Coming this week – my pick of the new fiction titles to 13th December

Can’t believe that Monday has come around again so quickly, but it has, so here’s this week’s selection.

(NB As an Amazon Associate, Bookshop and Hive Affiliate I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases)

Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason

Everyone tells Martha Friel she is clever and beautiful, a brilliant writer who has been loved every day of her adult life by one man, her husband Patrick. A gift – her mother once said – not everybody gets.

So why is everything broken? Why is Martha – on the edge of 40 – friendless, practically jobless and so often sad? And why did Patrick decide to leave?

Maybe she is just too sensitive, someone who finds it harder to be alive than most people. Or maybe – as she has long believed – there is something wrong with her. Something that broke when a little bomb went off in her brain, at 17, and left her changed in a way that no doctor or therapist has ever been able to explain.

Forced to return to her childhood home to live with her dysfunctional, bohemian parents (but without the help of her devoted, foul-mouthed sister Ingrid), Martha has one last chance to find out whether a life is ever too broken to fix – or whether, maybe, by starting over, she will get to write a better ending for herself.


The Sapphire Child by Janet MacLeod Trotter

The Sapphire Child (The Raj Hotel Book 2) by [Janet MacLeod Trotter]

In the dying days of the Raj, can paths divided by time and circumstance ever find each other again?

In 1930s Northern India, childhood friends Stella and Andrew have grown up together in the orbit of the majestic Raj Hotel. Spirited Stella has always had a soft spot for boisterous Andrew, though she dreams of meeting a soulmate from outside the close-knit community. But life is turned on its head when one scandal shatters their friendship and another sees her abandoned by the man she thought she loved.

As the Second World War looms, Andrew joins the army to fight for freedom. Meanwhile in India, Stella, reeling from her terrible betrayal, also throws herself into the war effort, volunteering for the Women’s Auxiliary Corps, resigned to living a lonelier life than the one she dreamed of as a child.

When Andrew returns to the East on the eve of battle with Japan, the two former friends are reunited, though bitter experience has changed them. Can they rekindle what they once had or will war demand of their friendship the ultimate sacrifice?


The Wilder Widows by Katherine Hastings

The Wilder Widows: A Hilarious and Heartwarming Adventure by [Katherine  Hastings]

Four Widows. Four Wishes. One Wild Adventure. 

When Sylvie’s husband passed away, she’d barely hung her black dress back in the closet when three widows on Wilder Lane showed up on her doorstep. Who had time to properly mourn when an adventure spanning the globe awaited her?

After putting their own needs on the back burner to raise their families, Sylvie, Doris, Alice, and Marge struggle to find purpose now that their children are grown, and their husbands are gone. Loneliness pushes them together while they knit away the rest of their days. Then one night, a whiskey-filled pact catapults these ladies onto the adventure of a lifetime.

Each widow gets one wish, one wild adventure, she’s dreamed of doing her whole life. With their wishes tucked away on notes inside their knitting basket, they pull them out, one at a time, vowing to do whatever it takes to help each other fulfill their wildest desires.

Hilarity ensues as these four diverse women stretch their boundaries to go where no widows have gone before. They stare death in the face, have cops hot on their tail, and shed away the responsibilities they’ve shouldered their whole lives. The Wilder Widows soon find out their lives aren’t over… in fact, in this second act, their lives are just beginning.


Mystery at the Old Mill by Clare Chase

Mystery at the Old Mill: A completely gripping cozy mystery novel (An Eve Mallow Mystery Book 4) by [Clare Chase]

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?


Sleepless by Louise Mumford

Sleepless: An unputdownable dystopian psychological thriller for fans of The One and Black Mirror by [Louise Mumford]

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…


Snow Drift by Helene Tursten

Snowdrift (An Embla Nyström Investigation) by [Helene Tursten, Marlaine Delargy]

When a new lead breaks in the cold case that has long haunted Swedish Detective Inspector Embla Nyström, the truth she’s been seeking about her best friend’s disappearance may finally be revealed—if it doesn’t kill her first.

One winter night, 28-year-old Detective Inspector Embla Nyström receives a phone call that sends her reeling. It’s been fourteen years since her best friend disappeared from a nightclub in Gothenburg, but Embla recognizes her voice before the call abruptly disconnects. Embla is thrilled to learn Lollo is still alive, but before she can dive into the case, she gets another phone call—this time from a relative. A man has been found shot dead in one of the guest houses he and his wife manage in rural Sweden. Could she come take a look?

When Embla arrives on the scene, she receives another shock. The dead man is Milo Stavic, a well-known gang member and one of the last people seen with Lollo. And, as Embla soon learns, the same night that Milo was shot in the guest house, his brother Luca was also killed. Why, after all these years, is someone targeting the Stavic brothers, and where is the third brother? With help from a handsome local detective and his police dog in training, Embla launches an investigation into the three Stavic brothers, hoping it will bring her closer to finally finding Lollo and putting an end to her terrible nightmares.


Dark Minster by Charlie de Luca

Dark Minster: Coming Home by [Charlie De Luca]

DI Gabriel Taverner starts a new job in York having moved from the Metropolitan police in London. He starts work a day early because a young student, Emily Morgan, has been found dead in the River Ouse and initial findings suggest that she was murdered before being dumped into the river. Taverner has his own reasons to move to York, namely to make contact with his birth mother but finds it hard to adjust to Yorkshire initially. At least DS Anna Wildblood appears to be on his side unlike some of his colleagues who baulk at his love of Earl Grey tea, degree and posh accent.
The investigation progresses and the team find themselves with several suspects, not least Emily’s tutor, Niall Lynch, her boyfriend, Dan Charlton and fellow student, Ross McAllister. Emily was a model student who helped run literacy classes for struggling school children assisted by a local ex-vicar, but also has an interest in becoming a journalist. She wrote various hard hitting articles which were due to be published, could one of them led to her murder? And what about the young girl from the literacy group that she met on the night that she died? How is she involved? As the investigation develops, it becomes apparent that no one is what they seem and they can trust no one, maybe not even the psychic who promises to assist them. The race is on to capture the killer before they strike again…


The Spark by Jules Wake

The Spark: The funny new 2020 romantic comedy from the bestelling author! by [Jules Wake]

Jess is falling for Sam.

Sam is falling for Jess.

But it seems life will do whatever it takes to make them fall apart.

When Jess and Sam lock eyes at a party, a spark ignites. The spark. But love at first sight isn’t like the movies, especially when Sam’s ex, Victoria, is determined to make their honeymoon period a living hell.

Is love at first sight enough?


Beneath a Starless Sky by Tessa Harris

Beneath a Starless Sky: A gripping and utterly heartbreaking WW2 historical fiction novel by [Tessa Harris]

Munich 1930

Lilli Sternberg longs to be a ballet dancer. But outside the sanctuary of the theatre, her beloved city is in chaos and Munich is no longer a place for dreams.

The Nazi party are gaining power and the threats to those who deviate from the party line are increasing. Jewish families are being targeted and their businesses raided, even her father’s shop was torched because of their faith.

When Lilli meets Captain Marco Zeiller during a chance encounter, her heart soars. He is the perfect gentleman and her love for him feels like a bright hope under a bleak sky.

But battle lines are being drawn, and Marco has been spotted by the Reich as an officer with great potential. A relationship with Lilli would compromise them both.

Will Lilli be able to escape the threats facing her family, and how much is she willing to risk for the man she loves?


Winterkill by Ragnar Jonasson

Winterkill (Dark Iceland) by [Ragnar Jónasson, David Warriner]

A blizzard is approaching Siglufjörður, and that can only mean one thing…

When the body of a nineteen-year-old girl is found on the main street of Siglufjörður, Police Inspector Ari Thór battles a violent Icelandic storm in an increasingly dangerous hunt for her killer … The chilling, claustrophobic finale to the international bestselling Dark Iceland series.

Easter weekend is approaching, and snow is gently falling in Siglufjörður, the northernmost town in Iceland, as crowds of tourists arrive to visit the majestic ski slopes.

Ari Thór Arason is now a police inspector, but he’s separated from his girlfriend, who lives in Sweden with their three-year-old son. A family reunion is planned for the holiday, but a violent blizzard is threatening and there is an unsettling chill in the air.

Three days before Easter, a nineteen-year-old local girl falls to her death from the balcony of a house on the main street. A perplexing entry in her diary suggests that this may not be an accident, and when an old man in a local nursing home writes ‘She was murdered’ again and again on the wall of his room, there is every suggestion that something more sinister lies at the heart of her death…

As the extreme weather closes in, cutting the power and access to Siglufjörður, Ari Thór must piece together the puzzle to reveal a horrible truth … one that will leave no one unscathed.


Breathe Your Last by Lisa Regan

Breathe Your Last: An addictive and nail-biting crime thriller (Detective Josie Quinn Book 10) by [Lisa Regan]

Josie presses her hands into the center of the drowned girl’s chest and pumps, counting off compressions. She takes in the girl’s beautiful face, her brown eyes glassy. Breathe. Just breathe…

The body of a young girl lying face down in a swimming pool—white tennis shoes still on her feet, chestnut hair fanned out like a halo—is the last thing Detective Josie Quinn expects to find on an early morning visit to see her brother before class at Denton University. But when she recognizes the girl’s face as she drags her limp body from the water, there’s only one question racing through Josie’s mind: how does a champion swimmer accidentally drown?

Nysa Somers’ family are distraught. She was a model student, beloved daughter and everybody’s friend. There’s no way she would do anything reckless enough to put her scholarship at risk, let alone her life. It’s up to Josie and her team to piece together what happened in the hours leading up to Nysa’s death, and that begins with finding her missing backpack.

But the bag, discarded in the woods on the nearby campus, contains nothing more than empty food wrappers, Nysa’s phone and a cryptic calendar entry telling her to be a mermaid.

The next day, a terrible housefire envelops the nearby home of a retired fireman, nearly killing his two granddaughters. The last words the little girls heard him mutter before he set the blaze were, be a match.

As the body count rises, it’s only Josie who can see the deadly pattern forming. Can she convince her team that the wrapper found in Nysa’s bag is the crucial link they’re missing? Josie knows she must go it alone if she’s going to stop this silent and calculated serial killer before any more precious lives are taken.

But with the killer finally in her sights, Josie takes a dangerous risk and finds herself hanging onto life by her fingernails. Can she trust her team to save her, and before it’s too late?


Going Green by Nick Spalding

Going Green by [Nick Spalding]

Meet Ellie Cooke. When it comes to all things environmental she’s, well, a bit ‘green’. It’s not that she doesn’t care about things like climate change and plastic pollution, it’s just that life has always got in the way of that sort of thing.

But when the PR firm Ellie works for is taken over by keen environmentalist Nolan Reece, it’s clear that if she wants to save her job, she’s going to have to get serious about being green—or face being recycled.

Going green is no walk in the park, though. It involves a lot of big changes, tough choices…and at least one case of accidentally showing your knickers off to your boss.

Can Ellie do enough to save her job, and maybe do her bit to help save the planet while she’s at it? And what will Nolan think of her, now that she can’t stop thinking about him…?


Under Almond Blossoms by Anja Saskia Beyer

Under Almond Blossoms by [Anja Saskia Beyer, Annette Charpentier]

Love and loss are in the air as the almond blossom falls.

Milla has always felt alone in the world. The only child of a distant mother, she has no other family, and even her forthcoming marriage to Paul feels more like settling than true romance. But then a letter arrives, announcing that a Spanish grandmother she knew nothing about has recently died and left her a small shop in Mallorca.

Milla is confused and hurt, but determined to uncover the truth. She travels to Palma, where she is enchanted by the beauty of the old town in springtime. At the shop she now owns, she meets Leandro, a handsome local who helps her piece together the story of her grandmother, Abbi. But it’s a story full of unexpected secrets, of hidden love and bitter betrayal, and it challenges everything Milla thought she knew about her family—and herself.

Faced with these new truths, Milla has a difficult choice to make. Will she go back to Paul and be the person she was before, or follow her heart on a blossom-strewn island?


The Watchful Neighbour by Debbie Viggiano

The Watchful Neighbour: An absolutely gripping debut psychological thriller. by [Debbie Viggiano]

When Jade Ferguson’s affair with a married man abruptly ends, she’s devastated.

There is no quick fix for a broken heart. A fresh start is required.

New job. New home. New neighbours.

The residents of Gresham Terrace seem pleasant enough.

Except for one…

An absolutely gripping debut psychological thriller.


Aunt Ivy’s Cottage by Kristin Harper

Aunt Ivy's Cottage: A totally gripping and emotional page turner by [Kristin Harper]

Clearing out the attic, Zoey opens the carved trunk and smiles as she picks up the small, leather-bound diary hiding inside. Curious, she leafs through the pages, and realises this will change everything…

All Zoey’s happiest childhood memories are of her great-aunt Ivy’s rickety cottage on Dune Island, snuggling up with hot chocolate and hearing Ivy’s stories about being married to a sea captain. Now, heartbroken from a breakup, Zoey escapes back to the island, but is shocked to find her elderly aunt’s spark fading. Worse, her cousin—next in line to inherit the house—is pushing Ivy to move into a nursing home.

With the family clashing over what’s best for Ivy, Zoey is surprised when Nick, a local carpenter and Ivy’s neighbor, takes her side. As Zoey finds comfort in his sea-blue eyes and warm laugh, the two grow close. Together, they make a discovery in the attic that links the family to the mysterious and reclusive local lighthouse keeper…

Now Zoey has a heartbreaking choice to make. Nick’s urging her to share the discovery, which could keep Ivy in the house she’s loved her whole life… but when Zoey learns that Nick and her cousin go way back, she questions if the man she‘s starting to have feelings for really has Ivy’s best interests at heart. Will dredging up this old secret destroy the peace and happiness of Ivy’s final years—and tear this family apart for good?


The Open House by Sam Carrington

The Open House: One of the most perfect, gripping reads of 2020 from the USA Today bestseller by [Sam Carrington]

Everyone’s welcome. But not everyone leaves…

Nick and Amber Miller are splitting up and selling their Devon family home. But despite the desirable location, the house isn’t moving. Not a single viewing so far.
 
When their estate agent suggests an open house event, Amber agrees, even as she worries about their gossiping neighbours attending and snooping around their home.
 
But Amber has more to worry about than nosy neighbours. Because thirteen people enter her house that afternoon, and only twelve leave.
 
Someone doesn’t want the house to sell, and is willing to do anything to stop it…


The Last Boat from Tangier by James Von Leyden

Last Boat from Tangier (Karim Belkacem 2) by [James von Leyden]

When Detective Karim Belkacem’s best friend and colleague, Abdou, goes missing during an investigation into an illegal cartel, Karim is sent to Tangier look for him. But the Tangier police have another problem on their hands. Thousands of sub-Saharan migrants have collected in the region, desperate to get to the Promised Land of Europe. Unable to trust his contacts in the police, or anyone in Tangier’s underworld of traffickers and informants, Karim turns to his adopted sister Ayesha for help. The truth behind Abdou’s disappearance is more disturbing than either of them could imagine.


Good Girl by Mel Sherratt

Good Girl: The gripping new crime thriller from the million copy bestseller (DS Grace Allendale Book 4) by [Mel Sherratt]

Erin was a good girl. But someone wanted her dead…

When sixteen-year-old Erin Ellis is attacked, she dies in the arms of her best friend Molly, just metres from her home. Molly is the surviving girl but says she easily could have been the victim – it was a random mugging gone wrong.
 
With inconclusive evidence, DS Grace Allendale must dig deep within the tight-knit Stoke community for leads. And she soon finds that someone had a motive to kill Erin.
 
As the investigation unfolds, Grace is reminded of a horrifying case she worked on earlier in her career.
 
Is the past coming back to haunt her? And can she push through her fear to catch Erin’s killer before it’s too late?


A Time to Lie by Simon Berthon

A Time to Lie: The new political action and adventure crime thriller you need to read in 2020 by [Simon Berthon]

A divisive prime minister. A long-buried body. A plot to bring him down…

The bigger the secret the more dangerous it is to lie…

On the morning of the Tory Party conference, the bones of a young woman’s hand are discovered in a London building site.

Jed Fowkes, Special Adviser at the Treasury, confronts Prime Minister Robin Sandford with a terrible accusation. He claims the hand belongs to someone they once knew well: a young woman whom Sandford murdered years ago.

With his career on the brink of ruin, the Prime Minister’s only hope is to enlist the unofficial help of MI5. A decision which leads him into a new world of espionage, illegal trafficking and murder.

And the deeper he goes, the more treacherous the game becomes. Because now it’s not just his life on the line; it’s the future of the state itself…

That’s all for this week folks

Happy Reading!!

One comment

  1. As someone who suffers irregular sleep patterns and considers six hours a really good nights sleep (unfortunately not that often), I’m intrigued by ‘Sleepless’ though it sounds rather dark. I shall also try a sample of a couple of others. I have such a backlog of reading.

    Like

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