NetGalley UK’s Top Ten Books, March 2016

We’ve been looking ahead to 2016 for a few months now, so it seems odd to be saying happy New Year – but we’ll say it anyway! You might also have noticed that we’ve had a bit of a spring clean in your profile, so do please take a look and update your role and birthday if you haven’t already.

There’s real excitement abound for our March titles, which sees a departure for a bestselling novelist, a book that could change the way you eat lunch, the return of one of the UK’s most exciting young novelists and a fantastical trip through the world of the great Bard. It’s an eclectic mix, and one that we hope will brighten your January.

BOOK OF THE MONTH

Flawed
Cecilia Ahern
HarperCollins Children’s Books | Teens & YA
UK Edition

Since the publication of P.S. I Love You in 2004, Cecilia Ahern has become one of Ireland’s bestselling and most beloved novelists – but Flawed marks a radical departure from her usual contemporary romance. This is the story of Celestine North – model daughter, perfect student, girlfriend of the impossibly cute Art Crevan – whose one simple act of kindness threatens to shatter her idyllic life. In a society that demands obedience, her help of one of the flawed – people deemed by the state to be untouchable – is a crime. But Celestine takes a stand, with devastating consequences. You will not read a more persuasive, convincing and gripping YA novel this year.

The Living
Anjali Joseph
Fourth Estate Literary Fiction
UK Edition

One of the boldest and most interesting of new writers, Anjali Joseph’s latest novel – after her much lauded Saraswati Park and Another Country – is confirmation of her gifts for observation, character and compassion. This is a luminous tale of two lives lived in very different situations, Claire is a young single mother working in England, Arun is an older man in a western Indian town. The story that emerges is both touching and melancholic, beautiful and unusual. Sure to be everywhere come awards season in 2016.

Freya
Anthony Quinn
Jonathan Cape General Fiction (Adult)
UK Edition

Curtain Call, Anthony Quinn’s break-out novel introduced him to a whole new audience – and Freya seems set to further cement his reputation as one of our most interesting historical novelists. We first meet the eponymous Freya in the wake of the wild VE-day celebrations and follow the course of her life up to the swing of the 1960s. Quinn’s depiction of an ordinary woman in extraordinary times is excellent, and his eye for period detail second to none.

The Summer Before the War
Helen Simonson
Bloomsbury General Fiction (Adult)
UK Edition

Helen Simonson arrived fully formed on the literary scene with the bestselling Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand. The Summer Before the War has the same kind of slow-burning intensity of her previous book, but with the pervading unease of the impending Great War affecting a close-knit community in Sussex. The characters, especially the headstrong Beatrice Nash, are drawn with affection and ease, making this a truly absorbing novel.

Trust No One
Clare Donoghue
Pan Books Mystery & Thrillers
UK Edition

From one of the most promising of emerging crime writers comes the third book in the Lockyer & Bennett series. DS Jane Bennett and DI Mike Lockyer are called in to investigate one of the South London murder squad’s most difficult and distressing cases yet – where family and friends come under scrutiny in the hardest of circumstances.

Death in Profile
Guy Fraser-Sampson
Urbane Publications Mystery & Thrillers
UK Edition

This debut crime novel is an ingenious blend of modern detective work and ‘Golden Age’ crime writing – making for a distinctive mystery novel. Intellectual analysis and police procedure vie with the gut instinct of ‘copper’s nose’, and help appears to offer itself from a very unlikely source – a famous fictional detective – as a crack team try to solve a series of murders in London’s genteel Hampstead.

We've Come to Take You Home
Susan Gandar
Cameron Publicity Mystery and Thrillers
UK Edition

This is a time-bending story of a friendship forged in the most unusual of manners, from a writer of great skill and clarity. When Sam Foster’s father is admitted to hospital with a suspected brain haemorrhage, however, the dreams that plague her seem to be more real, more terrifying than mere imagination.  And then she meets Jessica Brown…

The English Girl
Katherine Webb
Orion General Fiction (Adult)
UK Edition

Katherine Webb has become one of the most popular writers of contemporary fiction after a string of hits, including The Legacy. The English Girl is her most ambitious yet, centring on Joan Seabrook, a fledgling archaeologist, whose dream trip to Muscat is interrupted by a chance encounter with the extraordinary and reclusive Maude…

Monstrous Little Voices
Various
Abaddon Sci Fi & Fantasy
UK Edition

Five of the most exciting names in genre fiction today – Jonathan Barnes, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Emma Newman, Foz Meadows and Kate Heartfield – delve into the worlds Shakespeare created to weave together a story of courage, transformation and magic. A bravura accomplishment quite unlike anything you’ve read before.

The Right Bite
Jackie Lynch
Nourish Cooking, Food & Wine
UK Edition

It’s incredible that no one has thought of such a clever book before: a one-stop guide to what to eat when you’re at a bar, restaurant of café and healthy options are limited. With accessible, practical advice for all those everyday occasions, The Right Bite will show you how to make smarter, more informed culinary choices.

Divider

Top Ten UK Books… coming in February 2016

After a brief interlude to look back at 2015, we’re back to showcase the titles we’re looking forward to in the New Year – and there really are some stunning books on the way.

Earlier this year, the US side of NetGalley was going crazy for Anna North’s The Life and Death of Sophie Stark, and now we have the opportunity to sample its delights. Closer to home, it’s great to welcome back Anna Hope, author of Wake; and to discover a brilliant piece of dystopian futurism in Graft by Matt Hill. We hope you’ll find something that will take your fancy.

We’d like to wish you all the very best for the holiday season. We hope you get plenty of time for reading!

BOOK OF THE MONTH

The Life and Death of Sophie Stark
Anna North
Weidenfeld & Nicolson
UK edition

This bold, intelligent and original novel is already shaping up to be one of the word-of-mouth successes of 2016 – thanks to thunderous praise from the US, where it was published earlier this year. Centring on the titular Sophie Stark, we see her life as a genius of the film world from six different vantage points, giving us an unforgettable portrait of a truly enigmatic character. The writing and execution are exquisite, and this should be a candidate for many prizes in the UK this year.

The Ballroom
Anna Hope
Doubleday
UK Edition

Two years after her arresting and hugely popular debut, Wake, Anna Hope returns with another exquisite slice of historical fiction, this time set in the famous heatwave of 1911. Vividly realised, The Ballroom centres on an asylum close to the Yorkshire Moors. It is a place of desperation and heartache, but a yearly dance offers some form of respite. And for John and Ella, the dance will transform their lives forever.

Mend the Living
Maylis de Kerangal
Maclehose Press
UK Edition
US Edition

From one of France’s most acclaimed and innovative writers comes a novel that is both epic and intimate, both intelligent and emotionally engaging. It is the story of Simon Limbeau, or more accurately, the story of his heart as it moves from an accident to surgery over the course of twenty-four hours. Gripping and beautifully written, Mend the Living is a novel quite unlike any other, and one that should make de Kerangal’s name in the UK as respected as it is in her native France.

Sweetgirl
Travis Mulhauser
Fourth Estate
UK Edition

As novelist Brock Clarke – an early evangelist for this smart yet gritty debut novel – said, Sweetgirl is ‘far, far funnier than it has any right to be’, which makes sense when you read the plot. Sixteen-year-old Percy James is blessed with a meth-addicted mother and a dirt poor existence – until a blizzard threatens to take even that from her. The voice of Percy is stunningly real, and this is a novel that sucks you in despite its seemingly downbeat story.

One Under
Cynthia Harrod-Eagles
Severn House
UK/US Edition

Cynthia Harrod-Eagles’ series of police procedurals featuring Bill Slider is one of crime fiction’s most consistent delights. Set in West London, each book shows the wider aspect of a detective’s work, while also offering some fiendish mysteries. In this case, Slider has to untangle three events that may or may not be connected.

 

Graft
Matt Hill
Angry Robot
Worldwide Edition

This slice of Mancunian neo-noir is both tense and thought-provoking, casting a light not only on what is to come, but what is actually already here. Manchester, 2025. Local mechanic Sol steals old vehicles to meet the demand for spares – until Sol finds himself caught up in a nightmarish trans-dimensional human trafficking conspiracy. Science Fiction at its most astute.

The Turning Tide
Brooke Magnanti
Orion
UK Edition

If the name Brooke Magnanti sounds familiar and you’re not sure why, it may be because you recognise her alter-ego, Belle de Jour, author of Diary of a London Call Girl. This is a very different proposition, however; a devastating and tightly woven thriller about a woman with a seemingly normal life, until she decides to cross the line. A chilling novel of secrets and deception.

Orphan X
Gregg Hurwitz
Michael Joseph
UK Edition
US Edition

Many thrillers come with praise from other crime writers, but few could hope to match the advance excitement that has already greeted Orphan X. Lee Child, David Baldacci, Tess Gerritsen, Jonathan Kellerman, Lisa Gardner and Robert Crais have all acclaimed it as one of the best thrillers for years – and it’s easy to see why. If you like Bourne and Reacher, it’s a must-read.

Salt to the Sea
Ruta Sepetys
Puffin
UK Edition
US Edition

Based on an inspirational story from World War Two, this is an evocative and consistently enthralling tale for young adults. It’s early 1945 and a group of people trek across Germany, bound together by their desperation to reach the ship that can take them away from the war-ravaged land. Four young people, each haunted by their own dark secret, narrate their unforgettable stories…

There's a Dragon in my Dinner!
Tom Nicoll
Stripes
UK Edition

This is a truly wonderful children’s tale, full of humour and hilarious illustrations. As Eric empties the cartons from Friday night’s Chinese takeaway, he catches a flash of green and spots a puff of smoke. So Pan – a Mini Dragon – enters his life, and proceeds to turn it upside down. How is Eric going to explain the trail of devastation caused by one creature not much bigger than a spring roll?

Divider

NetGalley UK’s Top Ten Books of the Year 2015

At NetGalley we spend much of the year looking to the future and the books our members are going to be talking about the most – but as we move into December, it’s the perfect time to look back at the best of 2015. Though whittling down our favourites to just ten was a monumental struggle!

There were many books we would have loved to have included – honourable mentions to Anne Enright’s The Green Road, Grief is the Thing with Feathers by Max Porter, The House of Hidden Mothers by Meera Syal and Normal by Graeme Cameron to name just four – but in the end, after much discussion, we arrived at our ten. We hope you get a chance to read them all!

Most of these books are now in stores and no longer available for request in NetGalley. However, you can still Wish for them! These publishers have agreed to grant random wishes on or before 14 December. Best of luck!

BOOK OF THE YEAR

A Little Life
Hanya Yanagihara
Picador
UK Edition

No other book in 2015 quite captured the literary world’s imagination like A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. Some early readers talked of wanting to set up support groups after having finished it such was its emotional intensity. For many it resonated as a depiction of true friendship in the face of the worst in humankind, though it’s fair to say that Yanagihara’s second novel was hugely also hugely divisive. As a consequence it was – and remains – one of the most talked about books of the year, and our instant choice for book of the year.

The Kind Worth Killing
Peter Swanson
Faber & Faber
UK Edition

In a year of brilliant crime novels – probably one of the best in recent memory – it took a lot to stand out against such megasellers as The Girl on the Train. Peter Swanson’s The Kind Worth Killing, however, did exactly that. As a thriller it is close to perfection: cinematic, sweeping and with a very knowing nod to the great Alfred Hitchcock. Gripping, compelling and deftly written, this is crime fiction at its very best.

Red Queen
Victoria Aveyard
Orion
UK Edition

Like The Hunger Games and Divergent series before it, Red Queen immediately stood out as something a little special. The divided realm of red and silver bloods was at once classic as well as strikingly new. One of the most requested titles on NetGalley UK, it has gone from strength to strength, with everyone clamouring for book two, Glass Sword, coming in February. Proof that dystopian fiction, when done this well, is still as gripping as ever.

Beatlebone
Kevin Barry
Canongate
UK Edition

This account of John Lennon’s fictional 1978 trip to visit the island he owns off the coast of Ireland was described by its author – the phenomenally talented Kevin Barry – as a bit ‘nutty’. And it is. It also happens to be one of the most affecting, well-written and innovative novels you’ll read this, or indeed, any year. Voice, character and place combine to create a Lennon at once recognisable, but also entirely Barry’s own.

The Girls
Lisa Jewell
Cornerstone
UK Edition

Lisa Jewell is still perhaps best known for the genre-defining Ralph’s Party, but her novels get better each year – and The Girls is her best to date. She is one of our most acute observers of contemporary life and this is a dazzling and absorbing tale of secrets and deception, full of compelling, expertly realised characters and a real sense of the magic in normal life.

When the Professor Got Stuck in the Snow
Dan Rhodes
The Aardvark Bureau
UK Edition

Sentence for sentence, book for book, there is no funnier writer at work in the UK today than Dan Rhodes. His comedy can be broad, can be gentle, or linguistically cunning, but it is also seriously concerned with the world around him. This controversial tale of Professor Richard Dawkins visiting the WI in Upper Bottom is a wintery delight, one perfect for Christmas reading.

One of Us
Asne Seierstad
Virago
UK Edition

The most harrowing book on our list is also one of the most important. Asne Seierstad’s account of the Anders Breivik massacre and the subsequent trial is clear-eyed and full of devastating insight into evil and its aftermath. The writing is superb, brilliantly bringing the tragedy into sharp relief, telling a story that is not just about violence, but also community versus isolation, hope versus rejection and love versus bigotry.

The Grace of Kings
Ken Liu
Head of Zeus
UK Edition

One of the world’s most acclaimed voices in SF and Fantasy, Ken Liu published his debut novel just in time to be included in this roundup – and we’re delighted he did. The whole world seems to be seeking the next Game of Thrones, but The Grace of Kings is not just a pale version of George R.R. Martin – this is every bit as innovative as Liu’s short fiction. The essential work in the genre this year.

In a Dark, Dark Wood
Ruth Ware
Harvill Secker
UK Edition

One of the most reviewed titles on NetGalley UK this year was Ruth Ware’s debut crime novel, In a Dark, Dark Wood. The hen-do setting is inspired, and the depiction of a truly toxic friendship is as fun as it is deadly. Ware’s keen eye for telling detail makes for one of the most intriguing books of the year.

One
Sarah Crossan
Bloomsbury
UK Edition

Sarah Crossan’s One is the heart-breaking and uplifting story of Grace and Tippi – conjoined twins – and their trials as they try to integrate into society. This is storytelling at its very best, with characters it is impossible to forget. The sensitive nature of the plot is handled beautifully throughout, making for an astonishingly moving novel.

Divider

Top Ten UK Books… coming in Dec 2015/Jan 2016

There’s been a lot of activity behind the scenes at NetGalley over the last few months, and I’m really glad that our new developments have finally been let out into the wild! For me, the best is the introduction of some new categories – including literary fiction, horror, humour and middle-grade. Do update Your Categories with them in mind!

I hope you like the new genre spotlights, and discovering all the new titles on the site – and with that in mind, here’s our top picks for December and January. Enjoy!

BOOK OF THE MONTH

The Portable Veblen
Elizabeth Mckenzie
4th Estate
UK Edition
US Edition

This riotous, intelligent and consistently surprising novel is not short on ambition – its concerns are wealth, class, desire and family – nor on narrative drive. The story concerns Norwegian-translator Veblen, her fiancé Paul, a squirrel who may or may not know more than he is letting on, and a heiress to a pharmaceuticals empire, intent on promising Paul fame and fortune through a shady-sounding deal with the Department of Defence. Perceptive, inventive and very sharp.

Exposure
Helen Dunmore
Hutchinson
UK Edition
US Edition

One of the UK’s most consistently brilliant novelists, Helen Dunmore again delivers a narrative of secrets, surprises and beguiling characters. When a highly sensitive file goes missing, Lily Callington’s husband is accused of passing information to the Soviets, and arrested. It is the height of the Cold War and everyone has secrets – but some have more than others…

After the Circus
Patrick Modiano
Yale University Press
UK/AU Edition

Last year’s winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, Patrick Modiano, often borrows from crime and mystery novels while also examining the dark heart of the human condition. It means his work is both compelling and psychologically acute – and After the Circus is the perfect example of this, tracing, as it does, the relationship between a young man and an enigmatic woman he first glimpses at a police interrogation.

The Private Life of Mrs Sharma
Ratika Kapur
Bloomsbury
UK Edition

Ratika Kapur’s first novel, Overwinter, was longlisted for the Man Asian Literary Prize, and this follow-up confirms her as one of India’s most affecting and unusual voices. Renuka Sharma is a dutiful, traditional wife and mother, waiting for her husband to return from Dubai. But India is changing around her, and it wouldn’t be the end of the world if she came out of her shell a little, would it…?

Even the Dead
Benjamin Black
Penguin
UK Edition

In Quirke, Benjamin Black – the crime writing alter-ego of Booker-prize winner John Banville – has created an outstanding and enigmatic character who delves into the dark heart of a 1950s Dublin riven by hypocrisy and secrets. When a body is found in a burnt-out car, Quirke is called in to verify the apparent suicide of an up-and-coming civil servant. But Quirke can’t shake a suspicion of foul play.

The Killing of Polly Carter
Robert Thorogood
Mira UK
UK Edition

The Death in Paradise novels have become overwhelmingly popular since the BBC television adaptations brought them to a wider audience. In this latest instalment DI Richard Poole has to deal with a houseful of suspects in the case of the murder of supermodel Polly Carter, as well as the visit of his mother…

The Thirteenth Coffin
Nigel McCrery
Quercus
UK Edition

Silent Witness has been one of the staples of British crime drama for over two decades, and its creator, Nigel McCrery, is as good as crime writer as he is originator of compelling television. Beside the decomposing body of an unidentified homeless man, DCI Mark Lapslie makes a bizarre discovery that recalls the murder of a woman on her wedding day…

Occupy Me
Tricia Sullivan
Gollancz
UK Edition

Tricia Sullivan’s Occupy Me may be categorised as Sci-Fi & Fantasy, but in many ways this is an unclassifiable novel of rare invention and skill. A woman with wings that exists in another dimension. A man trapped in his own body by a killer. A briefcase that is a door to hell. A conspiracy that reaches beyond our world. All combine in this sublime work of imagination.

The Life and Loves of Lena Gaunt
Tracy Farr
Aardvark Bureau
UK Edition

Tracy Farr’s The Life and Loves of Lena Gaunt finally gets a release in the UK – perfect for fans of offbeat and unusual historical fiction. Lena Gaunt is a character you won’t easily forget: musician, octogenarian, junkie, and lover of that most strange instrument, the Theremin. Garlanded with praise and prizes in Australia on its first publication, Gaunt is a fine achievement.

This Raging Light
Estelle Laure
Orchard Books
UK Edition
AU Edition

Set to be one the big, big YA novels of the year, This Raging Light captures completely the agony and ecstasy of first love. There are so many wonderfully drawn characters in Estelle Laure’s debut, but the central voice of Lucille is just irresistible. A read-in-one-sitting treat.

Divider

Meet the Eight Most Favourited Publishers in the UK

One of the most interesting new features introduced on NetGalley is the ability to “favourite” publishers –
because you can see all your favourite publishers in one place, it makes it easier to find the books you want.
And this set us to thinking – which publishers are the most popular?
 Add_to_favorites_button
Here we run down NetGalley UK’s most favourited publishers and highlight one of their forthcoming titles.
We hope you see your favourites here!
___________________________________________________________________________________

The Last Days of Summer
Vanessa Ronan
Literature & Fiction

Penguin Books is one of the most iconic of all UK publishers. Their choice is The Last Days of Summer by Vanessa Ronan – a tense and suspenseful tale of family living in the aftermath of Jasper Curtis’s crimes…

Beautiful Broken Things
Sara Barnard
Teens & YA

With one of the widest, most eclectic list on NetGalley, Pan Macmillan is a firm favourite. Their choice is Beautiful Broken Things – a heart-stoppingly beautiful debut novel from Sara Barnard that is already garnering a huge following.

River of Ink
Paul M. M. Cooper
Literature & Fiction

From Bloomsbury, the home of Harry Potter, comes a brilliant and diverse collection of writers and styles. Their choice is Paul MM Cooper’s River of Ink, a story of love and revolution from a fierce new literary talent.

The Poison Artist
Jonathan Moore
Mystery & Thriller

Some of the world’s most enduring crime writers and an incredible stable of fiction means Orion is loved by NetGalley members. Their choice is The Poison Artist by Jonathan Moore – a frightening and wholly inventive crime thriller.

Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist
Sunil Yapa
Politics, Literature/Fiction (Adult)

Little, Brown encompasses a huge range of quality writing, from award-winners to household names. Their choice is the fabulous Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist by Sunil Yapa, sure to be one of 2016’s most talked-about titles.

Meet Me In Manhattan
Claudia Carroll
Romance

HarperCollins imprint Avon is famed for its dynamic and diverse approach to commercial fiction. Their choice is Meet Me in Manhattan by Claudia Carroll – a novel as intoxicating as the city in which it is set.

Home Is Burning
Dan Marshall
Biographies & Memoirs

Hodder & Stoughton publishes award-winning, best-selling books, from world-class fiction to professional and personal learning and development. Their choice is the hilarious, boisterous and brilliantly foul-mouthed memoir, Home is Burning by Dan Marshall.

Dead Secret
Ava McCarthy
Mystery & Thriller

HarperCollins‘ fiction list is full of some of the world’s biggest and best bestsellers. Their choice is the gripping psychological suspense novel, tDead Secret by Ava McCarthy.

Divider

Top Ten UK Books… coming in November 2015

The last Books of the Month to feature titles solely from 2015 is upon us – it’s amazing how quickly time flies, especially when the books are as good as they have been this year. This month sees a fiction-heavy selection, with old and new names jockeying for position.

At the head of the pack is The Clasp, a debut novel by Sloane Crosley, the author of the much-loved I Was Told There’d be Cake. It’s a brilliant read, and one that more than delivers on the promise of her non-fiction. Elsewhere, there’s the return of one of Britain’s most mercurial talents, Rupert Thomson as well as Numero Zero, a new historical mystery from Umberto Eco. Sticking with the historical, Geraldine Brooks takes us back to the Biblical David in another spellbinding novel from the Pulitzer Prize winner.

BOOK OF THE MONTH

The Clasp
Sloane Crosley
Cornerstone
UK Edition
US Edition

When three university friends – Nathaniel, Kezia and Victor – are reunited at a wealthy friend’s wedding, they soon fall into their old ways: Victor loves Kezia, Kezia loves Nathaniel, Nathaniel loves Nathaniel. It’s the same-old, same-old until a legendary necklace unwittingly sets off a bizarre and often hilarious chain of events that will shake up the trio like never before. Sparkling with wit and energy, this debut novel from the author of I Was Told There’d Be Cake is a diamond.

Numero Zero
Umberto Eco
Harvill Secker
UK Edition
US Edition

Thirty-five years after he became one of the sensations of European Literature with his genre-bending The Name of the Rose, Umberto Eco returns, proving that his blend of strong plotting erudition and playful wit are unmatched anywhere. Numero Zero follows a hack writer, Colonna, who suddenly stumbles on the story of his life – and the Mafia, fascists and other groups are determined to stop him.

The Secret Chord
Geraldine Brooks
Little, Brown
UK Edition
US Edition
AU Edition

The People of the Book was a properly luxurious affair – boldly plotted, deftly written and masterly in its blend of intelligence and pace. The Secret Chord is much the same, but traces the long and incredible life of the Biblical David. Resonant, deeply felt and expertly handled, this is peerless historical fiction and one that deserves as wide a readership as The People of the Book.

Katherine Carlyle
Rupert Thomson
Corsair
UK Edition

Rupert Thomson is one of British fiction’s most distinctive, yet re-inventive voices – a writer of considerable power and poise no matter to what he turns his eye. In his new novel, Katherine Carlyle is a woman just like anyone else, though the nature of her birth is considered unique. At the age of nineteen, she disappears – and the secrets and pain of the past come rushing to the fore. Essential.

The Iron Warrior
Julie Kagawa
Mira Ink
UK Edition

The Iron Fey series has been one of the most loved and celebrated YA sequences of recent years – and this long-awaited final installment lives up to its predecessors’ brilliance. In the face of unprecedented evil and unfathomable power, Ethan’s enemies must become his allies, and the world of the fey will be changed forevermore.

Smoke and Mirrors
Elly Griffiths
Quercus
UK Edition

Taking a break from her Ruth Galloway series, Elly Griffiths transports us back to the 1950s with this new Stephens and Mephisto mystery. Brilliantly capturing the faded derelict glamour of Brighton, this creepy tale of a pair of children murdered is a must-read for fans of off-beat crime.

The Grace of Kings
Ken Liu
Head of Zeus
UK Edition

Ken Liu is one the world’s most garlanded SF writers, with his short stories having won every major SF prize – but this is his debut novel, and one that begins a monumental new epic fantasy series. Emperor Mapidéré united the kingdoms of Dara, but now he lies dying. What will become of the union? Even the gods themselves are restless . . .

Carrying Albert Home
Homer Hickam
HarperFiction
UK Edition

Homer Hickam is best known for his internationally bestselling memoir Rocket Boys, and there are similarities between this novel and that memoir. Again, this is a warm, funny, partly tragic tale of friendship and family. This one, however, involves a long journey – and an alligator!

As Good As Dead
Elizabeth Evans
Bloomsbury Circus
UK Edition

For some of us, it’s probably our worst nightmare: an old friend you once let down standing at your door. This is the premise of Elizabeth Evans’ perceptive, witty and slyly astute novel of betrayal and its aftermath. Psychological drama and suspense at its best.

The Hidden Legacy
G J Minett
Twenty7 Books
UK Edition

A plot that hinges on the reading of a will, does feel rather old-fashioned, yet The Hidden Legacy is far from old-hat. This is a clever, constantly evolving thriller that links a violent crime from the 1960s to the present day. A writer to watch.

Divider

The UK’s Top Ten Books… Coming in October 2015

With Summer now rather behind us, and the rain settling in, the books for October take on a rather autumnal, even wintry aspect — and there are chills a-plenty to be found in our books of the month roundup.

Our Book of the Month comes from the legendary Edna O’Brien, probably one of the world’s truly great writers. Peter James returns to his horror roots in The House on Cold Hill, David Young’s impressive debut Stasi Child takes us back to the Cold War years, while These Shadow Graves is set to be one of the best YA novels of the year.

Also, do look out for When the Professor Got Stuck in the Snow, a book that was almost never published. Dan Rhodes – the most unusual and irrepressible writer of his generation – takes on religion, and its lack, in one of the funniest books you’ll read for many years.

Finally, do have a look out for the NetGalley Challenge. You can find a lot more information here, as well as watching a really useful video about improving your NetGalley experience here. I do hope you find it useful!

The Little Red Chairs
Edna O'Brien
Faber & Faber
UK Edition

Since publishing The Country Girls in 1960 Edna O’Brien has been one of the most acute, acclaimed and venerated novelists – and in The Little Red Chairs, her first novel for almost ten years, her mastery of the form is once again shown to be thrillingly alive.

When a wanted war criminal from the Balkans, masquerading as a faith healer, settles in a small west coast Irish village, the community – especially Fidelma McBride – falls under his spell. From this premise, O’Brien captures the internal and external worlds of men and women corrupted by the world, and how we cope with the aftermath of evil. It is a stunning, lyrical and deeply felt novel of rare grace and intelligence.

The House on Cold Hill
Peter James
Macmillan
UK Edition

The author of the incredibly successful Roy Grace mysteries actually began his writing career with supernatural chillers – a genre that he has now returned to for this terrifying haunted house tale. Born townies, Ollie Harcourt, his wife, Caro, and their twelve-year-old daughter, Jade move out to the wilds of Sussex and into the dilapidated grandeur of Cold Hill House. It is a dream come true for Ollie, but as the family move in, it slowly becomes more like a nightmare. Scary and very well told.

Stasi Child
David Young
Twenty7 Books
World Edition

David Young’s debut novel introduces Oberleutnant Karin Müller, a character we’re sure to hear a lot about in the future. The backdrop is East Germany in the mid-1970s, and Young diligently brings the paranoia and fear of the times to life, while also weaving an exceptionally fluid mystery that holds the reader gripped. Reminiscent of Fatherland and AD Miller’s Snowdrops, Stasi Child heralds a bold new voice – and character – in historical crime.

These Shallow Graves
Jennifer Donnelly
Hot Key
UK Edition
US Edition

From Jennifer Donnelly, the critically acclaimed New York Times bestselling author of A Northern Light and Revolution, comes a mystery about dark secrets, dirty truths, and the lengths to which people will go for love and revenge. When rich girl Jo Montfort’s father dies in a gun-related accident, her perfect life is shattered. But she cannot help but search out the truth – no matter how dreadful the outcome. Atmospheric and brilliantly achieved.

A Mile Down
David Vann
Cornerstone
UK Edition

David Vann’s Legend of a Suicide was one the most feted American debuts of recent years. The stories it contained were autobiographical, but twisted and shaped in such a way that readers were consistently shocked. A Mile Down is pure memoir, but is written with the same poetic urgency of his fiction. In it, David recounts the inspirational tale of building his own boat, and the voyage that almost destroyed it.

When the Professor Got Stuck in the Snow
Dan Rhodes
Aardvark Bureau
World Edition

Dan Rhodes is unique in British fiction; a humourist with a heart, a comedian with a brain, and a writer with a keen eye for the absolute stupidity and beauty in life. His latest novel centres on world famous evolutionary biologist Professor Richard Dawkins being stuck a place called Upper Bottom. It’s an idea that made many publishers wary of putting it out, but they shouldn’t have worried: it is utterly charming, slightly nasty and brilliantly inventive. Not to be missed.

High Dive
Jonathan Lee
Cornerstone
UK Edition

Jonathan Lee is regularly touted as one of the finest young novelists in Britain today, and in High Dive he has written the best book of his career thus far. The narrative hinges on the assassination attempt on Margaret Thatcher and her Cabinet in Brighton in 1984. In sinewy, always interesting prose, Lee takes us through the spider’s-web of conspiracy and danger, bringing an urgency and suspense to historical events. Mesmerising.

The Gilded Life of Matilda Duplaine
Alex Brunkhorst
Mira
UK Edition
US/CA Edition

When young journalist Thomas Cleary is sent to dig up quotes for the obituary of a legendary film producer, the man’s eccentric daughter – Matilda Duplaine – offers him entry into the exclusive upper echelons of Hollywood society. What begins as a romance, however, becomes darker. Much darker. Timeless, romantic and utterly absorbing, it is a mesmerizing tale of privilege, identity and the difficult choices we make in the pursuit of power.

Forty One
Lesia Daria
Cameron Publicity & Marketing
World Edition

Forty One is laced with good writing, searing insights into modern life, and the concessions we make for happiness. Eva Holden is middle-aged and stuck at home with the children, while her husband works for a year abroad. Just one year and they will be financially secure. But the time drags. As the boredom and frustrations mount, she find herself tempted by a past lover. Can she hold out? Should she wait? Lesia Daria’s tense and always believable narrative brings Eva’s fears in close relief. Powerful.

The Night in Question
Laurie Graham
Quercus
UK Edition

Those who enjoyed Ripper Street will find much to admire in this tale of love and friendship set against the frightened streets of Whitechapel. It didn’t look like Dot Allbones would make much of her life, but now she is the darling of the music hall stage. Her best friend, Kate, was the beautiful one – but she has fallen on hard times, just at the worst time possible. Witty, convincing and compelling.

Divider

The UK’s Top Ten Books… Coming in September 2015

There is a sense of term starting again in September, with the big autumn books starting to hit the shelves. What struck us as we were looking through the titles, was the wide range of what was on offer – and not just from the big publishers. In fact, this edition of Books of the Month is probably the most eclectic yet.

Our Book of the Month comes from Bill Clegg – who is not only a bestselling memoirist but also one of New York’s hottest literary agents – a debut that will be hearing a lot about, you can be sure; and our sleeper hit prediction for the autumn is The Boy in the Mirror by Tom Preston.

I hope you enjoy this month’s edition – we think it’s a cracking list of books!

Book of the Month

Did You Ever Have a Family
Bill Clegg
Jonathan Cape
UK edition
US edition

In a year of huge debut novels, Bill Clegg’s Did You Ever Have a Family opens with a bang – literally, as June Reid’s house goes up in flames, destroying her entire family. It is a shocking and brilliantly sustained piece of writing, and what follows, with June facing a kind of reckoning in the wake of the fire that has forced her confront her past, is superbly handled. Ultimately, it is not just June’s story, but the wider family we are born into and the one we create for ourselves. Perceptive and heart-breaking, Did You Ever Have a Family will be a much discussed novel.

Furiously Happy
Jenny Lawson
Picador
UK edition

On the face of it, this is a book which simply should not work. As the publisher’s blurb itself says: ‘A hysterical, ridiculous book about crippling depression and anxiety? That sounds like a terrible idea.’ Except it isn’t. It is utterly hilarious, deeply upsetting and strangely uplifting. There have been quite a few books about mental health recently, but this is certainly the most unusual, and by far the funniest.

Broken Promise
Linwood Barclay
Orion
UK edition

Since breaking out with his incredible No Time for Goodbye, Linwood Barclay has become synonymous with knife-edge suspense, especially when set in a small town. And this is exactly what he has served up in Broken Promise – a small town with a massive secret. Murder, religious mania and unexpected twists combine in this superior thriller.

The Blue Guitar
John Banville
Penguin
UK edition
AU edition

John Banville is without doubt one of the finest writers of prose in the world. His facility with sentences is unrivalled, and his books have won some of the most prestigious prizes – including the Man Booker Prize for The Sea. His latest is meditation on the nature of theft and betrayal, with painter Oliver Orme setting out to steal his best friend’s wife for nothing more than thrills.

The Boy in the Mirror
Tom Preston
Valley Press
UK edition

A cancer memoir narrated in the second person isn’t exactly the most commercial idea that a writer has ever had, but this extraordinary story of determination and resilience is a revelation. Aged 21, Tom Preston was diagnosed with stage 4 advanced aggressive lymphoma. His chances of survival were optimistically placed at around 40%. This is the story of what happened next.

The Blackthorn Key
Kevin Sands
Puffin
UK edition

Just reading the blurb for The Blackthorn Key, the first of a trilogy of books featuring apprentice Christopher Rowe, is enough to know how addictive it really is. Set in London 1665, a series of high profile learned men are murdered, including Christopher’s master. But his master left some clues, and Christopher is determined to find the culprit.

High Tide
Veronica Henry
Orion
UK edition

Winner of the 2014 RNA Novel of the Year Award for A Night On The Orient Express, Veronica Henry is now one of the most respected and loved writers of romantic fiction. This gorgeous novel of secrets, hopes, heartache and dreams is set in Pennfleet, home of The Long Weekend, and is a joy from its opening lines. Be prepared to be swept away.

Synchronicity
Chris Mackey
Watkins
UK edition

Everyone experiences coincidences, from the trivial to the life changing. This book explores the phenomenon of coincidence – or synchronicity as psychologist Chris Mackey calls it – and reveals how it can guide us along our life path, helping us through challenging times and nudging us toward self-fulfilment.

Dark Room
Tom Becker
Little Tiger
UK edition

This is a seriously creepy and completely engrossing slice of dark YA, which will make you think twice about selfies. When one of Darla’s classmates is brutally killed when taking a photo of herself, Darla alone is convinced that the murderer might not be flesh and blood…

Luna
Ian MacDonald
Gollancz
UK edition
AU edition

Quite simply one of the greatest living exponents of SF, Ian McDonald consistently explores and re-invents the tropes and ideas of the genre, and pushes it to its very limits. Having created imagined futures for Brazil, India and Turkey, he now moves to the moon in a novel of breath-taking audacity.

Divider

The UK’s Top Ten Books… Coming in August 2015

Time was that August provided sad and meagre pickings in the publishing world, but over the last few years this has changed beyond belief. Far from worrying about there being no room for publicity, now many of the most talked-about books are being published in the middle of the summer.

Our selection is an eclectic bunch this month, headed by The Loney – a small-publisher sensation which redefined the modern horror novel, now published by John Murray. There is also a lot of noise surrounding Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life (ironic title, considering the book weighs in at 736 pages) while Circling the Sun sees the return of The Paris Wife author Paula McLain. And do have a look at The Eagle in Splendour, which is a fascinating journey inside Napoleon’s court.

Hope you enjoy the beginnings of summer, and see you next time!

BOOK OF THE MONTH

The Loney
Andrew Michael Hurley
John Murray
UK Edition

Originally published by a tiny press in Yorkshire, The Loney became something of a cult hit before John Murray stepped in to buy the rights. Compared to horror masterpiece, The Wicker Man, The Loney is an extraordinary, unsettling and hugely atmospheric tale of faith and ancient belief, centring on the relationship between Smith and his mute, mentally disabled brother Hanny. It is a sinister and consistently inventive tale that deserves to put British horror back on the map.

A Little Life
Hanya Yanagihara
Picador
UK edition

This is a massive book, both in terms of its size and also with the weight of expectation resting upon it. The US response to this tale of friendship in the 21st Century has been ecstatic and is sure to be replicated here. Four classmates move to New York City, all their lives ahead of them. Over the coming decades we see Willem, JB, Malcom and Jude taste success and pain, but also face the challenges of an unseen past. Epic and heart-breaking, this is a book for our times.

The Eagle of Splendour
Philip Mansel
IB Tauris
World edition

Take a journey back into the world of Napoleon’s court in this sumptuous, fascinating and absorbing account of the Little General as Emperor rather than as a great soldier. As never before, we gain access to the intrigues and excesses of the times, as well as a unique insight into one of history’s greatest figures.

The Father
Anton Svensson
Sphere
UK edition

Even though this looks and feels a lot like a standard issue Scandi-Crime novel, The Father is actually something quite different – a compulsive and wholly immersive tale of three brothers who terrorised a county, and their other brother, who did not follow them. Based on a true story, this is utterly mesmerising stuff.

Fishbowl
Bradley Somer
Ebury Press (Fiction)
UK edition
US edition

This is perhaps one of the most intriguing and oddly constructed novels you’ll read this – or indeed any – year. At its heart is a goldfish called Ian. Ian has always wanted a more exciting life. Then, one day, from his 27th floor apartment a series of events means he comes into contact with the other residents of his block. You’ll fall head over heels for this witty and insightful debut.

The Last Roundhead
Jemahl Evans
Holland House
World edition

Ancestor to Colonel Blimp, Sir Blandford Candy is an irascible old drunk with a hatred of poets and a love of hats. After an argument with his new neighbour Alexander Pope, he looks back on his life and the start of the Civil War. This picaresque romp through the Stuart and Civil War-era Britain is glorious, exuberant and delightful stuff.

Circling the Sun
Paula McLain
Virago
UK edition
US edition

The author of much-loved The Paris Wife returns to take us to the heart of another true story. Set in 1920s colonial Kenya, Circling the Sun is about an unforgettable woman who lives by nobody’s rules but her own. It’s a brilliant blend of truth and fiction, with an exceptional cast of characters – including the author Karen Blixen – but this book belongs to Beryl Markham, an always fascinating woman in the blasting heat of love, destiny and courage. Exquisitely done.

The Mistake I Made
Paula Daly
Bantam Press
UK edition
US edition

Keep Your Friends Close was Paula Daly’s big breakout novel and The Mistake I Made is perfect for those fans already gasping for the next book, as well as those yet to discover her brilliant psychological thrillers. Roz is crippled by debt. But now a stranger has made her an offer. But can it really be just for one night? What will happen afterwards?

One
Sarah Crossan
Bloomsbury
UK edition

There have been several novels about conjoined twins over the last decade or so, but mostly they have been set in the past. Sarah Crossan’s pitch-perfect and utterly convincing tale of Grace and Tippi is very much set in the present, and brings the hardships and triumphs of these incredible girls to life. Another absolute must-read from the Carnegie Medal shortlisted author of The
Weight of Water.

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet
Becky Chambers
Hodder & Stoughton
UK edition

Like The Loney, Becky Chambers’ The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet was snapped up by a major publisher after being independently published – and it again has become something of a phenomenon. This is a full-on space opera with so much to recommend it, not least pace, wit and invention. At its heart is Rosemary Harper, crewmate of the ragtag spaceship Wayfarer. All she wanted was some peace; but then the crew is offered a chance of a lifetime – one that could expose all Rosemary’s secrets…

Divider

The UK’s Top Ten Books… Coming in June 2015

As we move towards summer, publishers are spicing up their lists with some early beach reads. Not that beach-reading has to be just for blockbusters; getting some quality time to read without interruption is perfect for all kinds of books – and this month’s selection is sure to make you wish for languorous hours by the glistening pool.

Our Book of the Month is the filthy, funny and utterly captivating I Take You, by Eliza Kennedy – sure to be a massive hit. It is backed up with some incredible YA novels, two thrillers you won’t want to miss, a blistering SF debut, and three novels that are already getting some serious attention (especially Laura Barnett’s The Versions of Us). Get requesting while dreaming of your perfect holiday reads!

Book of the Month

I Take You
Eliza Kennedy
Jonathan Cape
UK edition

Set to become a sensation on both sides of the Atlantic, I Take You is a pitch perfect, hilarious and genre-defining comedy that mixes the classic with the contemporary. The set-up sounds familiar – Lily Wilder has a dream job, friends who adore her, a family full of charismatic and loving women, and a total catch of a fiancé, but is she ready to settle down? – however the execution is far from expected. Lily is a dream of a character, booze-soaked and self-assured, and following her will-she-won't-she journey to the altar is a hugely enjoyable romp, as well as a sly comment on sexual politics, monogamy and societal pressures on women. Serious fun.

The Versions of Us
Laura Barnett
W&N
UK edition
Aus edition

The question “What if?” Is probably one of the most posed in all of literature. What would have happened had someone done something differently one day? How different would things really be? In The Versions of Us, Laura Barnett asks these questions based on a single meeting in 1958 between two students, Eva and Jim. There are three possible outcomes, and each one brings with it something vital, surprising and engaging. Already picked up for a television deal, this is going to be one of those huge breakout books in the vein of Life after Life and One Day.

The House of Hidden Mothers
Meera Syal
Doubleday
UK edition

It’s been almost twenty years since Anita and Me became an instant bestseller – and sixteen years since its equally well-received follow up, Life Isn’t All Ha Ha Hee Hee – but finally, Meera Syal returns to the novel. And it’s everything one could hope for – tender, often wildly funny and ultimately devastating. Shyama is forty-four and in love with a younger man. Together they want a child, and it looks like they might have found the answer in Mala, a young woman who has escaped from an oppressive marriage. But is everything as perfect as it sounds? Can both women find the happiness they crave?

All Together Now
Gill Hornby
Little, Brown
UK edition

Gill Hornby’s first novel, The Hive, was one of the most talked about and intriguing novels of recent years–and her follow up is sure to delight fans of that first book. The small town of Bridgeford is in crisis. The high street is half empty, businesses are closing and the idea of civic pride seems old-fashioned to the commuters rushing home from work. Somehow, the town seems to have lost its heart. Can a choir really help to bring the community back together? This is a novel with real heart and one that can’t fail to warm the spirit.

Tightrope
Simon Mawer
Little, Brown
UK edition

Simon Mawer is one of the most consistently surprising and unusual of British writers. His novel The Glass Room was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2009, and his most recent book, The Girl Who Fell from the Sky was an international bestseller. His new novel is a superbly crafted Cold War spy story. Time and place are vividly and exactingly realised, and his tale of the double life of Marian Sutro – caught between loyalties to her war-time past, and her uncertain present – is never anything less than utterly compelling.

The Man Who Watched Women
Hjorth & Rosenfeldt
Cornerstone
UK edition

Of all the Scandi-crime imports of the last few years, The Bridge remains – with respect to The Killing – the most acute, unusual and insightful. Its creator has now turned his attention to the page, and The Man Who Watched Women is every bit as complex and addictive as his television work. This is the first outing for psychological profiler Sebastian Bergman as, against the backdrop of a Stockholm heatwave, he tries to uncover the truth about a series of murders, only to find himself implicated in their violence. Stunning.

Dark Run
Mike Brooks
Del Rey
UK edition

For those who like their adventure fast-paced, exciting and with a healthy dose of wit, Dark Run is an absolute must. Captain Ichabod Drift and a varied cast of smugglers, soldiers of fortune and adventurers search the vastness of space aboard the Keiko. They only talk about the next job, and never the past. Until Drift is blackmailed into an assignment that threatens all of their lives. It’s a job so dangerous, no one can know they’re even doing it. What they call a dark run…

Phoenix Rising
Bryony Pearce
Stripes Publishing
UK edition

Award-winning Bryony Pearce returns with the first of a new YA trilogy set in a future world where fossil fuels have run out, and democracy has collapsed. Toby has been on the run for as long as he can remember, his father a wanted man. Now aboard ragtag ship called the Phoenix, he longs for peace. However, an old enemy is hot on their trail. There seems no hope, until he meets Ayla…

It's About Love
Steven Camden
HarperCollins Children's
UK edition

From the hugely popular author of Tape, this very special YA novel has that secret, indefinable ingredient which makes writers such as John Green such a phenomenon. This is the story of Luke and Leia, who unlike in Star Wars are not brother and sister, but are meant for each other. At least it appears so. But like in Star Wars, there are monsters everywhere – from the past in this case. And the past can be a scary place…

The Fire Children
Lauren Roy
Ravenstone
UK edition

Yulla has spent her life in the caverns beneath the Kaladim, passing the days in total darkness and forbidden to venture to the surface world. But curiosity gets the better of her and she steals above ground. There she witnesses the abduction of one of the Fire Children – those given permission to leave the caverns – and is thrown into a struggle that threatens to destroy everything she holds dear. An electrifying, tense and often terrifying novel.

Divider