Do you prefer to keep your library with you, no matter where you are? Perfect for taking with you on your commute, on holiday or just at home, check out our eBook favourites and see where you can download them today!
Greed, envy, covetousness, lust, anger - Karen Hamilton’s The Ex-Husband is an enthralling, exquisitely plotted thriller that gets to the heart of a host of base human drives, pretty much running the gamut of the seven deadly sins. Sam and Charlotte loved the good things in life - luxury locations, jewellery, villas, yachts - but as cruise ship workers (he a croupier, she in retail and, later, events), their wages don’t bring them the lifestyle they feel they deserve. So, when Charlotte is seduced by Sam and they marry, they hatch dozens of seemingly harmless plans to relieve wealthy passengers of their money and luxury possessions. Years later, now separated and trying to move on, Charlotte’s past comes back to haunt her big style while on a new job aboard an ultra-swish private yacht in the Caribbean. The sense of closing in and conspiracy is feverishly, cleverly created as a tsunami of twists leads to a thrilling, unexpected finale. Hamilton has a huge talent for page-turning plotting, and her psychological insights are as sharp as a pair of luxury Louboutin stilettos.
With sharp stinging humour and a bleakly dark plot this is a book to propel thoughts into a confrontational abyss. When Maeve considers changing her relationship with alcohol along with her need to murder men, and can't find the help she requires, she begins a support group for psychopaths. Every time you think Will Carver has pushed reading boundaries as far as he can go, along comes the next book. I’ve read a lot of thrillers and crime books over the years and I don’t think anything has made me flinch as much as this one. Here he took me to the edge of reasonable and with a great big shove sent me sprawling out into the unknown. It’s so deliberate, so combative, and yet it also feels desperately sad too. There were parts of this read that I absolutely flew through, others packed such a punch that I had to take a break before carrying on. The plot not only feels antagonistic, the characters also reach though your thoughts to what lies behind and beneath. Psychopaths Anonymous is so in-your-face it’s almost claustrophobic, it’s also a compulsive and unforgettable reading experience.
Fusing the ghost story with sharp, psychological insight, this is a brilliant and timely novel about loneliness, buried secrets and the havoc they play on the mind from Booker-shortlisted author Carol Birch. Did you hear? Big landslip over by Ercol. Last night. The road into Gully's closed off. They found a body. Got police tape. All that stuff. They only do that for murder, don't they? Murder! A body has been uncovered in a mudslide just outside the village of Andwiston. In the pub they talk of murder, but Dan - sometime mechanic, constant drunk - is finding it hard to sift through his jumbled memories. Watching him from the dark is Lorna, a lost soul living in the woods, haunted by ghosts and a vision from her childhood: a cold boy standing alone in Gallinger's field.
You will know Martha’s name for her insightful and trustworthy reporting on the run up to the Iraq war, the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, the life and death of Nelson Mandela and so much more, for CBS News and as a contributor on CBS Sunday Morning, in a journalistic career that has won her 10 Emmys and 5 James Beard Foundation Awards. What you may not know is that Martha has been a committed, long term owner of Bull Terriers, the egg-headed, pointy-eared dogs that are full of playful, eccentric character and who, when they don’t want to go anywhere, lower their “leg at each corner” centre of gravity, like a Citroën DS, and firmly stay put. In this beautifully written memoir, at times both tear-inducingly heart-wrenching and profoundly heart-warning, Martha introduces us to the dogs that have kept her company and along the way recounts how adopting Harry, whose owner, Martha, had been diagnosed with a life shortening liver cancer, gave rise to extraordinary canine and human friendships. While Minnie and Harry are very much the lead characters, it is Martha herself who steals the show, with beautifully evoked scenes of her Leelanau County, Michigan childhood and her NYC adult home and life, revealing her to be the loyal and committed friend we would all like in our lives. From the endless, and eyewatering, vet bills, to dog au pairs, and from Manhattan farmer’s markets to South Carolina beaches, Martha tale of friendship and of death is actually a profound celebration of the happy coincidences of fate and of lives lived with love and style, whether you have four legs or two.
A wonderfully merry and bright Christmas romance with oodles of heart-warming love, in the many different forms love takes, on offer. A host of new kitchen staff, including a moody chef, petulant kitchen assistant, and badly behaved dog, throw the opening of a new hotel into complete disarray. I adore the Mure series by Jenny Colgan, it’s just so welcoming. Yes, you could read this as a standalone, but do go back and start with The Summer Seaside Kitchen if this is your first visit. Oh how I wish the fictional island of Mure in Scotland was real, it would go straight on my list of places to visit. While the series focuses on the MacKenzie’s, the wider population of the island play an important role. One of the younger MacKenzie’s is a particular favourite of mine, five year old Agot rules the roost at home, school, and with her friends. This is a series that feels inclusive, from the characters to the sub plots, you’ll find life in all its glory on offer here. Christmas at the Island Hotel is another hug-filled engaging read to add to an already gorgeous series.
A nourishing and engaging Christmas relationship story with friendship at its heart. This is the sequel to The Guesthouse at Lobster Bay, Emma is now in a relationship and looking for a challenge, however a demanding build project just before Christmas might be a step too far. While Emma is the lead, this almost tips into an ensemble piece with a number of interesting smaller stories sitting within the main plot. I particularly adored Peggy, the 81 year old cook at The Guesthouse, her character adds a lovely edge. And then of course there are the dogs, I always love the addition of man’s best friend! Speaking of friends, as Emma stumbles into trouble, the importance of friendships sits as a central theme within this story. While the overall tone is happy and bright, Annie Robertson has several thought-provoking subjects awaiting your perusal. If you’re looking for a warming, reassuring wrap-you-up-in-a-festive-hug read, then I’d recommend adding Christmas at Lobster Bay to your list.
Sarah Morgan’s trademark lightness of touch and romantic warmth are on full Christmas window display in this Lapland-set story of female friendship, and letting down your guard to find (or reaffirm) love in all its forms. The Christmas Escape features a literal escape through a family and friends fleeing to Lapland for Christmas, but it’s metaphoric too, in that most of the characters have been hiding truths about themselves. This novel tells the story of their respective journeys to happiness through honesty in a romantic snowy setting backlit by the northern lights. Christy has her heart set on enjoying the perfect Christmas in Lapland with her husband Seb, five-year-old daughter Holly, and best friend Alix. It’s a big emotional trip for her too, for they’ll be staying with her estranged aunt, and she has a whole lot of questions about why her aunt was cast from the family bosom all those years ago. But as the big trip (and big day) looms ever-closer, Christy has big concerns about her marriage, and things aren’t quite right between her and Alix either. When Christy delays her flight to try to get to the source of her and Seb’s problems, Alix accompanies Holly to Lapland with her one-time lover and now-time nemesis, ruggedly handsome Arctic explorer and academic Zac. As the story stomps on through the snowy Lapland landscape, Zac becomes a mouthpiece for life advice: “There is an element of risk involved in everything worth having”, soon reiterated by “You’re only scared of the things that are important. The things that really matter”. Meanwhile, Seb brings Christy to self-realisation as she tries to repair her relationship with Alix. With lots of recaps of characters’ quandaries and fears in the manner of TV shows (almost like “previously on The Christmas Escape…” montages), the characters are 100% transparent to the reader, even when they’re hiding the truth from each other, which also makes it something of a scream-at-the-TV kind of read - “tell the truth! Admit you fancy him! Admit you were wrong!”, and so on, until things come together in a satisfying seasonal hug.
“Lemons are precious to me; a symbol of my beloved homeland, they stir up fond memories of my childhood as well as having a wealth of uses. They cleanse, refresh, preserve and are an absolute essential in the home.” So explains celebrated, amiable Gennaro Contaldo in his introduction, setting the vibrant, sunshine-infused tone that streams through this splendid book. After sharing the specific delights of the Amalfi lemon he grew up with, locally known as the Sfusato Amalfitano (“it’s like no other: a huge, elongated-in-shape, knobbly, thick-skinned citrus fruit, but oh-so wonderfully sweet and aromatic”), Contaldo takes us through dozens of inspiring recipes, all accompanied by stunning photography. With chapters covering Small Plates, Vegetables, Fish, Meat, Desserts, Drinks and Preserves, and Sauces and Dressings, it’s as comprehensive as it is refreshing and practical, with no part of the lemon left unused. For example, Contaldo adds a sliver of zest to his breakfast espresso, while lemon pith and skin can be chopped into salads to add extra zing. From a lemon-infused pizza topped with sausage, mozzarella and rocket, to traditional antipasto dishes like scamorza cheese wrapped in lemon leaves, the recipes are truly refreshing. Then there’s the delights of limoncello spritz, and chocolate and lemon truffle. Passionate, personal and practical, this joyous book will delight a huge spectrum of home cooks.
Oh what fun this is, written in diary form, the year in the life of Liz is a cackling, absolute fire-cracker of a read. Liz deals with all that life throws at her, from impossible questions from her two children, through to navigating family, neighbours, friendship, and work. I loved Lucy Mangan’s quick-firing and witty, yet compassionate and inclusive writing. I don’t have children, despite this, I fully participated in the family life on offer here. I could relate to the dilemmas and plights, joy and love, I sympathised, empathised, smirked, and on several occasions even laughed out loud. Although all the characters stand independently proud and fabulous, my favourite just has to be five year old Evie, who rules with an iron fist and is described as a gangster and anarchist. Author and journalist Lucy Mangan’s first novel is an absolute belter. Are We Having Fun Yet is a warm, uplifting, gloriously funny read and comes as highly recommended and a Liz Pick of the Month and LoveReading Star Book.
In an age of publishing that is obsessed with sales figures, Archer’s writing statistics, 275 million copies published in 97 countries, are not only hugely impressive and utterly enviable but more importantly, hard earned and thoroughly deserved. They are the incontestable evidence that he is a supremely gifted storyteller, whose talent for narrative and character has been honed and applied many times over in the crafting of fully immersive stories that delight his armies of readers, and Over My Dead Body, is no exception. In this fourth outing for Detective Chief Inspector William Warwick (not including his appearance in the Clifton Chronicles series) we are take through various investigations that take us onboard a luxury liner and into the often murky world of art dealing, Archer deftly moves between scenes and worlds to deliver a master class in how to structure a story and populate it with characters that are instantly recognisable and wonderfully drawn. All the qualities that we have come to expect from Jeffery’s books are here; wonderful, fully drawn characters (you are going to love James Buchanan!) the sense that he really does know of what he writes (his attention to detail when researching his books is legendary) and that he really cares about crafting his stories in an interview with him, he explained that he writes all his early drafts long hand and reworks them many, many times until everything is just right. But here’s the thing, he once told me, with tears in his eyes, just how much he appreciate his readers and how hard he works to make each story as good as he can make it, to create as enjoyable a read as possible. Over My Dead Body is no exception and is a fabulous addition to the extraordinary canon of a supreme storyteller.
'Girl A,' she said. 'The girl who escaped. If anyone was going to make it, it was going to be you.' Lex Gracie doesn't want to think about her family. She doesn't want to think about growing up in her parents' House of Horrors. And she doesn't want to think about her identity as Girl A: the girl who escaped. When her mother dies in prison and leaves Lex and her siblings the family home, she can't run from her past any longer. Together with her sister, Evie, Lex intends to turn the House of Horrors into a force for good. But first she must come to terms with her six siblings - and with the childhood they shared. Beautifully written and incredibly powerful, Girl A is a story of redemption, of horror, and of love.
Fabulously inventive, and laced with evocative detail and intrigue, Clio Velentza’s The Piano Room boasts bite and a beautifully crafted plot. Taking inspiration from the timeless tale of Faust, this keenly accomplished debut sees an entitled young man make a deal with the devil in order to forge his own destiny, so intense is his desire to renounce the weight of his family’s musical genius. Sandor Esterhazy comes from a long line of formidably talented pianists. His family are also immensely wealthy - his father, for example, dresses in embroidered slippers, shiny tuxedoes, and soft leather gloves; the opulence and elegance of his background are tangible. Sandor, on the other hand, seems cut from a different cloth - “There was no spirit to his music: instead of rising into the air with warmth and spice, the melody clambered out of the instrument and lay on the floor like a lifeless thing.” And so Sandor decides to summon the devil himself to escape his fate. Relieved when nothing happens (“I’m such an idiot. It was all a joke. It’s all right. It’s over”), he’s overwhelmed when the devil later appears and promises, in return for his soul, that Sandor “will be free to lead the life you choose rather than the one laid out for you.” Sandor is left with a mysterious creature, Ferdi, whom he locks in his basement piano room, for a time at least. Exploring self-determination and what it is to be human with wit, delicious gothic atmosphere and a compelling sense of ennui, The Piano Room is an immersive joy.