Humorous Fiction

Our humour section is filled with books that contain elements of humour, from hints of smiles and smirks through to full on giggles and guffaws. Do bear in mind though, that while some of these books are pure sunshine and glee, along the way you will meet books that contain all the other emotions too. We’ve included novels from romance, crime, and even horror genres, as well as the more obvious humour tales. A writer who can make you smile and cry in the same book even the same paragraph, is to be treasured indeed. We do realise that humour can be very personal, and what makes one person roar with laughter, will only evoke a raised eyebrow in someone else. So, these are novels that we believe contain some form of humour and even if it lurks in the most unlikely of places, it will be waiting for you.

July 2022 Featured Books

The Very Nice Box

The Very Nice Box

Author: Laura Glackett, Eve Gleichman Format: Paperback Release Date: 26/07/2022

Ava Simon designs storage boxes for STAEDA, a slick Brooklyn-based furniture company. She's hard-working, obsessive and heartbroken from a tragedy that killed her girlfriend and upended her life. It's been years since she's let anyone in. But when Ava's new boss - the young and magnetic Mat Putnam - offers Ava a ride home one afternoon, an unlikely relationship blossoms. Ava remembers how rewarding it can be to open up - and, despite her hesitancy, she starts to fall for him. But what if Mat isn't who he claims to be? The Very Nice Box is a darkly comic and suspenseful novel that will keep you on the edge of your seat until its gripping finale. It's at once a satire of toxic masculinity and a big-hearted account of grief, friendship and trust.

Murder Under Her Skin

Murder Under Her Skin

Author: Stephen Spotswood Format: Paperback Release Date: 21/07/2022

The perfect murder mystery for fans of Richard Osman and Robert Thorogood. New York, 1946: The last time Will Parker let a case get personal, she walked away with a broken face, a bruised ego, and the solemn promise never again to let her heart get in the way of her job. But she called Hart and Halloway's Travelling Circus and Sideshow home for five years, and Ruby Donner, the circus's tattooed ingenue, was her friend. To make matters worse the prime suspect is Valentin Kalishenko, the man who taught Will everything she knows about putting a knife where it needs to go. To uncover the real killer and keep Kalishenko from a date with the electric chair, Will and Ms. Pentecost join the circus in sleepy Stoppard, Virginia, where the locals like their cocktails mild, the past buried, and big-city detectives not at all. The two swiftly find themselves lost in a funhouse of lies as Will begins to realize that her former circus compatriots aren't playing it straight, and that her murdered friend might have been hiding a lot of secrets beneath all that ink. Dodging fistfights, firebombs, and flying lead, Will puts a lot more than her heart on the line in the search of the truth. Can she find it before someone stops her ticker for good?

Star Books
History

History

Author: Miles Jupp Format: Paperback Release Date: 21/07/2022

Clive Hapgood is feeling stuck. The private school he teaches at is consuming his life, no thanks to wretched headteacher Julian Crouch. The gentle country life Clive envisaged has stifled him and left his marriage on the brink. What he needs is a holiday - something to remind him and Helen what life used to be like. But when things don't go to plan, and an incident at school begins to weigh heavy on his head, Clive's life starts to unravel in front of him. Has he got it in him to turn things around, whatever the cost? After all, it's his own time he's wasting... Wonderfully funny and often moving, this brilliant novel by star of The Durrells and Would I Lie To You? Miles Jupp is set to be the stand-out book of the summer.

eBooks of the Month
Venomous Lumpsucker

Venomous Lumpsucker

Author: Ned Beauman Format: Hardback Release Date: 14/07/2022

The irresistible new novel by the Booker-longlisted author Ned Beauman - a darkly funny and incisive zoological thriller for the age of Extinction Rebellion. The venomous lumpsucker is the most intelligent fish on the planet. Or maybe it was the most intelligent fish on the planet. Because it might already be extinct. Nobody knows. And nobody cares. Except for two people. Mining executive Mark Halyard has a prison cell waiting for him if that fish has gone for good. And biologist Karin Resaint needs it for her own darker purposes. They don't trust each other, but they're left with no choice but to team up, pursuing the lumpsucker across the strange landscapes of near-future Europe. On the way, they are drawn into a conspiracy far bigger than one ugly little fish. Gripping and singular, Venomous Lumpsucker is a comedy about environmental devastation that asks: do we have it in us to avert the tragedy of mass extinction? And also: do we really need to bother?

Tiny Tales

Tiny Tales

Author: Alexander McCall Smith Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/07/2022

Stories do not have to be long. In the space of a couple of sentences - or even a page or two - we may see the human heart exposed in a way that is more powerful than occurs in many much longer narratives. In Tiny Tales Alexander McCall Smith explores romance, ambition, kindness and happiness in thirty short stories that range in length from the short to the minuscule. The settings are as diverse as the characters - Scotland, England, Australia, the United States - combining to create a rich and surprising tableau. An Australian pope?. A persuasive cosmetic surgeon? The world's laziest cat. A group of students living together and getting romantically entangled? All human and animal life is here - in miniature. These stories are inspired and accompanied by the thirty magnificent strip Tiny Tales created by McCall Smith and illustrated by the brilliant Iain McIntosh - each cartoon a little gem of observation.

eBooks of the Month
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
Small Portions Cafe

Small Portions Cafe

Format: Paperback Release Date: 16/06/2021

Common experiences go through a house of mirrors to become silly, quirky and absurd additions to this short story collection. The nine short stories that make up ‘Small Portions Café’ by Douglas Fergus are entirely self-contained and can be read or from in any order, at any time, or from cover to cover. Each story is well-written, with the setting and character fleshed out enough to make them unique, separating them from the main characters in the other stories. The author also manages to play with style and form, from the song-like lyrics of ‘Sunburned, Toothless, Chain-Smoking, Alcoholic Carpenter’ to the structure in ‘Financial Responsibility Savings … And No Loans!’. This collection offers variety that could suit any mood while still working together as a collection. With puns, play on words and the occasional 4th wall break, the author's sense of humour and perspective are clear throughout the book, with the delivery getting a smirk from me as many times as the line itself. This could be an entertaining read for those who favour hyperbolic and absurdist humour. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador

June 2022 Featured Books

Briefly, A Delicious Life

Briefly, A Delicious Life

Author: Nell Stevens Format: Hardback Release Date: 23/06/2022

A ravishing riff on the real-life relationship between writer George Sand and composer Frédéric Chopin, Nell Stevens’ Briefly, A Delicious Life glows with Mediterranean heat, avant-garde verve, and a yearning that burns. Set in 1838, and narrated by Blanca, the ghost of a witty, whip-smart fourteen-year-old girl who died in a Mallorca monastery in 1473, this character-driven charmer is suffused in beauty, and casts a captivating spell. Frédéric Chopin, George Sand and her children have travelled to a monastery in Mallorca to convalesce and create. Sand is a striking woman in man’s clothes, whose arrival incites a stir on the island as it stirs Blanca’s heart and desires. As the unconventional couple struggle with the villagers’ judgements, and to find creative satisfaction, Blanca recounts her story, her experiences of falling for the beauty of women. And now she’s in love with Sand, who doesn’t know she exists, and cannot reciprocate. This wildly inventive scenario plays out ingeniously — though outlandish, through Blanca’s age-old wisdom and youthful spirit, and through the visual, sensual language, it feels real. We see and sense flurries of birds and leaves. We feel the prickle and heat of flesh and the sun. What a moving, magical, hauntingly memorable story.

eBooks of the Month
The Party Crasher

The Party Crasher

Author: Sophie Kinsella Format: Paperback Release Date: 23/06/2022

Escape with the new Sophie Kinsella romcom about family love, family tensions and family secrets. Effie's still not over her parents splitting up a year ago and her dad and his awful new girlfriend are posting photos everywhere (with the hashtags #viagraworks and #sexinyoursixties). Now they're selling the beloved family home and holding a 'house-cooling' party, but Effie hasn't been invited. Then she remembers her precious Russian dolls, safely tucked away up a chimney, and has no choice but to go back for them. She'll just creep in, grab the dolls and leave. No one will know she was ever there. But Effie can't find the dolls. And as she secretly clambers around dusty attics, hides under tables and tries (and fails) to avoid bumping into her ex-boyfriend, she discovers unexpected truths about her family - and even about herself. With time running out, Effie starts to wonder if the only way to find out what's really going on with her family is to simply crash the party... Expect shocking secrets, hilarious mix-ups and an unforgettable romance!

Double Booked

Double Booked

Author: Lily Lindon Format: Hardback Release Date: 09/06/2022

Of the many books birthed in the pandemic, Lily Lindon’s Double Booked is perhaps one of the funniest. Dubbed a queer romcom, the book is also a coming-of-age story for those who’ve outgrown their teens and are well on the way to adulthood. It makes Double Booked a refreshing take on self-discovery, a subject normally the preserve of the very young. We follow Gina as she takes on another self, George, in an attempt to live two different lives. Alongside the funnies is plenty of fizz. There’s an infectious energy to Lindon’s writing and every pages brims with real-life chat/goss/angst/love. As an editor working in publishing and someone who honed her comedic chops at Cambridge’s famous Footlights, the author is somewhat ‘double booking’ herself – and it’s paid off wonderfully. The LoveReading LitFest invited Lily Lindon to the festival to talk about Double Booked. 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.

Debut Books of the Month
Counterfeit

Counterfeit

Author: Kirstin Chen Format: Hardback Release Date: 09/06/2022

Fizzing with “how on earth will this play out?” intrigue and all the page-turning pace of a stylish screen thriller, Kirstin Chen’s Counterfeit lays bare a web of deceit that’ll have readers questioning what they’d do in a similar situation, debating characters’ motivations and ethics, and wondering what they’d have done to escape (or not). It’s brilliantly compelling stuff that also addresses the prejudicial vagaries of the American Dream. On the face of it, Ava has it all – she’s a Stanford graduate married to a transplant surgeon who’s taking time out from a career in corporate law to care for their toddler. But in reality, Ava is terribly dissatisfied, and only went into law to keep her parents happy: “from the very beginning, I’d known my lot in life: to be good enough at my job, and to tolerate it until retirement”. Hardly a recipe for fulfilment. What’s more, because “I dreaded his disapproval most of all”, her husband has no idea. Amidst growing marital tensions, while struggling with a three-year-old who won’t stop crying. Ava bumps into Winnie, her former college roommate. After leaving Stanford in the midst of a cheating scandal, Winnie appears dressed head-to-toe in designer garb, with a scandalously expensive bag collection. When Ava runs into financial trouble on a trip home to Hong Kong (thanks to her controlling husband), she decides to do Winnie a favour that’ll provide her with much-needed cash. A favour that sees Ava bound up in Winnie’s counterfeit bag business, with no easy way out. Ava’s compulsive account of events is addressed to a detective, but there being two sides to every story, we’re also presented with Winnie’s account of their early friendship, and how she came to coax Ava into her enterprise. It’s an extremely entertaining novel, with wry commentary, too. As Ava notes, “Winnie is the American dream, and that’s what drives everyone mad, mad, mad - that she had the gall to crash their game and win it all”.

Audiobooks of the Month
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?

Murder Before Evensong

Murder Before Evensong

Author: Reverend Richard Coles Format: Hardback Release Date: 09/06/2022

Canon Daniel Clement lives with his widowed mother at the Rectory in Champton and causes chaos at the Church when he announces plans to instal a lavatory! When a parishioner is found dead via a pair of secateurs, all hell breaks loose and the hunt is on for the killer.

Iron Annie

Iron Annie

Author: Luke Cassidy Format: Paperback Release Date: 09/06/2022

SHORTLISTED FOR THE DESMOND ELLIOT PRIZE 2022 When Dundalk underworld regular Aoife brings the wild and magnetic Annie to the Town, her desire to love and cling to this dangerous stranger culminates in a road trip through Britain to dispose of ten kilos of cocaine for her business partner, The Rat King. But when Annie decides not to return to Ireland, Aoife makes a decision that changes everything. Tender, tragic but ultimately hopeful, Iron Annie is a breakneck journey that crackles with energy, warmth and heart, and marks the arrival of a truly original new voice in literary fiction.

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
Keep Her Sweet

Keep Her Sweet

Author: Helen FitzGerald Format: Paperback Release Date: 26/05/2022

Expect to wince, flinch, and occasionally grimace in this highly charged and darkly amusing novel. Two grown up daughters return home to their parents and so begins the breakdown of a family. As expected this is an entirely different offering to her previous novels and yet the voice of Helen Fitzgerald is unmistakable. She does this every time, and I love it! Each of her books slips, sometimes swaggers into thoughts sending them spinning. She looks at ‘normal', picks it to pieces, and shows you something you hadn’t even considered. Here we see a family, with parents too intimately involved in their own issues to even begin to notice that sibling rivalry has turned to the dark side. The family therapist adds an extra dimension, keeps the story twisting, the unexpected ready to stick an oar in. The ending is intensely dramatic and yet oh-so convincing, no spoilers but for me it was pitch-perfect. Keep her Sweet is fabulously entertaining, and yet as confrontational and powerful as heck.

eBooks of the Month
Spin Me Right Round

Spin Me Right Round

Author: David Valdes Format: Paperback Release Date: 26/05/2022

Telling a time-slip tale of 1980s homophobia and friendship, David Valdes’ You Spin Me Right Round is a thrilling rollercoaster ride of humour and a heart - think Back to the Future with a 21st-century twist. Luis Gonzales, a drama-loving 17-year-old fashionista of Cuban heritage, is his high school’s Student Body President and on the Prom Council, determined to change school policy so he and his boyfriend Cheng can go to prom together - the “opposite gender” guest policy sucks. Reeling from having his dream quashed at a meeting, Luis is transported to a 1985 incarnation of his school, back to when his mom and dad attended. “I’m here, I’m queer, it’s 1985 - get used to it”, Luis announces with bravado, but life for a gay brown teenager in a predominantly white Christian school in the 80’s is far from easy. With time ticking away, and Luiz desperate to find a way to save closeted Chaz from homophobia and get back to his mom and Cheng, readers are in for a trip that’s thought- provoking and funny, with Luiz’s slick, witty voice propelling the drama at breakneck speed.

The House of Marvellous Books

The House of Marvellous Books

Author: Fiona Vigo Marshall Format: Hardback Release Date: 19/05/2022

Drawing on her experience of working in small publishing houses, Fiona Vigo Marshall’s The House of Marvellous Books will elicit knowing chuckles and roars from industry insiders - think fractious cover and acquisition meetings, pre-book-fair frenzies, authors’ idiosyncrasies and copious cake - plus there’s plenty of jaunty drama and human interest to satisfy readers from beyond the book world.  Told from the point of view of junior editor Mortimer Blackeley-Smith as he logs the daily downs of his workplace (there aren’t many ups to speak of), The House of Marvellous Books publishing company is run from a near-ruined library in central London, with an equally ruined bank account. The obscure religious and spiritual subjects the editors commission are hardly likely to storm bestseller lists, as the splendidly bizarre book titles suggest - Twiglets: Poems written sleeping under trees, What Trees Talk About When They Talk About Love, I Messaged God at Bedtime, Deer Scat: Poetic droppings from an earth elder. What’s more, most of their authors fail to deliver what they promised, when they promised, and Production have been known to forget to send books to print. Amidst this maelstrom, aged Chief Editor Drusilla believes the missing - and priceless - Daybreak Manuscript might save the company from ruination, but does it even exist? Most employees are unconvinced, while rumours about being bought by Russians are spreading like wildfire through a book warehouse. With an undercurrent of melancholic optimism, and an amusing cast of eccentric individuals who rather resemble a thrown together, dysfunctional family, this will charm and entertain fans of wry, dry humour. 

eBooks of the Month
Infernal Relations

Infernal Relations

Author: P.S. Rover Format: Paperback Release Date: 08/04/2022

‘Infernal Relations’ is a traditional comedy, based around the Lockwood Institute which is a finishing school with a cast of vibrant characters. It took me a moment to get to grips with the writing style, but as I read I uncovered the humour as the characters confused their Shakespearean plays and eponymous lead characters, (on and off stage).  As with the tale of Shakespeare’s Danish prince, I found Infernal Relations to be a play-within-a-play of sorts. While the Lockwood Institute’s performance forms the background tapestry of the narrative, the characters and action throughout form their own play, equally dramatic, and filled with miscommunication, confusion and calamity, reminding me of The Play That Goes Wrong in parts. I enjoyed reading this story and I also think that this would make a great piece of drama too.  I found Monty’s eccentricities and propensity to amateur apothecary amusing, and the unwitting subject of most of the events throughout the story, Spencer, an endearing character. I’m unsure of when this book is set, but I would liken it in setting and tone to something like ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’. Although this is a short book, I found it to be quite dense and I would recommend that this is a book to ponder and work through slowly to ensure you don't miss any nuance or detail that could derail your understanding or lead you to miss out on the humour of the story. Amusing and light in tone throughout, I think that ‘Infernal Relations’ is an intricate and well written book that is filled with the atmosphere of the theatre, and a great story for those missing going to plays at the moment. I enjoyed reading it and would recommend it to other literary fiction fans.  Charlotte Walker, A LoveRedaing Ambassador

Indie Books We Love

May 2022 Featured Books

Only on the Weekends

Only on the Weekends

Author: Dean Atta Format: Paperback Release Date: 24/05/2022

The highly anticipated second novel from Carnegie shortlisted Dean Atta will not disappoint fans of his unmistakeably authentic and honest #ownvoices debut verse novel The Black Flamingo. Once again drawing on his own experiences, in this case of moving from London to Scotland, this novel revolves around Mack, who is forced to accompany his film maker father and sole parent to Glasgow, leaving behind his slowly blossoming relationship with his first love Karim, a basketball star and the hottest boy in school. Mack is a true romantic, openly and unashamedly gay but with low self esteem and high levels of anxiety. He doubts his busy father’s feelings for him and wonders if his two lifelong friends like him for more than his home cinema. K is very much still in the closet and can offer little reassurance especially at a distance. Meeting Finlay, the super confident gay star of his Dad’s film, and feeling an immediate connection creates a real moral dilemma for Mack. This is a wonderfully multi-layered depiction of complex characters and the verse novel format shows again that it is so well suited to capturing emotions. There is not just a beautiful economy of language but the spacing and layout on the page recreates the drama of each moment perfectly. There is warmth, humour, a real love for Glasgow and a positive celebration of love, diversity and inclusivity in this memorable and hugely engaging novel. A real must have for library collections.

A Lady's Guide to Fortune-Hunting

A Lady's Guide to Fortune-Hunting

Author: Sophie Irwin Format: Hardback Release Date: 12/05/2022

A dashing and absolutely delicious tickle on your reading tastebuds, this historical debut novel comes with lively romance and sharp wit. With her family in danger of being made homeless, Kitty Talbot the eldest of four sisters, heads to London to bag herself a man with a fortune. While set in 1818’s high society, this is less vapours and vulnerability and more unwavering tenaciousness from the leading lady. Sophie Irwin creates a vivid setting and vivacious tone, I found myself in Georgian London, yet Kitty could be running round the streets today. Kitty is an absolute delight, she is essentially on war footing and determined to save her family and home, nothing less than the richest of rich men will do. I read this in one heady sitting, light, bright, and fun yet with bite, I’ve chosen this debut as a Liz Pick of the Month. With everything you’d expect from a Regency romance yet refreshingly different, A Lady’s Guide to Fortune Hunting is a colourful, charming, and sparkling read.

Liz Robinson's Picks of the Month
The Echo Chamber

The Echo Chamber

Author: John Boyne Format: Paperback Release Date: 12/05/2022

What a thing of wonder a mobile phone is. Six ounces of metal, glass and plastic, fashioned into a sleek, shiny, precious object. At once, a gateway to other worlds - and a treacherous weapon in the hands of the unwary, the unwitting, the inept. The Cleverley family live a gilded life, little realising how precarious their privilege is, just one tweet away from disaster. George, the patriarch, is a stalwart of television interviewing, a 'national treasure' (his words), his wife Beverley, a celebrated novelist (although not as celebrated as she would like), and their children, Nelson, Elizabeth, Achilles, various degrees of catastrophe waiting to happen. Together they will go on a journey of discovery through the Hogarthian jungle of the modern living where past presumptions count for nothing and carefully curated reputations can be destroyed in an instant. Along the way they will learn how volatile, how outraged, how unforgiving the world can be when you step from the proscribed path. Powered by John Boyne's characteristic humour and razor-sharp observation, The Echo Chamber is a satiric helter skelter, a dizzying downward spiral of action and consequence, poised somewhere between farce, absurdity and oblivion. To err is maybe to be human but to really foul things up you only need a phone.

The Man Who Died Twice

The Man Who Died Twice

Author: Richard Osman Format: Paperback Release Date: 12/05/2022

It's the following Thursday. Elizabeth has received a letter from an old colleague, a man with whom she has a long history. He's made a big mistake, and he needs her help. His story involves stolen diamonds, a violent mobster, and a very real threat to his life. As bodies start piling up, Elizabeth enlists Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron in the hunt for a ruthless murderer. And if they find the diamonds too? Well, wouldn't that be a bonus? But this time they are up against an enemy who wouldn't bat an eyelid at knocking off four septuagenarians. Can The Thursday Murder Club find the killer (and the diamonds) before the killer finds them?

Audiobooks of the Month
Ellie Pillai is Brown

Ellie Pillai is Brown

Author: Christine Pillainayagam Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/05/2022

Navigating loss, love and family strains while standing out as a brown girl in a predominantly white school isn’t easy for Ellie, a budding songwriter and music aficionado. A beautiful, funny ode to finding the strength to sing up and stand out, Ellie Pillai is Brown is sure to chime with readers who also feel they don’t quite fit in, with QR codes peppered through the book bringing Ellie’s songs to life, and adding extra depth to the experience. Ellie Pillai is a girl who know what she loves — music. And, against her parents’ wishes, she’s set on making a go of her drama GCSE, determined to find a way to overcome feeling invisible. While her family are mourning the loss of her little brother, which has left Ellie and her mum terribly distant from each other, Ellie has the stable support of her best friend. But her life is well and truly shaken up when a new boy and his twin sister arrive at her school. While handsome Ash is the only person who gets all her music references and understands the power of a playlist and finding the right song for every situation, it looks like he’s hooked up with her best friend, so Ellie tries to put him out of her mind. At the same time, Ellie’s new drama teacher instils her with confidence: “I think you have presence, something special about you. Something different”. If only Ellie can stop putting herself in a box and making herself small. Exploring grief, consent, family expectations, self-confidence, first love, same sex love and mental health through its well-drawn cast of characters, Ellie Pillai is Brown strikes a smart balance between humour and emotion.

Debut Books of the Month
Sorrow and Bliss

Sorrow and Bliss

Author: Meg Mason Format: Paperback Release Date: 28/04/2022

It’s hard to believe it’s a debut as the challenging subject matter of depression is handled with such a deft touch. So dark, it’s pitch, pitch black. Yet so so sensitive. It’s a masterclass in ascerbic narration and perfectly pitches the dark and the light. When we first meet Martha, she talks about her husband Patrick with such disdain, such boredom and he comments that Martha can supply anyone with an inventory of his flaws. But then everyone thinks he’s perfection, so sweet, so kind, living his life in the middle setting with Martha swinging between the extremes. So where does it all go wrong? Narrated in the aftermath of their separation, Martha is forced to return to her childhood home to live with her dysfunctional, eccentric, bohemian parents this book is filled with laughs and tears. At the heart of the novel is long term mental illness, the crushing depression with which Martha has battled since childhood, a depression which comes in waves for weeks or months at a time. However, it’s never named in the book; what is more important is Martha’s quest to know herself, to work out who is she is and why she never seems able to find contentment. It’s hilarious. It’s brilliant. It’s a sharp observational and witty book of huge talent and I can’t wait to read more of what Meg Mason has to offer.

Books of the Month

Read, Learn & Laugh!