Happy New Year Everyone!
Christmas is now just a faint memory of wrapping paper mountains, mulled wine, too much of everything foodwise, aching tummies and groaning credit cards…so now it’s back to work and school, but take some time for yourself to download the best books around and have some well deserved ‘me’ time to read and escape……
Amy Snow, Tracy Rees
Abandoned on a bank of snow as a baby, Amy is taken in at nearby Hatville Court. But the masters and servants of the grand estate prove cold and unwelcoming. Amy’s only friend and ally is the sparkling young heiress Aurelia Vennaway. So when Aurelia tragically dies young, Amy is devastated. But Aurelia leaves Amy one last gift. A bundle of letters with a coded key. A treasure hunt that only Amy can follow.
A life-changing discovery awaits . . . if only she can unlock the secret.
The Last Runaway, Tracey Chevalier
Honor Bright is a sheltered Quaker who has rarely ventured out of 1850s Dorset when she impulsively emigrates to America. Opposed to the slavery that defines and divides the country, she finds her principles tested to the limit when a runaway slave appears at the farm of her new family. In this tough, unsentimental place, where whisky bottles sit alongside quilts, Honor befriends two spirited women who will teach her how to turn ideas into actions.
The Girl in the Ice, Robert Bryndza
When a young boy discovers the body of a woman beneath a thick sheet of ice in a South London park, Detective Erika Foster is called in to lead the murder investigation.
The victim, a beautiful young socialite, appeared to have the perfect life. Yet when Erika begins to dig deeper, she starts to connect the dots between the murder and the killings of three prostitutes, all found strangled, hands bound and dumped in water around London.
What dark secrets is the girl in the ice hiding?
As Erika inches closer to uncovering the truth, the killer is closing in on Erika.
The last investigation Erika led went badly wrong… resulting in the death of her husband. With her career hanging by a thread, Erika must now battle her own personal demons as well as a killer more deadly than any she’s faced before. But will she get to him before he strikes again?
Cheer Up Love, Susan Calman
Susan Calman has depression and she’s not alone in that. Despite being one of the funniest women in the UK (OK, the world) she has had her own black dog, the Crab of Hate, whispering in her ear since she can remember. And her answer? To talk about it.
A woman who measures the length of her depression by box sets (Cracker good, West Wing bad) and who has made therapy more of a hobby than a medical requirement, Susan has written the book on what’s it’s like to be gloomy and enjoy it. Certain that the world needs people with a more cynical outlook on life, the book is a celebration of what she, and if statistics are to be believed, one in four of us, go through daily.
Cheer Up Love is a survivor’s guide to modern life on the dark side.
One Breath, Adam Skolnik
Competitive freediving-a sport built on diving as deep as possible on a single breath-tests the limits of human ability in the most hostile environment on earth. The unique and eclectic breed of individuals who freedive at the highest level regularly dive hundreds of feet below the ocean’s surface, reaching such depths that their organs compress, light disappears, and one mistake could kill them.
Even among freedivers, few have ever gone as deep as Nicholas Mevoli. A handsome young American with an unmatched talent for the sport, Nick was among freediving’s brightest stars. He was also an extraordinary individual, one who rebelled against the vapid and commoditized society around him by relentlessly questing for something more meaningful and authentic, whatever the risks. So when Nick Mevoli arrived at Vertical Blue in 2013, the world’s premier freediving competition, he was widely expected to challenge records and continue his meteoric rise to stardom.
Instead, before the end of that fateful competition Nick Mevoli had died, a victim of the sport that had made him a star, and the very future of free diving was called into question. With unparalleled access and masterfully crafted prose, One Breath tells his unforgettable story, and of the sport which shaped and ultimately destroyed him.
Strictly Between Us, Jane Fallon
Tamsin and her best friend Michelle have been inseparable since they were teenagers. Even now they spend all their time together, along with Patrick, Michelle’s handsome husband.
So when Tamsin hears a rumour that Patrick is having an affair, she is furious. Unwilling to ignore it, Tamsin plots a scheme to catch Patrick in the act, using her assistant Bea as live-bait. It should be fool proof.
After all, Tamsin can trust Bea with anything. From her daily coffee order to fetching her dry-cleaning, writing reports and doing all the filing – Bea does everything with a smile on her face.
Except Tamsin never considered Bea might have her own agenda.
And if she does, then Tamsin really needs to watch her back . . .
The Outrun, Amy Liptrot
When Amy Liptrot returns to Orkney after more than a decade away, she is drawn back to the Outrun on the sheep farm where she grew up. Approaching the land that was once home, memories of her childhood merge with the recent events that have set her on this journey.
Amy was shaped by the cycle of the seasons, birth and death on the farm, and her father’s mental illness, which were as much a part of her childhood as the wild, carefree existence on Orkney. But as she grew up, she longed to leave this remote life. She moved to London and found herself in a hedonistic cycle. Unable to control her drinking, alcohol gradually took over. Now thirty, she finds herself washed up back home on Orkney, standing unstable at the cliff edge, trying to come to terms with what happened to her in London.
Spending early mornings swimming in the bracingly cold sea, the days tracking Orkney’s wildlife – puffins nesting on sea stacks, arctic terns swooping close enough to feel their wings – and nights searching the sky for the Merry Dancers, Amy slowly makes the journey towards recovery from addiction.
The Silent Cry, Kathy Glass
The sixteenth fostering memoir by Cathy Glass.
It’s a big, exciting moment for Laura when she decides to finally take her new baby out to the school playground for the first time ever. What should be a happy, magical moment quickly sours, however, when Laura suddenly feels queasy and runs off back home. None of the other schoolyard mothers seem to notice this troubled, struggling woman – apart from Cathy. But when Cathy tries to help, she finds herself hitting wall after wall. Laura needs medical help but refuses to see a doctor. Her own cold mother refuses to help. It is left to Cathy to try and bring light to this dark and dangerous place.
When Breath Becomes Air, Paul Kalanithi
At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, the next he was a patient struggling to live.
When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a medical student asking what makes a virtuous and meaningful life into a neurosurgeon working in the core of human identity – the brain – and finally into a patient and a new father.
What makes life worth living in the face of death? What do you do when when life is catastrophically interrupted? What does it mean to have a child as your own life fades away?
Paul Kalanithi died while working on this profoundly moving book, yet his words live on as a guide to us all. When Breath Becomes Air is a life-affirming reflection on facing our mortality and on the relationship between doctor and patient, from a gifted writer who became both.
In The Cold Dark Ground, Stuart McBride
His missing-persons investigation has just turned up a body in the woods – naked, hands tied behind its back, and a bin bag duct-taped over its head. The Major Investigation Team charges up from Aberdeen, under the beady eye of Logan’s ex-boss Detective Chief Inspector Steel. And, as usual, she wants him to do her job for her.
But it’s not going to be easy: a new Superintendent is on her way up from the Serious Organised Crime Task Force, hell-bent on making Logan’s life miserable; Professional Standards are gunning for Steel; and Wee Hamish Mowat, head of Aberdeen’s criminal underbelly, is dying – leaving rival gangs from all over the UK eying his territory.
There’s a war brewing and Logan’s trapped right in the middle, whether he likes it or not.
Letters to the Lost, Iona Grey
Stella Thorne and Dan Rosinski meet by chance and fall in love by accident. Theirs is a reluctant, unstoppable affair in which all the odds are stacked against them: she is newly married, and he is an American bomber pilot whose chance of survival is just one in five.
… He promised to love her forever
Seventy years later Dan makes one final attempt to find the girl he has never forgotten, and sends a letter to the house where they shared a brief yet perfect happiness. But Stella has gone, and the letter is opened by Jess, a young girl hiding from problems of her own. And as Jess reads Dan’s words, she is captivated by the story of a love affair that burned so bright and dimmed too soon. Can she help Dan find Stella before it is too late?
Now forever is finally running out.
The Lovers, Rod Nordland
This is the heartrending account of Zakia and Mohammad Ali, a couple from opposing Islamic sects, who defying their society’s norms have left behind everything they know and are quite literally risking their lives for their love.
She is a Sunni, he is a Shia, but as friends from childhood Zakia and Mohammad Ali could never have predicted that their love would anger their families so much that they would be forced to leave their homes finding refuge in the harsh terrain of the Afghani mountains. Without money or passports they rely on the kindness of strangers to house them for a couple of days at a time as they remain on the run, never deterred.