Contemporary lifestyle fiction

This Diary (World) Belongs to Molly and Jonny

This Diary (World) Belongs to Molly and Jonny

Author: Laura Clark Format: Paperback Release Date: 18/08/2022

Brimming with of-the-moment one-liners from two protagonists, Laura Clark’s This Diary (World) Belongs to Molly and Jonny presents pithy observations on the trials, tribulations and tingles of modern life in a slick package - perfect for fans of knowing confessionals in the tradition of Bridget Jones. Meet Dr Molly Beaujolais and Dr Jonathan Nylon, colleagues and office neighbours at a London university. On the surface, they’re very different creatures. While Molly, a lecturer in performing arts and applied theatre, has flung herself into internet dating and enjoys the resulting flings, Jonny, a lecturer in history, is rather more concerned with the subject of medieval diseases and has little luck when it comes to love and lust. That is, until Molly catches his eye, and expands his horizons. Not that she’s necessarily aware of her impact… Will they? Won’t they? As their respective diary entries play out against a backdrop of Brexit and the 2019 election, their story takes unexpected turns, much like the course of many relationships (and Brexit negotiations).

The Daves Next Door

The Daves Next Door

Author: Will Carver Format: Paperback Release Date: 21/07/2022

The lives of five strangers collide on a London train carriage, as they become involved in an incident that will change them all forever. A shocking, intensely emotive and wildly original new thriller from Will Carver... A disillusioned nurse suddenly learns how to care. An injured young sportsman wakes up find that he can see only in black and white. A desperate old widower takes too many pills and believes that two angels have arrived to usher him through purgatory. Two agoraphobic men called Dave share the symptoms of a brain tumour, and frequently waken their neighbour with their ongoing rows. Separate lives, running in parallel, destined to collide and then explode. Like the suicide bomber, riding the Circle Line, day after day, waiting for the right time to detonate, waiting for answers to his questions: Am I God? Am I dead? Will I blow up this train? Shocking, intensely emotive and wildly original, Will Carver's The Daves Next Door is an explosive existential thriller and a piercing examination of what it means to be human ... or not. 

Patience

Patience

Author: Victoria Scott Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/07/2022

If you were offered a chance to cure your child's disease, would you take it? The Willows have been through a lot. Louise has devoted her life to caring for her disabled youngest daughter. Pete works abroad, almost never seeing his loved ones. And their eldest, Eliza, is burdened by all the secrets she's trying to keep from her overloaded family. Meanwhile, Patience observes the world while trapped in her own body. She laughs, she cries, she has opinions and knows what she wants. But those who love her most - and make every decision about her life - will never know. Or will they? When the Willows are offered the opportunity for Patience to take part in a new gene therapy trial to cure her Rett syndrome, they face an impossible dilemma. Are the very real risks worth the chance of the reward, no matter how small?

Debut Books of the Month
Grace

Grace

Author: Victoria Scott Format: Hardback Release Date: 07/07/2022

At the heart of this story are two women in two very different circumstances – and one baby Grace in the middle of it all. There’s teenager Michelle, who’s only known a life of squalor and strife, who believes her baby is best off with another family. Enter Amelia, whose position is almost the opposite – having struggled with fertility she and her husband Piers are perfectly placed to give the child a stable home. But Michelle’s desire to have her daughter back throws Grace’s future into jeopardy. What I particularly liked about Grace, Victoria Scott’s second novel, is her choice to give voice to both women; neither of whom are made out to be villains. Instead, we are provided with a more nuanced discussion around motherhood and the complex situation some women can find themselves in. Who should we pity, who is more worthy? It’s a sensitive subject that Scott handles well, without stereotyping. There’s a judgement case in the end – and expect some emotional twists along the way. 

eBooks of the Month
A Certain Hunger

A Certain Hunger

Author: Chelsea G Summers Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/07/2022

Dorothy Daniels has always had a voracious - and adventurous - appetite. From her idyllic farm-to-table childhood (homegrown tomatoes, thick slices of freshly baked bread) to the heights of her career as a food critic (white truffles washed down with Barolo straight from the bottle) Dorothy has never been shy about indulging her exquisite tastes - even when it lead to her plunging an ice pick into her lover's neck. There is something inside Dorothy that makes her different from everybody else. Something she's finally ready to confess. But beware: her story just might make you wonder how your lover would taste sautéed with shallots and mushrooms and deglazed with a little red wine.

The Mutual Friend

The Mutual Friend

Author: Carter Bays Format: Hardback Release Date: 07/07/2022

Written by the co-creator of TV hit How I Met Your Mother, Carter Bay’s The Mutual Friend is an original, thought-provoking debut that captures the complex webs of modern living and loving with heart, humour and a whole lot of meaningful observations. Behind the huge cast of characters is a backdrop of two lived worlds – one physical, the other lived through phone screens, and this sets the stage for a multi-layered story that plays out against this duality of modern life – the Age of Distraction. It’s the summer of 2015 in New York, and 28-year-old Alice is determined to finally make something of her life. After enrolling to take the MCAT exam that’ll set her on a path to becoming a doctor, she resolves to accept no distractions. But the problem is, everything is a distraction, not least her unruly new roommate and the possibility of love. Meanwhile, Alice’s hugely wealthy brother is setting out on a spiritual journey, with the narrative perspective jumping back and forth many times over. Indeed, one of this novel’s defining characteristics - and triumphs - is how it skips points of view. While this is a little disorienting to begin with, it’s not long before this structure feels right. Characters pop on and off the page as they do in life, with deep, idiosyncratic human connections revealed alongside satirical commentary on what it means to live online, and through social media. Moreover, this structure also cleverly exposes and subverts its subject matter through jumpy distractions that demand attention.

Honey & Spice

Honey & Spice

Author: Bolu Babalola Format: Hardback Release Date: 05/07/2022

Kiki Banjo is an expert in relationship-evasion. In fact, she has made it her mission to protect the women of Whitewell University from the dangers of players and heartbreak, supplying advice, tips and essentials to paying men no mind on her student radio show, Brown Sugar. And then Kiki meets distressingly handsome newcomer Malakai Korede, who threatens to tear apart the community of women she's fought so hard to protect. Kiki publicly declares Malakai the 'Wasteman of Whitewell' on Brown Sugar and brings a stop to her girls chasing his attentions. But when she and Malakai suddenly find themselves shackled into a fake relationship to salvage their respective reputations and save their academic futures, she is in danger of falling for the very wasteman she warned her sisters about. With her heart compromised and defences weakened, Kiki has to learn to open herself up to the perils of love... and face up to a past that forced her to close down in the first place. A funny and sparkling debut, Honey & Spice is full of delicious tension and romantic intrigue that will make you weak at the knees.

Dele Weds Destiny

Dele Weds Destiny

Author: Tomi Obaro Format: Hardback Release Date: 28/06/2022

Heralding the arrival of a new, crisply lyrical voice in fiction, devotees of novels that centre women’s experiences with wisdom and fresh, thoughtful perspectives will find Tomi Obaro’s Dele Weds Destiny debut utterly un-put-down-able. It follows the interlocked lives of Zainab, Funmi and Enitan, who first meet as students at university in northern Nigeria. Bound by this seminal experience, a time when all three young women made huge leaps in discovering who they were, their lives diverge on different paths around the world, and they’re now reunited at the wedding of Funmi's daughter, Destiny, with each character brilliantly nuanced. As for those divergent paths, which we follow alongside the 2015 context of Destiny’s wedding, Funmi lives in luxury as the wife of a big businessman, New York-based Enitan is separating from her husband (a white man she eloped with), and Zainab is a single mother to four sons. As seen during their reunion, the women exemplify tremendous differences in status and experiences, and yet their connections still hold, with their daughters further revealing generational connections and divergences that ring with universal truths about life, experiences of friendship, and what it means to feel at home.

Debut Books of the Month
Girl, Forgotten

Girl, Forgotten

Author: Karin Slaughter Format: Hardback Release Date: 23/06/2022

Fiercely relevant storytelling spearheaded by integrity carves out a slice of the past as it highlights the victim of murder. US Marshal Andrea Oliver’s first mission to protect a judge receiving death threats, is a cover to solve a 40 year old crime and prevent the release of a domestic terrorist. Best-selling Karin Slaughter is one of my go-to authors, she writes furiously readable books that not only thrill, they delve into the heart of what it is to be human. Girl Forgotten continues on from the fabulous Pieces Of Her and you really do need to read them in order to fully appreciate the story. Karin Slaughter so knows how to hook and spin your attention. She takes you back and forth in time, it’s almost painful to read, knowing that Emily has died, yet still experiencing her life. Reading witness statements from the first crime, years ahead in the future, cleverly merges the two time frames and brings the past even more vividly to life. Both storylines are incredibly strong, each demanding your full attention, each independently moving forward yet linked. The present day juggles the murder and death threats, while sitting in the background is the reason for Andrea’s assignment. Andrea’s new partner Leonard Bible is just fabulous, and brings some light-hearted moments into play. I really would like to see more of Andrea and Bible, and the ending suggests there may be more to come. A riveting and rewarding read, Girl Forgotten ensures you remain on full alert throughout. 

Star Books
Just For Today

Just For Today

Author: Nell Hudson Format: Hardback Release Date: 09/06/2022

When we first meet Joni she's a disenchanted writer working as a nanny lodging in the house of a therapist in North London. We see the hedonism of city life, the giddy euphoria of the party years, the highs and the lows, the love, the laughter, "the will they won't they" of their relationships all wrapped up in crazy adventures within their London playground. Always comparing their hedonism to that of the resident fuck-up, the yardstick by which they measured their own debauchery. And always coming up trumps. I loved every page, every obsessive resisting of Joni anaesthetising her feelings in the form of Henry who she had adored since she was sixteen. The comfort, intellectual companionship and craziness of her best friend Dylan. The party has to end sometime though surely? But how, and will it be just for today?

Everyone in This Room Will Someday Be Dead

Everyone in This Room Will Someday Be Dead

Author: Emily Austin Format: Paperback Release Date: 02/06/2022

Meet Gilda. She cannot stop thinking about death. Desperate for relief from her anxious mind and alienated from her repressive family, she responds to a flyer for free therapy at a local church and finds herself abruptly hired to replace the deceased receptionist Grace. It's not the most obvious job - she's queer and an atheist for starters - and so in between trying to learn mass, hiding her new maybe-girlfriend and conducting an amateur investigation into Grace's death, Gilda must avoid revealing the truth of her mortifying existence. A blend of warmth, deadpan humour, and pitch-perfect observations about the human condition, Everyone in This Room Will Someday Be Dead is a crackling exploration of what it takes to stay afloat in a world where your expiration - and the expiration of those you love - is the only certainty.

Debut Books of the Month
The Fugitive Colours

The Fugitive Colours

Author: Nancy Bilyeau Format: Paperback Release Date: 12/05/2022

The highly anticipated follow-up to the sweeping historical thriller The Blue. As Genevieve Sturbridge struggles to keep her silk design business afloat, she must face the fact that London in 1764 is very much a man's world. Men control the arts and sciences, men control politics and law. And men definitely control women. A Huguenot living in Spitalfields, Genevieve one day receives a surprise invitation from an important artist. Grasping at the promise of a better life, she dares to hope her luck is about to change and readies herself for an entry into the world of serious art. She soon learns that for the portrait painters ruling over the wealthy in London society, fame and fortune are there for the taking. But such high stakes spur rivalries that darken to sabotage and blackmail-and even murder. And watching from the shadows are ruthless spies who wish harm to all of England. Genevieve begins to suspect that her own secret past, when she was caught up in conspiracy and betrayal, has more to do with her entrée into London society than her talent. One wrong move could cost her not just her artistic dreams but the love of those she holds dear ... and even her life. A sequel to Nancy Bilyeau's The Blue, The Fugitive Colours again reveals a dazzling world of glamour and treachery in Georgian England, when beauty held more value than human life. She immerses readers in a fictionalized account of real lives and events whilst staying faithful to the historical and social context.