Forthcoming Publications

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The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix

5star.jpg Horror

Women, by and large, have always been the subjugated sex. Throughout history, they have been confined to mere bit players who occasionally help hold up the powerful man and let nothing stand in his way. Grady Hendrix's new novel The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires gives women their due. It is an ode to the strong selfless housewife. Hendrix illustrates this by having them go toe to toe with a predatory male vampire who moves into their quiet cul de sac. Full Review



The Book of Koli by M R Carey

4star.jpg Science Fiction

The Book of Koli is the first in a post-apocalyptic trilogy, titled The Rampart Trilogy, by M.R. Carey. The novel is set in a world where nature has turned against humans. Trees move as fast as animals to crush their prey and then soak up their blood. Humans have eked out a small existence in isolated villages. They are primitive except for their reverence of 'old tech'. This is technology from the old world that seems to only work for certain chosen people. However, Koli, a young woodsmith, uncovers a secret about this technology that will upend his life and take him on a perilous journey. Full Review


Slowdown by Danny Dorling

4star.jpg Politics and Society

We are living in a time of rapid change, and we're worried about it. Dorling tells us that the latter is normal, natural and probably good for us. We are designed to worry and with the current state of what we're doing in the world, we have much to be worried about. However, over the next three-hundred-and-some pages, if you can follow the arguments, it sets out in scientific detail why either we shouldn't be as worried as we are, or in some cases that we're worrying about the wrong things. Mostly. Because mostly, things are not changing as rapidly as we think they are. In fact, the rate of change in many things is slowing down and the direction of change will in some cases go into reverse. Full Review



Sequin and Stitch by Laura Dockrill and Sara Ogilvie (illustrator)

5star.jpg Dyslexia Friendly

Sequin loved her mum to bits, but sometimes she got very cross with her. It wasn't that mum wouldn't go outside their flat - Sequin coped with that - it was because she never pushed to get credit for what she did. Mum is a seamstress and she makes the sort of clothes that you see on red carpets or at important weddings. She's not the designer - they're the people who make a lot of money from the clothes. Mum is the person who actually makes the garments and she's really talented, but when people talk about the dress or the suit, they talk about the designer. The seamstress is never mentioned. Full Review


The Dark Lady by Akala

4.5star.jpg Teens

For a street kid from the Devil's Gap, London's most notorious slum, life is short and tough. For Henry, a boy thief with brown skin inherited from a mother who abandoned him, life is tougher still. The Dark Lady enters his dreams at night. She seems to represent a past, and possibly a future... Henry and his friends, brother and sister Matthew and Mary, have various ways of getting by. Sometimes they pickpockets. Sometimes they rob the houses of the rich. It's crime or starve - but crime is dangerous and they risk the terrible punishments of Elizabethan England if they are caught. Impossible choices. But there are pleasures too, and for Henry, the chief pleasure is the Globe Theatre and the plays of William Shakespeare. Henry loves language and often makes up sonnets about what he sees around him and how he feels.  Full Review



Burn by Patrick Ness

5star.jpg Teens

On a cold Sunday evening in early 1957 - the very day, in fact, that Dwight David Eisenhower took the oath of office for the second time as President of the United States of America - Sarah Dewhurst waited with her father in the parking lot of the Chevron gas station for the dragon he'd hired to help on the farm. It's 1950s America but not as we know it. In this alternate US, there is still a Cold War with the Russians, still a concomitant arms race. And the stain of racism is just as crushing - something mixed-race Sarah and her Japanese American friend Jason are only too well aware of. As is the deeply unpleasant town deputy, Kelby. But one thing is very different. In this alternate world, there are dragons. The dragons live in an uneasy peace with humans and communication is minimal. But a few of these winged creatures do hire out their labour to human in return for gold - they are dragons, after all. Poor Frankie! Full Review


Roxy and Jones: The Great Fairytale Cover-Up by Angela Woolfe

4.5star.jpg Confident Readers

After her father gets married for the umpteenth time, Roxy Humperdinck is sent to live with her half-sister Gretel in Rexopolis, the capital city of the Kingdom of Illustria. Gretel works as a toilet cleaner for the Ministry of Soup. Why does a country like Illustria need an entire ministry dedicated to soup, you ask? Well, after Roxy finds a secret passage in her bathroom and meets a snarky young woman known only as Jones, she soon finds out why. Turns out, fairy tales are real, and the Ministry’s official job is to safeguard all knowledge of them and monitor the living fairy tales. And, when an evil queen breaks out of a maximum-security prison and threatens to reinstate her reign of terror, Roxy and Jones hold the fate of the world in their young hands…so, no pressure then! Full Review

14 MAY


Six Tudor Queens: Katheryn Howard The Tainted Queen by Alison Weir

4star.jpg Historical Fiction

Katheryn was seven when her mother died, thus we are thrust into this tumultuous time in young Katheryn's life, trying to find a home, both figuratively and literally, where she can grow and grieve. Unfortunately, Katheryn is followed by bad luck and she learns an important lesson, she is too young, too poor and too unimportant to be of any value to anyone, but she is beautiful and surely, that will count for something in the end, won't it? Full Review


The Unadoptables by Hana Tooke

5star.jpg Confident Readers

In the winter of 1880, five babies are abandoned at the Little Tulip orphanage in Amsterdam, much to the annoyance of matron Gasbeek. Twelve years later, Milou, the last of the five babies to be abandoned back in that winter, struggles to work out the identity of her parents from the clues she was abandoned with: a small coffin with claw-marks on the outside, a cat doll made by someone called Bram Poppenmaker and a velvet blanket. She, along with the other four, patiently wait for Milou's parents to come back and take her home. However, when the five children are sold to the dodgy merchant Meneer Rotman, they know they have to escape. And so begins the adventure of a lifetime as the Unadoptables join forces to reunite Milou with her parents, all the time being pursued by the Kinderbureau and Rotman… Full Review


Jungle Drop (The Unmapped Chronicles) by Abi Elphinstone

4star.jpg Confident Readers

Abi Elphinstone has said that she connects with her world-building through her characters. In an interview with [Books For Keeps], she described visualising her characters "wearing head torches which gradually reveal the world they are seeing to her and to the reader." Just as the darkness of a mine is cut through by a spear of light so too do quarrelsome Fox and Fibber get their first glimpse of the phantasmagorical glow-in-the-dark realm of Jungle Drop when they emerge through the mouth of a Dragon on the Here and There Express. Running from the opprobrium of their demanding and selfish parents, they must address what is in their hearts to find what they seek. Full Review

21 MAY


The Wondrous and Tragic Life of Ivan and Ivana by Maryse Condé

4.5star.jpg Literary Fiction

We live in a post-world: post-colonialism, post-modernism, post-truth. The list goes on. There are numerous works that utilise the prefix post- in their categorisation, but perhaps none more so than Maryse Condé. In her new novel, The Wondrous and Tragic Life of Ivan and Ivana, Condé writes with fervour about the scars left by colonialism on the countries to which it latched itself. Ivan and Ivana are twins born in Guadeloupe, a French overseas department. They grow up with intense and passionate feelings for each other. As they grow up and move overseas, the ravages of a post-colonial society drive them apart with tragic consequences. Full Review



Bookish and the Beast by Ashley Poston

3.5star.jpg Teens

Set after the ExcelsiCon, we are introduced to Rosie Thorne, a Small Town, USA girl who has recently lost her mother and is entering her final year of high school. Things keep piling up for Rosie, and when she follows a stray dog into what she thinks is an abandoned castle in her town, things just get worse. Rosie accidentally destroys a rare book and with her mother's hospital and funeral costs she has no money to cover the damage. She finds herself working for Vance Reigns, Hollywood royalty on a paparazzi escape, to repay the debt.

For most Starfield superfans this would be a dream but Rosie soon realises Vance is a jerk - and he isn't too fond of her either. However, as the two are forced to get to know each other, their guards begin to lower and they discover that maybe this situation might not be so terrible after all. Full Review



Ogadinma Or, Everything Will Be All Right by Ukamaka Olisakwe

5star.jpg Literary Fiction

The new novel by Ukamaka Olisakwe is a look at the trauma and heartache of being a woman in 1980s Nigeria. The title is Ogadinma Or, Everything Will Be All Right. Ogadinma is the eponymous heroine of the story. We are with her in every scene and it is her narrative voice that leads the story, although Olisakwe writes in the third person. This provides a sense of detachment for the reader and highlights the isolation of Ogadinma. She is exiled from her father's home and sent to Lagos where she is married to an older man named Tobe. Their marriage descends into violence and indignities and Ogadinma must utilise her resourcefulness to escape. Full Review



The Shelf by Helly Acton

4star.jpg Women's Fiction

When we meet Amy, she's in a relationship with Jamie. You can't really call it a partnership, because things tend to get done on his terms, but she's sticking around because she hopes she can change him. Ah, yes. Haven't we all been there? Things are looking up when he tells her to pack for a surprise trip. Could this be it? Is he finally going to get down on one knee? Was the work (and the wait) worth it? Full Review



Love Frankie by Jacqueline Wilson

4.5star.jpg Teens

Frankie is nearly fourteen. Being nearly fourteen is not easy when your mum has been diagnosed with MS when your dad has decided to leave her for another woman, when your older sister has turned into the girliest girl who ever lived, and, above all when Sally and her mates are bullying you at school. Oh, and when Sam, your best friend since forever, suddenly starts sending out signs that he might fancy you - and you don't fancy him back.

Poor Frankie! Full Review