June’s Book Haul

Well you knew this being good wasn’t going to last and this month is certainly evidence of that. In my defence my physical book purchases were all a result of my attendance at Northwich Lit Fest (of which more here and here) and who can resist the opportunity of getting a copy signed? -not me clearly. Other than that, what can I say, there were some marvellous bargains to be had and I can’t resist a bargain. So grab a cuppa and here goes!!

Tree book purchases

 

Social CreatureSocial Creature by Tara Isabella Burton (June’s Reading in Heels book choice)

Lavinia has it all.

Lavinia has an apartment on the Upper East Side.

Lavinia goes to glittering parties that last from dusk till dawn.

Lavinia wants to seize life and live it to the fullest.

Lavinia is going to die soon.

Louise knows this.

You know this.

 

Redemption SongRedemption Song by Laura Wilkinson

What we need most is often what we run from…
Winter. Dusk, in a shabby seaside town. A man stops for a young woman who has broken down. Both are hiding, neither are what they seem.
A grieving fiancé hiding from the world…
When Saffron de Lacy loses her fiancé and father in a tragic accident, she abandons a promising career in medicine and moves to a small Welsh town to care for her mother. Trapped by a lie, Saffron is unable move on, to live and love again.
A good man gone bad, eaten up by betrayal…
Joe Jones lives a solitary life on the edge of town, and he’d like to keep it that way. A skilled carpenter he repairs broken things but he cannot repair his broken life.
Love is what they need most, but will they risk it?

 

The UnravellingThe Unravelling by Thorne Moore

When they were ten everybody wanted to be Serena’s friend, to find themselves one of the inner circle. But doing so meant proving your worth, and doing that often had consequences it’s not nice to think about – not even thirty-five years later.

Karen Rothwell is randomly reminded of an incident in her childhood which just as suddenly becomes an obsession. It takes her on a journey into a land of secrets and lies; it means finding that gang of girls from Marsh Green Junior School and most importantly of all finding Serena Whinn.

Pattern of ShadowsPattern of Shadows by Judith Barrow

Mary is a nursing sister at Lancashire prison camp for the housing and treatment of German POWs. Life at work is difficult but fulfilling, life at home a constant round of arguments, until Frank Shuttleworth, a guard at the camp turns up. Frank is difficult to love but persistent and won’t leave until Mary agrees to walk out with him.

 

Les ParisiennesLes Parisiennes by Anne Sebba

June, 1940. German troops enter Paris and hoist the swastika over the Arc de Triomphe. The dark days of Occupation begin. How would you have survived? By collaborating with the Nazis, or risking the lives of you and your loved ones to resist?

The women of Paris faced this dilemma every day – whether choosing between rations and the black market, or travelling on the Metro, where a German soldier had priority for a seat. Between the extremes of defiance and collusion was a vast moral grey area which all Parisiennes had to navigate in order to survive.

Anne Sebba has sought out and interviewed scores of women, and brings us their unforgettable testimonies. Her fascinating cast includes both native Parisiennes and temporary residents: American women and Nazi wives; spies, mothers, mistresses, artists, fashion designers and aristocrats. The result is an enthralling account of life during the Second World War and in the years of recovery and recrimination that followed the Liberation of Paris in 1944. It is a story of fear, deprivation and secrets – and, as ever in the French capital, glamour and determination.

 

E-book Purchases

 

Given Half a ChanceGiven Half a Chance by Edward Davey (May’s Unbound Reading Club Choice)

Given Half a Chance is both a snapshot of our world and a call to arms, setting out the most pressing environmental challenges that we face while making a passionate case for why we need to meet them. From fields of solar panels in Nevada to the flourishing agricultural landscapes of Ethiopia; from the traditional water harvesters of northern Rajasthan to Britain’s inspiring waste campaigners; from the savannas of Northern Kenya teeming with elephants to the clear skies above Scandinavian cities, amazing things are happening right now across the world. People are acting with hope and courage, against all the odds, to make things better. The challenge before us is to go to scale and to replicate these successful approaches elsewhere, fast: this book draws on firsthand experience and interviews with many of the world’s leading experts to show how.

 

Not Buying ItNot Buying It by Charlotte Henry (June’s Unbound Reading Club Choice)

We are living in the ‘post-truth’ era – a time of alternative facts, fake news, social media echo chambers, dodgy statistics and outright lies. Caught in the middle of a tsunami of information, we are arguably more politically engaged than ever; but when politicians and the media tell us the truth, we’re just not buying it.

How did it come to this? And what responsibility do citizens have to check sources, to educate ourselves, and to pay for news? How do we stay reliably informed in a world where truth is supposedly a thing of the past?

In Not Buying It, Charlotte Henry looks at the facts behind fake news, talking to some of the major players and key thinkers in politics and media to provide context, explanation, and, crucially, solutions.

It’s time to take the truth back.

 

Silent NightSilent Night by Geraldine Hogan (published 23 August, 2019)

A baby is snatched from her pram in the garden. She’s never found. Thirty years later her sister, now a mother herself, is brutally killed. 

When Anna Crowe is killed in her sleep alongside her children, the quiet local community of Corbally is shocked. It’s also a chilling reminder of when her sister, Janey, disappeared as a baby, twenty nine years ago, never to be seen again.

Detective Iris Locke is assigned to the case and, after a year undercover which ended in failure when her cover got blown, she’s desperate to make her mark – and to live up to the reputation of her ex-cop father, the former head of the Limerick Murder Squad.

Jack Locke ran the investigation into the disappearance of baby Janey. But by reopening the old case, Iris is also reopening old wounds for the team. Can she untangle the dark secrets that lead to one sister vanishing and the other’s death – even if it means digging into the past of someone very close to her?

 

We Must Be BraveWe Must be Brave by Frances Liardet

December, 1940. As German bombs fall on Southampton, the city’s residents flee to the surrounding villages. In Upton village, amid the chaos, newly-married Ellen Parr finds a girl sleeping, unclaimed at the back of an empty bus. Five-year-old Pamela, it seems, is entirely alone.

Ellen has always believed she does not want children, but when she takes Pamela into her home the child cracks open the past Ellen thought she had escaped and the future she had dreamed for herself. As the war rages on, love grows where it was least expected, surprising them all. But with the end of the fighting comes the realization that Pamela was never theirs to keep…

 

Bonnie and StanBonnie and Stan by Anna Stuart

After 50 years together Stan still adores his wife… so why is he dating again?

Bonnie and Stan are soulmates. They met during the Swinging Sixties, to the soundtrack of The Beatles and the Merseybeat scene. Now they’ve grown up and grown old together, had children and grandchildren. They are finally building their dream home, when disaster strikes.

Stan is running out of time, and can’t bear the thought of leaving Bonnie alone. Alongside his teenage granddaughter Greya, he forms a plan to find Bonnie a new love of her life. And she must never find out…

 

The Strawberry ThiefThe Strawberry Thief by Joanne Harris

Return to the world of the multi-million-copy bestselling Chocolat….

Vianne Rocher has settled down. Lansquenet-sous-Tannes, the place that once rejected her, has finally become her home. With Rosette, her ‘special’ child, she runs her chocolate shop in the square, talks to her friends on the river, is part of the community. Even Reynaud, the priest, has become a friend.

But when old Narcisse, the florist, dies, leaving a parcel of land to Rosette and a written confession to Reynaud, the life of the sleepy village is once more thrown into disarray.

The arrival of Narcisse’s relatives, the departure of an old friend and the opening of a mysterious new shop in the place of the florist’s across the square – one that mirrors the chocolaterie, and has a strange appeal of its own – all seem to herald some kind of change: a confrontation, a turbulence – even, perhaps, a murder…

 

SnareSnare by Lilja Sigurdardottir

After a messy divorce, attractive young mother Sonia is struggling to provide for herself and keep custody of her son. With her back to the wall, she resorts to smuggling cocaine into Iceland, and finds herself caught up in a ruthless criminal world. As she desperately looks for a way out of trouble, she must pit her wits against her nemesis, Bragi, a customs officer, whose years of experience frustrate her new and evermore daring strategies. Things become even more complicated when Sonia embarks on a relationship with a woman, Agla. Once a high-level bank executive, Agla is currently being prosecuted in the aftermath of the Icelandic financial crash.

 

WolfsangelWolfsangel by Liza Perrat

Seven decades after German troops march into her village, Céleste Roussel is still unable to assuage her guilt.
1943. German soldiers occupy provincial Lucie-sur-Vionne, and as the villagers pursue treacherous schemes to deceive and swindle the enemy, Céleste embarks on her own perilous mission as her passion for a Reich officer flourishes.
When her loved ones are deported to concentration camps, Céleste is drawn into the vortex of this monumental conflict, and the adventure and danger of French Resistance collaboration.
As she confronts the harrowing truths of the Second World War’s darkest years, Céleste is forced to choose: pursue her love for the German officer, or answer General de Gaulle’s call to fight for France.
Her fate suspended on the fraying thread of her will, Celeste gains strength from the angel talisman bequeathed to her through her lineage of healer kinswomen. But the decision she makes will shadow the remainder of her days.
A woman’s unforgettable journey to help liberate Occupied France, Wolfsangel is a stirring portrayal of the courage and resilience of the human mind, body and spirit.

 

The HideawayThe Hideaway by Sheila O’Flanagan

What would you do if you discovered you were living a lie?

When a shocking news report shatters Juno Ryan’s world, she suddenly finds herself without the man she loves – and with no way of getting the answers she needs.

Juno flees to the enchanting Villa Naranja in Spain. The blue skies and orange groves – along with Pep, the local winemaker’s handsome son – begin to soothe her broken heart. But just when she begins to feel whole again, another bombshell drops.

Juno might have run away from her secrets, but the past isn’t finished with her…

 

Happiness for BeginnersHappiness for Beginners by Carole Matthews

Molly Baker is living her best life.

Thirty-eight years old, she lives on the twenty-five-acre Hope Farm in Buckinghamshire, surrounded by (mostly) four-legged friends and rolling hills. There’s Anthony the anti-social sheep, Tina Turner the alpaca with attitude, and the definitely-not-miniature pig, Teacup.

Molly runs the farm as an alternative school for kids who haven’t thrived in mainstream education. It’s full on, but she wouldn’t have it any other way. So when the well-groomed Shelby Dacre turns up at Hope Farm asking to enrol his son Lucas, Molly isn’t fazed.

But Lucas is distant and soon Molly realises he might be more of a handful than she anticipated. And then there’s the added problem that his dad is distractingly handsome. Molly has her beloved farm to think of – could letting Lucas and Shelby in be a terrible mistake, or the start of something wonderful

 

Have You Seen HerHave You Seen Her by Lisa Hall

Bonfire Night. A missing girl.

Anna only takes her eyes off Laurel for a second. She thought Laurel was following her mum through the crowds. But in a heartbeat, Laurel is gone.

Laurel’s parents are frantic. As is Anna, their nanny. But as the hours pass, and Laurel isn’t found, suspicion grows.

Someone knows what happened to Laurel. And they’re not telling.

 

The Guilty DeadThe Guilty Dead by P J Tracy

Gregory Norwood, wealthy businessman and close friend of Minnesota’s leading candidate for Governor, is found dead on the first anniversary of his son’s drug overdose. It seems clear to Detectives Gino and Magozzi that grief drove him to suicide.

Until they realise the left-handed man seems to have used his right hand to pull the trigger.

And they find the second body.

As the seemingly open-and-shut case becomes a murder enquiry, the detectives begin to delve into the dark secrets of one of the city’s most powerful families. It seems the murders are not the first in the Norwoods’ tragic story – and they won’t be the last . . .

 

The Mother’s LiesThe Mother’s Lies by Joanne Sefton

If they knew the truth, there’d be no going back . . .

Nobody in Barbara Marsden’s family knows about her past, least of all her daughter Helen. But someone wants the truth to come out.

When Helen discovers a sinister note at Barbara’s house, she can’t understand who would want to threaten her mother. She’s determined to find out who sent it, but soon realises her search might hurt her own family and put Barbara at risk…

What really happened all those years ago? And who is going to end up paying the price?

 

The Old Man and His Sons.jpgThe Old Man and His Sons by Heðin Bru

These are the Faroe Islands as they were some fifty years ago: sea-washed and remote, with one generation still tied to the sea for sustenance, and a younger generation turning towards commerce and clerical work in the towns. At the post-hunt whale-meat auction, the normally cautious Ketil enthusiastically bids for more meat than he can afford. Thus in his seventieth year, Ketil and his wife, along with their youngest son, struggle to repay their debt. They scavenge for driftwood and stranded seals, and knit up a storm of jumpers to sell in town. A touching novel that deftly captures a vanishing way of life. ‘The Faroese voted this their book of the 20th century; by any nation’s standards it’s a classic.’ Financial Times

 

Kingdom of the BlindKingdom of the Blind by Louise Penny

When Armand Gamache receives a letter inviting him to an abandoned farmhouse outside of Three Pines, the former head of the Sûreté du Québec discovers that a complete stranger has named him as an executor of her will. The bequests are so wildly unlikely that he suspects the woman must have been delusional – until a body is found.

But it isn’t the only menace Gamache is facing. The investigation into the events that led to his suspension delves deeper, and he takes increasingly desperate measures to rectify previous actions. As he does, Gamache begins to see his own blind spots – and the terrible things hiding there . . .

 

Ellie and the HarpmakerEllie and the Harp Maker by Hazel Prior

Meet Ellie. She’s perfectly happy living her quiet life with her husband, Clive. Happy to wander the Exmoor countryside and write the occasional poem that nobody will read; happy to dream of all the things she hasn’t yet managed to do. Or is she?

Meet Dan. He thinks all he needs is the time and space to make harps in his isolated barn on Exmoor. He enjoys being on his own, far away from other people and – crucially – far away from any risk of surprises.

What Ellie and Dan don’t know yet, is that a chance encounter is about to change all of this.

 

Hell BayHell Bay by Kate Rhodes

DI Ben Kitto needs a second chance. After ten years working for the murder squad in London, a traumatic event has left him grief-stricken. He’s tried to resign from his job, but his boss has persuaded him to take three months to reconsider.

Ben plans to work in his uncle’s boatyard on the tiny Scilly island of Bryher where he was born, hoping to mend his shattered nerves. His plans go awry when the body of a sixteen-year-old girl is found on the beach at Hell Bay. Her attacker must still be on the island because no ferries have sailed during the two-day storm.

Everyone on the island is under suspicion. Dark secrets are about to resurface. And the murderer could strike again at any time . . .

 

The Family LineThe Family Line by Laura Wilkinson

Megan is a former foreign correspondent whose life is thrown into turmoil when her son is diagnosed with a terminal illness: a degenerative disease passed down the mother’s line. In order to save him, Megan will have to unearth the truth about her origins and about a catastrophic event from the past. She must confront the strained relationship she has with her mother, make sense of the family history that has been hidden from her all her life, and embark on a journey of self-discovery that stretches halfway around the world.

 

The Thirst - Harry Hole 11The Thirst by Jo Nesbo (Harry Hole 11)

There’s a new killer on the streets

A woman is found murdered after an internet date. The marks left on her body show the police that they are dealing with a particularly vicious killer.

And he’s out for blood

Under pressure from the media to solve the crime, the force know there’s only one man for the job. But Harry Hole is reluctant to return to the place that almost took everything from him. Until he starts to suspect a connection between this killing and his one failed case…

 

The DesignerThe Designer by Marius Gabriel

In 1944, newly married Copper Reilly arrives in Paris soon after the liberation. While the city celebrates its freedom, she’s stuck in the prison of an unhappy marriage. When her husband commits one betrayal too many, Copper demands a separation.

Alone in Paris, she finds an unlikely new friend: an obscure, middle-aged designer from the back rooms of a decaying fashion house whose timid nature and reluctance for fame clash with the bold brilliance of his designs. His name is Christian Dior.

Realising his genius, Copper urges Dior to strike out on his own, helping to pull him away from his insecurities and towards stardom. With just a camera and a typewriter, she takes her own advice and ventures into the wild and colourful world of fashion journalism.

Soon Copper finds herself torn between two very different suitors, questioning who she is and what she truly wants. As the city rebuilds and opulence returns, can Copper make a new, love-filled life for herself?

 

Summer in the OrchardSummer in the Orchard by Fay Keenan

Sophie Henderson loves her job at Carter’s Cider in the picturesque Somerset village of Little Somerby, but with summer dawning before yet another picking and pressing season, and her boss David showing no signs of wanting to hang up his cider jug, perhaps it is time to move on.

She’s all set to hand in her notice when Alex Fraser, an intern from Vancouver, comes to Little Somerby to learn everything he can about the cider business. With Sophie as his mentor, attraction between them starts to grow alongside the apples.

For Alex, however, being in Little Somerby is about more than cider, and as the summer grows warmer, and his relationship with Sophie blossoms, can he find the courage to tell her the truth before it’s too late?

 

Common PeopleCommon People: An Anthology of Working Class Writers edited by Kit de Waal

Working-class stories are not always tales of the underprivileged and dispossessed.

Common People is a collection of essays, poems and memoir written in celebration, not apology: these are narratives rich in barbed humour, reflecting the depth and texture of working-class life, the joy and sorrow, the solidarity and the differences, the everyday wisdom and poetry of the woman at the bus stop, the waiter, the hairdresser.

Here, Kit de Waal brings together thirty-three established and emerging writers who invite you to experience the world through their eyes, their voices loud and clear as they reclaim and redefine what it means to be working class.

Features original pieces from Damian Barr, Malorie Blackman, Lisa Blower, Jill Dawson, Louise Doughty, Stuart Maconie, Chris McCrudden, Lisa McInerney, Paul McVeigh, Daljit Nagra, Dave O’Brien, Cathy Rentzenbrink, Anita Sethi, Tony Walsh, Alex Wheatle and more.

 

The Second Life of Nathan JonesThe Second Life of Nathan Jones by David Atkinson on (pre-order due 2 August 2019)

Getting hit by a bus was the best thing that ever happened to him…

When one wrong step – and the poor timing of the number 19 bus – send Nathan Jones to the Edinburgh morgue his story should have ended…but then he went and woke up.

Returned to real life Nathan finds a wife disappointed that he’s miraculously returned from the dead and an unshakeable attraction for mortuary technician Kat – the woman who brought him back to life, in more ways than one.

Now, as his world implodes and Kat leads him down an unexpected path, Nathan somehow finds himself having the time of his second life…

 

Escape to Oakbrook FarmEscape to Oakbrook Farm by Hannah Ellis

Village life is supposed to be quiet…

Josie Beaumont is a free spirit. She changes jobs about as often as she changes her relationship status. Frequently! The only constants in her life are the comfy old shoes that she refuses to part with.

When unemployment looms again, she’s intrigued by a job opportunity at a dog kennels in rural Devon. As someone who thrives on change, a move to the sticks doesn’t faze her at all. She’s expecting life in the country to be quiet and uneventful.

What she’s not expecting is Sam.

The charming, sensitive neighbour makes life much more interesting. In fact, when she gets involved in the local community, things really aren’t as dull as she anticipated. But just when she finally feels settled, she’s offered the job of her dreams back in London. It’s time to move on.

Or is it?

Being part of a small community has stirred something in Josie and she begins to question what she really wants. Can she turn her back on her new life and say goodbye to Sam? Or is she ready to hang up her running shoes and stay put? Maybe she’s finally found something worth sticking around for…

 

The Girl PuzzleThe Girl Puzzle by Kate Braithwaite

Her published story is well known. But did she tell the whole truth about her ten days in the madhouse?

Down to her last dime and offered the chance of a job of a lifetime at The New York World, twenty-three-year old Elizabeth Cochrane agrees to get herself admitted to Blackwell’s Island Lunatic Asylum and report on conditions from the inside. But what happened to her poor friend, Tilly Mayard? Was there more to her high praise of Dr Frank Ingram than everyone knew?

Thirty years later, Elizabeth, known as Nellie Bly, is no longer a celebrated trailblazer and the toast of Newspaper Row. Instead, she lives in a suite in the Hotel McAlpin, writes a column for The New York Journal and runs an informal adoption agency for the city’s orphans.

Beatrice Alexander is her secretary, fascinated by Miss Bly and her causes and crusades. Asked to type up a manuscript revisiting her employer’s experiences in the asylum in 1887, Beatrice believes she’s been given the key to understanding one of the most innovative and daring figures of the age.

 

Dead MemoriesDead Memories by Angela Marsons

On the fourth floor of Chaucer House, two teenagers are found chained to a radiator. The boy is dead but the girl is alive. For Detective Kim Stone every detail of the scene mirrors her own terrifying experience with her brother Mikey, when they lived in the same tower block thirty years ago.

When the bodies of a middle-aged couple are discovered in a burnt-out car, Kim can’t ignore the chilling similarity to the death of Erica and Keith – the only loving parents Kim had ever known.

Faced with a killer who is recreating traumatic events from her past, Kim must face the brutal truth that someone wants to hurt her in the worst way possible. Desperate to stay on the case, she is forced to work with profiler Alison Lowe who has been called in to observe and monitor Kim’s behaviour.

Kim has spent years catching dangerous criminals and protecting the innocent. But with a killer firmly fixed on destroying Kim, can she solve this complex case and save her own life or will she become the final victim?

 

n Elegant SolutionAn Elegant Solution by Anne Atkins

When someone mentions the City of Cambridge you probably think of an iconic building, its four corners stretching out of the once medieval mud and into the arms of everlasting heaven, its white limestone yearning into eternity… and without even knowing exactly what ephemeral joys or permanent wonders the vision brings to mind, it s a safe bet that the one thought which doesn t occur to you is that the Chapel might not be there by Christmas. Theo (Theophilus Ambrose Fitzwilliam Wedderburn to his friends) is a Junior Research Fellow in Number Theory. Prompted by a supervisee to demonstrate how to trace the provenance of bitcoins, Theo happens across a shocking revelation, with embarrassing ramifications for the whole University. Meanwhile he is being stalked unseen by someone from his childhood. To his annoyance, Theo falls for a cheap con… and discovers a horror set not only to rock the very seat of power itself but to change the face of Cambridge and its beautifully iconic image for ever.

 

Uncommon CrueltyUncommon Cruelty by Liz Mistry

DI Gus McGuire and his team are called in to investigate the disappearance of a teenage boy after his parents return from a weekend away, to find their home trashed and their son missing. But that is just the beginning.

As the investigation unfolds, Gus must discover what links a violent bikers’ gang, a Muslim youth group and a fundamentalist American based Christian church.

Alongside this, two cases from the past come back to haunt DI Gus McGuire and his DS, Alice Cooper.

Gus has a lot to juggle, but will he cope?

 

A Place to Call HomeA Place to Call Home by Val Wood

Ellen thought she’d always live in the remote, pretty coastal village where she grew up. After all, her husband, Harry, works on a farm where he’s guaranteed a job and home for life.

But when the old landowner dies and the couple and their young children are forced from their cottage, the future is suddenly bleak. Rather than stay – and starve – in the countryside they love, Harry sets out to find a job in the factories and mills of nearby Hull, and Ellen must leave behind everything she’s ever known to follow her husband and build a new life for her family on the unfamiliar city streets.

The road ahead is full of hardships and challenges. But with love and determination, they make the best of things, forging friendships with other newcomers and refugees; even helping them to succeed in their new surroundings.

Then tragedy threatens Ellen’s fragile happiness. How much more can she sacrifice before they find a place to call home?

 

Lies Behind The RuinLies Behind the Ruin by Helen Matthews

How can you build a new life on toxic foundations?
Written by the winner of Winchester Writers’ Festival prize for the opening pages of a novel, Helen Matthews is the author of the best-selling book `After Leaving the Village’ – an absorbing story of deception, guilt, betrayal and the resilience of the human spirit.
Emma Willshire has overcome plenty of obstacles in her life. From student bride to single mum of a son, Owen, but she has found happiness with her second husband, Paul and another child, Mollie. Emma’s dark days seem far behind her until a fatal accident happens at Paul’s work and he is held responsible. On holiday in France, trying to leave his problems behind, Paul’s behaviour turns erratic. On impulse, he buys a cheap, dilapidated property and, to Emma’s dismay, persuades her they can renovate it into a holiday home. As the couple strive to renovate their marriage, and their French ruin to open a small business, shadows from the past threaten their happiness and safety. Because how can you build a new life on toxic foundations?

 

For Fukui's SakeFor Fukui’s Sake by Sam Baldwin

Far from the high-tech, high-rise of the super-cities, there lies another Japan.

A Japan where snakes slither down school corridors, where bears prowl dark forests and where Westerners are still regarded as curious creatures. Welcome to the world of the inaka – the Japanese countryside.

Unhappily employed in the UK, Sam Baldwin decides to make a big change. Saying sayonara to laboratory life, he takes a job as an English teacher in a small, rural Japanese town that no one – the Japanese included – has ever heard of.

Arriving in Fukui, where there’s ‘little reason to linger’ according to the guidebook, at first he wonders why he left England. But as he slowly settles in to his unfamiliar new home, Sam befriends a colourful cast of locals and begins to discover the secrets of this little known region.

Helped by headmasters, housewives and Himalayan mountain climbers, he immerses himself in a Japan still clutching its pastoral past and uncovers a landscape of lonely lakes, rice fields and lush mountain forests. Joining a master drummer’s taiko class, skiing over paddies and learning how to sharpen samurai swords, along the way Sam encounters farmers, fishermen and foreigners behaving badly.

Exploring Japan’s culture and cuisine, as well as its wild places and wildlife, For Fukui’s Sake is an adventurous, humorous and sometimes poignant insight into the frustrations and fascinations that face an outsider living in small town, backcountry Japan.

 

The Dark BeneathThe Dark Beneath by J S Law

A sailor is found dead on a submarine. But something doesn’t add up…
Although it’s ruled a suicide, Lieutenant Dani Lewis – fearless star of the Special Investigations Branch – knows the man’s wife was found brutally murdered only days before. Now she must enter the cramped confines of a submarine to interrogate the tight-knit crew.

Trapped deep in the ocean – the only woman on board with a possible killer in tow – the pressure rises quickly for Dani Lewis. And she may need to choose between the truth and her own survival if she’s to make it out alive. Two hundred metres below the surface, she will have nowhere to run and nowhere to hide…

 

The Killing SeasonThe Killing Season by Mason Cross

The first thing you should know about me is that my name is not Carter Blake. That name no more belongs to me than the hotel room I was occupying when the call came in.

When Caleb Wardell, the infamous ‘Chicago Sniper’, escapes from death row two weeks before his execution, the FBI calls on the services of Carter Blake, a man with certain specialised talents whose skills lie in finding those who don’t want to be found. A man to whom Wardell is no stranger.

Along with Elaine Banner, an ambitious special agent juggling life as a single mother with her increasingly high-flying career, Blake must track Wardell down as he cuts a swathe across America, apparently killing at random.

But Blake and Banner soon find themselves sidelined from the case. And as they try desperately to second guess a man who kills purely for the thrill of it, they uncover a hornets’ nest of lies and corruption. Now Blake must break the rules and go head to head with the FBI if he is to stop Wardell and expose a deadly conspiracy that will rock the country.

 

The Tuscan SecretThe Tuscan Secret by Angela Petch

Il Mulino. An old crumbling mill, by a winding river, nestled in the Tuscan mountains. An empty home that holds memories of homemade pasta and Nonna’s stories by the fire, and later: the Nazi invasion, and a family torn apart by a heartbreaking betrayal.

Anna is distraught when her beloved mother, Ines, passes away. She inherits a box of papers, handwritten in Italian and yellowed with age, and a tantalising promise that the truth about what happened during the war lies within.

The diaries lead Anna to the small village of Rofelle, where she slowly starts to heal as she explores sun-kissed olive groves, and pieces together her mother’s past: happy days spent herding sheep across Tuscan meadows cruelly interrupted when World War Two erupted and the Nazis arrived; fleeing her home to join the Resistenza; and risking everything to protect an injured British soldier who captured her heart. But Anna is no closer to learning the truth: what sent Ines running from her adored homeland?

When she meets an elderly Italian gentleman living in a deserted hamlet, who flinches at her mother’s name and refuses to speak English, Anna is sure he knows more about the devastating secret that tore apart her mother’s family. But in this small Tuscan community, some wartime secrets were never meant to be uncovered…

 

The Garden of Lost and FoundThe Garden of Lost and Found by Harriet Evans

Who would choose to destroy what they love the most? 

Nightingale House, 1919.

Liddy Horner discovers her husband, the world-famous artist Sir Edward Horner, burning his best-known painting The Garden of Lost and Found days before his sudden death.

Nightingale House was the Horner family’s beloved home – a gem of design created to inspire happiness – and it was here Ned painted The Garden of Lost and Found, capturing his children on a perfect day, playing in the rambling Eden he and Liddy made for them.

One magical moment. Before it all came tumbling down…

When Ned and Liddy’s great-granddaughter Juliet is sent the key to Nightingale House, she opens the door onto a forgotten world. The house holds its mysteries close but she is in search of answers.

Something shattered this corner of paradise. But what?

 

he Lemon Tree HotelThe Lemon Tree Hotel by Rosanna Ley

A story about love, family secrets, and a little piece of heaven . . .

In the beautiful village of Vernazza, the Mazzone family have transformed an old convent overlooking the glamorous Italian Riviera into the elegant Lemon Tree Hotel. For Chiara, her daughter Elene and her granddaughter Isabella, the running of their hotel is the driving force in their lives.

One day, two unexpected guests check in. The first, Dante, is a face from Chiara’s past, but what exactly happened between them all those years ago, Elene wonders. Meanwhile, Isabella is preoccupied with the second guest, a mysterious young man who seems to know a lot about the history of the old convent and the people who live there. Isabella is determined to find out his true intentions and discover the secret past of the Lemon Tree Hotel.

 

The Birthday GirlThe Birthday Girl by Sue Fortin

Dear Carys, Zoe and Andrea
Come and join me for my fortieth birthday adventure weekend, full of mysteries and surprises
the like of which you can’t imagine.

When Joanne’s friends reluctantly accept an invitation to her birthday party, it quickly becomes clear that there is more to this weekend than they are expecting.
One of them is hiding a secret.
And Joanne is planning to reveal it…

A weekend away in a cottage in the woods sounds like fun – until no one can hear your cries for help.

Four friends.
A party to die for. 
Who will survive?

 

When You Read ThisWhen You Read This by Mary Adkins

For four years, Iris Massey worked side by side with PR maven Smith Simonyi, helping clients perfect their brands. But Iris has died, taken by terminal illness at only thirty-three.

Adrift without his friend and colleague, Smith is surprised to discover that in her last six months, Iris created a blog filled with sharp and often funny musings on the end of a life not quite fulfilled. She also made one final request: for Smith to get her posts published as a book. With the help of his charmingly eager, if overbearingly forthright, new intern Carl, Smith tackles the task of fulfilling Iris’s last wish.

Before he can do so, though, he must get the approval of Iris’s big sister Jade, an haute cuisine chef who’s been knocked sideways by her loss. Each carrying their own baggage, Smith and Jade end up on a collision course with their own unresolved pasts and with each other.

Funny and moving in equal measures, When You Read This is a sparkling debut about love, life, and all the emails you really wish you’d never sent.

 

Blackberry and Wild RoseBlack Berry & Wild Rose by Sonia Velton

WHEN ESTHER THOREL, the wife of a Huguenot silk-weaver, rescues Sara Kemp from a brothel she thinks she is doing God’s will. Sara is not convinced being a maid is better than being a whore, but the chance to escape her grasping ‘madam’ is too good to refuse.

INSIDE THE THORELS’ tall house in Spitalfields, where the strange cadence of the looms fills the attic, the two women forge an uneasy relationship. The physical intimacies of washing and dressing belie the reality: Sara despises her mistress’s blindness to the hypocrisy of her household, while Esther is too wrapped up in her own secrets to see Sara as anything more than another charitable cause.

IT IS SILK that has Esther so distracted. For years she has painted her own designs, dreaming that one day her husband will weave them into reality. When he laughs at her ambition, she unwittingly sets in motion events that will change the fate of the whole Thorel household and set the scene for a devastating day of reckoning between her and Sara.

THE PRICE OF a piece of silk may prove more than either is able to pay.

 

No Man's Land 1No Man’s Land by Neil Broadfoot

War is coming to No-Man’s Land, and Connor Fraser will be ready.

A mutilated body is found dumped at Cowane’s Hospital in the heart of historic Stirling. For DCI Malcolm Ford it’s like nothing he’s every seen before, the savagery of the crime making him want to catch the murderer before he strikes again. For reporter Donna Blake it’s a shot at the big time, a chance to get her career back on track and prove all the doubters wrong. But for close protection specialist Connor Fraser it’s merely a grisly distraction from the day job.

But then a bloodied and broken corpse is found, this time in the shadow of the Wallace Monument – and with it, a message. One Connor has received before, during his time as a police officer in Belfast.

With Ford facing mounting political and public pressure to make an arrest and quell fears the murders are somehow connected to heightened post-Brexit tensions, Connor is drawn into a race against time to stop another murder. But to do so, he must question old loyalties, confront his past and unravel a mystery that some would sacrifice anything – and anyone – to protect.

From Dundee International Book Prize and Bloody Scotland book of the year nominee Neil Broadfoot comes No Man’s Land, the first in the white-knuckle Connor Fraser series.

 

I think you’ll agree some cracking books there and a bit of variety to boot – any you fancied?

13 comments

    • Glad to make you feel better 🙂 I’m a lost cause when it comes to buying books. I’ll let you into a secret that list didn’t include quite a few ebooks (as I bought a series and just listed one) and also I had about a dozen books I bought second hand!!

      Like

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