Books of the month

Books of the month for November

Natalie Haynes – The Amber Fury

General Fiction: Natalie Haynes – The Amber Fury

When you open up, who will you let in? When Alex Morris loses her fiance in dreadful circumstances, she moves from London to Edinburgh to make a break with the past. Alex takes a job at a Pupil Referral Unit, which accepts the students excluded from other schools in the city. These are troubled, difficult kids and Alex is terrified of what she's taken on.

Jane Casey – The Kill

British Crime: Jane Casey – The Kill

A killer is terrorising London but this time the police are the targets. Urgently re-assigned to investigate a series of brutal attacks on fellow officers, Maeve Kerrigan and her boss Josh Derwent have little idea what motivates the killer's fury against the force. But they know it will only be a matter of time before the killer strikes again.

Alison Gaylin – And She Was...

Tough Crime: Alison Gaylin – And She Was...

Missing persons investigator Brenna Spector has a rare neurological disorder that enables her to recall every detail of every day of her life. A blessing and a curse, it began in childhood, when her older sister stepped into a strange car never to be seen again, and it’s proven invaluable in her work. But it hasn’t helped her solve the mystery that haunts her above all others—and it didn’t lead her to little Iris. When a local woman, Carol Wentz, disappears eleven years later, Brenna uncovers bizarre connections between the missing woman, the long-gone little girl … and herself.

Robert Charles Wilson – Burning Paradise

Science Fiction: Robert Charles Wilson – Burning Paradise

Cassie Klyne, nineteen years old, lives in the United States in the year 2015--but it's not our United States, and it's not our 2015. Cassie's world has been at peace since the Great Armistice of 1918. There was no World War II, no Great Depression. Poverty is declining, prosperity is increasing everywhere; social instability is rare. But Cassie knows the world isn't what it seems. Her parents were part of a group who gradually discovered the awful truth: that for decades--back to the dawn of radio communications--human progress has been interfered with, made more peaceful and benign, by an extraterrestrial entity. That by interfering with our communications, this entity has tweaked history in massive and subtle ways. That humanity is, for purposes unknown, being farmed. Cassie's parents were killed for this knowledge, along with most of the other members of their group. Since then, the survivors have scattered and gone into hiding. Cassie and her younger brother Thomas now live with her aunt Nerissa, who shares these dangerous secrets. Others live nearby. For eight years they have attempted to lead unexceptional lives in order to escape detection. The tactic has worked. Until now. Because the killers are back. And they're not human.

Wen Spencer – Eight Million Gods

Fantasy:  Wen Spencer – Eight Million Gods

A contemporary fantasy of mystery and death as American expats battle Japanese gods and monsters to retrieve an ancient artifact that can destroy the world.

On Saturday afternoon, Nikki Delany thought, "George Wilson, in the kitchen, with a blender." By dinner, she had killed George and posted his gory murder to her blog. The next day, she put on her mourning clothes and went out to meet her best friend for lunch to discuss finding a replacement for her love interest. …

Stephen Blackmoore – Broken Souls

Paranormal/Urban Fantasy: Stephen Blackmoore – Broken Souls

Sister murdered, best friend dead, married to the patron saint of death, Santa Muerte. Necromancer Eric Carter’s return to Los Angeles hasn’t gone well, and it’s about to get even worse.

His link to the Aztec death goddess is changing his powers, changing him, and he’s not sure how far it will go. He’s starting to question his own sanity, wonder if he’s losing his mind. No mean feat for a guy who talks to the dead on a regular basis.

While searching for a way to break Santa Muerte’s hold over him, Carter finds himself the target of a psychopath who can steal anyone’s form, powers, and memories. Identity theft is one thing, but this guy does it by killing his victims and wearing their skins like a suit. He can be anyone. He can be anywhere.

Now Carter has to change the game — go from hunted to hunter. All he has for help is a Skid Row bruja and a ghost who’s either his dead friend Alex or the manifestation of Carter’s own guilt-fueled psychotic break.

Everything is trying to kill him. Nothing is as it seems. If all his plans go perfectly, he might survive the week.

He’s hoping that’s a good thing.

E. M. Forster – Maurice

Classic of the Month: E. M. Forster – Maurice

Maurice Hall is a young man who grows up confident in his privileged status and well aware of his role in society. Modest and generally conformist, he nevertheless finds himself increasingly attracted to his own sex. Through Clive, whom he encounters at Cambridge, and through Alec, the gamekeeper on Clive's country estate, Maurice gradually experiences a profound emotional and sexual awakening.

A tale of passion, bravery and defiance, this intensely personal novel was completed in 1914 but remained unpublished until after Forster's death in 1970. Compellingly honest and beautifully written, it offers a powerful condemnation of the repressive attitudes of British society, and is at once a moving love story and an intimate tale of one man's erotic and political self-discovery.

Eleanor Updale – The Last Minute

Teen reading: Eleanor Updale – The Last Minute

9.21am: business as usual on a high street in England.

9.22am: the explosions are heard for miles around, and in the early confusion there is talk of a gas leak, a plane crash, and even terrorism .…

The people of Heathwick had been preparing for Christmas unaware that many would die, and the rest would be transformed for ever. Travel with them, second-by-second, through the hopes, fears, love, worries, gossip, cruelty, kindness and trivia that dominated their final minute before tragedy struck.

And in the everyday story of an ordinary street, look for clues to what happened, and why.

Books of the month for October

Karen Joy Fowler – We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

General Fiction: Karen Joy Fowler – We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

As a child, Rosemary used to talk all the time. So much so that her parents used to tell her to start in the middle if she wanted to tell a story. Now Rosemary has just started college and she barely talks at all. And she definitely doesn’t talk about her family. So we're not going to tell you too much either: you'll have to find out for yourself what it is that makes her unhappy family unlike any other. Rosemary is now an only child, but she used to have a sister the same age as her, and an older brother. Both are now gone - vanished from her life. But there's something unique about Rosemary's sister, Fern. So now she's telling her story; a looping narrative that begins towards the end, and then goes back to the beginning. Twice.

Craig Robertson – The Last Refuge

British Crime: Craig RobertsonThe Last Refuge

You can run from your past but you can never hide from yourself. When John Callum arrives on the Faroe Islands, determined to sever all ties with his previous life and make a new start, he is surprised by how quickly he is welcomed into the close-knit community. But no matter what he changes in his outward life, the debilitating nightmares that haunt him just won't stop.

Michael Craven – The Detective and the Pipe Girl

Tough Crime:  Michael Craven – The Detective and the Pipe Girl

Private Detective John Darvelle is a man of specific tastes—simple design, smart women, cheap American beer. He’s a man of specific opinions—drive a car nobody can remember, avoid brunch at all costs, and don’t live in Brentwood. And he adheres to his own professional code—an indelible blend of commitment, loyalty, and experience. He also plays a lot of ping-pong.

Arthur Vonz is one of Tinseltown’s most powerful men, a filmmaker among the ranks of Spielberg, Coppola, and Kubrick. He hires Darvelle to find a young woman named Suzanne Neal, an incandescent beauty who just might be hiding something.

What starts as an easy assignment soon has Darvelle plunging deep into the seductive and hidden world of Hollywood’s elite. A twisting, turning journey that puts him face-to-face with the LAPD, a ruthless underground crime operation, and a cold-blooded killer.

It’s the case of a lifetime that could end his life.

L. E. Modesitt Jr. – The One-Eyed Man

Science Fiction: L. E. Modesitt Jr. – The One-Eyed Man

The colony world of Stittara is no ordinary planet. For the interstellar Unity of the Ceylesian Arm, Stittara is the primary source of anagathics: drugs that have more than doubled the human life span. But the ecological balance that makes anagathics possible on Stittara is fragile, and the Unity government has a vital interest in making sure the flow of longevity drugs remains uninterrupted, even if it means uprooting the human settlements.

Offered the job of assessing the ecological impact of the human presence on Stittara, freelance consultant Dr. Paulo Verano jumps at the chance to escape the ruin of his personal life. He gets far more than he bargained for: Stittara’s atmosphere is populated with skytubes—gigantic, mysterious airborne organisms that drift like clouds above the surface of the planet. Their exact nature has eluded humanity for centuries, but Verano believes his conclusions about Stittara may hinge on understanding the skytubes’ role in the planet’s ecology—if he survives the hurricane winds, distrustful settlers, and secret agendas that impede his investigation at every turn.

Django Wexler – The Thousand Names

Fantasy:  Django Wexler – The Thousand Names

Captain Marcus d’Ivoire, commander of one of the Vordanai empire’s colonial garrisons, was serving out his days in a sleepy, remote outpost—until a rebellion left him in charge of a demoralized force clinging to a small fortress at the edge of the desert.

To flee from her past, Winter Ihernglass masqueraded as a man and enlisted as a ranker in the Vordanai Colonials, hoping only to avoid notice. But when chance sees her promoted to command, she must lead her men into battle against impossible odds.

Mary Behre – Guarded

Paranormal/Urban Fantasy: Mary Behre – Guarded

She’s given up on finding love…

Veterinarian Shelley Morgan has always preferred animals to humans, and not simply because she can communicate with them psychically. Unlike most people she’s known, animals have never broken her heart. But after six months in her new town, some of her favorite four-legged companions begin disappearing from the local zoo. Determined to track down the animals and their thief, the telepathic vet decides to investigate, unknowingly delving into a deadly mystery…

He’s ready to make her heart go wild…

Although his bear-like physique has been an advantage in the Tidewater Police Department, Dev Jones’s size often intimidates people. Only Shelley has seen past his massive build to the intelligent man inside, but that was years ago. So when she contacts him requesting his help to solve a series of animal kidnappings, he’s eager to reconnect with her. But the thefts escalate to murder and all the evidence points to Shelley as the killer, and Dev faces a devastating choice: forsake his career or risk losing the woman he’s grown to love…

Shirley Jackson – We Have Always Lived in the Castle

Classic of the Month: Shirley Jackson – We Have Always Lived in the Castle

Merricat Blackwood lives on the family estate with her sister Constance and her uncle Julian. Not long ago there were seven Blackwoods - until a fatal dose of arsenic found its way into the sugar bowl one terrible night. Acquitted of the murders, Constance has returned home, where Merricat protects her from the curiosity and hostility of the villagers. Their days pass in happy isolation until cousin Charles appears. Only Merricat can see the danger, and she must act swiftly to keep Constance from his grasp.

 

Andrew Smith – Winger

Teen reading: Andrew Smith – Winger

Ryan Dean West is a fourteen-year-old boy at a boarding school for rich kids. He's living in Opportunity Hall, the dorm for troublemakers, and rooming with the biggest bully on the rugby team. And he's madly in love with his best friend Annie, who thinks of him as a little boy.

With the help of his sense of humour, rugby buddies, and his penchant for doodling comics, Ryan Dean manages to survive life's complications and even find some happiness along the way. But when the unthinkable happens, he has to figure out how to hold on to what's important, even when it feels like everything has fallen apart.

Filled with hand-drawn illustrations and told in a pitch-perfect voice, this realistic depiction of a teen's experience strikes an exceptional balance of hilarious and heartbreaking.

Books of the month for September

Dave Eggers – The Circle

General Fiction: Dave Eggers – The Circle

When Mae Holland is hired to work for the Circle, the world's most powerful internet company, she feels she's been given the opportunity of a lifetime. The Circle, run out of a sprawling California campus, links users' personal emails, social media, banking, and purchasing with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of civility and transparency. … What begins as the captivating story of one woman's ambition and idealism soon becomes a heart-racing novel of suspense, raising questions about memory, history, privacy, democracy, and the limits of human knowledge.

The Devil in the Marshalsea – The Devil in the Marshalsea

British Crime: The Devil in the MarshalseaThe Devil in the Marshalsea

London, 1727 - and Tom Hawkins is about to fall from his heaven of card games, brothels and coffee-houses into the hell of a debtors' prison.

The Marshalsea is a savage world of its own, with simple rules: those with family or friends who can lend them a little money may survive in relative comfort. Those with none will starve in squalor and disease. And those who try to escape will suffer a gruesome fate at the hands of the gaol's rutheless governor and his cronies. A twisting mystery, a dazzling evocation of early 18th Century London.

Peter Farris – Last Call for the Living

Tough Crime:  Peter Farris Last Call for the Living

For bank teller Charlie Colquitt it was another Saturday. For Hobe Hicklin, an ex-con with nothing to lose, it was another score. For Hobe’s drug-addled, sex-crazed girlfriend, it was more lust, violence, and drugs. But Hicklin’s first mistake was double-crossing his partners in the Aryan Brotherhood. His second was taking a hostage. He and Charlie could hide out for only so long before Hicklin’s past catches up to them. Hot on Hicklin’s trail are a pair of Brotherhood soldiers, ready to burn a path of murder and mayhem to get revenge. GBI Special Agent Sallie Crews and Sheriff Tommy Lang catch the case, and soon Crews is making some dangerous connections. For hard-drinking, despondent Lang, rescuing Charlie might be the key to personal salvation.

James Smythe – The Machine

Science Fiction: James Smythe – The Machine

Vic returned from war tormented by his nightmares. His once happy marriage to Beth all but disintegrated. A machine promised salvation, purging him of all memory.

Now the machines are gone, declared too controversial, the side-effects too harmful. But within Beth’s flat is an ever-whirring black box. She knows that memories can be put back and that she can rebuild her husband piece by piece.

Steven Brust & Skyler White – The Incrementalists

Fantasy:  Steven Brust & Skyler White – The Incrementalists

The Incrementalists—a secret society of two hundred people with an unbroken lineage reaching back forty thousand years. They cheat death, share lives and memories, and communicate with one another across nations, races, and time. They have an epic history, an almost magical memory, and a very modest mission: to make the world better, just a little bit at a time. Their ongoing argument about how to do this is older than most of their individual memories.

Phil, whose personality has stayed stable through more incarnations than anyone else’s, has loved Celeste—and argued with her—for most of the last four hundred years. But now Celeste, recently dead, embittered, and very unstable, has changed the rules—not incrementally, and not for the better. Now the heart of the group must gather in Las Vegas to save the Incrementalists, and maybe the world.

John Lambshead – Wolf in Shadow

Paranormal/Urban Fantasy: John Lambshead – Wolf in Shadow

Urban fantasy in one of the world’s greatest cities.

Rhian, a girl from the Welsh valleys on the run from tragedy and herself, finds a new home in the modern East End of London, where the world’s largest financial center spins a web of money and power from glistening towers of chrome and glass. Beneath the digital façade lurks the old East End where the layers of two thousand years of dramatic and violent history slide over one another like glaciers, spilling out in avalanches that warp the real world.

As bodies begin to litter the East End streets, The Commission dispatches its best enforcers to deal with the situation: Karla is not human, and Jameson left his humanity behind in pieces in Northern Ireland and Afghanistan. Rhian makes new friends, dangerous friends; and where Rhian goes, the wolf is always in her shadow, just a heartbeat away.

Among the bankers and traders of the East End walk demons in human form and who is to say which are the monsters? London is a magical bomb waiting to explode and somewhere a fuse is hissing.

Nathanael West – Miss Lonelyhearts & The Day of the Locust

Classic of the Month: Nathanael West – Miss Lonelyhearts & The Day of the Locust

The title for our Classics bok club is The Day of the Locust, published 1939, set in Hollywood, California, during the Great Depression. Its themes deal with the alienation and desperation of a broad group of odd individuals who exist at the fringes of the Hollywood movie industry.

Miss Lonelyhearts, published in 1933 an Expressionist black comedy set in New York City during the Great Depression. Miss Lonelyhearts is an unnamed male newspaper columnist writing an advice column that the newspaper staff considers a joke. As Miss Lonelyhearts reads letters from desperate New Yorkers, he feels terribly burdened and falls into a cycle of deep depression, accompanied by heavy drinking and occasional bar fights. He is also the victim of the pranks and cynical advice of Shrike, his feature editor at the newspaper.

 

William Sutcliffe – Bad Influence

Teen reading: William Sutcliffe – Bad Influence

Highly recommended by Jan.

Meet Carl: cruel, fun, exciting a bit older than you, and totally in control. Your best friend Ollie likes Carl maybe even more than he likes you. You don't want to lose Ollie, so you tag along: playing Carl's games, doing what he says, getting into trouble. But how far will Carl go before he stops? And just how bad does he have to get before you say No?

Books of the month for August

Nathan Filer - Shock of the Fall

General Fiction: Nathan Filer – Shock of the Fall

Winner of the Costa Best First Novel Award! 'I'll tell you what happened because it will be a good way to introduce my brother. His name's Simon. I think you're going to like him. I really do. But in a couple of pages he'll be dead. And he was never the same after that.' The Shock of the Fall is an extraordinary portrait of one man's descent into mental illness. It is a brave and groundbreaking novel from one of the most exciting new voices in fiction.

Alex Grecian – The Yard (Murder Squad Novel #1)

British Crime: Alex Grecian – The Yard (Murder Squad Novel #1)

1890, London.  Jack the Ripper’s reign of terror is finally over, but a new one is just beginning…Victorian London is a cesspool of crime and Scotland Yard has only twelve detectives – known as “The Murder Squad” – to investigate countless murders every month.  Created after the Metropolitan police’s spectacular failure to capture Jack the Ripper, The Murder Squad suffers rampant public contempt.  They have failed their citizens.  But no one can anticipate the brutal murder of one of their own…one of twelve…

Christopher Irvin – Federales

Tough Crime: Christopher Irvin – Federales

Mexican Federal Agent Marcos Camarena dedicated his life to the job. But in a country where white knights die meaningless deaths, martyred in a hole with fifty other headless bodies in the desert, corruption is not an attribute but a scale; no longer a stigma but the status quo.

When Marcos’s life is threatened, he leaves law enforcement and his life in Mexico City behind for a coastal resort town—until an old friend asks him to look after an outspoken politician, a woman who knows cartel violence all too well. Despite his best efforts, Marcos can’t find it in his heart to refuse, and soon finds himself isolated on the political front lines of the war on drugs.

Inspired by true events, Federales is a story of survivors’ compulsive devotion to a cause in the face of ever-darkening circumstances.

Jay Martel – Channel Blue

Science Fiction: Jay Martel – Channel Blue

Earth used to be Galaxy Entertainment's most lucrative show. The inhabitants of the Western Galaxy – the saviest, richest demographic in the Milky Way – just couldn't get enough of the day-to-day details of the average Earthling's live.

But Channel Blue's ratings are flagging and its producers are planning a spectacular finale. In just three weeks, their TV show will go out with a bang. The trouble is, so will Earth.

Only one man can save our planet and he's hardly a likely hero...

Arianne 'Tex' Thompson – One Night in Sixes

Fantasy: Arianne 'Tex' Thompson – One Night in Sixes

Appaloosa Elim is a man who knows his place. On a good day, he's content with it. Today is not a good day. Today, his so called 'partner' - that lily-white lordling Sil Halfwick - has ridden off west for the border, hell-bent on making a name for himself in native territory. And Elim, whose place is written in the bastard browns and whites of his cow-spotted face, doesn't dare show up home again without him.

The border town called Sixes is quiet in the heat of the day, but Elim's heard the stories about what wakes at sunset: gunslingers and shapeshifters and ancient animal gods whose human faces never outlast the daylight. And about the only thing worse than finding whatever's left of Sil is the thought of getting caught out after dark - of discovering how much magic is living in Elim's own flesh, and how far he'll go to survive the night.

Jamie Schulz – Premonitions

Paranormal/Urban Fantasy: Jamie Schulz – Premonitions

It’s the kind of score Karyn Ames has always dreamed of—enough to set her crew up pretty well and, more important, enough to keep her safely stocked on a very rare, very expensive black market drug. Without it, Karyn hallucinates slices of the future until they totally overwhelm her, leaving her unable to distinguish the present from the mess of certainties and possibilities yet to come.

The client behind the heist is Enoch Sobell, a notorious crime lord with a reputation for being ruthless and exacting—and a purported practitioner of dark magic. Sobell is almost certainly condemned to Hell for a magically extended lifetime full of shady dealings. Once you’re in business with him, there’s no backing out.

Karyn and her associates are used to the supernatural and the occult, but their target is more than just the usual family heirloom or cursed necklace. It’s a piece of something larger. Something sinister.

Karyn’s crew and even Sobell himself are about to find out just how powerful it is… and how powerful it may yet become.

Charlotte Perkins Gilman – Yellow Wall-Paper, Herland & Selected Stories

Classic of the Month: Charlotte Perkins Gilman – Yellow Wall-Paper, Herland & Selected Stories

First published in January 1892 in The New England Magazine. It is regarded as an important early work of American feminist literature, illustrating attitudes in the 19th century toward women's physical and mental health.

M Molly Backes – The Princesses of Iowa

Teen reading: M Molly Backes – The Princesses of Iowa

Paige Sheridan has the perfect life. She's pretty, rich, and popular, and her spot on the homecoming court is practically guaranteed. But when a night of partying ends in an it-could-have-been-so-much worse crash, everything changes. Her best friends start ignoring her, her boyfriend grows cold and distant, and her once-adoring younger sister now views her with contempt. The only bright spot is her creative writing class, led by a charismatic new teacher who encourages students to be true to themselves. But who is Paige, if not the homecoming princess everyone expects her to be? In this arresting and witty debut, a girl who was once high-school royalty must face a truth that money and status can't fix, and choose between living the privileged life of a princess, or owning up to her mistakes and giving up everything she once held dear.

Books of the month for July

David Leavitt – Two Hotel Francforts

General Fiction: David Leavitt – Two Hotel Francforts

It is the summer of 1940, and Lisbon, Portugal, is the only neutral port left in Europe—a city filled with spies, crowned heads, and refugees of every nationality, tipping back absinthe to while away the time until their escape. Awaiting safe passage to New York on the SS Manhattan, two couples meet: Pete and Julia Winters, expatriate Americans fleeing their sedate life in Paris; and Edward and Iris Freleng, sophisticated, independently wealthy, bohemian, and beset by the social and sexual anxieties of their class. As Portugal’s neutrality, and the world’s future, hang in the balance, the hidden threads in the lives of these four characters—Julia’s status as a Jew, Pete and Edward’s improbable affair, Iris’s increasingly desperate efforts to save her tenuous marriage—begin to come loose. This journey will change their lives irrevocably, as Europe sinks into war.

Ian Sansom – The Norfolk Mystery

British Crime: Ian Sansom – The Norfolk Mystery

Love Miss Marple? Adore Holmes and Watson? Professor Morley's guide to Norfolk is a story of bygone England; quaint villages, eccentric locals - and murder! It is 1937 and disillusioned Spanish Civil War veteran Stephen Sefton is stony broke. So when he sees a mysterious advertisement for a job where 'intelligence is essential', he applies. Thus begins Sefton's association with Professor Swanton Morley, an omnivorous intellect.A must-read for fans of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie, every county is a crime scene, and with 39 counties in store there'll be plenty of murder, mystery and mayhem to confound and entertain you for years to come.

C. J. Box – The Highway

Tough Crime: C. J. Box – The Highway

When two sisters set out across a remote stretch of Montana road to visit their friend, little do they know it will be the last time anyone might ever hear from them again. The girls—and their car—simply vanish.  Former police investigator Cody Hoyt has just lost his job and has fallen off the wagon after a long stretch of sobriety.  Convinced by his son and his former rookie partner, Cassie Dewell, he begins the drive south to the girls’ last known location.  As Cody makes his way to the lonely stretch of Montana highway where they went missing, Cassie discovers that Gracie and Danielle Sullivan aren’t the first girls who have disappeared in this area.  This majestic landscape is the hunting ground for a killer whose viciousness is outmatched only by his intelligence.

Ben Bova – New Earth

Science Fiction: Ben Bova – New Earth

The entire world is thrilled by the discovery of a new Earthlike planet. Advance imaging shows that the planet has oceans of liquid water and a breathable oxygen-rich atmosphere. Eager to gain more information, a human exploration team is soon dispatched to explore the planet, now nicknamed New Earth.

All of the explorers understand that they are essentially on a one-way mission. The trip takes eighty years each way, so even if they are able to get back to Earth, nearly 200 years will have elapsed. They will have aged only a dozen years thanks to cryonic suspension, but their friends and family will be gone and the very society that they once knew will...

J. Kathleen Cheney – Golden City

Fantasy: J. Kathleen Cheney – Golden City

For two years, Oriana Paredes has been a spy among the social elite of the Golden City, reporting back to her people, the sereia, sea folk banned from the city’s shores….

When her employer and only confidante decides to elope, Oriana agrees to accompany her to Paris. But before they can depart, the two women are abducted and left to drown. Trapped beneath the waves, Oriana survives because of her heritage, but she is forced to watch her only friend die. Vowing vengeance, Oriana crosses paths with Duilio Ferreira—a police consultant who has been investigating the disappearance of a string of servants from the city’s wealthiest homes. Duilio also has a secret: He is a seer and his gifts have led him to Oriana. Bound by their secrets, not trusting each other completely yet having no choice but to work together, Oriana and Duilio must expose a twisted plot of magic so dark that it could cause the very fabric of history to come undone….

Chloe Neill – Some Girls Bite (Chicagoland Vampires #1)

Paranormal/Urban Fantasy: Chloe Neill – Some Girls Bite (Chicagoland Vampires #1)

They killed me. They healed me. They changed me.

Sure, the life of a graduate student wasn’t exactly glamorous, but it was Merit’s. She was doing fine until a rogue vampire attacked her. But he only got a sip before he was scared away by another bloodsucker–and this one decided the best way to save her life was to make her the walking undead. Turns out her savior was the master vampire of Cadogan House. Now she’s traded sweating over her thesis for learning to fit in at a Hyde Park mansion full of vamps loyal to Ethan Sullivan. Of course, as a tall, green-eyed, four-hundred- year-old vampire, he has centuries’ worth of charm, but unfortunately he expects her gratitude–and servitude. But an inconvenient sunlight allergy and Ethan’s attitude are the least of her concerns. Someone?s still out to get her. Her initiation into Chicago’s nightlife may be the first skirmish in a war–and there will be blood.

Charlotte Perkins Gilman – Herland & Selected Stories

Classic of the Month: Charlotte Perkins Gilman – Herland & Selected Stories

Written in 1915, this text is about three male explorers and the utopian female society they stumble upon. This is a community where war, famine and other "man-made" disasters do not exist.

Walter Dean Myers – Darius & Twig

Teen reading: Walter Dean Myers – Darius & Twig

Darius and Twig are an unlikely pair: Darius is a writer whose only escape is his alter ego, a peregrine falcon named Fury, and Twig is a middle-distance runner striving for athletic success. But they are drawn together in the struggle to overcome the obstacles that life in Harlem throws at them. The two friends must face down bullies, an abusive uncle, and the idea that they'll be stuck in the same place forever.

Books of the month for June

Kevin Kwan – Crazy Rich Asians

General Fiction: Kevin Kwan – Crazy Rich Asians
Uproarious, addictive, and filled with jaw-dropping opulence, Crazy Rich Asians is an insider's look at the Asian jet set; a perfect depiction of the clash between old money and new money - and a fabulous novel about what it means to be young, in love, and gloriously, crazily rich.

Andrew Martin – Night Train to Jamalpur

British Crime: Andrew Martin – Night Train to Jamalpur
Jamalpur is our book of the month for June. India, 1923. On the broiling Night Mail from Calcutta to Jamalpur, a man is shot dead in a first class compartment. Detective Inspector Jim Stringer was sleeping in the next compartment along. Was he the intended target?

Greg Iles – Natchez Burning

Tough Crime: Greg Iles – Natchez Burning
Growing up in the rural Southern hamlet of Natchez, Mississippi, Penn Cage learned everything he knows about honor and duty from his father, Tom Cage. But now the beloved family doctor and pillar of the community is accused of murdering Violet Turner, the beautiful nurse with whom he worked in the dark days of the early 1960s. A fighter who has always stood for justice, Penn is determined to save his father, even though Tom, stubbornly evoking doctor-patient privilege, refuses to speak up in his own defense.

Rich in Southern atmosphere and electrifying plot turns, Natchez Burning marks the brilliant return of a genuine American master of suspense. Tense and disturbing, it is the most explosive, exciting, sexy, and ambitious story Greg Iles has written yet.

John Barnes – Directive 51

Science Fiction: John Barnes – Directive 51
Part philosophic discussion, part international terrorist faction, and part artists’ movement, “Daybreak” consists of a group of diverse people with radical ideas who are united in their desire to take down modern civilization. And when they strike, the government has no choice but to implement its emergency contingency program: Directive 51.

Graham Edwards – Talus and the Frozen King

Fantasy: Graham Edwards – Talus and the Frozen King
A dead warrior king frozen in winter ice. Six grieving sons, each with his own reason to kill. Two weary travellers caught up in a web of suspicion and deceit.

In a time before our own, wandering bard Talus and his companion Bran journey to the island realm of Creyak, where the king has been murdered.

Creyak is a place of secrets and spirits, mystery and myth. It will take a clever man indeed to unravel the truth. The kind of man this ancient world has not seen before.

Richelle Mead – Gameboard of the Gods (Age of X #1)

Paranormal/Urban Fantasy: Richelle Mead – Gameboard of the Gods (Age of X #1)
The truth is, when you banish the gods from the world, they eventually come back – with a vengeance.

In a futuristic world nearly destroyed by religious extremists, Justin March is a former investigator of religious groups who was sent into exile after a failed job, a fate that has left the brilliant servitor bitter and free to indulge his addictive personality.  Suddenly, Justin is sent home to the Republic of United North America (RUNA) with a peculiar assignment – to solve a string of ritualistic murders steeped in seemingly unexplainable phenomena.

George Eliot – Romola

Classic of the Month: George Eliot – Romola
There is no book of mine about which I more thoroughly feel that I swear by every sentence as having been written with my best blood'

Wrote George Eliot of Romola, the novel which argues her most profound and utopian vision of the position of women. Romola's patient subservience to her scholar-father Bardo, her unhappy marriage to supple and treacherous Tito, and her passionate intellectual and spiritual awakening take place in Renaissance Florence which, like Victorian Britain, was caught up in a period of ferment and transition.

Romola appeared in 1862-3 to high praise by Victorians from Tennyson and Trollope to Henry James, and discerning modern readers will recognize it as George Eliot's first mature masterpiece. In her introduction to this new edition, Dorothea Barrett explores the issues of gender and learning, desire and scholarship, and the interweaving of history and fiction which she identifies at the centre of the novel.

E. Lockhart – We Were Liars

Teen reading: E. Lockhart – We Were Liars
We are the Liars. We are beautiful, privileged and live a life of carefree luxury.We are cracked and broken. A story of love and romance. A tale of tragedy. Which are lies? Which is truth?

Books of the month for May

Alice Nutting – Tampa General Fiction: Alice Nutting – Tampa
Celeste Price is an eighth-grade English teacher in suburban Tampa. She is attractive. She drives a red Corvette. Her husband, Ford, is rich, square-jawed and devoted to her. But Celeste has a secret. She has a singular sexual obsession - fourteen-year-old boys. It is a craving she pursues with sociopathic meticulousness and forethought.
Shaw William – A Song From Dead Lips British Crime: Shaw William – A Song From Dead Lips
A crime thriller that reveals gritty sixties London in all its power and prejudice. The first in a trilogy featuring DS Breen and WPC Tozer, set against a clashing backdrop of sixties idealism and a corrupted CID on the brink of exposure.
Aric Davis – Nickel Plated

Tough Crime: Aric Davis – Nickel Plated
Nickel lives by his wits on the streets, blackmailing pedophiles and selling marijuana, but when a young girl, Arrow, needs help finding her runaway sister, Nickel's investigation leads to the dark world of child traffickers.

Weston Ochse – Grunt Life (Task Force Ombra)

Science Fiction: Weston Ochse – Grunt Life (Task Force Ombra)
For years, their spies have been coming to Earth, mapping our cities, learning our weaknesses, leaving tragedy in their wake. Our governments knew, but they did nothing—the prospect was too awful, the costs too high—and now, the horrifying and utterly alien Cray are invading, laying waste to our cities. The human race is a heartbeat away from extinction.

That is, unless Mason, and the other men and women of Task Force OMBRA, can do anything about it.

This is a time for heroes. For killers. For Grunts.

Paul Kearney – Different Kingdom

Fantasy: Gaie Sebold – Shanghai Sparrow
Shanghai Sparrow is a Far Eastern steampunk tale of espionage, distant empires and thrilling exploits, with a dynamic heroine.

Eveline Duchen is a thief and con-artist, surviving day by day on the streets of London, where the glittering spires of progress rise on the straining backs of the poor and disenfranchised. Where the Folk, the otherworldly children of fairy tales and legends, have all but withdrawn from the smoke of the furnaces and the clamour of iron.

Caught in an act of deception by the implacable Mr Holmforth, Evvie is offered a stark choice: transportation to the colonies, or an education – and utter commitment to Her Majesty’s Service – at Miss Cairngrim’s harsh school for female spies.

Kimberly Frost – Slightly Spellbound Paranormal/Urban Fantasy: Kimberly Frost – Slightly Spellbound
With two kinds of magick at odds inside her and two gorgeous men vying for her attention, Tammy Jo Trask is used to being pulled in opposite directions. But in the latest Southern Witch novel she’ll have to make some serious decisions—like how she intends to stay alive.

Jane Austen – Persuasion

Classic of the Month: P. G. Wodehouse – The Inimitable Jeeves
A classic collection of linked stories featuring some of the funniest episodes in the life of Bertie Wooster, gentleman, and Jeeves, his gentleman's gentleman - in which Bertie's terrifying Aunt Agatha stalks the pages, seeking whom she may devour, while Bertie's friend Bingo Little falls in love with seven different girls in succession.

Sarah Mlynowski – Don't Even Think About It Teen reading: Sarah Mlynowski – Don't Even Think About It
When 10B get their flu vaccines, they also get a side effect: they become telepathic. But hearing the thoughts of everyone around them isn't always much fun!

Books of the month for April

Bernardine Evaristo – Mr Loverman General Fiction: Bernardine Evaristo – Mr Loverman
French Barrington Jedidiah Walker is seventy-four and leads a double life. Born and bred in Antigua, he's lived in Hackney since the sixties. Barrington is a husband, father and grandfather – but he is also secretly homosexual, lovers with his great childhood friend, Morris.
M. R. C. Kasasian – The Mangle Street Murders British Crime: M. R. C. Kasasian – The Mangle Street Murders
Set in a London still haunted by the spectre of the infamous Spring-heeled Jack, The Mangle Street Murders is for those who like their crime original, atmospheric, and very, very funny.
Sean Doolittle – Rain Dogs

Tough Crime: Sean Doolittle – Rain Dogs
It was one hell of an inheritance for former Chicago reporter Tom Coleman: a broken-down pickup truck, ramshackle campground, a canoe livery—and one pot-smoking, barely working employee he doesn’t need, doesn’t want, and can’t afford. But the truth is, after losing a child and a marriage, Tom doesn’t really care. And life is nice and quiet in the middle of nowhere. Until a drug lab blows up near his property—putting Tom in contact with the woman he once loved…

Ivo Stourton – The Happier Dead

Science Fiction: Ivo Stourton – The Happier Dead
The Great Spa sits on the edge of London, a structure visible from space. The power of Britain on the world stage rests in its monopoly on "The Treatment", a medical procedure which can transform the richest and most powerful into a state of permanent physical youth. The Great Spa is the place where the newly young immortals go to revitalise their aged souls. In this most important and secure of facilities, a murder of one of the guests threatens to destabilise the new order, and DCI Oates of the Metrolpolitan police is called in to investigate…

Paul Kearney – Different Kingdom

Fantasy: Paul Kearney – Different Kingdom
Michael Fay is a normal boy, living with his grandparents on their family farm in rural Ireland. In the woods there are wolves; and other things, dangerous things. He doesn&'t tell his family, not even his Aunt Rose, his closest friend. And then, as Michael wanders through the trees, he finds himself in the Other Place. There are strange people, and monsters, and a girl called Cat.

When the wolves follow him from the Other Place to his family's doorstep, Michael must choose between locking the doors and looking away; or following Cat on an adventure that may take an entire lifetime in the Other Place…

E. L. Tettenstor – Darkwalker (Nicolas Lenoir #1) Paranormal/Urban Fantasy: E. L. Tettenstor – Darkwalker (Nicolas Lenoir #1)
He used to be the best detective on the job. Until he became the hunted...
Once a legendary police inspector, Nicolas Lenoir is now a disillusioned and broken man who spends his days going through the motions and his evenings drinking away the nightmares of his past. Ten years ago, Lenoir barely escaped the grasp of the Darkwalker, a vengeful spirit who demands a terrible toll on those who have offended the dead. But the Darkwalker does not give up on his prey so easily, and Lenoir has always known his debt would come due one day.

Jane Austen – Persuasion

Classic of the Month: Jane Austen – Persuasion
She had been forced into prudence in her youth, she learned romance as she grew older’

At twenty-seven, Anne Elliot is no longer young and has few romantic prospects. Eight years earlier, she had been persuaded by her friend Lady Russell to break off her engagement to Frederick Wentworth, a handsome naval captain with neither fortune nor rank. What happens when they encounter each other again is movingly told in Jane Austen’s last completed novel.

Ned Vizzini – Other Normals Teen reading: Ned Vizzini – Other Normals
Given the chance, fifteen-year-old Peregrine "Perry" Eckert would dedicate every waking moment to Creatures & Caverns, an epic role-playing game rich with magical creatures, spell casting, and deadly weapons. The world of C&C is where he feels most comfortable in his own skin. But that isn't happening—not if his parents have anything to do with it. Concerned their son lacks social skills, they ship him off to summer camp to become a man. They want him to be outdoors playing with kids his own age and meeting girls—rather than indoors alone, with only his gaming alter ego for company. Perry knows he's in for the worst summer of his life…

Books of the month for March

General Fiction: Lea Carpenter – Eleven Days
Eleven Days is, at its heart, the story of a mother and a son.It begins in May 2011: Sara's son Jason has been missing for nine days in the aftermath of a special operations forces mission. Out of devotion to him, Sara has made herself knowledgeable about things military, but she knows nothing more about her son's disappearance than the press corps camped out in her driveway.

British Crime: James Oswald – The Hangman's Song (Inspector McLean #3)
The body of a man is founding hanging in an empty house. To the Edinburgh police force this appears to be a simple suicide case. Days later another body is found. The body is hanging from an identical rope and the noose has been tied using the same knot.Then a third body is found. As McLean digs deeper he descends into a world where the lines of reality are blurred and that the most irrational answers become the only explanations.

Tough Crime: Keith Thompson – 7 Grams of Lead
Russ Thornton is a hard-hitting journalist known for his ability to take on big targets in government and in business. An old flame, now a Capitol Hill staffer, contacts him out of the blue wanting to disclose some top-secret information. But she is gunned down in cold blood, right in front of him. Worse, the killers are concerned about what Thornton knows, and who he may tell. He finds himself in a game of cat-and-mouse, where the stakes are life and death and the surveillance technology is so sophisticated that he wouldn’t believe it existed—if it weren't implanted in his own head.

Fantasy: Nnedi Okorafor – Who Fears Death
In a far future, post-nuclear-holocaust Africa, genocide plagues one region. The aggressors, the Nuru, have decided to follow the Great Book and exterminate the Okeke. But when the only surviving member of a slain Okeke village is brutally raped, she manages to escape, wandering farther into the desert. She gives birth to a baby girl with hair and skin the color of sand and instinctively knows that her daughter is different. She names her daughter Onyesonwu, which means "Who Fears Death?" in an ancient African tongue.

Reared under the tutelage of a mysterious and traditional shaman, Onyesonwu discovers her magical destiny-to end the genocide of her people. The journey to fulfill her destiny will force her to grapple with nature, tradition, history, true love, the spiritual mysteries of her culture-and eventually death itself.

Science Fiction: Dave Hutchinson – Europe in Autumn
Rudi is a cook in a Kraków restaurant, but when his boss asks Rudi to help a cousin escape from the country he’s trapped in, a new career - partspy, part people-smuggler - begins.

Following multiple economic crises and a devastating flu pandemic, Europe has fractured into countless tiny nations, duchies, polities and republics. Recruited by the shadowy organisation Les Coureurs des Bois, Rudi is schooled in espionage, but when a training mission to The Line, a sovereign nation consisting of a trans-Europe railway line, goes wrong, he is arrested, beaten and Coureur Central must attempt a rescue.

Paranormal/Urban Fantasy: Lisa Shearin – Grendel Affair
We’re Supernatural Protection & Investigations, known as SPI. Things that go bump in the night, the monsters you thought didn’t exist? We battle them and keep you safe. But some supernatural baddies are just too big to contain, even for us…

Teen reading: George Orwell – 1984
The dystopian novel by George Orwell, written in 1949 but eerie relevant today.
Winston Smith works for the Ministry of Truth in London, chief city of Airstrip One. Big Brother stares out from every poster, the Thought Police uncover every act of betrayal. When Winston finds love with Julia, he discovers that life does not have to be dull and deadening, and awakens to new possibilities. Despite the police helicopters that hover and circle overhead, Winston and Julia begin to question the Party; they are drawn towards conspiracy. Yet Big Brother will not tolerate dissent – even in the mind. For those with original thoughts they invented Room 101…

Classic of the Month: Edith Nesbit – Five Children & It
The original story from 1902 by classic British author E Nesbit.
When Cyril, Anthea, Robert, Jane and their baby brother go digging in the gravel pit, the last thing they expect to find is a Psammead - an ancient Sand-fairy! Having a Sand-fairy for a pet means having one wish granted each day. But the children don't realize all the trouble wishes can cause…

Lea Carpenter – Eleven Days James Oswald – The Hangman's Song (Inspector McLean #3) Keith Thompson – 7 Grams of Lead Dave Hutchinson – Europe in Autumn Nnedi Okorafor – Who Fears Death  Lisa Shearin – Grendel Affair Edith Nesbit – Five Children & It George Orwell – 1984

Books of the month for February

General Fiction: Karen Campbell – This is Where I Am
A tender and eye-opening novel about loss and survival, and an unlikely friendship between a Glaswegian widow and a Somali asylum seeker.

British Crime: Suzette A. Hill – A Little Murder
London, early 1950s. Marcia Beasley of St John's Wood is discovered dead in her home, naked and covered with a coal scuttle… A host of colourful and comic characters leap from the pages in their hurry to identify the murderer, unravel the mystery of Marcia's life, and discover the importance of all that coal.

Tough Crime: Jeff Abbott – Downfall
When a young woman rushes into Sam Capra's San Francisco bar and whispers these desperate words, Sam feels compelled to help. A moment later she is attacked by two killers. With Sam's aid, she manages to overpower the men, saving his life in the process before vanishing into the night.

Fantasy: Guy Adams – The Good the Bad and the Infernal (Heaven's Gate #1)
A weird western, a gun-toting, cigarrillo-chewing fantasy built from hangman’s rope and spent bullets. The west has never been wilder. A Steampunk-Western-Fantasy from Guy Adams.
“You wish to meet your God?” the gunslinger asked, cocking his revolver, “well now... that’s easy to arrange.”
Every one hundred years a town appears. From a small village in the peaks of Tibet to a gathering of mud huts in the jungles of South American, it can take many forms. It exists for twenty-four hours then vanishes once more, but for that single day it contains the greatest miracle a man could imagine: a doorway to Heaven.

Science Fiction: Frank Chadwick – How Dark the World Becomes
Sasha Naradnyo is a gangster. He's a gangster with heart, sure, but Sasha sticks his neck out for no man. That's how you stay alive in Crack City, a colony stuffed deep into the crust of the otherwise unlivable planet Peezgtaan.

Paranormal/Urban Fantasy: Viehl, Lynn – Disenchanted & Co
In the Provincial Union of Victoriana, a steampunk America that lost the Revolutionary War, Charmian “Kit” Kittredge makes her living investigating crimes of magic. While Kit tries to avoid the nobs of high society, she follows mysteries wherever they lead.

Teen reading: Isaac Marion – Warm Bodies
R is a zombie, but its not so bad, he's learning to live with it. True, he can only remember the first letter of his name, and eating is not a pleasant business. He spends his time in an abandoned airport, along with hundreds of other zombies, riding the escalators, standing round and groaning.

Classic of the Month: Kate Chopin – The Awakening
Edna Pontellier struggle to reconcile her increasingly unorthodox views on femininity and motherhood with the prevailing social attitudes of the turn-of-the-century South… It is one of the earliest American novels that focuses on women's issues without condescension.

Karen Campbell – This is Where I Am  Suzette A. Hill – A Little Murder Jeff Abbott – Downfall Guy Adams – The Good the Bad and the Infernal (Heaven's Gate #1) Frank Chadwick – How Dark the World Becomes Viehl, Lynn – Disenchanted & Co Isaac Marion – Warm Bodies Kate Chopin – The Awakening

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