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book reviews Emma's Anticipated Treasures Uncategorised

Blog Tour: One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot by Marianne Cronin

Published: February 18th, 2021
Publisher: Doubleday
Genre: Literary Fiction
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audio

Today is my stop on the tour for this remarkable debut. Thank you to Anne at Random Things Tours for the invitation to take part and to Doubleday for the eBook ARC.

SYNOPSIS:

An extraordinary friendship. A lifetime of stories. Their last one begins here.

‘This is something special: moving, joyful and life-affirming’ GOOD HOUSEKEEPING Book of the Month

‘Heartwarming, remarkable stories’ BBC BOOKS FOR 2021
_______________________________________
Life is short. No-one knows that better than seventeen-year-old Lenni living on the terminal ward. But as she is about to learn, it’s not only what you make of life that matters, but who you share it with.

Dodging doctor’s orders, she joins an art class where she bumps into fellow patient Margot, a rebel-hearted eight-three-year-old from the next ward. Their bond is instant as they realize that together they have lived an astonishing one hundred years.

To celebrate their shared century, they decide to paint their life stories: of growing old and staying young, of giving joy, of receiving kindness, of losing love, of finding the person who is everything.

As their extraordinary friendship deepens, it becomes vividly clear that life is not done with Lenni and Margot yet.

Fiercely alive, disarmingly funny and brimming with tenderness, THE ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF LENNI AND MARGOT unwraps the extraordinary gift of life even when it is about to be taken away, and revels in our infinite capacity for friendship and love when we need them most.

MY REVIEW:

“Living and dying are both complete mysteries, and you can’t know either until you’ve done both.”

Every once in a while you will come across a book that reaches into your heart and soul and changes you forever. The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot is such a book. A story of life, death, all the magical moments in between, it is hard to believe that this is a debut. Utterly mesmerising, this is a book that lingers long after reading. 

I loved Lenni. She is smart, sassy, fierce and funny. I loved how she thrived on challenging those around her; everyone from Father Arthur to the exasperated nurses, how she travelled via her imagination each day and the fact that she refused to be held back by the confines of impending death and the hospital ward. She is so alive that it is hard to believe she is dying, leaping from the page straight into my heart. Margot’s impact is a little more subtle, much like the lady herself. She has a dignified and graceful air about her, but from the moment we first meet her you also get a sense of rebellion. As we learn more, it becomes clear she has lived an extraordinary life and I could have read a whole other book about her without getting bored. I love a good multi-generational tale and their friendship is truly special and remarkable and will remain one of my favourites.

Marianne Cronin is a phenomenal new talent and this novel is storytelling at its finest. She immerses you in Lenni’s world, making you feel the helplessness, frustration, loneliness and claustrophobia of being confined to the hospital’s walls and her fear of death as she laments she has so much more she wants to experience. She has also crafted rich, compelling and memorable characters who occupy Lenni’s small world, each one vital to propelling the story forward, just like those in the stories they share through their paintings. 

What makes this book so special is how it makes you feel, which is obviously something you need to experience for yourself. I doubt I have managed to do it justice, but I’ve done my best.  Beautiful, poignant, heart-rending and hypnotic, this is a book everyone needs to read. It will make you laugh, smile, cry, break your heart, and when you close that final page you will not be the same. 

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✮

MEET THE AUTHOR:

Marianne Cronin was born in 1990. She studied English and Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning a PhD in Applied Linguistics from the University of Birmingham. She now spends most of her time writing, with her newly-adopted rescue cat sleeping under her desk. When she’s not writing, Marianne can be found performing improv in the West Midlands, where she lives. Her debut novel The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot is to be published around the world and is being adapted into a feature film by a major Hollywood studio.

Instagram |Twitter

BUY THE BOOK:

Waterstones* | Bookshop.org* | Amazon* | Google Books | Apple Books | Kobo
*These links are affiliate links

Please check out the reviews from other bloggers on the tour.

Thanks for reading. Until next time Bibliophiles, Emma xxx

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Blog Tours book reviews Emma's Anticipated Treasures Uncategorised

Blog Tour: The Shape of Darkness by Laura Purcell

Publisher: Raven Books
Published: January 21st, 2021
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audio
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Gothic Fiction, Romance Fiction

Happy Publication Day to one of my favourite authors. I’m thrilled to be taking part in the tour for this novel on release day. Thank you to Raven Books for my gifted ARC and to Anne at Random Things Tours for the invitation to take part in the blog tour.

SYNOPSIS:

Wicked deeds require the cover of darkness…

A struggling silhouette artist in Victorian Bath seeks out a renowned child spirit medium in order to speak to the dead – and to try and identify their killers – in this beguiling new tale from Laura Purcell.

Silhouette artist Agnes is struggling to keep her business afloat. Still recovering from a serious illness herself, making enough money to support her elderly mother and her orphaned nephew Cedric has never been easy, but then one of her clients is murdered shortly after sitting for Agnes, and then another, and another…

Desperately seeking an answer, Agnes approaches Pearl, a child spirit medium lodging in Bath with her older half-sister and her ailing father, hoping that if Pearl can make contact with those who died, they might reveal who killed them. But Agnes and Pearl quickly discover that instead they may have opened the door to something that they can never put back…

What secrets lie hidden in the darkness?

MY REVIEW:

“Wicked deeds require the cover of darkness.” 

A clever mix of whodunnit and ghost story, The Shape of Darkness is told with Purcell’s signature flair of haunting, gothic prose against a chilling and beautiful historic backdrop with richly drawn and memorable characters. 

Agnes is a silhouette artist struggling to make ends meet thanks to advancements in the field that have made her craft almost obsolete. When the few customers she does have start to turn up viciously murdered, she becomes the police’s prime suspect and sets out to find a way to prove her innocence; determined to both clear her name and save her business. 

Eleven-year-old Pearl is a spirit medium who lives with her sister and gravely ill father. She is the main attraction at the seances she and her sister hold, with people coming far and wide to see her in hope of connecting with a loved one they’ve lost. She is the person that Agnes turns to in hope of finding out who has killed her clients. But they soon learn that when you lift the veil to welcome the other side, you might get more than you bargained for. 

“The ghosts are coming. Her arms are glowing, her breath is glowing. She’s being swallowed.” 

Laura Purcell is one of my favourite authors so I was giddy with excitement when I received a stunning proof copy of her latest novel. Atmospheric and chilling, the vivid imagery and descriptions transported me back to 1854, making me feel like I was walking the streets of Bath beside Agnes or cowering in the dark beside Pearl. As always, the book is well researched and includes fascinating historical facts that will both thrill and horrify you (phossy jaw, I’m looking at you). 

Ms. Purcell has a great recipe for the eerie ambience that lingers throughout this book. First, she sets the book in Victorian Bath and its large, gothic houses. Next, she adds a lonely woman mourning a lost love and an albino child whose mother died in childbirth and father hovers on the edge of death. Then, she includes a generous helping of mesmerism, seances, dark shadows, ghostly happenings and murder. Finally, with a sprinkle she includes the mysterious appearance of notes in the handwriting of someone gone from this world that Anges is trying to forget and a pinch of things from beyond the veil that linger when they should have left, you have a deliciously menacing and gothic read. 

Sinister, spooky and mysterious, this book keeps you guessing right until the end. Are Agnes and Pearl really communicating with the dead? Is Agnes really seeing ghosts? Could she be the murderer? 

There were times I found this book a bit slow and, for me, it didn’t quite live up to the glory of her first two books (I am yet to read Bone China), but overall this was a gripping gothic read I would recommend to those who love the genre.

Rating: ✮✮✮✮

MEET THE AUTHOR:

Laura Purcell is a former bookseller living in Colchester, Essex with her husband and pet guinea pigs.

She began her career with two historical novels about the Hanoverian monarchs, Queen of Bedlam and Mistress of the Court.

Her first Gothic novel for Raven Books, The Silent Companions, was a Radio 2 Book Club pick, was selected for the Zoe Ball ITV Book Club and was the winner of the Thumping Good Read Award. Her other Gothic titles include The Corset, Bone China and the upcoming The Shape of Darkness.

In the USA Laura is published by Penguin Books, where The Corset is titled The Poison Thread and Bone China is called The House of Whispers.

Additionally, Laura’s short stories have been published in a number of collections. These include Cameo, featured in Phantoms, Vanitas in the Audible Original Homeless Bodies and Other Stories and Creeping Ivy, coming October 2020 in After Sundown.

Website |Twitter |Facebook

BUY THE BOOK:

Bookshop.org*|Waterstones |Amazon*|Google Books |Apple Books |Kobo
*Links to Bookshop.org and Amazon are affiliate links

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20 Favourites of 2020 – Squadpod Recommends

I decided that as well as sharing my favourite 20 books of 2020 (see yesterday’s post), I would also ask some of my blogger friends in a group we call the Squadpod for their lists too. I love how many of the same books appear on these lists as well as how different they are. They’ve certainly given me lots of reading ideas for 2021!

Read to the end to see which books from this stack gets our overall recommendation of the year.

Beth at Beth’s Booketlist

  • The Sun Sister by Lucinda Riley
  • A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
  • 10 Minutes, 38 Seconds in this Strange World by Elif Shafak
  • My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward by Mark Lukach
  • The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christie Leferti
  • The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon
  • Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Russell
  • Dear Mrs. Bird by AJ Pearce
  • A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
  • A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
  • A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer
  • City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert
  • Black Flamingo by Dean Atta
  • Sadie by Courtney Summers
  • The Other Bennett Sister by Janice Hadlow
  • Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
  • The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
  • The Moon Sister by Lucinda Riley
  • The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
  • Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton

You can follow Beth here

Claire at SecretWorldofABook

  • Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell
  • A More Perfect Life by Tammye Huf
  • Tsarina by Ellen Alpsten
  • Ariadne by Jennifer Saint
  • The Life We Almost Had by Amelia Henley
  • The Binding by Bridget Collins
  • The Shape of Darkness by Laura Purcell
  • Madam by Phoebe Wynne
  • ACOTAR Series by Sarah J. Maas
  • Magpie Lane by Lucy Atkins
  • The Waiting Rooms by Eve Smith
  • Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton
  • The First Time I Saw You by Emma Cooper
  • The Testaments by Margaret Atwood
  • Precious You by Helen Monks Kidd
  • Q by Christina Dalcher
  • Starve Acre by Andrew Michael Hurley
  • Beyond the Moon by Catherine Taylor
  • The Foundling by Stacey Halls
  • The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson

Follow Claire on Instagram, Twitter and her blog.

Clare at The Fallen Librarian Reviews

  • Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski
  • Mr. Nobody by Catherine Steadman
  • Saving Missy by Beth Morrey
  • The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley
  • The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
  • Sins of the Father by Sharon Bairden
  • Recipe For A Perfect Wife by Karma Brown
  • Miss Benson’s Beetle by Rachel Joyce
  • The Switch by Beth O’Leary
  • Keeper by Jessica Moor
  • When I Come Home Again by Caroline Scott
  • Love Orange by Natasha Randall
  • The Winter Garden by Heidi Swain
  • Pine by Francine Toon
  • The Other People by C. J. Tudor
  • Nine Elms by Robert Bryndza
  • The Silent Treatment by Abbie Greaves
  • Never Forget by Michel Bussi
  • We Are All the Same in the Dark by Julia Heaberlin
  • Letters from the Dead by Sam Hurcom

Follow Clare on Instagram, Twitter and her blog

Sue at Brown Flopsy’s Book Burrow

  • A Ghost in the Throat by Doireann Ni Ghrofia
  • The Pretenders by Agatha Zaza
  • The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harwood
  • Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart
  • City of Spies by Maria Timon
  • The Sound Mirror by Heidi James
  • Fleishman is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner
  • The Miseducation of Evie Epworth by Matson Taylor
  • The Silence by Susan Allott
  • The Switch by Beth O’Leary
  • Big Girl, Small Town by Michelle Gallen
  • Nothing To See Here by Kevin Wilson
  • Love Orange by Natasha Randall
  • The Dragon Lady by Louisa Treger
  • The Philosopher’s Daughters by Alison Booth
  • Exit Management by Naomi Booth
  • Dear Emmie Blue by Lia Louis
  • Small Pleasures by Clare Chambers
  • This Lovely City by Louise Hare
  • Our Fathers by Rebecca Wait

Follow Sue on Instagram, Twitter and her blog.

Karen at The Book Blogging Bureau

  • The Miseducation of Evie Epworth by Matson Taylor
  • Piranesi by Susanna Clarke
  • In the Sweep of the Bay by Cath Barton
  • The Watchmaker of Filligree Street by Natasha Pulley
  • The Mist by Ragnar Jonasson
  • The Extraordinary Hope of Dawn Brightside by Jessica Ryn
  • The Diabolical Bones by Bella Ellis
  • Strangers by C. L. Taylor
  • The Storm by Amanda Jennings
  • All the Lonely People by Mike Gayle
  • The Truants by Kate Weinberg
  • The Winter Garden by Heidi Swain
  • A Wedding at the Beach Hut by Veronica Henry
  • Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell
  • Love Orange by Natasha Randall
  • Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton
  • The Snow Song by Sally Gardner
  • The Killings at Kingfisher Hill by Sophie Hannah
  • I Made A Mistake by Jane Corry
  • Starry Skies over the Chocolate Pot Cafe by Jessica Redland

Follow Karen on Instagram, Twitter and her blog.

Zoe at Zoe’s Book Nook

  • The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
  • The Thief on the Winged Horse by Kate Mascarenhas
  • Doctor Sleep by Stephen King
  • Famished by Anna Vaught
  • Christine by Stephen King
  • Hermit by S. R. White
  • Nothing Can Hurt You by Nicola Maye Goldberg
  • Rose Madder by Stephen King
  • The Shining by Stephen King
  • Misery by Stephen King
  • Carrie by Stephen King
  • All Your Twisted Secrets by Diana Urban
  • The Cat and the City by Nick Bradley
  • Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata
  • Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
  • Good Girls Die First by Kathryn Foxfield
  • Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton
  • Washington Black by Esi Edugyan
  • The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale
  • Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo

Follow Zoe on Instagram, Twitter and her blog.

Hayley at The Lotus Readers Blog

  • Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell
  • The Miseducation of Evie Epworth by Matson Taylor
  • When We Fall by Carolyn Kirby
  • When I Come Home Again by Caroline Scott
  • Magic Lessons by Alice Hoffman
  • If I Could Say Goodbye by Emma Cooper
  • Mix Tape by Jane Sanderson
  • The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harwood
  • A Song of Isolation by Michael J. Malone
  • The Waiting Rooms by Eve Smith
  • The Museum of Broken Promises by Elizabeth Buchan
  • The Big Chill by Doug Johnstone
  • When the Music Stops by Joe Heap
  • A Girl Made of Air by Nydia Hetherington
  • The Missing Pieces of Nancy Moon by Sarah Steele
  • Miss Benson’s Beetle by Rachel Joyce
  • The Secrets of Strangers by Charity Norman
  • Magpie Lane by Lucy Atkins
  • Spirited by Julie Cohen
  • This Lovely City by Louise Hare

Follow Hayley on Instagram, Twitter and her blog.

Vikkie at Little Miss Book Lover 87

  • All My Lies Are True by Dorothy Koomson
  • The Education of Ivy Edwards by Hannah Tovey
  • No Child of Mine (Trilogy) by Susan Lewis
  • The Never Have I Ever Club by Mary Jayne Baker
  • The School of Starting Over by Lisa Swift
  • Meet Me at Fir Tree Lodge by Rachel Dove
  • The Stolen Sisters by Louise Jensen
  • People Like Her by Ellery Lloyd
  • Predator Zoe Caldwell
  • Second Chance Hotel by Rachel Dove
  • The Life We Almost Had by Amelia Henley
  • One Step Behind by Lauren North
  • After the Silence by Louise O’Neill
  • Don’t Tell Teacher by Suzy K. Quinn
  • Trust No One by Kerri Beevis
  • The Shelf by Helly Acton
  • Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton
  • A Christmas Rescue by Samantha Chase
  • Mother Loves Me by Abby Davies
  • Love Songs for Skeptics by Christina Pishiris

Follow Vikkie on Instagram, Twitter and her blog.

Ellie at Elspells

  • The Animals at Lockwood Manor by Jane Healey
  • Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi
  • Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
  • The Truth Must Dazzle Gradually by Helen Cullen
  • Saving Lucia by Anna Vaught
  • Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo
  • Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones
  • You Will Be Safe Here by Damian Barr
  • The Sound Mirror by Heidi James
  • Conjure Women by Afia Atakora
  • The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
  • A Different Drummer by William Melvin Kelley
  • For When I’m Gone by Rebecca Ley
  • Inside the Beautiful Inside by Emily Bullock
  • Love Orange by Natasha Randall
  • A Girl Made of Air by Nydia Hetherington
  • Should We Fall Behind by Sharon Duggal
  • The Night of the Flood by Zoe Somerville
  • The Miseducation of Evie Epworth by Matson Taylor
  • Exit Management by Naomi Booth

Follow Ellie on Instagram, Twitter and her blog.

Kirsty at Kirsty’s Book Buying Addiction

  • It Started With A Secret by Jill Mansel
  • Maybe One Day by Debbie Johnson
  • The Secret Seaside Escape by Heidi Swain
  • The Sight of You by Holly Miller
  • The Life We Almost Had by Amelia Henley
  • Our Story by Miranda Dickinson
  • If I Could Say Goodbye by Emma Cooper
  • All I Want For Christmas by Joanna Bolouri
  • A Christmas Wedding at the Castle by Eliza J. Scott
  • A Perfect Paris Christmas by Mandy Baggot
  • The Lake House by Christine Barlow
  • I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday by Milly Johnson
  • The Little Vintage Carousel by the Sea by Jaimie Admans
  • Daisy’s Vintage Cornish Camper Van by Ali McNamara
  • Meet Me at Pebble Beach by Bella Osborne
  • The Minute I Saw You by Paige Toon
  • The Day We Met by Roxie Cooper
  • The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver
  • Pretending by Holly Bourne
  • The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley

Follow Kirsty on Twitter and her blog.

Danielle at The Reading Closet

  • Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton
  • The Abduction by A. A. Chaudhuri
  • A Good Neighbourhood by Therese Ann Fowler
  • Ash Mountain by Helen Fitzgerald
  • Here To Stay by Mark Edwards
  • Three – Fifths by John Vercher
  • The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
  • Whispers in the Dark by Chris McDonald
  • What Lies Between Us by John Marrs
  • Hinton Hollow Death Trip by Will Carver
  • Block 46 by Johana Gustawsson
  • A Song of Isolation by Michael J. Malone
  • Deity by Matt Wesolowski
  • The Push by Ashley Audrain
  • The Last House On Needless Street by Catriona Ward
  • Call Me Mummy by Tina Baker
  • This Little Family by Ines Bayard
  • How To Be Brave by Louise Beech
  • Three by D. A. Mishani
  • The Sin Eater by Megan Campisi

Follow Danielle on Instagram, Twitter and her blog.

Ceri at The Lil’ Book Blog

  • The Secret Seaside Escape by Heidi Swain
  • The Seven Year Itch by Lyndsey Gallagher
  • 15 Minute Parenting by Joanna Fortune
  • An Almost Perfect Holiday by Lucy Diamond
  • With or Without You by Drew Davies
  • Under Your Skin by Rose McClelland
  • The Miseducation of Evie Epworth by Matson Taylor
  • The Child Who Never Was by Jane Renshaw
  • Memories We Bury by H A Leuschel
  • Autumn Skies over Ruby Falls by Holly Martin
  • Longhand by Andy Hamilton
  • Lovesongs for Skeptics by Christina Pishiris
  • The Boy Between by Amanda Prowse and Josiah Hartley
  • The First Time We Met by Jo Lovett
  • The Violinist of Auschwitz by Ellie Midwood
  • The School of Starting Over by Lisa Swift
  • The Hidden Beach by Karen. Swan
  • Hungry by Grace Dent
  • The Wife by Shalini Boland
  • The Lost Children by Shirley Dickson

Follow Ceri on Instagram, Twitter and her blog.

Cara at Welsh Book Lover

  • The Education of Ivy Edwards by Hannah Tovey
  • The Wish List by Sophia Money-Coutts
  • What Happens Now? By Sophia Money-Coutts
  • The Plus One by Sophia Money-Coutts
  • Something Borrowed by Emily Griffin
  • The Switch by Beth O’Leary
  • The Shelf by Helly Acton
  • Shagged. Married. Annoyed. by Chris and Rosie Ramsey
  • The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley
  • The Lies You Told by Harriet Tyce
  • We Are Family by Nicola Gill
  • The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware
  • The Never Have I Ever Club by Mary Jayne Baker
  • The New Girl by Harriet Walker
  • The Stranger on the Beach by Michelle Campbell
  • The Guest List by Lucy Foley
  • Saturdays at Noon by Rachel Marks
  • Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
  • The Chain by Adrian McKinty
  • Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce

Follow Cara on Instagram and Twitter.

Tilly at Tilly Loves Books

  • Betty by Tiffany McDaniel
  • Leave The World Behind by Rumaan Alam
  • Imperfect Women by Araminta Hall
  • The Pretenders by Agatha Zaza
  • The System by Ryan Gattis
  • Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
  • Paris By Starlight by Robert Dinsdale
  • Ghosts by Dolly Alderton
  • The Perfect World of Miwako Sumida by Clarissa Goenawan
  • Paris Savages by Katherine Johnson
  • Should We Fall Behind by Sharon Duggal
  • When Life Gives You Mangoes by Kereen Getten
  • The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyln
  • An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
  • Dear Reader by Cathy Rentzenbrink
  • The Consequences of Love by Gavanndra Hodge
  • Against The Loveless World by Susan Abulhawa
  • When The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
  • All Adults Here by Emma Straub
  • The Warmth of Other Sons by Isabel Wilkerson

Follow Tilly on Instagram and Twitter.

Vicky at Gingerbread Book Reviews

  • The 24 Hour Cafe by Libby Page
  • Starting Over at Acorn Cottage by Kate Forster
  • The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley
  • The Wish List by Sophia Money-Coutts
  • The Shelf by Helly Acton
  • The Seven Sisters by Lucinda Riley
  • The Winter Garden by Heidi Swain
  • The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse
  • One More For Christmas by Sarah Morgan
  • Uncoupling by Lorraine Brown
  • Away with the Penguins by Hazel Prior
  • Someday at Christmas by Lizzie Byron
  • Pretending by Holly Bourne
  • I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day by Millie Johnson
  • Miracle on Christmas Street by Annie O’Neil
  • Very Nearly Normal by Hannah Sunderland
  • My One True North by Milly Johnson
  • Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton
  • The Six Tales of Christmas by Anne Marie Ryan
  • A Home on Bramble Hill by Holly Martin

Follow Vicky on Instagram, Twitter and her blog.

Sarah At The Book Whiskers

  • When I Come Home Again by Caroline Scott
  • The Parisians by Marius Gabriel
  • Coming Up For Air by Sarah Leipciger
  • Fields of Grace by Wendy Waters
  • People Like Us by Louise Fein
  • After the Party by Cressida Connolly
  • The Strawberry Thief by Joanne Harris
  • Catch The Moon, Mary by Wendy Waters
  • The End of Mr Y by Scarlett Thomas
  • False Value by Ben Aaronovich
  • Tangerine by Christine Mangan
  • The Lies You Told by Harriet Tyce
  • The Scorched Earth by Rachael Blok
  • The Appeal by Janice Hallett
  • The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George
  • Heatstroke by Hazel Barkworth
  • Little White Secrets by Carol Mason
  • Official Secrets by Andrew Raymond
  • In The Crypt With A Candlestick by Daisy Waugh
  • The Health of Strangers by Lesley Kelley

Follow Sarah on Instagram, Twitter and her blog.

Jackie and Hayley didn’t have a top 20 but still wanted to share their favourite reads of the year.

Jackie at Jackie’s Reading Corner

  • Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton
  • The Miseducation of Evie Epworth by Matson Taylor
  • Whispers in the Dark by Chris McDonald
  • The Curator by M.W Craven
  • The Last Crossing by Brian McGilloway
  • Strangers by C. L. Taylor
  • Witness X by SE Moorhead
  • Death of a Painter by Matthew Ross
  • The Creak in the Stairs by Eva Bjorg. Aegisdottir
  • How To Disappear by Gillian McAllister

Follow Jackie on Instagram, Twitter and her blog.

Hayley at Shelf.lyfe

  • The Thief on a Winged Horse by Kate Mascarenhas
  • The Secret Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab
  • Conjure Women by Afia Atakora
  • A Girl Made of Air by Nydia Hetherington
  • The Illustrated Child by Polly Crosby
  • The Hungry Ghost by HS Norup
  • Why I’m No Longer Talking (to White People) about Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
  • Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton
  • Three Women by Lisa Taddeo

Follow Hayley on Instagram and Twitter.

SQUADPOD FAVOURITES

Our group favourite was a close call between two fantastic books: Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton and The Miseducation of Evie Epworth by Matson Taylor. In the end it came down to one vote, with Three Hours taking the win with eight recommendations out of nineteen bloggers.

A number of books made a few of the lists. Here are the ones that came stood out as the most recommended:

Are any of these on your books of the year?

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Cozy Mysteries: December 2020 Releases

Today is the first post in a new series called Cozy Mysteries. Each month I will post a list of upcoming releaes in this genre. I’m doing this after I was approached by the moderators of CozyMystery on Reddit to compile a monthly list for them.

When I happily agreed to do this I hadn’t realised that I know very little about the genre and authors, so this hasn’t been an easy task. I am still compiling a list of authors and following them on Amazon so I don’t miss any future releases. I’ve enjoyed learning more about this genre, which I enjoy but don’t often read. Let’s just say my tbr has grown while researching this list.

So, without further ado, here are the Cozy Mystery books being released in December:

The Murder at the Mayfair Hotel (Cleopatra Fox Mysteries 1) by C. J. Archer

SYNOPSIS:
December 1899. After the death of her beloved grandmother, Cleopatra Fox moves into the luxury hotel owned by her estranged uncle in the hopes of putting hardship and loneliness behind her. But the poisoning of a guest throws her new life, and the hotel, into chaos.

Cleo quickly realizes no one can be trusted, not Scotland Yard and especially not the hotel’s charming assistant manager. With the New Year’s Eve ball approaching fast and the hotel’s reputation hanging by a thread, Cleo must find the killer before the ball, and the hotel itself, are ruined. But catching a murderer proves just as difficult as navigating the hotel’s hierarchy and the peculiarities of her family.

Can Cleo find the killer before the new century begins? Or will someone get away with murder?

Published December 1st, 2020

Murder on a Midnight Clear (High Society Lady Detective Book 6) by Sara Rosett

SYNOPSIS:
A snowbound country mansion, a missing butler, and a Christmas case . . .

Olive and Jasper have never been closer—except in one area. Jasper is still reticent about his frequent disappearances from polite society. With the holidays approaching and no paying client on the books, Olive decides to shadow Jasper when he’s unexpectedly called away. Her search brings her to Holly Hill Lodge where an eclectic group has gathered to celebrate an old-fashioned English Christmas.

The guest list includes a celebrated lawn tennis champion, a fussy scientist studying snowflakes, a persuasive luggage salesman, a famous lady explorer, and the family’s eccentric aunt who has a fondness for the newfangled drinks called cocktails.

When the butler goes missing, Olive and Jasper must work together to solve the Christmas crime—as well as the secret Jasper hides. Murder on a Midnight Clear is the latest installment in USA Today bestselling author Sara Rosett’s popular High Society Lady Detective series.

Unwrap this 1920s Christmas mystery with all the trimmings—carols, a Yule log, plum pudding . . . and murder.

Published December 1st, 2020

Hush-Hush (The Village Library Mysteries Book 4) by Elizabeth Spann Craig

SYNOPSIS:
It’s hard keeping secrets in small towns.

At first, librarian Ann Beckett is delighted her director hired another full-time staff member. The Whitby Library is a busy place and another librarian should make life much easier there.

Instead, she soon discovers that the new hire, Ellie, seems to be bent on creating issues instead of solving them. When she’s found dead at the library, no one is as shocked as they might have been.

With time running out and a desperate killer on the loose, Ann starts uncovering all the secrets Ellie was trying to keep hush-hush.

Published December 1st, 2020

Murder on the Ballot (A Myrtle Clover Cozy Mystery Book 17) by Elizabeth Spann Craig

SYNOPSIS:
If you can’t beat them, join them.

Octogenarian Myrtle Clover is so annoyed by the infighting at tiny Bradley, North Carolina’s town council meetings that she decides on a radical course of action: she’ll run for the open seat on the council. After all, she taught most of the elected officials—she should be able to enact some order.

But order apparently isn’t in the works. This becomes clear when a fellow candidate is found . . . murdered.

Myrtle and her senior sidekick Miles must uncover the killer before someone else becomes a lame duck.

Published December 1st, 2020

Heather and Homicide (The Highland Bookshop Mystery Series) by Molly MacRae

SYNOPSIS:
The new novel in the acclaimed Highland Bookshop mystery series finds a true-crime author murdered in the charming seacoast town of Inversgail—can the women of Yon Bonnie Books discover the killer’s identity before he or she strikes again?

True crime writer Heather Kilbride arrives in the seacoast town of Inversgail, Scotland, to research a recent murder for her new book. But if that’s true, why does she seem more interested in William Clark, a shadowy lawyer with no connection to the murder? Her nosy questions arouse the suspicions of Constable Hobbs, the members of a local writers’ group, and Janet Marsh and her crew of amateur sleuths at Yon Bonnie Books.

Heather’s unconventional research methods prove deadly when Janet discovers her lifeless body. Except the “body” turns out to be a dummy dressed-up to look like Heather. Meanwhile, Heather is sitting at a safe distance observing Janet’s reactions.

Then Heather is found dead—again—sprawled at the base of an ancient standing stone; and this time it’s for real. Clutched in her hand is a valuable miniature book last seen at Yon Bonnie Books, and now the police want to know how Heather, the miniature book, and Janet are all connected. But Janet and her group of sleuths have two questions of their own: Who else is interested in knowing that connection—and is that person a cold-blooded killer?

Published December 1st, 2020

Premeditated Mortar (Fixer-Upper Mysteries) by Kate Carlisle

SYNOPSIS:
Shannon Hammer is about to embark on one of the biggest projects of her career. Her best friend Jane Hennessey has purchased one wing of the Gables, formerly the old state insane asylum, located on a bucolic hillside two miles northeast of Lighthouse Cove. Jane plans to turn her section into a small luxury hotel complete with twenty ocean-view rooms, a spa, and a restaurant.

Shannon is raring to get started on the enormous project and is shocked when a group of unruly protesters shows up at the groundbreaking ceremony and wreaks havoc. She’s even more freaked-out when someone pushes her into a pit of bricks in a closed-off room of the asylum. Despite her close call, Shannon wants nothing more than to get back to work . . . until she finds a body not far from where she was pushed. Now Shannon is determined to get to the bottom of the goings-on at the Gables even if it kills her. . . .

Published December 1st, 2020

Witch is the New Black (A Supernatural Speakeasy Mystery Book 4) by Lily Harper Hart

SYNOPSIS:
Ofelia Archer has faced demons, evil witches, and freaky zombies, but nothing could prepare her for the horror of meeting her boyfriend’s mother, Madeline Sully. She thinks she’s ready and able, but she’s really not.
For his part, Zacharias “Zach” Sully isn’t any more thrilled by his mother’s visit than his girlfriend. He’s simply better at dealing with Madeline’s brand of madness.
After one meal, a magical barrage of fire rains down on the group as they’re walking down Bourbon Street. When the flames clear, a young woman is left for dead, and the only thing they know about her is that she was part of a multi-level marketing scheme called Hexential Oils.
Before they realize what’s happening, Sully and Ofelia find themselves knee-deep in an odd world that neither of them really understand … and it leads straight to trouble, as usual. It seems New Orleans is teeming with suspects, and they have no idea which one to focus on.
Ofelia and Sully have a bond that can’t be broken. That won’t stop outsiders from trying. When the hierarchy of Hexential Oils leads to long-forgotten magic and a creature of mythical proportions, they realize they’re in over their heads.
They’ll die to protect one another … and someone desperately wants to make that a reality. It will take both of them working together to make sure that doesn’t happen

Published December 1st, 2020

The Banshee Brouhaha (A Charlie Rhodes Cozy Mystery Book 8) by Amanda M. Lee

SYNOPSIS:
Charlie Rhodes has spent her entire life wondering who her birth parents were, why they abandoned her, and where the magic she’s been learning to hone came from.
She’s finally going to get some answers.
With proof that the new member of the Legacy Foundation is really her brother, Charlie sets off to visit Salem with him and her boyfriend Jack Hanson. She’s never been to the city before and finds that the history swirling is only one of the things that has her excited.
Not long after landing, a body is strung up in Salem Common, and witnesses say it was ghosts doing the dirty work. Jack is intrigued enough to call in the rest of the team. Since Charlie’s parents are supposedly taking refuge within the city limits, the investigation makes for a nice cover.
It’s not long before Charlie realizes that there’s more going on in Salem than witches and white magic. Something dark is festering under the surface, and whatever it is seems to be taking aim at her.
Charlie wants answers. She’s also afraid to get them. During the search for what she’s lost, though, she becomes more determined than ever to hold onto what she has.
There’s evil afoot, and a woman who looks like an older version of Charlie is stalking the group. Could the two things be connected? Charlie won’t leave until she knows for certain.
Salem’s history might be coming back to haunt those who venture into the city and it’s up to the Legacy Foundation to figure out why … that is if they survive long enough to uncover the answers.
Hold onto your broomsticks, because it’s going to be a witchy ride.

Published December 1st, 2020

The Kensington Kidnap (Epiphany Bloom Mystery Book 1) by Katie Gayle

SYNOPSIS:
A missing teenager, a mysterious cult and a case of mistaken identity – just another day’s work for Epiphany Bloom.

Epiphany ‘Pip’ Bloom is down on her luck. She can barely afford cat food, and just because Most has three legs doesn’t mean he eats any less. So she absolutely can’t afford to mess up her latest temp job. But when she walks through the door of the private investigation firm, her new boss mistakes her for a missing persons expert. He then charges her with finding Matty Price – the teenage son of two A-list celebrities – who has mysteriously disappeared from his home in Kensington.

It ought to be a disaster, but Pip reckons it’s actually an opportunity. She’s always been curious (nosy, her mother calls it) and has an uncanny knack for being at the wrong place at the right time (she doesn’t want to know what her mother thinks of that). After years of trying to find something she’s good at, has Pip managed to walk straight into the job she was born to do?

She owes it to herself and poor missing Matty to find out.

But searching for Matty takes Pip into the strange, intimidating world of the rich and famous. And it soon becomes clear that some of these people’s love for themselves doesn’t extend to their fellow humans.

As Pip investigates further, she realises the question isn’t whether Matty ran away – it’s whether Pip will find him alive and make it home safely herself…

Published December 2nd, 2020

A Wreath of Ruin: A Supernatural Mystery Christmas Special (Belinda Drake Mysteries Book 4) by Kate Krake

SYNOPSIS:
It’s Christmas in Blackthorn Springs, and Belinda Drake has big plans to make this the best Christmas ever for her and Conri, and she doesn’t want to use a single drop of her new magic to pull it off.

When culinary catastrophe strikes, Belinda and Conri end up spending the holiday with Lila’s family, including Lila’s grandmother, who’s not at all like Lila had built her up to be. Is Gran just a little bit strange, or is something supernatural threatening to ruin Christmas?

When things take a turn for the worst, Belinda has to reach deeply into herself and the nature of the magic she’s not sure she can trust.

Published December 2nd, 2020

The Fatal Flying Affair (A Lady Hardcastle Mystery Book 7) by T. E. Kinsey

SYNOPSIS:
August 1911. Emily Hardcastle and her inimitable lady’s maid Florence Armstrong are enjoying a fine summer until Harry, Lady H’s brother, turns up out of the blue with a mystery for them to solve.

A routine parachute test at a local aeroplane factory has gone horribly wrong—with pilot Dickie Dupree plummeting to his death. Harry is certain there is more to this ‘tragic accident’ than meets the eye, having discovered that someone at the airfield is leaking top secret intelligence to foreign rivals.

In between strolls to the Dog & Duck and planning for the annual village show, the daring duo dust off the Crime Board and go undercover at Bristol Aviation. With international powers investing heavily in aeronautics, the stakes are high—sky high—and the suspects soon mount up.

Can Lady Hardcastle find the culprit before someone else falls down dead?

Published December 3rd, 2020

Christmas Corpse (A Christmas Cozy Mystery Book 1) by Mona Marple

SYNOPSIS:
Welcome to Candy Cane Hollow, where every day feels like Christmas!
Holly Wood (yes, that’s her real name) is driving home for Christmas and not feeling too happy about the empty house waiting for her.

When her car skids into a snow bank, she’s rescued by a sweet old lady who promises her name is Mrs Claus.

Holly is taken to Candy Cane Hollow to recover, and finds herself in a genuine winter wonderland.

As Christmas Day approaches, the grouchy medical receptionist appears to have been poisoned by a mince pie.

And to Holly’s surprise, Mrs Claus is the prime suspect.

With Mrs Claus under suspicion, Holly vows to return the woman’s generosity by clearing her name.

Maybe it will impress Mrs Claus’ dimpled dish of a son, too?

Published December 3rd, 2020

Shooting Pains (Dr Cathy Moreland Book 3) by Mairi Chong

SYNOPSIS:
When one of Dr Cathy Moreland’s patients attends the surgery with a disturbing story of marital tension, accompanied by a suggestive bruise on her upper arm, the doctor is understandably concerned. The young woman confides that she is afraid of her husband, a local farmhand, but refuses to allow the doctor to help any further.

The following week, Dr Moreland, both overworked and strained, is horrified to hear of a fatal shooting on the local farm estate, and even more so when she realises that the woman and her husband are at the very centre of the tragedy. Was the shooting an accident, or is something more sinister taking place in the sleepy Scottish countryside?

Dr Moreland must draw on all of her courage to uncover the truth, even if it means risking, not only her own mental health but her life.

Published December 3rd, 2020

Dashing Through the Sand (Beach Christmas Mysteries Books 1) by Katherine Hayton

SYNOPSIS:
My name is Santa and I’m fed up. The stress of single-day delivery, elf wrangling, and squeezing through chimneys that grow smaller every year is getting me down, so I decide to take a well-deserved holiday on a sun-drenched beach in Australia.

Sure, there’ll be a lot less milk and cookies but according to my cardiologist, that can only be a good thing.

But when I take my towel down to the glorious foreshore of Mission Beach, Queensland, the world has a nasty surprise in store. A dead body washes up among the sand-bubbler crabs and a witness swears the man was last seen in my company.

The Christmas spirit is nowhere in evidence as I work to clear my name. If I can’t hunt down the true killer and get back home in time for the big day, the Mrs will put me at the top of the naughty list!

Published December 3rd, 2020

Mystery at the Old Mill (An Eve Mallow Mystery Book 4)by Clare Chase

SYNOPSIS:
When the calm of Saxford St Peter is disrupted by a deadly fire at the Old Mill, amateur sleuth Eve Mallow finds herself investigating a most surprising mystery!

Everyone in Saxford St Peter is desperate to know more about Harry Tennant, the newcomer who owns the Old Mill. He usually keeps himself to himself, but he’s finally invited the villagers round for drinks, and Eve Mallow isn’t the only one looking forward to having some questions answered.

But two days before the party, a terrible fire sweeps through the mill, and Harry is found dead. When Eve passes the burned remains of his beautiful house, she can’t resist the call to investigate. Especially when it turns out quiet, charming Harry was living a double life as the famous advice writer Pippa Longford. Eve has to wonder what revelations were contained in the letters he received… and whether one of them was worth killing for.

Accompanied by her reliable dachshund sidekick Gus, Eve starts digging. She soon realises Harry was at the centre of a web of lives – and lies. There’s an uncle desperate to inherit, two women who thought they were his one and only, not to mention everyone who shared their darkest secrets with him. Was one of those strangers much closer to home than Harry knew? And can Eve untangle the truth before she finds herself face to face with a killer?

Published December 7th, 2020

Rocco & the Snow Angel (An Inspector Rocco Mystery) by Adrian Magson

SYNOPSIS:
A former village priest shot dead execution-style in a snow-covered field re-opens memories of a wartime scandal around the villages of Poissons-les-Marais and Fouillmont, when young infatuation led to a spate of coldly efficient assassinations.

But who’s responsible for this particular killing? And why so long after the event?

For Inspector Lucas Rocco, it means pushing aside the veil surrounding old Resistance activities and fighting dangerous political connections to track down a deadly long-range killer with the ability to hide in open countryside.

Published December 7th, 2020

Ghostly Graves (A Harper Harlow and Maddie Graves Mystery) by Lily Harper Hart

SYNOPSIS:
Maddie and Nick Winters are embarking on the biggest adventure of their lives: parenthood. They’re nervous, excited, and prepared to go shopping. That leads them to a special baby boutique in Whisper Cove, where they just happen to participate in a cemetery tour run by Michigan’s most famous ghost hunter.
Maddie and the tour guide Harper Harlow recognize each other for what they are right off the bat, although they don’t initially say anything. Everything spills out in the open, though, when a ghost leads Maddie to the body of a local plastic surgeon.
The dead doctor has an interesting reputation with the women around town, and Maddie recognizes him from her days of nursing. Before anybody realizes what’s happening, the two women have formed a crime-fighting team and they’re determined to uncover answers.
Nick would prefer Maddie shop and embrace their incoming baby but he knows when her inner detective can’t be silenced. While the men bond – and discuss loving a magical woman – the women (and Zander, of course) dig deep and uncover exactly how sordid the tale of an unethical doctor can be.

Published December 8th, 2020

Ghostly Graves and Gunslingers by Lily Harper Hart

SYNOPSIS:
Four women, four magical talents, four mysteries, and four chances at romance.
Spend some time with Hannah Hickok, Maddie Graves, Harper Harlow and Rowan Gray as they crossover in three different mysteries and stir up a whole host of trouble.
You’ll laugh, cry, and be amazed.

Published December 8th, 2020

Cold Wind (Alaska Wild 2) by Paige Shelton

SYNOPSIS:
Beth Rivers is still in Alaska. The unidentified man who kidnapped her in her home of St. Louis hasn’t been found yet, so she’s not ready to go back.

But as October comes to a close, Benedict is feeling more and more like her new home. Beth has been working on herself: She’s managed to get back to writing, and she’s enjoying these beautiful months between summer and winter in Alaska.

Then, everything in Benedict changes after a mudslide exposes a world that had been hidden for years. Two mud-covered, silent girls appear, and a secret trapper’s house is found in the woods. The biggest surprise, though, is a dead and frozen woman’s body in the trapper’s shed. No one knows who she is, but the man who runs the mercantile, Randy, seems to be in the middle of all the mysteries.

Unable to escape her journalistic roots, Beth is determined to answer the questions that keep arising: Are the mysterious girls and the frozen body connected? Can Randy possibly be involved? And—most importantly—can she solve this mystery before the cold wind sweeping over the town and the townspeople descends for good?

Published December 8th, 2020

Reluctant Bumpkin (County Cousins Mysteries Book 6) by Sam Cheever

SYNOPSIS:
She’s just a girl with a dog, a cat, and a pig. And since she’s been drafted into helping her boyfriend scare his younger brother straight, she’s a girl who’s suddenly glad she’s an only child.
Hal’s younger brother has been banished to Deer Hollow because of his proclivity for getting into trouble. Hal’s parents are hoping he’ll take the kid under his wing and straighten him out. But Asher Amity has a knack for finding trouble, and it doesn’t take him long to find it in Deer Hollow. When Asher steps into a steaming pile of murder and treachury, Hal and Joey are destined to get dragged into the mess with him. Who knew how dangerous babysitting could be?

Published December 8th, 2020

Rivera Gold (Mary Russell & Sherlock Holmes) by Laurie R. King

SYNOPSIS:
It’s summertime on the Riviera, where the Jazz Age is busily reinventing the holiday delights of warm days on golden sand and cool nights on terraces and dance floors. Just up the coast lies a more traditional pleasure ground: Monte Carlo, where fortunes are won, lost, stolen, and hidden away. So when Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes happen across the Cote d’Azur in this summer of 1925, they find themselves pulled between the young and the old, hot sun and cool jazz, new friendships and old loyalties, childlike pleasures and very grownup sins…

Published December 10th, 2020

A Matter of Murder (Campbell & Carter 7) by Ann Granger

SYNOPSIS:
Two years ago, Miff Ferguson chose to opt out of the rat race. Since then he’s been living rough and happily so. That is until now. For, as the first signs of winter approach, everything changes. While looking for shelter, Miff stumbles across the dead body of a young woman inside a dilapidated warehouse. Quickly realising he’s not alone, and what’s worse he’s been spotted, Miff becomes embroiled in a game of cat-and-mouse with a killer that forces him to abandon his life on the streets and take refuge with his aunt and uncle in the village of Weston St Ambrose. But, despite his best efforts to lie low, trouble seems to follow him and when another dead body is discovered at a local farm, it’s clear Miff is not free from danger.

With the clock ticking, Inspector Jess Campbell and Superintendent Ian Carter must join forces once again with the team of police at Bamford to piece together the puzzle before another innocent life is lost…

Published December 10th, 2020

A Dodgy Death (Kat McCoy Lake County Cozy Mystery Series Book 1) by Jacqueline M. Green

SYNOPSIS:
“Kat, someone is trying to kill me!”
A dotty aunt. A death on the staircase. And valuable drawings that have disappeared.
With her aunt’s prophetic final phone call ringing in her ears, Kat McCoy’s visit to England takes a sharp turn. She learns her aunt discovered and subsequently hid four historical drawings reportedly worth thousands of British pounds – and Kat’s not the only one who knows about them. Did her elderly aunt die from an accidental fall or something more sinister?
With help from new friends, including the handsome village constable, Kat tries to settle the question of her aunt’s death, all the while knowing the killer is still out there. Can Kat unmask the killer, find the drawings and still make her flight home to the States? Or will the drawings – and the truth – be lost forever?

Published December 10th, 2020

Preserves & Premonitions (A Southern Charms Cozy Mystery Book 7) by Bella Falls

SYNOPSIS:
Magic and mystery are only part of the Southern Charms of Honeysuckle Hollow…

Charli Goodwin’s future seemed to be nothing but smooth sailing…until the last spell she cast changed the course of everything! Now, it’s not only her life but the lives of others she cares deeply for that are tied up in her fate. Not even help from the creepy and mysterious soothsayers, the Weird Sisters, can give her a clue how to get out of the mess she’s in.

If Charli can’t figure out a way to fix what she’s done and get things back on track, according to the premonitions from the sisters, the future for herself and all of Honeysuckle Hollow is at stake. Will she be able to reverse the effects of her spell in time?

Published December 10th, 2020

Sledding Away with Murder (Sweetfern Harbor Mystery Book 21) by Wendy Meadows

SYNOPSIS:
This winter wonderland isn’t quite so innocent after all…
Determined to create a picturesque winter experience at the Sheffield Bed and Breakfast inn, Brenda Rivers eagerly awaits the arrival of her new guests for the weekend. This year brings a wide selection of visitors from all walks of life – from a soft-spoken Amish couple to a plastic surgeon and Anaesthesiologist who just can’t seem to get along. Brenda tries her best to keep the peace and make sure all her guests have a good time.

But when one of their guests turns up brutally murdered and left almost unrecognizable in the midst of a harmless sledding contest, Brenda’s hopes of a perfect weekend are shattered. With her guest’s rival going strangely quiet, his wife crying crocodile tears, and the Amish couple mysteriously coming last in a sport they claimed to be the best at, Brenda must put all of her sleuthing skills to the test if she wants to unravel the truth.

Can Brenda unmask a killer for Christmas? Or will her guest’s murder slip into the background of cold cases?

Published December 10th, 2020

Waffles at the Wake (Murder in the Mix Book 29) by Addison Moore

SYNOPSIS:
It’s the dead of winter in Honey Hollow, and I’ve got jury duty. As if that wasn’t terrible enough, Carlotta is stirring up trouble with the mob again, and soon enough a member of the family ends up biting the big one. And you will never guess which ghost comes back to help me solve the crime this time… Something like this has never happened before, and I’m hoping it will never happen again. It’s cold outside, and so is the heart of the killer.

Baker Lottie Lemon has a bakery to tend to, one too many suitors, and the supernatural ability to see the dead—which are always harbingers for ominous things to come. Throw in a string of murders, and her insatiable thirst for justice, and you’ll have more chaos than you know what to do with.

Published December 10th, 2020

Holly & the Grand Opening (The Holly Lewis Mystery Series Book 10) by Dianne Harmann

SYNOPSIS:
The excitement is building for the grand opening
Of the long-awaited addition to the Read It Again bookstore
And Holly’s in charge of making sure everything is ready for it.
But when the books to be put on the shelves
Are stolen from a storage unit,
Her best-laid plans fall apart.
Obviously, someone has a grudge against
The bookstore, Holly, or the owner, Fiona.
But who and why?
And even worse,
Holly worries that her best friend may be the one responsible
And she, herself, is to blame.

December 12th, 2020

Red Roses (Hope Herring Cozy Mystery Book 4) by J. A. Whiting and Nell McCarthy

SYNOPSIS:
It is February in North Carolina and Valentine’s Day is fast approaching The holidays are hard for Hope since losing her husband, and this one, in particular, will be difficult.
She and her resident ghost keep looking for clues to his hundred-year old murder and as she continues to research her husband’s death, she finds things that frighten her.
If all that wasn’t enough, Hope is worried about one of her students, and when one thing leads to another she ends up embroiled in a mess of a situation.
Will Hope be able to keep her daughter, Cori, her student, and herself safe or will danger strike before she figures out what’s going on?

Published December 12th, 2020

The Lurid Possibility of Mystery (The Mysteries of Severine DuNoir Book 5) by Beth Byers

SYNOPSIS:
December 1925.


Severine DuNoir has discovered who has been hunting her. Now she needs to discover why. As the foes circle each other, their friends and family get drawn into the conflict.

Just who can Severine trust? How can she stop the rogue? And what will happen to those she loves if she fails? She’s all too afraid the answer is one she won’t be able to live with.

Published December 13th, 2020 by

Courting Can Be A Killer (An Amish Matchmaker Mystery) by Amanda Flower

SYNOPSIS:
Some Amish men don’t know what’s good for them. That’s what Millie Fisher told herself when young Ben Baughman set his heart on marrying Tess Lieb. With Tess’ father refusing to give his blessing and Tess’ ex-boyfriend being a wet blanket, the hapless couple was bound to butt heads more than Millie’s Boer goats. But when Ben tragically dies in a mysterious fire, Millie wonders if someone in her hometown of Harvest, Ohio wanted Ben out of the wedding picture altogether…With the help of her quilting buddies, and her outspoken Englischer friend Lois, Millie is determined to patch together all the clues without even dropping a stitch. She only hopes it won’t be the death of her…

Published December 14th, 2020

Ropes, Riddles & Robberies (A Camper & Criminals Cozy Mystery Book 15) by Tonya Kappes

SYNOPSIS:
Welcome to Normal, Kentucky~ where nothing is normal. A Campers and Criminal Mystery Series is another brainchild of USA Today Bestselling Author Tonya Kappes. If you love her quirky southern characters and small town charm with a mystery to solve, you’re going to love her new cozy mystery series!

Published December 17th, 2020

The Zachery Case (Markham Sisters 26) by Diana Xarissa

SYNOPSIS:
Janet Markham is looking forward to Edward Bennett’s arrival at the bed and breakfast she runs with her sister Joan. She and Edward have been seeing one another for a while now, and he’s meant to be retiring and moving to Doveby Dale for good. Joan is just anxious to get the carriage house cleared out so that she can turn it into a guest room.

When Janet moves the last few boxes and finds a skeleton, though, Joan’s plans get put on hold as the sisters find themselves caught up in a murder investigation. Inspector Harold Colbert from Derby is in charge of the case, and he doesn’t seem interested in getting any help from the sisters’ friend Robert Parsons, the local constable.

When Edward arrives, he’s eager to help with the investigation, but Harold has his own ideas about how things should be done.

Can Janet and Edward work out whose body was hidden in the carriage house? Was it murder or did the victim meet with an unfortunate accident? And will Edward finally give Janet the combination to the safe in the library?

Published December 18th, 2020

Murder Over Easy (A Sunny Side Up Cozy Mystery Book 1) by Rosie A. Point

SYNOPSIS:
Murder has never been this easy…

When Sunny Charles arrives in small-town Parfait, Florida, the last thing she expects is a note from her aunt instructing her to take control of the famous Sunny Side Up Café. After going through a vicious divorce, losing her entire life savings, and, oh yeah, having the Russian mob on her tail, Sunny’s willing to give it a shot, even if it means trying her hand at cooking. Let’s face it, eggs over easy aren’t exactly ‘easy’ to make, but they beat facing off against armed men with guns.

All things considered, her first day in the café goes well, that is, until one of the customers, a food vlogger, tries her aunt’s eggs over easy and drops dead on the spot. Sunny’s set to lose the café unless she can prove her innocence. But with a handsome chef as a distraction, the creeping suspicion she’s being watched, and a detective on her case, she’s got her work cut out for her.

Can Sunny solve the mystery before the murderer stops her? Find out in this funny starter in a brand new cozy mystery series!

Published December 18th, 2020

A Fashionable Fate (Rosa the Cuban Psychic Mystery) by Ileana Munoz Rebfroe

SYNOPSIS:
A psychic, a fashion gala and the death of a runway model.

Not what Boutique owner, Rosa de los Reyes hoped for when she organized the Colten Island Fashion Show.

To save the gala and stop the killer from striking again, she must use her psychic abilities, sift through the gossip at La Misteriosa and navigate increasing danger all while racing against the clock.

Will Rosa, her familiar Raul, and Las Cubanitas find the truth before the murderer kills again?

Published December 18th, 2020

Scones and Scofflaws (A Cape May Cozy Mystery, Book 1) by Jane Gorman

SYNOPSIS:
When a gorgeous man dressed as Bridgette Bardot buys her a Scofflaw and asks her out on a date, Anna McGregor begins to suspect her murder investigation has taken a wrong turn. Her previous work as a medical anthropologist exposed her to a variety of unexpected situations, but none quite like this.

It all seemed so simple: fix up the Cape May Victorian mansion she’d inherited from Great Aunt Louise and re-open it as the exceptional B&B it used to be. Everything’s going great, until her very first guest turns up dead at the breakfast table, crumbs from Anna’s blueberry scones scattered on the lace tablecloth.

As the town’s gossip mill goes into overdrive, Anna leaps into the fray to save her reputation, her business and Great Aunt Louise’s legacy.

With help from a handsome handyman eager to solve all of Anna’s problems and a young police officer new to murder investigations, Anna does her best to convince the town — and her future guests — that while her scones may be killer, someone else was responsible for this murder.

Published December 20th, 2020

Murder Under the Mistletoe (A Darcy Sweet Cozy Mystery Book 30) by K. J. Emrick

SYNOPSIS:
A nice family trip away for Christmas is just what Darcy Sweet needs…

There’s only one problem – trouble tends to follow her wherever she goes.

But she’s determined it won’t this time…

With her track record though, Jon is not convinced.

But hey, what does it matter?

Trouble can just as easily find her in Misty Hollow – and it frequently does.

So why shouldn’t they take some time to relax at the cozy Hideaway Inn?

And if any trouble were to happen, she can handle it…

She hopes.

Published December 21st, 2020

Murder in Hyde Park (A Ginger Gold Mystery Book) by Lee Strauss

SYNOPSIS:
Murder’s a fashion faux pas…

The summer of 1926 brings high fashion to Hyde Park. Ginger’s Regent Street dress shop, Feathers & Flair, is a major sponsor, and when top designer Coco Chanel makes an appearance, the London fashion scene lights up.

Until a model drops dead and Miss Chanel is suspected of murder. The fashion icon hires Lady Gold Investigations to clear her name, but can Ginger discover the murderer before becoming a lifeless mannequin herself?

Published December 22nd, 2020

The Easter Sunday Slaughter (Claire Anderson Murder For All Seasons Book 2) by Imogen Plimp

SYNOPSIS:
APRIL SHOWERS BRING MAY FLOWERS

And a bouquet of murderous intrigue…

Amateur sleuth (and ace baker) Claire Andersen is back! Winter melts to spring in scenic Galway, Maryland, uncovering blooming friendships new and old, a shyly budding romance, the rotten stench of organized crime, and family drama more garish than Claire’s emerging blood lilies.

Settling in just fine to her new Appalachian digs (and getting the hang of this whole proprietress of a B&B thing, too!), NYC native Claire Andersen is living a cozy small town fairy tale. There are quirky local characters and adorable little shops, not to mention a kitchen full of mouth-watering baked goodies. She’s a veritable June Cleaver—if Leave It to Beaver were nestled in the mountains and June were a recently retired empty nester, that is.

There’s just one problem. Claire can hardly say “Gee, golly” before her newly-acquainted and much-beloved neighbor winds up murdered in cold blood, right before Galway’s annual Easter parade. Hot off the heels of her last murder, Claire can’t help but get involved (much to the chagrin of the well-meaning albeit bumbling town sheriff). She can hardly help herself, after all. The murder did take place right next door … and the victim’s family is staying in her B&B… Ever the hostess, poking around is the least she could do.

Little does Claire know the victim’s family is just the tip of the iceberg. The rest of the iceberg consists of age-old secrets so duplicitous, they’d make Eddie Haskell run for the hills.

Mix in Claire’s feisty sidekick Evelyn, her ever-lovable bloodhound Rupert, and a mountain of mocha and strawberry buttercream cupcakes—and Claire finds she’s in business. The sleuthing business. Perhaps even the mafia business. But she’d better tread carefully—or she’ll wind up another discarded, frozen body in the aforementioned iceberg (with a spring thaw nowhere in sight).

Published December 25th, 2020

Corgis & Conspiracy (A Dog Town USA Cozy Mystery) by Meg Muldoon

SYNOPSIS:
The cozy Pacific Northwest town of Dog Mountain is happily humming this December as residents prepare for the season of light.
But when celebrity and controversial pet treat industry guru Madison Shaw is found dead at the bottom of the historic Howliday Inn’s staircase one chilly morning, ace reporter Winifred Wolf finds herself covering a national story.
Was Madison’s fall just a tragic accident?
Or is there more to the story than meets the eye?

Published December 25th, 2020

Ink and Shadows (A Secret, Book, and Scone Novel 4) by Ellery Adams

SYNOPSIS:
Nora Pennington is known for her window displays, and as Halloween approaches, she decides to showcase fictional heroines like Roald Dahl’s Matilda and Madeline Miller’s Circe. A family-values group disapproves of the magical themes, though, and wastes no time launching a modern-day witch hunt. Suddenly, former friends and customers are targeting not only Nora and Miracle Books, but a new shopkeeper, Celeste, who’s been selling CBD oil products.
 
Nora and her friends in the Secret, Book, and Scone Society are doing their best to put an end to the strife—but then someone puts an end to a life. Though the death is declared an accident, the ruling can’t explain the old book page covered with strange symbols and disturbing drawings left under Nora’s doormat, a postcard from an anonymous stalker, or multiple cases of vandalism.
 
The only hope is that Nora can be a heroine herself and lead the Secret, Book, and Scone Society in a successful investigation—before more bodies turn up and the secrets from Celeste’s past come back to haunt them all . .

Published December 26th, 2020

Wedding Cake and Widows: A Comedy Cozy Mystery by Christy Murphy

SYNOPSIS:
You’re invited!
It’s the wedding everyone in Fletcher Canyon has been waiting for. The bride is beautiful. The groom is nervous, and…

There’s a dead body.

But no need to worry, Mom and Christy are on the case.

Published December 26th, 2020

Murdered Mayor (High Desert Cozy Mystery Series 13) by Dianne Harmann

SYNOPSIS:
The famous cowboy movie star
Had become the dearly beloved mayor of Palm Springs.
Too bad he was murdered.
But who could have done it and what was their motive?
Greed? Political rival? An environmental extremist?
Son? Stepdaughter? Ex-wives?
And what about his present trophy wife?
Then there’s that pesky proposed desert windmill turbine project.
They kill a lot of birds,
And the Desert Bird Sanctuary members were certainly
Against the proposal.
The mayor’s vote was needed to approve it.
Maybe he was going to vote against it.
Was that why Monty Madsen was murdered?
And maybe Monty wasn’t the only person in Palm Springs
Who wanted to be the mayor!
There’s a colorful cast of characters,
But only one of them is a murderer.

Join Marty, her husband, Detective Jeff Combs, and their psychic boxer dog, Patron, as they determine not only who had the motive, but also who had the means.

Published December 26th, 2020

Sweet Violet’s Ghost (A Sweet Cove Mystery Book 19) by J. A. Whiting

SYNOPSIS:
It is September in Sweet Cove and Angie and Jenna are taking a walk after work to the town park and up the hill to the cemetery overlooking the ocean. Their daughters are growing fast and are already crawling and saying words. Angie and Jenna take the girls out of the strollers so they can play on the grass, but moments later, something unexpected appears to them and it’s about to draw them into a mystery with connections that reach to another state.It will take all four of the Roseland sisters, Mr. Finch, Chief Martin, two fine felines, and a new friend to find the evil-doer responsible for ending two lives, and maybe more. Will they find the answers they need before it’s too late?

Published December 26th, 2020

Prime Time Murder: A Humorous Cozy Mystery (Hollywood Whodunit Book) by Brittany E. Brinegar

SYNOPSIS:
She’s little. She’s feisty. Spoiler alert, she’s not the killer.

Move to Hollywood. Catch her big break. Become a movie star. Nowhere on Becky Robinson’s to-do list does it say discover a dead body or become the prime suspect.

Becky’s first day on set is anything but glamorous. Between coffee runs and walking the star dog, she discovers the body of a prominent actress. Not exactly how she pictured seeing her name in the papers. And they didn’t even spell it right.

After finding evidence at the crime scene, the cops are on her trail and a Hollywood hunk is in the hot seat.

To clear her name and discover whodunit, Becky rubs elbows with Tinseltown insiders. With the help of her best friend and an adorable puppy, they attempt to expose the killer before he claims his next victim.

Published December 26th, 2020

Chilled to the Cone (A Bakeshop Mystery, 12)by Ellie Alexander

SYNOPSIS:
The deep freeze has thawed in Ashland, Oregon and Torte is gearing up for a busy spring. When a surprise opportunity to launch a pop-up ice cream shop comes her way, Jules jumps at the chance to showcase Torte’s signature iced drinks and cold custards. But selling the desserts of her dreams comes at a price. . .and, before she knows it, Jules’s life swirls into a nightmare. One of the town’s most colorful characters, a street performer known for wearing capes and a cone-shaped hat, turns up dead just as Torte 2.0 is set to open its doors. Can Jules get the scoop on what happened to “The Wizard” of Ashland before her new business venture reaches a chilling conclusion

Published December 29th, 2020

Closely Harbored Secrets (Seaside Cafe Mystery Book 5) by Bree Baker

SYNOPSIS:
It’s almost Halloween, and the small island of Charm, North Carolina is decked out for the festivities. When Everly Swan agrees to close her iced tea shop early to help her aunts host their annual haunted historic walking tour, she expects some good-natured spooks. But the night turns grave when one of the ghostly actors is found dead. To complicate matters, the victim scratched Everly’s name into the ground before she died, making her a key suspect.

The murder mystery heats up when Everly’s potential boo, Detective Grady, takes the case—and he definitely doesn’t want her getting involved. Will their seaside romance be threatened by all the ghostly drama? But when a phantom sailor straight out of local legend starts leaving Everly threatening messages, she has to get involved… With a local election under way, ghosts on the loose, and a search for long-lost buried treasure, Everly can’t help but stir the pot!

Published December 29th, 2020

A Purr-fect Storm (Meow for Murder Book 6) by Addison Moore and Bellamy Bloom

SYNOPSIS:
Confession. I’m no psychic. But I can sort of see the future—albeit not accurately. And you better believe, I’ve never let that little detail stop me from prognosticating my way into a pickle. So when I ticked off the mob, the feds, and my wily ex, I decided to take my Uncle Vinnie’s advice and start over with a new name and new hair color while relying on my old shtick—getting my psychic wires crossed and putting myself in danger.

It’s beginning to look a lot like murder. It’s winter in Starry Falls, the snow is falling and the mobsters are coming in strong. My freedom is in the balance and the only question on my mind is should I stay or should I go now? Shep is willing to risk it all for me—and a thank you, I might just get us both killed.

Living in Starry Falls is proving to be deadly.

Published December 30th, 2020

Marvellous Mary Brown and the Mysterious Manhunt (Mary Brown Mysteries 2) by Bernice Bloom

SYNOPSIS:
Mysterious Manhunt continues the story, as Mary and the unlikely Mysterious Invitation crowd head off in search of a missing family. There are twists and turns and moments of madness. Featuring Juan Pablo on the stage, her boyfriend, Ted, in a fight and Mary Brown in the middle of it all, wondering what in the name of the lord she’s got herself all caught up in…

Mary proves herself to be super sleuth extraordinaire as she finds the clues to help crack the code. But will it be enough?

Published December 31st, 2020

Let’s Bake A Deal (Twin Berry Bakery Book 2)by Wendy Meadows

SYNOPSIS:
Rita and Rhonda Knight set out to enjoy the annual Clovedale Falls Pumpkin Festival. They arrive at the local fairgrounds on a crisp autumn morning full of excitement. With their purses full of money and the morning ahead of them, what could possibly go wrong? Only murder.

When Sheriff Bluestone shows up at the festival and tells Rita and Rhonda that a murder had taken place at the remote Clovedale Falls Retirement Home mansion, a dark cloud rolls over the fun morning. Suddenly, the smell of pumpkin pies, funnel cakes, and apple cider is replaced by the foul stench of crime, involving uncaring kitchen staff and suspicious nurses…and one innocent old man who can barely remember his own name. Together, Rhonda and Rita dive into a mystery that takes them into a mansion filled with secrets and heartbreaking truths as they track down a killer lurking in the shadows.

Will the Knight sisters solve a murder and prove the innocence of an old man, and reveal the secret histories that have brought these shadows down on their beautiful autumn day? Or will they fall victim to a hideous crime and never be remembered again?

Published December 31st, 2020

Are any of these on your wishlist? What’s your favourite Cozy Mystery Series? Let me know in the comments.

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Emma’s Anticipated Treasures – December 2020

Wow. I can’t quite believe that I’m writing this and that I’ve now done a year of Emma’s Anticipated Treasures. I’ve loved doing these posts and plan to keep it going through 2021, including a list of some of my most anticipated books of next year being posted on December.

December is probably the quietest month I’ve seen this year for book releases, while January is jam-packed full of so many that I’m dreading selecting my most anticipated. But there’s still some great books out before the year ends. Here are the ones I’m most excited about:

The Last Resort by Susi Holliday

Published: December 1st, 2020
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Genre: Psychological Thriller, Suspense, Crime Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
Seven strangers. Seven secrets. One perfect crime.

When Amelia is invited to an all-expenses-paid retreat on a private island, the mysterious offer is too good to refuse. Along with six other strangers, she’s told they’re here to test a brand-new product for Timeo Technologies. But the guests’ excitement soon turns to terror when the real reason for their summons becomes clear.

Each guest has a guilty secret. And when they’re all forced to wear a memory-tracking device that reveals their dark and shameful deeds to their fellow guests, there’s no hiding from the past. This is no luxury retreat—it’s a trap they can’t get out of.

As the clock counts down to the lavish end-of-day party they’ve been promised, injuries and in-fighting split the group. But with no escape from the island—or the other guests’ most shocking secrets—Amelia begins to suspect that her only hope for survival is to be the last one standing. Can she confront her own dark past to uncover the truth—before it’s too late to get out?

WHY I’M ANTICIPATING THIS BOOK:
A claustrophobic setting with no escape? ✅ People hiding guilty secrets? ✅ Wintery location? ✅ Check. Written by a fantastic thriller writer who’s last book was amazing? ✅ This book has all the ingredients for an amazing winter thriller that I can’t wait to read.
Pre-order here.

Heading Over The Hill by Judy

Published: December 3rd, 2020
Publisher: Boldwood Books
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Romance

SYNOPSIS:
Growing old disgracefully and having a grand old time…

Billy and Dawnie may be in their seventies, but that won’t stop them taking chances or starting again. Their grown-up children have families and lives of their own, so now it’s Billy and Dawnie’s turn, and a life near the sea in Devon beckons.

But the residents of Margot Street (or Maggot Street as Dawnie insists on calling it), don’t quite know what to make of their new neighbours. Billy’s loud, shiny and huge Harley Davidson looks out of place next to the safe and sensible Honda Jazz next door, and Dawnie’s never-ending range of outrageous wigs and colourful clothes, means she’s impossible to miss.

As new friendships are formed and new adventures are shared, Billy and Dawnie start winning their neighbours’ affection. And when life teaches them all a terrible lesson, the folks of Margot Street are determined to live every day as if it’s their last.

WHY I’M ANTICIPATING THIS BOOK:
I’ve become a big fan of “pensioners on the pages” and this one sounds like a fun, uplifting read.
Pre-order here.

Dark Falls (Detective Megan Carpenter 3) by Gregg Olsen

Published: December 4th, 2020
Publisher: Bookouture
Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Psychological Thriller, Hardboiled, Police Procedural, Crime Series

SYNOPSIS:
One bath wall is a mural of a brilliant-yellow sunflower. The theme carries over to the shower curtains, but the yellow vinyl is spattered with red blotches. Propped against the mirror is a South Kitsap High School photo of a teenaged girl.

Detective Megan Carpenter is no stranger to horrifying crime scenes, but when she arrives at the home of a woman whose body has been brutalized, Megan is shocked to discover that she knows the victim. Monique Delmont helped Megan when she was in danger years ago. And the killer has left a disturbing calling card… two laminated photographs of a sixteen-year-old high school girl – Megan.

Someone is taunting her in the worst way possible and Megan is convinced she knows who is responsible. She just has to find him.

With the help of her new partner, Deputy Ronnie Marsh, Megan begins to unravel the clues that will lead them to the killer including links to three female murder cases from nearly twenty years ago – one of which was Monique’s daughter.

But to protect those closest to her, Megan must continue to hide the dark truth of her past, even if that means lying to her team about her connection to Monique.

When two photographs of a teenage Megan are found at her boyfriend’s place in Snow Creek, she knows the killer is circling and ready to strike again.

Can she get to him before he finds her? And will she pay the ultimate price for trying to keep her terrifying past buried?

WHY I’M ANTICIPATING THIS BOOK:
I’m been a fan of the first two books in this series and can’t wait to see where the author takes the protagonist next. You can read my reviews for the first two books here: Book 1, Book 2.
Pre-order here.

Layla by Colleen Hoover

Published: December 8th, 2020
Publisher: Montlake
Genre: Romance, Contemporary Romance, Thriller

SYNOPSIS:
When Leeds meets Layla, he’s convinced he’ll spend the rest of his life with her—until an unexpected attack leaves Layla fighting for her life. After weeks in the hospital, Layla recovers physically, but the emotional and mental scarring has altered the woman Leeds fell in love with. In order to put their relationship back on track, Leeds whisks Layla away to the bed-and-breakfast where they first met. Once they arrive, Layla’s behavior takes a bizarre turn. And that’s just one of many inexplicable occurrences.

Feeling distant from Layla, Leeds soon finds solace in Willow—another guest of the B&B with whom he forms a connection through their shared concerns. As his curiosity for Willow grows, his decision to help her find answers puts him in direct conflict with Layla’s well-being. Leeds soon realizes he has to make a choice because he can’t help both of them. But if he makes the wrong choice, it could be detrimental for all of them.

WHY I’M ANTICIPATING THIS BOOK:
I’ve heard this one be compared to her outstanding thriller Verity, which I absolutely loved, so this one is a must read for me.
Pre-order here.

In the Clearing by J.P Pomare

Published: December 10th, 2020
Publisher: Hodder Books
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Police Procedural

SYNOPSIS:
HOW FAR WOULD YOU GO TO PROTECT YOUR FAMILY?

Amy has only ever known life in the Clearing. She knows what’s expected of her. She knows what to do to please her elders, and how to make sure the community remains happy and calm. That is, until a new young girl joins the group. She isn’t fitting in; she doesn’t want to stay. What happens next will turn life as Amy knows it on its head.

Freya has gone to great lengths to feel like a ‘normal person’. In fact, if you saw her go about her day with her young son, you’d think she was an everyday mum. That is, until a young girl goes missing and someone from her past, someone she hasn’t seen for a very long time, arrives in town.

As secrets of the past bubble up to the surface, this small town’s dark secrets will be exposed and lives will be destroyed.

WHY I’M ANTICIPATING THIS BOOK:
I loved J. P. Pomare’s debut, Call Me Evie, and have been been eagerly anticipating the follow up ever since.
Pre-order here.

Out For Blood (DI Eve Hunter 2) by Deborah Masson

Published: December 10th, 2020
Publisher: Corgi
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Crime Fiction, Psychological Fiction, Police Procedural, Urban Fiction, Crime Series

SYNOPSIS:
DI Eve Hunter is back in the edge-of-your-seat new detective thriller from Deborah Masson, winning author of the Bloody Scotland Crime Debut of the Year 2020.

A young man, the son of an influential businessman, is discovered dead in his central Aberdeen apartment.

Hours later, a teenaged girl with no identification is found hanged in a suspected suicide.

As DI Eve Hunter and her team investigate the two cases, they find themselves in a tug-of-war between privilege and poverty; between the elite and those on the fringes of society.

Then an unexpected breakthrough leads them to the shocking conclusion: that those in power have been at the top for too long – and now, someone is going to desperate lengths to bring them down…

Can they stop someone who is dead set on revenge, no matter the cost?

WHY I’M ANTICIPATING THIS BOOK:
Hold Your Tongue was one of my favourite thrillers of 2019 and a sensational start to a new series. I’ve been looking forward to the follow up since I read the last line and am excited that it’s almost here.
Pre-order here.

The Butterfly Effect by Rachel Mans McKenny

Published: December 10th, 2020
Publisher: Alcove Press
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Literary Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
A Man Called Ove meets The Rosie Project in this delightfully off-kilter (Rachel Yoder, Nightbitch) tale of a grumpy introvert, her astonishing lack of social skills and empirical data-driven approach to people and relationships.

Is there such a thing as an anti-social butterfly? If there were, Greta Oto would know about it–and totally relate. An entomologist, Greta far prefers the company of bugs to humans, and that’s okay, because people don’t seem to like her all that much anyway, with the exception of her twin brother, Danny, though they’ve recently had a falling out. So when she lands a research gig in the rainforest, she leaves it all behind.
But when Greta learns that Danny has suffered an aneurysm and is now hospitalized, she abandons her research and hurries home to the middle of nowhere America to be there for her brother. But there’s only so much she can do, and unfortunately just like insects, humans don’t stay cooped up in their hives either–they buzz about and… socialize. Coming home means confronting all that she left behind, including her lousy soon-to-be sister-in-law, her estranged mother, and her ex-boyfriend Brandon who has conveniently found a new non-lab-exclusive partner with shiny hair, perfect teeth, and can actually remember the names of the people she meets right away. Being that Brandon runs the only butterfly conservatory in town, and her dissertation is now in jeopardy, taking that job, being back home, it’s all creating chaos of Greta’s perfectly catalogued and compartmentalized world. But real life is messy, and Greta will have to ask herself if she has the courage to open up for the people she loves, and for those who want to love her.

The Butterfly Effect is an unconventional tale of self-discovery, navigating relationships, and how sometimes it takes stepping outside of our comfort zone to find what we need the most.

WHY I’M ANTICIPATING THIS BOOK:
I’ll admit that my love of anything butterfly-related and the bright cover was what initially drew me to this one, but the compelling synopsis is why it is on my most anticipated list.
Pre-order here.

Sleepless by Louise Mumford

Published: December 10th, 2020
Publisher: HQ
Genre: Crime Fiction, Psychological Fiction, Suspense, Science Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
Don’t close your eyes. Don’t fall asleep. Don’t let them in.

Thea is an insomniac; she hasn’t slept more than three hours a night for years.

So when an ad for a sleep trial that promises to change her life pops up on her phone, Thea knows this is her last chance at finding any kind of normal life.

Soon Thea’s sleeping for longer than she has in a decade, and awakes feeling transformed. So much so that at first she’s willing to overlook the oddities of the trial – the lack of any phone signal; the way she can’t leave her bedroom without permission; the fact that all her personal possessions are locked away, even her shoes.

But it soon becomes clear that the trial doesn’t just want to help Thea sleep. It wants to control her sleep…

WHY I’M ANTICIPATING THIS BOOK:
As soon as I read the synopsis for this book I pre-ordered it. My only worry is I’ll be up all night reading it.
Pre-order here.

Deity (Six Stories 6) by Matt Wesolowski

Published: December 18th, 2020
Publisher: Orenda
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Horror Fiction, Psychological Fiction, Crime Fiction, Coming-of-Age Fiction, Urban Fiction, Book Series

SYNOPSIS:
Online investigative journalist Scott King investigates the death of a pop megastar, the subject of multiple accusations of sexual abuse and murder before his untimely demise in a fire … another episode of the startlingly original, award-winning Six Stories series.

WHY I’M ANTICIPATING THIS BOOK:
It’s no secret how much I love Orenda books and Matt Wesolowski become an instant must-read when I read Beast, the last installment in this series. I’ve been counting down to the next one ever since.
Pre-order here.

The Spiral by Iain Ryan

Published: December 24th, 2020
Publisher: Bonnier Books UK
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

SYNOPSIS:
ENTER THE SPIRAL.
FIND THE TRUTH.

Erma Bridges’ life is far from perfect, but entirely ordinary. So when she is shot twice in a targetted attack by a colleague, her quiet existence is shattered in an instant.

With her would-be murderer dead, no one can give Erma the answers she needs to move on from her trauma. Why her? Why now?

So begins Erma’s quest for the truth – and a dangerous, spiralling journey into the heart of darkness.

With all the inventiveness of The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle and the raw brutality of Mulholland Drive, THE SPIRAL is a unique crime thriller with killer twists – and 2020’s most jaw-dropping ending.

WHY I’M ANTICIPATING THIS BOOK:
Earlier this year I signed up for updates on this book from the publisher and the trickle of clues arriving in my inbox regularly has me eagerly awaiting finally getting the chance to read the book.
Pre-order here.

The Wrong Family by Tarryn Fisher

Published: December 29th, 2020
Publisher: Graydon House Ltd
Genre: Suspense, Thriller, Psychological Thriller

SYNOPSIS:
Have you ever been wrong about someone?
Juno was wrong about Winnie Crouch.
Before moving in with the Crouch family, Juno thought Winnie and her husband, Nigel, had the perfect marriage, the perfect son–the perfect life. Only now that she’s living in their beautiful house, she sees the cracks in the crumbling facade are too deep to ignore.
Still, she isn’t one to judge. After her grim diagnosis, the retired therapist simply wants a place to live out the rest of her days in peace. But that peace is shattered the day Juno overhears a chilling conversation between Winnie and Nigel…
She shouldn’t get involved.
She really shouldn’t.
But this could be her chance to make a few things right.
Because if you thought Juno didn’t have a secret of her own, then you were wrong about her, too.

WHY I’M ANTICIPATING THIS BOOK:
I’ve heard a lot of great things about Tarryn Fisher and have been meaning to read her books for a while. This sounds like a gripping thriller and a great introduction to her work.
Pre-order here.

The Wrong Alibi by Christina Dodd

Published: December 29th, 2020
Publisher: HQN
Genre: Suspense, Thriller, Psychological Thriller

SYNOPSIS:
WRONG JOB
Eighteen-year-old Evelyn Jones lands a job in small-town Alaska, working for a man in his isolated mountain home. But her bright hopes for the future are shattered when Donald White disappears, leaving her to face charges of theft, embezzlement–and a brutal double murder. Her protestations of innocence count for nothing. Convicted, she faces life in prison…until fate sends her on the run.
WRONG NAME
Evie’s escape leaves her scarred and in hiding, isolated from her family, working under an alias at a wilderness camp. Bent on justice, intent on recovering her life, she searches for the killer who slaughters without remorse.
WRONG ALIBI
At last, the day comes. Donald White has returned. Evie emerges from hiding; the fugitive becomes the hunter. But in her mind, she hears the whisper of other forces at work. Now Evelyn must untangle the threads of evidence before she’s once again found with blood on her hands: the blood of her own family…

WHY I’M ANTICIPATING THIS BOOK:
Christina Dodd is another author I’ve been meaning to read for a while. Everything about this book makes me want to read it immediately: from the chilling synopsis to the striking cover.
Pre-order here.

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Secrets in the Dark (Black Winter 2) by Darcy Coates

Published: May 1st, 2020
Publisher: Poison Pen Press
Format: Paperback, Kindle, Audio
Genre: Apocalyptic Fiction, Dystiopian Fiction

Today I’m sharing an extract from the first chapter of Secrets in the Dark, the second book in the Black Winter Series. Thank you to Amber at Midas PR for the invitation to take part.

Extract

Chapter One

“CLARE? IF YOU’RE THERE, please answer. It’s me. Beth.”
Clare stood at Winterbourne Hall’s kitchen sink as she stared, shocked, at the crackling radio. Gusts of freezing wind howled through gaps in the old mansion’s stone walls. Even wrapped in the cotton dress she’d inherited from one of the manor’s former maids and a fur jacket borrowed from Dorran, the kitchen would have been too cold for her without the fire. The blaze both warmed and illuminated the room, bathing Clare and Dorran in its orange glow.
Dorran stood close enough to touch. He still wore bruises and scratches from the monsters that inhabited Winterbourne, but his dark eyes shone in the candlelight as he looked toward the radio.
“Beth…” Clare’s heart missed a beat, then returned with a vengeance, thumping furiously until her pulse was all she could hear. The last time she’d spoken to Beth, she’d been driving to her sister’s house in an attempt to escape the spreading stillness. That had only been seventeen days before. It felt like half a lifetime. She had kept the radio running constantly since she’d retrieved it from her car, but her hope of hearing from Beth had been whittled down to almost nothing.
Dorran moved first. He strode around the wide wooden table filling the kitchen’s center and snatched the two- way radio off the shelf, then returned and placed it on the table in front of Clare. He didn’t try to speak but bent forward to listen, watching expectantly.
The radio crackled. Clare struggled to breathe. In a flurry of urgent panic, she dropped the dish towel and darted forward, then pressed the button to transmit her voice.
“Beth? Beth, I’m here. It’s me. I’m here.”
She released the button and bent close to the speakers. Her hands were shaking. Her throat was tight, and every nerve in her body felt on fire with a desperate need to hear her sister’s voice again.
Beth, who was the closest thing Clare had to a mother. Beth, who at the vulnerable age of twenty had taken Clare to dental checkups, to netball practice, to school recitals. Beth, who had never stopped worrying about her when she’d moved into her own home.
The transmission was faint and distorted by a weak signal, but the voice was unmistakable. Beth took a gasping, hiccupping breath. “Clare? Is that you? Is it really you? She’s still alive. She’s okay. “Yes! I’m here!”
Beth was crying, and Clare couldn’t stop herself from following. She wiped her sleeves over her face as tears ran. At the same time, a grin stretched her cheeks until they ached.
Dorran moved silently. He nudged a chair in behind Clare so she could sit, then a moment later placed a glass of water and a clean cloth beside her. She gratefully used the cloth to wipe some of the wetness off her face. Dorran took a seat on the opposite side of the table. He was tall, towering over Clare, but he moved smoothly and carefully, even his breathing nearly silent. He folded his arms on the table, his dark eyes attentive, his black hair falling around his strong jaw, as he listened to the conversation.
“Sweetheart, are you okay? Are you hurt?”
Beth never called her sweetheart unless she was frightened. Clare guessed, after more than two weeks of no contact, Beth was about as frightened as she’d ever been. “Yeah, I’m fine.”
That was a half- truth at best. She still had red lines running across her arm and abdomen from where the hollow ones had attacked her. She grew tired too quickly. Her muscles ached. A bite on her wrist and thigh still needed dressing every day.
But she was alive. And, if the hollows were as prevalent as they seemed, that was better than what could be said for a lot of the world.
“What about you?” She pulled the radio closer, struggling to make out Beth’s voice under the distortion. “Are you in your bunker? Are you okay?”
“Yes, don’t worry about me. I’m in my bunker and getting thoroughly sick of staring at these four walls.” Beth laughed. “I paid for every add-on I could for this place…air filtration, water filtration, generator, aquaponics system. The only professional I didn’t think to hire was an interior decorator.”
Hearing Beth’s laughter made Clare feel lighter. She couldn’t stop her own grin. “I guess people don’t really think about throw rugs and wall hangings when they imagine the end of the world, do they?”
Beth chuckled, but the noise didn’t sound quite natural. Clare’s own smile faded. For a moment, the only noise in the kitchen was the soft static and a distant drip.
“It’s all gone to hell, sweetheart.” Beth’s voice had lost its color. “Everything. It’s all gone.”
“Yeah.” Clare swallowed. “But you’re okay. And that’s what matters.”
“Are you at Marnie’s? Is she there? Can I talk to her?”
The questions were like being dunked in a freezing bath. Clare closed her eyes. She took a slow breath and tried to keep her voice steady. “I never reached Marnie.” “Oh.”
Clare’s aunt, Marnie, was the third piece of their tiny family. She lived on a farm two hours’ drive from Clare’s own home. On that last morning, Clare had been trying to pick Marnie up on her way to Beth’s. She’d never made it out of Banksy Forest.
“Well.” Beth sounded like she was choking. “At least you’re okay. At least…at least…”
“I’m so sorry.” Clare stared down at the chipped wooden counter and shivered. The kitchen no longer felt as warm as it had a moment before.
There had been very little chance to think about the world outside the forest during the previous few days. But whenever she had, her mind had turned to her family and what might have happened to them. She’d felt sick every time she imagined it.
She felt sick again, knowing that Marnie must have been waiting for her. Beth would have called her to say Clare was on the way. She’d probably been standing by her front door, a suitcase on one side and a cat carrier on the other. Clare could picture her easily. Brown hair that had started to develop streaks of gray. A body that had been made strong by a lifetime of working in the garden but was always a little on the plump side. She would have been wearing floral clothes and a knit cardigan, like she always did. She was a short woman but had a huge smile and an even bigger heart.
Did the hollow ones get her? Was it fast, or painful and slow?
A warm hand moved over hers. She met Dorran’s dark eyes as he squeezed her fingers.
“But you’re okay.” Beth’s voice crackled through the radio again. She seemed to have rallied. “After your phone went out, I tried reaching you through the radio almost constantly. For days. You didn’t answer, and I thought…I thought…”
“I’m so sorry. I left the radio in the car. It took me a while to get it back.”
“That’s fine. You’re alive. I can forgive everything else as long as you just stay alive. Where are you? If you didn’t get to Marnie’s, does that mean you’re in your cottage? It’s not going to be safe— ”
“No, no, I found a new house. It’s in Banksy Forest.”
She could hear the frown in Beth’s voice. “There aren’t any houses inside the forest.”
“That’s what I thought too. But it was well hidden. The owner,
Dorran, is letting me stay with him.”
Again, Beth hesitated. “Is he a good sort of person?”
“Yes, don’t worry. He’s nice. And we have plenty of food— and a garden. Winterbourne was designed to be self- sufficient and it’s hard to break into. I was lucky. Really lucky.”
“Be careful, Clare. Don’t trust him just because he’s friendly.”
Clare looked down at her hand, which was still enveloped in Dorran’s. She followed it along his arm, covered by the green knit sweater, and up to his face. Thick black hair, grown a little too long, framed a strong, reserved face. His dark eyes, shadowed under a heavy brow, smiled at her. She thought there was no one she trusted more.
“He’s good, I promise. You don’t need to worry about me. How are you doing there?”
“Holding up at least.” There was a speck of hesitation in Beth’s voice.
Clare frowned. “Are you sure? Do you have enough food and water?”
“Yes, that’s all fine. But the generator’s out. I’ve been trying to fix it, but it’s been a challenge without the lights.”
A chill ran through Clare. She pictured Beth, sitting in a dark box, having to feel her way through the space every time she needed food or the bathroom or water. There would be nothing to see. Nothing to do. Just her, alone, listening to the seconds tick by.
“I’m doing fine, sweetheart.” Her voice took on the familiar hint of warning she used whenever Clare was doing something she didn’t approve of. “I have a flashlight. I’m using it judiciously— apparently an excess of batteries still isn’t enough— but I’m hardly suffering down here.”
Clare wasn’t sure if she could believe that. But she tried to keep her voice bright for Beth’s sake. “We can talk on the radio as much as you want. I can carry you around with me and keep you company.”
Beth laughed. “Oh, that would be fun. But I think it’s better if we keep our chats short.”
That was unexpected. “Why?”
“Ah…”
“Tell me, Beth.”
“Too much noise attracts them.”
Dorran’s fingers laced through Clare’s, trying to reassure her. She barely felt it. Her hands were turning numb. “The hollow?”
“Yeah.” Beth’s voice cracked. “I was the only person on my street who had a bunker.”
Clare understood. Without shelter, all of Beth’s neighbors would have been affected by the stillness.
Under the static’s crackles and her own too- fast breathing,
Clare thought she heard another sound. The noise had dogged her for weeks, following her even into her sleep, and every fiber of her being revolted against it. Fingernails, digging. Clawing.
Scratching. They were at Beth’s bunker door.
They’d heard them. They were hungry.

MEET THE AUTHOR:

Darcy is the USA Today Bestselling author of Hunted, The Haunting of Ashburn House, Craven Manor, and more than a dozen horror and suspense titles.She lives on the Central Coast of Australia with her family, cats, and a garden full of herbs and vegetables. Darcy loves forests, especially old-growth forests where the trees dwarf anyone who steps between them. Wherever she lives, she tries to have a mountain range close by.

Website |Twitter

BUY THE BOOK:

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Extract: Playdate by Alex Dahl

Published: October 1st, 2020
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audio
Genre: Psychological Thriller, Suspense, Mystery

Today I’m delighted to be sharing an extract from the chilling Playmate. Thank you to Head of Zeus for the invitation to take part and the gifted copy of the book.

Extract:

1.

Elisa
Sandefjord, 19 October 2017

I’ve had the day off, cramming all the things I never normally have time for into the afternoon – highlights and a trim, nails, a half-hearted hour at the gym, and I’m almost late for pick-up. First, I got stuck in bad traffic by the E18 motorway exit, and then Lyder decided to throw a fit when I picked him up from nursery, dropping to the floor like a slab of meat, flopping around in my arms and rolling his eyes back as I shoved his limp limbs into his winter suit.
‘Stop it,’ I hissed, pushing his stockinged feet into his sheepskin boots before grabbing his lunch box, an enormous cardboard artwork and his nursery folder in one hand, my other hand half-dragging my son out the door. ‘Come on!’
In the car, Lyder whines about the fact that I haven’t brought him a snack.
‘Everyone else gets raisins after nursery,’ he wails. ‘Or carrots. Or biscuits. Carl gets biscuits, the kind with chocolate bits in them, it isn’t fair…’ I block out his thin voice droning on and on. It’s been a long week and I feel the beginnings of a headache at the back of my skull. I press my finger to the spot that hurts, staring at a red light taking forever. Three minutes left until pick-up time. Four minutes before Aud, the sour-faced woman running the after-school club, starts stabbing my phone number with her long acrylic nails.
The light turns green and I drive fast down the last few quiet suburban roads to Korsvik School, making Lyder giggle nervously in the back seat at the squeal of the tires. I pull up in front of the school and hand Lyder my iPhone, his face breaking into a surprised smile. It’s 4.29 – I made it.
‘I’ll be right back,’ I say, and hurry across the school yard to the brightly lit red wooden building.
‘Mamma!’ squeals Lucia and runs towards me. She jumps into my arms and I kiss her soft golden hair. ‘You’re late.’
‘No, I’m right on time, actually.’
‘Can I go home with Josephine?’
‘Who’s Josephine?’
‘She’s a new girl in my class. Can I? Please?’
‘Not today, sweetie. You know we have to arrange playdates ahead of time, it’s just easier.’
‘Her mom said it’s fine. They’re waiting, in the cloakroom.’ ‘Sweetheart…’
‘Please, Mamma.’ Lucia points through the open doorway to the changing area shared by first- and second-graders.
I sigh and go through with her. A little girl wearing a beautiful pink quilted Moncler jacket and moon boots sits on the bench in the far corner, next to an equally chiclooking mother.
‘Hi,’ I say, and smile at them both. When the girl smiles back I notice that the left side of her face creases strangely, and then I realize it is a circular, puckered scar cupping her cheek, reaching all the way to her hairline at her temple.
‘Hello, I’m Line, Josephine’s mother,’ says the woman and smiles widely. She is beautiful, the kind of beautiful that has the power to instantly disarm people. Her eyes are wide-set and clear blue, her hair is thick and dark, curling perfectly around her shoulders, and her lips are plump and shiny with nude gloss. She is wearing a khaki version of her daughter’s Moncler jacket – cinched at her tiny waist, a white cashmere polo neck, and elegant, knee-high olivegreen leather boots.
‘Nice to meet you. I’m Elisa. Elisa Blix.’ I turn to Lucia.
‘We need to hurry, sweets, Lyder is waiting alone in the car.’ ‘I want to go to Josephine’s house!’
‘It’s absolutely fine with us,’ says Line. ‘The girls have been asking for a playdate for a while, and we’re not doing anything this afternoon.’
‘Right,’ I say. ‘Well, okay, if you’re sure.’
‘Absolutely sure. Let me give you my number. We live on Asnestoppen, so not far from here.’
‘Okay. I’ll pick her up around six thirty, if that works?’
‘Six thirty is perfect.’
‘When did Josephine start? I don’t think I’ve met you before.’
‘Pretty new. We moved here from Oslo at the beginning of term.’
‘Ah, okay. Liking it so far?’
‘Yeah. Josie has settled really well at school and my older son is happy at his senior school, too.’
‘Oh, great,’ I say, and we smile at each other again. I like her; I could imagine us being friends. There is something calm and centered about her, and I suppose I am quite awestruck by her seemingly effortless elegance. The girls, too, seem to like each other – as Line and I speak, they do an intricate clapping game I can’t remember seeing Lucia do before, then they burst into fits of high-pitched giggles.
‘Do you want to call my phone from yours, that way I have your number too?’ she says.
‘Sorry, I’ve left my phone in the car with my son. Why don’t you just call me, and I’ll drop you a text in a sec?’
‘Sure.’
‘Okay, have fun on your playdate, girls,’ I say and give the faux-fur blob on the top of Lucia’s hat a little tug.
She laughs and walks away with Line and Josephine, holding Josephine’s hand, the two of them skipping in sync, the sound of their squeaky rubber-soled boots reverberating around the empty corridor.

It’s just before six when my phone vibrates. It’s a picture message from Line, of Josephine and Lucia sitting close together on a huge white sofa in matching pink princess dresses, laughing and cradling a shaggy brown cat. Its paws are crusty with dirt as if just came in from outside, and its eyes are bright yellow and mesmerizing. I am still staring at it when the phone begins to ring in my hand.
‘Hello?’
‘Mamma?’ Lucia’s light voice is hiccupy with giggles.
I smile. ‘Hey baby,’ I say, ‘I’m just about to get ready to come get you, okay?’
‘Yeah, but Mamma, we were wondering… could we have a sleepover? Please oh please oh please!’
‘Oh.’ Lucia has never slept at a friend’s house before, though at seven, some of the girls in the class have started sleeping over. I know my daughter isn’t a particularly anxious child, but she doesn’t know Josephine that well, and I’ve never even been to their house.
‘Mamma, please! It’s Friday!’
‘I know. Just… you don’t have any of your stuff with you. And you’ve not been on a sleepover before.’
‘Yeah I have! With Julie!’
‘Yes, but she’s your cousin. I don’t know.’
‘It’s so fun here! Mamma, please! Here, talk to Josephine’s mom.’ The phone goes quiet for a moment, then Line’s voice fills my ear.
‘Hi there, Elisa. What a fun girl you have! The two of them are having such a good time.’
‘Yes,’ I say, ‘Lucia sounded very happy.’
‘So, you gathered the girls have been asking for a sleepover. What do you think? It is totally fine with me. My husband is in New York for work and doesn’t get back until tomorrow and Josephine is generally easier to deal with when she has a buddy around, so I don’t mind in the slightest.’
‘Oh. Okay. Yes, well, it’s just that Lucia hasn’t slept at a friend’s house before.’
‘Right. Well, I mean, we could try, and if she feels like going home, I could just give you guys a call and you could collect her?’
‘Yes. Yes, I suppose that would work. Okay, so I will need to pop round with her stuff. You know, toothbrush, pajamas, teddy, of course.’
‘Sure.’

Fredrik walks through the door so red in the face from the fierce wind it looks like he’s been slapped.
‘Hi,’ he says, pecking me on the cheek. ‘Where are the kids?’
‘Lyder is zonked out in front of The Lego Movie upstairs and Lucia is at a classmate’s house. She’s been asked to sleep over, actually.’
‘Oh, right.’
‘That’s okay, I suppose?’
‘Yeah, I don’t see why not. We can put Lyder to bed early and get some us-time.’ He winks at me and runs a light hand across my bottom before grabbing a bottle of Mexican beer from the fridge, snapping its cap off and taking a long glug from it, his Adam’s apple rising and falling in his throat.
‘Yes, it actually works quite well. My flight tomorrow is at nine, so you could just have a slow morning with Lyder and then go get Lucia sometime before lunch.’
‘Yeah, okay. What time do you think you’ll be back?’
‘I land at five thirty.’
‘Was it Milan?’
‘No, Rome.’
‘Lucky you.’
‘Well, it’s not like I’ll see anything other than the airport, honey.’
‘And blue skies.’
‘True. There is that.’ I smile at my husband and go into the hallway to pull my boots on. I am driving, but I still put on a woolen hat – though it is only October, winter seems to have come fast on icy winds from the east.

‘Hi,’ says Line, ‘come on in.’
I step into a large, immaculately tidy hallway with a vaulted ceiling and expensive-looking spotlights. When I take my boots off, my feet are immediately warmed by underfloor heating. I hear children laughing upstairs, and when we go up into a huge open living space, Lucia and Josephine are doing cartwheels, still in princess dresses, stopping only to heave for breath through peals of laughter.
‘Wow, what a beautiful house you have,’ I say. It’s all sleek modernity, with unbroken white surfaces, quite the contrast to our home, which is full of family photographs, boxes of toys, kids’ drawings tacked onto walls. This is clearly the kind of family who can answer an unexpected house call without worrying about piles of shoes in the hallway, towering dishes in the sink, overflowing laundry bins in the bathroom, half-eaten jam sandwiches abandoned on windowsills. Unlike us.
The house is built at the very top of a rocky hill, above Asnes beach on the Vesterøya peninsula, with no immediate neighbors. One wall is entirely glass, looking out onto the rugged coastline dotted with patches of forest and a moody ocean rolling out far below us, its frothy crests occasionally visible in the sweeping lights from the lighthouse across the bay.
‘Thank you,’ says Line. ‘We’re really happy with it. I think I saw half the houses in Sandefjord before we finally bought this one.’ She laughs and so do I. ‘Do you want a tea? Or a glass of wine?’
‘I have to get back to my son before he goes to bed around seven thirty,’ I say. ‘I promised him a bedtime story.’ Line smiles, and I am struck again by how beautiful she is. ‘Sure. Just a quick one then?’
I nod and she returns after a moment with two glasses of champagne. ‘It is Friday, after all.’ We could definitely be friends. I follow the crawl of a droplet of condensation down the outside of the glass, then raise it towards Line in a little toast.
‘Maman,’ says Josephine, ‘regarde!’
Line claps as Josephine does a wobbly double-cartwheel, then collapses onto the carpet.
‘You speak French?’
‘Yeah, sometimes. Josephine used to go to the French school in Oslo. We figured another language is always an advantage.’
I feel suddenly dull and painfully average next to this glamorous woman and her sophisticated daughter. ‘I see. And, yes, you’re absolutely right, such an advantage.’
‘What about you guys? Are you from around here? It is a really nice place to live, isn’t it?’
‘It is nice. Quiet, I guess, but still central. I’m from Lillehammer originally, and my husband is from Sandefjord, so we chose to live here as he works in Tønsberg and I work out of Torp Airport. It takes me less than twenty minutes to get home from there.’
‘Ah. So what do you do?’
‘I’m a flight attendant. For Nordic Wings.’
Line’s eyes light up. ‘Oh wow. That must be a fun career.
I always had a vision of myself as a flight attendant when I was much younger. Sometimes I wish I’d pursued it.’
‘It can be fun. But it gets less and less glamorous, put it that way. I used to work long-haul, for Qatar, before the kids. That was probably more like the vision most people have of the job.’
Line smiles and takes another sip of her champagne.
‘Then, when we had the kids, I started working for Scandinavian Airlines, but commuting to Oslo Airport got pretty exhausting – two hours’ drive each way was just too much – so I started with Nordic Wings three years ago. It’s been great for this region, to have a new low-cost airline connecting us to lots of European destinations, but it’s hardly glamorous. Anyway. What about you – are you working?’
‘Yes, I am a make-up artist. For TV, but I work freelance.’
‘Now, that sounds like fun. Do you get to meet anyone famous?’
‘Nah. I do mostly newsreaders.’
‘Right.’
‘It’s easy to combine with the kids, though. You know – flexible. I only take jobs when I can see they’ll work around whatever the kids have on, as well as my husband’s schedule. He travels a lot for work.’
‘What does your husband do?’ I try to imagine the husband – he must be quite the guy to attract someone like Line.
‘He, uh… He’s a banker. He works with investment stuff for a… a French bank. Paribas.’
I smile and nod – Line sounds just like me when people ask me what Fredrik does – Uh, something to do with financial law in, umm, a law firm. We speak for another couple of minutes about the girls and how well they get on, and I give Line Fredrik’s phone number so they can make arrangements for pick-up tomorrow.
I stand up and walk over to where Lucia and Josephine are playing the clapping game again.
‘Mamma has to go home now, sweetie,’ I say, but Lucia barely glances up. ‘Sure you want to sleep over?’ She nods, not going to break the chant.
‘My name is funky lady,
Lady funky, what you got?
One, two, three, clap!
One, two, three,
One clap, two clap, triple clap!’
‘If you need to speak to me, just call, okay?’ Lucia nods again.
‘I’ve brought you your stuff. Minky Mouse is in the bag, too.’
She smiles and steps into my arms in a close hug. Her forehead and neck are sweaty from the exertion of the cartwheeling, and I kiss her hot red cheek. ‘I love you.’ ‘Love you, too,’ says Lucia.
‘Let’s play twins again,’ shouts Josephine, grabbing Lucia by the arm.
‘Yeah! Let’s!’
‘Lucia is my twin!’
I smile, first at the girls, then at Line. Looking at them with their arms wrapped around each other, grinning widely, each exposing several missing teeth, they could well be twins, except for Josephine’s thick chestnut hair and Lucia’s fine blonde hair. They have quite similar brown eyes and full lips. ‘Have fun, little twinnies,’ I say and go back downstairs, trailed by Line. She gives me a little wave as I step into the cold darkness outside. I stand a moment outside the house looking up at thin drifts of clouds being pulled across the sky by the brisk wind. Tomorrow will be bumpy.

If you enjoyed this extract, you can buy the book here. You can also read my review here.

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Cover Reveal: Dead Head by C. J. Skuse

Today I’m thrilled to be taking part in the cover reveal for the long-awaited third installment in the Rhiannon Lewis series. This is one of my favourite series so I pre-ordered my copy as soon as I heard about book three and am now counting down to it’s publication. Thank you C. J. Skuse for allowing me to take part in this reveal.

SYNOPSIS:

Victim. Murderer. Serial Killer. What next?

The third darkly comic thriller in the highly addictive Sweetpea series featuring serial killer Rhiannon Lewis.

Can a serial killer ever lose their taste for murder?

Since confessing to her bloody murder spree Rhiannon Lewis, the now-notorious Sweetpea killer, has been feeling out-of-sorts.

Having fled the UK on a cruise ship to start her new life, Rhiannon should be feeling happy. But it’s hard to turn over a new leaf when she’s stuck in an oversized floating tin can with the Gammonati and screaming kids. Especially when they remind her of Ivy – the baby she gave up for a life carrying on killing.

Rhiannon is all at sea. She’s lost her taste for blood but is it really gone for good? Maybe Rhiannon is realising that there’s more to life than death…

The third book in the critically-acclaimed series following Sweetpea and In Bloom featuring everyone’s favourite truly original girl-next-door serial killer Rhiannon Lewis.

Published February 18th, 2021 by HQ

PRE-ORDER THE BOOK:

Amazon |Waterstones |Hive |Google Books |Apple Books |Kobo

MEET THE AUTHOR:

C.J. SKUSE is the author of the Young Adult novels PRETTY BAD THINGS, ROCKOHOLIC and DEAD ROMANTIC (Chicken House) and MONSTER and THE DEVIANTS (Mira Ink). She has recently written the adult crime novels SWEETPEA and its sequel for HQ/HarperCollins. C.J. was born in 1980 in Weston-super-Mare, England and has First Class degrees in Creative Writing and Writing for Children and, aside from writing novels, lectures in Writing for Young People at Bath Spa University.

C.J. loves Masterchef, Gummy Bears and graveyards. She hates hard-boiled eggs, going to the dentist and coughing. The movies Titanic, My Best Friend’s Wedding and Ruby Sparks were all probably based on her ideas – she just didn’t get to write them down in time. Before she dies, she would like to go to Japan, try clay-pigeon shooting and have Tom Hardy present her with the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay

Website|Instagram |Twitter

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September 3rd: Non-Fiction Releases

OK, we are at the final blog post about September 3rd.

There are a lot of non-fiction releases out on that date and it seems to be the start of the run up to Christmas, with lots of autobiographies and cook books. There’s not as many as there are fiction books so you won’t be reading this quite so long.

So, without further ado, here are the non-fiction books out September 3rd, 2020:

AUTOBIOGRAPHY & BIOGRAPHY

Once Upon A Tyne by Anthony McPartlin & Declan Donnelly

Ant and Dec hold a special place in the hearts of TV viewers everywhere. This is their epic story, with never-before-seen photography and the very best tales from their 30 years in TV. From their modest beginnings in Byker Grove through to their “unique” time as pop stars and an award-laden TV career, those three decades have flown by in the blink of an eye. They’ve also featured an incredible cast of supporting characters, including their first scriptwriter – (an unknown comedian called David Walliams), Saturday night fun and games with countless Hollywood A-listers, and celebrities they torture – sorry, work with – every year in the jungle. Told through the lens of every TV show they’ve made, as well as everything they’ve learnt along the way, this is the riotously funny journey of two ordinary lads from Newcastle who went on to achieve extraordinary things.

Published by Little Brown Book Group Ltd. Buy here.

More Than A Woman by Caitlin Moran

A decade ago, Caitlin Moran thought she had it all figured out. Her instant bestseller How to Be a Woman was a game-changing take on feminism, the patriarchy, and the general ‘hoo-ha’ of becoming a woman. Back then, she firmly believed ‘the difficult bit’ was over, and her forties were going to be a doddle.

If only she had known: when middle age arrives, a whole new bunch of tough questions need answering. Why isn’t there such a thing as a ‘Mum Bod’? How did sex get boring? What are men really thinking? Where did all that stuff in the kitchen drawers come from? Can feminists have Botox? Why has wine turned against you? How can you tell the difference between a Teenage Micro-Breakdown, and The Real Thing? Has feminism gone too far ? And, as always, WHO’S LOOKING AFTER THE CHILDREN?

Now with ageing parents, teenage daughters, a bigger bum and a To-Do list without end, Caitlin Moran is back with More Than A Woman: a guide to growing older, a manifesto for change, and a celebration of all those middle-aged women who keep the world turning.

Published by Ebury. Buy here.

Sh**ged. Married. Annoyed. by Chris & Rosie Ramsay

This is not a self-help book. This book contains absolutely no advice that you should follow yourself.

SH**GED: The steady Saturday night-out routine, undying crushes, dating like it’s a competitive sport, one-night stands, the unavoidable walk of shame, strange cases of ghosting, tears and break-ups, and of course, those everlasting friendships you just can’t get rid of.

MARRIED: Meeting ‘the one’, meeting the parents, package holidays, Airbnb getaways, romantic weekend walks, engagement rings, spontaneous proposals on the edge of the grand canyon, rigorously planned trips to Aldi supermarket, wedding bells, the hen do, the stag, not copy and pasting your wedding vows, a rich and varied best man speech, the honeymoon of a lifetime.

ANNOYED: Who stacks a dishwasher like this? Empty milk cartons placed back into the fridge, pregnancy, graphic birthing tutorials, toilet seats up, toothpaste everywhere, throw cushions, less and less frequent baby sitters, the horror of realising 20 shades of boutique vintage chandelier do, in fact, look the same, divorce.

Whether you’re shagged, married, annoyed, or, all of the above, Chris and Rosie Ramsey, hosts of the number one podcast, write hilariously and with honesty about the universal highs and lows of life, dating, relationships, arguments, parenting and everything in between.

Published by Michael Joseph. Buy here.

To Be A Gay Man by Will Young

Million-selling pop star and co-host of influential podcast ‘Homo Sapiens’, Will Young is calling for an end to society’s legacy of gay shame, revealing the impact it had on his own life, how he learned to deal with it and how he learnt to be gay and happy.

A recent study published by Stonewall found that 52% of the LBGTQ+ community had experienced depression in the last year, compared to 16% in the wider population. It’s a crisis, and Will Young is passionate about raising awareness and helping others so they don’t have to go through what he did – depression, anxiety, addiction to alcohol, porn, shopping and even love, plus a sizeable bill for therapy. 

Young gay people growing up in a climate of shame are clearly more at risk of developing low self-worth, and even self-disgust, leading to destructive behaviours in adult life. With therapy, Will has provided himself with the tools, self-knowledge and perspective to identify destructive compulsions for what they are. In How to be a Gay Man, he reveals the darkest extremes he has been to, sharing his vulnerabilities, tracing his own navigation through it all, and showing others who might be feeling isolated, that their experience is shared.

Here you’ll find a frank and funny friend, a mentor, a champion, breaking taboos and giving a voice to unspoken thoughts. His disarming honesty provides a compelling narrative, and on top of that, a big dose of hard-earned wisdom.

Published by Ebury. Buy here.

A Woman of Firsts by Edna Adan Ismail

Imprisonment. Mutilation. Persecution.

Edna Adan Ismail endured it all – for the women of Africa.

A Woman of Firsts tells the inspirational story of a remarkable daughter, nurse and First Lady. The indomitable Edna Adan Ismail survived imprisonment, persecution, and civil war to become a pioneering politician, a leading light in the World Health Organisation, and a global campaigner for women’s rights.

The eldest child of an overworked doctor in the British Protectorate of Somaliland, Edna was the first midwife in Somaliland, she campaigned tirelessly for better healthcare for women and fought for women on a global stage as the first female Foreign Minister of her country. But mixing with presidents and princes, she still never forgot her roots and continued to deliver children and train midwives – a role she has to this day.

At 81 years old, she still runs what is hailed as the Horn of Africa’s finest university hospital where she trains future generations and still delivers babies.

After all – as she puts it – she is simply a midwife.

Published by Harper Collins. Buy here.

Homesick: Why I Live in a Shed by Catrina Davies

Aged thirty-one, Catrina Davies was renting a box-room in a house in Bristol, which she shared with four other adults and a child. Working several jobs and never knowing if she could make the rent, she felt like she was breaking apart. 

Homesick for the landscape of her childhood, in the far west of Cornwall, Catrina decides to give up the box-room and face her demons. As a child, she saw her family and their security torn apart; now, she resolves to make a tiny, dilapidated shed a home of her own.

With the freedom to write, surf and make music, Catrina rebuilds the shed and, piece by piece, her own sense of self. On the border of civilisation and wilderness, between the woods and the sea, she discovers the true value of home, while trying to find her place in a fragile natural world.

This is the story of a personal housing crisis and a country-wide one, grappling with class, economics, mental health and nature. It shows how housing can trap us or set us free, and what it means to feel at home.

Published by Quercus. Buy here.

The Bookseller’s Tale by Martin Latham

‘The right book has a neverendingness, and so does the right bookshop.’

This is the story of our love affair with books, whether we arrange them on our shelves, inhale their smell, scrawl in their margins or just curl up with them in bed. Taking us on a journey through comfort reads, street book stalls, mythical libraries, itinerant pedlars, radical pamphleteers, extraordinary bookshop customers and fanatical collectors, Canterbury bookseller Martin Latham uncovers the curious history of our book obsession – and his own.

Part cultural history, part literary love letter and part reluctant memoir, this is the tale of one bookseller and many, many books.

Published by Penguin, Buy here.

Duty of Care by Dominic Pimenta

The first book to tell the full story of the COVID-19 pandemic from a doctor on the frontline.

ALL ROYALTIES FROM SALES GO TO HEROES, A CHARITY PROTECTING AND SUPPORTING HEALTHCARE WORKERS.

On the 8th of February, Dr Dominic Pimenta encountered his first suspected case of coronavirus. Within a week, he began wearing a mask on the tube, and within a month, he moved over to the Intensive Care Unit to help fight the virus.

From the initial whispers coming out of China and the collective hesitation to class this as a pandemic to full lockdown and the continued battle to treat whoever came through the doors, Dr Pimenta tells the heroic stories of how the entire system shifted to tackle this outbreak and how, ultimately, the staff managed to save lives.

This incredible account captures the shock and surprise, the panic and power of an unprecedented time, and how, at this moment of despair, human generosity and kindness prevailed.

Published by Welbeck Publishing Group. Buy here.

Black Spartacus by Sudhir Hazareesingh

The definitive modern biography of the great slave leader, military genius and revolutionary hero Toussaint Louverture.

The Haitian Revolution began in the French Caribbean colony of Saint-Domingue with a slave revolt in August 1791, and culminated a dozen years later in the proclamation of the world’s first independent black state. After the abolition of slavery in 1793, Toussaint Louverture, himself a former slave, became the leader of the colony’s black population, the commander of its republican army and eventually its governor. During the course of his extraordinary life he confronted some of the dominant forces of his age – slavery, settler colonialism, imperialism and racial hierarchy. Treacherously seized by Napoleon’s invading army in 1802, this charismatic figure ended his days, in Wordsworth’s phrase, ‘the most unhappy man of men’, imprisoned in a fortress in France.

Black Spartacus draws on a wealth of archival material, much of it overlooked by previous biographers, to follow every step of Louverture’s singular journey, from his triumphs against French, Spanish and British troops to his skilful regional diplomacy, his Machiavellian dealings with successive French colonial administrators and his bold promulgation of an autonomous Constitution. Sudhir Hazareesingh shows that Louverture developed his unique vision and leadership not solely in response to imported Enlightenment ideals and revolutionary events in Europe and the Americas, but through a hybrid heritage of fraternal slave organisations, Caribbean mysticism and African political traditions. Above all, Hazareesingh retrieves Louverture’s rousing voice and force of personality, making this the most engaging, as well as the most complete, biography to date.

After his death in the French fortress, Louverture became a figure of legend, a beacon for slaves across the Atlantic and for generations of European republicans and progressive figures in the Americas. He inspired the anti-slavery campaigner Frederick Douglass, the most eminent nineteenth-century African-American; his emancipatory struggle was hailed by those who defied imperial and colonial rule well into the twentieth. In the modern era, his life informed the French poet Aime Cesaire’s seminal idea of negritude and has been celebrated in a remarkable range of plays, songs, novels and statues. Here, in all its drama, is the epic story of the world’s first black superhero.

Published by Penguin. Buy here

Shakespearen by Robert McCrum

When Robert McCrum began his recovery from a life-changing stroke, described in My Year Off , he discovered that the only words that made sense to him were snatches of Shakespeare. Unable to travel or move as he used to, McCrum found the First Folio became his ‘book of life’, an endless source of inspiration through which he could embark on ‘journeys of the mind’, and see a reflection of our own disrupted times. An acclaimed writer and journalist, McCrum has spent the last twenty-five years immersed in Shakespeare’s work, on stage and on the page. During this prolonged exploration, Shakespeare’s poetry and plays, so vivid and contemporary, have become his guide and consolation.

In Shakespearean he asks: why is it that we always return to Shakespeare, particularly in times of acute crisis and dislocation? What is the key to his hold on our imagination? And why do the collected works of an Elizabethan writer continue to speak to us as if they were written yesterday? Shakespearean is a rich, brilliant and superbly drawn portrait of an extraordinary artist, one of the greatest writers who ever lived. Through an enthralling narrative, ranging widely in time and space, McCrum seeks to understand Shakespeare within his historical context while also exploring the secrets of literary inspiration, and examining the nature of creativity itself. Witty and insightful, he makes a passionate and deeply personal case that Shakespeare’s words and ideas are not just enduring in their relevance – they are nothing less than the eternal key to our shared humanity.

Published by Pan Macmillan. Buy here.

Give by Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow

Few people in the world are better placed to understand the role of charity and generosity than Magnus Macfarlane-Barrow. As the founder and CEO of Mary’s Meals, Magnus helps feed and educate millions of children in 18 different countries across the world every year. In a time when some charitable organisations have been rocked by scandal and many are questioning their effectiveness in the modern age, Give takes us on an epic journey to rediscover the beauty and transformative power of authentic charity. Powerful and inspiring, Give celebrates the impact of charity in all our lives, illustrating how the act of sharing – and even sacrifice – is the key to a life of joy.

Published by Harper Collins. Buy here.

Zero Negativity by Ant Middleton

There are times when life feel like it has you cornered: financial difficulties, relationship issues, work problems, all of the above. Every one of us, at one time or another, will have to face up to the challenges that come our way. And there are two ways of meeting them: negatively, where blame is the answer, where other people are at fault, where you haven’t been treated fairly. Or positively, where you own the situation, learn and grow from it, and become a better person at the end of it.

Letting you into areas of his life he’s never talked about before, in Zero Negativity, Ant will show you how to embrace failure and use it to your advantage, how to see change as the foundation of your future success, how to develop resilience, how to deal with bullies, what it means to be a positive role model, and how to live a life with no regrets.

This book will not tell you who to be, where you should live, or what job you should do. That’s up to you. What this book is for, however, is to give you the tools you need to become the best possible version of yourself, to own who and what you are, and to live your life with Zero Negativity.

Published by Harper Collins. Buy here.

Treasure Islands by Alec Crawford

In 1971 Alec Crawford is determined to make his fortune from ship salvage. Early attempts lead nowhere until he teams up with a new partner, Simon Martin. Diving in Hebridean waters, they explore remains of the Spanish Armada, and the wreck of the SS Politician, the vessel made famous in the Whisky Galore. But money is scarce and irregular, and the work is fraught with danger and disappointment. Until they hear of one of the most incredible wrecks of all time – the White Star Liner Oceanic, which, when built in 1899, was the biggest and most luxurious ship in the world. Widely regarded as an ‘undiveable’ wreck, lying somewhere off the remote island of Foula, they decide to take the challenge. They face unbelievably dangerous waters and appalling weather conditions, and when a large salvage company takes action against them, they also have a huge legal fight on their hands. But if they succeed, the rewards will be enormous…

Published by Birlinn. Buy here.

Written In Bone: hidden stories in what we leave behind by Professor Sue Black

Our bones are the silent witnesses to the lives we lead. Our stories are marbled into their marrow.

Drawing upon her years of research and a wealth of remarkable experience, the world-renowned forensic anthropologist Professor Dame Sue Black takes us on a journey of revelation. From skull to feet, via the face, spine, chest, arms, hands, pelvis and legs, she shows that each part of us has a tale to tell. What we eat, where we go, everything we do leaves a trace, a message that waits patiently for months, years, sometimes centuries, until a forensic anthropologist is called upon to decipher it.

Some of this information is easily understood, some holds its secrets tight and needs scientific cajoling to be released. But by carefully piecing together the evidence, the facts of a life can be rebuilt. Limb by limb, case by case – some criminal, some historical, some unaccountably bizarre – Sue Black reconstructs with intimate sensitivity and compassion the hidden stories in what we leave behind.

Published by Transworld. Buy here.

Fake Law: The Truth About Justice in an Age of Lies by The Secret Barrister

Could the courts really order the death of your innocent baby? Was there an illegal immigrant who couldn’t be deported because he had a pet cat? Are unelected judges truly enemies of the people?

Most of us think the law is only relevant to criminals, if we even think of it at all. But the law touches every area of our lives: from intimate family matters to the biggest issues in our society.

Our unfamiliarity is dangerous because it makes us vulnerable to media spin, political lies and the kind of misinformation that frequently comes from loud-mouthed amateurs and those with vested interests. This ‘fake law’ allows the powerful and the ignorant to corrupt justice without our knowledge – worse, we risk letting them make us complicit.

Thankfully, the Secret Barrister is back to reveal the stupidity, malice and incompetence behind many of the biggest legal stories of recent years. In Fake Law , the Secret Barrister debunks the lies and builds an hilarious, alarming and eye-opening defence against the abuse of our law, our rights and our democracy.

Published by Pan Macmillan. Buy here.

Permanent Record by Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden, the man who risked everything to expose the US government’s system of mass surveillance, reveals for the first time the story of his life, including how he helped to build that system and what motivated him to try to bring it down.

In 2013, twenty-nine-year-old Edward Snowden shocked the world when he broke with the American intelligence establishment and revealed that the United States government was secretly pursuing the means to collect every single phone call, text message, and email. The result would be an unprecedented system of mass surveillance with the ability to pry into the private lives of every person on earth.

Six years later, Snowden reveals for the very first time how he helped to build this system and why he was moved to expose it. Spanning the bucolic Beltway suburbs of his childhood and the clandestine CIA and NSA postings of his adulthood, Permanent Record is the extraordinary account of a bright young man who grew up online – a man who became a spy, a whistleblower, and, in exile, the Internet’s conscience. Written with wit, grace, passion, and an unflinching candor, Permanent Record is a crucial memoir of our digital age and destined to be a classic.

Published by Pan Macmillan. Buy here.

The Hurt by Dylan Hartley

‘Rugby is great for the soul,’ he writes, ‘but terrible for the body.’

Rugby hurts. It demands mental resilience and resistance to pain. It explores character, beyond a capacity to endure punishment.

Dylan Hartley, one of England’s most successful captains, tells a story of hard men and harsh truths. From the sixteen-year-old Kiwi who travelled alone to England, to the winner of ninety-seven international caps, he describes with brutal clarity the sport’s increasing demand on players and the toll it takes on their mental health, as well as the untimely injury that shattered his dreams of leading England in the 2019 World Cup.

The Hurt is rugby in the raw, a unique insight into the price of sporting obsession.

Cassius X by Sturart Cosgrove

Miami, 1963. A young boy from Louisville, Kentucky, is on the path to becoming the greatest sportsman of all time. Cassius Clay is training in the 5th Street Gym for his heavyweight title clash against the formidable Sonny Liston. He is beginning to embrace the ideas and attitudes of Black Power, and firebrand preacher Malcolm X will soon become his spiritual adviser. Thus Cassius Clay will become ‘Cassius X’ as he awaits his induction into the Nation of Islam.

Cassius also befriends the legendary soul singer Sam Cooke, falls in love with soul singer Dee Dee Sharp and becomes a remarkable witness to the first days of soul music. As with his award-winning soul trilogy, Stuart Cosgrove’s intensive research and sweeping storytelling shines a new light on how black music lit up the sixties against a backdrop of social and political turmoil – and how Cassius Clay made his remarkable transformation into Muhammad Ali.

Published by Birlinn General. Buy here.

Above The Clouds: How I Carved My Own Path To the Top of the World by Killian Jornet

The most accomplished mountain runner of all time contemplates his record-breaking climb of Mount Everest in this profound and free-flowing memoir-an intellectual and spiritual journey that moves from the earth’s highest peak to the soul’s deepest reaches.

What drives a person to the edge of one of the most difficult and revered mountains in the world? How much is one willing to sacrifice and suffer to pursue an authentic and bold life? The most accomplished mountain runner of all time, Kilian Jornet ponders these questions as he contemplates his record-breaking climb of Mount Everest, exploring the mountain’s changing nature over four seasons and his own existence.

As he recounts a life spent studying, tending, and ascending the greatest peaks on earth, Jornet ruminates on what he has found in nature-simplicity, freedom, and spiritual joy-and offers a poetic yet clearheaded assessment of his relationship to the mountain . . . at times his opponent, at others, his greatest muse.

In this sweeping, soulful journey-the flip side of stories like Into Thin Air-Jornet illuminates with beauty and brilliance what it means to be an athlete, a competitor, and a human facing the greatest life challenges-for him, the mountain he yearns to climb and honour.

Published by Harper Collins. Buy here.

Perfect Sound Whatever by James Acaster

PERFECT SOUND WHATEVER is a love letter to the healing power of music, and how one man’s obsessive quest saw him defeat the bullshit of one year with the beauty of another. Because that one man is James Acaster, it also includes tales of befouling himself in a Los Angeles steakhouse, stealing a cookie from Clint Eastwood, and giving drunk, unsolicited pep talks to urinating strangers. 

January, 2017

James Acaster wakes up heartbroken and alone in New York, his relationship over, a day of disastrous meetings leading him to wonder if comedy is really what he wants to be doing any more. 

A constant comfort in James’s life has been music, but he’s not listened to anything new for a very long time. Idly browsing ‘best of the year’ lists, it dawns on him that 2016 may have been a grim year for a lot of reasons, but that it seemed to be an iconic year for music. And so begins a life-changing musical odyssey, as James finds himself desperately seeking solace in the music of 2016, setting himself the task of only listening to music released that year, ending up with 500 albums in his collection. 

Looking back on this year-long obsession, parallels begin to grow between the music and James’s own life: his relationship history, the highs and lows of human connection, residual Christian guilt, and mental health issues that have been bubbling under the surface for years. Some albums are life-changing masterpieces, others are ‘Howdilly Doodilly’ by Okilly Dokilly, a metalcore album devoted to The Simpsons‘ character Ned Flanders, but all of them play a part the year that helped James Acaster get his life back on track.

Published by Headline. Buy here.

Simply The Best by David ‘Bumble’ Lloyd

David ‘Bumble’ Lloyd is one of cricket’s great characters – hilarious, informative and insightful, and filled with boundless enthusiasm for the game. Now, in Simply the Best, he tells the stories of the most important, influential, talented and entertaining characters he has come across in sixty years in the game.

Following on from the bestselling successes of Last in the Tin Bath and Around the World in 80 Pints, in his new book Bumble looks back at the cricketers who have had the greatest impact on him throughout his career. From the gnarly veterans he first played against as a teenager in the Lancashire League, through the old pros he met on the county circuit while at Lancashire on to a revealing insight into life alongside Mike Atherton, Ian Botham, Nasser Hussain and Shane Warne in the commentary box, this book reveals Bumble at his best: telling great stories about his favourite people.

Along the way, the reader not only learns who have been the funniest or most dangerous players to be around, but also gets an insight into what makes a team gel and players to perform at their very peak. It’s the perfect gift for any cricket fan who loves the game and needs something to keep them amused as the autumn draws in and winter takes over.

Published by Simon and Schuster UK. Buy here.

House of Music by Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason

Seven brothers and sisters. All of them classically trained musicians. One was Young Musician of the Year and performed for the royal family. The eldest has released her first album, showcasing the works of Clara Schumann. These siblings don’t come from the rarefied environment of elite music schools, but from a state comprehensive in Nottingham. How did they do it?

Their mother, Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason, opens up about what it takes to raise a musical family in a Britain divided by class and race. What comes out is a beautiful and heartrending memoir of the power of determination, camaraderie and a lot of hard work. The Kanneh-Masons are a remarkable family. But what truly sparkles in this eloquent memoir is the joyous affirmation that children are a gift and we must do all we can to nurture them.

Published by Oneworld Publications. Buy here.

Ramble Book: Musings on Childhood, Friendship, Family and 80s Pop Culture by Adam Buxton

Ramble Book is about parenthood, boarding school trauma, arguing with your partner, bad parties, confrontations on trains, friendship, wanting to fit in, growing up in the 80s, dead dads, teenage sexual anxiety, failed artistic endeavours, being a David Bowie fan; and how everything you read, watch and listen to as a child forms a part of the adult you become.

It’s also a book about the joys of going off topic and letting your mind wander. And it’s about a short, hairy, frequently confused man called Adam Buxton.

Published by Harper Collins. Buy here.

Max the Miracle Dog: The Heart-Warming Tale of a Life-Saving Friendship by Kerry Irving

In 2006, a traumatic car accident changed Kerry Irving’s life forever.

Suffering from severe neck and back injuries, Kerry was unemployed and housebound, struggling with depression and even thoughts of suicide. He went from cycling over 600 miles a month to becoming a prisoner in his own home.

With hope all but lost, Kerry’s wife encouraged him to go on a short walk to the local shop. In the face of unbearable pain and overwhelming panic, he persevered and along the way, met an adorable yard dog named Max. As the Spaniel peered up through the railings, Kerry found comfort and encouragement in his soulful brown eyes. This chance encounter marked a turning point in both their lives.

In Max, Kerry found comfort and motivation and in Kerry, Max found someone to care for him. This is their remarkable, inspiring story.

Published by Harper Collins. Buy here.

LIFESTYLE

The Gift by Edith Egar

This practical and inspirational guide to healing from the bestselling author of The Choice shows us how to release your self-limiting beliefs and embrace your potential. The prison is in your mind. The key is in your pocket. In the end, it’s not what happens to us that matters most – it’s what we choose to do with it. We all face suffering – sadness, loss, despair, fear, anxiety, failure. But we also have a choice; to give in and give up in the face of trauma or difficulties, or to live every moment as a gift. Celebrated therapist and Holocaust survivor, Dr Edith Eger, provides a hands-on guide that gently encourages us to change the imprisoning thoughts and destructive behaviours that may be holding us back. Accompanied by stories from Eger’s own life and the lives of her patients her empowering lessons help you to see your darkest moments as your greatest teachers and find freedom through the strength that lies within.

Published by Ebury. Buy here.

Finding Joy by Gary Andrews

When his wife, Joy, died very suddenly, a daily drawing became the way Gary Andrews dealt with his grief. From learning how to juggle his kids’ playdates and single-handedly organising Christmas, to getting used to the empty side of the bed, Gary’s honest and often hilarious illustrations have touched the hearts of thousands on social media. Finding Joy is the story of how one family learned to live again after tragedy.

Published by John Murray Press. Buy here.

Fattily Ever After by Stephanie Yeboah

Stephanie Yeboah has experienced racism and fat-phobia throughout her life. From being bullied at school to being objectified and humiliated in her dating life, Stephanie’s response to discrimination has always been to change the narrative around body-image and what we see as beautiful. In her debut book, Fattily Ever After , Stephanie speaks openly and courageously about her own experience on navigating life as a black, plus-sized woman – telling it how it really is – and how she has managed to find self-acceptance in a world where judgement and discrimination are rife.

Featuring stories of every day misogynoir and being fetishized, to navigating the cesspit of online dating and experiencing loneliness, Stephanie shares her thoughts on the treatment of black women throughout history, the marginalisation of black, plus-sized women in the media (even within the body-positivity movement) whilst drawing on wisdom from other black fat liberation champions along the way.

Peppered with insightful tips and honest advice and boldly illustrated throughout, this inspiring and powerful book is essential reading for a generation of black, plus-sized women, helping them to live their life openly, unapologetically and with confidence.

Published by Hardie Grant Books. Buy here.

Bringing up Race by Uju Asika

*This has been delayed until 24/09 but I decided to keep it in as it’s an important book.

You can’t avoid it, because it’s everywhere. In the looks my kids get in certain spaces, the manner in which some people speak to them, the stuff that goes over their heads. Stuff that makes them cry even when they don’t know why. How do you bring up your kids to be kind and happy when there is so much out there trying to break them down?

Bringing Up Race is an important book, for all families whatever their race or ethnicity. Racism cuts across all sectors of society – even the Queen will have to grapple with these issues, as great grandmother to a child of mixed ethnicity. It’s for everyone who wants to instil a sense of open-minded inclusivity in their kids, and those who want to discuss difference instead of shying away from tough questions. Uju draws on often shocking personal stories of prejudice along with opinions of experts, influencers and fellow parents to give prescriptive advice making this an invaluable guide.

Bringing Up Race explores: – When children start noticing ethnic differences (hint: much earlier than you think) – What to do if your child says something racist (try not to freak out) – How to have open, honest, age-appropriate conversations about race – How children and parents can handle racial bullying – How to recognise and challenge everyday racism, aka microaggressions A call to arms for ALL parents, Bringing Up Race starts the conversation which will mean the next generation have zero tolerance to racial prejudice, and grow up understanding what kindness and happiness truly mean.

Published by Hodder & Stoughton. Buy here.

Things They Don’t Want You To Know by Ben Brooks

Written from a teenager’s perspective, this is a unique field guide for parents about the secret lives of 21st century adolescents – from mental health to self-harm, from drugs to sexting – and how you can help them and yourself through these turbulent years without losing their trust.

Things They Don’t Want You To Know is a look at modern life through the eyes of a teenager, by someone who recently graduated from that club. Along the way, Brooks takes readers on a tour of the websites that most parenting manuals would rather pretend don’t exist. Yet this is the stuff your kids are all over, on a daily basis. There is porn, there are hallucinogens, there is cyberbullying and suicidal ideation. Brooks’ point is that to remain completely unaware of their existence can mean that as a parent, you end up getting blindsided. And being blindsided means you won’t know what to say and how to say it when things go wrong.

You’ll be surprised, shocked but you’ll also be reassured. This book will help you to understand and support your kids. They won’t thank you, but they might hate you less.

Published by Quercus. Buy here.

The Adulting Manual by Milly Smith

You know those things you’re supposed to know how to do as an adult, but you really don’t know? Ever been in that situation where you’re looking for the adult in the room, and then you realise YOU are the adult? Yeah, that. There’s adulting, then there’s adulting for the messy mind. Sometimes you just need extra maps and a GPS.

This manual is for adults that sometimes need a little extra help. From top small talk tips to use next time you’re at the hairdressers to advice on how to ask for help, this interactive journal offers a safe place for people to explore their mental health and express themselves. Written by

Milly Smith, a mental health and body acceptance advocate and public speaker. Milly uses her Instagram account @millykeepsgoing to send positive messages to her 170,000 strong following. Milly’s wise words are accompanied by the whimsical and quirky illustrations of Katie Abey. Katie’s motivational and pun-filled illustrations have a huge appeal to adults.

Published by Templar. Buy here.

You Are Incredible Just As You Are: How To Embrace Your Perfectly Imperfect Self by Emily Coxhead

Find happiness by embracing your perfectly imperfect self. This inspiring journal is designed to help you find your way in a world where comparison and judgement can make it hard to stay true to yourself. Using a mixture of prompts, tick boxes and space to write down thoughts, as well as uplifting quotes and thought-provoking words, this beautifully designed book by the creator of The Happy News will help you feel more confident in yourself and less anxious about what other people think. With advice on using social media in a positive way, embracing failure, celebrating your differences and finding people who make you feel happy, this book is designed to help you be kinder to yourself. Because when you embrace your insecurities, differences, and everything that makes you unique, you’ll realise that the only person you need to be is your strong, special, perfectly imperfect self.

Published by Ebury. Buy here.

Living Better: How I Learned to Survive Depression by Alistair Campbell

I almost killed myself. Almost. I’ve had a lot of almosts. Never gone from almost to deed. Don’t think I ever will. But it was a bad almost.

Living Better is Alastair Campbell’s honest, moving and life affirming account of his lifelong struggle with depression. It is an autobiographical, psychological and psychiatric study, which explores his own childhood, family and other relationships, and examines the impact of his professional and political life on himself and those around him. But it also lays bare his relentless quest to understand depression not just through his own life but through different treatments. Every bit as direct and driven, clever and candid as he is, this is a book filled with pain, but also hope — he examines how his successes have been in part because of rather than despite his mental health problems — and love.

We all know someone with depression. There is barely a family untouched by it. We may be talking about it more than we did, back in the era of ‘boys don’t cry’ – they did you know – and when a brave face or a stiff upper lip or a best foot forward was seen as the only way to go. But we still don’t talk about it enough. There is still stigma, and shame, and taboo. There is still the feeling that admitting to being sad or anxious makes us weak. It took me years, decades even to get to this point, but I passionately believe that the reverse is true and that speaking honestly about our feelings and experiences (whether as a depressive or as the friend or relative of a depressive) is the first and best step on the road to recovery. So that is what I have tried to do here.

Published by John Murray Press. Buy here.

F*ck Being Humble by Stefanie Sword-Williams

Whether it is through our parents, our education, our bosses, our colleagues, or the media we consume, we are constantly told that being humble is essential to our professional success. It’s often seen as distasteful or arrogant to shout about our achievements. But in a modern workplace, where the conventional, steady, linear career path is becoming rarer and rarer, this advice seems ever-more obsolete. In the age of flexible working and portfolio careers, it’s time to f*ck being humble .

With simple exercises, steps and real-life examples, this is a resource for your bedside table that you can come back to again and again, at any point in your career. Learn how to: Know what you stand forStop hiding (even when you don’t realise you are)Fully realise the power of networkingKnow your self-worthPlay the money game and winManage your emotions at workTake action and establish the right time to make the leapKeep the momentum you’ve generated going and maintain that elusive work-life balance Get ready to start taking charge of your own success.

Published by Quadrille. Buy here.

The School of Life: An Emotional Education by Alain de Botton

This is a book about everything you were never taught at school. It’s about how to understand your emotions, find and sustain love, succeed in your career, fail well and overcome shame and guilt. It’s also about letting go of the myth of a perfect life in order to achieve genuine emotional maturity. Written in a hugely accessible, warm and humane style, The School of Lifeis the ultimate guide to the emotionally fulfilled lives we all long for – and deserve.

This book brings together ten years of essential and transformative research on emotional intelligence, with practical topics including:

– how to understand yourself
– how to master the dilemmas of relationships
– how to become more effective at work 
– how to endure failure
– how to grow more serene and resilient

Published by Penguin. Buy here.

Goodbye 2020, Hello 2021: Create a life you love this year by Project Love

Goodbye 2020, Hello 2021 is a guided journal full of prompts, exercises and inspirational quotes to help you reflect on the year past and to encourage you to design a life you want for the year to come.

This is not your average daily journal – it’s a planner that asks you to check in every three months to keep you on track with your dreams. Packed full of thoughtful questions and thought-provoking journaling practices, this book is the dose of positivity you need in your life.

Project Love founders and coaching experts, Selina Barker and Vicki Pavitt, have a combined 18 years of experience in empowering and helping clients all over the world to bring about positive change in their lives – in this journal they have poured all of their knowledge and expertise to help you create a life you love, today.

Published by Pavilion Books. Buy here.

S.E.N.D. In The Clowns: Essential Autism / ADHD Family Guide  by Suzy Rowland

S.E.N.D. In The Clowns started as a collection of diary entries and a way for author and mother, Suzy Rowland, to write through tears of injustice. But Suzy’s aim isn’t just to tell a personal story, it’s to help parents untangle red tape, stay engaged and feel empowered as they march, with their autism or ADHD child, through a system that struggles to educate children who are different. Packed with guidance, S.E.N.D In The Clowns is a surprisingly positive and uplifting read. A unique handbook of self-care and practical advice for parents who find themselves on the autism merry-go-round. S.E.N.D in the Clowns is a play on the acronym Special Educational Needs and Disability hinting that these children’s behaviour may look like they are either the sad clown sitting quietly in the corner or the zany clown performing slap stick tricks to make everyone in the classroom laugh. The reality is more poignant, these neurodiverse children are highly sensitive individuals who mask the pain and confusion of their neurodiversity in a school environment that is often frightening and confusing. S.E.N.D. in the Clowns takes you on two journeys: * Personal story from parent and child – from babe to pre-teen and… * Professional guidance for parents and professionals who work with, teach or support autistic or ADHD children.

Published by Hashtag Press. Buy here.

Honey, I Homeschooled the Kids: Our personal, practical and imperfect guide by Nadia Swahala and Mark Adderley

TV presenter Nadia and her husband Mark took their two children out of mainstream school five years ago. Since then they have homeschooled them. At a time when so many of us are being forced to rethink our roles as parents and teachers, Mark and Nadia bring their experiences – the good and the bad – and offer a candid and practical guide to teaching at home.

Statistics show that the number of homeschooled children in the UK has increased by 40% over the last three years, and the rate is steadily increasing. With humour and frankness Nadia and Mark share the challenges and rewards of their home school experiences, and ask what ‘success’ really means when it comes to our children’s education.

Bringing their energy, enthusiasm and openness to what is becoming an ever more relevant aspect of our lives, Honey, I Home Schooled the Kids will share obstacles, insights and resources that all parents can learn from, whether they’re looking for help supporting their child at school or if they have decided to take the plunge and home school.

This book is an honest and no holds barred guide for anyone interested in embarking on the homeschooling journey.

Published by Hodder & Stoughton. Buy here.

Dare To Be You by Matthew Syed

What would you dare to try if you stopped worrying about fitting in?

If you’re the kind of person who thinks: I don’t like standing out from the crowd … I wish I could be more like the cool kids … There’s no point trying to change things … then this book is for you.

Because guess what? There’s no such thing as normal.

Drawing examples from sport, science and even business, Dare to Be Youempowers young readers to follow their own path, love what makes them different and question the world around them. With You Are Awesome‘s trademark mix of hilarious text, stylish illustration, personal insights and inspiring real-life examples, including Greta Thunberg and Malala Yousafzai, Matthew Syed introduces children to the power of diverse thinking.

When you stop doubting yourself, embrace change and let your kindness loose, you become your own action hero. This groundbreaking, practical and positive book will help kids develop the inner confidence to grow into happy adults who know – and, more importantly, LIKE – themselves.

Published by Hachette Children’s Group. Buy here.

COOKBOOKS/FOOD & WINE

Speedy MOB: 12-minute meals for 4 people by Ben Lebus

Following on from the phenomenal success of MOB Kitchen and MOB Veggie, Ben Lebus returns, this time with a focus on creating beautiful budget-friendly food, fast.

Speedy MOB works on the principle that if the cornerstone of your meal (e.g. pasta, rice, grains) takes ten minutes to cook, then any recipe can take 12-minutes to prepare, cook and serve. So, it’s time to prep like a boss and get creative with your sauces, sides and dressings. Packed full of clever time-saving hacks and signature MOB Kitchen resourcefulness, you can go from chopping board to dinner plate in 12-minutes or less.

Each recipe is photographed in classic MOB style with chapters including: Brunch, Pasta, Rice and Noodles, Bowls and Sweet Stuff. Back with more recipes than ever before, Speedy MOB features over 75 all-new recipes for everything from Beetroot Sabich and Saag Paneer to Cheat’s Dan Dan Noodles and Crispy Beef Tacos.

The twelve-minute challenge has landed, so get ready, get speedy and feed your MOB.

Published by Pavilion Books. Buy here.

Nadiya Bakes by Nadiya Hussain

It’s what we’ve all been waiting for, Nadiya’s return to her true love, baking.

Learn to bake incredible cakes, pastries, pies and puddings for every occasion with Nadiya’s simple and achievable recipes. In true Nadiya fashion these bakes include the classics, and mouth-watering twists that will become your sweet staples for every birthday party, afternoon treat, lunchbox snack, dessert and even dinner. These recipes will be your favourites for everyday and for every celebration.

Our beloved Bake-Off winner has created your ultimate baking cookbook to conquer cakes, biscuits, traybakes, tarts and pies, showstopping desserts, breads and savouries, and even ‘no-bake’ bakes. These are deliciously easy recipes you can achieve at home: Strawberry and Clotted Cream Shortcakes, Raspberry Amaretti Biscuits, Portuguese Custard Tarts, Honey Cake with a Salted Hazelnut Crumb, Buttermilk Baked Chicken, Cheats Sourdough, Spiced Squash Strudel and much, much more.

Published by Michael Joseph. Buy here.

Ottolenghi Flavour by Yottam Ottolenghi

In this stunning new cookbook Yotam and co-writer Ixta Belfrage break down the three factors that create flavour and offer innovative vegetable dishes that deliver brand-new ingredient combinations to excite and inspire.

Ottolenghi Flavour combines simple recipes for weeknights, low effort-high impact dishes, and standout meals for the relaxed cook. Packed with signature colourful photography, Flavour not only inspires us with what to cook, but how flavour is dialled up and why it works.

The book is broken down into three parts, which reveal how to tap into the potential of ordinary vegetables to create extraordinary food:

Process explains cooking methods that elevate veg to great heights; 
Pairing identifies four basic pairings that are fundamental to great flavour; 
Produce offers impactful vegetables that do the work for you.

With surefire hits, such as Aubergine Dumplings alla Parmigiana, Hasselback Beetroot with Lime Leaf Butter, Miso Butter Onions, Spicy Mushroom Lasagne and Romano Pepper Schnitzel, plus mouthwatering photographs of nearly every one of the more than 100 recipes, Ottolenghi FLAVOUR is the impactful, next-level approach to vegetable cooking that Ottolenghi fans and vegetable lovers everywhere have been craving.

Published by Ebury. Buy here.

Home Cookery Year by Claire Thomson

The Home Cookery Year is the new essential kitchen bible, year-round and every day. Claire Thomson writes foolproof, imaginative recipes to please the whole family – as a professional chef and mum of three, she understands what it’s like to whip up tasty, crowd-pleasing dishes in minimal time at the end of a busy working day.

Wearing its seasonality lightly, with the emphasis on usefulness and practicality, Home Cookery Year offers mealtime solutions for:midweek emergenciescooking on a budgeton a budget and storecupboard recipessalads and light lunchestreat yourself (indulgent dishes for special occasions)celebration feasts Every recipe you will ever need is in here, for every occasion, with twists on classics, and super ideas for jaded palates for young and old alike.

Published by Quadrille Publishing Ltd. Buy here.

The Wicked Baker by Helena Garcia

#witchesofinstagram – here is the perfect book for your haunted kitchen!

Give your baking a wicked twist with eerily clever ideas for all manner of cakes, cookies, pastries, breads, desserts and even drinks to spook up your cooking repertoire and make Halloween an occasion to remember. Whether you’re a curious witch, a Halloween fiend or you just want to add a creepy touch to your baking, Helena Garcia will give you all the inspiration you need. Try her mummified eclairs, some cinnamon buns that look shockingly like brains, a batch of cookie bats, or a scarily impressive haunted tree cake and before you know it, every day will seem like Halloween.

Helena wowed the Great British Bake Off judges and audience with her surprisingly ghoulish interpretations of the baking challenges and now, with her amazingly inventive recipes, you too can become the ghostesswith the mostest.

Published by Quadrille Publishing Ltd. Buy here.

Twisted: A Cookbook – Bold, Unserious, Delicious Food for Every Occasion

From the UK’s No 1 food and drink social media publisher, with 30 million fans across the world – comes Twisted’s official cookbook; featuring 100+ never-before-seen, 100% delicious, easy-to-cook recipes that embody the Twisted ethos: Unserious food tastes seriously good!

Tom Jackson and Harry Bamber created Twisted back in 2016 with one thing in mind; to remind people that cooking should be outrageous fun. Through their unstoppable, engaging recipe videos, their refreshing take on food and cooking was brought to life, and has since been adopted by millions all over the world, becoming a global phenomenon in just 3 years. Having created thousands of indulgent, innovative, mouth-watering dishes with clever, simple twists, Twisted: A Cookbook is it’s most eye-wateringly brilliant collection of 100+ new recipes to date. Prepare for mealtimes to look a little different from now on.

Twisted: A Cookbook is divided into three parts, with sharing at the heart of each:

  • BASICS – covers all your Twisted condiments, breads, pickles and ‘can’t live without’ sauces
  • OCCASIONS – chapters include Meat-free Monday, Dinner Party, Picnic, BBQ, Game Day, Curry Night, Hungover Saturday Breakfast and Christmas Party
  • INGREDIENTS – is dedicated to the staples we adore and how to make them taste better than ever before from pasta to chocolate, wraps and potatoes.

This is a practical, bright, bold and creative cookbook that will literally change your life, and, most importantly, inspire you to cook. Twisted don’t take themselves too seriously and believe cooking should be an inclusive, experimental exercise that anyone can fall in love with. That’s why, in Twisted: A Cookbook, there’s something for everyone, regardless of dietary preferences, time restrictions or culinary occasion!

Recipes include: Nectarine Panzanella, Vegan Mushroom Carbonara, Spicy Cauliflower Pakora Burgers, Creamy Peanut Butter Noodles, Rapid Black Daal, Sriracha Devilled Egg BLT, Baked Buffalo BBQ Ribs, Tartiflette Gnocchi, Sicilian Bruschetta Pasta Salad, Mashed Potato Dippers, Cheat’s Churros AND SO MANY MORE that the Twisted Team cannot wait to share.

Published by Hodder & Stoughton. Buy here.

Everyone Can Bake by Dominique Ansel

Dominique Ansel is the creator of beautiful, innovative, and delicious desserts, from the Frozen S’More to the Cronut ®, the croissant-doughnut hybrid that took the world by storm. He has been called the world’s best pastry chef. But this wasn’t always the case. Raised in a large, working-class family in rural France, Ansel could not afford college and instead began work as a baker’s apprentice at age sixteen. There, he learned the basics; how to make tender chocolate cakes, silky custards, buttery shortbread, and more. Ansel shares these essential, go-to recipes for the first time. With easy-to-follow instructions and kitchen tips, home cooks can master the building-blocks of desserts. These crucial components can be mixed in a variety of ways, and Ansel will show you how: his vanilla tart shell can be rolled out and stamped into cookies; shaped and filled with lemon curd; or even crumbled into a topping for ice cream. This cookbook will inspire beginners and experienced home cooks alike to bake as imaginatively as Ansel himself.

Published by Murdoch Books. Buy here.


Women in the Kitchen: Twelve Essential Cookbook Writers Who Defined the Way We Eat, from 1661 to Today by Anne Willan

Anne Willan, multi-award-winning culinary historian, cookbook writer, cooking teacher, and founder of La Varenne Cooking School in Paris, explores the lives and work of women cookbook authors whose important books have defined cooking over the past three hundred years. Beginning with the first published cookbook by Hannah Woolley in 1661, up to Alice Waters today, these women, and books, created the canon of the American table. 

Focusing on the figures behind the recipes, Women in the Kitchen traces the development of American home cooking from the first, early colonial days to transformative cookbooks by Fannie Farmer, Irma Rombauer, Julia Child, Edna Lewis, and Marcella Hazan. Willan offers a short biography of each influential woman, including her background, and a description of the seminal books she authored. These women inspired one another, and in part owe their places in cooking history to those who came before them.

Featuring fifty original recipes, as well as updated versions Willan has tested and modernized for the contemporary kitchen, this engaging narrative seamlessly moves through history to help readers understand how female cookbook authors have shaped American cooking today.

Published by Simon & Schuster. Buy here

Pinch of Nom Food Planner: Everyday Light by Kay Featherstone, Catherine (Kate) Allinson and Laura Davis

Staying on track has never been easier. This three-month companion from the number one bestselling authors of Pinch of Nom gives you everything you need to chart diet progress, cook some brand-new favourites and reach your goals.

Containing twenty-six exclusive Pinch of Nom recipes – all under 400 calories, all delicious, full of flavour and designed to keep you full and satisfied.

This new-style planner is set out in a simple format with diet diary-style pages that are easily adaptable to your personal slimming guidelines. From tear-out pages for shopping lists to gorgeous Nom stickers, there is so much room to plan and celebrate your key achievements in this handy ring-bound format. To give you more pages for writing up your goals and food plans, this book does not have any photographs of the recipes, however you can find them on the Pinch of Nom website. Instead the book is beautifully designed and illustrated with line drawings and motivational tips. Whether you want to keep track of calories, jot down your shopping lists, record healthy treats or celebrate key achievements, this book is designed to help you stay organized and motivated.

The Pinch of Nom food blog has a hugely engaged online following and has helped thousands of people to lose weight and cook incredibly delicious and varied recipes. Packed with advice for keeping to your goals and stories from community members, the Pinch of Nom Food Planner: Everyday Light is the perfect tool for tracking your weight-loss journey.

Published by Pan Macmillan. Buy here.

English Wine by Oz Clarke

It used to be the easiest way in the wine world to get a laugh – start extolling the virtues of English wine. Oh, how they would chortle! And they had a point. Until the 1990s hardly any English wine was more than a curiosity to be drunk if you had no other choice. The old-fashioned view of English wine is that of a cottage industry made up of amateurs struggling with the mud and the drizzle. The modern view is of a country amazingly blessed with vast tracts of soil suitable for viticulture, much of it almost indistinguishable from the chalky slopes of Champagne and Chablis, and of a country taking full advantage of the vagaries of climate change to ripen Chardonnay and Pinot Noir to levels perfect for sparkling wine, and increasingly excellent still wines. And it wouldn’t be far off the mark to say that England is now the newest of the New World, New Wave wine countries.

The 1990s brought several pioneering sparkling wine producers to the fore – led by Nyetimber and Breaky Bottom and suddenly England has found its wine vocation. Oz has long been a champion of English wines and this book helps you find the best wines, from fizz, whites, some impressive reds and even dessert and orange wines.

One of the great pleasures of wine is to drink it where it is grown and made. Both wine handbook and armchair companion, English Wine is an essential book for all lovers of wine. The opportunity to meet growers, winemakers and winery owners is what draws people to visit wineries and ‘have an experience in the vineyard’

Published by Pavilion Books. Buy here.

Hugh Johnson’s Pocket Wine 2021 by Hugh Johnson

The world’s best-selling annual wine guide.

Hugh Johnson’s Pocket Wine Book is the essential reference book for everyone who buys wine – in shops, restaurants, or on the internet. Now in its 44th year of publication, it has no rival as the comprehensive, up-to-the-minute annual guide. 

Hugh Johnson provides clear succinct facts and commentary on the wines, growers and wine regions of the whole world. He reveals which vintages to buy, which to drink and which to cellar, which growers to look for and why. Hugh Johnson’s Pocket Wine Book gives clear information on grape varieties, local specialities and how to match food with wines that will bring out the best in both.

Published by Octopus Publishing Group. Buy here.

HISTORY

Sicily ’43 by James Holland

This is the story of the biggest seaborne landing in history. Codenamed Operation HUSKY, the Allied assault on Sicily on 10 July 1943 remains the largest amphibious invasion ever mounted in world history, landing more men in a single day than at any other time. That day, over 160,000 British, American and Canadian troops were dropped from the sky or came ashore, more than on D-Day just under a year later. It was also preceded by an air campaign that marked a new direction and dominance of the skies by Allies. The subsequent thirty-eight-day Battle for Sicily was one of the most dramatic of the entire Second World War, involving daring raids by special forces, deals with the Mafia, attacks across mosquito-infested plains and perilous assaults up almost sheer faces of rock and scree.

It was a brutal campaign – the violence was extreme, the heat unbearable, the stench of rotting corpses intense and all-pervasive, the problems of malaria, dysentery and other diseases a constant plague. And all while trying to fight a way across an island of limited infrastructure and unforgiving landscape, and against a German foe who would not give up. It also signalled the beginning of the end of the War in the West. From here on, Italy ceased to participate in the war, the noose began to close around the neck of Nazi Germany, and the coalition between the United States and Britain came of age.

Most crucially, it would be a critical learning exercise before Operation OVERLORD, the Allied invasion of Normandy, in June 1944. Based on his own battlefield studies in Sicily and on much new research over the past thirty years, James Holland’s Sicily ’43 offers a vital new perspective on a major turning point in World War II. It is a timely, powerful and dramatic account by a master military historian and will fill a major gap in the narrative history of the Second World War.

Published by Transworld. Buy here.

Normandy ’44 by James Holland

The Times Renowned World War Two historian James Holland presents an entirely new perspective on one of the most important moments in recent history, unflinchingly examining the brutality and violence that characterised the campaign, and totally recalibrating our understanding of this momentous event. D-Day and the 76 days of bitter fighting in Normandy that followed have come to be seen as a defining episode in the Second World War. Its story has been endlessly retold, and yet it remains a narrative burdened by both myth and assumed knowledge.

In this reexamined history , James Holland challenges what we think we know. Drawing on unseen archives and testimonies from around the world, introducing a cast of eye-witnesses from foot soldiers to bomber crews, sailors, civilians and resistance fighters.

Published by Transworld. Buy here.

The Borgias by Paul Strathern

The Borgias have become a byword for evil. Corruption, incest, ruthlessness, avarice and vicious cruelty – all have been associated with their name. But the story of this remarkable family is far more than a tale of sensational depravities – it also marks the golden age of the Italian Renaissance and a decisive turning point in European history. From the family’s Spanish roots and the papacy of Rodrigo Borgia, to the lives of his infamous offspring, Lucrezia and Cesare – the hero who dazzled Machiavelli, but also the man who befriended Leonardo da Vinci – Paul Strathern tells the captivating story of this great dynasty and the world in which they flourished.

Published by Atlantic. Buy here.

The Anarchy by William

The Times History Book of the Year Longlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-fiction 2019 In August 1765 the East India Company defeated the young Mughal emperor and forced him to establish a new administration in his richest provinces. Run by English merchants who collected taxes using a ruthless private army, this new regime saw the East India Company transform itself from an international trading corporation into something much more unusual: an aggressive colonial power in the guise of a multinational business. William Dalrymple tells the remarkable story of the East India Company as it has never been told before, unfolding a timely cautionary tale of the first global corporate power.

Published by Bloomsbury. Buy here.

Wolf Hall Companion by Lauren Mackay

An accessible and authoritative companion to the bestselling Wolf Hall trilogy by Hilary Mantel, published after the third and final book, The Mirror and the Light.

Wolf Hall Companion gives an historian’s view of what we know about Thomas Cromwell, one of the most powerful men of the Tudor age and the central character in Mantel’s Wolf Hall trilogy.

Covering the key court and political characters from the books, this companion guide also works as a concise Tudor history primer. Alongside Thomas Cromwell, the author explores characters including Anne Boleyn, Thomas Cranmer, Jane Seymour, Henry VIII, Thomas Howard, Cardinal Wolsey and Richard Fox. The important places in the court of Henry VIII are introduced and put into context, including Hampton Court, the Tower of London, Cromwell’s home Austin Friars, and of course Wolf Hall. The author explores not only the real history of these people and places, but also Hilary Mantel’s interpretation of them.

Included in the book are also incisive features on various aspects of Tudor life, from the court scene and the structure of government, to royal hunting and hawking, Renaissance influences and Tudor executions.

A beautiful and insightful book, Wolf Hall Companion will enrich the reading of the Mantel novels but also provides an incisive and concise understanding of the reign of Henry VIII, and the profound changes it brought to English life.

Illustrated throughout with woodcut portraits, maps and family trees and with a beautifully produced cover – this companion guide is a must-have for any discerning Wolf Hall and Tudor fan.

Publsihed by Pavilion Books. Buy here.

The Story of China by Michael Wood

China’s story is extraordinarily rich and dramatic. Now Michael Wood, one of the UK’s pre-eminent historians, brings it all together in a major new one-volume history of China that is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand its burgeoning role in our world today.

China is the oldest living civilisation on earth, but its history is still surprisingly little known in the wider world. Michael Wood’s sparkling narrative, which mingles the grand sweep with local and personal stories, woven together with the author’s own travel journals, is an enthralling account of China’s 4000-year-old tradition, taking in life stationed on the Great Wall or inside the Forbidden City. The story is enriched with the latest archaeological and documentary discoveries; correspondence and court cases going back to the Qin and Han dynasties; family letters from soldiers in the real-life Terracotta Army; stories from Silk Road merchants and Buddhist travellers, along with memoirs and diaries of emperors, poets and peasants.

In the modern era, the book is full of new insights, with the electrifying manifestos of the feminist revolutionaries Qiu Jin and He Zhen, extraordinary eye-witness accounts of the Japanese invasion, the Great Famine and the Cultural Revolution under Chairman Mao, and fascinating newly published sources for the great turning points in China’s modern history, including the Tiananmen Square crisis of 1989, and the new order of President Xi Jinping.

A compelling portrait of a single civilisation over an immense period of time, the book is full of intimate detail and colourful voices, taking us from the desolate Mongolian steppes to the ultra-modern world of Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong. It also asks what were the forces that have kept China together for so long? Why was China overtaken by the west after the 18th century? What lies behind China’s extraordinary rise today? The Story of China tells a thrilling story of intense drama, fabulous creativity and deep humanity; a portrait of a country that will be of the greatest importance to the world in the twenty-first century.

Published by Simon & Schuster. Buy here.

An Atlas of Extinct Countries: The Remarkable (and Occasionally Ridiculous) Stories of 48 Nations That Fell off the Map by Gideon Defoe

Countries die. Sometimes it’s murder, sometimes it’s by accident, and sometimes it’s because they were so ludicrous they didn’t deserve to exist in the first place. Occasionally they explode violently. A few slip away almost unnoticed. Often the cause of death is either ‘got too greedy’ or ‘Napoleon turned up’. Now and then they just hold a referendum and vote themselves out of existence.

This is an atlas of nations that fell off the map. The polite way of writing an obituary is: dwell on the good bits, gloss over the embarrassing stuff. This book fails to do that. And that is mainly because most of these dead nations (and a lot of the ones that are still alive) are so weird or borderline nonsensical that it’s impossible to skip the embarrassing stuff.

The life stories of the sadly deceased involve a catalogue of chancers, racists, racist chancers, conmen, madmen, people trying to get out of paying tax, mistakes, lies, stupid schemes and General Idiocy. Because of this – and because treating nation states with too much respect is the entire problem with pretty much everything – these accounts are not fussed about adding to all the earnest flag saluting in the world, however nice some of the flags are.

Published by Harper Collins. Buy here.

Britain at Bay: The Epic Story of the Second World War: 1938-1941 by Alan Allport

In the bleak first half of the Second World War, Britain stood alone against the Axis forces. Isolated and outmanoeuvred, it seemed as though she might fall at any moment. Only an extraordinary effort of courage – by ordinary men and women – held the line.

The Second World War is the defining experience of modern British history, a new Iliad for our own times. But, as Alan Allport reveals in this, the first part of a major new two-volume history, the real story was often very different from the myth that followed it. From the subtle moral calculus of appeasement to the febrile dusts of the Western Desert, Allport interrogates every aspect of the conflict – and exposes its echoes in our own age.

Challenging orthodoxy and casting fresh light on famous events from Dunkirk to the Blitz, this is the real story of a clash between civilisations that remade the world in its image.

Published by Profile Books Ltd. Buy here.

A Tomb with a View by Peter Ross

Enter a grave new world of fascination and delight as award-winning writer Peter Ross uncovers the stories and glories of graveyards. Who are London’s outcast dead and why is David Bowie their guardian angel? What is the remarkable truth about Phoebe Hessel, who disguised herself as a man to fight alongside her sweetheart, and went on to live in the reigns of five monarchs? Why is a Bristol cemetery the perfect wedding venue for goths?

All of these sorrowful mysteries – and many more – are answered in A Tomb With A View , a book for anyone who has ever wandered through a field of crooked headstones and wondered about the lives and deaths of those who lie beneath. So push open the rusting gate, push back the ivy, and take a look inside…

Published by Headline. Buy here.

Human Journey by Professor Alice Roberts and James Weston Lewis

Join TV biological anthropologist Professor Alice Roberts on a fascinating non-fiction journey to discover the secrets of our past, in this dramatic retelling of our human journey for children aged 7+ years. Adults who love Who Do You Think You Are? will enjoy reading and sharing this book with young ones.

Reach back through time and shake hands with your ancestors. Discover who we are, where we come from and even what it means to be human as you follow the amazing human journey. This spectacular illustrated book begins with the dawn of humankind on the grasslands of Africa around two and a half million years ago and unfolds to follow our ancestors over time and all around the world: from Africa to Asia, Europe, Australia and the Americas. Travel with them as they face perils posed by deserts, oceans, changing climates, giant beasts, volcanoes and more, as they adapted, invented, survived and thrived.

Professor Alice Roberts is an anatomist, anthropologist, Professor of Public Engagement in Science and television presenter. She has presented landmark BBC TV series, including The Incredible Human Journey and Digging for Britain. She has written many popular science books and brought her talent for communicating science to a young audience in the 2018 Royal Institution Christmas Lectures. James Weston Lewis is an illustrator and print maker. He was longlisted for the 2017 CILIP Kate Greenaway medal for The Great Fire of London and has also brought his powerful, vivid, contemporary style to The Legend of Tutankhamun and Secrets of the Skies.

Published by Egmont. Buy here.

The Nine Lives of Pakistan by Declan Walsh

The demise of Pakistan – a country with a reputation for volatility, brutality and radical Islam – is regularly predicted. But things rarely turn out as expected, as renowned journalist Declan Walsh knows well. Over a decade covering the country, his travels took him from the raucous port of Karachi to the gilded salons of Lahore to the lawless frontier of Waziristan, encountering Pakistanis whose lives offer a compelling portrait of this land of contradictions. He meets a crusading lawyer who risks her life to fight for society’s most marginalised, taking on everyone including the powerful military establishment; an imperious chieftain spouting poetry at his desert fort; a roguish politician waging a mini-war against the Taliban; and a charismatic business tycoon who moves into politics and seems to be riding high – till he takes up the wrong cause. Lastly, Walsh meets a spy whose orders once involved following him, and who might finally be able to answer the question that haunts him: why the Pakistanis suddenly expelled him from their country. Intimate and complex, unravelling the many mysteries of state and religion, this formidable book offers an arresting account of life in a country that, often as not, seems to be at war with itself.

Published by Bloomsbury. Buy here.

Eat The Buddah: The Story of Modern Tibet Through the People of One Town by Barbrara Demick

In 1950, China claimed sovereignty over Tibet, leading to decades of unrest and resistance, defining the country today.

In Eat the Buddha, Barbara Demick chronicles the Tibetan tragedy from Ngaba, a defiant town on the eastern edge of the Tibetan plateau where dozens of Tibetans have shocked the world since 2009 by immolating themselves.

Following the stories of the last princess of the region, of Tibetans who experienced the struggle sessions of Mao’s Cultural Revolution, of the recent generations of monks and townsfolk experiencing renewed repression, Demick paints a riveting portrait of recent Tibetan history, opening a window onto Tibetan life today, and onto the challenges Tibetans face while locked in a struggle for identity against one of the most powerful countries in the world.

Published by Granta Books. Buy here.

Open: The Story of Human Progress by Johan Norberg

Humanity’s embrace of openness is the key to our success. The freedom to explore and exchange – whether it’s goods, ideas or people – has led to stunning achievements in science, technology and culture. As a result, we live at a time of unprecedented wealth and opportunity. So why are we so intent on ruining it?
From Stone Age hunter-gatherers to contemporary Chinese-American relations, Open explores how across time and cultures, we have struggled with a constant tension between our yearning for co-operation and our profound need for belonging. Providing a bold new framework for understanding human history, bestselling author and thinker Johan Norberg examines why we’re often uncomfortable with openness – but also why it is essential for progress. Part sweeping history and part polemic, this urgent book makes a compelling case for why an open world with an open economy is worth fighting for more than ever.

Published by Atlantic Books. Buy here.

The Humans: Ancient civilisations and astonishing things they taught us by Johnny Marx

This book showcases the greatest achievements of ancient civilisations, peoples and iconic figures from history. From the Nubians to the Native Americans, and the Akkadians to the Aztecs, our predecessors have pioneered a plethora of wonderful and wacky inventions, technologies and practices. They’ve constructed monumental buildings and sprawling cities, created languages, modes of transport, art, medicines, music, stories, myths and more. 
Let’s delve into the past and discover what humankind accomplished in the centuries and millennia since the first civilisations were formed…

Published by Little Tiger Press. Buy here.

Science

What is Life?: Understand Biology in Five Steps by Paul Nurse

Life is all around us, abundant and diverse, it is extraordinary. But what does it actually mean to be alive? Nobel prize-winner Paul Nurse has spent his career revealing how living cells work. In this book, he takes up the challenge of defining life in a way that every reader can understand. It is a shared journey of discovery; step by step he illuminates five great ideas that underpin biology. He traces the roots of his own curiosity and knowledge to reveal how science works, both now and in the past. Using his personal experiences, in and out of the lab, he shares with us the challenges, the lucky breaks, and the thrilling eureka moments of discovery. To survive the challenges that face the human race today – from climate change, to pandemics, loss of biodiversity and food security – it is vital that we all understand what life is.

Published by David Fickling Books. Buy here.

Exercised: The Science of Physical Activity, Rest and Health by Daniel Lieberman

The myth-busting science behind our modern attitudes to exercise: what our bodies really need, why it matters, and its effects on health and wellbeing.

In industrialized nations, our sedentary lifestyles have contributed to skyrocketing rates of obesity and diseases like diabetes. A key remedy, we are told, is exercise – voluntary physical activity for the sake of health. However, most of us struggle to stay fit, and our attitudes to exercise are plagued by misconceptions, finger-pointing and anxiety.

But, as Daniel Lieberman shows in Exercised, the first book of its kind by a leading scientific expert, we never evolved to exercise. We are hardwired for moderate exertion throughout each day, not triathlons or treadmills. Drawing on over a decade of high-level scientific research and eye-opening insights from evolutionary biology and anthropology, Lieberman explains precisely how exercise can promote health; debunks persistent myths about sitting, speed, strength and endurance; and points the way towards more enjoyable and physically active living in the modern world.

Published by Penguin. Buy here.

How Bad Are Bananas?: The Carbon Footprint of Everything by Mike Berners-Lee

From a text message to a war, from a Valentine’s rose to a flight or even having a child, How Bad are Bananas? gives us the carbon answers we need and provides plenty of revelations. By talking through a hundred or so items, Mike Berners-Lee sets out to give us a carbon instinct for the footprint of literally anything we do, buy and think about. He helps us pick our battles by laying out the orders of magnitude. The book ranges from the everyday (foods, books, plastic bags, bikes, flights, baths…) and the global (deforestation, data centres, rice production, the World Cup, volcanoes, …) Be warned, some of the things you thought you knew about green living may be about to be turned on their head. Never preachy but packed full of information and always entertaining

Published by Profile Books. Buy here.

117 Things You Should F*#king Know About Your World: The Best of IFL Science

Did you know your irises are lying to you and all human eyes are actually brown?

Want to know the absolute worst way to die, according to science? 

Did you know that a smoking psychedelic toad milk could alleviate depression for up to four weeks?

117 Things You Should F*#king Know About Your World tells you the answers to these questions and many more weird and wonderful facts about the universe. Split into the site’s different subject areas of environment, technology, space, health and medicine, plants and animals, physics and chemistry, this is the ultimate science book. 

With 25 million social media followers, I F*#king Love Science is the world’s favourite source of science on the web. From missing nuclear weapons and Facebook secret files to the world’s smallest computer and why you should wrap your car keys in tinfoil, this is the book that only the world’s leading source of crazy-but-true stories could produce.

Published by Octopus Publishing Group. Buy here.

Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds and Shape Our Futures by Merlin Sheldrake

There is a lifeform so strange and wondrous that it forces us to rethink how life works…

Neither plant nor animal, it is found throughout the earth, the air and our bodies. It can be microscopic, yet also accounts for the largest organisms ever recorded, living for millennia and weighing tens of thousands of tonnes. Its ability to digest rock enabled the first life on land, it can survive unprotected in space, and thrives amidst nuclear radiation.

In this captivating adventure, Merlin Sheldrake explores the spectacular and neglected world of fungi: endlessly surprising organisms that sustain nearly all living systems. They can solve problems without a brain, stretching traditional definitions of ‘intelligence’, and can manipulate animal behaviour with devastating precision. In giving us bread, alcohol and life-saving medicines, fungi have shaped human history, and their psychedelic properties, which have influenced societies since antiquity, have recently been shown to alleviate a number of mental illnesses. The ability of fungi to digest plastic, explosives, pesticides and crude oil is being harnessed in break-through technologies, and the discovery that they connect plants in underground networks, the ‘Wood Wide Web’, is transforming the way we understand ecosystems. Yet they live their lives largely out of sight, and over ninety percent of their species remain undocumented.

Entangled Life is a mind-altering journey into this hidden kingdom of life, and shows that fungi are key to understanding the planet on which we live, and the ways we think, feel and behave. The more we learn about fungi, the less makes sense without them.

Published by Vintage. Buy here.

Travel

The Gran Tour by Ben Aiken

One millennial, six coach trips, one big generation gap. When Ben Aitken learnt that his gran had enjoyed a four-night holiday including four three-course dinners, four cooked breakfasts, four games of bingo, a pair of excursions, sixteen pints of lager and luxury return coach travel, all for a hundred pounds, he thought, that’s the life, and signed himself up. Six times over. Good value aside, what Ben was really after was the company of his elders – those with more chapters under their belt, with the wisdom granted by experience, the candour gifted by time, and the hard-earned ability to live each day like it’s nearly their last. A series of coach holidays ensued – from Scarborough to St Ives, Killarney to Lake Como – during which Ben attempts to shake off his thirty-something blues by getting old as soon as possible.

Published by Icon Books. Buy here.

Venice: The Lion, the City and the Water by Cees Nooteboom

With this treasury of his time spent in Venice over a period of fifty-five years, Nooteboom makes himself the indispensable companion for all lovers of “the sailing, amphibious city”, and for every new visitor.

Because he is a master storyteller with an inexhaustible curiosity, and always with a suitcase of books (to which new discoveries are added), he brings vividly and poetically to life not only the tumultuous history of the Republic but along the way its doges, its villains, its heroes, its magnificent painters, its architects, its scholars, its skies, its canals and piazzas and alleyways, and on his expeditions its “bronze voices of time”.

Those who know and love this city and its literature will recognise Nooteboom – in Laura Watkinson’s fine translation – as the dazzling heir and companion to Montaigne, Thomas Mann, Rilke, Ruskin, Proust, Brodsky, and Donna Leon. His homage to Venice is a generous introduction, learned and enchanting, and worthy of its magnificent subject.

Published by Quercus. Buy here

Subterranea by Chris Finch

If you were to peel back the Earth’s surface like an orange, then take a sly peek underneath, what extraordinary things would you see?

Subterranea is where the world’s remaining mysteries are yet to be found. For millennia, across nations and cultures, it has been a hotbed of fantastical stories. It’s where humans have kept their most sacred treasures and their darkest secrets. It’s where we have found evidence of our past and may, at some point, find an escape route for our uncertain future. But what would we find there today? 

From the underground cities of Cappadocia to smuggling tunnels on the US-Mexico border, caves full of tiny blind dragons and a seed vault located 1300km inside the Arctic circle, Subterranea demonstrates that the world below our feet is every bit as vivid and evocative as the world we see around us. Lavishly illustrated and replete with maps and photographs of little-explored locations, Subterranea is the unique, untold and utterly unforgettable story of our planet from the inside.

Published by Headline. Buy here.

POLITICS

Stolen Lives by Louise Hulland

136,000 people in the UK are in some form of slavery. This is big business, generating more than GBP120 billion annually for criminal organisations across the world.

Stolen Lives examines trafficking and slavery in Britain, hearing from those on the front line. Powerful and moving testimony from survivors reveals the individual stories behind the headlines and charts one young woman’s terrifying and ultimately inspiring journey to freedom and independence.

Finally, it shows us what we can do to make a difference.

Published by Sandstone Press. Buy here.

The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity by Douglas Murray

A truthful look at today’s most divisive issues’ – Jordan B. Peterson ‘[Murray’s] latest book is beyond brilliant and should be read, must be read, by everyone’ – Richard Dawkins Are we living through the great derangement of our times?

In The Madness of Crowds Douglas Murray investigates the dangers of ‘woke’ culture and the rise of identity politics. In lively, razor-sharp prose he examines the most controversial issues of our moment: sexuality, gender, technology and race, with interludes on the Marxist foundations of ‘wokeness’, the impact of tech and how, in an increasingly online culture, we must relearn the ability to forgive. One of the few writers who dares to counter the prevailing view and question the dramatic changes in our society – from gender reassignment for children to the impact of transgender rights on women – Murray’s penetrating book, now published with a new afterword taking account of the book’s reception and responding to the worldwide Black Lives Matter protests, clears a path of sanity through the fog of our modern predicament.

Published by Bloomsbury. Buy here.

The Madman Theory by Jim Sciutto

From praising dictators to alienating allies, Trump has made chaos his calling card. Has his strategy caused more problems than it solved?

Richard Nixon tried it first. Hoping to make communist bloc countries uneasy and thus unstable, Nixon let them think he was just crazy enough to nuke them. He called this “the madman theory.” Nearly half a century later, President Trump has employed his own “madman theory,” sometimes intentionally and sometimes not.

Trump praises Kim Jong-un and their “love notes,” admires and flatters Vladimir Putin, and gives a greenlight to Recep Tayyip Erdogan to invade Syria. Meanwhile, he attacks US institutions and officials, ignores his own advisors, and turns his back on US allies from Canada and Mexico to NATO to Ukraine to the Kurds at war with ISIS. Trump is willing to make the nation’s most sensitive and consequential decisions while often ignoring the best information and intelligence available to him. He continually catches the world off guard, but is it working?

In The Madman Theory, Jim Sciutto shows how Trump’s supporters assume he has a strategy for long-term success – that he is somehow playing three-dimensional chess. Now that we are four years into his presidency, we can see his unpredictable focus on short-term headlines has in fact lead to predictably mediocre results in the short and long run. Trump’s foreign policy has undermined American values and national security interests, while hurting allies who have been on our side for decades, leaving them isolated and vulnerable without American support. Meanwhile, he comforts and emboldens our enemies. The White House’s revolving door of staff demonstrates that Trump has no real plan; all serious policymakers-and those who would be a check on his most destructive impulses-have been exiled or jumped ship.

Sciutto has interviewed a wide swath of current and former administration officials to assemble the first comprehensive portrait of the impact of Trump’s erratic foreign policy. Smart, authoritative, and compelling, The Madman Theory is the definitive take on Trump’s calamitous legacy around the globe, showing how his proclivity for chaos is creating a world which is more unstable, violent, and impoverished than it was before.

Published by Harper Collins. Buy here.

The Art of Disruption: A Manifesto For Real Change by Magid Magid

Magid Magid’s story seems an unlikely one. He’s a Somali-born black Muslim refugee who became the youngest ever Lord Mayor of Sheffield and one of the last UK MEPs. Magid has made headlines nationally and internationally for his creative ways of campaigning while not conforming to tradition and being unapologetically himself. Magid had no idea that the poster he dreamed up for a local music festival in 2018 would go viral. The poster contained the 10 commandments he tries to live by. He had no idea that this poster would come to represent a movement that has swept him to the heart of local and European establishment politics. Now, for the first time, he reveals the stories behind each of these ‘commandments’; what drives him, the obstacles he overcame and what makes him hopeful.

Published by Bonnier Boks Ltd. Buy here.

My First Little Book of Intersectional Activism by Titania McGrath

Aimed at activists from the age of six months to six years, Titania’s book will help cultivate a new progressive generation. In a series of groundbreaking and poignant chapters, she will take you on a journey with some of the most inspiring individuals in history, such as Emmeline Pankhurst, Meghan Markle, Nelson Mandela, Hillary Clinton and Joseph Stalin. Praise for Woke : ‘Beautiful classic satire’ Ricky Gervais ‘The latest genius twist in Britain’s long tradition of satirical spoof’ Daily Express ‘Titania McGrath mercilessly satirises the Left’s online umbrage brigade, the permanently offended, those who have taken on the role of policing thoughts and words to the point of absurdity’ The Herald ‘Hilarious’ Evening Standard ‘Hilarious’ Spectator ‘Hilarious’ The Times ‘Utterly unfunny’ Peter Hitchens

Published by Little Brown Book Group Ltd. Buy here.

The Wake-Up Call: Why the pandemic has exposed the weakness of the West – and how to fix it by John Micklethwaite and Adrian Wooldrige

An urgent and informed look at the challenges Britain and world governments will face in a post-Covid-19 world.

The Covid crisis has not just highlighted the failures of certain governments, it is accelerating a shift in the balance of power from West to East. After a decade where politics in the US and the UK has been consumed with inward-facing struggles, countries like South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, as well as China, have made extraordinary advances economically, technologically and politically.

In this beautifully crafted essay, Micklethwait and Wooldridge explain how we ended up in this mess and explore the possible routes out. If Western governments respond creatively to the crisis, they will have a chance of reversing decades of decline; if they dither and delay while Asia continues to improve, the prospect of a new Eastern-dominated world order will increase. The big question facing the world is whether the West can rise to the challenge as it has before.

Published by Short Books. Buy here.

The Prime Ministers: Reflections on Leadership from Wilson to Johnson by Steve Richards

A landmark history of the men and women who have defined the UK’s role in the modern world – and what makes them special – by a seasoned political journalist.

At a time of unprecedented political upheaval, this magisterial history explains who leads us and why. From Harold Wilson to Boris Johnson, it brilliantly brings to life all 10 inhabitants of 10 Downing Street over the past fifty years, vividly outlining their successes and failures – and what made each of them special. Based on unprecedented access and in-depth interviews, and inspired by the author’s BBC Radio 4 and television series, Steve Richards expertly examines the men and women who have defined the UK’s role in the modern world and sheds new light on the demands of the highest public office in the land.

Published by Atlantic. Buy here.

Left Out: The Inside Story of Labour Under Corbyn by Gabriel Pogrund and Patrick Maguire

Left Out is the first full account of Labour’s recent transformation and historic defeat. The 2017 parliament began with Labour on the precipice of power, and its left- most fringe – for so long alienated within its own party – closer to government than it had ever been. It ended with them even farther away than they started. From the peak of Jeremy Corbyn’s popularity and the shock hung parliament of 2017 to Labour’s humbling in 2019 and the election of Keir Starmer, Left Out draws on unrivalled access throughout the party and to both leaders’ inner circles to provide a blistering narrative expose of the Labour Party during one of the most tumultuous and significant episodes in its history.

It reveals a party riven by factionalism and at war over ideology, then incapacitated by crisis and indecision. From the plotting of the break-away Independent Group to the inaction and despair over accusations of anti-Semitism, from complaints of sexual harassment and bullying to foiled coups and furious disagreements over Brexit, the reader is in the room as tempers fray and tensions boil over, as sworn enemies forge unlikely alliances and lifelong friendships are tested to breaking-point.

At the heart of the book is Corbyn himself, a man whose like had never been seen at the top of British politics – and is unlikely to ever be seen again. Heroised for his principles by some, derided as an idealist by others, the loyalty and hatred he inspired changed not only the party but the nation.

Intimately drawn and brilliantly told, Left Out is the revelatory inside account of how Labour became the party it is today and of the greatest experiment seen in British politics for a generation.

Published by Vintage. Buy here.

TRUE CRIME

Manhunt: Hunting Britain’s Most Wanted Murderer by Peter Bleksley

Published by Ad Lib. Buy here.

SOCIETY AND CULTURE

Men Who Hate Women by Laura Bates

Imagine a world in which a vast network of misogynists is able to operate, virtually undetected.
Imagine a world in which these extremists commit terrorist acts, united by their deep hatred of women.
Imagine a world in which they groom and radicalise vulnerable teenage boys, shielded by veils of irony and ‘banter’.
Imagine a world in which their community swells to become an international movement, tens of thousands strong.
You don’t have to imagine that world … you already live in it.

In her explosive new book, acclaimed feminist writer Laura Bates lifts the lid on the communities of men who hate women, going undercover, both on- and offline, to explore the ideology and impact they have worldwide.

Starting in the murkiest depths of the internet, Laura observes these groups in action, from incels and pickup artists to Men’s Rights Activists and Men Going Their Own Way, tracing how effectively their ideas have been smuggled into our collective consciousness – via trolls, the media, celebrities and politicians – to emerge unchecked in our schools, workplaces and corridors of power, posing deadly harm to men and women alike.

Including exclusive interviews with former members of these groups, as well as with the men fighting against them, Laura seeks to understand what attracts people to this movement, how it operates – and, above all, what must be done to stop it.

Published by Simon & Schuster. Buy here.

OTHER

The Almanac: A Seasonal Guide to 2021 by Lia Leendertz

Welcome to The Almanac: A Seasonal Guide to 2021. If you are new to The Almanac then welcome; if you are a regular reader then hello! The Almanac is about celebrating the unfolding year in all its various facets. The old dependables which I include every year are back: moon phases, sun rises and sets, tide time tables and the sky at night. As ever there are seasonal recipes and monthly gardening tips for the flower and vegetable garden too, as well as a bit of folklore, and nature and a song for each month.

This year’s edition has a theme: movement, migration and pilgrimage. This was not a reaction to the unsettling events of last year – it was half written by the time Covid-19 hit – but writing it from lockdown did give me a heightened appreciation of the way in which Britain and Ireland have always and continue to be places of movement, and are intimately connected to the rest of the world. You will find within this book migration tales for each month of this year, but I have also searched out seasonal tales of human movement, and included a pilgrimage for each month, some ancient, some current, all underlining the spiritual benefits of putting one foot in front of the other. Every month I have included a method of navigating using the stars, sun or moon, so you can find your way around in the dark (or just look out of your window and know where south is). And our monthly folk songs are all shanties this year, work songs with movement at their very heart, created to coordinate muscle power to drive sailing ships backwards and forwards across the Atlantic Ocean, and containing influences from the eastern seaboard of the US down to the Caribbean and beyond mixed with British and Irish folk traditions. These songs are stitched through with movement and travel, as is this Almanac.

We are all eager to move after so much time cooped up, but I dedicate this edition particularly to those for whom staying in one place was not so different, who were never going to climb mountains anyway. I hope this Almanac helps you to travel in your mind all year long, via the swift that streams past your window, through a rasher pudding cooked up in the Romani style, and by way of a song of derring do on the ocean waves. Have a wonderful 2021.

Published by Octopus Publishing Group. Buy here.

101 Reasons Why We Love The Queen by E. Dunne & H. Sutcliffe

Did you know that the Queen likes to wake up to the sound of bagpipes? That her favourite flower is the primrose? Or that she has established a whole new dog breed, the dorgi, a cross between a corgi and a dachshund? This book is a charming and witty paean to our longest-serving monarch; a collection of all the things that make Queen Elizabeth II a national treasure, from the profound impact she has had on 21st century politics, to her unshakeable sense of duty to her fabulous collection of headscarves. With beautiful illustrations and humorous observations, 101 Reasons Why We Love the Queen is a joyful celebration of a monarch who will go down in history as one of the greatest of all time.

Published by Short Books Ltd. Buy here.

English Pastoral by James Rebanks

As a boy, James Rebanks’s grandfather taught him to work the land the old way. Their family farm in the Lake District hills was part of an ancient agricultural landscape: a patchwork of crops and meadows, of pastures grazed with livestock, and hedgerows teeming with wildlife. And yet, by the time James inherited the farm, it was barely recognisable. The men and women had vanished from the fields; the old stone barns had crumbled; the skies had emptied of birds and their wind-blown song.

English Pastoral is the story of an inheritance: one that affects us all. It tells of how rural landscapes around the world were brought close to collapse, and the age-old rhythms of work, weather, community and wild things were lost. And yet this elegy from the northern fells is also a song of hope: of how, guided by the past, one farmer began to salvage a tiny corner of England that was now his, doing his best to restore the life that had vanished and to leave a legacy for the future.

This is a book about what it means to have love and pride in a place, and how, against all the odds, it may still be possible to build a new pastoral: not a utopia, but somewhere decent for us all.

Published by Penguin. Buy here.

How To Grow Your Own Poem by Kate Clanchy

Kate Clanchy has been teaching people to write poetry for more than twenty years. Some were old, some were young; some were fluent English speakers, some were not. None of them were confident to start with, but a surprising number went to win prizes and every one finished up with a poem they were proud of, a poem that only they could have written – their own poem.

Kate’s big secret is a simple one: is to share other poems. She believes poetry is like singing or dancing and the best way to learn is to follow someone else. In this book, Kate shares the poems she has found provoke the richest responses, the exercises that help to shape those responses into new poems, and the advice that most often helps new writers build their own writing practice.

If you have never written a poem before, this book will get you started. If you have written poems before, this book will help you to write more fluently and confidently, more as yourself. This book not like other creative writing books. It doesn’t ask you to set out on your own, but to join in. Your invitation is inside.

Published by Pan MacMillan. Buy here.

The Story of Scottish Art by Lachlan Goudie

This is the story of how Scotland has defined itself through its art over the past 5000 years, from the earliest enigmatic Neolithic symbols etched onto the landscape of Kilmartin Glen to Glasgow’s fame as a centre of artistic innovation today. Lachlan Goudie brings his perspective and passion as a practising artist and broadcaster to narrate the joys and struggles of artists across the millennia striving to fulfil their vision and the dramatic transformations of Scottish society reflected in their art. 

The Story of Scottish Art is beautifully illustrated with the diverse artworks that form Scotland’s long tradition of bold creativity: Pictish carved stones and Celtic metalwork, Renaissance palaces and chapels, paintings of Scottish life and landscapes by Horatio McCulloch, David Wilkie and Joan Eardley, designs by master architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh, and collage and sculpture by Pop Art pioneer Eduardo Paolozzi. Lachlan tells the compelling story of how and why these and many other Scottish masterpieces were created, and the impact they have had on the world.

Published by Thomas & Hudson Ltd. Buy here.

Monsters of River and Rock: My Life as Iron Maiden’s Compulsive Angler by Adrian Smith

Legendary Iron Maiden guitarist takes you to the final frontier of fishing.

Welcome to the world of Adrian Smith, playing his Jackson guitar onstage to millions – while behind the scenes he explores far-flung rivers, seas and lakes, waterways and weirs, in a fearless quest for fishing nirvana.

Hooked on the angling adrenaline rush since first catching perch from East London canals on outings with his father, Adrian grew up to be in one of Rock’s most iconic bands. On tour, his gear went with him. The fish got bigger. The adventures more extreme.

In Monsters of River and Rock you’ll hear about his first sturgeon: a whopping 100-pounder from the roaring rapids of Canada’s Fraser River that nearly wiped him out mid-Maiden tour. Then there’s the close shave with a shark off the Virgin Islands whilst wading waist-deep for bonefish. Not to mention an enviable list of specimen coarse fish from the UK.

Come to the riverbank with Adrian and cast a line on the wild side.

Published by Ebury. Buy here.

Categories
Uncategorised

Fiction the Third: Now Available in Paperback

In my last post, I listed many of the books released on September 3rd. Also out that day are some fantastic books that are already available in Hardback. I didn’t want them to be lost in the other post, so I have created a separate post for the books I found in that category.

The Foundling by Stacey Halls

The new Sunday Times bestseller from the author of The Familiars Two women, bound by a child, and a secret that will change everything . . . London, 1754. Six years after leaving her illegitimate daughter Clara at London’s Foundling Hospital, Bess Bright returns to reclaim the child she has never known. Dreading the worst, that Clara has died in care, Bess is astonished to be told she has already claimed her. Her life is turned upside down as she tries to find out who has taken her little girl – and why. Less than a mile from Bess’s lodgings in the city, in a quiet, gloomy townhouse on the edge of London, a young widow has not left the house in a decade. When her close friend – an ambitious young doctor at the Foundling Hospital – persuades her to hire a nursemaid for her daughter, she is hesitant to welcome someone new into her home and her life. But her past is threatening to catch up with her and tear her carefully constructed world apart. From the bestselling author of The Familiars comes this captivating story of mothers and daughters, class and power, and love against the greatest of odds . . .

‘The new Hilary Mantel’ Cosmopolitan Another gripping, immersive, intelligent work of historical fiction from the bestselling author of The Familiars’ Kiran Millwood Hargrave, author of The Mercies ‘A gripping and moving read’ Libby Page, bestselling author of The Lido ‘Fantastic storytelling that grabbed me from the off’ Good Housekeeping

Published by Zaffre. Buy here.
You can read my review here.

The Confession by Jessie Burton

The sensational Sunday Times bestseller from Jessie Burton, the million-copy bestselling author of The Miniaturist and The Muse . When Elise Morceau meets the writer Constance Holden, she quickly falls under her spell. Connie is sophisticated, bold and alluring – everything Elise feels she is not. She follows Connie to LA, but in this city of strange dreams and razzle-dazzle, Elise feels even more out of her depth and makes an impulsive decision that will change her life forever. Three decades later, Rose Simmons is trying to uncover the story of her mother, who disappeared when she was a baby. Having learned that the last person to see her was a now reclusive novelist, Rose finds herself at the door of Constance Holden’s house in search of a confession . . .

Published by Pan Macmillan. Buy here.

The Guest List by Lucy Foley

Waterstones Thriller of the Month for September 2020

A REMOTE ISLAND. AN INVITATION TO DIE FOR.

On an island off the windswept Irish coast, guests gather for the wedding of the year – the marriage of Jules Keegan and Will Slater. Old friends. Past grudges. Happy families. Hidden jealousies. Thirteen guests. One body. The wedding cake has barely been cut when one of the guests is found dead. And as a storm unleashes its fury on the island, everyone is trapped. All have a secret. All have a motive. One guest won’t leave this wedding alive…

A gripping, twisty murder mystery thriller from the No.1 bestselling author of The Hunting Party .

Published by Harper Collins. Buy here. You can read my review here.

The Boy from the Woods by Harlan Coben

Thirty years ago, a child was found in the New Jersey backwoods. He had been living a feral existence, with no memory of how he got there or even who he is. Everyone just calls him Wilde. Now a former soldier and security expert, he lives off the grid, shunned by the community – until they need him. A child has gone missing. With her family suspecting she’s just playing a disappearing game, nobody seems concerned except for criminal attorney Hester Crimstein. She contacts Wilde, asking him to use his unique skills to find the girl. But even he can find no trace of her. One day passes, then a second, then a third. On the fourth, a human finger shows up in the mail. And now Wilde knows this is no game. It’s a race against time to save the girl’s life – and expose the town’s dark trove of secrets…

Published by Cornerstone. Buy here.

The Temple House Vanishing by Rachel Donohoe

Jealousy. Desire. Twenty-five years ago, a sixteen-year-old schoolgirl and her charismatic teacher disappeared without trace… When Louisa arrives at Temple House, an elite catholic boarding school, she quickly finds herself drawn to sophisticated fellow pupil Victoria and their young bohemian art teacher, Mr Lavelle. The three of them form a bond that seems to offer an escape from the repressive regime of the nuns who run the cloistered school. Until Louisa and Mr Lavelle suddenly vanish. Years later, a journalist with a childhood connection to Louisa determines to resolve the mystery. Her search for the truth will uncover a tragic, mercurial tale of suppressed desire and long-buried secrets. It will shatter lives and lay a lost soul to rest. The Temple House Vanishing is a stunning, intensely atmospheric novel of unrequited longing, dark obsession and unintended consequences.

Published by Atlantic. Buy here.

Grace is Gone by Emily Elgar

Meg and her daughter Grace are the most beloved family in Ashford, the lynchpin that holds the community together. So when Meg is found brutally murdered and her daughter missing, the town is rocked by the crime. Not least because Grace has been sick for years – and may only have days to live. Who would murder a mother who sacrificed everything, and take a teenager away from the medication that could save her life? Everyone is searching for an answer, but sometimes the truth can kill you . . .

Published by Little Brown Book Group Ltd. Buy here.

Silver Chris Hammer

A HOMECOMING MARRED BY BLOOD Journalist Martin Scarsden returns to Port Silver to make a fresh start with his partner Mandy. But he arrives to find his childhood friend murdered – and Mandy is the prime suspect. Desperate to clear her name, Martin goes searching for the truth. A TERRIBLE CRIME The media descends on Port Silver, compelled by a story that has it all: sex, drugs, celebrity, and religion. Martin is chasing the biggest scoop of his career, and the most personal. A PAST HE CAN’T ESCAPE As Martin draws closer to a killer, the secrets of his traumatic childhood come to the surface, and he must decide what is more important – the story or his family…

Published by Headline. Buy here.

The Scorched Earth by Rachael Blok

Nothing stays buried forever…

‘A blistering mystery’ Erin Kelly.
‘Supremely atmospheric’ Daily Mail.
‘Gripping and original’ Clare Empson.

Two years ago, Ben Fenton went camping for the night with his brother Leo. When Ben woke up, he was covered in blood, and his brother had gone. Days later, Ben was facing a charge of murder.

Ben’s girlfriend, Ana Seabrook, has always sworn he was innocent. And now, on the hottest day of a sweltering heat wave, a body has been unearthed in Ana’s village. A body that might be connected to what really happened between Ben and Leo that fateful night.

DCI Jansen, of St Albans police, is sure that Ana has something to hide. But until the police track down the identity of the body, he can’t work out how everything’s connected. Will Ana’s secrets stay buried forever? Or can Jansen bring them to light?

Published by Head of Zeus. Buy here.

The Serpent and Dove by Shelby Mahurin

Bound as one, to love, honor, or burn. Book one of a stunning fantasy duology, this tale of witchcraft and forbidden love is perfect for fans of Kendare Blake and Sara Holland. Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned. As a huntsman of the Church, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. But when Lou pulls a wicked stunt, the two are forced into an impossible situation-marriage. Lou, unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, must make a choice. And love makes fools of us all. Set in a world of powerful women, dark magic, and off-the-charts romance, book one of this stunning fantasy trilogy will leave readers burning for more.

Published by Harper Collins. Buy here.

Gun Island by Amitav Ghosh

Bundook . Gun. A common word, but one which turns Deen Datta’s world upside down. A dealer of rare books, Deen is used to a quiet life spent indoors, but as his once-solid beliefs begin to shift, he is forced to set out on an extraordinary journey; one that takes him from India to Los Angeles and Venice via a tangled route through the memories and experiences of those he meets along the way. There is Piya, a fellow Bengali-American who sets his journey in motion; Tipu, an entrepreneurial young man who opens Deen’s eyes to the realities of growing up in today’s world; Rafi, with his desperate attempt to help someone in need; and Cinta, an old friend who provides the missing link in the story they are all a part of. It is a journey which will upend everything he thought he knew about himself, about the Bengali legends of his childhood and about the world around him. Gun Island is a beautifully realised novel which effortlessly spans space and time. It is the story of a world on the brink, of increasing displacement and unstoppable transition. But it is also a story of hope, of a man whose faith in the world and the future is restored by two remarkable women.

Published by John Murray Press. Buy here.

Dear Life by Rachel Clarke

From the Sunday Times bestselling author of Your Life in My Hands comes this vibrant, tender and deeply personal memoir that finds light and love in the darkest of places.

As a specialist in palliative medicine, Dr Rachel Clarke chooses to inhabit a place many people would find too tragic to contemplate. Every day she tries to bring care and comfort to those reaching the end of their lives and to help make dying more bearable. Rachel’s training was put to the test in 2017 when her beloved GP father was diagnosed with terminal cancer. She learned that nothing – even the best palliative care – can sugar-coat the pain of losing someone you love. And yet, she argues, in a hospice there is more of what matters in life – more love, more strength, more kindness, more joy, more tenderness, more grace, more compassion – than you could ever imagine. For if there is a difference between people who know they are dying and the rest of us, it is simply this: that the terminally ill know their time is running out, while we live as though we have all the time in the world.

Dear Life is a book about the vital importance of human connection, by the doctor we would all want by our sides at a time of crisis. It is a love letter – to a father, to a profession, to life itself.

Published by Little Brown Book Group Ltd. Buy here.

Inheritance by Jenny Eclair

Beginnings, middles and ends; Peggy, Serena, Natasha and Bel. This is the room that binds them, this is how consequences work . . . In deepest Cornwall, the mansion Kittiwake has seen many pass through its doors since it was bought by American heiress Peggy Carmichael seventy years ago. Over the decades, the keys have been handed down through the family, and now it belongs to Bel’s adoptive brother, Lance. It’s where he’ll be celebrating his fiftieth birthday, and Bel is invited. But Bel barely feels like she’s holding it together as it is, and in going back to Kittiwake, she will be returning to the place where it all began – where, following the death of a child, a sequence of events was set in motion, the consequences of which are still rippling down through the generations . . .

From Sunday Times bestselling author Jenny Eclair comes an utterly compelling new novel of family secrets that will stay with you long after you’ve turned the last page.

Published by Little Brown Book Group Ltd. Buy here.

The Heights by Parker Bilal

What starts with the gruesome discovery of a severed head on the Tube soon becomes personal for former DI Cal Drake. After one betrayal too many, Drake has abandoned the police force to become a private detective. He’s teamed up with enigmatic forensic pathologist Dr Rayhana Crane and it’s not long before the case leads them to the darkest corners of the nation’s capital and in dangerously close contact with an international crime circuit, a brutal local rivalry and a very personal quest for retribution. With the murder victim tied to Drake’s past, his new future is about to come under threat.

Published by Canongate. Buy here.

Bury Them Deep (Inspector McLean 10) by James Oswald

When a member of the Police Scotland team fails to clock-in for work, concern for her whereabouts is immediate… and the discovery of her burnt-out car in remote woodland to the south of Edinburgh sets off a desperate search for the missing woman. Meanwhile, DCI Tony McLean and the team are preparing for a major anti-corruption operation – one which may raise the ire of more than a few powerful people in the city. Is Anya Renfrew’s disappearance a co-incidence or related to the case? McLean’s investigations suggest that perhaps that Anya isn’t the first woman to have mysteriously vanished in these ancient hills. Once again, McLean can’t shake the feeling that there is a far greater evil at work here…

Published by Headline. Buy here.

The Man on the Street by Trevor Wood

It started with a splash. Jimmy, a homeless veteran grappling with PTSD, did his best to pretend he hadn’t heard it – the sound of something heavy falling into the Tyne at the height of an argument between two men on the riverbank. Not his fight.

Then he sees the headline: GIRL IN MISSING DAD PLEA. The girl, Carrie, reminds him of someone he lost, and this makes his mind up: it’s time to stop hiding from his past. But telling Carrie, what he heard – or thought he heard – turns out to be just the beginning of the story.

The police don’t believe him, but Carrie is adamant that something awful has happened to her dad and Jimmy agrees to help her, putting himself at risk from enemies old and new. 

But Jimmy has one big advantage: when you’ve got nothing, you’ve got nothing to lose.

Published by Quercus. Buy here.

Shadow Weapon by Anthony Horowitz

An essential collection of seven explosive Alex Rider stories by number one bestselling author, Anthony Horowitz. Ever since MI6 recognized his potential, Alex Rider has constantly been thrust into the line of danger. From a routine visit to the dentist that turns into a chase through the streets of London, to a school trip with a deadly twist, no day has ever been ordinary for the teenage super-spy. This collection of thrilling adventures features familiar and new assailants from the best-loved world of Alex Rider, and also includes three never-before-seen stories.

Published by Walker Books. Buy here.

The Good Thieves by Katherine Rundell

Fresh off the boat from England, Vita Marlowe has a job to do. Her beloved grandfather Jack has been cheated out of his home and possessions by a notorious conman with Mafia connections. Seeing Jack’s spirit is broken, Vita is desperate to make him happy again, so she devises a plan to outwit his enemies and recover his home. She finds a young pickpocket, working the streets of the city. And, nearby, two boys with highly unusual skills and secrets of their own are about to be pulled into her lawless, death-defying plan. Katherine Rundell’s fifth novel is a heist as never seen before – the story of a group of children who will do anything to right a wrong.

Published by Bloomsbury. Buy here.

Kind by Alison Green

Imagine a world where everyone is kind – how can we make that come true? With gorgeous pictures by a host of the world’s top illustrators, Kind is a timely, inspiring picture book about the many ways children can be kind, from sharing their toys and games to helping those from other countries feel welcome. The book is endorsed by The Gruffalo illustrator Axel Scheffler, and fifty pence from the sale of each printed copy will go to the Three Peas charity, which gives vital help to refugees from war-torn countries.

Published by Scholastic. Buy here