We’ve teamed up with Amazon to bring you the top books out there for the next month – put your feet up, make a cuppa and indulge yourselves with this selection…
This Month’s ‘Must Read’:
My James, The Heartrending Story of James Bulger, Ralph Bulger, Rosie Dunn
James Bulger was just a few weeks shy of his third birthday when, on 12 February 1993, he wandered away from his mum Denise in a shopping mall in Bootle. Grainy images from a security camera showed him trustingly holding the hand of ten-year-old Jon Venables as they walked away. Venables and his friend Robert Thompson murdered James, in a crime that shocked the world. In this haunting book, James’ father Ralph describes how his world fell apart in the days that followed. In his darkest hours he drank to numb the pain, and the stress tore his marriage apart. He tells how he learned to cope with his grief, but the sorrow of James’ death has never left him. He discusses the long legal battle to see justice for his son, as he tried to prevent his killers being released early, and his continuing fight to see them behind bars where they can’t hurt anyone else. Above all, he pays tribute to his son, an adorable, cheeky boy whose bright smile brought joy to his family’s lives.
Stolen, Louise Monaghan
In the middle of one of the worst civil wars in Syria’s history, Louise Monaghan crossed a heavily guarded border to save her six-year-old daughter from the father who had callously snatched her from her home in Cyprus. Not knowing what lay ahead, the Irish mother tricked her ex-husband into believing she still loved him and wanted them to live together as a family, purely so that she could see her kidnapped child again. Once in his homeland, Louise too was held captive, locked inside a run-down house day and night with little food and no hope of being released. Sick from polluted water, severely beaten by her ex-husband and abandoned by the Turkish men paid to rescue her, she took her little girl and made a daring escape. The journey they made through bomb attacks and sniper fire and across a heavily patrolled mountain range in the dead of night, led by illegal people-smugglers, was a harrowing ordeal. Yet miraculously they both survived, and “Stolen” is Louise’s breathtaking account of events.
Dirty Game, Jessie Keane
Adultery, murder and dangerous love collide in Jessie Keane’s gritty debut thriller set in the London’s East End. Perfect for fans of Martina Cole and Lynda La Plante. For longer than she cares to remember Annie Bailey has lived in the shadow of her older sister Ruthie. Now Ruthie has her hands on Max Carter, the much feared head of the Carter family and a top class villain. Seducing Max wasn’t a problem, but the guilt, shame and anger of rejection afterwards was. Thrown onto the streets Annie finds herself living with Celia, a wayward aunt with a shocking secret. As the months pass Annie’s resourceful nature sees her mature and carve out a life for herself, albeit not legal. But if you play with fire, you can expect to get burned and her lavish new lifestyle and connections may be about to come crashing down around her. Annie has unwittingly placed herself between two rival gangs and upset too many people, and these kind of people don’t forget. But as everyone knows, Annie Bailey is no ordinary woman.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky
Charlie is a freshman. And while he’s not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. Shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his years yet socially awkward, he is a wallflower, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it. Charlie is attempting to navigate his way through uncharted territory: the world of first dates and mixed tapes, family dramas and new friends; the world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. But Charlie can’t stay on the sideline forever. Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a deeply affecting coming-of-age story that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up.
As The Pig Turns, Agatha Raisin
Winter Parva, a traditional Cotswolds village next door to Carsely, has decided to throw a celebratory hog roast to mark the beginning of the winter holiday festivities and Agatha Raisin has arrived with friend and rival in the sleuthing business, Toni, to enjoy the merriment. But as the spit pig is carried towards the bed of fiery charcoal Agatha – and the rest of the village – realise that things aren’t as they seem… Very quickly it transpires that the spit pig is in fact Gary Beech, a policeman not much loved in Winter Parva. And although Agatha has every intention of leaving the affair to the police, she rapidly changes her mind when she finds out Gary’s ex-wife has hired Toni to investigate. Cantankerous and competitive as Agatha is, she has to now join the fray and try and solve the case herself!
Beautiful Creatures, Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl
In Ethan Wate’s hometown there lies the darkest of secrets…There is a girl. Slowly, she pulled the hood from her head. Green eyes, black hair. Lena Duchannes. There is a curse. On the Sixteenth Moon, the Sixteenth Year, the Book will take what it’s been promised. And no one can stop it. In the end, there is a grave. Lena and Ethan become bound together by a deep, powerful love. But Lena is cursed and on her sixteenth birthday, her fate will be decided. Ethan never even saw it coming.
Entwined With You, Sylvia Day
From the moment I first met Gideon Cross, I recognized something in him that I needed. Something I couldn’t resist. I also saw the dangerous and damaged soul inside – so much like my own. I was drawn to it. I needed him as surely as I needed my heart to beat. No one knows how much he risked for me. How much I’d been threatened, or just how dark and desperate the shadow of our pasts would become. Entwined by our secrets, we tried to defy the odds. We made our own rules and surrendered completely to the exquisite power of possession . . .
Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell
David Mitchell’s bestselling and Booker Prize-shortlisted novel, one of Richard & Judy’s 100 Books of the Decade, CLOUD ATLAS has now been adapted for film. The major motion picture, directed by the Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer, stars Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Susan Sarandon, Jim Sturgess, Ben Whishaw, Jim Broadbent and Hugh Grant. The novel features six characters in interlocking stories, each interrupting the one before it: a reluctant voyager crossing the Pacific in 1850; a disinherited composer blagging a precarious livelihood in between-the-wars Belgium; a high-minded journalist in Governor Reagan’s California; a vanity publisher fleeing his gangland creditors; a genetically modified dinery server on death-row; and Zachry, a young Pacific islander witnessing the nightfall of science and civilisation. The narrators of CLOUD ATLAS hear each other’s echoes down the corridor of history, and their destinies are changes in ways great and small.
A French Affair, Katie Fforde
Gina and Sally Makepiece have inherited a stall in the French House – an antiques centre nestled in the heart of the English countryside. Gina is determined to drag the French House and its grumpy owner into the twenty-first century. Bearing all the attributes of a modern-day Mr Rochester, Matthew Ballinger is less than happy with the whirlwind that has arrived on his doorstep. The last thing either of them want is to fall in love. But will a trip to France change their minds?
Best Kept Secret, Jeffrey Archer
1945. The vote in the House of Lords as to who should inherit the Barrington family fortune has ended in a tie. Harry returns to America to promote his latest novel, while his beloved Emma goes in search of the little girl who was found abandoned in her father’s office on the night he was killed. When the General Election is called, Giles Barrington has to defend his seat in the House of Commons and is horrified to discover who the Conservatives select to stand against him. But it is Sebastian Clifton, Harry and Emma’s son, who ultimately influences his uncle’s fate. In 1957, Sebastian wins a scholarship to Cambridge, and a new generation of the Clifton family march onto the page. After Sebastian is expelled from school, he unwittingly becomes caught up in an international art fraud involving a Rodin statue that is worth far more than the sum it raises at auction. Does he become a millionaire? Does he go to Cambridge? Is his life in danger?
Fat Chance – The Bitter Truth About Sugar, Robert H Lustig
Sugar is addictive, toxic and everywhere. Find out how your sweet tooth might be nibbling you to death in this straight-talking expose. ‘Fat Chance’, documents the science and the politics that has led to the pandemic of metabolic syndrome – which results in conditions like obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Dr Robert Lustig exposes how changes in the food industry and in our wider environment have affected our collective metabolisms and our waistlines, and he shows how industry and political forces, motivated by greed, don’t want things to change. To help us lose weight and recover our health, Lustig presents personal strategies to readjust the key hormones that regulate hunger and reward and suggests societal strategies to improve the health of the next generation. Discover how every calorie is different and that cutting out sugar is not just about making us thin – it’s about making us healthier, happier and smarter.
The 5:2 Diet Book – Feast for 5 Days and Fast for 2, Kate Harrison
The 5:2 Diet will transform your body, your mind and your health. It’s the revolutionary part-time weight loss diet with lifelong health and anti-ageing results. This is the simplest, most flexible and most health enhancing weight loss programme you’ll ever follow – and with this book to guide you, you can start today. You’ll still get to eat all the foods you love but enjoy incredible health benefits, with positive effects on cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and more. Intermittent fasting is revolutionising the weight loss world. Simply by eating significantly less for one or two days a week you can trigger incredible physical and mental changes that protect your body and brain from damage and help it repair itself. And The 5:2 Diet Book – packed with tips, science, recipes, inspiration and case studies from over thirty dieters – will help you join the revolution to lose weight, boost your brain and transform your body.
Knitted Cats and Kittens, Sue Stratford
This book contains a wide variety of cats and kittens to knit – from fun and quirky, to cute and cuddly – and you don’t have to clean up after these ones! Each cat has its own look and personality, and they come in a range of characters, styles, shapes and sizes to suit knitters of all tastes and abilities. There are also a number of feline projects to make – including a hot water bottle cover and a doorstop, so (unlike real cats!) they can make themselves useful around the house. And of course, all cats need a few accessories, so the author has included a knitted scratching post (complete with dangly bird to play with), a cat basket and some colourful knitted balls – not forgetting an entire family of tiny knitted mice! Each pattern comes with a comprehensive list of the yarns, needles and embellishments you need, and there are general notes too on basic techniques, materials and equipment.
The Hairy Bikers’ Great Curries, Dave Myers, Si King
Who doesn’t love a curry? Whether it’s a take-away korma at your kitchen table or a lamb biryani at your local Indian restaurant, a curry is everyone’s favourite Friday night supper. But curry is so much more. A proper curry can be an exquisitely fragrant dish, with delicate flavours that surprise and titillate your taste buds, and the Hairy Bikers, bestselling authors and BBC presenters, are here to show you how to make the most delicious, authentic curries you’ve ever tasted in your own kitchen.
Chloe Sims, The Only Way is Up, Chloe Sims
Just two years ago, Chloe was a single mum struggling to make ends meet doing a string of jobs she hated and wondering if she would ever find happiness. Then, at the beginning of 2011, after joining the cast of TOWIE, she won the hearts of the nation with her funny ways and frank confessions. Since joining the cast, her life – which has been anything but ordinary – is now a whirlwind of glitzy parties and jet-set holidays, but life hasn’t always dealt Chloe a good hand. From her turbulent childhood where she was raised by a neighbour after her mother abandoned her, to battling with bullies and struggling with an eating disorder, to the magical moment when she met the man of her dreams. Chloe finally sets the record straight; speaking frankly about the plastic surgery she’s had done, what it was really like working for Playboy France and how she coped with her rollercoaster ride to stardom – with plenty of shocking revelations and secrets she’s never told…until now. This is her story, and it’s not like any other you will read.
Remembering Whitney, A Mother’s Story of Love, Loss and the Night the Music Died, Cissy Houston
The definitive account of Whitney Houston’s astonishing life, ground-breaking career and tragic death – complete with never-before-seen photographs – from the only one who truly knows the story behind the headlines: her mother, Cissy Houston. Cissy has said little publicly about Whitney’s heart-breaking death. Now, for the first time, she opens up and shares the unbelievable story of her daughter’s life, as well as her own, and addresses Whitney’s brightest and darkest moments. A legendary Grammy Award-winning gospel singer in her own right, Cissy Houston shows how the lessons from her own musical journey helped to shape Whitney’s career – from teaching Whitney to use her voice, to keeping her level-headed throughout her meteoric rise to fame. With candour and respect, she sets the record straight about Whitney, exploring both her turbulent marriage and her misunderstood struggles with drug abuse. Cissy goes behind the tabloid headlines to show fans around the world the true, human side of a strong, successful – yet flawed – musical icon who died much too young.
Darcy Bussell, My Life in Pictures, Darcy Bussell
This book of stunning images chronicles Darcey Bussell’s amazing career on the stage. From her early years through to her final perfomance, every significant moment has been captured. Along with images of her on stage and in costume, there are also behind-the-scenes photos and more intimate snaps of rehearsals and preparation. Darcey also provides fascinating insight into the ballet world, with personal anecdotes and memories of some of the most important moments in her career. It features her now famous performances in ballets such as Swan Lake, Cinderella, Giselle, Manon, The Nutcracker and The Sleeping Beauty. A must-have for lovers of ballet and dance, as well as being a beautiful book to own and treasure