In my library days I always looked forward to the arrival of The Bookseller’s buyers guide. I’d take it home for the weekend, along with a pile of reservation cards, and choose my reading for the next few months. The choice was made purely by author, cover and a brief description. Happily I rarely picked something I didn’t enjoy. Once I left the library I waved goodbye to The Bookseller and was left to choose my reading from a range of other sources. To be fair, they are plentiful, both online and off. However, after subscribing to the The Bookseller last year with the intention of selecting (and sharing) forthcoming titles somehow I never got around to it. So I decided it was time to bite the bullet and actually make it happen. So this is my tester post to see whether it’s of interest and can make a regular monthly feature (though given the number of titles I might split them into a fortnightly post). So here’s my pick of what’s to come for the rest of June via ebook, paperback or hardback.
NB I am a member of the affiliate schemes run by Amazon and, Hive Books. This means that any qualifying sales made via the links below will earn me a small commission – though there is no extra charge to yourselves.
For anyone yet to discover Hive Books they are an online bookseller, which as well as offering free delivery and competitive pricing to Amazon on physical copies, also allow you to nominate an independent bookshop to receive a percentage of your sale. So if you shop online and want an alternative to Amazon, then this might suit you.
Jinty’s Farm by Kate Blackadder
An everyday story of farming and gin-making.
Jinty’s Farm on the east coast of Scotland has been in the Watson family for a hundred years and Isla would like to mark that. A party could be a joint celebration with the opening of a visitors’ centre she and Kerry are setting up to sell their craft gin – a venture regarded with scepticism by their husbands. Meanwhile, Rosalyn is having boyfriend problems, and Isla uncovers what may have been a romance between Jinty and a Polish soldier when she reads wartime entries in the farm diary.
Liar by Lesley Pearse
In a Shepherd’s Bush bedsit, Amelia White dreams of being a reporter. The closest she’s come is selling advertising in the local paper.
Until the fateful day she stumbles on a truly shocking scoop.
Round the corner from her home, she discovers the body of a murder victim, dumped among the rubbish. When the police and reporters descend, Amelia is horrified at the assumptions made and lies soon to be spread about this poor young woman.
Determined to protect the victim from these smears and help her grieving family, she convinces her paper’s editor to allow her to take up her pen and tell the true story.
But when another body is found and the police investigation stalls, Amelia – uncovering new witnesses and suspects in her search for clues – discovers that she may be the only one with any chance of learning the truth and stopping more killings.
If only she can work out who the liar is . . .
The Other Passenger by Louise Candlish
It all happens so quickly. One day you’re living the dream, commuting to work by riverbus with your charismatic neighbour Kit in the seat beside you. The next, Kit hasn’t turned up for the boat and his wife Melia has reported him missing.
When you get off at your stop, the police are waiting. Another passenger saw you and Kit arguing on the boat home the night before and the police say that you had a reason to want him dead. You protest. You and Kit are friends – ask Melia, she’ll vouch for you. And who exactly is this other passenger pointing the finger? What do they know about your lives?
No, whatever danger followed you home last night, you are innocent, totally innocent.
The Waffle House on the Pier by Tilly Tennant
Run away to Sea Salt Bay, where the sand is warm and soft, the sea is a perfect blue, and a candy-coloured waffle house is about to change Sadie’s life…
For as long as she can remember, Sadie’s grandparents have run the waffle house on the pier at Sea Salt Bay. With its pretty painted chairs, sweet smells, and the warm advice of her beloved grandparents, the waffle house is like a second home
But when Sadie’s grandfather dies, leaving her grandmother without an anchor, Sadie must make a difficult decision. She quits her job and moves back home, determined to keep things going. The trouble is, she knows nothing about running a business, and learning at a million miles an hour with a shop full of hungry people isn’t easy. When she nearly burns the waffle house down, she has to admit she needs to get some help.
Her ex-boyfriend Declan promises to be there for her but Sadie worries that getting too close is a mistake – especially as he has a new girlfriend now. And anyway she’s just met newcomer Luke, with his gorgeous suntan and mellow voice…
Sadie’s family have always loved Declan and they’re not too sure about Luke, leaving Sadie unsure which way to turn. A terrible accident at sea forces her to look into her heart, but what if it’s already too late to tell the right man that she loves him?
The Secret Wife by Steve Robinson
Locked away. Believed to be dead. Can a mother survive her murderous husband’s cruel oppression?
A house fire at Crows-an-Wra Manor in a remote part of West Cornwall supposedly takes the life of its mistress, Rosen Trevelyan. Sometime later, she awakes to find herself locked in an unfamiliar room, questioning why her husband, Richard, has done this to her. And what of their daughter? Did Sophia really die in the fire, as Rosen has been led to believe?
When a stranger arrives at the manor, and the reason for Rosen’s incarceration becomes clear, she fears that her husband can ill afford to keep her alive much longer. But could this harbinger of her death also be her salvation?
Under the watchful eyes of Richard’s hateful mother, Mariah, Rosen must do all she can to survive their cruelty, in the hope that she will some day be reunited with her daughter, but time is running out.
Can this stranger to Crows-an-Wra Manor discover the truth before it’s too late for both of them?
The Weekend by Charlotte Wood
Sylvie, Jude, Wendy and Adele have a lifelong friendship of the best kind: loving, practical, frank and steadfast. But when Sylvie dies, the ground shifts dangerously for the remaining three.
These women couldn’t be more different: Jude, a once-famous restaurateur with a spotless life and a long-standing affair with a married man; Wendy, an acclaimed feminist intellectual; Adele, a former star of the stage, now practically homeless.
Struggling to recall exactly why they’ve remained close all these years, the grieving women gather for one last weekend at Sylvie’s old beach house. But fraying tempers, an elderly dog, unwelcome guests and too much wine collide in a storm that brings long-buried hurts to the surface – a storm that will either remind them of the bond they share, or sweep away their friendship for good.
The Phone Box at the edge of the World by Laura Imai Messina
We all have something to tell those we have lost . . .
When Yui loses her mother and daughter in the tsunami, she wonders how she will ever carry on. Yet, in the face of this unthinkable loss, life must somehow continue.
Then one day she hears about a man who has an old disused telephone box in his garden. There, those who have lost loved ones find the strength to speak to them and begin to come to terms with their grief. As news of the phone box spreads, people travel to it from miles around.
Soon Yui makes her own pilgrimage to the phone box, too. But once there she cannot bring herself to speak into the receiver. Then she finds Takeshi, a bereaved husband whose own daughter has stopped talking in the wake of their loss.
What happens next will warm your heart, even when it feels as though it is breaking.
When you’ve lost everything, what can you find . . ?
After the Fire by Jo Spain
Nobody was supposed to get out alive.
On a Dublin city street, packed with afternoon shoppers, a young woman appears, naked, traumatised and bearing burn marks.
Tom Reynolds, now Chief Superintendent, is no longer head of the murder squad. But when it transpires the woman escaped from a house fire started deliberately and that there are more victims, Tom is sucked in. What begins as a straightforward case of arson, soon becomes something much more sinister.
The people in that house never wanted to be there in the first place. Now more of them are missing. Tom is faced with a ticking clock as he tries to locate the others and as he does, a terrifying spider’s web of domestic and international crime unfolds.
And not everybody will survive the fall-out.
The Heatwave by Katerina Diamond
One summer. One stranger. One killer…
Two bad things happened that summer:
A stranger arrived. And the first girl disappeared.
In the wake of the crime that rocked her community, Felicity fled, knowing more than she let on.
But sixteen years later, her new life is shattered by the news that a second girl has gone missing in her hometown.
Now Felicity must go back, to face the truth about what happened all those years ago.
Only she holds the answers – and they’re more shocking than anyone could imagine.
The heatwave is back. And so is the killer.
The Flight by Julie Clark
Claire and Eva lead very different lives, but they have one thing in common – they are both in huge danger and need to disappear.
A chance encounter at the airport presents the two women with a simple but crazy solution: switch places then drop off the grid when they land.
But one woman will never reach her destination.
In a smart, tense and twisting narrative that will have you hooked from the first page to the last.
The Hidden Wife by Joanna Rees
(The Hidden Wife by Joanna Rees is the second novel in A Stitch in Time – a sweeping historical trilogy.)
Having fled London and been on the run around Europe, Vita Casey has established a new life for herself, keeping a low profile as a dresser at a cabaret hall where Nancy is part of the risqué dance troupe. It’s a vibrant world of wild parties, drugs and jazz music.
But despite the fun, hedonistic lifestyle they lead, Vita longs for a proper career and to re-kindle her dream of designing lingerie. When an opportunity to work for famous couturier Jenny Sacerdote presents itself, Vita grabs it with both hands and is soon exposed to an altogether different side of Paris society. Before long, romance blossoms in the unlikeliest of places.
However, left to her own devices, Nancy spirals into danger and drug abuse and Vita has to save her friend. But can Vita really trust the people who want to help her? When there are those back in England who wish to see her ruined and forced to pay for the past she ran away from . . .
Sunny Days & Sea Breezes by Carole Matthews
Jodie Jackson is all at sea, in every sense.
On a ferry bound for the Isle of Wight, she’s leaving her London life, her career, and her husband behind. She’d like a chance to turn back the clocks, but she’ll settle for some peace and quiet on her brother Bill’s beautifully renovated houseboat, Sunny Days.
But from the moment Jodie steps aboard her new home, it’s clear she’ll struggle to keep herself to herself. If it isn’t Marilyn, who cleans for Bill and is under strict instructions to look after Jodie, then it’s Ned, the noisy sculptor on the next-door houseboat. Ned’s wood carving is hard on the ears, but it’s made up for by the fact that he’s rather easy on the eyes.
Bustled out of the boat by Marilyn and encouraged to explore with Ned, Jodie soon delights in her newfound freedom. But out of mind isn’t out of sight, and when her old life comes knocking Jodie is forced to face reality. Will she answer the call or choose a life filled with Sunny Days and Sea Breezes?
Cut to the Bone by Roz Watkins
A beautiful young social-media star goes missing.
But who took her?
When controversial internet celebrity Violet Armstrong vanishes in the middle of a scorching Peak District summer, the case sparks a media frenzy.
The clock is ticking for DI Meg Dalton and her team to find Violet before online threats explode into real-life violence. And then the blood and hair of a young woman are found in an empty pig trough at the local abattoir…
The more Meg finds out about this unnerving case, the more she becomes convinced that something very, very bad has happened to Violet. With temperatures rising and the press demanding answers, the case is about to take a terrifying turn…
Little Village of Second Chances by Gina Hollands
Surely everyone deserves a second chance?
Ex-fireman and edible flower farmer Shay McGillen has plenty of reasons not to give Sarah Pickering even one chance when she turns up in his small Yorkshire village. After all, she is only there to try and convince him and his fellow villagers to sell up so her company can build a bypass. If Sarah thinks she can make Shay give up his farmhouse and his business, she has another thing coming!
But when an unexpected blizzard leaves Sarah stranded in Shay’s home, he soon realises that they are far more alike than he could have ever imagined – and perhaps both of them deserve a second chance …
The Family Holiday by Elizabeth Noble
The Chamberlain family used to be close.
Charlie and Daphne were happily married, and their children Laura, Scott and Nick were inseparable. But then, inevitably, the children grew up and their own messy lives got in the way.
Since Daphne died, Charlie can’t help but think about happier times for the Chamberlain family – before his children drifted apart. His wife was the family’s true north, and without her guidance, Charlie fears his kids have all lost their direction.
For his eightieth birthday, all Charlie wants is to bring his family together again. And by some miracle, they’ve all said yes.
So, for the first time in a long time, the Chamberlains are going on a family holiday.
It’s only ten days . . . how bad could it be?
That Summer in Maine by Brianna Wolfson
A novel about mothers and daughters, about taking chances, about exploding secrets and testing the boundaries of family
Years ago, during a certain summer in Maine, two young women, unaware of each other, met a charismatic man at a craft fair and each had a brief affair with him. For Jane it was a chance to bury her recent pain in raw passion and redirect her life. For Susie it was a fling that gave her troubled marriage a way forward.
Now, sixteen years later, the family lives these women have made are suddenly upended when their teenage girls meet as strangers on social media. They concoct a plan to spend the summer in Maine with the man who is their biological father. Their determination puts them on a collision course with their mothers, who must finally meet and acknowledge their shared past and join forces as they risk losing their only daughters to a man they barely know.
Barcelona Days by Daniel Riley
In this captivating novel, an erupting Icelandic volcano grounds all flights in and out of Europe, forcing four vacationing Americans to reckon with the problems they’d hoped to leave behind in Barcelona.
Whitney and Will are a perfect couple by all appearances, their relationship rock-solid, and their engagement soon to be announced. Before their impending nuptials, however, Whitney suggests a lighthearted experiment: why not give each other three romantic “free passes” before getting married? Three opportunities to imagine other lives before returning with new appreciation for each other. On what’s meant to be the last night of a romantic Barcelona vacation, they agree to regale one another with details of these harmless trysts. They grin and bear it, and fall asleep feeling mostly satisfied, and relieved to be firmly together again.
But then a volcano erupts overnight, spewing a cloud of ash across Europe and grounding all flights indefinitely. Trapped in Barcelona, their paths intertwine with a star basketball player, his future dashed by a crippling injury, and a foreign exchange student with a double life, about to return home and face reality.
Whitney and Will flirt, provoke, dance, and drink. Over the next three days, they will use and be used by their new friends, once again testing the boundaries of their relationship — but this time, can it survive?
To Tell You the Truth by Gilly Macmillan
Lucy Harper has a talent for invention…
She was nine years old when her brother vanished in the woods near home. As the only witness, Lucy’s story of that night became crucial to the police investigation. Thirty years on, her brother’s whereabouts are still unknown.
Now Lucy is a bestselling thriller writer. Her talent for invention has given her fame, fortune, and an army of adoring fans. But her husband, Dan, has started keeping secrets of his own, and a sudden change of scene forces Lucy to confront some dark, unwelcome memories. Then Dan goes missing and Lucy’s past and present begin to collide. Did she kill her husband? Would she remember if she did?
Finally, Lucy Harper is going to tell us the truth.
Cross her heart.
And hope to die.
The Greek Holiday by Maeve Haran
Four old university friends, Dora, Penny, Nell and Moira, reunite to relive that first hippy-dippy trip together to a beautiful, unspoilt, romantic Greek island looking for sun, sand and sea.
But it’s not just about going back to when they were young. Maybe they do have dreams like Shirley Valentine, because, ultimately, they’re all looking for something to help them through some difficult times in their lives – whether it’s with their career, family or relationships.
What they discover in Kyri is an opportunity to reinvent, be themselves, contribute to a community who wants their help, at the same time as having fun, being happy and even finding love. But, crucially, they discover the most valuable lesson of all – understanding the true importance of female friendship.
The Graves of Whitechapel by Claire Evans
In the gripping new novel by the author of The Fourteenth Letter, a lawyer in Victorian London must find a man he got off a murder charge – and who seems to have killed again . . .
Victorian London, 1882.
Five years ago, crusading lawyer Cage Lackmann successfully defended Moses Pickering against a charge of murder. Now, a body is found bearing all the disturbing hallmarks of that victim – and Pickering is missing.
Cage’s reputation is in tatters, and worse, he is implicated in this new murder by the bitter detective who led the first failed case. Left with no other alternative, Cage must find Pickering to prove his innocence.
Did Cage free a brutal murderer? Or is there something more sinister at work?
Times Like These by Laura Carter
Three best friends must decide: is their friendship holding them together, or holding them back?
Andrea is an executive at one of the largest music production companies in the world. Years of putting work first, however, have left her love life a mess and there’s no easy fix.
All Rosalie wants is to be taken seriously. After all, she‘s going to run her own record label soon – sure, her CEO dad is gifting her the job, but she’s determined to prove her worth.
Hannah is returning to work as Andrea’s PA after maternity leave. But balancing her job, kids and a lazy husband is proving an impossible task and something’s got to give…
As revelations and jealousies come to light, these friends struggle to figure out how they fit in each other’s lives – and if their friendship is strong enough to survive their changing worlds.
So that’s my selection for the rest of the month’s new releases – anything take your fancy?