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Famous Last Words. Epitaphs of 20 celebrated writers

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Lovereading Top 10 books 17 – 24 April 2016

Lovereading Top 10

Eligible Eligible
Curtis Sittenfeld
April 2016 Book of the Month.
Can a retelling of ‘Pride and Prejudice’ possibly work? Well, this novel proves it can. The Austen Project consists of six contemporary authors, each retelling one of Jane Austen’s novels. Imagine, just imagine being paired …
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The One in a Million Boy The One in a Million Boy
Monica Wood
April 2016 Book of the Month.
Absolutely enchanting, and not in a sugary syrupy sweet way, oh no, instead this is earthy and vibrant and real. Miss Ona Vitkus is 104 years old, she lives on her own, relatively undisturbed, and …
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The Butterfly Summer The Butterfly Summer
Harriet Evans
A gorgeous, loveable read, this hovers on the edge of the feel of a fairytale, of being almost dreamlike, yet at the same time it is startlingly believable and real. Nina Parr is 25, divorced, living at home and working …
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Ashes of London Ashes of London
Andrew Taylor
April 2016 eBook of the Month.
An enthralling and quite, quite wonderful historical thriller, where the story absolutely thrives in the midst of one of the most famous times in British history. The first chapter not only blasts you immediately into …
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Fool Me Once Fool Me Once
Harlan Coben
April 2016 Book of the Month.
An outrageously stunning read, that takes a tight hold from the outset and continues to squeeze until the shockingly intense end. Maya, a former Army Captain, finds herself caught up in a nightmare scenario after …
Download free opening extract
Everyone Brave is Forgiven Everyone Brave is Forgiven
Chris Cleave
‘War was declared at 11.15 and Mary North signed up at noon.’
With these words begins the most breathtaking novel of the year, Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave. Join Mary, Alistair and Tom as they try to survive in …
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My Grandmother Sends Her Regards and Apologises My Grandmother Sends Her Regards and Apologises
Fredrik Backman
April 2016 Book of the Month.
Totally and utterly and completely gorgeous in every way, the thought of having to put this book down for even a second is inconceivable. The first few pages make you smile, make you laugh and …
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Hitman Anders and the Meaning of it All Hitman Anders and the Meaning of it All
Jonas Jonasson
April 2016 Book of the Month.
What do you get if you add together one receptionist, one priest, one very hard to control hitman, and 19 criminals on the warpath… you get an unholy, riotous whirlwind of a read, that’s what! …
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That Girl from Nowhere That Girl from Nowhere
Dorothy Koomson
April 2016 Book of the Month.
What a terrific and powerful book, I reckon it is her best yet.  It covers race, adoption, rejection and even murder (or does it?).  Our hero, Smitty, a black girl, white adopted parents, white long-term …
Download free opening extract
When She Was Bad When She Was Bad
Tammy Cohen
A happy relaxed team in a recruitment office have a rude awakening when a new head of department is employed to improved their profitability. She certainly shakes them up, setting one against another, playing ruthless games and manipulating them mercilessly. …
Download free opening extract
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CRIMEFEST Bristol 19 – 22 May 2016


Peter James, Anne Holt, Ian Rankin and Hugh Fraser are among the top names set to speak at this year’s CrimeFest in Bristol, 19 – 22 May. CrimeFest will once again host a stellar line-up of award-winning, bestselling crime fiction authors, as well as hundreds of publishers, agents and lovers of crime fiction over four days of exciting panel discussions and author talks. Since its launch in 2008 CrimeFest has become the standout event of the year for crime fiction aficionados from around the world.

And there is a 10% discount for Lovereading members on the Full Weekend Pass – just  use the discount code ‘lovereading’ on the booking page or click here.   

International bestselling author of the Roy Grace series Peter James will be interviewed by Andrew Taylor about receiving the Crime Writer’s Association Diamond Dagger Award for excellence in crime writing. Anne Holt, who has spearheaded the Norwegian crime-thriller trend, becoming Norway’s bestselling female crime writer, will be interviewed by Barry Forshaw and award-winning crime author Ian Rankin will be interviewed by Jake Kerridge. This year Hugh Fraser, best known for playing Captain Hastings in Agatha Christie’s Poirot, will be the Gala Dinner Toastmaster, having recently released his debut novel Harm.


Adam Sisman, bestselling author of the biography that unearthed the enigma behind John le Carré, will be in conversation with BBC icon James Naughtie to discuss the compelling espionage that led le Carré to write classic crime thrillers like The Night Manager, now a hit BBC series.


The hotly contested trial of Steven Avery in the unmissable Netflix documentary Making A Murderer will be debated in a mock-trial hosted by Crime Scene Magazine. Neil White, criminal lawyer and bestselling author of Cold Kill, will be battling head to head for Avery’s conviction against Steven Cavanagh, author of the Eddie Flynn thrillers. Sophie Hannah will be making a special appearance as the Judge.


CrimeFest host and co-founder Adrian Muller said: “This has been a fantastic year for crime fiction, with TV adaptations of real cases like Making A Murderer and The Jinx and adaptions of crime classics like The Night Manager and Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None boosting crime fiction’s popularity and reaching a new audience. From discussing contemporary issues of everything from cyber-terrorism to sexism within the police force to debating corruption in the criminal justice system, CrimeFest will present an array of exciting panels from the best crime fiction authors from around the world.”


Also appearing at the UK’s biggest crime convention are a number of fantastic panel events and discussions including:

  • ‘Deadly Dames: Women As Killers, Investigators And Victims’ with culinary-crime writers Janet Laurence and Anna Mazzola
  • ‘What’s So Funny? Humour In Crime Fiction’ with James Runcie (Grantchester) and Dead Ringers writer Nev Fountain
  • ‘Crimes Against Humanity: Terrorism, War And International Intrigue’ with Yusuf Toropov, author of Jihadi: A Love Story
  • ‘When is Enough Too Much?: Violence Against Women In Crime Fiction’ with Shetland author Ann Cleeves and author of the bestselling Thora Gudmundsdottir series Yrsa Sigurðardóttir, moderated by James Runcie


A full programme is available at:

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Cat lovers everywhere will fall in love with this endearing tale about the way our feline friends enhance our everyday lives.


js-Buckingham-front-coverThe book focuses on the adventures of a handsome puss – the eponymous Buckingham – his kitty family and friends, and the humans whose lives they touch along the way.


Beautifully illustrated with black and white line drawings from Kiran Ahmed, it’s a witty and compelling novel that also holds some deeper messages about the way cats have a therapeutic value, bringing real joy and contentment to those around them.


At heart, though, this novel is as fun and playful as the cast of loveable cat characters within the pages.


It follows pedigree Buckingham from the moment he enters Angela Tillsworthy’s life, having escaped the clutches of a cat-thief who hoped to make a fortune from this handsome example of a rare breed.


Angela welcomes Buckingham into the home where she lives with her elderly father Oliver, oblivious to the fact his arrival will turn all their lives around.


She witnesses how the loveable cat manages to bring genuine happiness into the life of her deaf, blind and wheelchair-bound father, and is struck by the bond that quickly develops between the pair.


Meanwhile, Angela’s sister is in the process of opening a luxury retirement home and has little time to look after her own cat, Lily. Before he knows it, Buckingham is sharing a living space with a feisty female. Neither cat is happy about the move at first, but a kitty romance soon blossoms.


When Oliver moves to the nursing home and Buckingham and Lily become regular visitors there, Angela is amazed to see how Lily also forms a close bond with one of the female residents. Sensing that she has hit on a form of feline therapy, Angela has a bright idea, and Cozy Cats Cottage PLC is born.


Enlisting the help of Buckingham and Lily’s offspring, Miss Pretty and Dexter, along with pal Tyson Cuddles, the company teams up charismatic cats with locals in need of a little TLC.


The events that ensue – including a cat wedding and an emotional brother-sister kitty reunion – are both touching and amusing.


Author John Schroeder has a light, witty style that keeps this book fun throughout. It could only ever have been written by a true cat lover, and the author has even given the cats their own voices. Their thoughts and conversations are dotted throughout the narrative, so we get an interesting ‘cat’s eye view’ of the goings on.


Although it’s a work of fiction, Schroeder was inspired to write Buckingham after seeing how interaction with a pet cat improved the quality of life of his own elderly and sick father.

Schroeder is better known as an Ivor-Novello award-winning music producer,  but he clearly has a gift as a storyteller.


The tale of Buckingham and his friends – both human and feline – is funny and highly readable as well as touching and celebratory of the humble moggy. To paraphrase a famous advert, ten out of ten cat lovers will prefer it.


Buckingham by John Schroeder (Matador) is out now, price £10.99 in paperback. For more information visit

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Mid March eNewsletter

Welcome to our mid-month update on what’s hot, noteworthy and frankly unputdownable in the world of books … Read on for exclusive access to some of the best books being published in May selected by our team of editorial experts, news of the most prestigious award for debut writers… The Desmond Elliott Prize and much more.

Pre-Publication Peeking!

This is our unique category, where you can discover and start reading spellbinding books before they are published. Books like:

My Italian Bulldozer by Alexander McCall Smith – A travel novel like no other, filled with warmth and charm from one of the UK’s best loved authors. Katherine of Aragon, The True Queen by Alison Weir – Six stunning novels about the Six Queens of Henry VIII, drawing on new research. The Butterfly Summer – A gorgeous, loveable read, almost dreamlike read. We also loved the wonderful family drama A Place for Us.

When I Was Invisible – New from author of That Girl from Nowhere. An absolute page turner of a novel, at times uncomfortable, yet powerful and oh so compelling.


Desmond Elliott Longlist

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. It has succeeded in its mission in a manner that would make Elliott proud.

And we are very excited to introduce the longlist to you, which includes titles like The Butcher’s Hook, The Trouble with Goats and Sheep and Spill Simmer Falter Wither that our Experts and Reader Review panel rated so highly. See them all here, rest assured every title is well worth reading.  The shortlist is due 6 May with the winner announced 22 June.


Like That? You’ll Love This!

Yep! Yet more handpicked, like-for-like recommendations lovingly selected by the Lovereading team so that you can be introduced to new authors similar in feel to authors that you love! For instance:

If you like Dorothy Koomson, Cathy Kelly or Marian Keyes, you’ll love The Way We Were by Sinead Moriarty – A gorgeous cathartic family tale, with a unique narrative. If you like Nadine Dorries, you’ll love A Family Scandal by Kitty Neale – A Sunday Times bestselling, gritty and emotional family drama. If you like Katie Fforde you’ll love A Good Catch by Fern Britton. Perfect feel good reading.
If you like Victoria Hislop or Rosie Thomas, you’ll love Eden Gardens by Louise Brown – A vivid striking and captivating colonial tale layered with beauty and pain. If you like The Girl on the Train (Paula Hawkins) you’ll love When She Was Bad by Tammy Cohen… A hypnotic, at times harrowing and frightening, compulsive read.
ghf cwh

Keeping up with the Jonassons!

Gotland-dwelling Jonas Jonasson has a unique perspective on storytelling with engaging characters in madcap situations.

His first two titles: The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared and The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden won him industry accolades and a delighted international following.

The latest title to get his trademark treatment is Hitman Anders and the Meaning of it All, a relentlessly riotous, unholy whirlwind of a read. Charming yet dark, humorous and immersive, it’s a gorgeously addictive walk on the light and darker sides of life! See more here.

Down(load) Time – eBooks of the Month

As always, we have the best in downloadable stories for the digitally dexterous. Click here to see all of this month’s books available as eBooks. Our two favourites this month are:

The enthralling and quite wonderful historical thriller Ashes of London by Andrew Taylor, well-timed given the Fire of London was 350 years ago this year.

Or the distinctive, powerful and engrossing Tastes Like Fear by Sarah Hilary, 3rd in the DI Marnie Rome series.

Enchanting and Unmissable… One in a Million

An 11 year old boy turns up on the doorstep of a 104 year old lady and the ensuing story, The One in a Million Boy, has had our book experts and Reader Reviewers fighting over the copies in the office.

With reviews like ‘vibrant and real’, ‘a story that made me smile, laugh, cry and hug my children tightly’, ‘One of those books that you race to finish but at the same time don’t ever want to finish’ maybe it’s time for you to find out more for yourself especially if you have read Elizabeth is Missing or The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry.


Fantasy, Science Fiction and Horror fans take note

Hands up, we admit that our editorial expertise in the area of Fantasy, Science Fiction and Horror was not as strong as we would have liked – BUT with the renowned Simon Spanton now on board that is no longer the case. Simon has 25 years experience in the publishing business, including as Publisher for the prestigious imprint Gollancz where he worked with greats such as Ben Aaronovitch, Peter F. Hamilton, Scott Lynch and Richard Morgan. Fans will now appreciate the 3 new categories of Fantasy, Science Fiction and Horror rather than all being combined in one and the regular expert selections. Discover more today and do spread the word to all those you know who like a bit of otherworldly reading.

Jane Austen Revisited, Reworked and Renovated

After over 200 years in print, Jane Austen is just as popular as ever. So much so, that some of our favourite authors have taken up the challenge to create new versions of her stories. There are currently four to choose from and many of you will already have enjoyed them!

The latest addition to the party is Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld, which brings Pride and Prejudice to modern day Cincinnati in a giddy, glam-ridden and hearty tale from the bestselling author of American Wife.

Time to discover some Reader Review Panel Favourites

Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave.  Sarah Broadhurst said of this WW2 story… the writing is brilliant, the dialogue sharp, the changing attitudes that the war imposes on folk beautifully realised. And our Reader Review Panel members concurred with glowing reviews… ‘Clever and compelling wartime novel’ and ‘one of my top books of all time. It is stunning…’

The French Lesson by Hallie Rubenhold. Another favourite of Sarah Broadhurst… lots of drama and intrigue and a fast, compulsive pace. It is a pure charmer. Followed suit by our Reader Reviewers… ‘a delightful book that absolutely grips from the first word’ and ‘a wonderful gallop through the Revolution with dry humour, spies and plenty of passion.’ What are you waiting for?

Locke Stock! Brilliant books by Attica Locke

Since her tightly woven, stylish debut thriller, Black Water Rising, Attica Locke has gripped fans and gong-givers alike with her atmospheric stories. With her debut shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction, she is at the top table of tale-tellers in our book!

Her third title Pleasantville, a (highly topical) political thriller and murder mystery, is a stonkingly good read, a Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction longlister and out NOW in paperback! Learn more about Attica’s novels here.

Book Festival Anyone?

This Spring’s Literary Festivals are covering all the bases – Whitlit Festival (11-15 May) is long on Fleming, Boswell Book Festival (6-8 May) goes large on biography (we’re proud to be sponsoring Loyd Grossman’s event) and Bristol sees a surge in crime writers at Crimefest (19-22 May). Don’t miss your special 10% discount on all tickets to Chiddingstone Castle Literary Festival (1-3 May).

More of our March highlights

And if we have still not grabbed you then why not try one of our pick and mix titles, all of which were selected by our editorial experts but also recently read and loved by one or more members of staff:


And that is April at Lovereading! We’ll be back in May with more reading recommendations.

P.S. See our Book Awards category for the recently announced Baileys Women’s Prize Shortlist.

P.P.S. Maybe you saw Decca Aitkenhead’s tragic story in the newspapers? Even if you didn’t we highly recommend reading her memoir All at Sea which is an entrancing love story; a horrifying death story; a book about class, family, growing up, taking risks and learning how to be strong.

Happy ‘Love’reading.

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Lovereading Top 10 most popular books 10 – 17 April 2016

Lovereading Top 10

The Missing The Missing
C. L. Taylor
April 2016 Book of the Month.
An intriguing and stirring tale, overflowing with family drama. Claire tells her story, which is set six months after her son Billy went missing. Claire’s thoughts begin to fracture as she slowly uncovers secrets held …
Download free opening extract
Fool Me Once Fool Me Once
Harlan Coben
April 2016 Book of the Month.
An outrageously stunning read, that takes a tight hold from the outset and continues to squeeze until the shockingly intense end. Maya, a former Army Captain, finds herself caught up in a nightmare scenario after …
Download free opening extract
The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper
Phaedra Patrick
April 2016 Debut of the Month.
Gosh, this is an absolute treasure of a debut… and it’s full of delightful, delicious quirkiness. 69 year old widower Arthur sets out to find the truth behind a charm bracelet he discovers when sorting …
Download free opening extract
Dear World, How Are You? Dear World, How Are You?
Toby Little
April 2016 Non-Fiction Book of the Month.
Gorgeous, fascinating and heartwarming, this is a book to put a smile on your face. In 2013, aged five and a half, Toby decided to write a letter to someone in every single country …
Download free opening extract
Birdsong Birdsong
Sebastian Faulks
Editor’s Comments:
Since its publication in 1993 Birdsong has established itself as one of the most important novels of recent years. A novel that brings alive the horrors of war and the redemptive power of love there are few books that …
Download free opening extract
That Girl from Nowhere That Girl from Nowhere
Dorothy Koomson
April 2016 Book of the Month.
What a terrific and powerful book, I reckon it is her best yet.  It covers race, adoption, rejection and even murder (or does it?).  Our hero, Smithy, a black girl, white adopted parents, white long-term …
Download free opening extract
Hunting the Eagles Eagles of Rome Hunting the Eagles Eagles of Rome
Ben Kane
April 2016 Book of the Month.
A truly wonderful and ferocious slice of historical fiction, this is the second in the ‘Eagles of Rome’ series and takes place from AD 12. I really do recommend starting this reading adventure with ‘Eagles …
Download free opening extract
When She Was Bad When She Was Bad
Tammy Cohen
A happy relaxed team in a recruitment office have a rude awakening when a new head of department is employed to improved their profitability. She certainly shakes them up, setting one against another, playing ruthless games and manipulating them mercilessly. …
Download free opening extract
The Girl on the Train The Girl on the Train
Paula Hawkins
Shortlisted for the Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award 2015.
A Maxim Jakubowski selected title.
In the footsteps of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl and S.J. Watson’s Before I Go to Sleep, the unreliable narrator domestic drama of untruths is the new ‘hot’ genre. …
Download free opening extract
The House of Fame The House of Fame
Oliver Harris
A Maxim Jakubowski selected title.
Nick Belsey, from Hampstead CID, is a crooked cop, or at any rate a cop who bends the rules as far as they can be bent. Although, by hook or by crook, he normally does get …
Download free opening extract
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Reviews of books by Hannah Byrnes

The Dragon Children: The Prophecy by Hannah Byrnes


DCTPThe Dragon Children: The Prophecy by rising fantasy author Hannah Byrnes may be aimed at children and young adults, but the rip-roaring magical adventure has plenty of appeal for grown-up readers too.


The story, the first in a planned trilogy, is set in a magical kingdom, Dragonreach, which is home to the last two dragons on Earth, and their closely-guarded eggs.


Dragonreach is the last place on the planet where magic exists, and its fate lies in the hands of two teenagers – shy, bookish Kai and feisty, tomboyish Bridget.


The pair couldn’t be more different, but together they will encounter flying dragons and mysterious magicians, invisible temples and shattered lakes, learn to decipher ancient codes and do battle with giant iron birds – as well as have to deal with everyday hassles such as nagging parents.


The book begins with a prologue that takes us, in flashback, to the Dragonreach of the distant past. It shows us how majestic dragons once ruled the skies but were almost wiped out in a dramatic battle with the Iron King and his mechanical killing machines.


Fast forward to the present day, where Kai, the son of a TV astrologer, and Bridget, who loves ponies and secretly wants to be a knight, have been – quite literally – marked from birth as the two chosen ones, the Dragon Children.


Although they have never met each other, their fates are entwined by the star-shaped birthmarks they have both grown up with, without ever realising their significance.


Kai and Bridget are plucked from their everyday lives of exams and competitive parenting, and transported to Zomak, the capital of Dragonsreach.


There they learn about the dragon eggs kept in a temple on a remote mountain, the Shard, and are trained to read the Dragons Code so they will be able to pass their new-found knowledge to others and restore humankind’s faith in magic.


But when war is waged by the forces of the evil Iron Queen, Zomak is destroyed, the pair are separated and the precious dragon eggs are lost.


Kai and Bridget set out on a seemingly impossible quest to reunite the eggs, but with deadly foes including the Wurm to contend with, will they be able to fulfil the age-old prophecy that tells of a time when dragons will rule the skies once more?


Fans of JK Rowling, Philip Pullman and J.R.R Tolkien will instantly fall in love with the epic fantasy that Byrnes has created. Though the genre is, unfortunately, filled with derivative works that too often bring nothing new to the table, here we have an author who has worked hard to bring a satisfying depth to the characters and the magical world they find themselves in.


In Kai and Bridget, for example, she has created sympathetic and engaging leads whose worries – such as overbearing parents, exam stress and not ‘fitting in’ with the crowd, as well as the challenges of meeting their new-found responsibilities – will resonate with young readers’ own lives.


Along with good characterisation and a vivid backdrop, plot twists come thick and fast throughout, and the fast-paced story offers a new thrill around every corner.


Eagle-eyed readers, meanwhile, will enjoy spotting clues about what is in store while the ending serves a genuine ‘wow’ moment in its revelations about the true nature of the Dragon Children’s foe that will leaves readers anxious to read the next volume.


The Dragon Children: The Prophecy by Hannah Byrnes is priced £5.99 in paperback and £1.99 as an eBook. Visit



Book of the Boggart by Hannah Byrnes


kinbb_250A menagerie of weird and wonderful creatures from the colourful imaginations of children are brought to life in this delightful anthology of dark fairy tales.


Book of the Boggart contains 23 captivating and original short stories and poems featuring the likes of fairies, dragons, yetis, unicorns, riddle-talking wind walkers, and the story-loving boggart – a creature from British folklore – who lends his name to the book’s title.


The collection is the work of rising fantasy writer Hannah Byrnes, who last year ran a competition for youngsters to submit 500-word entries about their favourite mythical creature.


She then took the best submissions and spun them out into these compelling tales aimed at readers young and old and accompanied by gorgeous black and white illustrations by talented artist Michelle Tolo.


Byrnes, also the author of fantasy adventure The Dragon Children, is being tipped as the next J.K. Rowling by her growing fan base and one of the reasons for this is her ability to tap into the mindset of young people and create fully-realised characters and settings that speak directly to them.


Many of these stories involve young people being whipped from the mundanity and annoyances of everyday life – school work, bullies and so on – and transported through magic portals and other mystical means into parallel worlds where dragons roam and goblins growl.


The book begins by introducing us to the Boggart – a creature who lives in a tree and has an insatiable hunger for stories. The magical creature befriends good storytellers but gobbles up those who fail to spin a satisfying yarn.


Thankfully, when a fearless young girl, Hannah, encounters the Boggart, she is able to befriend him thanks to her ability to create wonderful stories, like a modern-day Scheherazade from One Thousand and One Nights. The Boggart writes the stories down, and these are his tales.


Like all the best fairy tales, the stories in this collection are rich in metaphors and morals. Throughout the book, characters are well rewarded for bravery, generosity and honesty, while liars, cheats and war-mongers get their comeuppance.


Readers will find much to enjoy among the tales but highlights for this reviewer include A Dragon’s Tale, which features Valendro, a dragon whose father was emblazoned on the Welsh flag, getting inappropriately hot-headed with the residents nearby town when part of his prized treasure hoard disappears.


Other favourites are The Yeti of the Mountains, which finds a hunter, Sergei, discovering he may have underestimated his mythical quarry; Hidden Treasure, where adventure-seeking goblin Ortho hunts for a treasure that is ‘sought by many but possessed by very few’ and learns about what is really valuable in life; and atmospheric poem Fortune Road which follows a quest to capture Chan Chu, the Fortune Toad.


The writer is donating 100 per cent of profits from Book of the Boggart to the Make a Wish Foundation – a charity that makes dreams come true for seriously ill children and young people.


It seems more than a fair exchange: spellbinding entertainment in return for bringing a little magic into poorly children’s lives.


Book of the Boggart by Hannah Byrnes is out now, priced £3.99 in paperback and 99p as an eBook. Visit


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Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival 21-24 July 2016

Crime Wave Heads for Harrogate

Tickets for Europe’s biggest celebration of the crime genre, the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival  are now on sale.

Val-McDermid-2Alongside Special Guest tickets for Martina Cole, Jeffery Deaver and Val McDermid, readers can now book for all panel events hosted over the long weekend of July 21 to 24 at the Old Swan Hotel. Audiences are invited to grab a pint of Yorkshire’s finest ale, and dip into an intoxicating mix of comedy, heated debate and scintillating socialising.

Highlights include Girl on a Train author Paula Hawkins, alongside Clare Mackintosh, whose debut I Let You Go was one of the fastest selling titles of 2015, exploring the publishing phenomenon, Grip Lit.

Broadcaster Mark Lawson also features on a panel exploring political corruption, with BBC security correspondent-turned thriller author Frank Gardner, and the remarkable novelist, playwright and memoirist, Gillian Slovo.

There’ll also be a panel focusing on the French wave of crime authors, as the country is pitched to take the crown of Nordic Noir, and a spotlight on South Africa, exploring one of the most violent societies on Earth.

The Festival opens with Creative Thursday – a day of creative writing workshops – before the annual Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Awards.  As psychological thrillers are one of the hottest publishing trends, budding writers can get to grips with the genre with award-winning writers, Sarah Hilary and Alex Marwood.

Respected arts journalist, editor and publishing commentator, Danuta Kean delivers a session on how to get deep under the skin of your characters, creating full, plausible people with deep back-story and related character traits.

Irish author William Ryan and the bestselling M.R. Hall look at how to turn a good idea into a commercial novel. There’ll also be a chance to pitch your novel to the biggest agents, publishers and editors in the industry in the famed ‘Dragons’ Pen’.

2016 has been programmed by one of the most acclaimed crime writers at work today, Peter James. ‘King of the police procedural’ Peter recently won the Crime Writers’ Association’s highest honour, the CWA Diamond Dagger award.

For a full programme, or to book visit: Box Office: 01423 562 303.

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Licence to Read… WhitLit 11 – 15 May 2016

WhitLit announces third literary festival programme celebrating Ian Fleming & James Bond, fictional spies and real life espionage.

The third WhitLit festival returns in May, and this year the programme will take on a ‘super spy’ theme, celebrating James Bond creator Ian Fleming (who lived in Kent), some of the biggest names in spy fiction today, as well as tales of real life espionage from Bletchley Park to Guy Burgess. Other top names appearing at the festival include ‘Chocolat’ author Joanne Harris, former newsreader and MP Martin Bell, Booker prize short-lister Philip Hensher and Orange Prize winner Helen Dunmore.


WhitLit will present a very special Ian Fleming evening on Friday 13 May featuring his esteemed biographers Andrew Lycett, Matthew Parker and Fleming’s step-daughter Fionn Morgan. The new Young Bond author Steve Cole will be entertaining younger readers and the special ‘Brass Bond’ evening features music from the James Bond films performed by the 1st Whitstable Scout Band. This year’s town read will be ‘Goldfinger’, set largely in Reculver and Whitstable Library has ordered over 40 copies for book clubs and individuals to read and then join the free book debate at the festival.


Inspired by Fleming, the festival will also feature some of the biggest names in spy fiction today from the “new Le Carre” Charles Cumming to Tudor spy writer SJ Parris and literary award winning Francesca Kay. Spies in history will also feature; Andrew Lownie will be discussing his new biography of Cambridge Spy Guy Burgess, Michael Smith will be talking about the female codebreakers at Bletchley Park who helped win the WW2 whilst academic Clive Bloom will be discussing the rise of the ‘Secret State’. But if Bond’s not your thing there are plenty of other subjects and speakers that we hope will interest you from Suffragettes to Tudor queens, Shakespeare and Shackleton, Kent Killers and DFLs!


joanne-harris-picSome of this country’s most respected literary talents will also be making appearances. Bestselling author Joanne Harris who wrote Chocolat which was turned into a film with Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp will be in conversation, as well as Orange Prize winner Helen Dunmore and Booker shortlisted Philip Hensher who was names one of the 20 best authors of the decade in the prestigious Granta list. Top screenwriter Glen Laker of ITV hit detective show Vera, starring Brenda Blethyn will also be talking to former Eastenders screenwriter Julie Wassmer about crime fiction and writing for TV.

Other highlights include:

  • Grazia columnist Polly Vernon and her new book ‘Hot Feminist’
  • Screenwriter of ITV’s Vera Glen Laker with Whitstable Crime writer Julie Wassmer in conversation with Radio Kent’s Dominic King
  • The most popular historical fiction writer Alison Weir discussing Katherine of Arogan with Joanna Labon
  • Kent Crime Queens Lesley Cookman and Linda Regan
  • Dog Tales featuring ITV Vet Jo Hardy and Andrea Bennett with Marnie Summerfield Smith
  • Vita Sackville West’s granddaughter Vanessa Nicholson with Marnie Summerfield Smith
  • Bestselling author of Major Pettigrew’s last Stand Helen Simonson flying in from the US to talk to Jane Wenham Jones
  • Notorious CK Blaine DFL blogger Alison Dilnutt with Guardian journalist Fay Schopen
  • Journalist Liz Hodgkinson in conversation with Val Hennessy and her book about the first transsexual female to male.
  • Bestselling Anne De Courcy’s book about Margot Asquith with Julia Wheeler
  • Pauline Kiernan discussing Shakespeare’s theatre in his 400th anniversary
  • Suffragettes and female MPs with Mary Honeyball MEP, Jad Adams and Anne Logan
  • Michael Smith’s new book about explorer Ernest Shackleton
  • A play reading from the new Kent Coast Theatre
  • Foreign correspondent Heidi Kingstone discusses living in Kabul
  • Local poets Canterbury Yarners and Influx press.
  • For children Herne Bay bookshop A Bundle of Books will be presenting workshops and story sessions.

WhitLit is also excited to announce the launch of the Kent Festival of Writing, a new venture dedicated to providing workshops and support to emerging writers across the county and beyond. The first day-long festival takes place on 16 April at Whitstable Community College and tickets can be booked directly from the WhitLit website only.

Events will take place at the Horsebridge Centre, Whitstable Community College and Whitstable Library. Tickets are available from the Horsebridge Box Office. Tickets for the Festival of Writing are available via For full details on the programme visit

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Boswell Book Festival 6-8 May 2016

More than just another Book Festival… Boswell Book Festival has announced its programme of headline-grabbing authors and uniquely curated talks and events that have established the festival, now in its sixth edition, as a landmark in Scotland’s cultural year.

LoydGrossmanLOVEREADING are delighted to be sponsoring Loyd Grossman’s appearance at the Boswell Book Festival on Saturday 7  May. We have two pairs of tickets to win CLICK here to enter our prize draw.

Famously inspired by James Boswell (b. 1740), the inventor of modern biography, it is the world’s only festival dedicated to biography and memoir, staged at Dumfries House in Ayrshire.

World renowned actor, Martin Jarvis, will be reprising his roles of Just William and Jeeves and Wooster, as well as talking about his legendary career on stage and screen; fellow thespian Gregor Fisher, will be exploring his extraordinary childhood with journalist Melanie Reid; polymath Loyd Grossman will be talking of Americans on the make; while stand-up comic Susan Calman will be revealing her inner life, and WWII hero Victor Gregg will recount his extraordinary survival of the Dresden fire bombing.

Boswell-Book-Festival-2016-LogosFestival Director Caroline Knox said: “Our unique theme – biography and memoir – chosen in homage to the great Ayrshire writer James Boswell, has led us to uncover the amazing variety of life stories in this year’s programme marking us out from all other book festivals”.

The cast also includes 87 year-old super-model Daphne Selfe, art sleuth Philip Mould of Antiques Road Show fame, the founder of Mary’s Meals, Magnus Macfarlane-Barrow, as well as James Naughtie, Mona Siddiqui, Charles Moore, A.N.Wilson, Ben Stewart, Erwin James, Gavin Francis, Ferdinand Mount, Charles Jencks and Dr. Gordon Turnbull on the great Boswell himself.

Ayrshire’s magnificent Dumfries House, famously saved for the nation by the Prince of Wales, sets the scene for portrayals of Queen Victoria, Margaret Thatcher, the Scots in India, traitor Guy Burgess and many more, plus discussions on the lot of writers’ wives and the long tradition of politicians in fiction…

Each year the programme guarantees challenging discourse, creative inspiration and intellectual stimulation as well as fabulous fun and entertainment for all the family. The Boswell Book Festival is supported by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland Open Project Funding. Aly Barr, Head of Literature, Languages and Publishing said: “The Boswell Book festival is an outstanding hub for books, ideas and the delicate art of bringing literature to life”.

Book tickets at, Box Office Hotline on 01563 554 900

Click here to enter our free prize draw: we have 2 pairs of tickets to give away to hear Loyd Grossman on Benjamin West and the Struggle to be Modern. Please note that this draw is open only for UK residents and is free to enter. Multiple entries from the same email address will only be counted once and the prize cannot be exchanged for cash and does not include transport or accommodation. Draw closes on 22 April 2016. The winners will be chosen randomly from all entrants and will be notified by 26 April 2016.

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