Book of the Week

Book of the Week

Weekly recommendations from our staff for you to enjoy.

If you enjoy any of these books then why not send us a Book Review to share with other readers on our Book Review page.

Book of the Week - 18th May 2020

Stay with Me

Adult Fiction

Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo

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This celebrated, unforgettable first novel, shortlisted for the prestigious Women's Prize for Fiction and set in Nigeria, gives voice to both husband and wife as they tell the story of their marriage--and the forces that threaten to tear it apart.

Yejide is hoping for a miracle, for a child. It is all her husband wants, all her mother-in-law wants, and she has tried everything – arduous pilgrimages, medical consultations, dances with prophets, appeals to God. But when her in-laws insist upon a new wife, it is too much for Yejide to bear. It will lead to jealousy, betrayal and despair.

Unravelling against the social and political turbulence of 80s Nigeria, Stay With Me sings with the voices, colours, joys and fears of its surroundings. Ayobami Adebayo weaves a devastating story of the fragility of married love, the undoing of family, the wretchedness of grief, and the all-consuming bonds of motherhood. It is a tale about our desperate attempts to save ourselves and those we love from heartbreak.

Colourful, vibrant, energetic - a stunning tale of what happens when societal expectations collide with reality  —  Tendai Huchu

A compulsive read . . . Just brilliant. Adebayo is an astounding storyteller - an exciting addition to the emerging voices in African writing  —  Jennifer Makumbi

Just when I thought I knew where the story was going, suddenly I was left wondering all over again. I read it late into the night - Ayobami Adebayo definitely owes me several hours of sleep!  —  Chibundu Onuzo

Reasons to Stay Alive

Adult NonFiction

Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig

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Warm, witty, honest and human, this book is a manifesto for staying alive, whatever your demons.

Aged 24, Matt Haig's world caved in. He could see no way to go on living. This is the true story of how he came through crisis, triumphed over an illness that almost destroyed him and learned to live again.

A moving, funny and joyous exploration of how to live better, love better and feel more alive, Reasons to Stay Alive is more than a memoir. It is a book about making the most of your time on earth.

'I wrote this book because the oldest clichés remain the truest. Time heals. The bottom of the valley never provides the clearest view. The tunnel does have light at the end of it, even if we haven't been able to see it . . . Words, just sometimes, really can set you free.'

"Reasons to Stay Alive is wonderful. I read it in one sitting. Touching, funny, thought-provoking, with a huge heart. It should be read by anyone who has suffered, or known someone who has suffered (i.e.. everyone)"  —  S J Watson

"Brings a difficult and sensitive subject out of the darkness and into the light"  —  Michael Palin

"For anyone who has faced the black dog, or felt despair, this marvellous book is a real comfort, dealing sympathetically with depression, written with candour and from first-hand experience. I think it is a small masterpiece. It might even save lives"  —  Joanna Lumley

Toffee by Sarah Crossan

Young Adult 15+

Toffee by Sarah Crossan

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Toffee is the outstanding new novel from the incomparable, multi-award-winning and Laureate Sarah Crossan; poignant, thought-provoking and incredibly moving, it explores mental health and friendship while asking what it means to be a family. Sarah Crossan has been awarded the KPMG Children's Book Honour Award for Fiction for Toffee in May 2020. 

I am not who I say I am, and Marla isn't who she thinks she is. I am a girl trying to forget. She is a woman trying to remember.

Allison has run away from home and with nowhere to live finds herself hiding out in the shed of what she thinks is an abandoned house. But the house isn't empty. An elderly woman named Marla, with dementia, lives there – and she mistakes Allison for an old friend from her past called Toffee.

Allison is used to hiding who she really is, and trying to be what other people want her to be. And so, Toffee is who she becomes. After all, it means she has a place to stay. There are worse places she could be.

But as their bond grows, and Allison discovers how much Marla needs a real friend, she begins to ask herself - where is home? What is a family? And most importantly, who am I, really?

" a profoundly moving YA novel in verse" - The Guardian

"Crossan always finds humour and humanity in the darkness; it's impossible not to read it in a single gulp" The Times, Children’s Book of the Week

 



Book of the Week -11th May 2020

The Lake House by Kate Morton

The Lake House by Kate Morton is the mysterious and enchanting fifth novel from the number one bestselling author of The House at Riverton and The Secret Keeper.

A missing child... An abandoned house...An unsolved mystery...

June 1933, and the Edevane family's country house, Loeanneth, is polished and gleaming, ready for the much-anticipated Midsummer Eve party. Alice Edevane, sixteen years old and a budding writer, is especially excited. Not only has she worked out the perfect twist for her novel, she's also fallen helplessly in love with someone she shouldn't. But by the time midnight strikes and fireworks light up the night skies, the Edevane family will have suffered a loss so great that they leave Loeanneth forever.
     Seventy years later, after a particularly troubling case, Sadie Sparrow is sent on an enforced break from her job with the Metropolitan Police. She retreats to her beloved grandfather's cottage in Cornwall but soon finds herself at a loose end. Until one day, Sadie stumbles upon an abandoned house surrounded by overgrown gardens and dense woods, and learns the story of a baby boy who disappeared without a trace.
     Meanwhile, in the attic writing room of her elegant Hampstead home, the formidable Alice Edevane, now an old lady, leads a life as neatly plotted as the bestselling detective novels she writes. Until a young police detective starts asking questions about her family's past, seeking to resurrect the complex tangle of secrets Alice has spent her life trying to escape...

Addictive reading  —  Mail on Sunday

Bestselling storyteller Morton excels in this mystery set against the gothic backdrop of 1930s England . . . Morton's plotting is impeccable, and her finely wrought characters, brought together in the end by Sparrow's investigation, are as surprised as readers will be by the astonishing conclusion  —  Publishers Weekly

If you like Jane Harris, Liane Moriarty, Lucinda Riley and Susan Hill then you should enjoy this book.  Kate Morton is a great storyteller and will keep you guessing to the end.  

Things My Son Needs to Know

Things My Son Needs to Know About the World by Fredrik Backman

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Things My Son Needs To Know About The World is a tender and funny series of letters from a new father to his son about one of life's most daunting experiences: parenthood.

You can be whatever you want to be, but that's nowhere near as important as knowing that you can be exactly who you are'

In between the sleep-obsessed lows and oxytocin-fuelled highs, Backman takes a step back to share his own experience of fatherhood and how he navigates such unchartered territory.

Part memoir, part manual, part love letter to his son, this book relays the big and the small lessons in life.

As he watches his son take his first steps into the world, he teaches him how to navigate both love - and IKEA - and tries to explain why, sometimes, his dad might hold his hand just a little bit too tightly.

This is an irresistible and insightful collection from one of the world's most beautiful storytellers - the bestselling author of A Man Called Ove and Beartown.

Praise for Fredrick Backman:
'A mature, compassionate novel' Sunday Times
'Will, funny, and almost unbearably moving' Daily Mail
'You'll love this engrossing novel' People
'Backman is a masterful writer' Kirkus Review

Evident in all [Backman] novels is an apparent ability to state a truth about humanity with breathtaking elegance  —  Kirkus Reviews

The Darkest Lie

Young Adult 15+

The Darkest Lie by Pintip Dunn

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“Heartbreaking and heroic. You won't be able to turn the pages fast enough!” —Romily Bernard, author of the Find Me trilogy

Clothes, jokes, coded messages…Cecilia Brooks and her mom shared everything. At least, CeCe thought they did. Six months ago, her mom killed herself after accusations of having sex with a student, and CeCe’s been the subject of whispers and taunts ever since. Now, at the start of her high school senior year, between dealing with her grieving, distracted father, and the social nightmare that has become her life, CeCe just wants to fly under the radar. Instead, she’s volunteering at the school’s crisis hotline—the same place her mother worked.

As she counsels troubled strangers, CeCe’s lingering suspicions about her mom’s death resurface. With the help of Sam, a new student and newspaper intern, she starts to piece together fragmented clues that point to a twisted secret at the heart of her community. Soon, finding the truth isn’t just a matter of restoring her mother’s reputation, it’s about saving lives—including CeCe’s own… Is it better to live with a lie, or risk everything for the truth?

“A twisty, fast-paced thriller that kept me guessing to the end.”—Shannon Grogan, author of From Where I Watch You

Things that Go Bump in the Night

Young Adult Ficiton 13+

Things that Go Bump in the Night by Áine Lynam.

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Brendan hears noises at night.  Noises in his house.  He can't sleep.  Find out what or who are the monsters that are keeping Brendan awake at night?

This short story was the winner of one of the library's short story competitions that was run in 2018.  The winner was chosen from hundreds of entries and reflects a maturity beyond the age of the author. 

A powerful well crafted text that will keep you guessing all the way. And the ending packs a real punch. - Oisín McGann, author and illustrator

 

Conor's Caveman

Children's Fiction : 7+

Conor's Caveman: The Amazing Adventures of Ogg by Alan Nolan

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Life could be better for Conor Corcoran. Class bully Damian Deegan is always teasing him about being small and having no friends - when in fact Conor has the only friend he needs in Charlotte ‘Charlie’ Finch, the toughest girl in school.

But when Conor and Charlie accidentally uncover a prehistoric man who was flash-frozen in a block of ice, life suddenly gets a bit too interesting! How long can Conor keep his huge, hairy (and rather smelly) new ‘uncle’ a secret from his mum, his teachers and a gang of ruthless scientists?

"Such fun - a really enjoyable read; right from the first page, it is full of zany, inconsequential humour which carries on through the book, ably abetted by the drawings."  —  parentsintouch.co.uk

"The lively illustrations add to the fun, celebrating the comedy and the action of the story … a good-humoured fish out of water story, Conor's Caveman is an easy and enjoyable read."  —  The Looking Glass

"Hilarious"  —  Books Ireland


Book of the Week - 4th May 2020

Love You Dead by Peter James

Adult Fiction

Love You Dead by Peter James

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The twelfth Roy Grace novel from the highly acclaimed number one bestselling author, Peter James.

An ugly duckling as a child, Jodie Bentley had two dreams in life - to be beautiful and rich. She's achieved the first, with a little help from a plastic surgeon, and now she's working hard on the second. Her philosophy on money is simple: you can either earn it or marry it. Marrying is easy, it's getting rid of the husband afterwards that's harder, that takes real skill. But hey, practice makes perfect . . .

Detective Superintendent Roy Grace is feeling the pressure from his superiors, his previous case is still giving him sleepless nights, there have been major developments with his missing wife Sandy, and an old adversary is back. But worse than all of this, he now believes a Black Widow is operating in his city. One with a venomous mind... and venomous skills. Soon Grace comes to the frightening realization that he may have underestimated just how dangerous this lady is.

This book averaged 4 out of 5 stars on Goodreads and 4.5 on Amazon.  If you like Peter Robinson, Stuart MacBride or Simon Kernick then give this one a whirl.

What to read next If you do like Peter James then why not use our Who Else Writes Like? resource to uncover more authors that you might want to read.

 


Book of the Week 27th April 2020

 

Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
Adult Fiction
How Not to be a Boy by Robert Webb
Adult Non-Fiction - Biography
The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
Young Adult Fiction 15+
Much Ado about Mean Girls by Ian Doescher
Young Adult Fiction Audiobook 13+
Dragon's Green (Worldquake, 1) by Scarlett Thomas
Children's Fiction 9+

Adult Fiction

The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

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A spellbinding epic tale of ambition, anarchy, and absolute power set against the sprawling medieval canvas of twelfth-century England, this is Ken Follett's classic historical masterpiece.

The Pillars of the Earth tells the story of Philip, prior of Kingsbridge, a devout and resourceful monk driven to build the greatest Gothic cathedral the world has known . . . of Tom, the mason who becomes his architect - a man divided in his soul . . . of the beautiful, elusive Lady Aliena, haunted by a secret shame . . . and of a struggle between good and evil that will turn church against state, and brother against brother.

'Enormous and brilliant . . . this mammoth tale seems to touch all human emotion - love and hate, loyalty and treachery, hope and despair. This is truly a novel to get lost in' - Cosmopolitan

'A historical saga of such breadth and density . . . Follett succeeds brilliantly in combining hugeness and detail to create a novel imbued with the rawness, violence and blind faith of the era' - Sunday Express

 

Adult Non Fiction

How Not to Be a Boy by Robert Webb

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Rules For Being A Man: Don't Cry, Love Sport, Play Rough, Drink Beer, Don't Talk About Feelings

But Robert Webb has been wondering for some time now: are those rules actually any use? To anyone?

Looking back over his life, from schoolboy crushes (on girls and boys) to discovering the power of making people laugh (in the Cambridge Footlights with David Mitchell), and from losing his beloved mother to becoming a husband and father, Robert Webb considers the absurd expectations boys and men have thrust upon them at every stage of life.

Hilarious and heart-breaking, How Not To Be a Boy explores the relationships that made Robert who he is as a man, the lessons we learn as sons and daughters, and the understanding that sometimes you aren't the Luke Skywalker of your life - you're actually Darth Vader.

Takes us deftly from hilarity to heart-stopping hurt . . . A truly great read, full of heart  —  DAWN FRENCH

A witty, honest coming of age story with a subtext that tackles masculinity and manhood . . . I could hear Webb's voice throughout, and that's a storytelling skill many would kill for  —  IAN RANKIN

Quite simply brilliant. I (genuinely) cried. I (genuinely) laughed out loud. It's profound, touching, personal yet universal . . . I loved it  —  JK Rowling

 

Young Adult 15+

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

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Shortlisted The CILIP Carnegie Medal 2019

The start of a thrilling new fantasy series from bestselling author Holly Black about a mortal girl who finds herself caught in a dangerous web of royal faerie intrigue.

Jude was seven when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

As Jude becomes more deeply embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, she discovers her own capacity for trickery and bloodshed. But as betrayal threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

I loved this story and highly recommend to anyone who likes YA books with strong female character, snarky comments and lots of action  —  Blind Date with Books

A veritable queen of dark fantasy, Holly Black spins a thrilling tale of intrigue and magic in her newest novel. Ten years after the faeries murdered her parents and stole her away, 17 year old Jude is fighting to be accepted by her captors. Unmissable for fans of Sarah J. Mass and the Grisha trilogy  —  Buzzfeed UK

I obviously loved this book. Definitely a 5/5 stars for me! It threw so much at you and everything stuck. I loved every aspect of this book and can't wait to get deeper into this faerie realm that Black is building for us.  —  Thrice Read

This splendidly wicked and richly created story is one you won't want to miss  —  Buzzfeed

 

Young Adult 13+

William Shakespeare's Much Ado About Mean Girls by Ian Doescher

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Power struggles. Bitter rivalries. Jealousy. Betrayals. Star-crossed lovers

When you consider all these plot points, it’s pretty surprising William Shakespeare didn’t write Mean Girls. But now fans can treat themselves to the epic drama—and heroic hilarity—of the classic teen comedy rendered with the wit, flair, and iambic pentameter of the Bard. Our heroine Cady disguises herself to infiltrate the conniving Plastics, falls for off-limits Aaron, struggles with her allegiance to newfound friends Damian and Janis, and stirs up age-old vendettas among the factions of her high school. Best-selling author Ian Doescher brings his signature Shakespearean wordsmithing to this cult classic beloved by generations of teen girls and other fans. Now, on the 15th anniversary of its release, Mean Girls is a recognized cultural phenomenon, and it’s more than ready for an Elizabethan makeover.

 

Children 9+

Dragon's Green (Worldquake - Book) by Scarlett Thomas

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The first in a thrilling and magical new children's series from Scarlett Thomas, author of the bestselling adult novel The End of Mr Y.

'Some people think opening a book is a simple thing. It's not. Most people don't realise that you can get truly lost in a book. You can. Especially you.'

Effie Truelove is a new pupil at the Tusitala School for the Gifted, Troubled and Strange, with its twisted grey spires and an English teacher so frightening she gives the class nightmares.

When her beloved grandfather is brutally attacked, Effie promises to look after his magical books. But then shady book-collector Leonard Levar gets his hands on them and Effie has to embark on the most dangerous adventure of her life . . .

Effie must travel to the mysterious Otherworld, unlock the hidden meaning of an old book called Dragon's Green, and brave the terrifying Diberi, a secret organisation with plans that could destroy the entire universe.

But Effie can't face the Diberi alone. Can her new school-friends Maximilian, Wolf, Lexy and Raven combine their gifts and discover their true powers in time?

Entrancing . . . one of the sharpest fantasies I've encountered  —  NEIL GAIMAN

PRAISE FOR OTHER BOOKS BY SCARLETT THOMAS: 'Ingenious and original. . . A cracking good yarn fizzing with intelligence  —  Philip Pullman


Book of the Week 20th April 2020

Books of the Week 20 April 2020

For Adults (Fiction)

Girl by Edna O'Brien

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Longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction

Girl by Edna O'Brien

The new novel by legendary Irish author Edna O'Brien, award-winning author of The Little Red Chairs who, in her ninth decade has produced her most searing, urgent fiction in this portrait of one woman's abduction by Boko Haram. Captured, abducted and married into Boko Haram, the narrator of this story witnesses and suffers the horrors of a community of men governed by a brutal code of violence. Barely more than a girl herself, she must soon learn how to survive as a woman with a child of her own. Just as the world around her seems entirely consumed by madness, bound for hell, she is offered an escape of sorts - but only into another landscape of trials and terrors amidst the unforgiving wilds of northeastern Nigeria, through the forest and beyond; a place where her traumas are met with the blinkered judgement of a society in denial. How do we love in a world that has lost its moorings? How can we comprehend the barbarism of our enemies, and learn forgiveness for atrocities committed in the name of ideology? Edna O'Brien's new novel pierces to the heart of these questions: and the result is her masterpiece.

A novel of profound and ever-renewing empathy and grace - a parable on the complex subject of human redemption. Its verbal funds are clear and transporting and unforgettable; its dramatic resources vast.  —  Richard Ford

Girl broke me in two. It is a work of towering humanity and enduring literary value; a hard and beautiful miracle.  —  Eimear McBride

Edna O'Brien tells her story with such compassion and understanding that the very disturbing events she re-lives are uplifting - and unforgettable. An utterly unique achievement.  —  Ian McKellen

By an extraordinary act of imagination we are transported into the inner world of a girl who, after brutal abuse, escapes and with dogged persistence begins to rebuild her life. Girl is a courageous book about a courageous spirit.  —  JM. Coetzee

For Teens 15+

F in Exams by Richard Benson

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The subject of exams might not seem funny to you now but this book aims to bring a bit of light relief to those of you stressing out about your own exams. Bursting with misunderstandings, misspellings and spirited, if ultimately incorrect, answers, this collection brings together the most head-scratching, side-splitting examples from the F in Exams series.  See the sample below for some howlers!

 F in Exams Preview

For Teens 13+

On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

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The award-winning author of The Hate U Give returns with a powerful story about hip hop, freedom of speech – and fighting for your dreams, even as the odds are stacked against you.

This book has been shortlisted for the 2020 CILIP Carnegie Greenaway Medal

Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. As the daughter of an underground hip hop legend who died right before he hit big, Bri’s got massive shoes to fill. But when her first song goes viral for all the wrong reasons, Bri finds herself at the centre of controversy and portrayed by the media as more menace than MC. And with an eviction notice staring her family down, Bri no longer just wants to make it – she has to. Even if it means becoming the very thing the public has made her out to be.

 

For Children 10+

Gabe & Izzy by Gabrielle Ford

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This is the moving, true story of the young woman dubbed “The Voice of America’s Bullied”; how her bond with her dog, Izzy, changed her life; and their mission to help break the cycle of bullying. In middle school, Gabrielle “Gabe” Ford developed a degenerative muscle disease, and was harassed by bullies as a result. She did her best to keep her head high, but it wasn’t easy. Then Gabe got a dog, Izzy, who developed an uncannily similar disorder. They were invited to appear on Animal Planet to talk about their bond, which in turn led to an invitation to speak at a school. And so began Gabe’s career as an anti-bullying advocate. Dubbed “The Voice of America’s Bullied” by the Huffington Post, Gabe now makes a career of public speaking and has received numerous honors for her hard work. Here is her amazing story—from her lowest days dealing with various challenges, to the unbelievable and immediate bond with Izzy, to her ongoing mission to put an end to bullying, one school at a time.

Includes resources and tips for readers.

 

For Children 8+

The Star Spun Web by Sinéad O'Hart

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This book has been shortlisted for the The KPMG Children's Books Ireland Awards, the winners of which will be announced in May 2020.

Tess de Sousa is no ordinary orphan. As a baby, she was left in the care of the kind and loving teachers of Ackerbee’s Home for Lost and Foundlings. Knowing nothing of her parentage or background, Tess yearns to learn more about her mysterious origins when a man claiming to be a distant relative comes to adopt her and take her away to a new life at Roedeer Lodge. But on discovering the truth of her past, she realizes she is the key to a terrible plan that may bring destruction to her own world and perhaps to worlds beyond…

The Star-Spun Web is the second book from Sinéad O’Hart, following the successful publication of her first novel, The Eye of the North, in 2018. Featuring an entirely new setting and cast of characters, The Star-Spun Web emphatically confirms the promise and talent of O’Hart’s excellent début.

The story is breathlessly exciting and compels the reader to turn the pages to discover the fate of brave, intelligent Tess and of course her pet tarantula Violet. Tess, her friends and foes are vividly drawn and the descriptive writing brings each scene and setting to animated life. The parallel worlds and alternative time lines are fantastical concepts but remain realistic and relatable thanks to O’Hart’s direct writing style.

It is always a pleasure to see a strong, brave girl at the centre of the action and this is a novel that will appeal to all readers in search of an unforgettable adventure. A triumph from start to finish.

(Review from Children's Book Ireland)

Children 5+

The Little Princess Treasury Written by Tony Ross and Read by Jilly Bond

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This collection includes a selection of 21 royal stories starring the Little Princess – a character who has many exciting adventures as she explores her independence. Full of familiar situations including: I Don't Want to Go to Bed, I Want My Dummy and I Want My Mum – the books are perfect for little princesses and princes aged three and over.

 


Book of the Week - 13th April 2020

The Holiday by TM Logan

Adult Ficiton

The Holiday by T.M. Logan

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For fans of Harlan Coben and Shari Lapena, and from the bestselling author of LIES take a holiday you won't forget . . .

Seven days. Three families. One killer. It was supposed to be the perfect holiday, dreamed up by Kate as the ideal way to turn 40: four best friends and their husbands and children in a luxurious villa under the blazing sunshine of Provence. But there is trouble in paradise. Kate suspects that her husband is having an affair, and that the other woman is one of her best friends. One of these women is willing to sacrifice years of friendship and destroy her family. But which one? As Kate closes in on the truth in the stifling Mediterranean heat, she realises too late that the stakes are far higher than she ever imagined.

Because someone in the villa is prepared to kill to keep their secret hidden.

'Perfectly plotted and riveting with an exceptional ending' Diane Jeffrey
'I loved the intrigue - it makes you think twice about going on holiday with friends' B A Paris
'Another blistering page-turner' Chris Whitaker

I got side-swiped by the plot twists and was totally taken up with the unfolding family resentments and dramas. T.M. Logan is at the top of his game. —  CJ Carver

Stuffocation Audiobook

Adult NonFiction 

Stuffocation: Living More With Less by James Wallman. Read by Kris Dyer

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In this groundbreaking book, trend forecaster James Wallman reveals the world's growing sense of Stuffocation – and how we can move away from it.

We have more stuff than we could ever need – clothes we don't wear, kit we don't use, and toys we don't play with. But having everything we thought we wanted isn't making us happier. It's bad for the planet. It's cluttering up our homes. It's making us feel 'stuffocated' and stressed – and it might even be killing us.
A rising number of people are turning their backs on all-you-can-get consumption, from the telecoms exec who's sold almost everything he owns, to the well-off family who have moved into a remote mountain cabin. Wallman's solution to our clutter crisis is less extreme, but equally fundamental. We have to transform what we value. We have to focus less on possessions and more on experiences. Rather than a new watch or another pair of shoes, we should invest in shared experiences like holidays and time with friends.

With intriguing insights on psychology, economics and culture, Stuffocation is a vital manifesto for change. It has inspired those who have read it to be happier and healthier, and to live more, with less.

'Particularly timely ... [Wallman] is spot on.'  —  The Daily Mail

'Compelling ... a blueprint for future living.'  —  The Daily Telegraph

After the Fire by Will Hill

Teens (15+)

After the Fire by Will Hill

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What if the only way out of the darkness is to light a fire?

Before, she lived inside the fence. Before, she was never allowed to leave the property, never allowed to talk to Outsiders, never allowed to speak her mind. Because Father John controlled everything—and Father John liked rules. Disobeying Father John came with terrible consequences. But there are lies behind Father John's words. Outside, there are different truths.Then came the fire. 

This story was inspired by real life events following the seige at Waco Texas in 1993.   Instead of writing about life inside a sect Will Hill was drawn to the story of what happens those left behind after a life of indoctrination in a cult such as the Branch Davidian children who were released during the siege at Waco Texas in 1993.

A gripping story of survival with a big heart. Scary, exciting and uplifting all at the same time.  —  Juno Dawson

It will keep you up late until you get to the very end.  —  Maureen Johnson

A masterclass in suspense.  —  Amy Alward

Powerful and beautiful  —  Maggie Harcourt

One of the most brilliantly realized characters in contemporary YA.  —  James Smythe

Epic by Conr Kostick

Teens (13+)

Epic by Conor Kostick (The Avatar Chronicles)

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#WELCOME TO EPIC: PRESS START TO PLAY#.

On New Earth, Epic is not just a computer game, it's a matter of life and death. If you lose, you lose everything; if you win, the world is yours for the taking. Seeking revenge for the unjust treatment of his parents, Erik subverts the rules of the game, and he and his friends are drawn into a world of power-hungry, dangerous players. Now they must fight the ultimate masters of the game -- The Committee. But what Erik doesn't know is that The Committee has a sinister, deadly secret, and challenging it could destroy the whole world of Epic.

Have Sword Will Travel Book Cover

Children 9+

Have Sword, Will Travel by Sean Williams and Garth Nix

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Brilliantly funny adventure, featuring magic, dragons and knights. For ages 9+

Odo (seventh child of the village miller) and Eleanor (always looking for adventure) stumble upon a sword in a dried-up river outside their village. Eleanor (strong and able) tries to extract the sword but is unable to, and it is Odo who is surprisingly successful. It is even more surprising that the sword,once pulled out, starts to talk. And rather annoying when the talking sword turns out to be rather grumpy, stubborn, and, at times, catastrophically wrong.

Odo and Eleanor have unearthed Biter, a famous knightly sword from earlier times. By finding Biter, Odo instantly becomes a knight -- a role he is exquisitely unsuited for. Eleanor, however, is desperate to become and would be the perfect knight -- but she's not the one with the sword.

Finding Biter is only the start - reluctant knight, reluctant squire, and determined sword must go on a quest to save their kingdom from threats in both human and dragon form, in this new very funny fantasy triumph from Garth Nix and Sean Williams.

The Legend of Spud Murphy

Children (7+)

The Legend of Spud Murphy by Eoin Colfer

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Will has four brothers and it's chaos in his house! If he's not being teased by his big brother Marty, he has to deal with the terrible, three-headed bundle of cuteness that is his three younger brothers.

Even worse, his mother has the brilliant idea of packing Will and Marty off to the library during the holidays. She just doesn't understand! Not only is the library no fun, it's also the habitat of the legendary librarian Spud Murphy. If you put a foot wrong, it's rumoured she will use her dreaded gas-powered spud gun and you don't want that - just ask Ugly Frank how he got his nickname! Eventually Will and Marty discover a love of books and that Mrs Murphy isn't so bad after all!

This book will make you laugh out loud - even on the third reading (yes we’ve read it three times in our house!!). 


Book of the Week - 6th April 2020

Recommended Audiobooks

Books of the Week Covers April 6th 2020

For Adults

Tatty by Christine Dwyer Hickey

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Christine Dwyer Hickey’s Tatty is a devastating yet hilarious depiction of a troubled Dublin family told in the vibrant, charismatic voice of the little girl lost within it. With brutal honesty, Tatty tells the story of her beloved but feckless dad, her tormented mam and her five siblings, including her sister with special needs. As she grows up, Tatty becomes ever more aware of the strange reality of her home life, and the damage wrought by alcohol on her family. First published in 2004, Tatty became a bestseller and is a modern Irish masterpiece that is tragic, funny and utterly unsentimental.  Tatty was selected as the Dublin One City One Book for 2020 and republished with a new introduction by Dermot Bolger.

Tatty is a book that will haunt you long after you’ve turned the last page. The author vividly evokes the simplicity of childhood, so much so that the reader can identify freely with Tatty despite her disturbing situation. The book is not without its lighter moments, and the humour is much needed. This is not only an entertaining tale but a heartbreaking account of a disturbed childhood that makes for compulsive reading. — RTE.IE

If you like this book then our Who Else Writes Like resource recommends titles by these authors: Julian Barnes, Sebastian Barry, Amanda Craig, Roopa Farooki, Jennifer Johnston, Andrea Levy

Adult Non Fiction

Letter to My Younger Self / Edited by Jane Graham for The Big Issue

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If you could write a letter to your younger self, what would it say?

Over 10 years ago, The Big Issue began to ask some of the best-known, most interesting and most successful figures in entertainment, politics, food, sport and business to give advice, offer hope and share a few jokes with their younger selves. They opened up, in ways they never had, to interviewer Jane Graham, reflecting on their lives and themselves with affection, sympathy and sometimes disbelief.

This collection of 100 of the most incredible letters includes Paul McCartney on how he found inspiration, Olivia Colman on overcoming confidence problems, Mo Farah on the importance of losing, Arianna Huffington on knowing your motivations, Jamie Oliver on trusting your instinct and many, many more, including Rod Stewart, Margaret Atwood, Buzz Aldrin, David Cameron, Eddie Izzard, Desmond Tutu, Neil Gaiman, Ruby Wax, Ranulph Fiennes, Tracey Emin, Ian McEwan, Michael Palin, Melanie C, Tim Peake, Dionne Warwick and Ewan McGregor.

Letter to My Younger Self is a revelatory and profound exploration into the wit and wisdom that age brings, and of the unique insights that looking back can reveal.

'This collection is full of insightful stories that will make you think about how you live your own life, and how you want to live it in the future.' Woman's Weekly

For Teens

Harley in the Sky by Akemi Dawn Bowman

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"When I’m on the trapeze, I feel whole. When I’m in the air with the ropes between my fingers, I feel like I’m everything I ever want to be in the world.
This is what I want. It’s all I’ve ever wanted. I only wish my parents could see what this means to me. What it would mean to hold a dream in my palm, press it tight against my heart, and never let it go."
Harley in the Sky is a luminous, unforgettable examination of love, loyalty and tough choices. From award-winning Akemi Dawn Bowman comes a breathtaking evocation of the magic and drama of the circus. 'Mental health, family and friendship, and the circus: all told in a raw, engaging voice.' KIRKUS REVIEWS

If you like this then try the title below which we found using the Young Adult Section of Who next? Try it to out to find your next read.

Margot and Me byJuno Dawson "How can you hate someone in the present and love them in the past? Find out in this book that won runner-up in the Lancashire Book of the Year Award 2018."

For Children

Boy Giant by Michael Morpurgo

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War has forced Omar and his mother to leave their home in Afghanistan and venture across the sea to Europe. When their boat sinks, and Omar finds himself alone, with no hope of rescue, it seems as if his story has come to an end. But it is only just beginning. Because in the end, a little hope makes a big difference… A thrilling adventure inspired by the classic story of Gulliver’s Travels, this is also a gripping modern narrative of rescue and refuge, from a writer at the height of his powers. A book about breaking down walls, at a time when many are trying to build them. And a timeless reminder of humanity’s infinite capacity for good… even when those humans are very small indeed.

If you enjoy this title and would like to read something similar then why not try our ‘Who Next?’ ServiceWe found lots of recommendations, including the one below, using this great resource.    

Emmeline and the Plucky Pup by Megan Rix 

 


Recommended Audiobooks

Recommended Audiobooks

The Widow by Fiona Barton (Read by Clare Corbett)

This is a great story! It's a thriller that's full of twists and turns.  If you enjoyed Gone Girl or Girl on the Train then this is one for you.

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Educated by Tara Westover (Read by Julia Whelan)

A gripping memoir about a girl born into a fundamentalist Mormon family in Idaho.This has been a frequently requested title this year in our libraries. 

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Dear Mr Bird by AJ Pence (Read by Anna Popplewell)

This is a joy to listen to; a very moving, uplifting and funny story, perfect for the present time we’re living  in.

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Why We Sleep: The New Science of Sleep and Dreams by Matthew Walker (Read by John Sackville)

Fascinating facts about the basic activity of sleep and the impact it has on human health.

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The Couple Next Door by Sharia Lapena (Read by Kristen Potter)

A best-selling thriller that’s full of suspense with a very clever plot.

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For Adults

My Life as a Rat by Joyce Carol Oates

Once I’d been Daddy’s favourite. Before something terrible happened....

My Life as a Rat Book Cover

Twelve year old Violet Rue is the baby of the seven Kerrigan children and adores her big brothers. What’s more, she knows that a family protects its own. To go outside the family – to betray the family – is unforgiveable. So when she overhears a conversation not meant for her ears and discovers that her brothers have committed a heinous crime, she is torn between her loyalty to her family and her sense of justice. The decision she takes will change her life for ever.

Exploring racism, misogyny, community, family, loyalty, sexuality and identity, this is a dark story with a tense and propulsive atmosphere – Joyce Carol Oates at her very best.

A brilliant and thought-provoking novel about family, loyalty and betrayal.

If you liked Olive Again by Elizabeth Strout, Chances are.. by Richard Russo or The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead then this is one for you.

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What the critics say....

‘Oates’s novel adroitly touches on race, loyalty, misogyny, and class inequality while also telling a moving story with a winning narrator. This book should please her fans and win her new ones’ Publishers Weekly

‘Oates’s prose contains a deep-felt rawness which hovers between hope, despair and love’ Guardian

‘Simply the most consistently inventive, brilliant, curious and creative writer going’ Gillian Flynn, author of Gone Girl

Read more about the book from the author's website.


For Younger Children

Heidi Heckelbeck Takes the Cake

Heidi Heckelbeck Takes the Cake by Wanda Coven

Heidi forgets her best friend’s birthday in this instalment of the Heidi Heckelbeck series.

Between reading, homework, school projects, and everyday life, Heidi Heckelbeck is a very busy kid. But when her busy life keeps her from remembering her friend Bruce’s birthday, Heidi decides to throw a magical make-up party to apologize. Will he forgive her…or will this party be another magical mess?

With easy-to-read language and illustrations on almost every page, the Heidi Heckelbeck chapter books are perfect for beginning readers.

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For Older Children 

The Fowl Twins by Eoin Colfer

The Fowl Twins by Eoin Colfer

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Beckett is blonde, messy and sulks whenever he has to wear clothes. Myles is impeccably neat, has an IQ of 170, and 3D prints a fresh suit every day – just like his older brother, Artemis Fowl. A week after their eleventh birthday the twins are left in the care of house security system, NANNI, for a single night. In that time, they befriend a troll on the run from a nefarious nobleman and an interrogating nun, both of whom need the magical creature for their own gain . . .!

Prepare for an epic adventure in which The Fowl Twins and their new troll friend escape, get shot at, kidnapped, buried, arrested, threatened, killed (temporarily) . . . and discover that the strongest bond in the world is not the one forged by covalent electrons in adjacent atoms, but the one that exists between a pair of twins.

This first book in the blockbusting new series from global bestseller Eoin Colfer is fast paced, funny, packed with adventure and full of magic.  

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