Traditional stories, myths and fairy tales

Her Majesty's Royal Coven

Her Majesty's Royal Coven

Author: Juno Dawson Format: Hardback Release Date: 21/07/2022

The first in a supernatural new series from the author of Wonderland, Her Majesty's Royal Coven follows a top secret government department of witches and the deadly threat to the nation that they must confront. Hidden among us is a secret coven of witches. They are Her Majesty’s Royal Coven. They protect crown and country from magical forces and otherworldly evil. But their greatest enemy will come from within. There are whisperings of a prophecy that will bring the coven to its knees, and five best friends are about to be caught at the centre. Life as a modern witch was never simple … but now it’s about to get apocalyptic. Prepare to be bewitched by Juno Dawson’s first adult series. A story of ancient prophecies and modern dating, of sacred sisterhood and demonic frenemies.

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. 

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.

Moon Witch, Spider King

Moon Witch, Spider King

Author: Marlon James Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/03/2022

Moon Witch, Spider King, the second book in Marlon James' epic Dark Star fantasy trilogy, blazes with African myth and the unconquerable force of a 177-year-old moon witch who insists she isn’t a witch at all — a woman who’s refused to be silenced or supressed through her long, traumatic, ferocious life. While the rich fantasy world and characters bring Neil Gaiman to mind, and the raging, carousing language evokes the spirit of Angela Carter, Moon Witch, Spider King is fiercely original, instantly captivating, and soaked in history. Despised and abused by her family as a child for being a “motherslayer”, Sogolon escapes their shackles and enters a whorehouse, whereupon the madam seeks to groom her “to be the next forbidden lily”. But it’s not long before she’s taken by a noblewoman, later transcending her orphan origins and captive childhood as she becomes a woman, and transforms into a moon witch, a powerful female force in a misogynistic world of shapeshifting creatures, rising and falling empires, and detonating feuds. Haunting, harrowing and utterly immersive, Moon Witch, Spider King is shot-through with a potent exploration of power, and quite unlike anything else.

When We Were Birds

When We Were Birds

Author: Ayanna Lloyd Banwo Format: Hardback Release Date: 10/02/2022

Ayanna Lloyd Banwa’s When We Were Birds casts a soulful spell as it tells the interlocked stories of a young man, Darwin, who’s newly arrived in a Trinidadian city to work as a gravedigger, and Yejide, a young woman with ancestral gifts. At once gritty and soaringly mythic, it explores estrangement, death, grief, and the unbreakable bonds of lineage with haunting power. The mythic mood is set by Yejide’s Granny Catherine telling her a magical story of “talking animals and a Great War” followed by the coming of a fierce storm. With the world ripped asunder by death, corbeaux carrion birds restore order through devouring the dead, performing “a sacred duty to stand at the border between the living and the dead”. This tale, told to her in childhood, remains with Yejide through her life. In the present day, when she dies in the family home outside the city of Port Angeles, Yejide’s mother leaves her daughter the ability to talk to the dead, positioning her between the living and the dead, like the corbeaux. Their strained relationship is poignantly portrayed, and framed in the raw truth of the cycle of life, motherhood and death: “Is the daughter who makes the mother an ancestor when she die”. Meanwhile, Darwin arrives in Port Angeles to work as a gravedigger, against his mother’s wishes, against the Rastafarian code he was raised to follow, vaguely hopeful he might happen upon the father he’s never met. When he and Yejide encounter each other in the ancient graveyard, elemental forces are unleashed — storms of emotion and need, with luminous light and calm coming in its wake. “The air soft and clear and all the living and the dead settle themselves like an old lady in a rocker on her front porch settling her skirts” — this novel is blessed with writing that sears the soul. It’s a tale that unsettles before gathering you in, releasing, and healing. Magic.

Star Books
Daughter of the Moon Goddess

Daughter of the Moon Goddess

Author: Sue Lynn Tan Format: Audiobook Release Date: 20/01/2022

A captivating debut fantasy inspired by the legend of the Chinese moon goddess. A young woman's quest to free her mother pits her against the most powerful immortal in the realm, setting her on a dangerous path where those she loves are not the only ones at risk... Growing up on the moon, Xingyin is accustomed to solitude, unaware that she is being hidden from the powerful Celestial Emperor who exiled her mother for stealing his elixir of immortality. But when her magic flares and her existence is discovered, Xingyin is forced to flee her home, leaving her mother behind. Alone, powerless, and afraid, she makes her way to the Celestial Kingdom, a land of wonder and secrets. Disguising her identity, she seizes an opportunity to train in the Crown Prince's service, learning to master archery and magic, despite the passion which flames between her and the emperor's son. To save her mother, Xingyin embarks on a perilous quest, confronting legendary creatures and vicious enemies, across the earth and skies. But when treachery looms and forbidden magic threatens the kingdom, she must challenge the ruthless Celestial Emperor for her dream -striking a dangerous bargain, where she is torn between losing all she loves or plunging the realm into chaos. Daughter of the Moon Goddess begins an enchanting, romantic duology which weaves ancient Chinese mythology into a sweeping adventure of immortals and magic, of loss and sacrifice - where love vies with honour, dreams are fraught with betrayal, and hope emerges triumphant.

Audiobooks of the Month
The Fairy Tellers

The Fairy Tellers

Author: Nicholas Jubber Format: Hardback Release Date: 20/01/2022

Fascinating and utterly bewitching, if you love fairy tales, in fact stories of any kind, then this is the book for you. Nicholas Jubber examines the history of the fairy tellers, those who started the fairy tales that have twisted and reformed and are still alive today. I have to say that this book is so ‘right up my street’ that it’s parked on double yellows, thrown its doors open and invited everyone to gather round and listen, so of course we declare it a LoveReading Star Book. The book itself is completely engaging, from the choice of cover to the accompanying map, and chart detailing the legacies of the story tellers, through to the explanations and decisions taken over the content. Nicholas Jubber has with great love and attention chosen a core selection of tellers, highlighting the oral culture that dwells in their past: “Their collective life stories trace the development of the fairy tale from oral community tales to the mass production lines of the modern children’s literature industry”. Nicholas Jubber himself is a teller and with vibrant, vivid eloquence explains the background to our much beloved tales. I recognised iconic and less well known writers and stories, travelled to far flung places and through time, and ended up thinking about fairy tales in a completely different way. The author advises that: “These are precious stories, beautiful stories, carved out of terrible suffering in some cases, and in others moulded from moments of ecstatic joy”. So, don’t begin expecting a happily ever after, like the traditional stories this comes with bite, but there is also joy waiting to be discovered. I highly recommend stepping into The Fairy Tellers and spending quality time within the pages as it’s an absolute beast of a beautiful read.

Star Books
The Unravelling

The Unravelling

Author: Polly Crosby Format: Hardback Release Date: 06/01/2022

This gloriously bittersweet and intensely dark novel swims into the very depths of emotion and takes you with it. Tartelin’s new job on near deserted island Dohhalund off the East Anglian coast tests her own grief and the secrets of her employers past. Polly Crosby’s debut novel was the stunning LoveReading Star Book The Illustrated Child. This, her second novel more than lived up to my high expectations, Polly Crosby is most definitely an author to watch. She isn't afraid to slice open, peel back and expose layers of pain, and she does so in the most beautifully eloquent way. I advise taking your time with this novel, step into and soak up the words. A hushed quiet descends, and yet the island, the tone, the words, create a powerful and vivid reality. A sense of unease kept me company as I read, alongside that unease something else embraced me in welcome as I settled in and explored with Tartelin. The two time frames shimmered and almost flexed into one as I read. The story hides, remaining watchful and patient before revealing itself, and oh, that ending! Captivating and uniquely atmospheric, The Unravelling has been chosen as both a LoveReading Star Book and Liz Pick of the Month.

eBooks of the Month
Medusa

Medusa

Author: Jessie Burton Format: Hardback Release Date: 28/10/2021

Jessie Burton’s fiery feminist re-telling of the Greek myth of Medusa blazes with intrigue and beauty courtesy of author’s elegant style and Olivia Lomenech Gill’s fabulously evocative colour illustrations. It’s an incredible feat of intellect and imagination that takes down toxic masculinity and victim-blaming culture through an ingenious reframing, reclaiming of Medusa. The gods have exiled Medusa to a remote island, with no one for company but the snakes she has for hair. That is, until impossibly beautiful Perseus arrives and transfixes her: “I know a lot about beauty. Too much in fact. But I’d never seen anything like him…I wanted to eat him up like honey cake.” Desires awoken, Medusa won’t reveal her name, or let him see her: “I was just going to sit on the other side of this entrance rock and pretend that boys like him washed up on desert islands all the time.” This excerpt encapsulates one of the many marvellous things about this book. The writing - cleverly, and compellingly - feels both timeless and modern. Medusa’s narrative, and the dialogue, is laced with wit, and infused with tremendous detail. But betrayal swoops in the wake of desire, and all-too familiar mechanisms of patriarchy come into play with ferocity. Ultimately, though, and with a magnificent sense of sisterhood, Medusa comes to a new state of being: “Self-awareness is a great banisher of loneliness. And my sisters, the immortals, are with me.” This is terrifically inspiring and empowering in the ways of timeless myths, but also in ways that are very, very real - “you will find me when you need me, when the wind hears a woman’s cry and fills my sails forward. And I will whisper on the water that one must never fear the raised shield, the reflection caught in an office window, or the mirror in a bathroom.”

Midnight in Everwood

Midnight in Everwood

Author: M.A. Kuzniar Format: Hardback Release Date: 28/10/2021

Deliciously rich and dark, this reimagining of The Story of a Nutcracker by Alexandre Dumas is loaded with recognisable elements yet is as delightfully individual as can be. Set in Nottingham in 1906 ballerina Marietta’s family have proclaimed that she should stop dancing and take her place in society, when she meets neighbour Dr Drosselmeier she is thrown into a new world full of magic. This is the debut adult novel by M. A. Kuzniar, she draws enchantment and menace together and allows them to walk hand in hand. The beauty and strength of friendship sits centre stage while a relationship slowly blossoms. This most definitely isn’t a sugary sweet confection, a hint of the nightmare echoes through the pages. The traditional dark elements of folklore and fairytale scuttle and scurry with a fabulously modern edge. The characters crackle with energy, the setting sparkles with light and shade, and the ending, oh, that ending! Potently sharp and beautifully magical, Midnight in Everwood dances in to sit as a LoveReading Star Book, and Liz Robinson Book of the Month.

Debut Books of the Month
Four Dervishes

Four Dervishes

Author: Hammad Rind Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/10/2021

Four Dervishes draws on a long tradition of storytelling as it skewers issues like religious bigotry, injustice, the denial of women’s rights, and class division. Lavishly inventive, verbally rich, an exotic confection, this novel is both darkly thematic and humorously playful. The LoveReading LitFest invited Hammad Rind to the festival to talk about Four Dervishes.  The digitally native, all year round, online literature and books festival, with new content released every week is a free-for-all-users festival. What are you waiting for? Check out a preview of the event and sign up to become a member.   

Star Books
The Piano Room

The Piano Room

Author: Clio Velentza Format: Hardback Release Date: 30/09/2021

Fabulously inventive, and laced with evocative detail and intrigue, Clio Velentza’s The Piano Room boasts bite and a beautifully crafted plot. Taking inspiration from the timeless tale of Faust, this keenly accomplished debut sees an entitled young man make a deal with the devil in order to forge his own destiny, so intense is his desire to renounce the weight of his family’s musical genius. Sandor Esterhazy comes from a long line of formidably talented pianists. His family are also immensely wealthy - his father, for example, dresses in embroidered slippers, shiny tuxedoes, and soft leather gloves; the opulence and elegance of his background are tangible. Sandor, on the other hand, seems cut from a different cloth - “There was no spirit to his music: instead of rising into the air with warmth and spice, the melody clambered out of the instrument and lay on the floor like a lifeless thing.” And so Sandor decides to summon the devil himself to escape his fate. Relieved when nothing happens (“I’m such an idiot. It was all a joke. It’s all right. It’s over”), he’s overwhelmed when the devil later appears and promises, in return for his soul, that Sandor “will be free to lead the life you choose rather than the one laid out for you.” Sandor is left with a mysterious creature, Ferdi, whom he locks in his basement piano room, for a time at least. Exploring self-determination and what it is to be human with wit, delicious gothic atmosphere and a compelling sense of ennui, The Piano Room is an immersive joy.

eBooks of the Month