Books of the Month

Hot off the press! Check out the books we think are the best of the best this month!

May 2022 Featured Books

Two Nights in Lisbon

Two Nights in Lisbon

Author: Chris Pavone Format: Hardback Release Date: 24/05/2022

Wowsers. It’s kind-of a cliché to praise quality thrillers for being unpredictable and un-put-down-able, but Chris Pavone’s Two Nights in Lisbon delivers both those qualities with outstanding style. Reeling with smart misdirection, and raising questions around how well we really know people, Two Nights in Lisbon is a twisty rollercoaster of a read. The unnerving scenes of an American woman, Ariel, waking-up in Lisbon to find her husband gone soon veers in a direction you won’t see coming, setting the tone for the rest of the novel. Just when you think you’ve figured out what kind of story this is — bam! A new nugget comes to light and you’re hurtled down an entirely different track. In Lisbon for a vacation around her new husband’s work trip, Ariel reports his disappearance to the local police, and then the US Embassy. Neither are particularly interested at first — he hasn’t been gone that long, maybe he’s off with a mistress. A tonne of everyday explanations could account for his absence. But it’s not long before the stakes are raised — think changed identities, NDAs, and a murky situation in which it seems that no one’s who they claim to be. As Ariel remarks, “We tell ourselves stories about each other, about ourselves too, our pasts. We construct our narratives, we start with the big picture and then add details one by one, like building a house”, ending up with something “that looks like it’s been there forever, even though it’s a brand-new fabrication”.  And, having built a new life for herself, Ariel is forced to return to her past if her new husband is to have a future, and all the while she has her son back home to worry about, “one of the reasons that Ariel felt like she’d been living on high alert, waiting for some bad thing to happen”. Diving headlong into male abuses of power, and touching on how we leave digital footprints even if we try our damndest to be digitally invisible, Two Nights in Lisbon is a triumph.

Books of the Month
Kalmann

Kalmann

Author: Joachim B. Schmidt Format: Paperback Release Date: 19/05/2022

Thoroughly provocative, punchy, thoughtful and empathetic, I found this novel and its narrator to be an unforgettable reading experience. While his thoughts often put him on a different track to others, Kalmann is a hunter. His discovery of blood in the snow lead the police to believe a missing businessman has been murdered, even though there is no body. Kalmann has the most wonderfully distinctive voice, it feels open and trusting, and he appears to see the small almost inconsequential things that actually really matter. The plot hums along, the connection to Kalmanm grows, and Joachim B Schmidt encouraged the suspense to hover over me as I read. I found myself waiting, ready to tip one way or the other as my thoughts tripped and twisted. Translator Jamie Lee Searle does a cracking job, I felt as though I belonged, even while exclaiming at the differences. The impact of Kalmann shouldn’t be underestimated, he creeps under your skin and sits there quite contentedly waiting for your reaction. A worthy LoveReading Star Book, Kalmann is strikingly vivid, surprising, and incredibly powerful too. Loved it! The LoveReading LitFest invited Joachim B. Schmidt to the festival to talk about Kalmann. The digitally native, all year round, online literature and books festival, with new content released every week is a free-for-all-users festival. What are you waiting for? Check out a preview of the event and sign up to become a member. 

Star Books
All the Seas of the World

All the Seas of the World

Author: Guy Gavriel Kay Format: Hardback Release Date: 17/05/2022

With echoes of the Renaissance Guy Gavriel Kay brings intrigue, revenge, war, and exile face to face with love, friendship, and hope. This powerful and striking story begins with those tasked with an assassination, and grows to encompass many more people and places. Here we continue on in the times from A Brightness Long Ago featuring new as well as previously met characters. If you’ve not yet stepped foot into this particular world (not all of his novels are from these lands), then the quality of writing is such that you can most certainly read All the Seas of the World as a standalone. Please do though visit past books as not only are there truly beautiful stories to discover and the obvious connection to the previous novel, there are other whispers too from longer ago. The map had me poring over memories, and within the list of principal characters I welcomed old friends. While I immediately felt a sense of coming home, my emotions were hung above a sharpened knife edge. The narrator, occasionally present, sits in overview, words sinking into thoughts and feelings, and a little way in I met one particular friend from Brightness who again spoke directly to me. I folded into and around a story that boldly and brilliantly ventures onto the seas. I particularly loved the small slices of individual lives and how they knitted together and influenced the larger scale events. The most inconsequential moment could seem momentous as it formed around one person. It felt as though both history, the present, and the future was being told. Just as a little aside, I have been reading Guy Gavriel Kay’s novels since I tipped into my twenties. He is one of two authors who I count as being hugely positive influences, and from my late teens on I have been able to trust in their integrity, empathy, and principles as I read. You can probably tell from my thoughts and feelings about All The Seas of the World, that I still hold Guy Gavriel Kay’s writing in the highest regard and this new book will sit as a particular favourite. His words, they really make my emotions sing, and that was certainly the case here. So it will come as no surprise that All the Seas of the World sits as a LoveReading Star Book and Liz Pick for its month of publication, it also comes with a standing ovation from me.

Star Books
The House with the Golden Door

The House with the Golden Door

Author: Elodie Harper Format: Hardback Release Date: 12/05/2022

The second adrenaline-charged instalment of Elodie Harper's Pompeii-set trilogy (we adored The Wolf Den), The House with the Golden Door picks up Amara’s gripping story after she’s been freed from Pompeii’s most notorious brothel, though that comes at a perilously high price, and she’s far from a free woman. Richly evocative, and reeling with drama and the determined passion and conflicts of its unforgettable heroine, this is historical fiction at its most thrillingly entertaining. Though Amara’s shift in status from Wolf Den whore to courtesan brings some freedom and a better standard of living, her life now depends on her new patron, a wealthy, well-connected man who wants her to remain thin and has her at his whim — she’s his “little bird”, his “pretty little thing”. While adjusting to her new life, and taking enormous risks in the name of true love, Amara frees some friends from the Wolf Den, but at great financial and emotional cost, for this results in her becoming indebted to the man she was freed from, "the most violent pimp in Pompeii". Though owned and forced to lead grossly subservient lives, the women of The House with the Golden Door are guileful and ambitious. Fierce Britannica, for example, wants to be a gladiator. But betrayals, bribery, and a persistent “crushing sense of powerlessness” ensures readers are in for an irresistibly exhilarating ride. That said, Amara is a woman who refuses to be crushed. In her words, “there is always a price to pay for underestimating a woman”. With a heady climax leaving Amara on the brink of tremendous change, the final book can’t come quick enough.

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
What Eden Did Next

What Eden Did Next

Author: Sheila O'Flanagan Format: Hardback Release Date: 28/04/2022

When loved ones from the past reappear in our lives unexpectedly, they have a habit of shaking things up. And not always for the bad. For Eden Hall, the return of an old childhood friend - five years after the death of her beloved Andy – forces her to re-evaluate emotional connections to the past and the relationships that will shape her future. Her late husband’s family have been nothing short of perfect. But when Eden and daughter Lila show signs of moving on, ties with her controlling in-laws become strained. Will Eden have the resilience to put her own happiness first? And will she ever let go of her one true love? Sheila O’Flanagan is a masterful storyteller who delves into female relationships, and the female experience, with authenticity and energy. The friendship between Eden and an elderly patient is particularly special, and for a Desperate Housewives measure of sex, gossip and flirtation, the women of Sycamore Grove, O’Flanagan’s fictional Dublin neighbourhood, are the perfect tonic! Their short, sassy WhatsApp messages offer light relief to the heart-breaking love letters Eden pens to her dead husband. What Eden Did Next is a captivating exploration of how friendship and love can help us overcome adversity. How lives really can be rebuilt after trauma. And why we should always, always listen to our heart. A gorgeously uplifting, romantic read for the new season.

Books of the Month
True Biz

True Biz

Author: Sara Novic Format: Hardback Release Date: 21/04/2022

Driven by the interlinked lives of a headteacher and one of her pupils, Sara Novic’s True Biz is an incredibly compelling, stirring story that takes in civil rights and disability rights through the coming-of-age tumult of a rebellious deaf teenager. As Charlie tackles the challenges of being brought up in a hearing household and how she’s been treated by the medical profession, headteacher February faces a fight to keep her school open, and her marriage on track. Until she starts at River Valley School for the Deaf, Charlie has never met a deaf person. Her hearing parents are divorced, and her relationship with her mother has always been a fractious tinderbox. Amidst this turmoil, Charlie arrives at her new school unable to sign, with a cochlear implant that’s done little to help her — “the language acquisition skills the doctors had promised post-implant had been slow to materialise”. Through Charlie’s longstanding, painful problems with her implant, True Biz addresses the ethics of non-consensual implants, and also tells of “hospital horror stories” experienced by deaf patients, with medical professionals overlooking, disregarding, or not recognising cries for help. The story is also interspersed with information on ASL (America Sign Language) and Deaf history. For example, we learn how Alexander Graham Bell propagated eugenics in his belief that sign language should be eradicated, and that Black ASL (BASL) developed as a result of the segregation of students. True Biz also reveals enduring racism towards BASL — how the language is stigmatised. At school, while Charlie tries to fit in and find friends, she experiences the awakenings of first love and lusts, and comes to a political awakening, too. The various characters’ stories are brilliantly interlinked, and make for a tremendously powerful novel that’s tender, absorbing and altogether illuminating.

Books of the Month
Who's Lying Now?

Who's Lying Now?

Author: Susan Lewis Format: Hardback Release Date: 14/04/2022

Emotions are running high in the coastal town of Kesterly-on-Sea. It’s the height of a pandemic; an important friendship is in tatters and more than one marriage hangs in the balance. But for high-flying couple Jeannie and Guy Symonds, life couldn’t be sweeter. Until 6 January 2021 - the day Jeannie mysteriously disappears. Fans of Susan Lewis won’t be disappointed, those new to her books will be sucked right in. This is a novel that exudes suspense, sexual tension and a cast of perfectly developed characters who all have their own stories to tell and secrets to hide. With each chapter comes a new revelation or encounter that has you questioning what you know and who you believe, who you are rooting for and who you are slowly beginning to mistrust. This is page-turning, nail-biting stuff! Thankfully, Trainee Investigator, Cara Jakes, and Detective Andee Lawrence – a much-loved figure from Lewis’ earlier novels – are on hand to help us unravel the truth. The camaraderie between the newbie detective and Lawrence, along with various other female relationships in the novel, adds real warmth to this otherwise bleak world. A world in which the mistakes of the past are never forgotten and negative childhood experiences are woven into the very fabric of our futures. Who’s Lying Now? is a piece of wonderfully crafted crime fiction – but it also captures the very real world inhabited by us all in pandemic times. Add it to your reading list!

Books of the Month

April 2022 Featured Books

Six Days

Six Days

Author: Dani Atkins Format: Hardback Release Date: 14/04/2022

A gorgeous and thoughtful relationship tale with bite and intrigue as well as love and friendship. This novel takes you by the hand and expands through your thoughts as you live alongside Gemma when her fiancé fails to turn up at their wedding. She is determined to think the best of him, however she begins to realise that friends and family think the worst. Dani Atkins has the most thought-provoking pen, her words don’t just reach inside and touch my heart, they also shake emotions, hit thoughts, and leave the characters and story a part of me. I always look forward to her novels, she is such a consistent writer, though she certainly knows how to keep your feelings hovering on the edge of free-fall. While you live through six days with Gemma as she searches for Finn, memories and the past surface to allow Finn access into the story. A vivid and vibrant picture forms of their relationship alongside the suspense of his disappearance. As my knowledge of the couple grew, as I immersed myself in their story, I cared, really cared about the outcome. This is most definitely a story about a love, it also successfully balances tension, particularly as it weaves its way towards the end. Six Days is a page-turning, stimulating absolute beauty of a novel, that I can recommend heart and soul.

Books of the Month
Into the Dark

Into the Dark

Author: Fiona Cummins Format: Hardback Release Date: 14/04/2022

This fabulous crime thriller is full, absolutely stuffed full to overflowing with intense, smart, powerful writing. A local family goes missing in suspicious circumstances, the police, their friends and neighbours rush to fill in the gaps of their disappearance in order to find them. The novel runs along different timelines, revealing stories from both before and after the Holden’s were found to be missing. A number of different strands open up, running alongside each other, but in themselves independent. It feels as though there are enough stories here to fill several separate novels, yet it doesn’t ever feel cluttered. Fiona Cummins keeps the characters, time frames, and plot all spinning up in the air with aplomb, any that drop and smash open are done so deliberately and I found myself on tenterhooks, waiting for the next to fall. The darkness grows, stealing across the pages, almost overwhelming in its intensity. The words crept into my thoughts, suggesting, encouraging suspicion and questions to grow and expand. Even though I had been led to expect some of the events taking place, I was still shocked when they did, and that is the skill of the writing here. I found myself on that wonderful reading clifftop of suspense before falling out into the heart-stopping void, and so I’ve chosen Into the Dark as a Liz Pick of the Month. This breath-stealing novel offers dramatic, satisfying, pure reading pleasure, so we also declare it a LoveReading Star Book.

Books of the Month
Shadow Girls

Shadow Girls

Author: Carol Birch Format: Hardback Release Date: 14/04/2022

I loved this atmospheric, coming-of-age novel, with its ghostly and tragic undertones. Shadow Girls explores the fragility and intensity of teenage friendships in the mid-1960s. The book instantly conjured up memories of my own school days in the 1980s – adolescent emotions, rebellious behaviour, first relationships and cliquey peer groups. The characters leapt out of the page, thanks to the stunning, highly descriptive prose and believable dialogue. The first half of the book is a slowburn, building up the tension and feelings of nostalgia; the second half is unsettling and much darker. The supernatural element of the book worked well for me too, sending a chill down my spine, and with an unreliable narrator it was very difficult to know what was real and what wasn't. Shadow Girls is also a beautiful written novel about mental health and the psychological impact of grief. It's a haunting read, and one that stayed with me long after I turned the final page. 

Books of the Month
Cops and Horrors

Cops and Horrors

Author: Matt Calveley Format: Paperback Release Date: 14/04/2022

In recent times, I’ve read several thought provoking police auto-biographies which describe careers where the author climbed the ranks and achieved high office. As a result, they did not reveal what life was like for the 30-year, career constable who spends his, or her, working life at the sharp-end. Many, I know, enjoy reading about what life is really like in our police service, but would like to hear from someone who wasn’t promoted and who remained in uniform, serving the public. This is the book they have been waiting for. Cops and Horrors fills a void and does so extremely well. From routine day-to-day tasks through to adrenalin-fuelled car chases, this book demonstrates the huge range of responsibilities and roles the modern-day police officer is expected to perform well, without fear or favour, and without making a mistake. I found the one-off use of present tense in the prologue to 'Cops and Horrors' to be a little clunky and, in the opening chapters, the narrative is quite slow. However, this is, however, a book to keep reading because the pace soon increases and it gets better and better, as you progress. It’s informative, enlightening and exciting. It is harrowing, emotionally charged and, at times, tragic. I loved it! Highly recommended.

Books of the Month
The Rebel's Mark

The Rebel's Mark

Author: S. W. Perry Format: Hardback Release Date: 07/04/2022

Full of enthralling action, with a mix of fictional and real characters, this is a striking tale set in thought-provoking times, Dr Nicholas Shelby finds himself again acting as spy for Robert Cecil as Ireland rebels against Elizabeth’s rule. The Jackdaw Mysteries Series is one of my favourites, S. W. Perry is wonderfully consistent with his conjuring of the era, introducing thrilling plots and fascinating characters. Here we are at book five, and I highly recommend starting with The Angel's Mark and reading in order if you’ve not yet had the pleasure of meeting Nicholas and Bianca. The court of Elizabeth thrums with activity and intrigue, and The Jackdaw inn remains at the centre of the tale even as Nicholas and Bianca travel to Ireland, a country fighting for its freedom. The mix of real characters and fact blended with fiction is really successful, it is all too easy to imagine the instability of the times and compare them to today. There is a strength to Nicholas and Bianca being together, their relationship allows a deeper exploration of the precariousness of being wound up so tightly in Cecil’s web. The Rebel’s Mark is a fabulous continuation of a winning series, long live the Jackdaw Mysteries! 

Books of the Month
Sorrowland

Sorrowland

Author: Rivers Solomon Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/04/2022

A triumphant, genre-bending novel, following a young Black woman through a nightmarish yet recognisable landscape as she attempts to create a new life for herself and her children. Vern, a hunted woman alone in the woods, gives birth to twins and raises them away from the influence of the outside world. But something is wrong - not with them, but with her own body. It's changing, it's stronger, it's not normal. To understand her body's metamorphosis, Vern must investigate the secluded religious compound from which she fled and the violent history of dehumanisation, medical experimentation and genocide that produced it. In the course of reclaiming her own darkness, Vern learns that monsters aren't just individuals, but entire histories, systems and nations. Rivers Solomon's Sorrowland is a memorable work of Gothic fiction that wrestles with the tangled history of racism in America and the marginalisation of society's undesirables. It is a searing, seminal book that marks the arrival of a bold, unignorable voice in American fiction. 

Books of the Month
Woman, Eating

Woman, Eating

Author: Claire Kohda Format: Hardback Release Date: 24/03/2022

Funny, unsettling and searingly affecting Claire Kohda’s Woman, Eating is a devour-in-one-sitting kind of novel. A feverish feast of female-centred fiction that explores our fundamental yearning to belong, and our complex relationship with food, hunger and our bodies through a brilliantly-bold, freshly-told twist on vampire tales. Lydia’s vampiric condition is revealed in wry style when she rents a studio space for artists. For a few pages, her sensitivity to sun and light could be interpreted as a medical affliction, before bam! We learn of Lydia’s struggle to source fresh pigs’ blood, and that her institutionalised, centuries-old mother was responsible for turning her into the part-human, part-demon she now exists as. An existence that’s left her unbearably isolated, feeling “like my body is a puppet”, and with a complex relationship to hunger and food. While she can’t digest the kind of sustenance humans enjoy, Lydia is acutely aware of the way humans “give food a lot of power…If you lose control in your life, you can find control in your food”. This is the first time Lydia has lived apart from her mother. Her loneliness is excruciating, and exacerbated when she meets new people at the studio and during her gallery internship. Lydia’s longing for physical and emotional closeness is palpable, as is her struggle to contain her impulse to feed herself fresh blood. Alongside this, the novel explores colonialism as vampirism — Lydia is a young British woman born to a Japanese father and a Malaysian mother whose father was “a white British man who had arrived in Malaysia as part of a colonising power. He ate many women, but for some reason had her drink from him so she would become what he was”. Such questions around identity and an intense sense of hunger sear through this uniquely powerful novel.

Books of the Month
Verity

Verity

Author: Colleen Hoover Format: Paperback Release Date: 20/01/2022

Lowen Ashleigh, a struggling writer, loses her mum, becomes homeless, is on the brink of financial ruin and she thinks all is lost. That’s until she is invited to a meeting to discuss her taking the baton from a global bestselling author Verity Crawford, to finish the final three books in an award-winning series. Verity’s husband Jeremy hires Lowen to pick up where his injured wife left off. When trawling through the messy office in their sprawling home, Lowen finds Verity's draft autobiography, a grippingly honest account of her life that surely no-one was ever intended to read. The admissions and the horror shock you to the core as all sympathy for this injured woman flies out of the window. As Lowen reads the manuscript page by page she falls harder and harder for Jeremy. Should she show him the autobiography? Is it her chance for happiness now? A departure from the emotional love stories Colleen Hoover is known for, this is a emotional rollercoaster that grips you from the start, and you can’t wait to see how it ends.  

Books of the Month

March 2022 Featured Books

River Clyde

River Clyde

Author: Simone Buchholz Format: Paperback Release Date: 17/03/2022

A thoughtfully lyrical yet full-on blast of, well, just how do I describe a novel that doesn’t neatly slot into any traditional genre. Bestselling and award winning Simone Buchholz is well known for her beautifully provocative Chastity Riley series, I’ve adored them from the beginning with Blue Night. Here she tunes her unique voice to a slightly different dial. Noir - oh yes, fantasy - perhaps, relationship story - potentially, family drama - yup, modern and contemporary - bang on, in other words, don’t even attempt to pigeon-hole, just read. Chastity leaves her grieving friends and her job as a State Prosecutor in Hamburg behind to explore her roots in Glasgow. Chastity is one of my favourite characters in fiction, at 48 she’s lived through hell, and is broken yet strong. As I read goosebumps skittered down my arms. The River Clyde character lends an almost otherworldly feel, it travels to the parts of the mind that lurk in dark and hidden places. Even so this smacks of authenticity, it feels so blimmin real! This is a novel that pushes you to think, it grabs thoughts, chews them up, and spits them back out again. Is it an end or a new beginning, only time will tell. Big shout out to translator Rachel Ward, it feels as though she and Simon Buchholz are as one. River Clyde is 230 pages of fabulous, joining an exciting and oh so satisfying series. 

Books of the Month
Sunrise by the Sea

Sunrise by the Sea

Author: Jenny Colgan Format: Paperback Release Date: 17/03/2022

In a quaint seaside resort, a charming bakery holds the key to another world... Curl up and escape with Jenny Colgan  When she is given the opportunity to move to a remote tidal island off the Cornish Coast, Marisa Rossi decides some peace and quiet might be just what she needs. Since the death of her beloved grandfather back in Italy, she's been struggling to find a way out of her grief. Perhaps this will be the perfect place for her to recuperate. But Mount Polbearne is a far cry from the sleepy little place she was imagining. Between her noisy piano-teaching Russian neighbour and the hustle and bustle of a busy community, Marisa finds solitude is not so easy to come by. Especially when she finds herself somehow involved with a tiny local bakery desperately in need of some new zest to save it . . . 

Books of the Month
The Vatican Secret

The Vatican Secret

Author: David Leadbeater Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/03/2022

The clock is ticking for ex-MI5 agent, Joe Mason. An elderly professor under his protection has been ruthlessly murdered in the Vatican archives; if he doesn’t act fast to track down the people responsible, and the book of secrets in their possession, the threat to the Church and the world at large could be devastating. David Leadbeater brings his codebreaking quest to life by perfectly balancing explosive action sequences with key historical detail. Car chases, boat crashes, hand-to-hand combat and a healthy dose of brutal murder all help to keep the blood pumping and the pages turning. But there’s plenty to discover too about the ancient cities, churches and artefacts that lie at the heart of Christianity. The relationships between Mason and Roxy - his feisty fellow agent - and other comrades they encounter on their chase are also central to the unfolding drama. Each carries their own physical or psychological scars that are explored sensitively as the action builds. The success of this mission could help them all atone for past mistakes and misjudgments - so failure is not an option. The Vatican Secret is a thrilling novel that whisks you through crypts and catacombs, across stormy waters and treacherous caves. But it’s also a timely story about corruption, fake news and the danger posed by power hungry leaders. In a world as dark as this, it feels like Joe Mason has arrived on the scene just when we need him the most.

Books of the Month
The Patient

The Patient

Author: Tim Sullivan Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/03/2022

Detective Sergeant George Cross seems to be the only police officer prepared to listen to the mother of a dead drug user when she claims her daughter had been murdered. Cross is intrigued, and decides to look into the claim. The premise - a detective re-investigating the work of a colleague who would prefer his failings are not exposed- is very real and very prescient. Before turning to writing police procedurals, Tim Sullivan enjoyed a successful career as a screen writer, working with some famous actors on some well known series. 'The Patient' is his third book in what, so far, has been a very popular and enjoyable detective series. George Cross is a character who reminds me of several detectives I’ve worked with in the past. He is autistic, a quality that may cause some readers to question whether he could become a police officer, let alone a detective. In reality, the sense of focus, the ability to see things others don’t and the attention to detail are qualities I have seen in some very capable real-life detectives who had struggled as a uniform officer but excelled at detective work. Cross does them great credit. His character – at times funny, at times frustrating – is a refreshing change from the maverick, hard-drinking types so often created for a protagonist. His working partner, Josie Ottey, is perfect. Josie is Cross’s anchor, his mentor and his champion. She understands his strengths and appreciates his eccentricities. At times comical, at times poignant, their partnership makes for compelling reading. Highly recommended.

Books of the Month
Remember Me

Remember Me

Author: Charity Norman Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/03/2022

With an all-consuming plot and characters that feel vibrantly real, this is an engaging and eloquent novel. Emily travels home to New Zealand and finds herself living in her father’s past as well as the present as his health deteriorates. As Felix reveals details of a woman who went missing 25 years ago, Emily begins to fear for his future. There are two distinct sides to this story, both hitting with equal intensity as they begin to intertwine. The journey Alzheimers can take spears feelings, while the story of the missing women sits waiting, biding its time. The sense of place is vividly realised, and hovers, ever present. I love Charity Norman’s writing, I find myself exploring everyday situations with new awareness as she opens the unknown and gives it voice. This tale almost sits entirely within the circle of Leah and her father Felix and I felt as though I was watching them in person, experiencing their emotions alongside them. There was a feeling of inevitability as I observed them, I could feel their pain at the cruelty inflicted. There were times when the story was so quiet it actually felt as though it was yelling. And yet there is joy to be found, and hope too, as well as a reminder that the obvious isn’t always so. Remember Me is a touching, thoughtful novel even as it dances through memories with devastating results. 

Books of the Month
Unhinged

Unhinged

Author: Thomas Enger & Jørn Lier Horst Format: Paperback Release Date: 17/02/2022

An all-in all-out absolute belter of a read, and I’m still coming down from the most amazing reading high. Bear with me, as it’s also one of those books where I don’t want to say too much in case I inadvertently include spoilers! Police Officer Alexander Blix and news blogger Emma Ramm investigate a murder which hits too close to home. This is the third in the superb Blix and Ramm series by Jorn Lier Horst and Thomas Enger. As with the previous novel, translator Megan Turney ensures you only realise just how good the translation has been once you’ve finished and come up for air. Do start with Death Deserved and Smoke Screen as they most definitely warrant your attention before starting on Unhinged. One of the things I love about this series is that Blix and Emma aren’t an obvious duo and their individual stories carry as much weight as the joined. Put plenty of reading time aside, as I hit top gear from the whammy of a start and didn’t want to put it down, even for a second. Short chapters, shifts in focus, and rapid changes in time frames kept me on my toes and high alert. The storytelling is just superb, I’d love to know how these two writers created such a seamless and fast-moving plot. Once I’d finished, and my mind had stopped racing around, I had to have some time out to recover. Chosen as a LoveReading Star Book, Unhinged is pure, unadulterated and absolutely thrilling reading pleasure! The LoveReading LitFest invited Jørn Lier Horst & Thomas Enger to the festival to talk about Unhinged. The digitally native, all year round, online literature and books festival, with new content released every week is a free-for-all-users festival. What are you waiting for? Check out a preview of the event and sign up to become a member.

Star Books

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