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Whitstable Literary Festival – 9-17 May 2015

Big names and local authors feature in second year line-up.

WhitLit announces Whitstable’s second literary festival taking place from 9-17 May.  The programme has doubled in size from last year with over 50 events from author chats, writing workshops, and activities for children and families. The festival will take place primarily at the Horsebridge Arts Centre and Whitstable Library with additional events held at Whitstable Community College Lecture Theatre, the Duke of Cumberland and Whitstable Castle.


WhitLit is rapidly becoming one of the area’s leading arts festivals, continuing to celebrate the town’s unique heritage under the theme of ‘independent spirit’ bringing together inventive authors, innovative stories and original voices, many with local connections.

2015 Festival Highlights include:

  • A brand new mini writing festival, a full day of talks and discussions at Whitstable Castle on 9 May for budding writers.
  • Tony Smee returns to play W. Somerset Maugham (after last year’s sell out at the Playhouse) for a world first rehearsed reading of Anthony Curtis’s final play ‘At the Villa Mauresque’.
  • UK Author of the year David Nicholls (One Day) talking about his acclaimed new novel ‘US’.
  • Local resident, comedienne and author Sandi Toksvig discussing her life and career.
  • Prize winning novelist and founder of the Orange Prize for fiction Kate Mosse.
  • Former journalist Kate Adie discussing the transition from reporting to writing.
  • Bestselling crime writer Peter James on his inspirations and influences.
  • Penny Vincenzi talking about her love of Whitstable’s W. Somerset Maugham.
  • Renowned author Patrick Gale discussing his writing and ancestral origins in Whitstable.
  • Actor turned crime writer Robert Daws in conversation with mystery novelist Lesley Cookman.
  • Psychologist, author and 60s model Jenny Boyd interviewing Squeeze’s Chris Difford about his life in music.
  • Sunday Times columnist and Perrier nominee Andrew Clover with his new show.
  • Pioneering feminist Lynne Segal about her extraordinary life and the rise of new feminism.
  • An agony aunt panel debate with Irma Kurtz, Keren Smedley and Anna Raeburn with ex OK! editor Richard Barber.
  • Andy Miller performing the new version of his sell-out show Read Y’Self Fitter.
  • Music experts Clinton Heylin, Peter Doggett and Andy Miller, debating music biographies.
  • Former Eastenders writer Julie Wassmer talking about her new Whitstable Pearl mystery series.

All tickets are available from the Horsebridge Centre Box Office, 11 Horsebridge Road, CT5 1AF, 01227 281174 or online (online booking fees apply)


All programme details can be found on

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Lovereading Review: Trapped: My Life with Cerebral Palsy by Fran Macilvey

The world is full of inspirational people – famous men and women who have made a lasting contribution to a more progressive and inclusive society, and whose wisdom has and continues to shape future generations. Their messages of hope, encouragement and insight are carried by an eager media, and further disseminated via social media by millions of devoted followers. But what about the inspirational people we don’t hear about? The everyday heroes whose contribution to society is no less extraordinary but is conducted with a quiet, self-effacing dignity outside of the media spotlight?

9781628737615People, perhaps, like Fran Macilvey, the author of the gripping new memoir, Trapped: My Life with Cerebral Palsy’.

Born prematurely in Congo in 1965, Macilvey was temporarily deprived of oxygen and later diagnosed with cerebral palsy, a debilitating condition that affects one-in-four hundred children. Common symptoms include reduced muscle development, movement and speech. From a young age, there were questions – fears – about her future. How will she cope? But as this extraordinary autobiography reveals, Macilvey refused to just ‘cope’ with her disability – she confronted it.

Trapped: My Life with Cerebral Palsy charts the author’s inspirational, real-life story. From a childhood in central Africa, to the family’s upheaval to Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1972, Trapped…discloses – often in candid detail – the physical and emotional challenges she has faced along the way. She endured the things that every parent fears most – physical pain, emotional helplessness, continuous hospital visits. Her eight years at boarding school saw matters come to a head, when her feelings towards her disability manifested in anger, self-hatred and suicidal depression. But beneath all this lay a strong woman with relentless determination to overcome the odds and to defy those who had pre-determined her life – she wanted to do things her way.

Macilvey became a solicitor. And a mum.

Trapped…is variously heart-warming, terribly sad and emotional. Above all, it is uplifting.  She comes to terms with her condition and finally learns to love herself.

Far from a ‘misery memoir’, Trapped… is a message of inspiration. It’s about why everyone should never give up hope.

Trapped: My Life With Cerebral Palsy  is out now (Skyhorse Publishing) in hardcover.

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Mid April update

Welcome to our mid-month update on what’s hot, noteworthy and frankly unputdownable in the world of books … Why not start with our TOP READ in the month, That Girl from Nowhere by Dorothy Koomson – as one of our reader review panel members said: ‘I’ve never read Dorothy Koomson before and, if this book is anything to go by, I’ve been missing out.’


Get a Sneak Peek – Pre-publication exclusives




The Power of Three – Ibis Trilogy by Amitav Ghosh

Amitav Ghosh’s sweeping and breathtaking history of the opium wars is a must-read series of novels. Rich and vivid, accessible and alien, this is writing at its very best.

An epic saga that begins in the 1830’s, a time of colonial upheaval, with Sea of Poppies  and takes you on an epic journey through two further novels, River of Smoke and, coming soon, Flood of Fire. Fascinating in detail, rich in history and filled with absorbing characters you won’t be sorry you picked this trilogy up. But your friends may wonder where you’ve got to.

Big up the Download! – eBooks of the Month

With more and more people getting to grips with the growing eReader market, we have the largest selection of A-list eBooks around. Why not try:

The Secrets We Share by Emma Hannigan – “A captivating novel … enveloped me in a warm hug whilst taking me on an emotional rollercoaster” (Emily Wright – Reader Reviewer). Or The Art of Waiting by Christopher Jory – “A gritty read at times, with a smattering of magical realism, this is a novel which I will be recommending to my friends.” (Jillian McFrederick– Reader Reviewer).


Take it from ‘The Max’ – Maxim Jakubowski Recommends

For the first time since he began his regular round-up, Maxim was unable to settle on a book of the month! – so he has chosen two titles that stood out so sharply and left an indelible impression on him (no mean feat).

Last Night in Montreal by Emily St. John Mandel and The Death House by Sarah Pinborough. Both titles work on the fringes of genre and could actually be described as unclassifiable and both are powerful demonstrations of how popular fiction traditions can feed innovative streams of writing that challenge both the imagination and the heart.


The Cream of Women’s writing from Baileys

Launched in 1996, the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction is awarded annually and celebrates excellence, originality and accessibility in women’s writing from throughout the world. See the shortlist below and our favourite has to be the stunningly original The Bees by Laline Paull.


Something for Everyone – 3 Titles from Alexander McCall Smith

Prolific, versatile and loved by millions of readers, Alexander McCall Smith has had three titles published recently. Multi award-winning author of The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency and the Scotland Street series has turned his talent to reworking the Austen classic Emma in his own reassuringly brilliant way. He has also penned Fatty O’Leary’s Dinner Party – a hilarious, charming gem of a book and Forever Girl – a glorious and sensitive story of true love.

Super Grouper Discount! – Reading Groups get the extra 5%

Sometimes reading is very personal. Your own headspace. Your favourite place. Your own journey. But sometimes you want to share the experience with others. We are big supporters of Reading Groups at Lovereading and, as well as monthly suggestions for your next discussion piece, we are offering a 5% discount on all orders of 5 or more copies of the same book, to keep your momentum going! This month we love:

The Secret Place by Tana French – April Book of the Month. Unique, intense, intricate, supernatural and captivating.


A Real Crime Syndicate – The Detection Collection

You know about the Detection Club, right? No? It’s only a group of the most prestigious Crime Writers in the world, which for the last 85 years has been headed up by the likes of: Agatha Christie, Dorothy L Sayers, Colin Dexter and P.D. James. Featuring short stories by the best of British crime-writing, The Detection Collection was first published 10 years ago to celebrate the club’s 75th anniversary. Now it’s in paperback and we think everyone should snap one up! Read more here.

And that’s it for April. We may be back in May. We may. Maybe. Happy Reading!

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Mark Zuckerberg’s A Year of Books Reading Challenge

January 2015 Mark Zuckerberg CEO of Facebook posted the message below….

‘My challenge for 2015 is to read a new book every other week — with an emphasis on learning about different cultures, beliefs, histories and technologies.

I’m excited for my reading challenge. I’ve found reading books very intellectually fulfilling. Books allow you to fully explore a topic and immerse yourself in a deeper way than most media today. I’m looking forward to shifting more of my media diet towards reading books.’ He has called this A Year of Books.

A year in books

To make it easy to follow Mark Zuckerberg’s selections we will be featuring them all on this blog post – and in time on a special category on the website.


Book 1 January: The End of Power by Moises Naim

The End of Power From Boardrooms to Battlefields and Churches to States, Why Being in Charge isn’t What it Used to be argues that in every field of endeavor – business, religion, politics, and all matters of war and peace – power is no longer what it used to be.

The author deftly delineates the shifting global dynamics in control, authority and expertise between the traditionally dominant megaplayers and the newly ascendant micropowers.

Book 2 January: The Better Angels of Our Nature A History of Violence and Humanity by Steven Pinker

This title was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize 2012 and argues that, contrary to popular belief, humankind has become progressively less violent, over millenia and decades. Can violence really have declined?

The images of conflict we see daily on our screens from around the world suggest this is an almost obscene claim to be making. Extraordinarily, however, Steven Pinker shows violence within and between societies – both murder and warfare – really has declined from prehistory to today.

Book 3 February: Gang Leader for a Day by Sudhir Venkatesh

Sudhir Venkatesh the young sociologist who became famous in Freakonomics (Why do drug dealers still live with their moms?) describes his time living with the gangs on the Southside of Chicago and answers another question: what’s it like to live in hell? In the Robert Taylor Homes projects on Chicago’s South Side, Sudhir befriends J.T., a gang leader for the Black Kings. As he slowly gains J.T.’s trust, one day, in order to convince Sudhir of his own CEO-like qualities, J.T. makes him leader of the gang…Why does J.T. make his henchmen, the ‘shorties’, stay in school? What is the difference between a ‘regular’ hustler and a ‘hype’ – and is Peanut telling him the truth about which she is? And, when the FBI finally starts cracking down on the Black Kings, is it time to get out – or is it too late?

Book 4 February: On Immunity: An Inoculation by Eula Biss

In this bold, fascinating book, Eula Biss addresses a chronic condition of fear – fear of the government, the medical establishment, and what may be in your children’s air, food, mattresses, medicines, and vaccines. Reflecting on her own experience as a new mother, Biss investigates the metaphors and myths surrounding our conception of immunity and its implications for the individual and the social body. She extends a conversation with other mothers to meditations on Voltaire’s Candide, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, Susan Sontag’s AIDS and Its Metaphors, and beyond. On Immunity is an inoculation against our fear and a moving account of how we are all interconnected – our bodies and our fates.

Book 5 March: Creativity, Inc. Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Ed Catmull

As9780593070109-300x400 a young man, Ed Catmull had a dream: to make the world’s first computer-animated movie. He nurtured that dream first as a Ph.D. student at the University of Utah, where many computer science pioneers got their start, and then forged an early partnership with George Lucas that led, indirectly, to his founding Pixar with Steve Jobs and John Lasseter in 1986. Nine years later and against all odds, Toy Story was released, changing animation forever. Since then, Pixar has dominated the world of animation, producing such beloved films as Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Up, and WALL-E, which have gone on to set box-office records and garner twenty-seven Academy Awards. The joyousness of the storytelling, the inventive plots, the emotional authenticity: In some ways, Pixar movies are an object lesson in what creativity really is. Now, in this book, Catmull reveals the ideals and techniques, honed over years, that have made Pixar so widely admired – and so profitable. Creativity, Inc. is a book for managers who want to lead their employees to new heights, a manual for anyone who strives for originality, and the first-ever, all-access trip into the nerve center of Pixar Animation Studios – into the story meetings, the postmortems, and the ‘Braintrust’ sessions where art is born. It is, at heart, a book about how to build and sustain a creative culture-but it is also, as Pixar co-founder and president Ed Catmull writes, ‘an expression of the ideas that I believe make the best in us possible.’

Book 6 March: The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas S. Kuhn

9780226458120A good book may have the power to change the way we see the world, but a great book actually becomes part of our daily consciousness, pervading our thinking to the point that we take it for granted, and we forget how provocative and challenging its ideas once were-and still are. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions is that kind of book. When it was first published in 1962, it was a landmark event in the history and philosophy of science. And fifty years later, it still has many lessons to teach. With The Structure of Scientific Revolutions , Kuhn challenged long-standing linear notions of scientific progress, arguing that transformative ideas don’t arise from the day-to-day, gradual process of experimentation and data accumulation, but that revolutions in science, those breakthrough moments that disrupt accepted thinking and offer unanticipated ideas, occur outside of normal science, as he called it. Though Kuhn was writing when physics ruled the sciences, his ideas on how scientific revolutions bring order to the anomalies that amass over time in research experiments are still instructive in our biotech age.  Newly designed, with an expanded index, this edition will be eagerly welcomed by the next generation of readers seeking to understand the history of our perspectives on science.


Book 7 April Rational Ritual Culture, Coordination and Common Knowledge Michael Suk-Young Chwe

9780691114712Why do Internet, financial service, and beer commercials dominate Super Bowl advertising? How do political ceremonies establish authority? Why does repetition characterize anthems and ritual speech? Why were circular forms favored for public festivals during the French Revolution? This book answers these questions using a single concept: common knowledge. Game theory shows that in order to coordinate its actions, a group of people must form common knowledge. Each person wants to participate only if others also participate. Members must have knowledge of each other, knowledge of that knowledge, knowledge of the knowledge of that knowledge, and so on. Michael Chwe applies this insight, with striking erudition, to analyze a range of rituals across history and cultures


Book 8 April Dealing with China Hank Poulson 

DEALING WITH CHINA takes the reader behind closed doors to witness the creation and evolution and future of China’s state-controlled capitalism. Hank Paulson has dealt with China unlike any other foreigner. As head of Goldman Sachs, Paulson had a pivotal role in opening up China to private enterprise. Then, as Treasury secretary, he created the Strategic Economic Dialogue with what is now the world’s second-largest economy. While negotiating with China on needed economic reforms, he safeguarded the teetering U.S. financial system. Over his career, Paulson has worked with scores of top Chinese leaders, including Xi Jinping, China’s most powerful man in decades. How can the West negotiate with and influence China given its authoritarian rule, its massive environmental concerns, and its huge population’s unrelenting demands for economic growth and security? Written in an anecdote-rich, page-turning style, DEALING WITH CHINA is certain to become the classic and definitive examination of unlocking, building, and engaging an economic superpower.

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The Lovereading Book Experts

Lovereading is different from many online book sites as we have real book experts selecting and reviewing the books. We passionately believe that Lovereading’s absolutely superb ‘expert voices’, with their own specialities, are invaluable in helping readers discover the best books. Find out more about them below.

Sarah Broadhurst

sarahbroadhurst-2Sarah Broadhurst spent her early working life in the book trade in both retail and wholesale until the arrival of children forced her to look for freelance work she could dofrom home.

Her position of paperback buyer in Hatchards and then director of a book wholesale company gave her a wide knowledge of all sectors of the trade. She felt the trade lacked unbiased opinion, every publisher had the “best thing since sliced bread” and she knew the trade would benefit from an independent overview of the book published each month. She sold her idea to the trade journal The Bookseller and has, for the last 25 years, been writing a monthlyarticle (from home!) on the new paperbacks on offer.

Over the years her opinion has become highly valued in the trade and she has become an expert in her field,contributing to many radio and television shows and reviewing in a wide range of newspapers andmagazines from the Daily Expressto Good Housekeeping.

Her speciality is supporting new authors. Writers who have atough time getting recognised. She has backed unknown first novels from the likes of Terry Pratchett, Joanna Trollope and Minette Walters and joins us now in introducing some of the unknown stars of the future to you.

Sue Baker

Sue Baker has for many years been a regular non-fiction reviewer to the book trade and now in addition that role, she’s taken on the mantle of ‘expert voice’ in the non-fiction area for Lovereading. Areas that she’ll cover on the site include History, Popular Science, the Environment, Gardening and Cookery as well as regular special features Biography and Autobiography.

As Sue says, ‘as a bookseller, book buyer and then reviewer it has always been my greatest pleasure to introduce exciting books to new readers. Non-fiction has always been a passion and now, through I look forward to sharing my passion seeking out the best, the most interesting and unusual non-fiction around.”

Maxim Jakubowski

Maxim Jakubowski is a London-based novelist and editor. He was born in the UK and educated in France. He worked for many years in publishing in editorial director positions for Virgin, the Thomson Organisation, Penguin and Ebury Press before opening the world-famous Murder One bookshop in 1988.

He has written on and reviewed crime for Time Out, The Guardian, the Times, the Daily Telegraph and The Bookseller, amongst other publications, and is a regular broadcaster on radio and TV, and lectures on both crime and mystery fiction, and erotica. He also runs CRIME SCENE, London’s annual crime film and literature festival, and is an adviser to the International Mystery Film Festival.

Julia Eccleshare M.B.E

Julia Eccleshare has spent her working life to date within children’s books as a critic, an editor, an author and a commentator. Apart from her current role as Editorial contributor and advisor to Lovereading4kids, she is the children’s editor of the Guardian.

She has co-edited and is the author of a number of books including the Rough Guide to Teenage Literature, the fascinating and insightful Beatrix Potter to Harry Potter: Portraits of Children’s Writers, which is a celebration of a century of children’s literature, as well as Treasure Islands: the Woman’s Hour Guide to Children’s Books. She also spent some considerable time as a children’s fiction editor in UK publishing. She has been a selector to the Children’s Books of the Year, a guide to the best books published annually, a member of the advisory board of a children’s book club and for some while was children’s books editor of The Bookseller. She regularly appears as a judge or Chair of judges on some of the major children’s book prizes including the Whitbread (now called the Costa) and the Nestle among others.

Andrea Reece

Andrea Reece has spent all her working life in children’s books. Her first job was at Transworld Publishers back in the 1980s where, amongst other things, she ran the fan club for readers of the smash hit teen series Sweet Dreams.

She went on to work for other children’s publishers, large and small, and with authors including David Almond, Nick Butterworth, Mick Inkpen and Michael Morpurgo. In 2005 she set up children’s independent Catnip Publishing Ltd., publishing Richard and Judy favourite Scaredy Squirrel in the process, and went on to run Books for Keeps, the children’s books journal.

She is very used to odd looks from people on trains and buses who see her reading children’s books, and is still as excited as ever to discover a new children’s author. Apart from being one of the Lovereading4kids editorial experts alongside Julia Eccleshare she is also director of the children’s and young people’s programme of the FT Weekend Oxford Literary Festival.

Liz Robinson

Mail Attachment-1“Liz’s love of science fiction and fantasy began at a very young age when her Mum introduced her to Edward Lear and C. S. Lewis, she shook their hands and still tiptoes off to escape reality by exploring magical new worlds. The Warlord Chronicles by Bernard Cornwell opened the door to Historical Fiction and she has walked through time ever since.

Liz worked as a Police Civilian for twenty years (in order as a Comms Officer, Criminal Intelligence Analyst, Briefing Officer and Crime Reduction Advisor), she therefore counts herself as a somewhat expert armchair detective and derives much pleasure in popping the villain behind bars, even if she finds she has to release them soon after. She loves to scare herself silly with psychological thrillers and horror and swing into action and adventure tales. Liz started writing expert reviews for Lovereading in February 2014 and while she (quite literally sometimes) gobbles up books of any genre, has added the exciting new world of Young Adult fiction to her top reads.

People have been known to be extremely envious when they hear that Liz reads for a living, if she were in their shoes, she would be too!”

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Reader Review Panel members thoughts on The Silence of the Sea by Yrsa Sigurdardottir

When we passed the Reader Review panel members thoughts on the book The Silence of the Sea by Yrsa Sigurdardottir to the publisher Hodder they were so pleased they have used them in their campaign to promote the book. We think they look splendid and wanted to share them with you.


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May Book Festival News. Boswell Book Festival. Crimefest.

Boswell Book Festival 8– 10May 2015

Quinn,-Anthony---credit-Jane-Bown_smLovereading is proud to be sponsoring a talk by Antony Quinn – author of Curtain Call, his much-praised thriller (recently a Book at Bedtime on Radio 4) – who will be in conversation with renowned biographer Selina Hastings on Sunday 10 May at 12pm. Fabulous Joanna Lumley, world famous crime writer Ian Rankin, and world best-seller Jung Chang, author of Wild Swans will head the cast of stars talking about their lives at this year’s Boswell Book Festival, the world’s only Festival of biography and memoir which for the first time is being held at Dumfries House over the weekend 8-10 May 2015.

Boswell logo

Ayrshire is well represented in the line-up which attracts thousands of local book lovers as well as many from all over Scotland and the UK.  Kilwinning’s Man Booker nominated Andrew O’Hagan will be a hot favourite with his stunning new book The Illuminations which transports its readers from Saltcoats to war-torn Afghanistan. Cumnock’s internationally renowned composer James MacMillan will reveal the words and music that have influenced the course of his life and in a year where we mark the 200th anniversary of The Battle of Waterloo, the current Duke of Wellington who also has Ayrshire roots, will talk about his illustrious ancestor.

Other authors include the legendary Scottish war hero Captain Eric ‘Winkle’’ Brown who at 96 makes an especially poignant appearance during what is VE Day weekend. Naturalist Sir John Lister-Kaye, military historian Allan Mallinson, the great Irish historian Professor Roy Foster, award-winning biographer Selina Hastings, neurosurgeon Dr Henry Marsh and ‘queen of baking’ Sue Lawrence as well as many others leave us in no doubt that we have yet another brilliant weekend in store.

A programme of satellite events include several Boswell highlights with Yale University’s Boswell expert Dr Gordon Turnbull on hand to talk about how Ayrshire liked to party in the Eighteenth Century at Auchinleck House and Dumfries House, where there will be special Festival tours running over the weekend.  Ayr’s Waterstones bookshop will be at Dumfries House where the cafés and restaurant will be open all hours to feed hungry book lovers.

Wisdom and wit are always high on this unique Festival’s agenda as is fun and laughter. True to form the Festival delivers both with an Opening Night Gala in the company of legendary star of stage and screen, John Standing who will talk about his life interspersed with singing the songs of Noel Coward and Cole Porter. “This is going to be a cascade of name-dropping,” Standing warns at the start of the show as his sparkling anecdotes conjure up Peter O’Toole, Frank Sinatra and Stewart Grainger, not forgetting Maggie Smith and Judy Dench to name but a few.

The Grand Festival Finale embraces the spirit of biography so famously invented by James Boswell and celebrated by Ayrshire’s Abaracadabarets James Drife, Walter Nimmo and Sophie Stoddard. But not as one may imagine. In a rollicking world premiere performance of ‘Get a Life!’ Their delicious romp through their very own James Boswell Songbook creates a hilarious end to the Festival.

For more information and to book tickets visit:


Claim a 10% discount on tickets for Lovereading members at

CRIMEFEST 14-17th May 2015




Lee Child, Maj Sjowall, James Runcie and Sophie Hannah are among the top names set to speak at this year’s CrimeFest convention in Bristol, 14-17th May. The UK’s biggest crime fiction convention will see over 400 authors, agents, publishers and crime fiction fans from across the globe descend on the city for a jam-packed four days, including over fifty curated panels and speaking events.  The international Bristol-based event runs across four days at the Marriott Royal Hotel, and has been named as one of the best festivals in the world by The Guardian.  The event has featured in The Independent’s ‘The 50 Best Festivals’ and is one of the most popular dates in the crime publishing calendar.

Lee Child, bestselling author of the Jack Reacher thrillers, will be in conversation with Maj Sjowall, often considered the founder of Scandinavian crime fiction. Child described the opportunity to interview Sjowall a ‘pleasure and a privilege’. James Runcie, author of the Sydney Chambers mysteries, recently dramatized for ITV as Grantchester will be interviewed alongside Catherine Aird, the 2015 recipient of the British Crime Writers’ Association’s Diamond Dagger Award for excellence in crime writing.  To celebrate 125 years of Agatha Christie, Sophie Hannah, author of the recent Poirot novel The Monogram Murders and Mathew Pritchard, Christie’s own grandson and Chairman of Agatha Christie Limited will be in conversation with John Curran.

Representing his CrimeFest co-hosts Myles Allfrey and Donna Moore, Adrian Muller said: ‘Every year we are told that the convention was the best one yet, which creates an enormous pressure to maintain the quality for the one to come. But a large part of CrimeFest’s success is due to the enthusiasm our delegates bring to the event.  It is amazing how many of them sign up the preceding year without even knowing which authors will be attending. That kind of support is what keeps CrimeFest going’.

The convention also includes a Pitch an Agent strand, a literary agent speed-dating session where unpublished authors can present their ideas in a Dragon’s Den style session. Those wishing to pen their own crime novel can take part in a Crime Writing Day, which includes sessions with agents and editors, optional manuscript assessments and a workshop with bestselling crime writers M. R. Hall and William Ryan.

This year’s panels include ‘Crime Pays in Audio’ with Doctor Who companion Freema Agyeman representing narrators of audiobooks; explorations of sex in crime fiction and the Euro Noir phenomenon with Barry Forshaw; and, in association with the International Thriller Writers, Lee Child battles it out with Chris Ewan, Tom Harper, Zoe Sharp and Yrsa Sigurdardottir to discover ‘Brains or Brawn, Who Kicks Best Ass’.

Lovereading have teamed up with Crimefest and members can claim a 10% discount on a Full CrimeFest Pass using the link:

For further information visit:

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Book Review: The Parrot’s Tale by Miller Caldwell

Have you ever come across a plot more delightful and engaging than that of an African Grey Parrot turned police detective, on the loose in the Scottish countryside?

9781910256053That is the original and creative premise of new book The Parrot’s Tale by Miller Caldwell, whose endearing protagonist is 35-year-old Kofi, with a distinctive red tail, a great knack for mimicking voices and a thirst for adventure.

A delightful mix of comedy, crime and thriller, the book follows Kofi as he solves an array of unlikely mysteries, problems and crimes, often in the most hilarious of manners.

These range from bringing a boy out of a coma, to unwittingly helping a political party, to uncovering an international human trafficking ring and helping bring the criminals to justice by mimicking the voices of the gang.

Not only does this cement Kofi in Scottish policing history as the best honorary avian detective ever known, it also brings him celebrity status.

It’s not too long before the publishers take an interest in his story, soon followed by movie producers offering million dollar film rights.

One step behind him every step of his adventure, desperately trying to catch him, is his hilarious owner, Harry Dynes, a sharp and quick-witted octogenarian who has his own fair share of escapades along the way, including being wrongly held in a mental hospital overnight.

An unlikely companion for Harry comes in the shape of John Reid, a retired policeman and wildlife officer who is searching for his own daughter, Morag.

Popular school girl Morag disappeared unexpectedly four years earlier on the eve of her 16th birthday, leaving not a trace.

Although presumed dead, John is determined to find her, and decides to use Kofi’s publicity to help re-draw people’s attention to her disappearance.

Can Kofi and his escapades somehow help trace Morag and bring peace to her bereft father? Can there be a happy ending both for Kofi and Morag?

042-300x225This is a fast-paced rollercoaster of a book, that moves smoothly and light-heartedly from scene to scene, bringing alive countless characters along the way.

Laced with regional dialect, it sets Scotland in a golden light, and is laugh-out-loud funny.

With something for all ages, it effortlessly blends contemporary crime fiction with comedy and is completely original.

The Parrot’s Tale is author Miller Caldwell’s sixteenth book, and will surely go down as one of his best, being loved both by readers and critics alike.

The Parrot’s Tale is out now in paperback, priced £9.50. Visit

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Most popular books on Lovereading 22 – 29 March 2015

Lovereading Top 10

The Silence of the Sea The Silence of the Sea
Yrsa Sigurdardottir
March 2015 Book of the Month.
In Iceland grandparents and a young child go to the port to meet a yacht with the girl’s family on board (parents and twin sister). The yacht smashes into the quay empty. So begins this …
Download free opening extract
What She Left What She Left
T. R. Richmond
An intriguing and successful experiment in presenting a crime thriller from a different angle, Richmond’s accomplished debut encourages the reader to become the sleuth. Alice Salmon dies in what initially appears a tragic case of drowning. An academic tries to …
Download free opening extract
The Pocket Wife The Pocket Wife
Susan Crawford
March 2015 Debut of the Month.
The Pocket Wife is a domestic psychological thriller that makes the reader question everything, and it will stay with you – as all good thrillers do – long after you have finished it.  Dana wakes …
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That Girl from Nowhere That Girl from Nowhere
Dorothy Koomson
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 boyfriend, discovers her biological family …
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A Perfect Heritage A Perfect Heritage
Penny Vincenzi
March 2015 Book of the Month.
An author renowned for big books has surpassed herself and written a huge, 939 page, tome. It is long, it is big, it is brilliant, perhaps her best yet. It centres on a cosmetic company …
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Hidden Hidden
Emma Kavanagh
Full of suspense with any number of red herrings, this is cracking stuff by a former police psychologist.  Narrated from four points of view, it concerns a major shooting incident in a Welsh hospital.  Not only does it jump viewpoints, …
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The Girl on the Train The Girl on the Train
Paula Hawkins
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. The author was best known under another name …
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America Unchained America Unchained
Dave Gorman
Dave Gorman gives us another brilliant book in the challenge he gives himself of driving across America without using any of the mult-inational chains, which sounds wonderful and nightmarish at the same time. It is!! His natural charm and dry …
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Gallipoli Gallipoli
Alan Moorehead, Sir Max Hastings
The Centenary anniversary of Gallipoli, the First World War campaign that was doomed to failure, bringing about the tragic loss of so many men. First published in 1956, Alan Moorehead’s history of Gallipoli still remains as the definitive study. Now …
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Young Skins Young Skins
Colin Barrett
Winner of the 2014 Guardian First Book Award.
Winner of the 2014 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award.
This magnificent collection takes us to Glanbeigh, a small town in rural Ireland – a town in which the youth have the run of …
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15 books with more characters than you can keep track of

At Lovereading we love epic books with swathes of characters creating a wonderfully complex plot … but sometimes is it all too much? Below are 15 books with increasing casts of characters. Scroll down to discover how many named characters there are in novels like Shogun James Clavell, Bleak House Charles Dickens, A Suitable Boy Vikram Seth, The Stand Stephen King and of course Game of Thrones George R.R. Martin.

books with most characters

books with most characters

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