Forthcoming Publications

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27 APRIL

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Review of

Effortless: Make It Easier to Do What Matters by Greg McKeown

4.5star.jpg Lifestyle

The marginal return of working harder was, in fact, negative.

That's what happened to Patrick McGinnis. It's no exaggeration to say that he devoted his life to the company he worked for, struggling through, even when he was ill, only to find that he was working for a bankrupt company. His stock had fallen by 97%, he had lost his health and his job had little value. He made a bargain with God; if he survived, he would make some changes. He did survive and came through stronger - and richer. There is, you see, a different way: great things are not reserved for those who bleed, for those who almost break. Full Review

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Review of

Lycanthropy and Other Chronic Illnesses by Kristen O'Neal

5star.jpg Teens

Having recently been diagnosed with chronic Lyme disease, Priya has to come to terms with the fact that she may be in constant pain for the rest of her life. She joins Oof Ouch My Bones, an online support group where she talks to a bunch of other teens living with chronic illnesses. They talk about their troubles and help each other out, while also providing an escape to just joke and mess around. When Brigid—one of her closest friends—doesn't respond to the chat for a while, Priya becomes concerned. She decides to steal her parents' car and drive to Brigid's house to check up on her. But what she doesn't expect to find there is a werewolf in the basement – and for that werewolf to be the girl she has been talking to online for the past few months. Full Review

29 APRIL

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Review of

Nighthawking by Russ Thomas

4.5star.jpg Crime

Sheffield's Botanical Gardens (on Clarkehouse Road, if you'd like to visit) are an oasis of calm in what's otherwise thought of as an industrial city but this was disrupted when the body of a young woman was discovered. It had obviously been buried in one of the beds but who would have started to dig her up? It had been in the earth for months and could have been undiscovered for years. The police need to establish who stabbed her - and who left the two, very rare, gold aurei on her eyes. DCI Diane Jordan is the Investigating Officer and her foot soldiers are DS Adam Tyler and DC Mina Rabbani. They're joined by DS Guy Daley who's just returned from extended sick leave. Mina thinks he's as obnoxious as ever but suspects that he's not fully recovered from his injuries. Full Review

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Review of

Ariadne by Jennifer Saint

4.5star.jpg Women's Fiction

This re-telling of the myth of Ariadne and the Minotaur is interesting and unusual. Jennifer Saint presents the story in a way that is sympathetic to its origins but also appealing to a modern audience. Saint's narrative is told predominantly through the viewpoint of Ariadne, spanning from her childhood to her death, allowing the reader to really connect with Ariadne as a character in her own right rather than just a prop in the heroics of Theseus. Full Review

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Review of

The Whole Truth (D I Fawley) by Cara Hunter

5star.jpg Crime

DI Adam Fawley's team got to Edith Launceleve College first, called there by Jancis Appleby to see the Principal, Professor Hilary Reynolds. There had been an accusation of sexual assault by a professor on a student. When Fawley arrived he was almost cross: what was the alleged perpetrator doing in the room before they'd even got the details from the victim? The problem was that Caleb Morgan was the 'victim' and the alleged perpetrator was Professor Marina Fisher. Just to complicate matters further, Caleb's mother is Petra Newson, the local MP, and Professor Fisher is a big name is Artificial Intelligence. She has an eight-year-old son, buys her wine by the case from Berry Brothers & Rudd, spends more than £1000 a month on clothes and has more than ten thousand Twitter followers. When the excrement encounters the ventilation equipment, this is going to be very public. Full Review

30 APRIL

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Review of

Eve Out of Her Ruins by Ananda Devi

4star.jpg General Fiction

At not even 200 pages, Eve Out of Her Ruins is one of the shortest books I've read in a long while, but it's one of the most dramatic. It's also told in a way that I can only describe as brutal: it spares nothing and pulls very few punches, the descriptions stark and unromantic. Full Review

3 MAY

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Review of

The Sandalmaking Workshop by Rachel Corry

4.5star.jpg Crafts

A sandal-making workshop? I couldn't really believe it, mainly because I'd always thought that you'd need more equipment than the average home was likely to be able to contain but I was intrigued. Rachel Corry started sandal making accidentally - a small fire destroyed some of her shoes. One pair had come apart and she could see how the sandal was constructed. Then she realised that she couldn't afford to replace all her shoes. Could she combine these two facts to create a new and worthwhile craft? She showed quite a few people her first pair and they all either wanted to know how to do it - or if she'd make them a pair. A new career was born. Full Review

6 MAY

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Review of

A Tattoo on my Brain by Daniel Gibbs with Teresa H Barker

3.5star.jpg Autobiography

Alzheimer's is a disease that slowly wears away your identity and sense of self. I have been directly affected by this cruel disease, as have many. Your memories and personality worn away like a statue over time affected the elements. It seems as if nature wants that final victory over you and your dignity. This is what makes Daniel Gibbs' memoir so admirable. Daniel Gibbs is a neurologist who was diagnosed with Alzheimers and has documented his journey in A Tattoo on my Brain. Full Review

7 MAY

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Review of

The Whole Truth (D I Fawley) by Cara Hunter

5star.jpg Crime

DI Adam Fawley's team got to Edith Launceleve College first, called there by Jancis Appleby to see the Principal, Professor Hilary Reynolds. There had been an accusation of sexual assault by a professor on a student. When Fawley arrived he was almost cross: what was the alleged perpetrator doing in the room before they'd even got the details from the victim? The problem was that Caleb Morgan was the 'victim' and the alleged perpetrator was Professor Marina Fisher. Just to complicate matters further, Caleb's mother is Petra Newson, the local MP, and Professor Fisher is a big name is Artificial Intelligence. She has an eight-year-old son, buys her wine by the case from Berry Brothers & Rudd, spends more than £1000 a month on clothes and has more than ten thousand Twitter followers. When the excrement encounters the ventilation equipment, this is going to be very public. Full Review

11 MAY

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Review of

A Women's Guide to Claiming Space by Eliza Van Cort

5star.jpg Politics and Society

She brings a hug-kick-thunderclap that every woman needs in her life. Again and again and again. (Alma Derricks, former CMO, Cirque du Soleil RSD)

To claim space is to live the life of choosing unapologetically and bravely. It is to live the life you've always wanted.

Sometimes the reviewing gods are generous: at a time when violence against women is much in the news, A Women's Guide to Claiming Space by Eliza Van Cort dropped onto my desk. Now - to be clear - this book is not a 'how to disable your attacker with two simple jabs' manual: it's something far more effective, but discussion at the moment seems to be about how women can be protected. I've always thought that women need to rise above this, to be people who don't need protection, people who claim their own space. If all women did this, those few men who are violent to women would realise that we are not just an easy target to be used to prove that they are big men. Full Review

13 MAY

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Review of

The Distant Dead by Lesley Thomson

4.5star.jpg Crime

It was December 1940 and twenty-four-year-old Maple Greenhill had gone out for the evening 'with her friend Ida' leaving her three-year-old son, William, at home with her parents. The boy thought that Maple was his sister - it was better for the family than the shame of illegitimacy, but Maple had high hopes of putting her life (and William's) on a better footing. She was going to meet her well-to-do fiancé, hoping to persuade him to come and meet her family the following week. Later, her body would be found in the bombed-out home where he had taken her. Full Review

18 MAY

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Review of

Local Woman Missing by Mary Kubica

4star.jpg Thrillers

Eleven years ago, a man regularly came home to his wife with lipstick marks on his collar and lame excuses as to why he was late - again. His wife was in the habit of going out for a run late at night. It was the only time she had for herself when she didn't have to look after her baby - but when she was out she would meet up with a man, grateful for the unquestioning affection he gave her. The locality was stunned when Shelby Tebow disappeared, seemingly without a trace, leaving her husband to look after her disabled baby. Ten days later, a local woman and her six-year-old daughter disappeared. Meredith Dickey was a birth doula and she'd seemed to be under some strain for the last couple of weeks or so. Her body was eventually found in a seedy motel - it appeared that she'd committed suicide. She left a note saying that her daughter, Delilah, was safe and there was no point in looking for her. Full Review

27 MAY

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Review of

The Coldest Case (A Bruno, Chief of Police Novel) by Martin Walker

4star.jpg Crime

It was when he saw Elisabeth Daynes' work in the prehistory museum at Les Eyzies that chief of police Bruno Courreges had the idea which he thought might help his boss, chief of detectives Jalipeau, known as J-J, to solve a case that had haunted him for thirty years. The body of a young male was found in the woods but he was never identified and his killer never brought to justice. What if an artist could recreate the face from the skull and the resulting publicity be used to identify the young man? J-J calls the skull 'Oscar' and has a picture on his door: he sees it every time he leaves his office: he doesn't want to forget Oscar until his killer has been brought to justice. Full Review

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Review of

The Killing Kind by Jane Casey

5star.jpg Crime

Difficult clients were nothing new to barrister Ingrid Lewis but John Webster came as something of a surprise. After all, it was her cross-examination of the 'victim' which saved him from a lengthy prison sentence. He'd been accused of stalking the woman but it didn't take long to establish that - if anything - it was the other way around. Soon Ingrid never seemed to be free of John Webster and then she came to see him as a threat and was forced to remember that the police officer at his trial had told her that this was the best chance they'd had to put Webster away for a long time: he was a very dangerous man. Full Review

3 JUNE

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Review of

Twitch by M G Leonard

5star.jpg Confident Readers

Twitch is a boy who loves birds. He keeps pigeons at home, and chickens, and even has swallows nesting in his bedroom! His time spent watching and helping birds is easy compared to that of his time in school. But things are about to change for Twitch in all aspects of his life as there is a dangerous bank robber on the run, and it's possible that the missing bank haul is hidden somewhere in Aves Wood, the place where Twitch has his secret hide and that he knows like the back of his hand! Can Twitch solve the mystery, and find the missing millions? Full Review

10 JUNE

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Review of

Widowland by C J Carey

4star.jpg General Fiction

It's April 1953, and Adolf Hitler's schedule includes going to Moscow to attend the state funeral of Joseph Stalin then within weeks coming to London, parading around a bit, and watching over the sanctioned return to the throne of Edward VIII with his wife, Queen Wallis. For yes, Britain caved in the lead-up to the World War Two that certainly didn't happen as we know it, and we are now a protectorate – well, we share enough of the same blood as the Germanic peoples on the mainland. But this is most certainly a different Britain, for Nazi-styled phrenology, and ideas of female purpose, has put all of that gender into a caste system, ranging from high-brow office bigwigs to the drudges, and beyond those, right on down to the childless, the husbandless and the widows. Female literacy is actively discouraged. And in this puritanical existence, our heroine, Rose Ransom, is employed with the task of bowdlerising classical literature to take all encouragement for female emancipation out of it – after all, not every book can be banned, and not every story excised immediately from British civilisation, and so they just get a hefty tweak towards the party line before they're stamped ready for reprint. That is her job, at least, until the first emerging signs of female protest come to light, with their potential to spoil Hitler's visit. Full Review

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Review of

Rabbits by Terry Miles

4.5star.jpg Science Fiction

Welcome to the world of The Game. Or should that be the game, for while it ought to be capitalised to high heaven, it never leaves lower case throughout this book. It's also called Rabbits, although only as a slangy term for it – as far as anyone knows, it has no official title, no official source, no hard and fast structure, and to the average person no obvious entry point. A bit like the game of life then. Yes, this is the game of life for a certain tribe of people – the fan of the conspiracy, the computer game, the hack from the darkest of webs. People like our hero, K, named like that in the least Kafkaesque manner possible. K and his bezzies are trying to be historians of the game, and have studied amongst many things the most unique of high score boards, for the lists of who has successfully won the game are in the most peculiar places, and are still very short. However this time it's different. This time the game seems the most dangerous, nay lethal, the most broken it's ever been – morally and otherwise. Unfortunately for K, in trying to sort out what the game is doing, if it's even being played, and how his loved ones might be kept safe, he is only to find out that the line between observing and learning about the game, and playing it, is a very thin one indeed... Full Review

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Review of

This Is How We Are Human by Louise Beech

4star.jpg General Fiction

Veronica is a devoted single mother to her son, Sebastian - but she can't give him everything he wants. Sebastian has decided that it's time for him to have sex. But as an autistic 20 year-old, that's easier said than done. And it's starting to cause them both problems. Full Review

17 JUNE

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Review of

True Crime Story by Joseph Knox

4star.jpg Thrillers

Joseph Knox, known for his series surrounding Detective Aidan Waits, has created a new genre with his latest novel, "True Crime Story". The story follows the disappearance of Zoe Nolan from her university halls of residence. Split into four parts, the reader is taken through the life and disappearance of Zoe through the eyes of her twin sister, other family, friends and professionals, such as the police. The various accounts help the reader get to know Zoe, or at least the Zoe she presented to others. However, the twists and turns at the end of each chapter leave you shocked, confused and unsure of what is true or fabricated. Whose accounts can we trust? Full Review

24 JUNE

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Review of

The Disappearing Act by Catherine Steadman

4.5star.jpg Thrillers

British actress Mia Eliot is on the cusp of success. Great success. If the rumours are true, award season is going to treat her well, acknowledging her for her latest, critically acclaimed production. She's going places but so, unfortunately, is her partner. And the places he's going take him towards lies, deceit and a pretty young thing in the form of his new co-star. It's a good time for Mia to escape, and pilot season in LA provides just the excuse. Full Review

8 JULY

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Review of

Kate on the Case by Hannah Peck

3.5star.jpg Confident Readers

Meet Kate, although I got the impression she'd rather be a Catherine – and one specific Catherine at that. For Catherine Rodriguez is Kate's idol, and the author of our heroine's favourite possession, The Special Correspondent Manual. Armed with a plucky father, that book, and her talking mouse called Rupert, she is all equipped to manage a train ride to the Arctic, to see her scientist mother for the first time in yonks. However, this is a train ride with a difference, for on board is a greedy-seeming harridan and her cat, a thief – and two glowing eyes, shining from the darkness in a blink-and-you'll-miss-them style. It's definitely a case for a new young investigative journalist... Full Review

22 JULY

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Review of

Girls Who Lie by Eva Bjorg Aegisdottir and Victoria Cribb (translator)

3star.jpg Thrillers

You might be forgiven for thinking that all the dark corners of Iceland have featured in their noirish thrillers and crime books before now. You think, seeing on the map that we're set in Akranes, and finding it's only twenty kilometres from the capital city, that this author is clutching at the few final straws left. However just because the book aims for the usual small-town feel, it's not just in Akranes that our interests lie. Six months ago a woman failed to turn up for her date evening, and was never seen again. This left a teenaged girl not at all disappointed that she could now live permanently with the couple who had given her foster care before her mother had asked for the girl back, and a couple of delighted adopters. But it left our three detectives at a quandary – mobile phone use was at a high level until it stopped all of a sudden, in one place, the woman's car was found miles away in a second place, and now, after six months, the body has been discovered, in a third, even more remote place. Meanwhile, this narrative is interrupted by a confessional monologue from a mother who found herself with heavy post-natal depression, and very little maternal feeling in her body. Is the assumption that is so easy for the reader to make the right one? Full Review

7 OCTOBER

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Review of

The Shadow Of The Gods by John Gwynne

5star.jpg Fantasy

The Shadow Of The Gods is the first installment of the Bloodsworn Saga, set in the era of the Vikings in the shadow of Ragnarok, when the Gods have battled and their bones lie scattered for all to see. This story is the ultimate in High Fantasy, and John Gwynne certainly does justice to the genre, with mythical creatures, archaic language and battles galore. This is a thick book, with an intricate plot and fascinating characters that are woven together to create a wonderfully realistic and gritty world in which our heroes must do battle. Full Review

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