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.

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The UK’s Top Ten Books . . . coming in May 2015

With many of the fiction big-hitters releasing titles in March and April, May is often one of the most interesting months in the literary year – and this May is no exception. Perhaps the most exciting debut novel of the year – certainly the one that’s been causing the most interest at NetGalley – is our book of the month, The Gracekeepers. We’re all fans of Kirsty’s first book, The Rental Heart and Other Stories, and this is the perfect follow up. It’s sure to be a contender for novel of the year!

There are three great crime titles this month, with the most intriguing coming from Saul Black, the pseudonym of a well-known, non-thriller writer, and one of the hottest new YA books, Bad Bones. Finally, there’s a book from a name that might be familiar from your inbox: NetGalley’s own Stuart Evers!

The Gracekeepers
Kirsty Logan
Harvill Secker
UK Edition
US Edition

Kirsty Logan’s first book, a collection of stories called The Rental Heart, introduced a huge talent – and earned her comparisons with the genius of Angela Carter. Her debut novel is everything you could want from a follow up: superb characters, a consistently compelling narrative and a vivid, brilliantly realized fantasy realm which is mainly under water. On first reading the bare bones of the plot – the magical story of a floating circus and two young women in search of a home – it’s easy to see why this is being compared to The Night Circus, but The Gracekeepers is entirely its own fabulous beast. Exquisite.

The Green Road
Anne Enright
Jonathan Cape
UK edition

Anne Enright won the Man Booker Prize in 2007 for her startling The Gathering, and The Green Road sees her again on scintillating, brilliant form. A dark, brooding novel set on Ireland’s Atlantic coast, The Green Road centres on the Madigan family, who are spending one final Christmas at the family home. It’s a time of upheaval, of the past rubbing against the future – and a novel that casts an enormous emotional hold over its readers.

Your Father Sends His Love
Stuart Evers
Picador
UK Edition

The third book from Stuart Evers – who is also NetGalley’s UK Community Manager – is a collection of twelve stories exploring parental love and parental mistakes. Set in the past, present and future these ‘thrillingly inventive’ tales have already been acclaimed by authors Eimear McBride, Jenny Offill and Teju Cole – while Stylist magazine said, ‘These spare, haunting stories are set to catapult Evers into the big time.’ Perfect for fans of Haruki Murakami, Lorrie Moore and George Saunders.

The Harder They Come
T.C. Boyle
Bloomsbury
UK edition

T.C. Boyle is one of America’s most celebrated and garlanded writers, but he remains somewhat under-rated here in the UK. This is set to change with this charged and emotionally wrought tale of Vietnam vet Sten Stenson, his wife Carolee and their unstable son, Adam. A deep and disturbing meditation on the roots of American gun violence, it explores the fine line between heroism and savagery, between protection and barbarity. This is an exceptional novel from a true master.

The Slaughter Man
Tony Parsons
Cornerstone
UK Edition

The Murder Bag was Tony Parsons’ first foray into the crime genre – and was one of the standout crime novels of 2014. Now, DC Max Wolfe ris back in another tense, gripping and violent mystery, this time trailing a pitiless killer through the streets of London. The Slaughter Man was the nickname given, thirty years before, to a killer who used a cattle gun to dispatch his victims. Then the same crimes begin again, even though the Slaughter Man is dying. Can he really be back?

Fall of Man in Wilmslow
David Lagercrantz
MacLehose Press
UK Edition

David Lagercrantz has been given the responsibility of continuing Steig Larsson’s Millennium series, and on this evidence, Lisbeth Salander is in good hands. This brilliantly realized reimagining of the death of visionary mathematician Alan Turing – he died eating a poisoned apple – is both convincing and utterly unputdownable, with an atmosphere that is palpable. This will be one of the most talked about historical crime novels of the year – and deservedly so.

The Killing Lessons
Saul Black
Orion
UK Edition
Aus Edition

There has been a slew of ‘literary’ writers entering the world of genre writing of late – some rather more successfully than others. Saul Black, pseudonym for a highly regarded literary writer, is absolutely one of the successes. This is a crime novel that could easily have come from the likes of Jeffrey Deaver and Linwood Barclay – both of whom are championing this tale of bloody violence, a child’s innocence and the broken psyche of detective Valerie Hart.

Bad Bones
Graham Marks
Stripes Publishing
UK Edition

Already compared to James Dawson’s Say Her Name, Bad Bones is the taut and chilling story of Gabe – a young man who is feeling the pressure. His family has money troubles, he’s hardly talking to his dad, plus lowlife Benny is on his case. Needing some space to think, he heads off into the hills surrounding LA. And he suddenly stumbles across a secret that will change everything. A shallow grave…

The Confectioner's Tale
Laura Madeleine
Black Swan
UK Edition

Combining evocative descriptions of early 1900s Paris with the smells and tastes of a decadent patisserie, and with a devastating love story at its heart, The Confectioner’s Tale is a slice of exquisite elegance, perfect for fans of Kate Morton, Rachel Hore and Victoria Hislop. The framing device of a grandchild discovering a photograph with ‘Forgive me’ written on the back gives the story an unusual narrative arc, and one that works delightfully.

Things We Have in Common
Tasha Kavanagh
Canongate Books
UK Edition

Described by Sophie Hannah as ‘A striking and highly enjoyable debut’ Things We Have in Common is an unusual and often very funny exploration of friendship, loneliness and jealousy. Yasmin would give anything to have a friend . . . and do anything to keep one. Overweight and unpopular, she feels far away from her classmates, but then something happens. Something changes. And Yasmin realizes she has a purpose. She is there to save Alice…

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Top Ten UK Books… coming in April 2015

Every month, we get together to come up with a top-ten list of the UK titles we’re most looking forward to – and this month we’re focusing on books published in April 2015.

It’s an eclectic mix this month, with two SF titles – Poseidon’s Wake and The Rebirths of Tao – which I would highly recommend to those who wouldn’t ordinarily head out into space. Closer to home, Irvine Welsh takes us on a filthy, unforgettable trip with ‘Juice’ Terry Lawson, Peep Show writer Jesse Armstrong unleashes his debut novel and Charlaine Harris returns with a non-Vampire tale set in the creepiest Texas town there is.

And don’t forget our book of the month, Normal. We’re predicting big break out success for this creepy and compelling crime novel.


Book of the Month, April 2015: 

NormalNormal
Graeme Cameron
Mira
UK edition 
US edition

Normal is an uncomfortable, but incredibly compelling read – and one that if you read too much about it before you start reading, will spoil the brilliance of the set-up, so no spoilers here! Our nameless narrator is a serial killer. He likes to hurt people. He isn’t the kind of person you’d want to spend time with. He isn’t normal. And yet, Graeme Cameron has decided to write this book in the killer’s own voice – a tricky, possibly risky move, but one that works incredibly well. Chilling, shocking and genuinely surprising, this is going to be a much discussed and much admired crime thriller this year.


Continue reading “Top Ten UK Books… coming in April 2015”

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Top Ten UK books… coming in March 2015

Every month, we get together to come up with a top-ten list of the UK titles we’re most looking forward to – and this month we’re focusing on books published in March 2015. It’s a great way for UK members to see and request what’s coming up – and also for all the US members to see what’s hot across the pond. The request links are for the UK edition, but where there is a US edition, you’ll also find a link to it.

March is traditionally the beginning of spring, and the start of British Summer Time, but the ten top titles for this month are all rather dark in tone. You’ll find some outstanding new crime, a petrifying horror tale, and several novels that examine the shadier sides of contemporary life.

After a vintage year for fiction, 2015 is shaping up to be just as exciting – but don’t forget to check out our non-fiction choice, The Forgiveness Project . It’s one of the most hard-hitting and thought-provoking things you’ll read all year.


Book of the Month, March 2015: 

The A-Z of You and Me
James Hannah
Doubleday
UK edition 
No US edition

In a year that has already seen a fantastic array of debut novels, The A-Z of You and Me has already caught the eye of many people. It’s a simple enough set up – the story of one man in bed, asked by his carer to make an A-Z list, a part of his body for each letter and to tell a little tale about it – but one that gives an unusual and affecting slant on love and loss. James Hannah has been compared to David Nicholls and Chris Cleave, but this is a novel with a unique and compelling voice, one that will make you see things anew.


 

Hausfrau
Jill Alexander
Essbaum
Picador
UK edition
No US edition

You may well have already heard about this uncompromising and deeply charged novel – and if so, you’ll be keen to find out what all the fuss is about. Anna Benz lives with her husband and three young children in, a picture-perfect suburb of Zurich. But alone and adrift, she turns to short-lived but intense sexual affairs to nullify her boredom. But one liaison leads her to an unspeakable tragedy, one from which she may never recover…

 

A Reunion of Ghosts
Judith Claire Mitchell
4th Estate
UK edition
No US edition

Complex, yet emotionally rewarding, A Reunion of Ghosts is a novel unafraid of addressing the big questions in life – love, death, guilt, family – and does so in a narrative that unfolds with true grace and skill. This is the story of the three Alter sisters, childless women who meet in the last days of the last century to commit suicide. The reason for their despair is a family curse, one that they can’t escape, and one that has affected three generations.

Continue reading “Top Ten UK books… coming in March 2015”

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It’s been a busy old month in the UK, as the Man Booker Longlist has just been announced (7 of which have been on NetGalley already – I hope you caught them then!) and of course the ‘announcement’ of JK Rowling’s new book and identity. But at NetGalley, we’re always looking forward, and these are the UK team’s pick of September’s new releases. There’s something for everyone – we hope you enjoy!

The Returned

The Returned, Jason Mott
9781472010803 (Harlequin)

All over the world people’s loved ones are returning from beyond…It’s a brilliant premise, and one that is wonderfully handled by Jason Mott. Both emotionally acute and chillingly      compelling, this is the kind of book you can’t help passing to the nearest person and saying: ‘Read this!’

If you are in the U.S. or Australia, please request those versions by clicking these links!

 The Bone Season

The Bone Season, Samantha Shannon
9781408836422 (Bloomsbury)

Paige Mahoney is one of those characters who gets under your skin. She is a dreamwalker, a clairvoyant and in the London of 2059 an enemy of the state. Captured and taken far away, she must fight for every last breath. This is an intense and imaginative novel that will linger long in the mind.

U.S. members click here.

Angel City

Angel City, Jon Steele
9780593068663 (Bantam)

Jay Harper, one of the last ‘angels’ on Planet Earth, is hunting down the half-breeds and goons who infected Paradise with evil in this cosmic thriller of love and hate. It’s the second in a trilogy – the first is available on NetGalley too here – and is absorbing, frightening and a little disturbing.

Fortunately, the Milk

Fortunately, the Milk, Neil Gaiman 9781408841761 (Bloomsbury)

One of the UK’s best and most beloved writers returns with a book for children, full of his trademark mind-bending and bonkers imagination. It’s the kind of kid’s book we all dream of reading: riotous, silly and instantly taken to heart. Truly unmissable and genuinely funny, it’s perfect for reading aloud or for quiet reading time.

Hanns and Rudolf

Hanns and Rudolf, Thomas Harding 9780434022366 (Heinemann)

This will be one of those books that is mentioned everywhere in the end of year round-ups – and with good reason. This superlative look at two men – one, Rudolf Höss, the Kommandant of Auschwitz; the other, Hanns Alexander, the man who arrested him after the war – and their actions makes for uncomfortable, but essential reading.

U.S. members click here

 One Night in Winter

One Night in Winter, Simon Sebag Montefiore, 9781780891088 (Century)

One of our foremost historians turns to fiction in this authentic and vivid recreation of Stalinist Moscow. At its heart is the question: if your children were forced to testify against you, what terrible secrets would they reveal? It’s an idea that the author of Jerusalem: a Biography explores with subtlety and verve.

 Tampa

Tampa, Alissa Nutting 9780571303342 (Faber)

One of the most controversial books of the year, Tampa is the story of Celeste Price: school teacher, wife to rich, devoted Ford, driver of a red sportscar, and lover of 14-year old boys. Erotically charged, wildly funny and taboo-busting, this reverse Lolita is not for the faint hearted.

 The Paradise Trees

The Paradise Trees, Linda Huber 9781909593572 (Legend Press)

Informed by her work with neurological patients, Linda Huber has written a powerful and wholly convincing psychological thriller. On the return to her home town, Alicia Bryson feels that nothing has changed. And yet there is someone watching her. Watching her every move.

 Lockwood Co.

Lockwood & Co: The Screaming Staircase, Jonathan Stroud 9781448121786 (Doubleday Children’s)

From the writer of the internationally best-selling Bartimaeus books comes an outstanding new series starring Lucy Carlyle and Anthony Lockwood – child psychic detectives. It’s a winning blend of humour, magic and scares that will delight 8-12s (and those a few years older too!)

 Painted Ladies

Painted Ladies, P.R. Ellis 9781783060689 (Troubadour)

This crime drama is a delicate blend of mystery and gender politics – featuring a transgender private detective on the hunt for a serial killer. It’s a new kind of backstory for a detective – we’re certainly not aware of another! – and Jasmine Frame is a complex and sympathetic character. Well worth a look!

  I hope you find something exciting in amongst our picks. We’ll be back next month to go through our top picks for October!

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