Debuts

There’s something about a debut. The team at LoveReading adore discovering a new favourite author. Can you imagine the blood, sweat, tears and love that has gone into the process of becoming an author? Here you can be in at the start and then recommend your favourites far and wide.

Lightseekers

Lightseekers

Author: Femi Kayode Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/07/2022

Winner of the 2019 UEA Crime Writing Prize, Lightseekers is the start of a major new crime series introducing investigative psychologist Dr Philip Taiwo. When three young students are brutally murdered in a Nigerian university town, their killings - and their killers - are caught on social media. The world knows who murdered them; what no one knows is why. As the legal trial begins, investigative psychologist Philip Taiwo is contacted by the father of one of the boys, desperate for some answers to his son's murder. But Philip is an expert in crowd behaviour and violence, not a detective, and after travelling to the sleepy university town that bore witness to the killings, he soon feels dramatically out of his depth. Will he finally be able to uncover the truth of what happened to the Okiri Three?

Star Books
The Other Black Girl

The Other Black Girl

Author: Zakiya Dalila Harris Format: Paperback Release Date: 09/06/2022

Twenty-six-year-old editorial assistant Nella Rogers is tired of being the only Black employee at Wagner Books. Fed up with the isolation and the micro-aggressions, she's thrilled when Hazel starts working in the cubicle beside hers. They've only just started comparing natural hair care regimens, though, when a string of uncomfortable events cause Nella to become Public Enemy Number One and Hazel, the Office Darling. Then the notes begin to appear on Nella's desk: LEAVE WAGNER. NOW. It's hard to believe Hazel is behind these hostile messages. But as Nella starts to spiral and obsess over the sinister forces at play, she soon realises that there is a lot more at stake than her career. Dark, funny and furiously entertaining, The Other Black Girl will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very last twist.

Debut Books of the Month
Love Radio

Love Radio

Author: Ebony LaDelle Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/06/2022

Romantic love, family love, friend love, and selflove — Ebony LaDelle’s Love Radio debut is an uplifting joy, with two adorable teen characters teetering on the cusp of adulthood while dealing with big problems from the past, and questions about the future. Dani definitely isn’t looking for love. Not after what happened when her former friend left her alone with that college boy. And not when she’s so set on going to college and becoming a writer. A writer with the impact of her heroines, Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison, and bell hooks. Meanwhile, Prince (AKA DJ LoveJones), is obsessed with music, and offers love advice on his hugely popular radio show around caring for his sick mom and adorable little brother Mook. When they meet, the fiery sparks can’t be ignored, so Dani agrees to giving Prince three dates to convince her not to swear off love. Cue a stack of sweetness from Prince (the dates he comes up with are so, so thoughtful), and Dani doing a whole lot of soul-searching. Alongside delivering a beautiful, exhilarating love story, the author weaves in Black history, and shows the power of kids seeing themselves represented in books. It also offers gorgeous representations of family love, support, respect and fun gatherings that allow everyone to thrive. All of which means Love Radio is inspirational, empowering, and super-sweet — what’s not to love?

Vladimir

Vladimir

Author: Julia May Jonas Format: Hardback Release Date: 26/05/2022

Charged with sexual and moral tensions, Julia May Jonas’ Vladimir debut is tantalisingly provocative from start to finish. Its complex, fallible characters are nigh unforgettable as they storm, teeter and flounder on multiple brinks of human experience. Shot-through with dark humour, with a cunning, unexpected sense of hubris rearing forth in the feverish finale, Vladimir is a tragi-comic gem of our times, and incredibly compelling as it lays bare extra-marital affairs with dubious imbalances of power, fulfilling desire through devious means, and middle class, middle-age crises. “When I was a child, I loved old men, and I could tell that they also loved me”. “I’ve always felt the origin of anger in my vagina and am surprised it is not mentioned more in literature”. These are the kinds of declarations made by the novel’s narrator, a middle-aged English professor at a liberal college in the US. Though long accepting of her husband’s affairs (they’ve always had an open agreement about extra-marital sex), he’s now facing accusations of sexual misconduct from former students. Since they teach at the same college, his actions are making her life pretty difficult. At the same time, “trapped in the prison of vanity”, she develops an obsession with a younger novelist. Through the extraordinary escalation of the narrator's infatuation, we see the extremities of manipulation, desire, and the desire to be desired. She becomes, in her words, an “evil puppeteer”. But this is no straightforward story of affairs and lust. The novel careers to a crazy, unexpected, and quite brilliant denouement, with a sense of tenderness and gallows humour through the darker subject matter. At once edgy, playful and serious, Vladimir is a compulsive triumph.

Debut Books of the Month
The Maid

The Maid

Author: Nita Prose Format: Hardback Release Date: 14/04/2022

I am your maid. I know about your secrets. Your dirty laundry. But what do you know about me? Molly the maid is all alone in the world. A nobody. She's used to being invisible in her job at the Regency Grand Hotel, plumping pillows and wiping away the grime, dust and secrets of the guests passing through. She's just a maid - why should anyone take notice? But Molly is thrown into the spotlight when she discovers an infamous guest, Mr Black, very dead in his bed. This isn't a mess that can be easily cleaned up. And as Molly becomes embroiled in the hunt for the truth, following the clues whispering in the hallways of the Regency Grand, she discovers a power she never knew was there. She's just a maid - but what can she see that others overlook? Escapist, charming and introducing a truly original heroine, The Maid is a story about how everyone deserves to be seen. And how the truth isn't always black and white - it's found in the dirtier, grey areas in between . . .

Audiobooks of the Month
The Caretakers

The Caretakers

Author: Amanda Bestor-Siegal Format: Hardback Release Date: 12/04/2022

Haunting and compelling, Amanda Bestor-Siegal’s The Caretakers unveils the secrets of the inhabitants of a wealthy Paris suburb, with the spectre of the 2015 terrorist attacks as a backdrop, and the unthinkably tragic death of a child at home at its heart. We’re introduced to the set of characters when a young American au pair is arrested on suspicion of killing one of the children in her care. Her host family live in an affluent suburb on the edge of Paris, where hiring an au pair is pretty much de rigueur, where cracks glint beneath the polished veneer. Both the wealthy women and au pairs lay bare complex issues around class, privilege, coming-of-age and midlife shifts on both sides of the Atlantic as the novel slips in time and place to reveal the events that led to the au pair’s arrest. Revenge is exacted in the form of affairs. People hide secrets of their past. These are a collection of lost, lonely souls, with their backstories adding further depth, among them a story of Czech immigrants in the US, and a French woman hiding her provincial past. Exuding the enthralling pace of a thriller and the emotional depth of a literary family drama, The Caretakers is a thoroughly thought-provoking, un-put-down-able read.

Debut Books of the Month
Lessons in Chemistry

Lessons in Chemistry

Author: Bonnie Garmus Format: Hardback Release Date: 05/04/2022

“Once a research chemist, Elizabeth Zott was a woman with flawless skin and an unmistakable demeanour of someone who was not average and never would be”. So we are introduced to gloriously unconventional Elizabeth near the opening of Bonnie Garmus’ Lessons in Chemistry, an enchanting, uproariously witty novel that I cannot recommend highly enough — think a funny, feminist Mad Men set in the world of science, in a “patriarchal society founded on the idea that women were less. Less capable. Less intelligent”.  With her doctoral career cut short after daring to defend herself against the groping hands of a tutor, in 1951 Elizabeth is working as a chemistry researcher, surrounded by men who overlook her work and treat her with sexist disdain. One of her colleagues is Calvin, an introverted, socially awkward Nobel-prize nominated scientist with a penchant for holding grudges, which is one of the things Elizabeth first admires in him, for “Elizabeth Zott held grudges too”, especially against a society that all but forbade women to do anything of importance. Elizabeth and Calvin strike up a sparring working relationship, start dating, and move in together — unmarried (the horror!). She suggests paying her share of the rent by cooking dinner, declaring that “Cooking is a serious science. In fact, it’s chemistry”. Meanwhile, while the unique chemistry between the couple is a delight to devour. Some years later, Elizabeth finds herself single again, and a single mother to boot. And it’s through her daughter (specifically, the delicious, nutritious lunches she cooks for her) that she’s offered a slot on a TV cookery show. True to form, Elizabeth refuses to play ball with the producer, declaring that “There’s nothing average about the average housewife”, and using the show to deliver cracking advice: “Courage is the root of change…Do not allow your talents to lie dormant, ladies. Design your own future”. Guaranteed to have you roaring with laughter, weeping in empathy, and fist-pumping the sheer joy of Elizabeth’s indomitable spirit, Lessons in Chemistry is a revitalising, stirring triumph.

Star Books
Yinka, Where is Your Huzband?

Yinka, Where is Your Huzband?

Author: Lizzie Damilola Blackburn Format: Hardback Release Date: 31/03/2022

Yinka, a 31 year old Nigerian is fed up of her family constantly asking “so, where is your huzband?” (pronounced auz-band). After her Aunty Debbie offers up a very public prayer for her and asks the Lord to intervene and save her from singledom, Yinka decides she needs a plan to find a man before her cousin Rachel’s wedding. Femi broke her heart when he moved to New York and decided he didn’t want to settle down. As we join Yinka on her mission fraught with twists and turns on her journey to self-love. A hug in a book, this is a joyous read. I chuckled and sped my way through, wishing and hoping for a happy ending for Yinka. She struggles and bumbles her way  through navigating dating, female relationships and the challenges of extended families, and I loved every page of it.

Debut Books of the Month
Space Hopper

Space Hopper

Author: Helen Fisher Format: Paperback Release Date: 17/03/2022

This is a story about taking a leap of faith And believing the unbelievable They say those we love never truly leave us, and I've found that to be true. But not in the way you might expect. In fact, none of this is what you'd expect. I've been visiting my mother who died when I was eight. And I'm talking about flesh and blood, tea-and-biscuits-on-the-table visiting here. Right now, you probably think I'm going mad. Let me explain... Although Faye is happy with her life, the loss of her mother as a child weighs on her mind even more now that she is a mother herself. So she is amazed when, in an extraordinary turn of events, she finds herself back in her childhood home in the 1970s. Faced with the chance to finally seek answers to her questions - but away from her own family - how much is she willing to give up for another moment with her mother? For fans of The Time Traveler's Wife comes an original and heartwarming story about bittersweet memories, how the past shapes the future, and a love so strong it makes you do things that are slightly bonkers.

Star Books
The Day I Fell Off My Island

The Day I Fell Off My Island

Author: Yvonne Bailey-Smith Format: Paperback Release Date: 17/03/2022

Telling an absorbing, boldly honest story of resilience as it charts a girl’s life from rural Jamaica through her struggles to survive and thrive in London, Yvonne Bailey-Smith’s The Day I Fell Off My Island is a storytelling triumph. Shot-through with the stirring conviction that a person can come to control their own destiny, it’s told in elegant style, with perfectly-placed Jamaican patois making the story even richer. It’s 1968 and 13-year-old Erna is living in the care of her loving Grandma Melba and Grandpa Sippa with her three younger half-siblings. Erna’s world revolves entirely around her family and remote Jamaican village, until her mother visits them ahead of making a big move to England. After she leaves, life settles until Erna’s siblings are taken to live in London by their father, a man Grandma Melba calls the “Ugly Satan Devil Man”, leaving Erna bereft. After meeting her own father for the first time, Erna is also uprooted from her beloved island and finds England to be “an unfriendly, upside down world that made little sense.” In time though, despite racist attitudes initially curtailing her education, and despite enduring toxic masculinity and a traumatic home life, Erna begins to feel like she’s in control of her own destiny, echoing words of advice once said by her father: “Wi run things. Things nuh run wi”. Alongside exploring the trauma of being uprooted, The Day I Fell Off My Island is also incisive on the complexities of returning home, such as when Erna feels she’s seen as a “jumped-up islander who had lived abroad and now thought I was better than everyone else”. But, while Erna’s sense of displacement is powerfully palpable, so too are her triumphs. What a stirring, beautifully-told story. I certainly won’t forget Erna in a hurry.

Star Books
Good Intentions

Good Intentions

Author: Kasim Ali Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/03/2022

Hugest of huge recommendations from me for this bold, provocative, compassionate and thoughtful, yet real as heck debut novel. I adored the characters, plot, and writing, Kasim Ali is an author to watch. After falling in love Nur is welcomed into Yasmina's family, but after four years he can’t bring himself to tell his own that he’s even got a girlfriend let alone living with Yasmina. Love, it should be simple, but with outside influences so often isn’t. Kasim Ali zigzags through the years of the relationship, allowing you to see ahead of time, to feel the weight of the decisions taken. As the little pops of understanding were released Nur, Yasmina, and their friends and family slipped into my heart. The characters are finely drawn, the flaws, the imperfections all add credibility. This is just so easy to read, yet the bittersweet plot ensures a level of tension remains throughout. I cared so much for these characters I was genuinely fearful of what was to come. I thought the ending was perfect in every way, standing ovation time for Kasim Ali. Wonderfully stimulating yet subtly thought-provoking Good Intentions emotionally connects with heart and mind. I’ve chosen this absorbing and rewarding read as a LoveReading Star Book, and Liz Pick of the Month. 

Star Books
Twelve Secrets

Twelve Secrets

Author: Robert Gold Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/03/2022

If you're looking for your next book fix, stop right now and read Twelve Secrets. Twenty years ago Ben Harper's world was turned upside down when his older brother Nick and best friend are murdered by two school friends. Ten years later he lost his mother and the story rocked the little town and the whole country. Now an award-winning investigative journalist his boss asks him to relive his traumas on the tenth anniversary of his mother's death. Ben has a decision to make. Does he want to go there? What will he find? Will be be able to write this story? Set in fictional town of Haddley, based on Gold's hometown of Putney, Twelve Secrets is a cracking psychological thriller. When another murder brings it all back to haunt the idyllic town we see how secrets are a dangerous thing and the book grabs you in a vice like grip as you uncover them all. This is an assured debut, the start of a series and we can't wait to read more of Ben Harper. Bring it on, Gold!     

Star Books