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Book Review: Solomon, Pharaoh of Egypt by Ralph Ellis

Why are King David and King Solomon, the most celebrated kings of Judaic history, missing from the historical record? Among cultural and historical mysteries, this has always been among the most perplexing.   

 

This is a problem for both historians and Judaeo-Christian theologians, as the lack of any archaeological remains of the ‘United Monarchy’ of kings David and Solomon can only lead to the awkward conclusion that the Old Testament accounts are fictional.

 

The biblical King Solomon was famed both for his wisdom and extraordinary wealth, and adventurers have long hunted for his legendary mines – popularised through Victorian adventure writer H. Rider Haggard’s novel of the same name.

 

However, biblical historian Ralph Ellis believes that he has discovered the ‘intact’ tombs of kings David and Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, and also discovered the true location of King Solomon’s mines.

 

In his new 360-page book ‘Solomon, Pharaoh of Egypt’, Ellis argues that archaeologists and adventurers have been looking in the wrong location. He reveals that there are significant similarities that suggest the Egyptian and Israelite royal lines in this era were one and the same. So kings David and Solomon were, in fact, Egyptian pharaohs who also ruled over Judaea and Israel.

 

This may seem like an outlandish suggestion – no less controversial than the author’s claims in Jesus, King of Edessa that Jesus Christ was a first-century warrior king – but Ellis puts forward a strong case that makes a lot of sense.

 

Ellis starts his enquiry by considering King David’s well known symbology:  the ‘Star of David’ and the ‘City of David’. His meticulous research then finds an Egyptian pharaoh — Pa-Seba-Khaen-nuit or Psusennes — who lived during the same era as David and whose name means “My Star Rises in my City”. The similarity is both striking and compelling.

 

Ellis then demonstrates that the ancestors, officials and children of Pharaoh Psusennes, share uncanny similarities with the equivalent members of King David’s royal court. Based upon this equivalence, Ellis believes that Psusennes is actually the biblical King David, while King Solomon was Shoshenq.

 

Psusennes and Shoshenq ruled Lower Egypt and Israel from their capital city at Tanis in the Nile Delta, so the primary capital city of David and Solomon was at Zoan (Tanis) rather than Zion (Jerusalem). And the Temple of Solomon would also have been at Zoan, rather than Zion.

 

Ellis also believes that this reassessment of history can explain the location of King Solomon’s Mines. At this time Egypt was divided between the kingdoms of Upper and Lower Egypt, with Upper Egypt paying tribute to Psusennes and Shoshenq to stop them invading.

 

After many decades, Upper Egypt was running out of resources to pay this tribute. According to Ellis, in desperation they turned to the buried wealth within the Valley of the Kings – the tombs of 18th dynasty pharaohs. This was the source of Solomon’s wealth.

 

He points out that the historical record shows the Valley tombs were looted at this time, and the mummies relocated. And many tomb treasures did indeed end up in Tanis, and are now proudly displayed in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

 

That King Solomon’s Mines were merely the tombs in the Valley of the Kings may seem like an anti-climax, but Ellis says it is the most probable explanation. This is the reason why no archaeological excavations have ever uncovered an actual mine.

  

According to Ellis, the kings of the United Monarchy were pharaohs of the 21st and 22nd dynasties of Egypt. But by the time the Old Testament came to be written down, this Egyptian ancestry had been airbrushed out of the story, for political and cultural reasons.

 

The Israelites were now completely divorced from their true Egyptian history. But if the truth were known, then the mummies of King David, King Solomon, and the Queen of Sheba were discovered in Tanis, and they now reside in the Cairo museum.

 

Originally released some years ago, ‘Solomon, Pharaoh of Egypt’ has been fully updated and expanded to take into account recent discoveries.

 

This book is the fourth in the ‘Egyptian Testament’ series. It is well-written and easy to follow, with Ellis taking readers step by step through his thought-process and providing supporting evidence throughout. As with Ellis’ previous titles, while readers may or may not agree with his controversial conclusions, it is clear that a lot of original research and logical analysis has gone into this thesis.

 

Ellis’s theory is definitely quite a leap, and if proven it would rewrite history books and contemporary politics alike. But it certainly provides logical and plausible answers to some of the big, unresolved questions associated with this poorly understood biblical era.

 

Solomon, Pharaoh of Egypt by Ralph Ellis (Edfu Books ISBN- 13: 978-1508498834) is available now, priced £4.78 as a Kindle eBook and £12.18 in paperback. Visit edfu-books.uk

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Mid-June Summer Reading

A mid-month reminder that as we stroll into summer, there is no better time to look for your next fantastic read. Outside in a tranquil spot, or by an open window, these are the days to kick back and get lost in the stories of others. But what to choose? Pop into our newly launched Summer Reading category, a lovingly hand-picked picnic of perfect summer books.

Start planning your Summer Reading

Have a look at the shelf below for some of our favourites, scroll down to see more or visit the special category on the site to see them all.

Deserved Debut – Desmond Elliott Prize Winner Announced








Possibly the most coveted prize for UK first novelists, The Desmond Elliott Prize was founded in 2007 to celebrate the best 1st novel by a new author and to support writers just starting what will be long and glittering careers. Ten years on it has succeeded in its mission in a manner that would make Elliott proud.

This year’s winner has just been announced and it is Golden Hill by Francis Spufford. Chair of the judges Sam Leith, Literary Editor at the Spectator, described the novel as, “miraculously constructed… at once so fabulously entertaining, so exquisitely wrought and so moving that it stands among not just the best first novels of the year, but the best novels of this or any year.” Find out more.

One for the Mantel-piece? The Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction








Founded to honour the legacy of historical novelist Sir Walter Scott, this is the largest prize, outside London, to reward the best in historical fiction. The first winner was Hilary Mantel who remains an avid supporter of the Prize, describing it as ‘much the best thing that has happened for fans of historical fiction‘.

The winner was announced on 17 June at the Borders Book Festival and was awarded to the big-hearted, beautiful and splendidly sweeping tale of war, survival and love in the American West, Days Without End by Sebastian Barry.

Start choosing your July reads today!

Our gift to you! A chance to read extracts of excellent books before they’re published. You’re welcome!

Don’t Close Your Eyes by Holly Seddon – A brilliantly conceived, jaw-dropping, incredibly realistic psychological thriller. From the author of Try Not to Breathe. The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce – From the author of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry comes a heartrending, gloriously life-affirming, ode to vinyl, love story. The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter – A dramatic, powerful, and so incredibly addictive, breathtaking whammy of a read, pure escapism at its best.
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You liked that? Try this! – If You Like You’ll Love

This is our no-brainer category for people looking for new authors with the talent to match their favourites. You tell us authors you like and we introduce you to others you’ll love. Simple!

If you Like Victoria Hislop or Rosie Thomas you’ll love The Invitation by Lucy Foley, a captivating story of dark secrets and forbidden love. If you like Erica James you’ll love The Forever House by Veronica Henry, a gorgeously affectionate, loving, and generous read.
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The Cream! – Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction





With a widely varied judging panel from the top of their professions, the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction is the most prestigious award to honour fiction written by a woman. Previous winners include: Zadie Smith, Lionel Shriver, Rose Tremain and Ali Smith.

This year’s gong went to The Power by Naomi Alderman. Chair of the judges Tessa Ross said that while her judging panel debated the shortlist “for many hours“, they “kept returning to Naomi Alderman’s brilliantly imagined dystopia – her big ideas and her fantastic imagination.

     

Mid-June Highlights

Take a moment to discover the top titles that may have passed you by this month. Books like:

Borne by Jeff VanderMeer – A dark, harrowing and weirdly uplifting future vision from the celebrated author of the creepily brilliant, post-apocalyptic Southern Reach Trilogy.

The Floating Theatre by Martha Conway – Brimming with stunning writing and historical illuminations. Perfect for fans of Gone with the Wind and Tracy Chevalier’s The Last Runaway.

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Mid-June ‘New Gen’ Highlights

Younger (or young at heart) readers take note of three cracking novels out this month:

After the Fire by Will Hill – Inspired by the Waco siege in Texas in 1993. The tension rarely abates and we think it is one of the most gripping and suspenseful books you’ll read all year. A Small Free Kiss in the Dark by Glenda Millard – Be prepared to be moved, enthralled, heartbroken and inspired by this moving tale of hope and survival, set in a bleak, war-torn world. The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord – A moving story of a teenage girl coping when her world turns upside down. A thoughtful and well-written book that tugs at the heartstrings. The Scattering by Kimberly McCreight – The nail-bitingly tense sequel to the original and incredible The Outliers.  ‘Action packed and gripping – I flew through the pages’ Amy, 15.

Dear (e)Reader! – eBooks of the Month

For all you digi-book doyens out there, a perfect selection of terrific tales to take away whatever your taste. Here’s what’s up for download (or is it ‘down for upload’? – Ed) this month.

The Girl Who Ran by Nikki Owen – The final book in the ‘Project Trilogy’ and it’s an absolute belter as the story surges to a fittingly dramatic conclusion. The River at Night by Erica Ferencik – Fast-paced, suspenseful and travels the gamut of life experiences as the narrative races towards a splendid climax. The Boy Who Saw by Simon Toyne – Hugely compelling and highly recommended. Second adventure for a Jack Reacher/Superman cross with shades of Jason Bourne called Solomon Creed.

The Big Jakubowski – Maxim’s Top Tips for June

Crime aficionado Maxim Jakubowski has been delving deep into the underworld of wonderful writing again this month to bring you the best books about for lovers of thrill, suspense and edge-of-your-seat reading. It’s a labour of love, he says. 








This month his top tips take you on a whirlwind tour of the world from Bosnia to Mount Everest, without ever needing to leave your favourite chair! See the whole lot here, or check out the top two titles:

His Book of the Month is Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang by Mike Ripley – Witty, entertaining and meticulously researched exploration of British thrillers that will have you scouring the second-hand shelves for classics of a bygone era.

And Highly Recommended is The Fourth Monkey by J. D. Barker – A humdinger of a serial killer thriller in sheer overdrive, it is a winner from the get go.

Read, Loved and Highly Recommended! – Reader Highlights

We take the views of our Consumer Reader Reviewers (many of them bloggers) very seriously and we’ve collected the books they loved the most into one handy section of superstars. Click here for more.

The Bureau of Second Chances by Sheena Kalayil – A wonderfully atmospheric picture of life in India ‘A gem of a novel! A delight to read!’ (Reader Review). Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman – ‘I feel deeply privileged to have read such an exceedingly exceptional book….heart wrenching and yet light-hearted and funny.‘ (Reader Review).
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Barnett Fare – The Books of Laura Barnett





Author, journalist and theatre critic Laura Barnett is a versatile and powerful writer whose understanding and deep affection for her characters practically drips off every page.

Versions of Us is a heartbreaking and beautiful love story about the ‘what if’ moments in our lives and Greatest Hits, her brand new novel is ‘ … a lyrically soulful novel, full of warmth, passion … that rocked to the core of my heart.’ (Reader Review). Find out more.

The Queen of Social Commentary

2017 marks the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death. Her novels continue to delight and there have been numerous TV and film adaptations of them (who can forget Colin Firth after the swim in the lake?). So, we have created a special category where you will find some of her classic novels along with modern re-workings of them and also a selection of non-fiction titles that explore her life and work and the continuing fascination it exerts upon readers. Discover more today.

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Don’t forget to visit the site to see more Summer Reading Selections.

P.S. Find out more about a unique event, REBUSFEST, in Edinburgh at the end of the month. And don’t miss the chance of winning some exclusive Rebus books and other exclusive book goodies in our free prize draw category.

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Book Review. Might Make You Smile, by Brenda Burling

It’s unusual for the terms ‘cancer’ and ‘light hearted’ to be connected, but as Might Make You Smile – a heart-warming new collection of true-life stories – shows, even the Big C benefits from a healthy dose of humour.

 

Written by author Brenda Burling and based on genuine anecdotes from people living with or recovering from cancer, Might Make You Smile is a far cry from the typical books about the disease, not only in its subject matter but also its focus.

 

As far as this reviewer is aware, it is the first title to cover the lighter side of cancer. It’s an excellent angle to explore as it gives the disease a human face by concentrating on real experiences.

 

Importantly, it also sends out a clear message that being diagnosed with cancer does not mean the end of the world.

 

The Essex-based author says she was inspired to write the book after listening to her friends’ own accounts of dealing with cancer.

 

Attending a local support group, Brafternoon, from among whose members many of the stories were sourced, she saw first-hand how beneficial it was for people to be able to share their experiences with others going through a similar situation.

 

Her hope in writing Might Make You Smile is that it will help others whose lives have been touched in one way or another by the disease, connecting them to a wider support network while putting a big grin on their faces in the process.

 

As Burling says herself of the positive impact of funny stories, “humour can be a weapon against disease” and, therefore, “shared humour is twice as strong”

 

The collection features nearly 50 true tales across 170 pages that inspire and amuse in equal proportion, ranging from embarrassing wig slips and make-up disasters, to errant nipples and even a stray prosthetic that results in a shark alert.

 

Each story is self-contained and is attributed, with only the subject’s first name given to spare additional blushes.

 

The first story – Nerf Attack – gets things started with a wincingly funny tale of a long-awaited, painstakingly-applied prosthetic nipple and a young boy with a rubber darts gun and a nifty aim. No spoilers, but the story ends with a very bemused surgeon.

 

The wry, sideways look at cancer and the more surprising potential side-effects of treatment and recovery continue throughout the book.

 

Some personal highlights include ‘A Night Out With Kylie’ – one of several stories about wig mishaps, with this one involving a particularly glam faux-thatch, nicknamed Kylie, ending up tangled in a friend’s bracelet; and ‘Green With Envy, Not So Much’, in which one particular lady accidentally goes out after painting on eyebrows using a shiny green eye-liner instead of the usual brown shade.

 

Another favourite is ‘Sherry, Love, Sherry’, about an attempt to soften the blow of a cancer diagnosis with a glass of Tio Pepe, thwarted by a barmaid’s lack of familiarity with fortified wines, while ‘Help, Shark!’ wouldn’t be out of place in a TV sitcom, with a woman going to extreme measures to cover up the fact that one of her prosthetic breast implants had freed itself from her swimwear while she was enjoying a seaside dip.

 

I must also mention ‘Pammies’, which brought a warm smile of shared joy with the grandmother who was keen to show off brand new prosthetics, aka ‘Pammies’, in a Baywatch-style red swimsuit.

Having seen close friends affected by cancer, the disease is a subject close to author Brenda Burling’s heart, and 10 per cent of net sales from the book will be donated by publisher Matthew James Publishing Ltd to the Helen Rollason Cancer Charity.

 

Might Make You Smile certainly delivers and would make a perfect gift for anyone who’s encountered the Big C or is looking for a little light relief in their life.

 

It’s the sort of book that you will dip in and out of for years to come, packed with lots of laugh-out-loud and feel-good moments, and it is positively crying out for a sequel.

 

Might Make You Smile by Brenda Burling (Matthew James Publishing Ltd) is out now, priced £7.99 in paperback.

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Book Blog Review. Refuting ISIS – Rebutting ISIS and Its ideological Foundations by Shaykh Muhammad Al-Yaqoub

At a time of shocking violence and confusion the likes of which is unprecedented in the West, this timely book is essential reading for Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

 

Written by one of the world’s most influential and respected Muslim academics, Refuting ISIS is the first book to defy ISIS intellectually and offers a frank and unequivocal rebuttal of the so-called ‘Islamic State’.

 

It is also a formal fatwā – an Islamic legal pronouncement made by an expert in Islamic law – that calls on Muslims to unite against the evils being perpetrated by extremists in the name of their religion.

 

Among other things, the fatwā forbids Muslims to join ISIS and to consider the terrorist group’s declarations null and void; declares that their self-declared caliphate is illegal, and entreats those within its ranks to defect.

 

It also states that it is the duty of every Muslim to fight ISIS, though it is important to clarify here that the author means doing so by supporting national anti-terrorism policy, not by literally taking up arms, as Islamic texts say in no uncertain terms that it is the duty of governments, not the individual, to wage wars.

 

Shaykh Muhammad, a descendent of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad and ranked among the 500 most influential Muslims by Georgetown University, is a spiritual leader to many thousands of Muslims across the world.

 

He is, therefore, in a strong position to tackle the spread of religious extremism and is deeply concerned with the rise of ISIS, which he describes as “the most serious threat Islam has ever known”.

 

He is also worried about a growing “takfīr mentality” among young Muslims — declaring other, more moderate Muslims as non-believers — and what he sees as an increasing ignorance among Muslims regards the tenets and values of their faith.

 

This, he says, is not being helped by what he identifies as a scarcity of scholars who defend Islam “with wisdom and moderation” and the replacement of scholars with internet propaganda as the primary source of knowledge.

 

His book is a scholarly yet eminently easy-to-understand deconstruction of ISIS’s ideology, with the central argument that followers of ISIS cannot be considered Muslim.

 

Instead, according to the author, they are a gang of bloodthirsty thugs deliberately spreading fallacies and twisting religious scripture for their own sick ends. He labels them as ‘Khawārij’, or deviators, and outside the fold of Islam.

 

As the author explains in his preface, the majority of readers will not have the deep understanding of classical Islamic scripture required to categorically demonstrate why this should be the case, nor see how ISIS distorts the Holy Quran and Sharia Law to support their agenda.

 

His aim, then, is three-fold. Firstly, to stem the tide of Islamophobia by setting out the stance of Islam as a religion of peace, mercy and kindness. Secondly, to help inform Muslims who may be unsure of the true teachings of Sunni Islam with regard to the ideology of ISIS and its crimes. Thirdly, to help contribute to the downfall of ISIS by exposing it for what it is and reducing its membership.

 

Refuting ISIS proceeds through a series of carefully constructed arguments, proving step by step that “Islamic State” is neither Islamic nor a state, but rather a deviant group driven by “anger, hatred, and a thirst for power”.

 

Among the many things it clarifies, the book lays out why it is strictly forbidden to kill any non-Muslim within a Muslim country; why Muslims living in any non-Muslim country must abide by its laws and regulations; and why Islam’s teaching are in complete contradiction to the killing or torturing of women, children and civilians.

 

Originally published in 2015 to wide acclaim, this fully expanded second edition includes further elaboration on many important topics, such as the prohibition of burning human beings, the abolition of slavery, and Islam’s position towards minorities.

 

It also tackles new subjects such as the invalidity of excommunicating Muslim rulers for not applying certain aspects of Sharia Law, Islam’s position towards democracy, and the prohibition of destroying pre-Islamic monuments and sacred sites.

 

The author also outlines ways in which Western countries can play their part in the fight against extremism – for example, by entreating people to fully consider the repercussions of insulting Muslim belief under the banner of ‘freedom of speech’.

 

For Muslims, Refuting ISIS will provide the arguments they need to challenge extremist propaganda when encountered. It will also be of interest to Muslim parents whose children, Shaykh Muhammad believes, are especially vulnerable to extremist grooming.

 

For non-Muslims, this book will help educate them about Islamic law, highlight the common enemy, and reconnect the gulf between communities.

 

In light of recent horrific attacks, and the anti-Islamic backlash that spreads in the wake of such deplorable acts, it is impossible to overstate the importance of this book, which serves as the definitive word against ISIS and all it stands for.

 

Refuting ISIS by Shaykh Muhammad Al-Yaqoub (Sacred Texts) is out now in paperback (£10.45) and Kindle (£7.21) editions.

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Book Review. Big Miracles: The 11 Spiritual Rules for Ultimate Success by Joanna Garzilli

Many people find themselves hoping for a miracle to transform their life, but this new guide by renowned intuition coach Joanna Garzilli has a simple solution: stop waiting, and go make those miracles happen!

 

British-born, Los Angeles-based Garzilli counts numerous celebrities among her high-powered VIP clients, and her new book Big Miracles: The 11 Spiritual Rules for Ultimate Success for the first time brings her highly sought-after advice within reach of everyone — promising to help readers achieve their goals and transform their lives simply by listening to their inner guiding voice, or ‘Spirit’.

 

The author’s backstory is fascinating. As a deeply sensitive child, she had many unanswered questions and her life fluctuated between working in the highly corporate, success-driven environments of advertising and seeking spiritual voyages of discovery, including extended periods of time living with remote tribes in various parts of the world.

 

Interweaving her techniques and teachings with motivating personal stories, Joanna’s book, already an Amazon bestseller In the USA, may well convince even the greatest spiritual sceptics to give her teachings a try.

 

The author writes from the heart, and her candid descriptions of her youthful unhappiness and some ill-advised life choices help readers to appreciate how embracing her spiritual side helped her to make miracles happen in her own life.

 

She explains how anybody has the power within themselves to replace worry, anxiety and depression with peace and true happiness; trade self-doubt for self-acceptance; shed insecurity and find true fulfilment.

 

Joanna’s key message is that we should listen to our true wants and desires rather than try to stifle these, because by doing so we only set ourselves on a path to frustration and unhappiness. Whether that end goal is greater wealth, a fitter physique or a fulfilling romantic life, it should not be viewed as selfish, greedy or superficial – as long as it is what our spiritual self truly desires.

 

We are all spiritual beings, she says, and we need to recognise when we have become ‘spiritually misaligned’ and take active steps to correct this, by following a series of spiritual ‘rules’ to achieve success.

 

The 11 Spiritual Rules set out in the book can easily be applied by any reader. The first rule is simply to ‘align with Spirit’ – this being the name that Joanna gives to our inner voice, the guiding force that wants each of us to achieve our greatest potential.

 

The author begins by helping readers to identify signs of misalignment, which can come in many forms. For example, it could be manifested in a feeling of ill-health, envy of others, or simply an overall sense of personal discomfort.

 

Through a series of simple exercises such as keeping a ‘Miracle Diary’ to record feelings, sensations and ‘signs’ – she guides readers towards their own awakening, though Joanna warns to be prepared for some deep, and often painful, soul-searching  before settling on the right life path.

 

Once this misalignment is clear then the reader can get to work addressing the fulfilment of their goals, with Joanna setting out  a range of easy-to-follow techniques that she herself has applied to her own life in order to find the success, happiness and balance that previously proved elusive.

 

These are laid out as the rules, and include such prescripts as ‘Commit to Your Breakthrough’, ‘Forgive Mistakes’, ‘Believe in Your Ability’ and ‘Accept Responsibility’.

Joanna eloquently explains how to nurture a connection to Spirit, and build on this new connection to manifest those real-life miracles, breaking free of self-imposed boundaries and tapping into your own divine guidance, intuition and energies to make things happen.

 

The author sets every reader a challenge — to question their life and understand the tools needed to improve it — and you can’t but help feel the momentum and be inspired into a positive, go-getting frame of mind.

 

Big Miracles will appeal to anybody who feels frustrated, unhappy or stuck in a rut, and is an excellent, inspirational read for those who recognise the power of the inner self and want to access a series of practical steps to silencing the inner critic and unleashing the full force of their creativity and potential.

 

Big Miracles: The 11 Spiritual Rules for Ultimate Success by Joanna Garzilli (HarperCollins) is available now, priced £11.58 in paperback, £15.90 in hardback and £8.99 as an eBook. Visit joannagarzilli.com.

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June 2017 eNewsletter

June. Named after Juno, the Roman goddess of marriage. So, we’ve married all our tastes and talents this month to focus on bringing the very best recommendations for book-lovers, whatever your poison. And if you are a fan of new crime writing don’t miss the longlist for the CWA, New Blood, John Creasey Dagger – all highly recommended.

Satis-Fiction! – Books of the Month

A flourish of fantastic fiction awaits the eager reader this month on our bookshelf of June’s best reads. Click here to get started.

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Satis-Factual! – Non-Fiction Books of the Month

Non-fiction fans will find a treasure trove of true stories this month. We highly recommend:

Blue: A Memoir by John Sutherland – A candid, objective, cooly passionate and often unsettling account of policing from a Met police officer.

Letting Go by Alex Hanscombe, Rachel Nickell’s son, is a touching and at times heartbreaking read, yet it also compellingly celebrates life, love and family.

That’s a First! – Debuts of the Month

Often the result of years of passionate work and intimately enriched with the author’s soul, a first novel is a very special thing. These are the top debutants around this month. Don’t miss:

The Weight of Him by Ethel Rohan – Big-hearted, unforgettable story of loss and recovery, of everyday people transforming lives. Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig –  ‘Your heart will ache for Ginny. She will make you laugh, she will make you cry, and you won’t forget her.’ (Reader Review). The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney – ‘A juicy page-turner as you discover whether dysfunction can ever start to function as a family.’ (Reader Review). Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman – ‘… an exceedingly exceptional book … Light-hearted and funny. ‘ (Reader Review).
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Top of the Pops! Father’s Day 18 June 2017





Robert Frost once mooted that a mother’s love is unconditional but a father’s must be ‘deserved’. A bit simplistic perhaps, but just in case, don’t forget Father’s Day! We’ve done the hard work for you (and our Dads said we’d never amount to anything … pah!) with a special shelf filled with perfect gift ideas. Books like Dad, You Suck by Guardian columnist Tim Dowling. This giggle-filled, snort-inducing collection of moments is a wonderfully candid, intensely funny antidote to the pressure to be the perfect parent. See below for a taster of other titles or visit the site to see them all.

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Pre-Publication Exclusives!

A golden opportunity to have a peep behind the fly covers of some excellent books before they are published. The ultimate ‘try before you buy’! 

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Get on the ReBUS!





Not only are we celebrating the 30th year of Ian Rankin’s impeccable crime series by giving the self-abusing Scot sleuth his own special category, we’re also running a free prize draw. Three lucky winners will receive copies of 5 key Rebus books and a Goody bag including a festival tote bag, Rebus 30 pen, beermat, bookmark and a miniature bottle of Highland Park whisky. Haven’t read a Rebus case yet? Criminal! Click here to get started. 

Six of the Best! – The Austen Project

200 years since Jane Austen’s death, six contemporary authors have been charged with reimagining her classics. So far, Joanna Trollope, Val McDermid, Alexander McCall Smith and Curtis Sittenfeld have taken up the challenge. The latter’s Eligible, now in paperback, is Pride and Prejudice in modern-day Cincinnati and a thoroughly enjoyable read. No-one knows yet who the last two authors will be to complete the project. We’re on the edge of our seats and you will be the first to know! Find out more.

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Don’t Desert Gobi! 





Named after the desert she was found in by ultra-marathon competitor and author Dion Leonard, Gobi is an extraordinary dog whose story has already touched many. 

Finding Gobi is a story of hope and courage; of life-changing lessons learned and the unbreakable connection between man and dog. A connection that was lost and miraculously found again. Neither Dion or Gobi will ever be the same again and, perhaps, neither will you. Click here for more.

We are Friends of Dorothy (Koomson)








Packed with emotion, humour and razor-sharp observation, the powerful writing of Dorothy Koomson features time and time again on our Book of the Month and Book of the Year lists.

Often boldly exposing difficult subjects and delving deep into human relationships. Her latest, The Friend, is no exception. A gloriously dramatic, compelling tale of secrets, lies and the friends we choose. ‘A wonderful read that keeps you guessing right to the end.’ (Reader Review). We also recommend you look at her earlier novels When I Was Invisible and That Girl from Nowhere. Click here for more.

Alex Rides Again!





Tell your young teens and all their friends and all those closet adult fans too [market research has told the publisher there are many!] Alex Rider has a brand new action-packed, stylish adventure to get stuck into, Never Say Die.

If you know anyone who hasn’t read these action-packed novels by Anthony Horowitz, we can’t recommend them highly enough! Of course, we also know that, as the first story Stormbreaker came out 17 years ago, you may be an old (okay not so old) fan. In which case, click here and get your copy and squirrel yourself away for a high-octane trip down memory lane!

20 years of the Boy Who Lived

Amazingly it is 20 years since the publication of the first Harry Potter book. As we all now know J K Rowling had dozens of rejections before the brilliance of her story was noticed and the rest is history. To celebrate the event Bloomsbury have created some stunning ‘house’ editions of the first title both in paperback and hardback.

 




Perfect for a new generation of readers or just to keep on your bookshelf and remember when you queued at midnight to get the latest one! Also don’t miss the chance to win a set of these amazing books!

 





Scroll down to see more hand-picked selections in the categories you have told us you like to be kept up to date with. To change them just log in to your account








P.S. Don’t forget to visit our Free Prize Draws category. This month we have sets of The Grantchester Mysteries  a DVD box set of Prime Suspect 1973 to give away and tickets to an exclusive Desmond Elliott Book Award event on 22 June in London. Good luck.

Happy Reading.

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Short Story Prize for aspiring writers’ fairy tales

The National Literacy Trust and Bloomsbury Publishing are calling on budding children’s fiction writers to recreate a classic fairy tale, with the chance to have their work published.

The Short Story Prize 2017 is set to unearth brilliant new talent in children’s writing across the UK.

The writing competition challenges unpublished authors to capture children’s imaginations with a short story that gives a well-known fairy tale a modern twist. Entries should be between 2,000 and 4,000 words, aimed at children aged 8 to 12.

The top 10 stories will be published in an eBook anthology by Bloomsbury, the renowned publishers of titles by J.K. Rowling, Neil Gaiman and Louis Sachar. The 10 winners will also receive £200 each.

This year’s competition, which follows the success of the New Children’s Author Prize 2015 and the Poetry Prize 2016, will be judged by representatives from the National Literacy Trust and Bloomsbury Publishing.

 

Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust said:

“Exciting and inspiring literature is vital to our work, so we are delighted to be working with Bloomsbury Publishing for the third year to uncover new children’s writing talent.

“For decades, fairy tales have been used to help children and adults better understand themselves and the world around them. We can’t wait to see how aspiring authors will give the magical stories we love a modern twist, while supporting our work to help more children fall in love with reading.”

 

Ian Lamb, Head of Children’s Marketing and Publicity at Bloomsbury Publishing said:

“Bloomsbury are delighted to once again partner with the National Literacy Trust on a competition that looks to discover the talent and imagination of undiscovered writers. Short stories are often a key way for young people to get into reading and we cannot wait to read the wonderfully twisted submissions.”

 

Emma Cox, winner of the New Children’s Author Prize 2015 said:

“This is a magical opportunity to grasp with both hands – how fabulous to write a twisted, wicked modern take on a fairy tale…. I’d say don’t doubt yourself: enter this competition. Have faith in the talent that you have, throw in a bit of luck, some powerful magic and support the wonderful work of the National Literacy Trust. Set yourself achievable targets, start scribbling ideas down now, carry your story in your head wherever you go … it’s a wonderful experience, and if you’re one of the 10 winning writers you will have created your own happy ever after. Just think of that.”

The launch of the Short Story Prize 2017 comes after a new national celebration of creative writing was announced earlier this month. National Writing Day on 21 June 2017 encourages people to put pen to paper and unleash their imagination”.

First entry is £30 (subsequent submissions £15). The competition closes at midnight on 25 June 2017.

All proceeds will help the National Literacy Trust continue its work to tackle low literacy levels in deprived communities across the UK.

Find out more literacytrust.org.uk/shortstories

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Top 10 books on Lovereading 14 – 21 May 2017

Lovereading Top 10

1
See You in September See You in September
Charity Norman
May 2017 Book of the Month.
Gosh, what a stunning read this is, I simply couldn’t put it down and devoured it in one glorious sitting! Cassy travels half way around the world to New Zealand with her boyfriend, when they …
Download free opening extract
2
Sweetpea Sweetpea
C. J. Skuse
May 2017 Book of the Month.
A Maxim Jakubowski selected title.
The first adult novel by an acclaimed children’s book author, Sweet Pea hits all the right buttons. A dark, twisted read about a female serial killer with dollops of humour, sarcasm …
Download free opening extract
3
Truly Madly Guilty Truly Madly Guilty
Liane Moriarty
May 2017 Book of the Month.
Simply fabulous, this is a truly beautiful, mind-popping story. I must admit to jigging up and down with excitement when ‘Truly Madly Guilty’ arrived on my desk, Liane Moriarty has a very special touch, her …
Download free opening extract
4
Exquisite Exquisite
Sarah Stovell
Wow! This is a cracking psychological thriller. Told in first person from two different viewpoints it causes you to question the reliability of both women. Smart, sensitive, talented Bo, always mothering, always looking to save someone and Alice, young, damaged …
Download free opening extract
5
A Talent for Murder A Talent for Murder
Andrew Wilson
May 2017 Book of the Month.
A fascinating foray into the past, and the intriguing missing period of time so well documented, yet little known about in Agatha Christie’s life. I’ve visited the Silent Pool and Newlands Corner where Agatha Christie …
Download free opening extract
6
Peculiar Ground Peculiar Ground
Lucy Hughes-Hallett
May 2017 Book of the Month.
A huge book both in scope and length, it begins with the journals of a landscape gardener building a great park in 1663 then moves to 1961 and follows the lives of a large group …
Download free opening extract
7
An Unlikely Agent An Unlikely Agent
Jane Menczer
May 2017 Debut of the Month.
An enthralling Edwardian espionage thriller featuring an endearing, independent female lead and lashings of intrigue.London, 1905, and Margaret Trant is living a humdrum live until she sees an interest-piquing advertisement for a secretarial position. “Was …
Download free opening extract
8
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
Gail Honeyman
May 2017 Debut of the Month.
It is the standard reply when people ask,  “How are you?” ….you say “I’m fine.” Well, Eleanor is most definitely not fine and has not been since she was 10 years old. Shifted from one …
Download free opening extract
9
Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts
Christopher de Hamel
Winner of the Wolfson History Prize 2017.
Christopher de Hamel is a man happy in his work – his enthusiasm and love for his subject lights up this account of medieval manuscripts and their history. With first-rate illustrations, we too can …
Download free opening extract
10
Spellslinger Spellslinger
Sebastien de Castell
May 2017 NewGen Book of the Month.
In a Nutshell: Witty fantasy anti-hero forges his own path
There’s trickery, traps, and action aplenty in this vividly conjured magical fantasy – the first in a series – about finding your place and discovering …
Download free opening extract
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Mid-May eNewsletter

Welcome to our mid-May update full of the latest, best and most exciting books all selected by our team of incredibly experienced book experts. And don’t miss Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts by Christopher de Hamel, the winner of the prestigious Wolfson History Prize… a perfect gift for Father’s Day perhaps?.

 

Pre-Publication Exclusives

Your monthly peek between the sheets of books yet to hit the shelves! Books like: Greatest Hits by Laura Barnett – A musical journey through a life lived to the full and a compelling tale about making peace with our mistakes.

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E-asy Reading! – eBooks of the Month








For those still seeking the next great e-read, stay in touch right here with the latest digital delights with our definitive list of the best in eBooks.

Scared to Death by Kate Medina – With a whipping, corkscrewing plot and fast-paced action, ‘Scared to Death’ just roars along, ensuring a worthwhile and entirely captivating read.

You Don’t Know Me by Imran Mahmood – A captivating courtroom drama, and a poignant personal story that explores social disadvantage and London gang culture from a unique perspective.

A True Story of Murder, Loss and Survival





Letting Go by Alex Hanscombe is a truly touching, considered, and frank life story of the young son of Rachel Nickell who, aged nearly 3, witnessed the brutal attack on his mother.

Liz Robinson, one of our Lovereading expert reviewers wrote. ‘I felt pain, yet I also felt admiration, and wonderment as difficult choices were made while Alex and his father were in a world of pain and confusion. ‘Letting Go’ is at times a heart-breaking read, of course it is, yet it also compellingly celebrates life, love and family.’

Maybe you Missed… Mid-May Highlights

This is where we highlight excellent titles that may have passed you by this month. Titles like:

A Talent for Murder by Andrew Wilson – An Agatha Christie-style mystery with Christie herself at the centre of it. Great fun; full of red herrings, clues and twists. Sound: Stories of Hearing Lost and Found by Bella Bathurst – Engaging and intelligently fascinating study of the nature of listening and the science of hearing. The Cardinal’s Court by Cora Harrison – Captivating, transportive historical mystery and a murderous journey in the murky corridors of the past.
The Fireman by Joe Hill – Nightmarish, super-powered, mankind survival tale jam-packed with pulsing emotion, breathless adventure and quirky characters. An Unlikely Agent by Jane Menczer – An enthralling Edwardian espionage thriller featuring an endearing, independent female lead and lashings of intrigue.
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Exuberant, Sensual, Imaginative








New York born, but resident in Rome, Jonathan Levi writes with a nimble style and lithe perception that demands your full attention.

Septimania is a ‘brilliantly bonkers’ (our expert reviewer) magical-reality tale of one man’s search for love and A Guide for the Perplexed is a dazzling Pandora’s Box of literary delights: a flabbergasting feat of imagination. We don’t want to give too much away; you should really find out for yourself! Suffice to say Levi is one of our major author highlights in the month. Click here.

     

Recommended by Readers – Our Reader Review Highlights

The books loved by other book lovers just like you. This month, don’t miss:

Block 46 by Johana Gustawsson – ‘A jewel of a read’; ‘Raw, high-energy and distressing’; ‘ … gripping thriller’; ‘ … brings something unique to the world of crime writing’ (Reader Reviews). Crimson Lake by Candice Fox – A sharp, clever crime thriller set in Australia that is menacing, absorbing and edgily entertaining. No wonder the author is being celebrated as a new star of crime fiction. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman – ‘A distinctive, funny and moving voice’; ‘Heart-warming and captivating’; ‘brilliantly written, bittersweet, thought-provoking.’ (Reader Reviews).

Making History – Debut Novel from Lucy Hughes-Hallett





Already an established Historical Biographer, Lucy Hughes-Hallett has now penned her first novel. The first of many we hope. Spanning centuries and multiple relationships, Peculiar Ground is a superbly written literary tome with a family drama at its centre. It’s a book of layers and levels and unexpected places. ‘A beautifully written, captivating and quirkily clever tale … I loved, loved, LOVED this book… a magical and appealing novel.’ (Reader Reviews).

Wolfson Winner! – Wolfson History Prize 2017




May is turning out to be the month to be a fan of History! The Wolfson History Prize was founded in 1972 and has become synonymous with the best History writing. The winner was Christopher de Hamel for his book Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts. The judges said “Imaginatively conceived, beautifully written and illustrated… de Hamel offers serious new insights in every chapter.” Find out more





While we’re celebrating a passion for history, this is the perfect time to whet your appetite about the upcoming Chalke Valley History Festival (26 June – 2 July).

There are incredible events, speakers and activities, as well as camping, glamping, re-enactments and an airshow. Not to mention the fabulous food! Interested? Look out for our special blog and join the show! Plus you can enter our competition to win a family ticket.

In Short! – Short Stories Category





We’re big fans of the short form here at Lovereading. A well-crafted short story is a wonderful thing; a mini escape, perfect for the bus or train and something to talk about with friends. New this month is Alexander McCall Smith’s Chance Developments, a poignant collection of tales inspired by a series of old photographs.

Liked that? You’ll LOVE this!

Our If You Like You’ll Love category suggests books we think you’ll love, based on the ones you’ve already enjoyed! Say goodbye to the ‘end of book blues’.

Like Anne Tyler?… You’ll Love Modern Lovers by Emma Straub. Like Victoria Hislop?… You’ll Love Island of Secrets by Patricia Wilson. Like Erica James?… You’ll Love The Forever House by Veronica Henry. Like Liane Moriarty?… You’ll Love What Alice Knew by T A Cotterell.

Daddy Cool! – Father’s Day 2017




Every Dad has his day. This year, it’s Sunday 18 June! A book is a thoughtful, lasting way to say ‘I love you’. It certainly beats another pair of socks or novelty tie. Click here to see our collection of great reads, bursting with brilliant ideas to get in Dad’s good books!

Pure Magic!





Every now and then a crossover novel comes along that is written for young adults but is too good not to be read by older ones too! The magical, head-spinning first book of the new Spellslinger series by Sebastien de Castell is just such a book! Perfect for fans of Guardians of the Galaxy, it’s a fantasy novel that’ll keep you guessing on every page, filled with wit, adventure and fantastic characters. There’s more than a dollop of magic too.

Rich and compelling and bursting with tricks, it’ll have you on the edge of your seat. Find out more.

Crime Watch – Maxim’s Recommendations




Once again, crime writing sleuth Maxim Jakubowski has been lifting the lid this month on the best books for crime and thriller fans. It’s an eclectic gathering which includes everything from literary studies of the evils of the Nazi regime to supernatural dangers and twisted school children! 





His top two tips for success this month are:

Book of the Month Block 46 by Johana Gustawsson  – A stunning, eerie and scarily real serial murder tale, translated by Maxim himself.

Highly Recommended Mischling by Affinity Konar – An incredible, harrowing, beautiful and unforgettable novel about the horrors and huge heart of humanity.

Friends Forever, Enemies Never




If you have teenage children, it can be hard watching them go through all the trials and tribulations that life can hurl at them. Nicola Morgan’s The Teenage Guide to Friends is essential reading for teens and parents alike, tackling the all-important subjects of making and keeping friendships, as well as what to do when they break down (as they do). It’s a truly illuminating read that you will want to dip into over and over again. Get it here.





P.S. Don’t forget to enter our free prize draws especially the chance to win DVD box sets of Prime Suspect 1973

P.P.S. If you are a fan of fiction that will make you laugh look no further than the shortlist for the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize. Our top pick is the outrageously funny, fast-paced and uniquely addictive Razor Girl by Carl Hiaasen.

And that is just about all from us this month. We hope you get to use the extra light of the evenings for some window-side reading and we’ll be back next month to help fill the gaps in your bookshelf!

 

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May eNewletter

May’s recommendations are fluffier and brighter than a basket of blossom and we’re blooming with joy to bring you the fruits of our labour this month! Whatever your taste, your next great escape is just a few clicks away. Read on for more.

May Queens! – Books of the Month

A right royal basketful of the best books about awaits you this month. Books like:

Don’t Let Go by Michel Bussi – A captivating, fiendishly puzzling crime drama with an exotic, fascinating backdrop and a heart-stopping finale. A Dark So Deadly by Stuart MacBride – Gruesome, unpredictable and excitingly dark serial murder drama and an investigating team with a twist! The Ice by Laline Paull – From the award-winning author of The Bees, a beautifully written, complex, thought-provoking and intense Arctic drama. The Owl Always Hunts at Night by Samuel Bjork – Nail-biting suspense combined with masterful writing… the very best of Nordic Noir.
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The Best Reads. Fact. – Non-Fiction Books of the Month

It’s not just fiction that floats our boat! Here, for fact fans, are the best non-fiction finds this month: We particularly love:

The Girl from Aleppo: Nujeen’s Escape from War to Freedom by Nujeen Mustafa –  The inspiring and illuminating first-hand account of a daring escape from a war-torn home, in a wheelchair.

East West Street by Philippe Sands – Multiple strands form one compelling and award-winning history, exposing the origins of genocide and crimes against humanity.

Calling all enfoodiasts! This month don’t miss: The Plagiarist in the Kitchen by Jonathan Meades – An ‘anti-cookbook’. No recipe is truly original and to prove it, here are 125 of the best stolen ones for you to try!

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Darling Buds! – Debuts of the Month

Somerset Maugham said: There are three rules to writing novels. Unfortunately, nobody knows what they are”. Here are our top tips for the best first-time authors who have tried to work them out! Don’t miss:

Dead Letters by Caite Dolan-Leach – Clever, twist-filled family tale in which mistrust leads to a suspenseful journey of searing tension. Perfect for fans of S K Tremayne. What Alice Knew by T A Cotterell – Devastating relationship tale: ‘A rollercoaster of emotion … A definite page-turner which will keep you hooked (Reader Review). Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman – ‘… an exceptional book … Heart-wrenching … yet light-hearted and funny…’ (Reader Reviews). Block 46 by Johana Gustawsson – ‘A jewel of a read’; ‘Raw, high-energy and distressing’; ‘… a gripping thriller that brings something new’ (Reader Reviews).
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Crime and Cake – The Grantchester Mysteries by James Runcie





Charming, atmospheric, and compellingly crafted, The Grantchester Mysteries is the epitome of ‘cosy crime’, with a quintessential English detective for a hero. No wonder the sleuthing Archdeacon, Sidney Chambers is already on his sixth case, Sidney Chambers and the Persistence of Love and the TV adaptation is such an enormous hit! This month you can win one of 5 sets of all six books! Click here to try your luck.

Pre-Publication Exclusives





Read exclusive extracts of highly recommended books before they hit the shelves! Books like:

Island of Secrets by Patricia Wilson – Perfect Summer Read. A beautiful, heart-breaking and all too human story of love and sacrifice in the face of evil.

Plus, if you are quick, there is a special offer currently on the eBook format ahead of the physical edition.   

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Prestigious awards galore this month…





First Prize! – Desmond Elliott 2017 ShortlistSupported by Lovereading and just about the best prize around for first-time novelists, the Desmond Elliott shortlist has just been announced. Is your favourite among them? And who’s your tip for the top honours?

Chair of Trustees for the Desmond Elliott Prize, Dallas Manderson said: “The judges have done a commendable job of selecting three titles from a strong, varied and ambitious longlist and we are delighted to present such an exemplary shortlist in our 10th anniversary year.” 

Browse the hopefuls, read what our expert reviewers have to say and pick your winner. The winner is announced on 21 June 2017.

 




Great Scott! – Walter Scott Prize 2017 ShortlistMuch the best thing that has happened for lovers of Historical Fiction’ (Hilary Mantel).

Why not peruse the shortlist for the hotly contested Walter Scott Prize and get the chance for you to win tickets to the Borders Book Festival on 17 June to see the winner announced in person! Click here for more.

 





Pages of History – Wolfson History Prize 2017 Shortlist – A quick reminder for History fans that you can now see the shortlisted titles vying for the top spot in the Wolfson History Prize.

We’ve added our own Lovereading Expert Reviews and free downloadable extracts so you can judge for yourself! Click here for more.

Find your next favourite reads

If you like Paula Hawkins’s The Girl on the Train you’ll love The Second Sister by Claire Kendal. If you like The Versions of Us by Laura Barnett you’ll love The Other Us by Fiona Harper. If you like Harriet Evans you’ll love The Last Days of Summer by Sophie Pembroke.

‘Chalke’ it up to History! – Chalke Valley History Festival 2017





While we’re celebrating a passion for history, this is the perfect time to whet your appetite about the upcoming Chalke Valley History Festival (26 June – 2 July).

There are incredible events, speakers and activities, as well as camping, glamping, re-enactments and an airshow. Not to mention the fabulous food! Interested? Look out for our special blog and join the show! Plus you can enter our competition to win a family ticket.

Gripping and Frighteningly Realistic – The Books of Paul E Hardisty





Radiating the resonance of the author’s own life experience, the adventures of Claymore Straker, a modern justice seeker in the hot zones of the Middle East, are searingly real, incredibly topical and brilliantly written.

The first in the series was nominated for a CWA Dagger and Hardisty’s work has been strongly endorsed by his peers. The latest complex tale, Reconciliation for the Dead, is out now and is a dangerous and compelling return of a gripping hero. For fans of James Lee Burke, Lee Child and Terry Hayes, author of I am Pilgrim. Click here for more.

Don’t miss our Free Prize Draws this month




Lots of booky prizes are up for grabs this month but in the office we are enviously eyeing the box set of series 7 of the wonderfully acerbic Vera, based on the Vera Stanhope series of books penned by Ann Cleeves. Enter this and more today to claim your chance.

Scroll down to see more hand-picked selections in the categories you have told us you like to be kept up to date with. To change them just log in to your account.

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