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Romantic Fiction

Stories from the heart. This category combines Romantic Fiction with Sagas and Romance to create a collection of lovely tales. From rags to riches stories to tales of tight-knit communities, this carefully curated collection is bound to have the perfect match for you, and as the Beatles said, ‘love is all you need’. 

July 2021 Featured 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
The Rehearsals

The Rehearsals

Author: Annette Christie Format: Hardback Release Date: 13/07/2021

If you’re looking for a lovely hit of romantic escapism then oooh hello, this could well be the book for you. With a Groundhog Day vibe, this thoroughly modern romance makes engaged couple Megan and Tom relive their day of their rehearsal dinner again and again after they call off their wedding. The Rehearsals is Annette Christie’s debut novel, and what a sparkle of a gem it is. The descriptions ensure the setting of San Juan Island just north of Seattle comes alive and acts as the perfect foil for Megan and Tom to be trapped in a time loop. Both are relatable and likeable, I found myself invested in their story and living alongside them every step of the way. This is such an entertaining yet heart-warming read, the delicious mix of will-they won’t-they and second chances is handled beautifully. I loved the surrounding family members, they ensure a wider exploration of relationships (and are rather diverting too). I’ve chosen The Rehearsals as a Liz Pick of the Month as it’s a sunshine dream of a romantic comedy.

Liz Robinson's Picks of the Month
The Mercies

The Mercies

Author: Kiran Millwood Hargrave Format: Paperback Release Date: 08/07/2021

Totally, completely, and utterly gorgeous, this is a beautifully written historical relationship tale with real bite. And can I just qualify the word relationship - this is about the relationships with family, community, fear, nature, as well as the more obvious love. A work of fiction inspired by history, the story begins on Christmas Eve in 1617 when a sudden and violent storm takes the lives of forty fishermen, leaving the stunned women folk learning to survive on their remote northerly Norwegian island. Still reeling from the tragedy, their lives turn in the most frightening direction when the King brings in sorcery laws and a commissioner is installed to root out evil. This is Kiran Millwood Hargrave’s debut adult novel, and I feel as though I have been waiting my reading life for it. The prologue hits with a huge sad inevitability. Kiran Millwood Hargrave writes with a sensitive and considerate pen, the descriptions are truly breathtaking. While there are some savage shocks in store, The Mercies is still a warm, thoughtful and touching read. Chosen as a Liz Robinson pick of the month, we also just had to include The Mercies as a LoveReading Star Book too. Visit our 'Women's Words - 60+ works of feminist-minded fiction' to explore our collection of feminist-minded fiction from around the world, and across centuries.

Star Books
Would I Lie to You?

Would I Lie to You?

Author: Aliya Ali-Afzal Format: Hardback Release Date: 08/07/2021

Amusing yet poignant, uplifting yet sharply pointed, this is a very contemporary look at a woman spiralling out of control in an effort to keep up appearances. When Tom is made redundant and says the family will have to live off of their savings until he gets a new job, Faiza panics, she has secretly spent all of their money and is determined that Tom won’t find out. Faiza is warm and engaging, I felt as though I was sitting by her side and she was telling me her story. While there were times I winced and was frustrated by her actions, I also cheered her on and if I could, would have given her the hugest of huge hugs. A truly exquisite balance is maintained throughout this novel, Aliya Alif-Afzal writes with wit, perception, and emotional integrity. While sitting as a wonderfully readable and entertaining novel, this is a smart take on some of the problems faced in our society. Would I Lie To You is an engaging and moving debut, it’s also a little bit feisty, I loved it! 

Debut Books of the Month
Woman of a Certain Rage

Woman of a Certain Rage

Author: Georgie Hall Format: Hardback Release Date: 08/07/2021

The most wonderful, funny, and engaging novel, Woman of a Certain Rage simply danced into my hands and I read with true glee. Eliza has hit middle age and the menopause, as she navigates all that her hormones throw at her, can she rediscover the joys of her youth? I wanted to wriggle with excitement when I heard that this was Fiona Walker taking a writing step in a new direction as Georgie Hall. I completely understand why she is using a different name, as she says on her site: “I don’t want to mislead readers into expecting a big-cast Walker romp”. I genuinely feel as though I have been waiting for this novel, she takes the menopause years and runs with it, with laughter, warmth, and most of all empathy. She explores family life with teens and parents while maintaining a career, a relationship and home-life while the menopause is on the rampage. She made me snort with laughter on a number of occasions, and I frequently exclaimed as I recognised and related with different scenarios. While the midlife years and all the trials and tribulations that come with it sit centre stage, this is a book that can be read right through the age groups. All hail Georgie Hall as she uncovers the menopause with wit and honesty, excuse me while I find a few rooftops to camp out and shout from. Beautifully readable and laugh-out-loud funny, Woman of a Certain Rage is a LoveReading Star Book with attitude.

Star Books
Everyone in This Room Will Someday Be Dead

Everyone in This Room Will Someday Be Dead

Author: Emily Austin Format: Hardback Release Date: 08/07/2021

Our July 2021 Book Club Recommendation Click here to see our Reading Group Questions. This deliciously quirky, amusing and sharply-pointed debut novel slowly wormed its way into my heart and soul. Anxiety is plaguing Gilda, who also has death on her mind, she unexpectedly finds herself in a new job, fending off unwanted attention from men while keeping her girlfriend secret, and investigating a suspicious death. Emily Austin writes with such honesty and empathy, I found her words burrowed their way into my mind before reaching beyond thought, to feelings. It took me a while to get to know and warm to Gilda, she borders on awkward as she tells her story. I gradually found myself getting closer and closer to this fragile yet thoughtful and beautiful woman. The plot weaves a unique magic as it ranges from mystery to family drama to relationship story. The humour is pithy and smart, the observations can sting yet are compassionate, and the descriptions simply sing. I really have fallen in love with this book, and can’t wait to see what comes next from Emily Austin, she is a writer I will be looking out for. Everyone In This Room Will Someday Be Dead is a compelling, provocative, and beautiful LoveReading Star Book. 

Star Books
Everyone Is Still Alive

Everyone Is Still Alive

Author: Cathy Rentzenbrink Format: Hardback Release Date: 08/07/2021

Modern life, the real and vibrantly emotional side of modern life, is on show in this truly lovely and big-hearted novel that I simply adored. A small London community sits centre stage as the residents move about their business and inside and out of each others homes. While the focus remains on Juliet, Liam and their son Charlie, this is a wider look at navigating family and friendships. Everyone is Still Alive is bestselling author Cathy Rentzenbrink's first novel, and what an eloquently beautiful read it is. The setting is a relatively affluent suburban street that welcomes you in and feels like home. With huge compassion, themes concentrate on the more difficult side of life in our modern world, including grief, anxiety, and envy. I also walked with humour, encouragement and affection, and balanced that exquisite tightrope of emotions that people experience each day. This wonderful novel feels like a celebration, a hand held out in support and in love, and I just had to choose it as a Liz Robinson Pick of the Month. Powerful yet gently soothing, Everyone is Still Alive is a novel that gives a warm embrace as it slips into emotions and makes them sing.   

Liz Robinson's Picks of the Month
The Secret Path

The Secret Path

Author: Karen Swan Format: Paperback Release Date: 08/07/2021

An old flame. A new spark. Love can find you in the most unlikely places. Sunday Times bestselling author Karen Swan returns with The Secret Path, taking us deep into the heart of the Costa Rican jungle - complete with her trademark romance, glamour, and jaw-dropping twists. At only twenty, Tara Tremain has everything: she's a trainee doctor, engaged to the man of her dreams - Alex, a passionate American biology student. But just when life seems perfect, Alex betrays her in the worst way possible. Ten years later, she's moved on - with a successful career, good friends and a man who loves her. But when she's pulled back into her wealthy family's orbit for a party in the heart of Costa Rica, she's flung into a crisis: a child is desperately ill and the only treatment is several days' trek away, deep in the jungle. There's only one person who can help - but can she trust the man who broke her heart? Your Costa Rican adventure awaits.

Lucky

Lucky

Author: Rachel Edwards Format: Hardback Release Date: 24/06/2021

Weaving between complex social issues, this is a powerful, tense, and striking second novel by Rachel Edwards. When Etta turns to online gambling her entire life begins to crumble, she is willing to do anything to stop her world from imploding. Rachel Edward’s  wonderfully captivating debut Darling was a LoveReading Star Book which concentrated on the new wife and young daughter of a man as they each fought for his love and attention. Lucky is entirely different in plot, yet a strong central character again sits to the fore. Etta can be stubborn (determined), manipulative (smart), she’s also addicted (lost and confused), kind, thoughtful, and loving. I found her frustrating and appealing in equal measures which lead to me forming a complex yet fascinating relationship with her character. Suspense kept me company throughout this novel, at times I almost read between my fingers as I waited to see what Etta would do next. I explored online gambling, migration, identity, race, and relationship traps and pitfalls all on top of a plot that that had me edging along a towering clifftop of tension. Rachel Edwards has created an intriguing and compelling main character, a cracking plot and sub-plot which collide to create the most fabulous ending. Lucky is an intriguing, smart, and thought-provoking novel I can highly recommend.

Liz Robinson's Picks of the Month
Destination Wedding

Destination Wedding

Author: Diksha Basu Format: Paperback Release Date: 27/05/2021

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY MARIE CLAIRE AND THE NEW YORK POST Tina wants to feel Indian. Really Indian. Not Indian in the sense of going to yoga in Brooklyn. She wants to know the real India - only whenever she visits, people take her to bars and restaurants and boutiques that could be anywhere in the world. So she jumps at the change to get to know the country when she heads to Delhi for her glamorous cousin Shefali's week-long wedding, with her best friend, her parents and her mother's all-American boyfriend in tow. Navigating a world of Delhi playboys, models, dating agencies for widows, and wedding guests with personal bodyguards, Tina is determined to have an authentic Indian experience. Now if only someone would tell her what that was...

Life's Too Short

Life's Too Short

Author: Abby Jimenez Format: Audiobook Release Date: 06/04/2021

A brilliant and touching romantic comedy from the USA Today bestselling author of The Friend Zone and The Happy Ever After Playlist**.** When Vanessa Price quit her job to pursue her dream of traveling the globe, she wasn't expecting to gain millions of YouTube followers who shared her joy of seizing every moment. For her, living each day to its fullest isn't just a motto. Her mother and sister never saw the age of 30, and Vanessa doesn't want to take anything for granted. But after her half sister suddenly leaves Vanessa in custody of her baby daughter, life goes from "daily adventure" to "next-level bad" (now with bonus baby vomit in hair). The last person Vanessa expects to show up offering help is the hot lawyer next door, Adrian Copeland. After all, she barely knows him. No one warned her that he was the Secret Baby Tamer or that she'd be spending a whole lot of time with him and his geriatric Chihuahua. Now she's feeling things she's vowed not to feel. Because the only thing worse than falling for Adrian is finding a little hope for a future she may never see.

Audiobooks of the Month
Virgin River

Virgin River

Author: Robyn Carr Format: Audiobook Release Date: 05/01/2021

A Netflix Original Series! Welcome back to Virgin River with the book that started it all… Wanted: Midwife/nurse practitioner in Virgin River, population six hundred. Make a difference against a backdrop of towering California redwoods and crystal clear rivers. Rent-free cabin included. When the recently widowed Melinda Monroe sees this ad, she quickly decides that the remote mountain town of Virgin River might be the perfect place to escape her heartache, and to reenergize the nursing career she loves. But her high hopes are dashed within an hour of arriving—the cabin is a dump, the roads are treacherous and the local doctor wants nothing to do with her. Realizing she’s made a huge mistake, Mel decides to leave town the following morning. But a tiny baby abandoned on a front porch changes her plans…and former marine Jack Sheridan cements them into place.

Audiobooks of the Month
Symona's Still Single

Symona's Still Single

Author: Lisa Bent Format: Paperback Release Date: 08/10/2020

What do you do when you’ve reached 37 and your biological clock is ticking so loud you can’t hear anything else? Decide to change your fortunes by going out there and actively looking for Mr Right, of course. Symona’s journey through the dating world is as funny as it is frustrating and I had more than one laugh-out-moment. Smart and astute, I really enjoyed reading about her adventures in dating and often felt as though I’d met some of those men at certain points in my life.  Selected by Dorothy Koomson, Our Summer 2021 Guest Editor. Click here to read the full Guest Editor Piece. 

If I Don't Have You

If I Don't Have You

Author: Sareeta Domingo Format: Paperback Release Date: 30/07/2020

Filmmaker Ren and journalist Kayla meet through work in New York and are immediately attracted to each other. They do give in to their feelings, but with so many other complications in both their lives – what will they have to do and who will they have to hurt, to be together? Told from both Ren and Kayla’s point of view, this is a fantastic story that picks you up with the promise of love at first sight and sweeps you along with the rollercoaster of the main relationship.  Selected by Dorothy Koomson, Our Summer 2021 Guest Editor. Click here to read the full Guest Editor Piece. 

Bad Love

Bad Love

Author: Maame Blue Format: Paperback Release Date: 18/06/2020

Ekuah is in an up-and-down, back-and-forth relationship with Dee. It’s not perfect, but it feels enough for her . . . that’s until Dee ghosts her. Bruised and heartbroken, Ekuah does her best to get on with her life and eventually meets Jay, a man who might just be the one to win her heart. That is, of course, when Dee reappears in her life… The protagonist in this tale is very young but her emotions are real and the tricky relationship she has with her parents is every bit as important as the romantic ones. I was impressed by the depth and authenticity that came through the pages, a fantastic read. Selected by Dorothy Koomson, Our Summer 2021 Guest Editor. Click here to read the full Guest Editor Piece.

Imperfect Arrangements

Imperfect Arrangements

Author: Frances Mensah Williams Format: Paperback Release Date: 06/03/2020

Best Friends Lyla, Maku and Theresa have a rock-solid friendship – it’s the other relationships in their lives that cause them heartache. When ambitious Theresa moves back to Accra with her husband, she doesn’t realise it’s going to show up the cracks in her relationship, and also make her friends look more closely at their lives. This drama is full of twists and turns some of them heartstopping, others heart-rending, all of them brilliantly played out and realistic. If you’re a fan of female-centered dramas, this is one for you.  Selected by Dorothy Koomson, Our Summer 2021 Guest Editor. Click here to read the full Guest Editor Piece. 

Sylvester

Sylvester

Author: Georgette Heyer Format: Ebook Release Date: 28/02/2011

Endowed with rank, wealth and elegance, Sylvester, Duke of Salford, posts into Wiltshire to discover if the Honorable Phoebe Marlow will meet his exacting requirements for a bride. If he does not expect to meet a tongue-tied stripling wanting both manners and conduct, then he is intrigued indeed when his visit causes Phoebe to flee her home. They meet again on the road to London, where her carriage has come to grief in the snow. Yet Phoebe, already caught in one imbroglio, now knows she soon could be well deep in another ... A typically wonderful historical novel, Sylvester shows once more why Georgette Heyer is the undisputed queen of the genre she created - the Regency romance.

Shelter in Place

Shelter in Place

Author: Nora Roberts Format: Audiobook Release Date: 15/12/2009

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts comes Shelter in Placea powerful tale of heart, heroism . . . and propulsive suspense. It was a typical evening at a mall outside Portland, Maine. Three teenage friends waited for the movie to start. A boy flirted with the girl selling sunglasses. Mothers and children shopped together, and the manager at the video-game store tending to customers. Then the shooters arrived. The chaos and carnage lasted only eight minutes before the killers were taken down. But for those who lived through it, the effects would last forever. In the years that followed, one would dedicate himself to a law enforcement career. Another would close herself off, trying to bury the memory of huddling in a ladies' room, hopelessly clutching her cell phone until she finally found a way to pour her emotions into her art. But one person wasn't satisfied with the shockingly high death toll at the DownEast Mall. And as the survivors slowly heal, find shelter, and rebuild, they will discover that another conspirator is lying in wait and this time, there might be nowhere safe to hide.

Audiobooks of the Month

June 2021 Featured Books

In the Beast's Cage

In the Beast's Cage

Author: Mac Altgelt Format: Paperback Release Date: 28/06/2021

Mac Altagelt’s ‘In The Beast’s Cage’ combines the story of a sleepy American town, where everyone knows everyone and one girl’s father rather eccentrically wants to refurbish and reopen the local zoo, with mystery and gothic themes as a stranger with a dark past lands in the port, and exotic game smugglers set off from Africa when they hear of a potentially lucrative opportunity.  I thought that this book was very well written and it flows nicely. There are flashbacks scattered throughout during the quieter points of the plot in order to offer more character backstory. In the prologue we are first introduced to smugglers in the Amazon and it is some time before we hear from them again. Although I enjoyed the storyline based in Georgia, I think it would have been nice to build the tension and the threat they pose by including more chapters from them in the lead up to merging of the storylines.  There’s something quite familiar about certain aspects of the plot, an immortal man docking in a foreign land in a boat where he is the only person on board has echoes of ‘Dracula’, the ancient house lost in melancholy, to be brightened and revived by the arrival of a beautiful young girl has the essence of a fairy-tale. While crafting a plotline that in itself is quite unique, ‘In The Beast’s Cage’ manages to evoke a comforting familiarity that made me even more eager to read on. I flew through this story in a single day, the supernatural aspects of the book aren’t overly emphasised and I think would appeal to readers who prefer more literary fiction. Yet for those who enjoy fantasy books, you will be left intrigued, wondering and guessing throughout, keen to discover more as the main action around the Georgia zoo unfolds. A great book that comes highly recommended from me. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador 

Indie Books We Love
Love Your Life

Love Your Life

Author: Sophie Kinsella Format: Paperback Release Date: 24/06/2021

The irresistible new standalone novel from No. 1 bestselling author Sophie Kinsella. I love you . . . but what if I can't love your life? Ava is sick of online dating. She's always trusted her own instincts over an algorithm, anyway, and she wants a break from it all. So when she signs up to a semi-silent, anonymous writing retreat in glorious Italy, love is the last thing on her mind. Until she meets a handsome stranger. . . All she knows is that he's funny, he's kind and - she soon learns - he's great in bed. He's equally smitten, and after a whirlwind, intoxicating affair, they pledge their love without even knowing each other's real names. But when they return home, reality hits. They're both driven mad by each other's weird quirks and annoying habits, from his eccentric, naked-sauna-loving family to her terribly behaved, shirt-shredding dog. As disaster follows disaster, it seems that while they love each other, they just can't love each other's lives. Can they overcome their differences to find one life, together?

Erringby

Erringby

Author: Gill Darling Format: Paperback Release Date: 17/06/2021

Our June 2021 Book Club Recommendation Click here to see our Reading Group Questions. Heady, rich and evocative, and while a reimagining of Great Expectations, this debut stands as a unique and startling read in its own right. As a child, orphaned Kit finds the world of his Uncle and Aunt an enticing place to be, as he grows older he discovers that all that glitters isn’t necessarily gold. Gill Darling travels through three decades from the 1970’s, creating the most spelling-binding novel. She doesn’t flinch from the harsher side of life, and while building an enchanting world, exposes vulnerability, selfishness, and excess. The characters feel as real as can be, with a tapestry of traits they ensured my feelings moved through the gamut of emotions. While I knew this was inspired by Great Expectations before I started, I entered and read it as Erringby, completely absorbed and only looking between the two when I had turned the last page. I found growing up with Kit at times disturbing, while at others I relished his adventures, and the ending sent little goose pimples skittering down my arms. When I finish reading I always return to the cover again to see with new eyes, and oh what a gorgeously expressive and clever creation it is! Thoughtful and loving, yet passionate and provocative, Erringby is a truly striking coming-of-age novel and a deserves its place as a LoveReading Star Book.

Star Books
Fragile

Fragile

Author: Sarah Hilary Format: Hardback Release Date: 10/06/2021

Hauntingly beautiful and full of slicing suspense, this contemporary thriller twisted itself into my thoughts and still hasn’t let go. 17 year old runaway and former foster child Nell Ballard finds herself in London on the doorstop of a new opportunity, but a dark secret is keeping her company. Sarah Hilary is well known for her outstanding DI Marnie Rome crime series (one of my favourites) and this is her first standalone novel. The writing is unmistakably her, yet travels in a different direction. She was inspired by Rebecca and The Handmaid’s Tale and her publisher perfectly describes Fragile as a: “psychological thriller with a modern Gothic twist”. She tackles subjects such as child exploitation and homelessness, opening a door and allowing apprehension and awareness in. She has the ability to look between, into the forgotten spaces, either in the outside world or within our own minds, and she successfully reveals what most of us are unable at first to see. There was an almost gentle poetic quality to the words before they ganged together to create uncertainty, concern, and tension. At times, as the quiet moments soothed my thoughts, I was lulled into a feeling of calm. The ending, oh that ending, it hit home hard, and I had to read it again, just to allow it to sink in. Fragile is an achingly dark, wonderfully atmospheric novel, and I will more than happily climb a few rooftops to shout about it.

Star Books
Everything Happens for a Reason

Everything Happens for a Reason

Author: Katie Allen Format: Paperback Release Date: 10/06/2021

Quirky yet insightful, bright yet wistful, amusing yet emotional… this is one heck of a thought-provoking and stimulating debut. When Rachel is told ‘everything happens for a reason’ after her son Luke is stillborn, she begins to search for proof, certain she is to blame. This is one of those books that doesn’t fit neatly into a genre, instead it straddles several, and actually stands quite rightly on its own two feet. Author Katie Allen is a journalist, and this story is deeply personal and painful to her, she said on twitter that after her baby died one person texted back: “everything happens for a reason”, and she had grappled with that ever since. Grief is a lonely and isolating place to be, yet this novel, while eye-opening, is also inclusive and encouraging. Letting her feelings out in a series of emails, Rachel is incredibly engaging, she took my hand and welcomed me into the pages. I quite honestly had no idea where this book was going to to take me, I didn’t try to guess and remained firmly in the the presence of the words as they entered my thoughts. Highly recommended and a LoveReading Star Book, Everything Happens for a Reason is full of contradictions that fuse into the most surprising, moving, and beautiful novel.  

Star Books
This is How we are Human

This is How we are Human

Author: Louise Beech Format: Paperback Release Date: 10/06/2021

A beautifully poignant, thought-provoking and special novel that really does travel to the heart of what it is to be human. 20 year old Sebastian knows exactly what he wants, his hormones are raging and he is desperate for sex however his autism limits his ability to meet girls. When Sebastian’s mother Veronica contacts escort Violetta, the lives of all three change forever. The novel focuses on the three main characters, each is vividly realised and I positively ached for and adored all three. Their individual stories weave through and under and around each other, the short chapters tying them together, creating one whole tale. Louise Beech often crosses genres in her novels, and has explored crime through to relationship stories. Her particular skill, on display in all of her novels, is allowing us to connect and sink in to what it means to be human, she takes us below the surface, below the obvious, and allows us to explore. My emotions sang throughout this novel, I balanced the exquisite tightrope that swings from the pages, stepped out, and fell in love with the words, the feelings they evoked. The title is absolutely perfect, and when I had finished, I just sat pondering its meaning. The Author’s Note at the end shows just how connected Louise is to this story, how she was inspired by her experience of autism as ‘an outsider’ and she also talks about #OwnVoices. This is How we are Human is bold and provocative, thoughtful and warmhearted, and I declare it is completely gorgeous!

Star Books
Everything's Perfect

Everything's Perfect

Author: Nicole Kennedy Format: Hardback Release Date: 10/06/2021

A smart, contemporary, entertaining look at friendships and what it is to be a mother in the social media age of perfection. While glamorous and celebrated social media celebrity Cassie fights to remain relevant, anxious new mum Beth finds herself on the road to viral stardom. This is the debut of lawyer Nicole Kennedy, and it was written during her third pregnancy. She has the ability to capture the big little things that really matter, writing with a light yet provocative, and warm yet witty pen. The main characters induced feelings that swung between affection and disapproval, while sitting in among the supporting cast are some truly cackle inducing creations. Social media stands to the fore, the plot weaves in and out of the need to display perfection and how damaging that can be. While undoubtedly amusing, Everything’s Perfect is also thought-provoking too, making for a gleefully readable novel.

Debut Books of the Month
Sunrise by the Sea

Sunrise by the Sea

Author: Jenny Colgan Format: Hardback Release Date: 10/06/2021

Welcome to the most squishy heart-warming hug of a romance. Marisa finds herself adrift after her grandfather dies, her grief moves with her to Mount Polbearne in Cornwall where she shies away from her neighbour and the welcoming community. Neil the puffin is back, but no need to worry if you’ve not yet joined the Little Beach Street Bakery Series. Jenny Colgan’s books read as perfect standalone titles, though this as an introduction will undoubtedly call you back to read the rest of the series! It is acknowledged that grief is something we all feel differently, Marisa’s feels touchable and relatable, and I positively ached for her. Polly and her wonderful family are as joyful as ever, even with money difficulties. I simply adored getting to know Marisa’s neighbour, and again Jenny Colgan adds real depth to the characters. The storyline, with delicious glimpses of Italy, is a compassionate delight and the ending all that I had hoped for. Uplifting and gorgeous, Sunrise by the Sea is another approachable and heart-soothing read from one of the most wonderfully consistent authors around. 

Books of the Month
Unbreak Your Heart

Unbreak Your Heart

Author: Katie Marsh Format: Paperback Release Date: 10/06/2021

There is often something extra-affecting about novels that have their roots in real life events and Unbreak Your Heart is no exception. Seven-year-old Jake has spent much of his short life in hospitals receiving treatment for a life threatening heart condition and is absolutely determined not to leave his single dad, Simon, to live alone, resolute in his ambition to find Simon someone to love and to love him.  His hopes for his father are equally mirrored by Simon’s love and hopes for his son and the sacrifices he makes to ensure that Jake’s life is as good as it can be. Into this mix Marsh introduces us to the wonderful Beth, who moves into the cottage next door and who changes Simon and Jake’s lives forever. Inspired by the courage of Katie’s daughter who was born with a cleft lip and palate and who underwent seven operations in eight years, Marsh’s latest is an extraordinary story about, hope, love, yes of course, but also of courage.  It also about the redemptive and healing power of friends and family, how persistence pays off and above all a reminder that even in the darkest times of pain and difficulty, the light does shine through and can transform broken hearts. Marsh is always at her best when depicting the dynamics of close personal relationships and has a talent for crafting completely addictive stories that are both heart-wrenching and life-affirming without veering into schmaltz. That Unbreak Your Heart is also perfectly seasoned with some beautifully weighted moments of humorous relief merely adds to the pleasure of this transformative tale.

Fortune's Daughter

Fortune's Daughter

Author: Dilly Court Format: Paperback Release Date: 10/06/2021

Don't miss the brand-new six-part series from the No.1 Sunday Times bestselling author Dilly Court! Rockwood was home and she would do anything she could to stop it being stolen from them. Abandoned by their parents and left to fight for themselves, headstrong Rosalind Carey has no choice but to take charge of her younger brothers and sister in Devonshire's grand Rockwood Castle. But their once much-loved home is crumbling like the family that lives within it. Living hand to mouth and desperate to provide for the estate that depends on them, the Carey family are one debt away from ruin. Until the day comes when the dashing Piers Blanchard appears on their doorstep from Cornwall, claiming he is Rosalind's distant cousin and that Rockwood Castle is his. Piers says he wants to help pay off the family's debts. But how can Rosalind be sure he isn't out to take what is his and leave them all homeless? Only a closely-guarded secret will convince Rosalind she can trust Piers to protect her family - and her fragile heart. Book One of The Rockwood Chronicles ...

Dark Tides

Dark Tides

Author: Philippa Gregory Format: Paperback Release Date: 10/06/2021

Number One bestselling author Philippa Gregory's new historical novel tracks the rise of the Tidelands family in London, Venice and New England. Midsummer's Eve, 1670. A wealthy man waits outside a poor London warehouse to meet with Alinor, the woman he failed twenty-one years before. He has everything to offer: money, land, status - and he believes she has the only thing he cannot buy: his son and heir. Meanwhile in New England, Alinor's brother Ned cannot find justice in the New World, as the king's revenge stretches across the Atlantic and turns the pioneers against each other and against the American Indians. Then, a beautiful widow, Livia, arrives from Venice, telling Alinor that her son Rob has drowned and that she needs their help. She enchants the warehouse family with her sensual carefree warmth, and promises of a new profitable trade selling beautiful statues of marble and bronze to fuel the classical craze among the wealthy landowners. But something in Livia's story doesn't add up and the answers lies across the dark tides in Venice...

Books of the Month
The Great Godden

The Great Godden

Author: Meg Rosoff Format: Paperback Release Date: 10/06/2021

This is the story of one family, one dreamy summer - the summer when everything changes. In a holiday house by the sea, in a big, messy family, one teenager watches as brothers and sisters, parents and older cousins fill hot days with wine and games and planning a wedding. Enter the Goddens - irresistible, charming, languidly sexy Kit and surly, silent Hugo. Suddenly there's a serpent in this paradise - and the consequences will be devastating. From bestselling, award-winning author Meg Rosoff comes a lyrical and quintessential coming-of-age tale - a summer book that's as heady, timeless and irresistible as Bonjour Tristesse and I Capture the Castle but as sharp and fresh as Normal People.

Books of the Month
A Room Made of Leaves

A Room Made of Leaves

Author: Kate Grenville Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/06/2021

Our August 2020 Book Club Recommendation. Click here to see our Reading Group Questions. Glorious! A novel of such startling sincerity, clarity and eloquence it feels as though the narrator herself is stamped onto every page. A Room Made of Leaves is inspired by letters and documents on entrepreneur and pioneer John Macarthur and his wife Elizabeth. They left England in 1788 for New South Wales in Australia when he was posted as Lieutenant to the penal colony of Sydney Town. This is Kate Grenville’s first novel in a decade, she is the author of the 2006 Man Booker shortlisted novel The Secret River. Elizabeth narrates, headstrong and wilful she nonetheless finds she is folding herself smaller and smaller in order to not be observed. Each chapter may be short but they are full of suppressed emotion, candour, and are as compelling as can be. The chapter headings, if all joined together, would create a story in themselves. As each word, as each sentence and chapter flowers, the inner being of Elizabeth opened to allow me to see, and also feel her emotions. The cover is gorgeous and the understanding of the title when it came, made the beauty resonate all the more. Australia is obviously much loved, and I in turn loved reading between the lines of history. Unique and spirited, A Room Made of Leaves truly is a beautiful novel, it also deservedly joins our LoveReading Star Books. Have a look at our Ambassador Book Buzz for A Room Made of Leaves. Visit our 'Women's Words - 60+ works of feminist-minded fiction' to explore our collection of feminist-minded fiction from around the world, and across centuries.

Star Books
Ever Rest

Ever Rest

Author: Roz Morris Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/06/2021

‘Ever Rest’ by Roz Morris is a beautifully well-written story that focuses on the after effects of the loss of a larger than life character. Rock musician Ashten dies on a mountain climbing expedition and his fiancée, bandmates and bodyguard have been left with a hole in their lives that has never been healed as twenty years on as the past is continually dragged back up each time a body is recovered.  We learn more about Elza, Hugo, Steve and Robert, their history and connection to The Ashbirds and the paths their lives have taken since the band’s abrupt end. We see them struggle to get their lives back together while the spectre of Ash, and renown in general prevents them from finding complete normalcy.  The thing that struck me the most in this narrative is how it handles the theme of fame. Someone, or a group of people can be very famous, known around the world even for a single thing or for the briefest time, and yet that single accomplishment can both haunt and define every other aspect of their lives. And if that period of fame ended in tragedy, then feelings of loss and grief seem destined to be ever present. In some ways it reminded me of documentaries and stories prevalent at the moment in recent celebrity history -  breakdowns or struggles of reinvention, unsympathetic media portrayal and fans wanting to relive the single highest moment. I think the author did a great job in emphasising that there’s more to people than that. And each character in the book is filled out and made three dimensional flawlessly. I really enjoyed learning about each character, and while I found myself drawn to Elza’s story the most, I found it easy to settle into learning more about Robert, Hugo and Steve when it was their time to share their story. I think that ‘Ever Rest’ is an endearing story of loss, grief and acceptance in a unique setting of rock-star fame. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador

Indie Books We Love
Hana Khan Carries on

Hana Khan Carries on

Author: Uzma Jalaluddin Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/06/2021

Wearing its warm heart and uplifting messages on its sleeve, Uzma Jalaluddin’s Hana Khan Carries On is a highly readable romance about staying true to your principles - even when that means risking your future. Riffing on You’ve Got Mail, and exuding the same feel-good vibe of forging a positive path through hardship as the author’s debut, Ayesha at Last, this is a cute and charismatic read with a powerful portrayal of a community rallying round to stand up to racists. Twenty-four-year-old Hana Khan is a Toronto-born, South Asian Muslim who interns at a radio station, helps out in her family’s dwindling restaurant on the Golden Crescent and hosts a podcast “to ask questions, without worrying who might be listening and judging”. Through her podcast Hana strikes up an adorable anonymous friendship with one of her listeners, to whom she turns for advice about her worries, particularity those around her family’s restaurant when a flashy competitor rocks up and threatens to put them out of business. While Hana’s family is at the heart of her life, she’s chosen to follow her own path, not unlike her charismatic aunt, “a woman ahead of her time” who “hadn’t been afraid to make bold decisions and carry them out.” Evoking her aunt’s spirit comes to the fore when Hana’s put in an impossible situation at her radio station - an exciting opportunity to work on a show with a fellow intern sours when they’re pushed into “perpetuating harmful stereotypes about Brown people and Muslims”. To handle this, Hana must heed her aunt’s advice: “Find your principles and see your story through to the end, no matter what.” Alongside worries about work and the restaurant, Hana is attacked by racists before a baseball game, and then comes a hate-fuelled attack on the Golden Crescent. Throughout, the sense of unity and generosity in her community is a joy - it serves as such a wonderful support network. Hana is persistent, tenacious and, as the title states, “carries on” to forge a bright future - on her own terms, according to her principles, with an unexpected someone at her side. Fun and thought-provoking, this serves up a sweet slice of romance with a side of real-life grit.

Books of the Month
Freed

Freed

Author: E. L. James Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/06/2021

Relive the sensuality, the romance, and the drama of Fifty Shades Freed - the love story that enthralled millions of readers around the world - through the thoughts, reflections, and dreams of Christian Grey. E L James revisits the world of Fifty Shades with a deeper new take on the love story that has enthralled millions of readers around the globe. You are cordially invited to the wedding of the decade, when Christian Grey will make Anastasia Steele his wife. But is he really husband material? His dad is unsure, his brother wants to organise one helluva bachelor party, and his fiancee won't vow to obey . . . And marriage brings its own challenges. Their passion for each other burns hotter and deeper than ever, but Ana's defiant spirit continues to stir Christian's darkest fears and tests his need for control. As old rivalries and resentments endanger them both, one misjudgement threatens to tear them apart. Can Christian overcome the nightmares of his childhood and the torments of his youth, and save himself? And once he's discovered the truth of his origins, can he find forgiveness and accept Ana's unconditional love? Can Christian finally be freed?

Where We Belong

Where We Belong

Author: Anstey Harris Format: Paperback Release Date: 27/05/2021

Oh, this is almost too gorgeous for words, thoughtful and full of emotion, it’s a simply wonderful story that connected to my heart and soul. Cate Morris has no option other than to leave everything she knows and move to Hatters with her son Leo, will they be welcomed with open arms? Anstey Harris writes with beautiful eloquence, her debut novel The Truths of Triumphs of Grace Atherton was one of my picks of the month and a LoveReading Star Book, and I’ll let you into a not so secret secret, Where we Belong is too. I was completely charmed by the first sentence, settled in with joy and then the end of chapter one caused me to take a deep breath. This is emotionally intelligent writing and perfectly timed reveals of information lay in wait. Hatters Museum of the Wide Wide World is just lovely, do I want to go there? Yes I most certainly do, so was captivated to learn that it is based on a real location. Where We Belong bewitched me with its secrets and beauty, Anstey Harris really is the most wonderful storyteller and I salute her. Explore our '80+ Books That Deliver a Hug' listicle for more feel-good or uplifting books.

Star Books
Sunny Days and Sea Breezes

Sunny Days and Sea Breezes

Author: Carole Matthews Format: Paperback Release Date: 27/05/2021

A wonderfully warm, bright book to escape into, to give yourself up to and just enjoy. Jodie Jackson leaves everything she knows for a houseboat in the Isle of Wight, she soon finds herself falling for the island and its inhabitants, but London is calling and won’t take no for an answer. I always look forward to reading the latest book by Carole Matthews, they wrap me up and give me a massive loving squeeze. Having said that, this isn’t syrupy sweet, oh no, some real life dilemmas and mistakes sneak in to ensure a feeling of connection, that this could be you, or someone you know. I loved Jodie’s voice and how she talks to the reader, it not only created a bond, I ended up feeling as though I had made a brand new friend. Pure, wonderful escapism, Sunny Days and Sea Breezes really is the most lovely relationship tale and I can thoroughly recommend picking up a copy and just allowing yourself to sink into the pages. We simply adored this book in the office and so it has been chosen as a LoveReading Star Book as well as a Book of the Month.  Explore our '80+ Books That Deliver a Hug' listicle for more feel-good or uplifting books.

Star Books
 The Girl Who Escaped From Auschwitz

The Girl Who Escaped From Auschwitz

Author: Ellie Midwood Format: Ebook Release Date: 05/03/2021

Poignant, powerful and pacey, Ellie Midwood’s The Girl Who Escaped from Auschwitz tells the remarkable true story of Mala Zimetbaum, a woman who did the all-but-impossible when she escaped Auschwitz with her Resistance fighter lover. It’s an extraordinary tale of courage and heroism in the face of impossible odds and excruciating circumstances - a tale told with much compassion in The Girl Who Escaped from Auschwitz. It’s autumn 1943 and “Edek had had enough. The grim realization of it dawned on him along with the first slanting rays of the sunset bleeding red atop the barracks’ roofs as he watched SS Officer Brück stomp repeatedly on an inmate’s head with the steel-lined sole of his tall jackboot.” This brutally arresting opening is typical of the book’s style - incisive, and physically impactful. A veteran of the camp, Edek is a political prisoner and resistance fighter – and he’s long been determined to escape. Meanwhile, Belgian-born Mala is at Birkenau Women’s Camp, where she works as a “runner in charge of delivering SS orders and official documents from one block to another.” As such, she “no longer had anything to fear from the wardens or the Kapos. An official armband with an insignia of a Läuferin on her left bicep, civilian clothes and dark-blond hair pulled into a bun instantly distinguished her from the general camp population.” But having been through the horrors of arriving at camp (“First, they took her freedom. Then, they took her hair”), and feeling disgust for the utter lack of humanity, she - like Edek - has resolved to regain her freedom. In the meantime, she uses her position to save lives. When they meet, Mala comes to believe in Edek’s escape plan, comes to believe that there might be light through these darkest of days - and through love. Shot-through with tremendous tension and compassion, this comes recommended for readers who enjoyed The Tattooist of Auschwitz and The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. Purchase The Girl Who Escaped Auschwitz from: Amazon - Currently 99p Apple Kobo Google

eBooks of the Month
Covet

Covet

Author: Tracy Wolff Format: Audiobook Release Date: 02/03/2021

The third book in the smash hit Crave series will not disappoint-full of shocking twists, high-stakes romance, and deep fantasy lore, it'll be a must-have for die-hard series fans and new audiences alike. I may have reached my breaking point. As if trying to graduate from a school for supernaturals isn’t stressful enough, my relationship status has gone from complicated to a straight-up dumpster fire. Oh, and the Bloodletter has decided to drop a bomb of epic proportions on us all... Then again, when has anything at Katmere Academy not been intense? And the hits just keep coming. Jaxon’s turned colder than an Alaskan winter. The Circle is splintered over my upcoming coronation. As if things couldn’t get worse, now there’s an arrest warrant for Hudson’s and my supposed crimes—which apparently means a lifetime prison sentence with a deadly unbreakable curse. Choices will have to be made...and I fear not everyone will survive. The Crave series is best enjoyed in order. Reading Order: Book #1 Crave Book #2 Crush Book #3 Covet Book #4 Court Book #5 Charm

Audiobooks of the Month
In A Town Called Paradox

In A Town Called Paradox

Author: Miriam Murcutt and Richard Starks Format: Ebook Release Date: 19/10/2020

Miriam Murcutt and Richard Starks have aptly titled their fictitious town in the U.S. because the central theme of the book set 'In a Town Called Paradox' is one of conflict. The authors have explored the humanity of their main characters in depth, against the breath-taking but unforgiving background of the Utah landscape, and taken their readers right along with them. The story is about the relationship between two young people, Corin and Ark, who are both torn between love and resentment towards their respective parents for what they see as their betrayal and abandonment at an early age. But this is not simply a story in which a couple find redemption in their love for each other, it touches upon so many other conflicts that were rife in the 50s, when the book is set, and are still present today. We, the readers, are invited to consider the paradox of one person's 'truth' being another's 'fiction', just as in the movies, which feature prominently. Important issues are raised and examined...religious faith and the possibility of an afterlife, race discrimination, protection of the environment, sexual harassment and rape, homophobia, police corruption and euthanasia to name but several. This book will grab your attention from page one and will possibly have you re-thinking your stance on some of these issues but as the authors say, through one of their characters, 'We live in a non-deterministic world - one in which there are no certainties, only probabilities' but I hope that the probability here will be that you will read and thoroughly enjoy this book, as I did.  Drena Irish, A LoveReading Ambassador

Indie Books We Love

May 2021 Featured Books

Us Three

Us Three

Author: Ruth Jones Format: Paperback Release Date: 27/05/2021

Friends forever is a difficult promise to keep... Meet Lana, Judith and Catrin. Best friends since primary school when they swore an oath on a Curly Wurly wrapper that they would always be there for each other, come what may. After the trip of a lifetime, the three girls are closer than ever. But an unexpected turn of events shakes the foundation of their friendship to its core, leaving their future in doubt - there's simply too much to forgive, let alone forget. An innocent childhood promise they once made now seems impossible to keep.... Packed with all the heart and empathy that made Ruth's name as a screenwriter and now author, Us Three is a funny, moving and uplifting novel about life's complications, the power of friendship and how it defines us all. Prepare to meet characters you'll feel you've known all your life - prepare to meet Us Three.

Audiobooks of the Month
The Missing Sister

The Missing Sister

Author: Lucinda Riley Format: Hardback Release Date: 27/05/2021

They'll search the world to find her. The six D'Apliese sisters have each been on their own incredible journey to discover their heritage, but they still have one question left unanswered: who and where is the seventh sister? They only have one clue - an image of a star-shaped emerald ring. The search to find the missing sister will take them across the globe - from New Zealand to Canada, England, France and Ireland - uniting them all in their mission to complete their family at last. In doing so, they will slowly unearth a story of love, strength and sacrifice that began almost one hundred years ago, as other brave young women risk everything to change the world around them.

The Summer Seekers

The Summer Seekers

Author: Sarah Morgan Format: Paperback Release Date: 27/05/2021

Kathleen is eighty years old. After a run-in with an intruder, her daughter wants her to move into a residential home. She's not having any of it. What she craves - needs - is adventure. Liza is drowning under the daily stress of family life. The last thing she needs is her mother jetting off on a wild holiday, making Liza dream of a solo break of her own. Martha is having a quarter-life crisis. Unemployed, unloved and uninspired, she just can't get her life together. But she knows something has to change. When Martha sees Kathleen's advert for a driver and companion to take an epic road trip across America, she decides this job might be the answer to her prayers. Travelling with a stranger? No problem. She's not the world's best driver, but it couldn't be worse than living with her parents again. And anyway, how much trouble can one eighty-year-old woman be? As these women embark on the journey of a lifetime, they all discover it's never too late for adventure...

Tokyo Ever After

Tokyo Ever After

Author: Emiko Jean Format: Paperback Release Date: 27/05/2021

A Reese Witherspoon Book Club YA Pick! A hilarious and heartfelt novel perfect for fans of To All the Boys I've Loved Before and The Princess Diaries Izumi Tanaka has lived an uneventful seventeen years in her small town, keenly aware of all the ways in which her family is different from most of her classmates'. But then Izumi discovers a clue to her previously unknown father's identity . . . and he's none other than the Crown Prince of Japan. Soon she's traveling overseas to meet the father she never knew and discover the country she's only dreamed of. But being a princess isn't all ball gowns and tiaras. There are conniving cousins, a hungry press, a scowling but handsome bodyguard who just might be her soulmate, and thousands of years of tradition and customs to learn practically overnight. Izzy soon finds herself caught between worlds, and between versions of herself-back home, she was never American enough, and in Japan, she must prove she's Japanese enough. Will Izumi crumble under the weight of the crown, or will she live out her fairytale, happily ever after?

The Bread the Devil Knead

The Bread the Devil Knead

Author: Lisa Allen-Agostini Format: Paperback Release Date: 20/05/2021

Written in its unforgettable protagonist’s captivating Trinidadian voice, Lisa-Allen Agostini’s The Bread the Devil Knead is an exceptionally immersive read that resonates with the heart-wrenching rawness of a women’s lifelong abuse at the hands of men, and the seeds of her future liberation. Every perfectly-placed word, every perfectly-formed sentence rings with truth and strikes deep. Port of Spain boutique manager Alethea is about to turn forty. Thankfully, though, there’s one thing she can count on, “and that is my looks. I going on forty but you would never know it, because every morning and night God spare life I does cleanse and tone and moisturise from head to foot.” But while she has her looks and is philosophical about reaching this life landmark (“is just a number and the face you does see staring back at you in the mirror not as important as the memories in the mind behind it”), the trouble with Alethea is that “most of the memories was bad”, while her present-day life sees her frequently abused by her partner. She finds some solace in the arms of her boss, though, and in books: “This is how I does see the world: by reading books. I does go to London, Hong Kong, Siberia, even, when I read a book. I does meet all kind of people. Learn all kinds of words. Live all kinds of lives. Thank God for books.” Then, when her adopted brother, now a priest, returns after decades away, she begins to take a new path as secrets are laid bare and ways through a dark and tangled forest come to light. Through Alethea’s complex, damaged character Agostini lays bare complex, potent truths about sexual and violent abuse, racism and colourism. Mixed race and light of skin, she’s subjected to prejudice: “because my skin light colour they feel like I feel I better than them. That is bullshit”, and “People in this island does always surprise to know it have poor white people, but though we skin was light and we hair was straight we wasn’t really white and we didn’t have a penny to we name.” And she also sees that “even after Independence, after Black Power, after all that. Is still a kind of racial, colour-conscious place where people who look like me does get through” while darker skinned people “doesn’t get one shit.” Raw and achingly beautiful, this really is remarkable.

Star Books
The Other Times of Caroline Tangent

The Other Times of Caroline Tangent

Author: Ivan D Wainewright Format: Paperback Release Date: 17/05/2021

An enchanting, nostalgic tale of music, friendships, betrayal and determination. The author writes with a beautiful flowing style that carries the reader with them on short journeys back in time whilst combining present day life. Jon a university lecturer and Caroline, an artist, live in London. Jon has discovered a passion for inventing and after a day's work loves nothing more than going downstairs in the basement of their home which he has converted into an inventing room. It’s during these retreats that his plans and ideas take shape. And it’s from this very workshop that Jon and Caroline’s magical mystery tours begin. Jon’s timepen invention means the world is their oyster when it comes to what concerts to go back in time to see. They decide they prefer the ones just before the artist hits the big time as it gives a better atmosphere and smaller club setting. There’s just one problem; they can’t tell anyone about this unusual ability, not even their closest group of friends. After many successful trips using the timepen, disaster strikes following one concert in the past. A life-changing event, a new life and attempts to heal old wounds, but will a visitor offer an opportunity for everything to go back to how it was? A wonderful read and the subject would appeal to a wide scope of readers. Highly recommended! Caroline Highy, A LoveReadig Ambassador

Indie Books We Love
Brixton Hill

Brixton Hill

Author: Lottie Moggach Format: Paperback Release Date: 06/05/2021

A really intelligent, intimate, and ultimately human story awaits in this fabulous crime novel. Within a few months, Rob is due for release from an open prison in Brixton, when he meets a woman while out on day release, he is determined to hide his background from her yet there are desperate secrets on both sides. This is such a beautifully written novel from Lottie Moggach, for a dark novel it is vibrant, almost visual in effect. It feels real, as though this could be happening somewhere close by, right now. There was an immediate sense of place when I started to read, the run of Brixton Hill from the prison to the charity shop where Rob works comes alive. I felt a palpable connection to the characters, even those just appearing for a few pages. The suspense is exquisitely handled, while the atmosphere of the prison keeps pace with the turmoil in Rob’s mind. As the story neared its conclusion the heightened tension pulsated from the page through to my fingertips. Brixton Hill is an absolute gem, and is both a Liz Pick of the Month and Star Book too. Loved it, I really really loved it.

Star Books
The Wife Who Got a Life

The Wife Who Got a Life

Author: Tracy Bloom Format: Paperback Release Date: 29/04/2021

Light, bright, and tremendously entertaining, The Wife Who Got a Life also tackles some difficult subjects with balance and consideration. After years of putting her family first, Cathy decides to take back control of her life and sets up a list of monthly goals. Over the year I spent with her, I smirked, sniggered, and laughed, oh how I laughed! While Cathy is heading towards menopause, the writing ensures this is a read that everyone could enjoy. Tracy Bloom has a seriously witty pen, and knows exactly when a smile is needed, there were times when the words buffeted my thoughts and then in the next moment hugged me. She has the ability to write about tough times with love and empathy while being sharply aware and ensuring Cathy has an authentic voice. I absolutely adored this novel and would describe it as a wonderfully smart and joyous celebration of life. The Wife Who Got a Life is feel-good writing at its best as it lifts you up while remaining completely aware of the sharp reality of life. A LoveReading Star Book, this is one to pop to the top of your reading pile. The LoveReading LitFest invited Tracy to the festival to talk about the fabulously readable The Wife Who Got A Life. You can view the event by subscribing to the LitFest programme for as little as £6 per month - or you can pay per view. For just £2, go, see Tracy in conversation with Julia Wheeler and find out why you won't want to miss this witty and uplifting read. Check out a preview of the event here

Audiobooks of the Month
An Act of Love

An Act of Love

Author: Carol Drinkwater Format: Paperback Release Date: 29/04/2021

A dramatic and enthralling relationship tale that captures emotion and takes you on a journey through the Second World War. When Sara and her parents flee their homeland taking refuge in the French Alps, the full impact of the Nazi oppression edges ever closer. Inspired by her visit to a small museum in the Lower Alps Carol Drinkwater has created the most captivating story of young love, and the courage needed to face the most devastating of times. She has the ability to focus on the things that make us human, to create a link that alters the focus from watching, to actually feeling the events that take place. A balance is created between the intimate moments of relationships and how they sit within the wider fields of battle during the horror of war. This is ultimately as much a story about Sara’s own relationship with, and understanding of herself as it is with the man she falls in love with. The ending came with beautiful words and tears welling up in my eyes, I just had to include this as a Liz Robinson Pick of the Month. An Act of Love will encourage emotions to dip and soar as it gives hope even in the darkness. The LoveReading LitFest invited Carol to the festival to talk about An Act of Love.   You can view the event by subscribing to the LitFest programme for as little as £6 per month - or you can pay per view. For just £2, go, see Carol in conversation with Paul Blezard and find out why everyone should read this book.   Check out a preview of the event here

Liz Robinson's Picks of the Month
Summer's Out at Hope Hall

Summer's Out at Hope Hall

Author: Pam Rhodes Format: Paperback Release Date: 23/04/2021

Inclusive and welcoming this is such a charming, gentle, and compassionate tale. Kath wants to ensure a successful centenary celebrations for Hope Hall which stands at the heart of their community. This is the second in a trilogy, so I recommend starting with the lovely Springtime at Hope Hall, if you’ve already met the people who use and staff Hope Hall then you’ll catch up with some old friends along the way. There are a number of characters here, diverse personalities are on display, and approachable and generous Kath the centre manager, sits at the centre of them all. Pam Rhodes writes with generosity and kindness, ensuring hope weaves through her tales. Her books soothe, even as she visits all that life has to offer, including difficult times. Summer’s Out at Hope Hall is a good-hearted and thoughtfully readable tale that offers hope and community spirit.

eBooks of the Month
Call Me Cali: Book 2: Becoming

Call Me Cali: Book 2: Becoming

Author: Lana Gold Format: Paperback Release Date: 17/04/2021

In the second book of the ‘Call Me Cali’ series, ‘Becoming’,  we return to Cali Kistler and her new ambition to do whatever it takes to join the legendary GG’s bordello. After being told by GG herself to get more life experience before committing to the lifestyle of a high-class call girl, Cali signs on to a new Interior design class, and works on experience and self improvement in all aspects of her life. The characters that we have been introduced to us in ‘Call Me Cali: Blooming’ are back with more racy encounters than ever, and there’s a few new faces too. With her “Will they? Won’t they?” relationship with Jean-Chris getting more serious, will Cali leave her salacious life behind before it's had time to properly begin? There’s plenty of ups and downs in Cali’s story, with cringy mistakes, positive revelations and an intense motivation to claim her own future, whatever path that may be. I liked to see how the character of Cali has developed over these two books. In ‘Becoming’, Cali seems more sure of herself, and dedicated to doing what it takes to carve out the life she wants. Cali’s time at her interior design school leads Cali to face a whole host of other problems and her numerous temp agency jobs will have you chuckling even if it’s from second-hand embarrassment.  Cali’s will and determination are as apparent as ever in this second book in the series as she focuses on carving out her own place in the world, one racy encounter and college course assignment at a time.

Call Me Cali: Book 1: Blooming

Call Me Cali: Book 1: Blooming

Author: Lana Gold Format: Paperback Release Date: 16/04/2021

'Call Me Cali' sees the girl from the small town head to a big city to seek romance and adventure. At 18, Cali Kistler is cast out by her parents and sets off to New York City with a scholarship to a prestigious design school. But her naivety and perhaps overindulgence in her fantasies puts her in some difficult situations. Intrigued by the idea of dancing and in need of an income quickly, Cali goes looking for a way to make her every fantasy a reality.  I found Cali endearing in her own way, at some points superficial but I found myself reading on to make sure she was going to be ok as the plotline progressed. There are some hairy moments and Cali’s strength of character shines through. In contrast to her aim for a sexually free lifestyle, Cali meets Jean-Chris, a young Frenchman with a slightly more old-fashioned outlook on life who could perhaps lead to a more conventional path. But will she commit to her initial more racy dreams, or head to a more “normal” life plan? If I’m being honest I didn’t like Jean-Chris, I felt he was quite judgemental and condescending which came across as quite hypocritical considering his own affairs. I particularly liked Cali’s sense of character during these parts of the books because she did what she wanted, despite his thoughts and attempts to guilt her into change. As we read the story, Cali resolves to commit to work for her goals, with a plan to take on extra education, learn to become more cultured and of course indulge in her romantic fantasies as often as she can. As the book ends there’s hope and a lingering sense of anticipation as we wait to see what more is to come from Cali.

A Thing With Feathers

A Thing With Feathers

Author: J. John Nordstrom Format: Paperback Release Date: 13/02/2021

A contemporary story of soulmate love set against the unusual backdrop of the Ithaca County Public Law Library. Jonah, the lead character in ‘A Thing With Feathers’ is a bit melodramatic and endearing as he searches for meaning, literary inspiration and his great love. The plot centres around two lawyers who feel deeply alienated from a corrupt legal system and decide to become law librarians who help the public by offering free legal information and research support in the Ithaca County Public Law Library. As with any community, the visitors and staff at the library are all distinct and unique, with their own problems, flaws and circumstances. The author’s love of literature and research comes through as references to great literary works and creators such as Poe and Emily Dickinson are threaded through the narrative. It almost makes you feel like you’re learning as you read and most definitely inspires you to go back and revisit your own favourite poets and poems. There’s humour and heart in this story and I enjoyed reading it. I understand that ‘A Thing With Feathers’ is in part inspired by the author’s own experience of the law profession and his knowledge of the subject matter shines through in a believable setting and context for Jonah and Julia to meet. I liked Jonah and found myself eager to read on to see if he would find his modern-day Emily Dickinson. A great read for fans of literary fiction.

Outlander

Outlander "International Edition"

Author: Diana Gabaldon Format: Audiobook Release Date: 01/09/2020

Oh what an entertaining series this is, I have read each book as it has been published since the early 1990’s. This is historical fiction with just the tiniest winiest smidgeon of fantasy as Claire Randall steps through a stone circle in 1945 into the midst of a skirmish in 1743. Diana Gabaldon wields a mighty pen, combining a beautiful relationship story with bloody battles, political shenanigans and a somewhat brutal fight for survival. 

Audiobooks of the Month

Love’s Labours Found

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Some people say it’s not their cup of tea. But have they tried every blend? From handsome aristocrats to family feuds, holiday flings, to forbidden fruits; local community taboos to young love’s dream there’s something here to ignite passion in the hardest of hearts.

 

Whether you’re looking for something for the beach, a happy place on the way to work, or the next instalment of a much-loved character’s car-crash love-life, we’ve hand-picked the very best in romantic fiction for all tastes. Why not sign up for our email to keep up to date with new love, check out the Book of the Month recommendations for inspiration, or simply judge a book by its cover? Love at first sight!

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A selection of authors who will feature in this Lovereading category include: