Are you looking for your next great read? Why not try out the books from across the pond? Despite from what governments say, books are essential and are needed now, more than ever. So if you are need of a variety and want to read diverse stories, then I suggest you try out some British and Irish titles!
We may have left 2021 behind, but the pain and struggles of last year are still being faced, especially independent bookstores. Continue to support indie bookstores by shopping on Bookshop.org and Hive.co.uk.
You can buy these titles from BookDepository.com, a subsidiary of Amazon. They provide free international delivery, although this is being affected right now due to the pandemic. You can also try with the British bookstore, Blackwell’s, also with Wordery.com. Now on with the recommendations!
Featured Books of the Month:
Someone Else’s Shoes by Jojo Moyes
Who are you when you are forced to walk in someone else’s shoes?
Meet Sam . . .
She’s not got much, but she’s grateful for what she has: a job she’s just about clinging on to and a family who depend on her for everything. She knows she’s one bad day away from losing it all – and just hopes today isn’t it . . .
Meet Nisha . . .
She’s got everything she always dreamed of – and more: a phenomenally rich husband; an international lifestyle; and . . . she’s just been locked out of all of it after her husband initiates divorce proceedings . . .
Sam and Nisha should never have crossed paths. But after a bag mix-up at the gym, their lives become intertwined – even as they spiral out of control.
Each blames the other as they feel increasingly invisible, forgotten, lost – and desperately alone.
But they’re not.
No woman is an island. Look around. Family. Friends. Strangers.
Even the woman you believe just ruined your life might turn out to be your best friend.
Because together you can do anything – like take back what is yours . . .
Getting Better: Life lessons on going under, getting over it, and getting through it by Michael Rosen
In our lives, terrible things may happen. Michael Rosen has grieved the loss of a child, lived with debilitating chronic illness, and faced death itself when seriously unwell in hospital. In spite of this he has survived, and has even learned to find joy in life in the aftermath of tragedy.
In Getting Better, he shares his story and the lessons he has learned along the way. Exploring the roles that trauma and grief have played in his own life, Michael investigates the road to recovery, asking how we can find it within ourselves to live well again after – or even during – the darkest times of our lives. Moving and insightful, Getting Better is an essential companion for anyone who has loved and lost, or struggled and survived. (Credit: Ebury Publishing)
Every Gift A Curse by Caroline O’Donoghue
With the return of the Housekeeper on the cards, Maeve must find out everything she can about the vengeful tarot spirit in order to finally defeat her. Crossing over into a parallel dimension inside the old school building, she explores the history of the Housekeeper – and spends too long in a world and a mind not her own.
With the Children of Brigid closing in once more, and Maeve’s friend group now fractured across Ireland, can they hope to ultimately save the town – and Maeve – from the grip of a power greater than they ever imagined? (Credit: Walker Books)
A Game of Life or Death by Triona Campbell
An addictive thriller from the most sensational new voice in YA fiction. When sixteen-year-old Asha Kennedy discovers her older sister Maya’s dead body in their home, her world falls apart. Desperate for answers, and to stay out of the hands of the social services she grew up in, Asha turns to her hacker friends for help.
Her search leads her to Zu Tech, the hit games studio where Maya was a lead coder. As Asha begins to unravel the riddle of her death, she realises that the only way to uncover the truth is from the inside.
Asha ghosts her old life and infiltrates a Zu Tech eSport tournament as they launch ‘SHACKLE’, the revolutionary Virtual Reality video game Maya was working on – and which hides a monstrous secret… (Credit: Scholastic)
The Girl Who Broke The Sea by A. Connors
Lily’s emotional problems run deep – three miles deep.
After she gets kicked out of school for her destructive behaviour, Lily agrees to an unusual fresh start: going with her mum to live at Deephaven, an experimental deep-sea mining rig and research station located at the bottom of the ocean.
Lily instantly regrets her decision: claustrophobic and isolated, it’s hardly her idea of home.
Turns out, Deephaven has problems of its own. The head scientist, they quickly learn, has disappeared – just as he was on the brink of a shocking discovery. In the darkness of the deep, something is stirring … something dangerous.
And it’s calling out to Lily. (Credit: Scholastic)
This Is How You Fall In Love by Anika Hussain
Zara and Adnan are just friends. Always have been, always will be. Even if they have to pretend to be girlfriend and boyfriend…
Zara loves love in all forms: 90s romcoms and romance novels and grand sweeping gestures. And she’s desperate to have her own great love story. Crucially, a real one. So when her best friend Adnan begs her to pretend to date him to cover up his new top-secret relationship, Zara is hesitant. This isn’t the kind of thing she had in mind. But there’s something in it for Zara too: making her parents, who love Adnan, happy might just stop them arguing for a while. She may not be getting her own love story, but she could save theirs.
So Zara agrees and the act begins: after all, how different can pretending to be in a relationship with your best friend be to just hanging around with them like usual? Turns out, a lot. With fake dating comes fake hand-holding and fake kissing and real feelings… And when a new boy turns up in Zara’s life, things get more confusing than ever.
The course of true love never did run smooth, but Zara’s love story is messier than most…(Credit: Hot Key Books)
Someone Is Watching You by Tess James-Mackey
An abandoned prison. A deadly game. How far would you go for a dare?
Nia would do anything to win the approval of her boyfriend Scott and his friends, especially mean girl Olivia. When Olivia dares Nia to explore an abandoned prison, she sees it as the perfect opportunity to prove herself. Facing dark tunnels, distant noises and creepy mementoes left behind by incarcerated criminals will surely all be worth it.
But it isn’t long before Nia and her little sister, Kayla, find themselves trapped inside. And then Kayla vanishes.
Suddenly, this feels like more than a game gone wrong. Someone is hellbent on making Nia and Kayla the prison’s last inmates . . .(Credit: Hachette Children’s Group)
You Think You Know Me by Ayaan Mohamud
People like me are devils before we are angels.
Hanan has always been good and quiet. She accepts her role as her school’s perfect Muslim poster girl. She ignores the racist bullies.
A closed mouth is gold – it helps you get home in one piece.
Then her friend is murdered and every Muslim is to blame.
The world is angry at us again.
How can she stay silent while her family is ripped apart? It’s time for Hanan to stop being the quiet, good girl. It’s time for her to stand up and shout. (Credit: Usborne Publishing)
Read Between The Lines by Malcom Duffy
Two very different boys, one new family, a shared struggle and a big secret.
Tommy is talented, cool, a young offender, and dyslexic.
Ryan is smart, uncool, well-behaved, and dyslexic.
The two develop an unlikely friendship.
As Ryan helps Tommy to read, a secret is revealed that will change their lives forever. (Credit: Bloomsbury Publishing UK)
The Only Suspect by Louise Candlish
There’s the obvious story. And then there’s the truth.
Alex lives a comfortable life with his wife Beth in the leafy suburb of Silver Vale. Fine, so he’s not the most outgoing guy on the street, he prefers to keep himself to himself, but he’s a good husband and an easy-going neighbour.
That’s until Beth announces the creation of a nature trail on a local site that’s been disused for decades and suddenly Alex is a changed man. Now he’s always watching. Questioning. Struggling to hide his dread . . . As the landscapers get to work, a secret threatens to surface from years ago, back in Alex’s twenties when he got entangled with a seductive young woman called Marina, who threw both their lives into turmoil.
And who sparked a police hunt for a murder suspect that was never quite what it seemed.
And it still isn’t. (Credit Simon & Schuster UK)
The Whispering Muse by Laura Purcell
Be careful what you wish for… it may just come true.
At The Mercury Theatre in London’s West End, rumours are circulating of a curse.
It is said that the lead actress Lilith has made a pact with Melpomene, the tragic muse of Greek mythology, to become the greatest actress to ever grace the stage. Suspicious of Lilith, the jealous wife of the theatre owner sends dresser Jenny to spy on her, and desperate for the money to help her family, Jenny agrees.
What Jenny finds is a woman as astonishing in her performance as she is provocative in nature. On stage, it’s as though Lilith is possessed by the characters she plays, yet off stage she is as tragic as the Muse who inspires her, and Jenny, sorry for her, befriends the troubled actress. But when strange events begin to take place around the theatre, Jenny wonders if the rumours are true, and fears that when the Muse comes calling for payment, the cost will be too high. (Credit: Bloomsbury Publishing UK)
Like A Curse by Elle McNicoll
Stuck in Loch Ness while Edinburgh falls under the control of a terrifyingly powerful Siren, Ramya Knox is frustrated. She’s supposed to be learning magic from her Aunt Opal, but that isn’t going as smoothly as she’d hoped. As she pushes to rescue her Hidden Folk friends in the city, long-buried secrets come to light and legends come to life.
Ramya knows she’s different; she knows she’s a witch. But now she must learn the true meaning of her powers… before all she loves is lost. (Credit: Knights of Media)
Strong Female Character by Fern Brady
Expected Publication Date: February 16
A summary of my book:
1. I’m diagnosed with autism 20 years after telling a doctor I had it.
2. My terrible Catholic childhood: I hate my parents etc.
3. My friendship with an elderly man who runs the corner shop and is definitely not trying to groom me. I get groomed.
6. More stripping but with more nervous breakdowns.
7. I hate everyone at uni and live with a psycho etc.
8. REDACTED as too spicy.
9. After everyone tells me I don’t look autistic, I try to cure my autism and get addicted to Xanax.
10. REDACTED as too embarrassing. (Credit: Octopus Publishing Group)
Queen K by Sarah Thomas
Expected Publication Date: February 16
On a balmy evening in late March, an oligarch’s wife hosts a party on a superyacht moored in the Maldives. Tables cover the massive deck, adorned with orchids, champagne bottles, name cards of celebrities. Uniformed staff flank a red carpet on the landing dock. This is what Kata has wanted for a long time: acceptance into the glittering world of high society. But there are those who aim to come between Kata and her goal, and they are closer to home than she could have imagined.
Witness to the corruption and violence underneath the shiny surfaces is Mel, a young English woman employed to tutor Kata’s precocious daughter and navigate her through the class codes of English privilege. Now the closest Mel gets to such privilege is as hired help to the wealthy, and she is deeply resentful. (Credit: Profile Books)
The Rescue of Ravenwood by Natasha Farrant
Expected Publication Date: February 23
From the Costa Award winning author of Voyage of the Sparrowhawk comes an epic adventure with a call to arms: we must fight to save the most treasured things on our planet. Ravenwood. A place where things happen . . . On the top of the hill, overlooking the sea, that’s where you’ll find a magical place . . . To Bea and Raffy, Ravenwood is home. In its own way, the house rescued them, even if it did have a fallen-down tree taking up most of the kitchen. So the idea that it could be sold. Demolished even. Well, that’s unthinkable. Then again, it’s not like the children get a choice. But the truth is, we can all make our own choices, especially if we care enough . . . A beautiful, soulful, exciting story about holding onto what’s precious, and guarding the extraordinary nature that surrounds us.
Rose and the Burma Sky by Rosanna Amaka
Expected Publication Date: February 23
One war, one soldier, one enduring love
1939: In a village in south-east Nigeria on the brink of the Second World War, young Obi watches from a mango tree as a colonial army jeep speeds by, filled with soldiers laughing and shouting, their buttons shining in the sun. To Obi, their promise of a smart uniform and regular wages is hard to resist, especially as he has his sweetheart Rose to impress and a family to support.
Years later, when Rose falls pregnant to another man, his heart is shattered. As the Burma Campaign mounts, and Obi is shipped out to fight, he is haunted by the mystery of Rose’s lover. When his identity comes to light, Obi’s devastation leads to a tragic chain of unexpected events. (Credit: Transworld Publishers Ltd)
Expected Publication Date: February 23
In 1838, a young woman was given a diary on her wedding day. Collecting snippets of fabric from a range of garments she carefully annotated each one, creating a unique record of her life and times. Her name was Mrs Anne Sykes.
Nearly two hundred years later, the diary fell into the hands of Kate Strasdin, a fashion historian and museum curator. Strasdin spent the next six years unravelling the secrets contained within the album’s pages.
Piece by piece, she charts Anne’s journey from the mills of Lancashire to the port of Singapore before tracing her return to England in later years. Fragments of cloth become windows into Victorian life: pirates in Borneo, the complicated etiquette of mourning, poisonous dyes, the British Empire in full swing, rioting over working conditions and the terrible human cost of Britain’s cotton industry.
This is life writing that celebrates ordinary people: the hidden figures, the participants in everyday life. Through the evidence of waistcoats, ball gowns and mourning outfits, Strasdin lays bare the whole of human experience in the most intimate of mediums: the clothes we choose to wear. (Credit: Vintage Publishing)
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