I usually post these individually over on my Facebook page but there seemed lots of goodies this month so I decided to bring them all together in one post so they’re easier to find. Apologies for adding more temptation. Usual rules apply – all books I include are one’s I’ve either read and recommend, or are books that are patiently waiting to be read, or they’re ones I’m happy to add to my reading list. Therefore it’s a list that’s skewed towards what I like so feel free to look at the complete list on Amazon here.
So grab your cuppa and fasten your seat belts here we go!
Rachel’s relationship with her mother, Eleanor, has always been far from perfect. Eleanor is a renowned artist born from the swinging sixties, and Rachel has forever lived in the shadow of her success.
When Rachel is left by her fiancé on the morning of their wedding she has no choice but to move back into her family home and spend an unbearably hot summer with a mother she feels distant from – in the presence of many painful memories.
It will take another turn of events before Rachel realises that sometimes the past holds exactly the comfort we need. And that behind the words left unsaid are untold stories that have the power to define us.
Augusta Hope has never felt like she fits in.
At six, she’s memorising the dictionary. At seven, she’s correcting her teachers. At eight, she spins the globe and picks her favourite country on the sound of its name: Burundi.
And now that she’s an adult, Augusta has no interest in the goings-on of the small town where she lives with her parents and her beloved twin sister, Julia.
When an unspeakable tragedy upends everything in Augusta’s life, she’s propelled headfirst into the unknown. She’s determined to find where she belongs – but what if her true home, and heart, are half a world away?
Tilly was a bright, outgoing little girl who liked playing with ghosts and matches. She loved fizzy drinks, swear words, fish fingers and Catholic churches, but most of all she loved living in Brighton in Queenie Malone’s magnificent Paradise Hotel with its endearing and loving family of misfits – staff and guests alike. But Tilly’s childhood was shattered when her mother sent her away from the only home she’d ever loved to boarding school with little explanation and no warning.
Many years later, Tilda has grown into an independent woman still damaged by her mother’s unaccountable cruelty. Wary of people, her only friend is her dog, Eli. But when her mother dies, Tilda goes back to Brighton and with the help of her beloved Queenie sets about unravelling the mystery of her exile from The Paradise Hotel, only to discover that her mother was not the woman she thought she knew at all …
Mothers and daughters … their story can be complicated … but it can also turn out to have a happy ending.
Part tender love story, part murder mystery, part hilarious description of a wasted life, and interspersed with some of the funniest poems about the mundane and the profound, Diary of a Somebody is a stunningly original novel from Twitter sensation, Brian Bilston.
It’s January 1st and Brian Bilston is convinced that this year, his New Year’s resolution will change his life. Every day for a year, he will write a poem. It’s quite simple.
Brian’s life certainly needs improving. His ex-wife has taken up with a new man, he seems to constantly disappoint his long-suffering son, and at work he is drowning in a sea of spreadsheets and management jargon. So poetry will be his salvation. But there is an obstacle in the form of Toby Salt, his arch nemesis at Poetry Club and rival suitor to Liz, Brian’s new poetic inspiration.
When Toby goes missing, just after the announcement of the publication of his first collection, This Bridge No Hands Shall Cleave, Brian becomes the number one suspect. If he is to regain his reputation and to have a chance of winning Liz, he must find out what has happened to Toby before it is too late.
The Doll Factory by Elizabeth Macneal is the intoxicating story of a young woman who aspires to be an artist, and the man whose obsession may destroy her world for ever.
London. 1850. The greatest spectacle the city has ever seen is being built in Hyde Park, and among the crowd watching two people meet. For Iris, an aspiring artist, it is the encounter of a moment – forgotten seconds later, but for Silas, a collector entranced by the strange and beautiful, that meeting marks a new beginning.
When Iris is asked to model for pre-Raphaelite artist Louis Frost, she agrees on the condition that he will also teach her to paint. Suddenly her world begins to expand, to become a place of art and love.
But Silas has only thought of one thing since their meeting, and his obsession is darkening . . .
Alison has it all. A doting husband, adorable daughter, and a career on the rise – she’s just been given her first murder case to defend. But all is never as it seems…
Just one more night. Then I’ll end it.
Alison drinks too much. She’s neglecting her family. And she’s having an affair with a colleague whose taste for pushing boundaries may be more than she can handle.
I did it. I killed him. I should be locked up.
Alison’s client doesn’t deny that she stabbed her husband – she wants to plead guilty. And yet something about her story is deeply amiss. Saving this woman may be the first step to Alison saving herself.
I’m watching you. I know what you’re doing.
But someone knows Alison’s secrets. Someone who wants to make her pay for what she’s done, and who won’t stop until she’s lost everything….
Six neighbours, six secrets, six reasons to want Olive Collins dead.
In the exclusive gated community of Withered Vale, people’s lives appear as perfect as their beautifully manicured lawns. Money, success, privilege – the residents have it all. Life is good.
There’s just one problem.
Olive Collins’ dead body has been rotting inside number four for the last three months. Her neighbours say they’re shocked at the discovery but nobody thought to check on her when she vanished from sight.
The police start to ask questions and the seemingly flawless facade begins to crack. Because, when it comes to Olive’s neighbours, it seems each of them has something to hide, something to lose and everything to gain from her death.
India, 1920. Captain Sam Wyndham and Sergeant Banerjee of Calcutta Police must investigate the dramatic assassination of a Maharaja’s son…
Sam Wyndham is visiting the kingdom of Sambalpore, home to diamond mines and the beautiful Palace of the Sun.
But when the Maharaja’s eldest son is assassinated, Wyndham realises that the realm is riven with conflict. Prince Adhir was unpopular with religious groups, while his brother – now in line to the throne – appears to be a feckless playboy.
As Wyndham and Sergeant ‘Surrender-not’ Banerjee endeavour to unravel the mystery, they become entangled in a dangerous world. They must find the murderer, before the murderer finds them.
Can one woman’s marriage survive her best friend’s divorce? Veronica Henry meets Erica James in this gorgeous summer read.
Octavia Shelton thought she’d have a different life. One where she travelled the world with an exotic husband and free-spirited children in tow.
Instead she’s married to safe, reliable Jonathan, and her life now consists of packed lunches, school runs and mountains of dirty washing. She’s not unhappy. It’s just that she can barely recognise herself.
So as Octavia watches her best friend’s marriage break up, it gets her thinking. What if life could be different? What if she could escape and rediscover the person she used to be? Escape back to the island she visited years ago? And what if the man she used to love was there waiting for her?
When 11 year old Evan vanishes without trace, his parents are plunged into their worst nightmare.
Especially as the police, under massive pressure, have no answers. But months later Evan is unexpectedly found, frightened and refusing to speak. His loving family realise life will never be the same again.
DI Naylor knows that unless those who took Evan are caught, other children are in danger. And with Evan silent, she must race against time to find those responsible…
Jane’s daughter is a good girl. But what is she hiding?
When thirteen-year-old Savannah Hopkins doesn’t come straight home from school as she always does, her mother Jane immediately raises the alarm. With her blonde ponytail and red school jumper, someone must have spotted Savannah.
Detective Natalie Ward is determined to help the distraught mother – her own daughter is the same age as Savannah. But before Natalie and her team can get started, their worst fears are confirmed when the teenager’s broken body is found in nearby shrubland.
Evidence points towards a local recluse, but just as Natalie closes the net around him, one of Savannah’s friends, Harriet, is reported missing. Harriet might look grown up and sophisticated but she is only fourteen…
As Natalie delves into the lives of both girls, she soon discovers a sinister video on both their phones, daring the girls to disappear from their families for 48 hours. She’s sure this is the key to the case, but before she can act, Harriet’s body is found discarded on a roadside.
Natalie’s superiors don’t have to put any extra pressure on Natalie. Devastated, she and her team work without sleep, watching that video over and over. But just as she thinks they’re getting close, the person Natalie loves more than anything goes missing.
Natalie is no stranger to loss. She is terrified and the clock is ticking. Can she push through her fear to catch this depraved killer, before her loved one becomes the next victim?
A MAN WITH NO NAME
An unidentified corpse is recovered from a Lewis peat bog; the only clue to its identity being a DNA sibling match to a local farmer.
A MAN WITH NO MEMORY
But this islander, Tormod Macdonald – now an elderly man suffering from dementia – has always claimed to be an only child.
A MAN WITH NO CHOICE
When Tormod’s family approach Fin Macleod for help, Fin feels duty-bound to solve the mystery.
Boskenna, the beautiful, imposing house standing on the Cornish cliffs, means something different to each of the Trewin women.
For Joan, as a glamorous young wife in the 1960s, it was a paradise where she and her husband could entertain and escape a world where no one was quite what they seemed – a world that would ultimately cost their marriage and end in tragedy.
Diana, her daughter, still dreams of her childhood there – the endless blue skies and wide lawns, book-filled rooms and parties, the sound of the sea at the end of the coastal path – even though the family she adored was shattered there.
And for the youngest, broken-hearted Lottie, heading home in the August traffic, returning to Boskenna is a welcome escape from a life gone wrong in London, but will mean facing a past she’d hoped to forget.
As the three women gather in Boskenna for a final time, the secrets hidden within the beautiful old house will be revealed in a summer that will leave them changed for ever.
Welcome to the escape room. Your goal is simple. Get out alive.
In the lucrative world of Wall Street finance, Vincent, Jules, Sylvie and Sam are the ultimate high-flyers. Ruthlessly ambitious, they make billion-dollar deals and live lives of outrageous luxury. Getting rich is all that matters, and they’ll do anything to get ahead.
When the four of them become trapped in an elevator escape room, things start to go horribly wrong. They have to put aside their fierce office rivalries and work together to solve the clues that will release them. But in the confines of the elevator the dark secrets of their team are laid bare. They are made to answer for profiting from a workplace where deception, intimidation and sexual harassment thrive.
Tempers fray and the escape room’s clues turn more and more ominous, leaving the four of them dangling on the precipice of disaster. If they want to survive, they’ll have to solve one more final puzzle: which one of them is a killer?
Ella Rubinstein has a husband, three teenage children, and a pleasant home. Everything that should make her confident and fulfilled. Yet there is an emptiness at the heart of Ella’s life – an emptiness once filled by love.
So when Ella reads a manuscript about the thirteenth-century Sufi poet Rumi and Shams of Tabriz, and his forty rules of life and love, her world is turned upside down. She embarks on a journey to meet the mysterious author of this work.
It is a quest infused with Sufi mysticism and verse, taking Ella and us into an exotic world where faith and love are heartbreakingly explored. . .
Frances Jellico is dying. A man who calls himself the vicar visits, hoping to extract a deathbed confession. He wants to know what really happened that fateful summer of 1969, when Frances – tasked with surveying a dilapidated country house – first set eyes on the glamorous bohemian couple, Cara and Peter. She recalls the relationship they forged through sweltering days, lavish dinners and elaborate lies, and the Judas hole through which she would spy on the couple.
Were the signs there right from the beginning?
Or was it impossible to avoid the crime that split their lives open like rotten fruit?
Flora is definitely, absolutely sure that escaping from the quiet Scottish island where she grew up to the noise and hustle of the big city was the right choice. What was there for her on Mure? It’s a place where everyone has known her all her life, and no one will let her forget the past. In the city, she can be anonymous, ambitious and indulge herself in her hopeless crush on her gorgeous boss, Joel.
When a new client demands Flora’s presence back on Mure, she’s suddenly swept back into life with her brothers (all strapping, loud and seemingly incapable of basic housework) and her father. As Flora indulges her new-found love of cooking and breathes life into the dusty little pink-fronted shop on the harbour, she’s also going to have to come to terms with past mistakes – and work out exactly where her future lies…
On an ordinary Saturday morning in 1996, the residents of Nightingale Point wake up to their normal lives and worries.
Mary has a secret life that no one knows about, not even Malachi and Tristan, the brothers she vowed to look after.
Malachi had to grow up too quickly. Between looking after Tristan and nursing a broken heart, he feels older than his twenty-one years.
Tristan wishes Malachi would stop pining for Pamela. No wonder he’s falling in with the wrong crowd, without Malachi to keep him straight.
Elvis is trying hard to remember to the instructions his care worker gave him, but sometimes he gets confused and forgets things.
Pamela wants to run back to Malachi but her overprotective father has locked her in and there’s no way out.
It’s a day like any other, until something extraordinary happens. When the sun sets, Nightingale Point is irrevocably changed and somehow, through the darkness, the residents must find a way back to lightness, and back to each other.
A mother’s job is to keep her children safe.
Tess has always tried to be a good mother. Of course, there are things she wishes she’d done differently, but doesn’t everyone feel that way?
Then Emma, her youngest, is attacked on her way home from a party, plunging them into a living nightmare which only gets worse when the man responsible is set free
But what if she fails?
So when Tess sees the attacker in the street near their home, she is forced to take matters into her own hands. But blinded by her need to protect her daughter at any cost, might she end up putting her family in even greater danger?
There’s nothing she wouldn’t do to make it right . . .
There is something special about the ancient cathedral in Chartres, with its mismatched spires and strange labyrinth. And there is something special too about Agnès Morel, the mysterious woman who is to be found cleaning it each morning.
No one quite knows where she came from – not the diffident Abbé Paul, who discovered her one morning twenty years ago, sleeping in the north porch; nor lonely Professor Jones, who pays her to tidy his chaotic house; nor Philippe Nevers, whose baby nephew she cares for. And yet everyone she encounters would surely agree that she has touched their lives in subtly transformative ways.
But with a chance meeting in the cathedral one day, the spectre of Agnès’ past returns, provoking malicious speculation from the local gossips. As the rumours grow uglier daily, Agnès is forced to confront her history and the mystery her origins finally unfolds.
The Cleaner of Chartres is a compelling story of darkness and light; of traumatic loss and second chances. Told with a beguiling charm and wit, infused throughout with painful emotional truths, it speaks of the transformative power of love and mercy.
Nobody can leave an island. An island is a cosmos in a nutshell, where the stars slumber in the grass beneath the snow. But occasionally someone tries . . .
Ingrid Barrøy is born on an island that bears her name – a holdfast for a single family, their livestock, their crops, their hopes and dreams.
Her father dreams of building a quay that will connect them to the mainland, but closer ties to the wider world come at a price. Her mother has her own dreams – more children, a smaller island, a different life – and there is one question Ingrid must never ask her.
Island life is hard, a living scratched from the dirt or trawled from the sea, so when Ingrid comes of age, she is sent to the mainland to work for one of the wealthy families on the coast.
But Norway too is waking up to a wider world, a modern world that is capricious and can be cruel. Tragedy strikes, and Ingrid must fight to protect the home she thought she had left behind.
When a twist of fate delivers an ambitious young medical student to the court of King Charles II, he is suddenly thrust into a vibrant world of luxury and opulence. Blessed with a quick wit and sparkling charm, Robert Merivel rises quickly, soon finding favour with the King, and privileged with a position as ‘paper groom’ to the youngest of the King’s mistresses.
But by falling in love with her, Merivel transgresses the one rule that will cast him out from his new-found paradise…
Elizabeth II’s coronation is looming, but the murder of their wartime commander, Colonel Cartwright, spoils the happy mood for DI Edgar Stephens and magician Max Mephisto. A playbill featuring another deceased comrade is found in Colonel Cartwright’s possession, and a playing card, the ace of hearts: the blood card. The wartime connection and the suggestion of magic are for Stephens and Mephisto to be summoned to the case.
Edgar’s ongoing investigation into the death of Brighton fortune-teller Madame Zabini is put on hold. Max is busy rehearsing for a spectacular Coronation Day variety show – and his television debut – so it’s Edgar who is sent to New York, a land of plenty worlds away from still-rationed England. He’s on the trail of a small-town mesmerist who may provide the key, but someone silences him first. It’s Edgar’s colleague, DS Emma Holmes, who finds the clue, buried in the files of the Zabini case, that leads them to an anarchist group intent on providing an explosive finale to Coronation Day.
Now it’s up to Edgar, Max and Emma to foil the plot, and find out who it is who’s been dealing the cards …
One victim. One murderer. Which of them is guilty?
A man is found dead on a beach on a small island off the coast of Germany. The gruesome discovery rocks the close-knit community of Amrum: in a town where nothing stays secret for long, who among them has a motive for murder?
DI Lena Lorenzen is brought in to investigate. For her, it is an unwelcome homecoming to the isolated island she turned her back on fourteen years ago. But now her past – and the island’s – is catching up with her. As her investigation leads her to a children’s home, where rumours of abuse by the murder victim are rife, she learns that the town she thought she knew housed secrets darker than nightmares.
When it becomes clear that this is just the beginning, Lorenzen is faced with an unenviable task: in a case where the victims have blood on their hands, can she bring the true criminal to justice?
Six-foot-two Irish man who answers to the name Samuel McLaughlin.
Has weak shins and enjoys show tunes.
If found, please return to Sophie Williams.
Before Sophie met Samuel she saw the world in grey.
Before Samuel met Sophie, he never believed in love at first sight.
When they first meet, something tells them they are meant to be.
But fate has other ideas.
Now they have lost each other and can’t see a way back.
But they’ve already changed each other’s lives in more ways
than they ever expected…
Marnie MacGraw wants an ordinary life—a husband, kids, and a minivan in the suburbs. Now that she’s marrying the man of her dreams, she’s sure this is the life she’ll get. Then Marnie meets Blix Holliday, her fiancé’s irascible matchmaking great-aunt who’s dying, and everything changes—just as Blix told her it would.
When her marriage ends after two miserable weeks, Marnie is understandably shocked. She’s even more astonished to find that she’s inherited Blix’s Brooklyn brownstone along with all of Blix’s unfinished “projects”: the heartbroken, oddball friends and neighbors running from happiness. Marnie doesn’t believe she’s anything special, but Blix somehow knew she was the perfect person to follow in her matchmaker footsteps.
And Blix was also right about some things Marnie must learn the hard way: love is hard to recognize, and the ones who push love away often are the ones who need it most.
Eight generations of the greatest and worst kings and queens that this country has ever seen – from the White Ship to the Lionheart, bad King John to the Black Prince and John of Gaunt – this is the dynasty that invented England as we still know it today – great history to appeal to readers of Ken Follet, Bernard Cornwell, Tom Holland
England’s greatest royal dynasty, the Plantagenets, ruled over England through eight generations of kings. Their remarkable reign saw England emerge from the Dark Ages to become a highly organised kingdom that spanned a vast expanse of Europe. Plantagenet rule saw the establishment of laws and creation of artworks, monuments and tombs which survive to this day, and continue to speak of their sophistication, brutality and secrets.
Dan Jones brings you a new vision of this battle-scarred history. From the Crusades, to King John’s humbling over Magna Carta and the tragic reign of the last Plantagenet, Richard II – this is a blow-by-blow account of England’s most thrilling age.
Drawn from a series of conversations between David Bowie and Dylan Jones across three decades, together with over 180 interviews with friends, rivals, lovers, and collaborators – some of whom have never before spoken about their relationship with Bowie – this oral history is an intimate portrait of a remarkable rise to stardom and one of the most fascinating lives of our time.
Profoundly shaped by his relationship with his schizophrenic half-brother Terry, Bowie was a man of intense relationships that often came to abrupt ends. He was a social creature, equally comfortable partying with John Lennon and dining with Frank Sinatra, and in Dylan Jones’s telling – by turns insightful and salacious – we see as intimate a portrait as could possibly be drawn.
Including illuminating, never-before-seen material from Bowie himself, drawn from a series of Jones’s interviews with him across three decades, DAVID BOWIE is an epic, unforgettable cocktail-party conversation about a man whose enigmatic shapeshifting and irrepressible creativity produced one of the most sprawling, fascinating lives of our time.
Based on Clare Wise’s blog, which she started when she was first diagnosed with cancer in 2013, Not That Kind of Love charts the highs and lows of the last three years of Clare’s life.
The end result is not a book that fills you with despair and anguish. On the contrary, Not That Kind of Love should be read by everybody for its candour, and for its warmth and spirit. Clare is an astonishingly dynamic, witty and fun personality, and her positivity and energy exude from every page.
As she becomes too weak to type, her brother – the actor Greg Wise – takes over, and the book morphs into a beautiful meditation on life, and the necessity of talking about death.
Chetna Makan has travelled to the four corners of India – Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi and Chennai – sampling the extreme varieties of street food on offer. Each area has subtle differences in ingredients and techniques, making the cuisine completely unique and full of character.
In Chai, Chaat & Chutney, Chetna has taken inspiration from the street and created delicious recipes that are simple to cook at home. The result is a completely fresh take on Indian cuisine – try Tamarind Stuffed Chillis, Chana Dal Vada with Coconut Chutney and Sticky Bombay Chicken from the South or let your senses venture to the North for Chole, one of the ultimate curries, sweet Carrot Halwa, Pani Puri and Cardamom & Pistachio Kulfi.