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April 2015 Newsletter

FICTION

A Song of Shadows - By John Connolly

untitledGrievously wounded private detective Charlie Parker investigates a case that has its origins in a Nazi concentration camp during the Second World War. Broken, but undeterred, private detective Charlie Parker faces the darkest of dark forces in a case with its roots in the second world war, and a concentration camp unlike any other ...Recovering from a near-fatal shooting and tormented by memories of a world beyond this one, Parker has retreated to the small Maine town of Boreas to recover. There he befriends a widow named Ruth Winter and her young daughter, Amanda. But Ruth has her secrets. She is hiding from the past, and the forces that threaten her have their origins in the Second World War, in a town called Lubko and a concentration camp unlike any other. Old atrocities are about to be unearthed, and old sinners will kill to hide their sins. Now Parker is about to risk his life to defend a woman he barely knows, one who fears him almost as much as she fears those who are coming for her. His enemies believe him to be vulnerable. Fearful. Solitary. But they are wrong. Parker is far from afraid, and far from alone. For something is emerging from the shadows ...

The Buried Giant - By Kazuo Ishiguro

buriedyou've long set your heart against it, Axl, I know. But it's time now to think on it anew. There's a journey we must go on, and no more delay...'The Buried Giant begins as a couple set off across a troubled land of mist and rain in the hope of finding a son they have not seen in years.Sometimes savage, often intensely moving

 

 

My Sunshine Away - By Milton O'Neal Walsh

sunshineOne day Lindy Simpson cycles home from school and straight into a trap: someone is lying in wait for her, a wire strung between lampposts blocking the path. She is raped just yards from her front door. No one sees a thing and the perpetrator is not caught. Her fourteen-year-old neighbour has loved Lindy from afar since they were kids. He becomes determined to solve the crime, investigating each suspect in the neighbourhood. But before the long, hot summer is out, it will become clear that the friendly community of Baton Rouge has much to hide. Behind the picket fences and rocking chairs on porches, behind the neighbourhood cookouts on sweltering afternoons, the vats of cold beer and cauldrons of spicy crawfish, lies a tangled web of darkness. In his zeal to solve the crime, he stumbles across a sinister world he doesn't recognize, drawing ever closer to a terrifying denouement.

Etta and Otto and Russell and James - By Emma Hooper

etta'I've gone. I've never seen the water, so I've gone there. I will try to remember to come back.' Etta's greatest unfulfilled wish, living in the rolling farmland of Saskatchewan, is to see the sea. And so, at the age of eighty-two, she gets up very early one morning, takes a rifle, some chocolate and her best boots, and begins walking the 2,000 miles to the water. But Etta is starting to forget things. Her husband, Otto, remembers everything, and he loves her: surely they can balance things out? Their neighbour Russell remembers too, but differently - and he still loves Etta as much as he did more than fifty years ago, before she married Otto. Rocking back and forth with the pull of the waves, Etta and Otto and Russell and James moves from the present of a too-quiet-for-too-long Canadian farm to a dusty past of hunger, war, passion and hope, from trying to remember to trying to forget as, from prairie to forest to mountain to sand, Etta walks.

If I Fall, If I Die - By Michael Christie

if iWill has never been to the outside, at least not since he can remember. And he has certainly never got to know anyone other than his mother, a fiercely loving yet wildly eccentric agoraphobe who drowns in panic at the thought of opening the front door. Their little world comprises only the rooms in their home, each named for various exotic locales and filled with Will's art projects. But soon the confines of his world close in on him. Despite his mother's protests, Will ventures outside clad in a protective helmet and braces himself for danger. He eventually meets and befriends Jonah, a quiet boy who introduces him to skateboarding. Will welcomes his new world with enthusiasm, his fears fading and his body hardening with each new bump, scrape and fall. But life quickly gets complicated. When a local boy goes missing, Will and Jonah want to uncover what happened. They embark on an extraordinary adventure that pulls Will far from the confines of his closed-off world and into the throes of early adulthood and the dangers that everyday life offers.

A - Z of You and Me - By James Hannah

A-ZWhat Was Lost I'm lying here in a bed, my head full of regret, with only a little bird flitting through a tree to comfort me. Friends want to visit, but I refuse them. So my carer Sheila has given me a task to keep me occupied. An A-Z list. Think of a part of my body for each letter. Tell a little tale about it. When I reach H for Heart, what will I say? How we loved to string crocheted hearts in trees? How our hearts steadily unravelled? So I begin with A. Adam's apple. Will you be there to catch me when I fall?

 

Beautiful You - By Chuck Palahniuk

beautifulPenny Harrigan is a low level associate in a big Manhattan law firm with an apartment in Queens and no love life at all. So it comes as a great shock when she finds herself invited to dinner by one C. Linus Maxwell, aka 'Climax-Well', a software mega-billionaire and lover of the most gorgeous and accomplished women on earth. After dining at Manhattan's most exclusive restaurant, he whisks Penny off to a hotel suite in Paris, where he proceeds, notebook in hand, to bring her to previously undreamed of heights of orgasmic pleasure for days on end. What's not to like? This: Penny discovers that she is a test subject for the final development of a line of sex toys to be marketed in a nationwide chain of boutiques called 'Beautiful You'. So potent and effective are these devices that women line up in their millions outside the stores on opening day then lock themselves in their room and stop coming out. Except for batteries. Maxwell's plan for erotically enabled world domination must be stopped. But how?

Wish you Were Here - By Catherine Alliot

wishWhen Flora, James and their two teenage daughters are offered the holiday of a lifetime in a chateaux in the South of France in return for one simple good deed, they jump at the chance to escape the confines of Clapham, the weight of the mortgage and anxieties over their future for a blissful break. But Flora didn't anticipate a mysterious guest and a whole heap of family baggage to come too. With James developing a schoolboy crush on a famous opera singer and Flora distracted by ghosts from her past, their dream holiday suddenly takes some very unexpected turns.

 

 

First Frost - By Sarah Addison Allen

firstAutumn has finally arrived in the small town of Bascom, North Carolina, heralded by a strange old man appearing with a beaten-up suitcase. He has stories to tell, stories that could change the lives of the Waverley women forever. But the Waverleys have enough trouble on their hands. Quiet Claire Waverley has started a successful new venture, Waverley's Candies, but it's nothing like she thought it would be, and it's slowly taking over her life. Claire's wild sister Sydney, still trying to leave her past behind, is about to combust with her desire for another new beginning. And Sydney's fifteen-year-old daughter Bay has given her heart away to the wrong boy and can't get it back.

 

The Dandelion Years - By Erica James

dandelionAshcombe was the most beautiful house Saskia had ever seen as a little girl. A rambling pink cottage on the edge of the Suffolk village of Melbury Green, its enchanting garden provided a fairy-tale playground of seclusion, a perfect sanctuary to hide from the tragedy which shattered her childhood. Now an adult, Saskia is still living at Ashcombe and as a book restorer devotes her days tending to the broken, battered books that find their way to her, daydreaming about the people who had once turned their pages. When she discovers a notebook carefully concealed in an old Bible - and realising someone has gone to a great deal of trouble to hide a story of their own - Saskia finds herself drawn into a heart-rending tale of wartime love...

NON - FICTION

Absolutely Jani - By Jani Allan

janiIf this were a book quiz and you were to ask me what film is most like Absolutely Jani I would answer unhesitatingly, Blue Jasmine, Woody Allen's Oscar-nominated film. Those who remember the Just Jani column in the Sunday Times will be intrigued and delighted. Those who missed out on those heady times will be captivated by this universal story of betrayal, back-stabbing and life in the very fast lane. It is acerbic, witty, wry, bittersweet and exquisitely penned. She describes how she became a columnist, and reveals much of life behind the scenes at the Sunday Times. Jani shares details of the crucial interview with Eugene Terre'blanche, details that will shake the preconceptions and ruffle more than a few feathers. Jani's reputation is reduced to tatters when she takes on UK's Channel4 in a law suit that reverberated around the world and kept the public baying for blood. But in all this we are able to see the real Jani Allan behind the fabulous brittle creature that the tabloids tore to shreds and devoured and then spat out. That the real Jani Allan, gutsy, bright beyond the telling, vulnerable and a story-teller beyond compare has chosen to share her story is a remarkable gift to the reader. It is a story that will command a great deal of respect.

The Romanovs - By Robert Massie

romThe compelling quest to solve a great mystery of the twentieth century: the ultimate fate of Russia's last tsar and his family. In July 1991, nine skeletons were exhumed from a shallow grave near Ekaterinburg, Siberia, a few miles from the infamous cellar where the last tsar and his family had been murdered seventy-three years before. Were these the bones of the Romanovs? If so, why were the bones of the two younger Romanovs missing? Was Anna Anderson, celebrated in newspapers, books, and film, really Grand Duchess Anastasia? This book unearths the truth. Pulitzer Prize winner Robert K. Massie presents a colourful panorama of contemporary characters, illuminating the major scientific dispute between Russian experts and a team of Americans, whose findings - along with those of DNA scientists from Russia, America, and the UK - all contributed to solving one of history's most intriguing mysteries.

A Kim Jong-II Production - By Paul Fischer

kimA Kim Jong-Il Production by Paul Fischer - love, films and kidnapping in North Korea, the world's wildest regimeBefore becoming the world's most notorious dictator, Kim Jong-Il ran North Korea's film industry. He directed every film made in the country but knew they were nothing compared to Hollywood. Then he hit on the perfect solution: order the kidnapping of South Korea's most famous actress and her ex-husband, the country's most acclaimed director.In a jaw-dropping mission the couple were kidnapped, held hostage and then 'employed' to make films for the Dear Leader, including a remake of Godzilla. They gained Kim's trust - but could they escape?A non-fiction thriller with a plot so jaw-dropping even Hollywood couldn't make it up, this extraordinary book will be enjoyed by fans of Argo and Nothing to Envy. 'A story almost too wild to believe . . . Unputdownable' Benjamin Wallace, author of New York Times bestseller The Billionaire's VinegarPaul Fischer is a film producer and writer. Born in Saudi Arabia and raised in France, he studied Social Sciences at the Institut d'Etudes Politiques in Paris and Film at the University of Southern California and the New York Film Academy. He has worked as an independent film producer in London for the past seven years; his first feature, the documentary Radioman, won the Grand Jury Prize at the Doc NYC festival. A Kim Jong-Il Production is his first book.

Charles: The Heart of a King - By Catherine Mayer

charlesHe has lived his whole life in the public eye, yet he remains an enigma. He was born to be king, but he aims much higher. A landmark publication, Charles: The Heart of a King reveals Prince Charles in all his complexity: the passionate views that mean he will never be as remote and impartial as his mother; the compulsion to make a difference and the many and startling ways in which the heir to the throne of the United Kingdom and fifteen other realms has already made his mark. The book offers fresh and fascinating insights into the first marriage that did so much to define him and an assessment of his relationship with the woman he calls, with unintended accuracy, his 'dearest wife': Camilla. We see Charles as a father and a friend, a serious figure and a joker. Life at court turns out to be full of hidden dangers and unexpected comedy. Poignant, funny and often surprising, the first significant study of the Prince in over a decade reveals a man in sight of happiness yet still driven by anguish and a remarkable belief system, a charitable entrepreneur, activist, agitator and avatar of the Establishment who just as often tilts against it. Based on multiple interviews with his friends and courtiers, palace insiders and critics, and access to Charles himself during research lasting more than a year, this biography explores the Prince’s philanthropy and his compulsive interventionism, his faith, his political leanings and the philosophy that means when he seeks harmony he sometimes creates controversy.

CHILDREN'S FICTION

0 - 7 YEARS

Use your Imagination - By Nicola O'Byrne

rabbitRabbit is BORED. What shall he do? Luckily, Wolf has the perfect solution. "Why not write a story?" he suggests. "I am a librarian, you know." Well, Rabbit is just delighted - what a brilliant idea! And so Wolf teaches Rabbit to use his imagination to create the perfect story with lots of exciting props and interesting characters. What a kind and helpful wolf! Rabbit is DESPERATE to know what happens when it suddenly becomes clear that Wolf is very hungry - uh-oh, so THAT'S how the story ends. But Wolf hasn't reckoned on Rabbit's brilliant imagination and, in a final clever twist, Rabbit saves himself from the wily old wolf. "Now, that was a good idea," says Rabbit.

Hugo the Hare's Rainy Day - By Jez Alborough 

hugoHugo the Hare HATES to get wet, and when the rain comes he huddles under his umbrella. But Hugo's friends are stuck in the rain and when Hugo comes to their rescue he can't help but get all soggy! However, perhaps having a bit of a splish splash isn't quite as bad as Hugo thinks...

 

 

8 - 12 YEARS

The Apple Tart of Hope - Sarah Moore Fitzgerald

appleOscar Dunleavy, who used to make the world's most perfect apple tarts, is missing, presumed dead. No-one seems too surprised, except for Meg, his best friend, and his little brother Stevie. Surrounded by grief and confusion, Meg and Stevie are determined to find out what happened to Oscar, and together they learn about loyalty and friendship and the power of never giving up hope. The second sensational novel from Irish author, Sarah Moore Fitzgerald, following her debut, BACK TO BLACKBRICK, perfect for fans of Annabel Pitcher and Siobhan Dowd.

 

 

The Truth of Me - By Patricia  MacLachlan

truthWhen Robbie spends the summer at his grandmother Maddy's house, he revels in his grandmother's easy, relaxed ways. Robbie has always felt as if something is missing in his life—his parents don't always act like they love him. Maddy helps him understand that an experience his mother had long ago is at the heart of the problem in his family. With this knowledge, Robbie finds the courage to try to make things right. This poignant story from beloved author Patricia MacLachlan celebrates how our unique "small truths" make each of us magical and brave in our own ways.

 

 

The Dragonsitter's Party - By Josh Lacey

dragonIt's Eddie's birthday and he's looking forward to a birthday party filled with fun, games and ...dragons? Ziggy and Arthur are the unexpected guests, but their idea of a good time involves eating everything in sight and ruining the party magician's tricks. Is Eddie in for the wrong kind of birthday surprise?

 

 

 

Crog - By Amanda Mitchison

crogWhen Wilf sees the small, gold-rimmed wooden bowl in the local museum, he’s not sure why he’s so drawn to it – but something about the bowl has him mesmerized, and he just has to take it. Leaving the museum with the bowl under his jacket, he notices two men in dark suits heading purposefully inside, and something tells him he should make a quick exit. The next morning, when Wilf wakes up, there’s a small, pale creature in his room: Crog. Dressed in brown rags, dripping mud and blood, with black stubs for teeth and a grisly rope around his neck, Crog isn’t sure how he ended up here – but he knows it’s because of the bowl. Three thousand years ago, Crog was tasked with protecting the bowl from those who want to use it to gain power, and he failed once. But he won’t fail again. Within minutes, the doorman at Wilf’s apartment building is lying dead, the men in suits closing in. Wilf, Crog and Wilf’s bossy twin sister Ishbel are suddenly on the run – and those who want the bowl are only one step behind.

TEEN - FICTION

Black Dove, White Raven - By Elizabeth Wein

raven and doveThis is a story of survival, subterfuge, espionage and identity. Rhoda and Delia are American stunt pilots who perform daring aerobatics to appreciative audiences. But while the sight of two girls wingwalking - one white, one black - is a welcome novelty in some parts of the USA, it's an anathema in others. Rhoda and Delia dream of living in a world where neither gender nor ethnicity determines their life. When Delia is killed in a tragic accident, Rhoda is determined to make that dream come true. She moves to Ethiopia with her daughter, Em, and Delia's son, Teo. Em and Teo have adapted to scratching a living in a strange land, and feel at home here; but their parents' legacy of flight and the ability to pilot a plane places them in an elite circle of people watched carefully by the Ethiopian emperor, Haile Selassie, who dreams of creating an air force for his fledgling nation. As Italy prepares for its invasion of Ethiopia, Em and Teo find themselves inextricably entangled in the crisis - and they are called on to help.

Under Cover Agent 21 - Chris Ryan

under coverFrankie is a street kid—sharp, quick, and usually up to no good. When he tries to steal from the wrong people, he is saved by a mysterious man called Dara who makes Frankie a compelling offer: an apartment and a sizeable weekly allowance. All he has to do is take lessons from Dara. Soon Frankie finds himself learning about surveillance techniques, how to make himself invisible in a crowd, and hand to hand combat. But what is this all for? Frankie has no idea until he’s given his first mission and finds his whole world turned upside down.

 

 

How to Fly with Broken Wings - By Jane Elson

fly'If Finn Maison shouts jump you jump or you are dead.' Twelve-year-old Willem has Aspergers Syndrome and two main aims in life: to fly and to make at least two friends of his own age. But all the other boys from the Beckham Estate do is make him jump off things. First his desk - and now the wall. As his toes teeter on the edge, Sasha Bradley gives him a tiny little wink. Might she become his friend? Bullied by Finn and his gang the Beckham Estate Boyz, Willem has no choice but to jump. As he flies through the air he flaps his arms, wishing he could fly and escape into the clouds. Instead he comes crashing down and breaks his ankle. Sasha, angry with herself for not stopping Finn and his Boyz, is determined to put things right. And soon, while the gangs riot on their estate, Willem and Sasha form an unlikely friendship. Because they share a secret. Sasha longs to fly too. And when Magic Man Archie arrives with stories of war-flying spitfires, he will change the lives of the kids on the Beckham Estate for ever. And perhaps find a way for Willem and Sasha to fly ...Touching on themes such as friendship and bullying, this is a charming tale about overcoming obstacles and finding friendship in unlikely places.

 

 

Published in Newsletter Archive