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May eNewsletter

Did you know that former spook and celebrated spy writer, Ian Fleming was born in the merry month of May? A man whose word was quite literally his Bond. (Ahem).

Well, you have our word this month that, as summer shimmers tantalisingly on the horizon, we’ll bring you the very best recommendations for that next great escape between the covers. (Oh, James!) Read on for more…

a-MAY-zing! Books of the Month

A burgeoning bookshelf in bright, brilliant, blossomy bloom this month! If you don’t find something here that you like, we’ll eat our bonnets. Try our top picks:

When I Was Invisible by Dorothy Koomson – ‘There are pieces of us hidden between the lines of Koomson’s stories; that’s what makes them so beautiful, and so tragic.’ (Lovereading Reader Reviewer). 

The Mandibles by Lionel Shriver – Stunning new novel from Orange Prize-winning author of We Need to Talk About Kevin. Sharp, searing, psychological family drama in the wake of a global financial crisis.

The Girls by Lisa Jewell – Captivating, deeply dark and tensely gripping family tale about friendship, trust and the complex structure of family life.

The French Lesson by Hallie Rubenhold – Fans of The Scandalous Lady W will lap up this bawdy period romp set against the ever-present danger of the French Revolution. Espionage, passion, danger and plenty of dry humour.

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First Love! – Debuts of the Month

The votes are in for our May Poll and these are the best first novels around right now. We especially love:

Keep Me Posted by Lisa Beazley – Amusing, penetrating and cringe-making take on modern life through a unique correspondence.

The Loney by Andrew Michael Hurley – Costa First Novel winner 2015. ‘… strange and mysterious, funny, sad and frightening … a story that will appeal to all sorts of different readers and should be top of everyone’s reading pile.’ (Lovereading Reader Reviewer ).

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The Desmond Elliott Prize 2016 shortlist

At University, getting a ‘Desmond’ meant a middle of the road degree score (2:2 – get it?). Not for first time novelists it doesn’t. This highly prized award, given in the name of charismatic and legendary literary agent, Desmond Elliott, offers a substantial reward for a first-time novelist and carries on the great man’s own work in supporting and encouraging new writing and we salute it! Below is the recently announced shortlist with a winner coming in late June.

The House at the Edge of the World by Julia Rochester. A wonderfully unconventional read, where a mystery waiting to be solved shelters behind a penetrating and wryly emotional family tale. The Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney. A quite simply sensational debut, one that reaches into the beastly heart of prostitution, drugs, and violence, and makes it very very human. Mrs Engels by Gavin McCrea.  A stimulating and rather glorious peek at the life of Lizzie Burns, who lived alongside and supported the two men who founded Marxism.

Get ahead of the crowd

There are some great books waiting in the wings… but you can start reading them now with our exclusive pre-publication Opening Extracts. We especially love Remember My Name by Abbey Clancy – A light, flirty down-to-earth tale of the price of fame. There are more to choose from on the shelf below.

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Book Mark! – The Books of Mark Douglas-Home

Journalist turned author, Mark Douglas-Home was deported from his native South Africa for speaking out against apartheid and has a unique and searingly real voice in the world of the mystery thriller. His truly wave-making thriller series has spanned oceans following the submersive adventures of ocean-going detective Cal McGill.

The first two books: The Sea Detective and The Woman Who Walked into the Sea were met with high acclaim and his new one, out later this month The Malice of Waves, is a churning, tidal, tour de force that will have you gripping the deck rails on the hunt for a missing boy from a close-knit community. Discover more…

Speaking ‘Candlishly’

For someone who professes to lead an uncomplicated life, Louise Candlish is a master at writing about human beings facing dramatic dilemmas. With themes of betrayal, forgiveness, marriage and infidelity, relationships, deception and trust, her elegantly written novels sit on your shoulder long after the final page. Her latest title, The Swimming Pool, is a tense, creepy and intriguing novel that delves into the depths of obsession. Loved by our Reader Reviewers (‘gripping’, ‘thoroughly enjoyable’, ‘enthralling’) you can find it here, along with all her other darkly human tales.

On the ‘Casey’

Specialist foster-carer, Casey Watson, has welcomed many troubled children into her home. It’s a full time labour of love. Gruelling yet rewarding. Somehow she has found time to translate her experiences into heartbreaking real-life stories. These are the stories of her own life and those of the children she’s helped. Much like those of fellow foster-carer-turned-author, Cathy Glass, they are true stories that read like family drama. Stories that must be told. Mummy’s Little Soldier is the latest in the absorbing series of true stories. Find it and all of her other titles here.

P.S. This month also look out for the Wodehouse Prize shortlist, the Baileys Prize shortlist and finally the winner of the Wellcome Book Prize. You will find them all in our Book Awards category.

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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.

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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.
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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:

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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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April eNewsletter

April has showered a full blossom of fresh ideas for fantastic forays into fiction and fact for book fans! In a month in which we celebrate Shakespeare 400, a bicentenary birthday for Charlotte Bronte and revisit the great Evelyn Waugh 50 years after his death, it’s a literary feast! But that’s not all. Read on to see our top recommendations for every whim as we ‘Spring’ into action for some happy reading this month.

April Books of the Month

More dazzling than a host of daffs is our bookshelf this month! Look out for:

The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson – A beautiful, moving story about a small East Sussex town transformed forever by WW1 …’I enjoyed every minute I spent with these characters.’ (Reader Review). Fool Me Once by Harlan Coben – An outrageously stunning read, that takes a tight hold from the outset and continues to squeeze until the shockingly intense end. Who’s That Girl by Mhairi McFarlane – Funny, insightful with moving moments and a sassy, confident and intelligent heroine, this will make a good summer read.’ (Reader Review).
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April’s Firsts are no Fools! – Debuts of the Month

Pinch Punch! These are the firsts of the month! Great debut novels by future favourite authors.

Fire Damage by Kate Medina – First in a refreshing new series. ‘Terrific – absolutely unputdownable! This is so much more than a standard crime novel!’ (Reader Review).

The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick – Full of delightful, delicious quirkiness. This is a highly recommended beautiful little gem of a read, pefect for fans of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared.

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All Prose no Conn!

Arguably one of the most popular periods for pensmiths, The Wars of the Roses have their share of fans. Shelves are packed with compelling tales from this complex and important time in our history. Winning the day, we think, in this competitive field is Conn Iggulden, a captivating writer who has tackled historical dynasties from Julius Caesar to Genghis Khan. His intensely researched yet wonderfully accessible series brings England under the ‘feuding flowers’ to vivid life and have delighted our Editorial Experts and discerning Reader Reviewers. Bloodline is the third in the series and in May Ravenspur brings the series to its powerful conclusion. Find out more.

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Letters from the World

In 2013, aged five and a half, Toby Little decided to write a letter to someone in every single country in the world. With his Mum’s help a website and facebook page went live and became a means of storing the letters, social media leapt aboard and Toby’s dream started to come true. The result is Dear World, How Are You?, gorgeous, fascinating and heartwarming in equal measure; a book to put a smile on your face and to share with children to inspire them to take up a challenge.

Lovereading loves Reading Groups!

We’re big fans of reading groups. Every month we recommend perfect talking-point-titles for your book club and offer discounts on multiple orders! This month, try:

In Her Wake by Amanda Jennings – A compelling, almost bittersweet read, where a shocking discovery leads to an intense, emotional journey.  It is a thought-provoking, dramatic and gripping read that begs the question, just how well do we really know our family? It will give you so much to discuss in your reading group!

April is Maxed! – Maxim Jakubowski Recommends

A truly varied bunch of books has caught the keen eye of our resident crime guru this month. A terrific range of worlds, ideas, adventures and unforgettable characters. See the whole selection here. Or, check out Maxim’s Top Picks of the month:

Dodgers by Bill Beverly – A striking literary thriller. An unforgettable coming-of-age American road journey of self-discovery through the dark world of ghetto crime and skewed loyalties. This is a high-quality character study that we are sure will become a landmark in US crime writing.

The Poison Artist by Jonathan Moore – Championed by Stephen King, a gripping thriller that brims with terror and discomfort. Mining the roots of obsession in a relentless plot, this is a creepy keeper!

Pre-Publication Exclusives

Some cracking reads to watch out for later this month – why not read a Free Opening Extract today right here at Lovereading?

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400 Years of the Bard

Well, shake our spears! It’s 400 years since Britain’s most celebrated playwright died and to celebrate, there are events the length and breadth of the kingdom. So perhaps it’s time to bone up on the bard and we can help with A Smidgen of Shakespeare by Geoff Spiteri, a brilliant dip-in tome of quotations, trivia and frolics for you to impress your friends with.

Shakespeare’s birth and death-day (23 April) is also World Book Night when millions of books are up for grabs in a monster give-away! See all the titles here, but don’t miss Someone Else’s Skin, Am I Normal Yet and Treachery which are particular favourties in the office. Click here for more.

P.S. – The Jungle Book is back! With the much awaited release of the A-list star-studded Jungle Book film, don’t miss our special category on Lovereading4kids dedicated to all things Jungle Book.

Kipling’s timeless classic gets new life in a memory-lane love-in for you and your man-cubs! Find out more.

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Mid-March eNewsletter

Brexit, the Budget, the weather, Kim Kardashian… escape them all with a great book. Read on for shelf-loads of great reads reviewed by our editorial experts and free opening extract tasters of what we think will be well worth reading in April.

First Things First: Pre-Publication Extracts

This is your monthly chance to get a taste of the next big things before they hit the shelves. It’s a great way to browse for new books!

When She Was BadTammy Cohen. Mounting horror grips in this office-life saga. Original, Hypnotic, harrowing and compulsive.

The French LessonHallie Rubenhold. A wonderfully bawdy period memoir. Scandal and intrigue against a backdrop of social change and revolution. The Summer Before the WarHelen Simonson. Heartbreaking, beautifully written portrayal of small town folk and the war to end all wars.
Flawed Cecelia Ahern. Debut YA novel from bestselling adult author that raises interesting questions about society and personal responsibility. Tastes Like FearSarah Hilary. Third in the award-winning crime series from the author of the bone-chilling debut Someone Else’s Skin. Hitman Anders and the Meaning of it AllJonas Jonasson. Hugely readable, quirky, madcap walk through life’s darker side.
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Literat-HER – Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction

Celebrating its 20th anniversary, the highly coveted international prize for the very best writing by women announced its longlist on 8 March. Take a look at the titles that we are tipping for the top – not necessarily the obvious names from the longlist but we rate these ones as well worth a read.

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Award-winning Romance

We think 7 March must be the most Romantic Day of the Year, so far, as the winners of the RNA (Romantic Novelists’ Association) Book Awards were announced at a simply splendid lunch in London. Novelist Fern Britton handed out the gongs and our very own Sarah Broadhurst was a judge. Letters to the Lost by Iona Grey, described as ‘a skilfully told story with captivating characters, convincing and compelling’ was the overall winner. It and the category winners are on the shelf below.

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An unmissable prize-winning edition

The surprise but totally deserved winner of the Man Booker, The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge, has just been published as a beautiful gift edition.

James Heneage, chair of the final judges, said: “Part horror, part detective, part historical, this is a fantastic story with great central characters and narrative tension. It’s not only a fabulous children’s book but a book that readers of all ages will love.” Find out more.

Spring book festival news update

We have Spring festivals with something for everyone. New in Kent is the Chiddingstone Castle Literary Festival (Bank Holiday weekend 1-3 May) with 10% off all tickets for Lovereading members, whilst the Cotswolds offer book-lovers Chipping Norton Literary Festival (21-24 April) and Chipping Campden Literature Festival (3-8 May).

     

Liked that? You’ll LOVE this! – If You Like You’ll Love

This is where we guide you to other authors who resemble your favourites. This month, if you like Sophie Kinsella you’ll love Summer Nights at the Moonlight Hotel by Jane Costello, a toe-tappingly funny tale of friendship, love and salsa!

And for fans of Martina Cole then look no further than Julie Shaw with her gritty and gripping Tales of the Notorious Hudson Family series.

Spring eBook Favourites

As the weather gets better why not pick up a fresh eBook to make reading anywhere a simple pleasure.

Three in a Bed, Andrew Croker.  A fast moving, immensely enjoyable and riveting tale set during the summer of 2014 when the phone hacking scandal was front page news. The Ice Child, Camilla Lackberg. A startling, clever and intensely dark tale set in a small Swedish town with cunning writing waiting to trip you up.

The Forgotten Summer, Carol Drinkwater. Set aside some quality reading time as this is a lovely and entirely captivating, richly bittersweet tale.

War Through the Looking Glass – Anatomy of a Soldier by Harry Parker

Drawn from his own experiences and using the imaginative construct of narrative through objects rather than characters, Harry Parker’s new novel Anatomy of a Soldier is a compelling and compassionate modern war tale. Forty-five objects, one incredible story.

A truly unique novel with a language that elevates it to beautiful. If you’re looking for a tour de force, look no further.

March with Maxim!

As ever, resident editorial guru Maxim Jakubowski has plundered the shelves to give us his top tips this month. With stellar new titles and a stonking reissue to feast on, even the hungriest appetite will be satisfied. Here’s a taster of the top table:

Box Nine by Jack O’Connell – Desolate and mind-twisting detective story, with characters as weird as their surroundings and a plot that is just as modern today as when first published in 1998.

13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough – Jealousy, cunning and outright evil. A twisting, relentless delve into the cruelties of the mind, which is gripping and chilling to the end.

Daley Dose! – DCI Daley Series

If you haven’t already discovered Denzil Meyrick’s DCI Daley series, you’re in for a treat! The former Glasgow police officer brings a stunning sense of reality to his action-packed, gutsy and suspenseful tales that menace and harass your senses. No mundane murders here! The latest title The Rat Stone Serenade, due in April, combines old family secrets with a long forgotten curse and certain death awaits. See the whole series here and if you are new to it get reading ahead of the new one.

Criminal Nostalgia – Blitz based crime series

Mike Hollow’s series of crime novels, set in WW2 London, are perfect for fans of Foyle’s War or Murder on the Home Front and anyone who enjoys period murder mysteries.

DI Jago, ‘The Blitz Detective’, is engaging, reliable and hiding hurts from the previous war. His young side-kick DC Craddock is wet behind the ears and keen as mustard. Their first case is Direct Hit and just out is the second book in the series, Fifth Column.

Letters from the World

In 2013, aged five and a half, Toby Little decided to write a letter to someone in every single country in the world. His Mum, Sabine, embraced the challenge and began to seek out people who would be interested in writing back to Toby. A website went live and became a means of storing the letters, social media leapt aboard and Toby’s dream started to come true. Dear World, How Are You? is gorgeous, fascinating and heartwarming in equal measure; a book to put a smile on your face and to share with children to inspire them to take up a challenge.

Between the Lines and Off the Page

Back in 2012 bestselling author Jodi Picoult, co-writing with her daughter who came up with the idea, told a brilliantly romantic YA story of love across a divide (in this case a book!) in an entertaining and thought-provoking story about stories, characters and readers.

Now coming in April 2016 we have their next delightful collaboration Off the Page. A stand-alone novel as well as the sequel to the authors’ bestseller Between the Lines, perfect for readers looking for a fairytale ending. Read an Opening Extract now, or if you are new to the duo catch up with the first one.

That’s it for March. Happy Reading. See you in April… but don’t forget to enter our Free Prize Draw to win a DVD Box set of series 1 -3 of the dark and cleverly crafted Shetland.

P.S. We loved the gorgeously eloquent and touching novel The Turning Point by Freya North when it was published in hardback last year so it’s great the paperback is out next week… time to turn off the TV and phone to enjoy undisturbed.

P.P.S. Are you in a reading group? Then don’t miss one of our top highlights this month, The Broken Road by Lindsay Stanberry-Flynn, the engaging and satisfying family tale, full of drama and emotion. Packed full of plot lines to get you all talking.

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March eNewsletter

We’re stealing a march this month to bring you the very best of all things ‘book’. Hand-picked, highly considered, expert recommendations for readers of all tastes. From horror junkies to romance fans – and everything in between – we have just the thing. Plus, there’s a flurry of literary anniversaries to celebrate this month. A chance to revisit some greats! Relax, sit back and read on for more.

On the March! – Books of the Month

Our Books of the Month bookshelf springs to life this month with some titanic titles. Your next great read is probably in here somewhere. We love:

At the Edge of the Orchard by Tracy Chevalier – ‘Stunning, haunting and truly memorable … story of hardship and resilience … beautifully imagined … will transport you effortlessly to another place and time’ (Reader Review).

And Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner – ‘A highly original take on the very popular mystery genre by focusing as much as those left behind as uncovering the truth of the victim. Captivating.’ (Reader Review). Finally Little Boy Blue by M.J. Arlidge – Sit on the edge of your seat in this explosively brilliant fifth book in the DI Helen Grace series.

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Relatable, engaging and addictive… have you discovered Susan Lewis?

Two engrossing titles from the same author have got us gripped this month. Susan Lewis is a master at painting characters with the lightest of brushstrokes, so that we know them utterly, while ramping up tension to an almost unbearable level.

No Place to Hide, a time-switching family saga which was loved by our Reader Reviewers now has The Girl Who Came Back to keep it company on our ‘Favourites’ list and collectively they are also joint Books of the Month.

Mamma Mia! It’s Mother’s Day!

‘Mum’ is literally the word this month. There’s still time to get that perfect gift. Thoughtful, enduring and with the promise of time with your feet up, what could be better than a book? Click here to get started but don’t dawdle as Mother’s Day is 6 March.

Fresh for Spring – Debuts of the Month

A first novel often contains the heart and soul of an author. A life’s work. Here are the labours of love of March’s brand-new, brilliant talent. Don’t miss:

MEGA Debut The Butcher’s Hook by ex-Blue Peter Presenter Janet Ellis – A dark, thrilling, psychological, historical novel loved by our Reader Reviewers.

The Teacher by Katerina Diamond – Disturbingly good! A provocative and biting murder mystery, with gruesome yet thought-provoking reality. Or Anatomy of a Soldier by Harry Parker – Thoughtful wartime survival tale. Compelling cultural tour-de-force. War through a looking glass.

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Mark the Page – This Month’s Anniversaries

It’s a month of landmarks this March, with literary anniversaries galore. What better time to dust off some old friends or discover giants for the first time? Not just Brighton will ‘rock’ to know that it’s 25 years since Graham Greene died. ‘Lighthouse’ keepers won’t be the only ones to mark the 75th anniversary of Virginia Woolf’s passing. Irish novel fans can revisit one of its exemplar exponents to commemorate 50 years since Flann O’Brien died. And, the Irish theme continues with the work of W.B. Yeats marking the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising.

Go for Goring! – Historical Fiction at its Best

With a growing international fan base, the novels of Rosemary Goring combine imagined characters with searing historical realism.

After Flodden and Dacre’s War take the reader through the human experiences of Scotland during the turbulent 16th century, a fascinating period in our history. Not to be missed! Find more here.

It’s a Group Thing

Looking for that next talking point title for your reading group? Let us guide you to our top tips for perfect thought-provoking tales. Books like those of Lindsay Stanberry-Flynn: family and relationship dramas, where secrets test the strongest of bonds.

Or, why not try The Shadow Hour by Kate Riordan? Heartfelt and poignant writing. Read them and let us know what you think!

Pure Silk from Dinah Jefferies

Following the success of her immersive novel The Tea Planter’s Wife, which Reader Reviewers heralded as: “beautifully written, atmospheric” and “evocative and absorbing”, Dinah Jefferies plunges us head-first into Vietnam in her latest title, The Silk Merchant’s Daughter. A truly transporting novel which conjures up the sights, colours and sounds of that beguiling country through vibrant, visceral characters. Read more here.

Go Shortie!

Perfect for those stolen moments or the ride to work, a short story well done is a thing of wonder. Our special category dedicated to the best of the best in the short form has had a refresh this month. With titles like Sweet Home by Carys Bray – a prize-winning collection of moments of heartache and joy – this section is guaranteed to hit the spot!

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Mid February eNewsletter

The weather may be cold and grey but we’re aiming to cheer you up, with lots of feel-good and absorbing books to lose yourself in.  And don’t miss checking out this month’s Author of the Month, Katie Fforde, as well as our latest free prize draws where you can win lots of exclusive book goodies, such as a super sturdy Lovereading canvas bag.

Hot – but not off the Press! Pre-Publication Exclusives

Your monthly chance to stay ahead of the game with a sneak peek at tomorrow’s best books. Don’t miss: The Shadow Hour by Kate Riordan. Beautifully written, haunting and intense dual-time tale that envelops you in a world of mystery and intrigue. Also try The Girl in the Photograph by the same author – another dual-time tale set in a house of secrets. Or any of the others on the shelf below.

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Early Spring Book Festival Update

An early crop of spring festivals have come to our attention. Read on for news. The Independent Bath Literature Festival is back (26 February-6 March). Toast a newcomer to the Literary Festival party Lutonia Festival (5 March-2 April). Raise a glass to the Alderney Literary Festival (18-20 March) and enjoy a pop-up treat in Budleigh Salterton (3 March).

February eBooks of the Month

Digitally minded readers are in for a treat this month with a big selection of favourites in our eBook category.  Or just look at the ‘other formats’ box on every book page for one click links to your favourite eBook format.

The Forgotten Summer by Carol Drinkwater. Seductively beautiful and evocative writing ensures this book is very hard to put down. The Witness by Simon Kernick. Perfect for anyone who likes an adrenaline rush … a spectacularly fast moving and captivating read. Three in a Bed by Andrew Croker. A fast moving, enjoyable and riveting tale set when the phone hacking scandal was front page news.
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Mum’s the Word! – Words for Mum. Mother’s Day 2016

Spas are expensive, a dinner is brief, flowers only wilt and pets are for life. So why not choose a book this Mother’s Day (6 March, in case you’d forgotten!) to show her how much you care? It’s a lasting, thoughtful way to say ‘thank you’. We’ve put together a small category of books we think might fit the bill, so all you have to do is pick one! We really like:

Worry With Mother: 101 Neuroses for the Modern Mama by Francesca Hornak. Stunningly illustrated, a great antidote to parental stress and a wonderful gift for all mothers old or new, expectant or even for the just plain exhausted. Or Marian Keyes Making It Up As I Go Along. A bold, brilliant book bursting with her hilarious and heartfelt observations on modern life, love and much, much else besides. We have a few more recommendations on the shelf below:

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Liked that? Get a Load of THIS! – If You Like You’ll Love

Our ingenious category that points you in the direction of other authors just like your favourites. Your next top read is here. Guaranteed. Just look down.

If you like Dorothy Koomson you’ll love the beautiful yet heartrending Our Song by Dani Atkins. If you like Jojo Moyes you’ll love the captivating and stimulating We Are All Made of Stars by Rowan Coleman. If you like Martina Cole you’ll love the gritty and fast-moving Tainted Love by Kimberley Chambers.
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If you like Val McDermid you’ll love the exhilarating and provocative Dead Pretty by David Mark. If you like Nicholas Sparks you’ll love the sad, sweet, thought-provoking  Time to Say Goodbye by S.D.Robertson. If you like Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn you’ll love the riveting Follow Me Back by Nicci Cloke.
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Take it from the Max! – Maxim Jakubowski’s Feb Selections

Crime and Sci-Fi guru Maxim Jakubowski has yet again trawled through reams of writing to bring you his top tips for a cracking read. View all the fruits of his labours this month on the site and below are his Book of the Month and Highly Recommended choices:

Real Tigers by Mick Herron – Complex and humorous, intense rivalries in a house of second rate spies. In the hands of Herron, this is a future classic.

The Rose of Tibet by Lionel Davidson – One of Davidson’s most enchanting titles. Romance and derring-do that pre-dates and outlives Indiana Jones!

Half a dozen unmissables

February has been a spectacular month for new books but we did want to make sure you hadn’t missed six that have had the office raving …

The Ballroom by Anna Hope
From the author of the wonderful Wake comes a striking, eloquent and desperately beautiful novel, set during 1911 in a Yorkshire asylum and inspired by the true story of her great-grandfather.

Gold Fame Citrus by Claire Vaye Watkins
This much talked about debut is an excellent novel for our times; a tale of instincts, twists and betrayals; a compelling piece of writing from an award-winning short story author who is likened to Margaret Atwood.

For the Most Beautiful by Emily Hauser
An irresistible re-imagination of the world of the Iliad told from the perspective of the hidden voices, the women. The author is a protégé of historian Mary Beard and has created a spectacularly fresh and exciting read.

Things We Have in Common by Tasha Kavanagh
A disturbing and devastatingly compelling debut novel… surprisingly creepy and impossible to put down. This is the perfect word-of-mouth read that our Reader Review panel loved.

The Faithful Couple by A.D. Miller
A brilliantly clever and insightful novel that deals with the most universal of themes – friendship, and the way our past actions shape our lives – in a uniquely perceptive and memorable way.

Being a Beast by Charles Foster
With an approach to natural history that brings shocks and surprises this unusual, intimate and passionate attempt to connect with nature is unlike anything else you’ll read this year.

And that is February at Lovereading. We’ll be back in March so you can delve between the covers of the best books out there. Happy Reading!

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February eNewsletter

It’s February. That’s a whole month closer to Spring! Our book trees are already in full blossom as we continue to scour the literary landscape for the right recommendations to keep you enthralled, in fact or fiction, until February finally turns its frosty face and flies south.

But enough of our poetic ramblings, you don’t want to listen to that! You want to see what’s hot on the bookshelves this month but not necessarily the more obvious bestsellers. Alright then. Read on for more.

FEBulous! Books of the Month

Feb’s bookshelf is filled with fantastic flights of fancy to float the most discerning of boats! Don’t miss:

The Faithful Couple by A.D. Miller – Confirms Miller as one of the most exciting and sophisticated novelists – someone who can tell a great story, with a sense of serious moral complexity. Here we have a truly compelling story of friendship through an intensely strange filter. It is literary human drama of the highest calibre.

Rain Dogs by Adrian McKinty – A complex, intense and truly dark 5th case for Irish sleuth Sean Duffy. A palpable hit with crime guru, Maxim Jakubowski.

Exposure by Helen Dunmore, previous winner of the Orange Book Prize – Evocative, thrilling and suspenseful tale of truth and lies in a world of intrigue and danger.

All the Rage by Courtney Summers. A controversial YA novel revolving around rape and its life-blighting consequences that our editorial expert and our YA and adult Reader Review panel members cannot stop talking about. Check out their views here and join the conversation @lovereadinguk and #tothegirls2016.

Being a Beast by Charles Foster – Non-Fiction B.O.M ! – Humorous, insightful, beautiful and, ultimately, educational journey into the psyche of animals.

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Fforde for Thought – Author of the Month, Katie Fforde

A country girl with a host of professions under her belt, Katie Fforde’s novels offer the fantasy of romance with a searing dose of realism. Strong heroes and complex, likeable, relatable heroines in a world that is vividly familiar yet also an escape for her readers. A Summer at Sea, for instance, is a cosy, comforting and delightful book about taking chances, valuing friendships and finding love. A Vintage Wedding, takes a beautiful setting and a deliciously cobbled path to true love. Full of feel-good factor, her stories are a pick-me-up anytime of year but especially during these short dreary days. See all Katie’s titles here and have the chance to WIN signed copies!

Feb Firsts – Debuts of the Month

Hungry for new writing? Quench your thirst with a first! We’ve gathered the brightest and best first time novelists, all vying to be your next favourite! Check out:

Gold Fame Citrus by Claire Vaye Watkins – One of the most talked about debuts this year. Reader Reviewers called it: “hauntingly strange”, “lyrically written” and “A dystopian drama that echoes … the great American writers”.

For the Most Beautiful by Emily Hauser – Homer’s Iliad reimagined. Reader Reviewers said: “A sheer delight to read”, “… beautifully written and enchanting”. Mythology paradise!

The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon – A sweltering human life story with real heart. “A wonderful, wonderful read” (Reader Reviewer).

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All You Read is Love … Valentine’s Day Reading

Call us hopeless romantics, but we love love! Of course, Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. But, we’d rather be curled up with a good book, frankly. Conveniently, we found these:

If You Only Read One Book This Month …

Our top recommendation for this month is an exquisitely written and touching novel. The Expatriates by Janice Y.K. Lee was universally lauded by our Reader Reviewers for its immersive and spine-tinglingly beautiful storytelling. As profound as it is intriguing, exotic and prosaic, this is a very human story of identity, grief and possibility. Your heart will fill, your brain will whir and your senses tingle at the vibrant backdrop of this wonderful book. It’s one of our February Books of the Month and deserves a place on your bedside table! See more.

A Fistful of Pre-Pub Exclusives

Coming at the end of the month are five cracking novels that we have managed to persuade the publisher to part with an exclusive Opening Extract from, so you can start reading them now. Enjoy…

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We Spy a Thriller! – Palace of Treason by Jason Matthews

Written by an ex-CIA agent and fiercely endorsed in a major way by our own Maxim Jakubowski, Palace of Treason is a must read for fans of the genre. With all the pulp and sexiness of a James Bond adventure, yet the edgy realism you’d expect from a field agent, this is a thoroughly absorbing, high octane and chilli-hot dish, best served in one sitting! Find out more.

Scroll down to see many 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 miss the chance to read the overall winner of the Costa Book of the Year (announced on 26 January); only the second time the Children’s Book Award category winner has done so, the first was Philip Pullman who won with The Amber Spyglass! The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge is a spellbinding, hugely entertaining and dramatic Victorian thriller that readers both young and older will love. So don’t miss out.

P.P.S. Fancy a Quickie? – Quick Reads 2016 – Brilliantly conceived and taking great strides in making reading more and more accessible, the Galaxy Quick Reads initiative has announced its title list. See our blog article and take a look at the short and sweet stars on the list, available from early February!

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Mid January email update

Diets, dryathons, dreadful weather and short days … January can be a long month but at least you can allow yourself to totally indulge in great books that will transport you to altogether more exciting places. Why not start with a book you may have missed in 2015 in our ‘picks of last year’?

February Pre-Publication Exclusives

The only thing better than getting a great new book as soon as it’s published is sneaking a peak before it hits the shelves. This is where you can! Don’t miss:

The Shadow Hour by Kate Riordan. The author of the excellent dual time novel The Girl in the Photograph has written another heartfelt, beautifully readable novel described by our reviewer as ‘quite simply gorgeous’. Fans of Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca and of authors Kate Mosse and Katherine Webb definitely need to find out more.

And published ahead of Kate Riordan’s new novel, The Shadow Hour, is an evocative short story eBook featuring characters from her debut The Girl in the Photograph. Set in the 1930’s, it’s called The Red Letter and features an exclusive extract from The Shadow Hour. And better still, it’s only 99p!

Narrow Bed by Sophie Hannah – Chilling and inventive mystery from the queen of psychological crime writing. Exposure by Helen Dunmore – A fantastic foray into forbidden love, intimate betrayal, secrets and exposure by the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Lie. We Are All Made of Stars by Rowan Coleman – “Heart-warming”, “Heart-breaking”, “Truly inspirational”, “Extremely uplifting” and “stunning”. (Reader Reviews).
The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon – ‘A mysterious disappearance, an avenue of hidden secrets, two young girls finding out about the world of adults – terrific!’ (Reader Review). All the Rage – Courtney Summers (YA) – An astonishing and starkly written novel, examining the shame and silence inflicted upon young women in a culture that refuses to protect them. Our Song by Dani Atkins

Beautiful and heart-rending. Be prepared to be totally captivated and moved to tears.

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Maxim-um Praise!

This month, Maxim’s discerning eye has focussed on a superlative selection of ripping yarns and page-turners from the worlds of SciFi, Fantasy and Thrillers. Enough to warm AND chill you on these winter nights!

There are double agents in Putin’s dacha; puppets with artificial intelligence; shady new lights on JFK’s assassination; murky conspiracies in 1930s Naples; spacefaring spies in a parallel universe and angels descending from above. That should keep you going for a while. See all of the monthly recommendations here.

Januar – E-Books! – The best downloads this month

Life is full of ups and downs. Uploads and Downloads! Whatever your hardware, we’ve got some cracking eBooks for the digitally dexterous this month. Our pick of the bunch are:

The Good Liar by Nicholas Searle – pitch perfect, stunning, subtle and fearless storytelling that will have you audibly applauding by the final page!

And No Mortal Thing by Gerald Seymour  – Italian organised crime is the backdrop for the latest suspenseful page-turner from Gerald Seymour, still on top of his game 40 years after the publication of Harry’s Game.

Spreading the Love! – If You Like You’ll Love

You’ve read everything by your favourite author and you know what you like? But now what? Let us guide you to a whole load of similar authors you’ll love. For instance:

If you like Gillian Flynn you’ll Love

Try Not to Breathe by Holly Seddon

A penetrating and intense debut thriller for fans of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train.

If you like Alison Weir you’ll Love

The Queen’s Choice by Anne O’Brien

A wonderful, effortless blend of historical fact and romance, scheming and subterfuge.

If you like Sophie Kinsella you’ll Love

Strictly Between Us by Jane Fallon

Sharp, feisty and wittily amusing foray into the relationship world.

One of ours and your favourites

The Expatriates by Janice Y. K. Lee was one of our staff picks of the week and clearly we hit a sweet spot as you have made it the most downloaded title of last week.

Set in Hong Kong, Margaret, Mercy and Hilary are three expatriate women learning to survive heartache in a different and sometimes difficult world. Janice Y. K. Lee writes with an exquisite, startling intensity, she provokes thoughts and feelings into exploring identity, grief and a fluttering of possibilities. The Expatriates is wonderfully fascinating, compelling and profound and we highly recommend you read the free Opening Extract to discover for yourself.

A Debut to Get Your Hands on

A quick word about a debut novel of harrowing beauty that we think is set to become one of the books of the year. Surely a film deal can’t be far away for Guinevere Glasfurd’s atmospheric and enigmatic The Words in My Hand.

With shades of Girl with a Pearl Earring and The Miniaturist, this 17th Century tale set against the backdrop of the Scientific Revolution is delightful, playful and beautifully written. See more here.

Finally, YA readers (well actually anyone who loves deliciously dark, supernatural page-turners with an historical twist) should find out more about Alison Goodman’s debut, The Dark Days Club. The first of a trilogy set in Regency England that is packed with passion, period detail and devastating demons.

That’s it for January. See you in February for many more hand-picked recommendations.

P.S. If you are someone who likes to keep up to date with Book Awards do check out our special category. And this month there are the Costa Award category winners and the overall winner of the T.S.Eliot Prize for Poetry.

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January eNewsletter

Happy New Year from Lovereading! Whether you are resolutely sticking to your resolutions, or have already lost your resolve, we are determined to kick off 2016 with more fantastic suggestions to keep your literary love-life on track. With titles to liberate, educate and inspire, we’re starting this new year with a bang. So sit back, relax, reach for your favourite tipple and let’s guide you to your next perfect read. Why not start with our Best Books of 2015 section for some of last year’s greats that you may have missed? Read on for more.

All Prose and No Cons! – January Books of the Month

It may be winter out there, but our January bookshelf is all toasty warm, crammed with hot titles for all tastes. We highly recommend…

Coffin Road by Peter MayDescribed by members of our Reader Review Panel as “a remarkable thriller”, “beautifully crafted” and “A compulsive read”, a chilling mystery in a remote landscape filled with blood, bodies … and bees. Brilliant! The Expatriates by Janice Y. K. LeeA remarkably touching and quite beautiful read. Hong Kong is the vibrant backdrop to the intimate story of three women. There is real depth and energy to the writing and we absolutely loved it. A Game for All the Family by Sophie HannahTicktock, ticktock, this is a psychological mystery that encourages reading well past bed time and keeps minds ticking over and searching for rational (and perhaps not so rational) answers.

Look Back in Wonder! – Best Books of 2015

With so many terrific titles in just twelve months, spanning a gigantic gaggle of genres and catering for all tastes, it’s very possible that even the most dedicated readers among you will have missed some of 2015’s star turns. Fret not! We have put them all into a handy category of heroes for you to dip into an expert-compiled retrospective of the literary gold dust of 2015. Enjoy!

New Year, New Authors

What better time to introduce you to the brightest new writing talent. This month’s debutants are a shining bunch. Your new favourite writer is undoubtedly among them! We especially love…

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And finally, we think, another soon to be hit – Highbridge by Phil Redmond, the creator of Grange Hill, Brookside and Hollyoaks. It’s a hard-hitting drama and the start of a new crime series set in a fictional town with complex secrets and shady characters.

It divided the opinions of our Reader Reviewers but the ones who liked it raved about it. We think it is definitely worth finding out more.

Change for the better

Come January we all have thoughts to improve ourselves or the situations we find ourselves in … but doing new things needs help and support … and this is where our small but perfectly selected range of New Year, New You books could help. Titles like D.I.Y Magic: A Strange and Whimsical Guide to Creativity by Anthony Alvarado. Described as “NOT a book merely to be read; it is a book to be lived!” it is refreshingly different and useful with ‘mind hacks’ that will change the way you think about yourself, about creativity, and about the world.

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Evans Above! – Crooked Heart by Lissa Evans

Longlisted for the Baileys Women’s Fiction Prize, Crooked Heart is a war tale with a difference. Perfect for fans of Beryl Bainbridge or Alan Bennett, it’s a surprising and thoroughly enjoyable story of a young evacuee from the Blitz and the family he is billeted with. Sparky, funny yet credible and touching, it was described by Nick Hornby as “the best novel I’ve read in the last five years”. You’ll devour this lovely book and will probably buy several copies to give to your friends!

D’Lacey’s Deliciously Dark, Dystopian Delights!

Cleverly crafted and mind-bendingly brilliant, Joseph D’Lacey’s two-book series The Black Dawn is a delightfully dark delve into worlds past and present. With searingly plausible futuristic imaginings, you will be transported into a brave new world.

Black Feathers flits effortlessly between two realities, a world of an ecological apocalypse and its troubled, techno-free aftermath whilst The Book of The Crowman hurls the reader towards a terrifying and terrible reckoning. You’ll be left emotionally exhausted, yet filled with hope. See more here.

40 Years gone and not Forgotten

This month sees the 40th anniversary of the death of one of the world’s best-loved crime writers, Agatha Christie. As well as her classics crime fans should also take a look at international bestselling author Sophie Hannah’s stylish sequel and Poirot homage, The Monogram Murders. It’s the first time that the guardians of Christie’s legacy have authorised such a novel and fans new and old will not be disappointed. Sit back and let those ‘little grey cells’ astound you once again!

Plus, if you are a fan of Sophie Hannah, then out this month is her brilliant stand-alone A Game for All the Family, we also have an exclusive pre-publication extract of The Narrow Bed, the latest in her Culver Valley Crime series, due out in February.

Died and Prejudice!

‘It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.’ So begins Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith, an expanded edition of the beloved Jane Austen novel featuring all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie mayhem. Trust us it is this year’s guilty pleasure and with over 50,000 copies already devoured in the UK alone, a new edition ties in with the all-star film release sure to set screens ablaze around Valentine’s Day this year.

And if this mash-up of regency and demons is your thing, check out superlative supernatural page-turner  The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman, out later this month but on site now with an exclusive taster extract. And don’t miss the TV version of Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments coming to Netflix later this month. Sorted!

Love Crime? Try Crime AND Love!

With a unique voice, author Karen Rose has created a genre all for herself. Her Cincinnati series blends explicit romance with great crime writing. Sex and serial killers. Just the thing for these cold winter months! Our Reader Reviewers raved about the first book, Closer Than You Think, and the second title, Alone in the Dark (available in physical form in February) was one of our top eBooks of 2015. See more here.

Scroll down to see many 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. there are plenty of other film releases this month and next which are book based. Check them out here and why not enter our competition to win some cinema tickets too?

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