene Bearer – a Mutata. Brissy is forced to face the reality of just how different she is from the average person. She is about as far from normal as she can get. Dangers unfold as she starts to understand what it means to be a Mutata. She is a target for Acadia and Zraykus, two rogue organisations with quite different agendas. One wants to use her to further their goals of establishing Gene Bearers as superior to the rest of humanity. The other sees her as a genetic defect that should not exist, they want her dead. Soraya, Brissy’s Mutata Guardian helps her to navigate her new reality and her developing capabilities. It soon becomes apparent that Brissy is unique even amongst the Mutata. Her combination of capabilities is unusual, and the speed at which they are developing unprecedented. She must work with Martha, her Overseer to gain control of her capabilities. Trouble is, Brissy does not trust Martha. Martha was responsible for maintaining a block on Brissy’s memory that prevented her from remembering the events of the night her mother was killed. As Brissy’s capabilities grow, she fears that she will lose herself to whatever it is she is transforming into. The love of her foster family, especially her closeness to her foster brother Marcus help to keep her grounded. There are also her deepening feelings for Kade, as she allows herself to go with the flow in their developing relationship. When Brissy reads a letter left by her dead mother, she gets a disturbing glimpse into her family background. The letter reveals a shocking revelation that floors Brissy. She is left with little choice but to agree to meet with her grandfather. The very man who hunted her mother for most of her life, kidnapped her, and gave her a terrible choice to make. Brissy’s biggest fear is that she will turn into something unrecognisable to herself, something to be feared. That she will lose the love of her family, and the love of Kade as they realise what she is capable of. She desperately clings on to the hope that her capabilities can be used for good, to make the lives of those around her better. But her capabilities can also be a weapon, she can kill. Brissy prays that she can cope as it becomes clear that her journey and the challenges she will face are just beginning. She must cope and stay true to herself as she walks her true-life path. This fast pace urban fantasy will have you engrossed and turning the pages. The characters are wonderfully diverse, and they come to life with the developing story. Readers are thrown a curve ball with plot twists that are both intriguing and a genuine surprise. The book ends on a cliff hanger. The good news is that Brissy’s story continues in Book 2 which is expected to come out in 2022.

August 2021 Featured Books

She Who Became the Sun

She Who Became the Sun

Author: Shelley Parker-Chan Format: Audiobook Release Date: 22/07/2021

She Who Became the Sun reimagines the rise to power of the Ming Dynasty’s founding emperor. In a famine-stricken village on a dusty plain, a seer shows two children their fates. For a family’s eighth-born son, there’s greatness. For the second daughter, nothing. In 1345, China lies restless under harsh Mongol rule. And when a bandit raid wipes out their home, the two children must somehow survive. Zhu Chongba despairs and gives in. But the girl resolves to overcome her destiny. So she takes her dead brother's identity and begins her journey. Can Zhu escape what’s written in the stars, as rebellion sweeps the land? Or can she claim her brother’s greatness – and rise as high as she can dream? This is a glorious tale of love, loss, betrayal and triumph by a powerful new voice.

Audiobooks of the Month

July 2021 Featured Books

The Dying Squad

The Dying Squad

Author: Adam Simcox Format: Hardback Release Date: 22/07/2021

Vividly bold and full of attitude, in fact it's gutsy as heck, this provocative supernatural crime novel takes a fabulous premise and nails its colours to the mast. While on a drugs operation Detective Joe Lazarus is suddenly faced with his own dead body and a new partner from the other side. I have to confess that while reading I completely forgot to make any notes for my review as I just sank in and was consumed. The live side smacked me in the face with its gritty reality, while the dead side just blew me away. I could see, feel, taste and smell purgatory, it menaced into existence as a fully formed entity in my minds eye. Adam Simcox writes with the most imaginative, smirky, thought-provoking pen. I really had no idea where this reading journey was going to take me, and I can’t tell you how thrilled I was to learn that this is the first in a series, I will be camping outside my local bookshop when the next book is due. Chosen as a Liz Robinson Pick of the Month, The Dying Squad is a fabulously unique novel that feels as real and yet outrageously inventive as can be. A standing ovation from me to Adam Simcox, absolutely blimmin loved it!

Star Books
The Piper's Dance

The Piper's Dance

Author: Maxim Jakubowski Format: Paperback Release Date: 16/07/2021

A fascinating take on an age old story that led me on a compelling and unique dance. Two of the children spirited away by the Pied Piper of Hamelin escape his clutches centuries later and find themselves attempting to survive in a world they no longer recognise. Maxim Jakubowski has previously written novels that span various genres, here The Piper’s Dance spins between legend and myth, fantasy and relationship (and contains moments of erotism), with Maxim himself describing it as: “hardboiled fantasy”. What awaits is an absorbing, delicious feast of a read. From the first sentence I was hooked, I truly loved where this tale took me, it’s a journey of discovery and I found myself exploring alongside Tristan and Katerina. The brilliant vivid characters feel entirely real, I didn’t stop to question, I just believed. Innocence, experience and knowledge join together in a heady mix that sent my thoughts in new directions. A different, potent and exhilarating read, I’ve chosen The Piper’s Dance to feature as a Liz Robinson Pick of the Month. Pre-order the signed hardback or the paperback of Piper's Dance from telos.co.uk and get a 20% discount using the code: lovereading

Liz Robinson's Picks of the Month
Taking Flight

Taking Flight

Author: JT Torres Format: Paperback Release Date: 08/07/2021

A gorgeously simple yet heartbreakingly complex debut that strays into magic realism and explores the meaning of family. Tito and his grandmother probe the magic of family bonds, as they grow older, their struggle to keep loved ones close takes its toll. Fairlight Moderns are little gems of books, small and compact, beautiful inside and out, each story packs a punch. J T Torres writes with a compassionate and thoughtful yet penetrating and provocative pen. A chain reaction of emotions ran through me as I joined Tito and his Nana and echoes of Cuba slid into Florida and Alaska. It feels as though the magic of Taking Flight will release a totally different experience to each person who steps between the pages. While readers always take a part of themselves into a book, here that piece of me stayed within it. With a devastating delicacy, Taking Flight delves into the intricate complexities of family, migration, and mental health and has been chosen as one of our Debuts of the Month.

Debut Books of the Month
Build Your House Around My Body

Build Your House Around My Body

Author: Violet Kupersmith Format: Hardback Release Date: 08/07/2021

Though complex, subtle, and rich in history and myth, Violet Kupersmith's Build Your House Around My Body makes an instantly potent impression. Her writing is at once measured and vivid, infused with the elemental power of Vietnamese folklore, and with the histories, fates and desires of its protagonists. Following the lives of two fearless women who both went missing (though decades apart - one in 1986, the other in 2011), and who both seek revenge, Build Your House Around My Body is hauntingly poetic, playful, and a puzzle, of sorts. A multi-layered Russian doll of a story with magic realist elements - ghosts, time travel, snake monsters. Indeed, the whole novel might be described as a coiled serpent that spirals and springs when you least expect it. Despite their very different backgrounds, the women are bound by the past, and by ancestors and ghosts. It’s a mystery, a mythic epic, a slippery history that defies classification, and I loved it.

Star Books
The Extraordinary Happenings of Peter Oddfellow: The Old Umbrella

The Extraordinary Happenings of Peter Oddfellow: The Old Umbrella

Format: Paperback Release Date: 16/04/2018

The Extraordinary Happenings of Peter Oddfellow: The Old Umbrella by Mark Dorey is part of the wider Extraordinary Happening of Peter Oddfellow series. In this first book, ‘The Old Umbrella’ we are introduced to Peter Oddfellow and join him on his adventure into a strange new world with the help of a rather useless looking umbrella. This is a very imaginative fantasy novel that I think will be a great read for teens and adults alike. 14-year old Peter doesn’t feel like he fits in, and after waking up in hospital with two broken legs and amnesia he doesn’t expect to be transported on an adventure with a motley crew of friends. I really enjoyed this book. I found all of the characters, their clashing personalities that still managed to come together when needed, entertaining and funny. I particularly liked Mulg and found his disgust at his feline form quite funny. The events of the novel, while Peter is in a world we would all find familiar, is set in the 1980s, which I found to be an interesting element and made the story feel more traditional to me. A little bit Narnia-esque, ‘The Old Umbrella’ leaves everything perfectly ready for the next book in the series ‘The Red Leaf’, and I think that readers enchanted by this book will have found a great new series to follow. I would recommend this book to fans of teen and YA fantasy adventures.  Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador

Indie Books We Love