Category Archives: Spotlight on Publishers

Bluemoose Books – Q&A

Today I’m pleased to welcome Bluemoose Books to the blog. Bluemoose are an independent publishing company based in Yorkshire. September sees the 10th anniversary of the start of the company so I invited Kevin Duffy, the head of Bluemoose onto the blog to answer a few questions.

1. Tell us a little about Bluemoose Books. Where did the name of the company come from?

Bluemoose Books is an independent publisher based in Hebden Bridge – We started publishing in September 2006 so, it’s our 10th birthday. We publish literary fiction and our authors have won national literary prizes, been short listed for national and international literary prizes. Bluemoose books have been translated into Russian, Bulgarian, Hungarian and Turkish and sold in 52 countries. We’ve sold TV and Film rights to Hollywood and our books regularly get reviewed in the national press.

 I won a national writing competition and was whisked down to London by a Sunday newspaper to be wined and dined at The Ivy with the editorial director of Macmillan and an agent from Curtis Brown. It didn’t go well. 

A year later I read in THE BOOKSELLER that all the big money advances were going to Irish writers so I changed my name to Colm O’Driscoll and sent the first three chapters off to Darley Anderson, Lee Child and Martina Cole’s agent. He tried to get hold of me by phone but of course I didn’t exist, so he wrote a letter. I contacted him but I had to be Irish for a year. I even had to tell my boys that if a posh man from London rings and asks for Colm, that’s me. The things you’ll do to get published. He loved my book and so I signed up to Darley Andersons but they couldn’t sell ANTHILLS and STARS. Nobody was buying comedic fiction. After 12 months I got the book back and moped and moped some more. Hetha, my wife told me to do something about it, so we re-mortgaged the house, started Bluemoose Books, published my novel and a book by a Canadian writer,  Nathan Vanek, called The Bridge Between. We made enough money from these two books to continue and here we are, 10 years later still publishing.

There is a pub called The Blue Pig in Hardcastle Craggs that I go past whilst walking our dog, Eric.  I was reading a book about the history of soul music called Sweet Soul Music by Peter Guralnick and there was a great Sax player called Bull Moose Johnson, and whilst walking past the pub, the name Bluemoose fell out of my head, so Bluemoose Books came into being.

2. Bluemoose is based in Yorkshire. Do you find that there are any benefits or downsides to working outside of London?

I love the fact that I don’t have to be a part of the champagne and peanut trail and lurk in the corners at literary salons in Highgate whilst pretending to read the latest poetry collection from some wunderkind from Madagascar.  I remember being at a swanky literary doo in Holland Park. A lady sidled up to me. She was festooned in pearls and silks and wore a turban. ‘What do you do?’ She said. ‘I’m the sales representative for central London.’ I replied. She took a step back, raised her nose and said.’ You mean you’re not creative!’ And walked off. I followed her and said. ‘If it wasn’t for people like me selling your author’s books, you wouldn’t be able to afford that turban on your head.’ I left shortly afterwards. 

The benefits are that I don’t have to meet these folk anymore and we’re not worried about following trends and what ‘they’ think will work. We can concentrate on what we love, finding great new writers and stories without worrying about all the flummery and white noise that can be a distraction. There are downsides regarding the national press, who are all in London. They still say ridiculous things like, ‘But Kevin you’re not a London publisher.’ Which, I think says more about them. Geography and post codes should not dictate if a story is good or not.

3. How hard is it establishing a foothold in the publishing market as an independent publisher?

It was very difficult in the beginning  to get any traction or coverage. Without the brilliant library services we had 10 years ago and wonderful bookshops, we wouldn’t have survived but since we have won some major literary awards, keep getting short listed for literary prizes and selling books abroad, they have had to take notice. 

At one time you could see the manager of your local Waterstones and sell books that way but now it is all done from head office in London, and that can have its difficulties. But if you produce great new stories that engage and inspire, readers find your books and especially now through social media, traditional media is playing catch up and asking to review books we’ve published months ago.  

4. Do you find that your books sell mainly in the UK or do you get enquires from further afield?

Our books are now sold in 52 countries. The latest being Kazakhstan, Iceland and Greenland. Our digital books are sold via Faber and Faber, and they do a brilliant job. It also means we can sign up to online promotions through Amazon, Kobo, and Apple.

5. One of your latest titles, The Less than Perfect Legend of Donna Creosote by Dan Micklethwaite has been shortlisted for the Guardian’s Not the Booker Prize. What affect has this had on interest in the book and what does it mean to be short-listed?

It gives Dan’s story a national platform and people can also see what other titles we have. Dan’s sales have been absolutely brilliant since the short listing and we have had 3 French publishers and 1 Italian publisher asking to read with a view to buying the translation rights for their territories.

6. How many new titles do you publish a year and what do you look for when selecting a title to publish?

We publish 3 to 4 books a year. This year has been an exception and we’ve published 6. For me publishing is very simple. You simple fall in love with a story, the characters in that story and how they react to situations that are thrown at them. They have to be beautifully written too. We are very democratic, so if all four of us think there is something in a book, we publish and as we all have varying reading tastes it means, hopefully,  that readers will to.

7. Many of your books have a strong connection to the North, and Yorkshire in particular. Do you think that geography has an influence on creativity?

I think we are all shaped by our landscapes. With me it is the landscape of the industrial revolution and what that has meant since the demise of the mills. It engenders a sense of survival and self-reliance on yourself and community with a disregard for those in the metropolis who wrongly think they dictate both culturally and creatively what happens. We just get on and do what we want to do and London and the rest of the country usually catch up in the end.

8. People may be curious to find out more about your submissions criteria. What would be the best way for someone to submit their manuscripts?

If they send the first 3 chapters and synopsis to I’ll have a look at their work. We usually say it will be 12 weeks before we get back to them but it can take longer.

9. Do you have any tips for those wanting to be published?

Write every day, even if it’s only for ten minutes and read, read, read.

10. What are the best things about publishing, and the worst?

The best thing is seeing a manuscript you read a couple of years back finally sitting on a bookshelf as a proper book and receiving great comments from readers who’ve loved it. The worst – trying to convince bank managers that numbers, Venn diagrams and graphs don’t create great stories.


You can find out more about Bluemoose Books and their titles on their website.

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Toppling the TBR pile – Orenda Books


Today’s cause for the imminent collapse of my precariously balanced wishlist is Orenda Books. They launched in 2015 with some terrific titles and it looks like they have some treats in store for the latter half of 2016 after the range of fabulous books they published in the first half of the year. You can read about those here.

July first and the next book from writing duo Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip, writing as Michael Stanley is out. A Death in the Family sees Botswana’s Assistant Superintendent David Kubu Banu defying orders to investigate the murder of his own father. The case reveals corruption, greed and a series of complex murders to challenge the grieving detective.

Also out this month is the next in the Dark Iceland series from Ragnar Jonasson. Blackout is set in between Snowblind and Iceblind and sees Ari Thor investigation the fatal beating of a man. A young reporter has travelled from the capital to do her own investigating. Meanwhile the 24 hour sunlight has been darkened by an ash cloud from a nearby volcano. Can Ari Thor find out who committed the terrible crime? And what secrets is the reporter hiding?

September is a bumper month for bookish treats and includes the publication of Louise Beech’s second novel. In The Mountain in My Shoe Bernadette is about to tell her husband she is leaving him, but on the day in question he fails to return home. So too does Conor, a little boy Bernadette has befriended. Together with Conor’s foster mum, Bernadette must face her past to discover what has happened to her husband and to Conor.

Also out this month is Agnes Ravatn’s The Bird Tribunal. Allis Hagtorn, a TV presenter, leaves her partner and heads to a remote house in the fjords, ostensibly to become housekeeper to a recluse. But her employer Sigurd is not the old man she expected and as they wait for his wife to return their encounters develop into an obsessive relationship.

Michael J Malone’s A Suitable Lie is also out in September. Andy Boyd can’t believe his luck. After being widowed when his wife died in child birth he didn’t think he would find love again. Then he meets Anna. When he ends up in hospital on his wedding night he should have realised thinks weren’t as they seemed with Anna. But he ignores the warning and it seems his dream life could turn into a nightmare.

On to October and fans of The Hummingbird and The Defenceless will be pleased to hear that Kati Hiekkapelto’s latest, The Exile is released. Ana Fekete returns to the Balkan village of her birth. There her purse is stolen and the theif found dead. She is caught up in a murder investigation that involves her family, and the refuge crisis that has engulfed the continent.

Still in October and Antti Toumainen’s The Mine is released. Investigative reporter Janne Vouri heads to a mine in Northern Finland, trying to discover the truth about a mining company who appear to have caused an environmental disaster. But when the mining executives begin to die in a series of accidents and Janne’s life begins to unravel it seems Janne has stumbled across something that could cost him dear.

If that’s not enough I can give you a sneak peek as to what to expect in 2017…

Deep Down Dead by Steph Broadribb sees a female bounty hunter encounter dangers that could threaten not only her life, but that of her daughter.

Sealskin by Su Bristow retells the Selkie legend and a small community’s response to differences and deals the nuances of personal relationships.

Cursed and Killed by Thomas Enger is the next in the Henning Juul series.

The Faithful Friends and The Ice Swimmer are two more books in the Gunnarstranda series by Kjell Ola Dahl.

So there we have it, lots to look forward to from Orenda books. I know which one’s I need to get, what about you?



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Toppling the TBR Pile – Hodder & Stoughton (Autumn-Winter)

So the Autumn/Winter publishers catalogues are appearing and so the threats to the TBR are here again. First up is Hodder and Stoughton whose imprints include Hodder, Hodder Fiction, Mulholland, Sceptre, Coronet. John Murray has imprints including Two Roads, Faith, JM Learning and Nicholas Brealey Publishing and is part of Hodder and Stoughton. This is a round of fiction titles we can expect in the latter half of the year (there may be one or two non-fiction titles thrown in for good measure).

A quick mention for June and the release of the 5th Alice Quentin novel from Kate Rhodes. In Blood Symmetry, Claire Riordan goes for a morning jog with her son Mikey. That afternoon he is found alone and a pack of Claire’s blood is found on a doorstep. Alice Quentin is called in to help the boy tell them what he knows. It soon becomes apparent that Claire isn’t the first to be taken, and won’t be the last. (Mulholland)

Onto July and DCI Banks fans will be pleased to hear that the 23rd novel to feature the detective is published this month. Peter Robinson’s When the Music’s Over finds DI Annie Cabbott investigating the murder of a young girl, who appeared to have been abused and then thrown from a moving van. meanwhile Banks, now Detective Superintendent must look into the case of Linda Palmer who was attacked by celebrity Danny Caxton 50 years ago. Caxton is now at the heart of a historical abuse investigation, an investigation that Banks must oversee. (Hodder & Stoughton)

The third novel by Antonia Hodgson to feature Thomas Hawkins, A Death at Fountains Abbey, is published in July. Tom has been blackmailed into investigating threats of murder against weathly John Aislabie. Tom must find out who is responsible or loose the woman he loves. (Hodder & Stoughton)

I’m Still Here by Clelie Avit and translated by Lucy Foster tells the story of Elsa who has been in a coma for 5 months. Her family and medical team want to switch off life support and Elsa has no way of telling them she can hear them. But then Thibault, who is visiting his brother accidently finds himself in Elsa’s room and begins to visit her. And when he does he believes she can hear him. So begins a love story in which Thibault and Elsa may end up saving each other. (Hodder & Stoughton)

Lie With Me by Sabine Durrant is published this month. You tell a little white lie to an acquaintance, then you are invited to dinner. Soon you accept a holiday invitation. But the holiday is not as perfect as it appears. And it seems that it’s the lies that cause the damage, not the truth…(Mulholland)

Mister Memory by Marcus Sedgwick tells the tale of Marcel Despres, arrested for murdering his wife. He is transferred to the Salpetriere Asylum. His doctor soon realises that Marcel cannot forget anything. And the police officer assigned to the case wonders why his superiors are eager for the case to be closed. Together they must find out the truth. But can Marcel help, when he does not know which moment from all those he can remember are significant or not? (Mulholland)

Revolver by Duane Swierczynski is also out this month. In 1965 two police officers are killed. In 1995 the son of one of the murdered officers, himself a detective, awaits the release of the man who killed his father. In 2015 his daughter reinvestigates her grandfather’s murder. And realises that the man everyone thinks killed those officers years ago is in fact innocent. (Mulholland)

A Life Without You by Katie Marsh is also published in July. Zoe is about to marry Jamie, literally. It’s her wedding day and she receives a phone call to say that her estranged mother, Gina, has been arrested. Zoe and Gina haven’t seen each other in years, not since an incident Zoe blames Gina for. But then when they do meet Gina is very different from how Zoe remembers. Gina is loosing her memory and as Zoe struggles with this she has to face up to her past and hopefully get back to the people she loves. (Hodder & Stoughton)

Also out this month is Dandy Gilver and the Most Misleading Habit by Catriona McPherson, (Hodder & Stoughton), Sons of the Blood by Robyn Young, (Hodder & Stoughton), The Edge of the Light by Elizabeth George, (Hodder & Stoughton) and Marlow’s Landing by Toby Vieria. (John Murray)

August sees the publication of Rise the Dark by Michael Koryta. Mark Novak is an investigator but he’s never been able to look into his wife’s death. That changes when he returns to the scene of her murder and uncovers a clue that may lead back to his childhood in Montana. (Hodder & Stoughton)

Those of you who loved Tana French’s The Secret Place will be glad to know that The Trespasser is out this month. Antoinette Conway is back and working with Stephen Moran. But the rest of work isn’t going well as there is a campaign to get rid of her. Meanwhile her first case with Stephen appears more complex than it first seemed. It appears that someone in Antoinette’s team is trying to push them towards the obvious answer. Is this still part of the drive to get rid of her or something more sinister? (Hodder & Stoughton)

Why Did You Lie? by Ysra Sigurdardottir is also out in August. In this standalone novel a journalist tracking an old case tries to commit suicide. A couple returning from a house swap find their house in a mess and their guests missing. Four strangers huddle on a rock in the middle of the sea. The thing that connects them – they all lied and someone is trying to punish them. (Hodder & Stoughton)

In Poison City by Paul Crilley, Gideon Tau spends his days solving crimes (sometimes by using magic) and spends his free time searching for his daughter’s murderer. Then he sees the man on CCTV footage of a murder. But things are clear cut – the murder victim is his boss, and the murderer not altogether human…(Hodder & Stoughton)

The Countenance Divine by Michael Hughes is out in August. In 1999 a programmer tries to fix the Millennium Bug but feels he has been chosen for something In 1888 five women are killed in the East End by a young man bidden by a mysterious master. In 1777 William Blake has a defining spiritual experience and in 1666 John Milton completes his epic. But there is the feeling that the world is going to end. Where does this feeling come from? (Coronet)

Also out this month is Death in the Tuscan Hills by Marco Vichi (the 5th Inspector Bordelli novel) (Hodder & Stoughton), Acts of Love by Talulah Riley, (Hodder & Stoughton), Recreated by Colleen Houck, (Hodder & Stoughton), Bad Soldier by Chris Ryan, (Coronet)

September arrives and with it so does the latest novel by Alan Titchmarsh. Mr Gandy’s Grand Tour sees newly widowed Timothy Gandy left unexpectedly to his own devices. He decides to set off on a Grand Tour and finds himself changed in the process. (Hodder & Stoughton)

Real Tigers by Mick Herron is also published in September. Slough House is where disgraced spies are sent. When one of the spies is kidnapped by a former soldier the other agents must steal intel to enable his release. They find themselves in the middle of a conspiracy that could threaten MI5. (John Murray)

Also out this month are Username: Regenerated by Joe Sugg, (Hodder & Stoughton), Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor, (Hodder & Stoughton), A City Dreaming by Daniel Polansky (Hodder & Stoughton), Red Right Hand by Chris Holm, (Mulholland), Mistress of the Just Land by David Ashton, (Two Roads) and the paperback edition of The Butcher’s Hook by Janet Ellis. (Two Roads)

The as yet untitled debut novel by Graham Norton is published in October. In the small Irish town of Duneen and a secret unearthed at a building site draws a seemingly mis-matched cast of characters together. What can possibly link a lonely policeman, three spinster sisters and the town gossip? (Hodder & Stoughton)

Replica by Lauren Oliver is the first of a duology. Gemma has been labelled a ‘sickly child’ lonely with only her home, school, and best friend Alice in her life. When she finds out about her father’s link to the secret Haven research facility she decides to find the institute and some answers. Lyra and another experimental subject have escaped Haven. When they meet Gemma, they try to uncover the truth about Haven, and discover shocking secrets in the process. (Hodder & Stoughton)

Don’t Turn Out the Lights by Bernard Minier is out this month. In it Christine finds a suicide note in her mailbox, then a man calling her radio show is convinced she caused someone to die. Commandant Martin Servaz is on leave when he receives a key card to a room where an artist committed suicide. Is someone driving women to kill themselves. They are both about to find out. (Mulholland)

Fans of The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet will be delighted to hear that the standalone sequel by Becky Chambers is out this month. A Closed and Common Orbit sees Lovelace, once a ship’s AI now a person in a new body and the universe is now even more confusing. Lovey will discover with her friend Pepper that it is though, not as empty as it appears. (Hodder & Stoughton)

Also out this month is Inferno by Julian Stockwin, (Hodder & Stoughton), Secrets at the Village School by Gervase Phinn, (Hodder & Stoughton) and The Whistler by John Grisham. (Hodder & Stoughton)

On to November and Jodi Picoult fans will be pleased to hear that her latest novel, Small Great Things is published this month. Ruth was raised the daughter of a black woman in a white household. Now a nurse, she believes such inequality is in the past. But then the child of a white supremacist couple stops breathing and Ruth has to decide between her vocational oath or the hospital’s edict that no one of colour treat the child. The decision may cost her more than she thinks. (Hodder & Stoughton)

Also out this month are The Screaming Statue, the second in the Curiosity House series from Lauren Oliver and H.C.Chester, (Hodder & Stoughton) and Ruler of the Night by David Morrell. (Mulholland)

Published in December are The Sun’s Domain by Rebecca Levene, (Hodder & Stoughton) and Expecting to Die by Lisa Jackson, (Mulholland)

Throughout July to September Hodder & Stoughton will be reissuing the novels of Jeffery Deaver, in paperback with new covers. The books to be reissued are:

Standalone novels –

Mistress of Justice, The Lesson of Her Death, Praying for Sleep, Speaking in Tongues, A Maiden’s Grave, The Devil’s Teardrop, The Blue Nowhere, Garden of Beasts, The Bodies Left Behind, Edge and The October List.

The Rune series –

Manhattan is my Beat, Death of a Blue Movie Star and Hard News.

The Location Scout series –

Shallow Graves, Bloody River Blues and Hell’s Kitchen.

The Lincoln Rhyme Thrillers –

The Bone Collector, The Coffin Dancer, The Empty Chair, The Stone Monkey, The Vanished Man, The Twelfth Card, The Cold Moon, The Broken Window, The Burning Wire, The Kill Room and The Skin Collector.

The Kathryn Dance Thrillers –

The Sleeping Doll, Roadside Crosses and XO.

Short Stories –

Twisted, More Twisted and Trouble in Mind.

Throughout August to December Hodder & Stoughton will be reissuing the Lord Peter Wimsey mystery novels by Dorothy L Sayers. The titles are Whose Body?, Clouds of Witness, Unnatural Death, Lord Peter Views the Body, The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club, Strong Poison, The Documents in the Case, Five Red Herrings, Have his Carcase, Hangman’s Holiday, Murder must Advertise, The Nine Tailors, Gaudy Night, Busman’s Honeymoon, In the Teeth of the Evidence and Striding Folly.

Throughout December Hodder & Stoughton will be reissuing Mary Stewart’s novels in celebration of the one hundredth anniversary of her birth. The novels to be reissued are:

Madam, Will You Talk, Wildfire at Midnight, Thunder on the Right, Nine Coaches Waiting, My Brother Michael, The Ivy Tree, The Moon-Spinners, This Rough Magic, Airs Above the Ground, The Gabriel Hounds, Touch Not the Cat, Thornyhold, Stormy Petrel, Rose Cottage, The Crystal Cave, The Hollow Hills, The Last Enchantment, The Wicked Day and The Prince and the Pilgrim.

Between October and February 2017 Mulholland will be publishing the Hap and Leonard series by Joe R Lansdale. The titles include: Savage Season, Mucho Mojo, The Two-Bear Mambo, Bad Chilli, Rumble Tumble, Vanilla Ride, Devil Red, Honky Tonk Samurai and Rusty Puppy.

Non-fiction during the remainder of 2016 sees books from Miranda Hart, Joe Lycett, Kevin Hart, Ranulph Fiennes, Alexander Armstrong and Richard Osman, Susie Dent, Trevor Noah and The Last Leg. Cookery wise there will be Made in Spain by Miriam Gonzalez Durantez, The Great British Bake Off at Home by Linda Collister and Eat.Live.Go by Donal Skehan, Go Lean Vegan by Christine Bailey, Deliciously Ella and Deliciously Ella Everyday by Ella Woodward and The Sirt Food Diet by Aiden Goggins and Glen Matten

So there we have it, a whole host of books which should cover a variety of tastes. I know what I want to add to the TBR. What about you, what has caught your eye?




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Toppling the TBR Pile – Cornerstone Publishing 2016 titles

Today, the to read pile is wobbling precariously thanks to Cornerstone Publishing. Part of the Random House group, Cornerstone has imprints including Century, Arrow, Hutchinson, Windmill and William Heineman. They also happen to publish some of my favourite authors, whose work I always have to read, but I’ve not let that influence me in any way…

January opens with a treat for Helen Dunmore fans. Exposure is set in 1960 during the Cold War. Simon Callington is arrested when a highly sensitive file goes missing, accused of passing information to the Soviets. His wife Lily thinks his imprisonment is part of a cover-up and knows both she and her children are in danger. She doesn’t know the truth about Simon’s past however, and that he may be hiding a bigger crime that carries a greater penalty. (Hutchinson)

Grieving mother Charlie Cates has vivid dreams about children in Hester Young’s The Gates of Evangeline out this month. She thinks at first that she is hallucinating but comes to realise the dreams are messages that will help her and the children she sees. Her dreams take her from New York to Louisiana where she takes on the job of writing a true-crime book based on the kidnapping of Gabriel Deveau 30 years ago. As she investigates she uncovers secrets of love, money, murder and betrayal. (Arrow)

Grange Hill and Hollyoaks creator Phil Redmond’s novel Highbridge is published this month. Three years ago Janey Nolan was murdered in the centre of town. Her murder is still unsolved. Tired of waiting for the case to be solved and sick of the dealers hanging around the school gates, Janey’s brothers want to avenge her death. Sean opts for using political power whilst Joey chooses a more direct course of action on the streets. But can they find the killer without bring danger to the town? (Century)

The Passion of Mademoiselle S edited by Jean-Yves Berthault is a collection of letters from 1928 to 1930 written by a young woman believed to have been called Simone. Detailing her affair with a married man they paint a picture of a woman, sexually aware, with an obsessive and destructive love. Seen by some as a woman who challenges preconceptions of female sexuality during the 1920’s this is a portrait of a woman and her love affair which develops in shocking and unexpected ways. (William Heinemann)

The Witness by Stephen Kernick sees Jane Kinnear enter witness protection after she sees her lover, who was a MI5 informant, murdered. DI Ray Mason is in charge of preventing a terrorist attack, an attack that Jane’s lover had important information about. But can Mason be trusted? Jane thinks she is protected in the safe house. But she doesn’t know that the killer knows who she is and where she is hiding. (Century) (The paperback is released by Arrow in June)

The Aquarium by David Vann is also published in January. Nine year old Caitlin spends nearly every afternoon at the local aquarium whilst her mother works overtime. Caitlin’s whole world are her mum, her school, occasionally her mum’s boyfriends and the fish in the aquarium. She has no friends at schools except Shalini, and no other family. But Caitlin has made a friend at the aquarium. An old man who seems to know something about Caitlin, something she doesn’t even know about herself. (Windmill)

Also out this month is Star Wars: The Force Awakens by Alan Dean Foster, (Century), Shame and Wonder, a collection of essays from David Searcy, (William Heinemann), Kingmaker: Broken Faith by Toby Clements, (Arrow), Sweet Memories of You by Ellie Dean, (Arrow), Star Wars: Lord of the Sith by Paul S. Kemp, (Arrow), Murder D.C. by Neely Tucker, (Windmill) and Trace Evidence by Kathy Reichs and Brendan Reichs. (Young Arrow)

Onto February and two books I am particularly excited about. Katie Fforde’s A Summer at Sea tells the story of Emily, a happily single midwife who’s looking for a bit of a change. When her friend Rebecca asks her to spend the summer cooking on a ‘puffer’ boat off the Scottish coast she jumps at the chance. But it turns out Rebecca is heavily pregnant and expects Emily to do most of the work and the kitchen assistant is jealous and thinks she should be head-cook instead of Emily. Then there’s Alistair, the handsome local doctor Emily is trying not to notice. Because if she falls for him, as he appears to be falling for her, will she want her old life back? (Century) You can read my review of Katie’s previous novel A French Affair. Katie’s novel, A Vintage Affair, is also out in paperback this month. Beth, Lindy and Rachel are looking for a new beginning so they set up a business organising vintage weddings. Soon they are busy organising other people’s big days but none of them know that romance waits for them around the corner. (Arrow)

The Girl Who Came Back by Susan Lewis is out this month. Jules Bright is surprised to open the door one day to a detective bringing news she had feared. Amelia Quentin is to be released from prison. As Jules’ friends and family gather to support her. They know that justice was never served and each one of them wants to make Amelia pay. But what will Jules do. And which of them – her or Amelia, have the most to fear? (Century)

Confessions of a Tinderella is the true recollections of Rosy Edwards. In her book, out in February, she talks about the dates she goes on after swiping through the dating app. Honest and funny, it is described as a story to show that the key to a successful love life could be just a swipe away. (Arrow)

Carys Bray’s collection of short stories, Sweet Home, is published this month. This collections together joy, heartache and love through seventeen stories each with different interpretations of home. (Windmill)

The Shore by Sarah Taylor has been sat on my to read pile for a while and I’ll make sure to read it before the paperback is published in February. The Shore is a collection small islands off the coast of Virginia. The book is the interconnecting stories of two families, showing the small miracles and mysteries of the community and the bonds of blood and fate that bind them all. (Windmill)

Also out this month is Armada by Ernest Cline, (Arrow), No Place to Hide by Susan Lewis, (Arrow) and This is Your Life, Harriet Chance! by Jonathan Evison. (Windmill)

March and a new Harlan Coben novel to enjoy. In Fool Me Once a husband is murdered, his wife a witness. But what happens when she spots him on her nanny cam? She thought she trusted him but now she can’t even trust herself. (Century)

Siren by Annemarie Neary is out this month. Roisin Burns has spent twenty years building a life based on lies. Then a figure from her Belfast past appears on screen. Brian Lonergan has reinvented himself as a politician. But trouble is brewing in Ireland and Roisin knows the truth about Brian. Travelling from New York to Ireland, Roisin is on the hunt for Brian. But he is one step ahead and has someone waiting for her when she arrives. (Hutchinson)

The Accidental Agent by Andrew Rosenheim is also published in March. It is 1942 and James Nessheim is back at college, believing he has left his past as a spy behind him. However he is persuaded to help the FBI when a covert nuclear programme at the University of Chicago is infiltrated. At the same time an old flame returns. Is her appearance a coincidence? As Nessheim struggles to protect the biggest secret of the war he has to work out who he can trust. (Hutchinson)

Non- fiction and The Pursuit of Happiness: And Why It’s Making Us Anxious by Ruth Whippman is also out this month. Ruth finds that wherever she goes in California, people tell her they are looking to be happier. Could she be happier if she tried? She discovers that the more people look to be happier, the less likely they are to actually be happy and looks as to whether there are more effective, less self-involved ways of finding happiness. (Hutchinson)

Donna Leon is one of the authors whose novels I always eagerly await and have to read. Falling in Love is published in paperback this month. The 24th Guido Brunetti mystery sees the return of Flavia Petrelli, the opera singer Brunetti met in the first novel of the series, Death in La Fenice. Being a famous opera star Flavia is used to attention. But when one fan inundates her with yellow flowers, including in her locked apartment, it becomes clear that the fan has become stalker. Distraught she turns to Brunetti and when a young opera singer is attacked he believes her fears are founded. Brunetti must track down the stalker before anyone else comes to harm. (Arrow)

A non-fiction title and being from the region, I am keen to read is Common Ground by Rob Cowen. After moving to Yorkshire from Londo, Rob finds himself penned in, yearning for open space. So he sets out to find some one night and comes across a pylon-slung piece of land with a scrap of wood, meadow, field and river on the outskirts of town. Revisiting Rob documents the changes to the land through time and season. He unearths histories that echo events in his own life. A book about how a man came to know himself by unlocking a piece of nature and how nature isn’t just found in some remote mountain. (Windmill)

Also out in March is Hunting the Eagles by Ben Kane, (Preface), A Girl’s Guide to Moving On by Debbie Macomber, (Arrow), The Glory by Katie Flynn writing as Judith Saxton, (Arrow), Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter, (Arrow), The Girl From Nowhere by Dorothy Koomson, (Arrow), Springtime at Cherry Tree Farm by Cathy Woodman, (Arrow), Star Wars: Dark Disciple by Christie Golden, (Arrow) and The Sunshine Cruise Company by John Niven. (Windmill)

April and another novel I’m eager to read is published. In Emma Kavanagh’s The Missing Hours, Selena Cole vanishes from the playground. Twenty-four hours later she is found safe and well but without any memory of this time she was missing. What happened and is there a link to a murder discovered nearby? Click on the titles to read my reviews of Emma’s previous novels Falling and Hidden. (Century)

Also out in April is The Sunlight Pilgrims by Jenni Fagan. Set in a Scottish caravan park during a freak winter it tells the story of a small community having to live through what many believe is the end of times. Bodies are found frozen in the street, schools and health care are run by volunteers. Dylan, a refuge from London is newly arrived and grieving his mother and grandmother. Under the aurora borealis he meets Constance, her daughter Stella and Barnacle, who is so crippled he walks facing the earth. As the temperature drops life goes on… (William Heinemann)

Being a huge Donna Leon fan (see above) I’m eager for April to arrive so I can read The Waters of Eternal Youth. The 25th Brunetti novel finds the Commissario investigating a cold case at the request of a friend of his mother-in-law. Fifteen years ago the granddaughter of Contessa Lando-Continui was found drowning in a canal. Rescued before she died she suffered severe brain damage. Now 30, Manuela cannot remember the accident and lives trapped in an eternal youth. The Contessa, convinced this was no accident, asks Brunetti to find the culprit. Re-opening the case, to the annoyance of his boss, Brunetti finds a dark and murky history behind the incident. (William Heinemann)

The Cauliflower by Nicola Barker is out this month. Sri Ramakrishna is many things to many people. To the world he is godly avatar and guru, to Rani he is Brahmin fated to defy tradition. And to Hriday he is Uncle. Uncle who is prone to trances at inconvenient times, known for dangerous acts of self-effacement and who must be protected from jealous enemies and from the cauliflower. (William Heinemann)

Also out this month is The Heat of Betrayal by Douglas Kennedy, (Arrow), The Nurses of Steeple Street by Donna Douglas, (Arrow) and The Slaughter Man by Tony Parsons. (Arrow)

We come to May and In Too Deep by Samantha Hayes is published. Your husband disappears. Months later you and your daughter are put in danger. Even if he was alive your husband couldn’t save you, he’s told too many lies for that. (Century)

The third book in the DC Max Wolfe series, The Hanging Club by Tony Parsons, is out this month. A gang of vigilante executioners are roaming the streets of London. The target: a gang member that groomed and abused dozens of girls, a drunk driver who ran over a child and a hate preacher calling for the murder of British troops. As the body count rises DC Wolfe has to hunt down the group many think of as heroes. And discovers the desire for revenge can start close to home. (Century)

The Umbrian Thursday Night Supper Club by Marlena De Blasi, is a true story of five Italian women who meet every Thursday, where they cook together, drink wine and talk. They tell their life stories, of love, aging, abandonment, tales of mafia grudges and family feuds and share recipes passed down the ages from ancestors. (Windmill)

A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding by Jackie Copleton is also out this month. Amaterasu Takahasi has spent her life grieving for her daughter and grandson who were killed when the atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. Now a widow in the US she believes that one man is responsible for her loss, the doctor who caused a rift between her and her daughter. But then a man claiming to be her grandson turns up and she is forced to relive the past and realise that if she had loved her daughter differently then she would have been alive today. (Windmill)

Also published in May is When I was Invisible by Dorothy Koomson. Two girls with identical names meet and make friends in a ballet class in 1988, destined, they believe, to become professional dancers and friends for life. Years later one has entered a convent, the other is a minor celebrity. Are these the lives they were meant to live or after being reunited after twenty years, will they find any salvation? (Century)

The House at the Edge of Night by Catherine Banner is also out in May. A crumbling house, said to have survived four earthquakes, sits on the island of Castellamare. Fascinated with the building, said to be cursed, local doctor Amedeo Esposito sets out to restore it. It was home to four generations of the Esposito’s, has seen feuds, friendships and love affairs. And is a place alive with legends, stories and miracles. (Hutchinson)

The Girls by Lisa Jewell is released in paperback this month. In a communal garden square people think that their children are safe to run free, that they can trust anyone. But then a girl is found unconscious in a dark corner of the square. What really happened and who is responsible? (Arrow)

Also out this month is Fire by C.C. Humphreys, (Century), Undercover by John Carter, (Century), The Cartel by Don Winslow, (Arrow), A House Divided: An Easterleigh Hall Novel by Margaret Graham, (Arrow) and The Clasp by Sloane Crosley. (Windmill)

On to June and Arrowood by Laura McHugh is published. Arrowood is an ornate and beautiful historic house on the Mississippi river. It has its secrets, ten years ago two young girls were kidnapped from there and never seen again. Arden has inherited Arrowood and returns to her childhood home to discover what really happened to her sisters. The truth is more devastating than she can imagine. (Century)

New from Carys Bray is The Museum of You. Clover Quinn was an accident. She like to think she was the happy kind of accident but now she’s not too sure. She’d like to ask her dad but tries not to skate on the thin ice of his sad memories. He rarely mentions her mother but the spare bedroom contains all of her possessions. So while dad is work Clover will unpack her mothers belongings and curate an exhibition. This time it’s her turn to surprise him. (Hutchinson)

In Baby Doll by Hollie Overton, Lily has escaped her captor, having been held for eight years, suffering mental and physical abuse. This is the story of what happens next. About bringing her kidnapper to justice and the difficulty of re-connecting with her family. (Century)

Perhaps the most famous book to hit the shelves in recent years, Go Set a Watchman by the inimitable Harper Lee is released in paperback this month. Much has been said about this novel, incorrectly labelled as a sequel to the sublime To Kill A Mockingbird. I have to read the tale of a grown up Scout, returning home after twenty years to visit an elderly Atticus. I’ll leave it to you to create your own opinion of Go Set a Watchman. (Arrow)

Also out this month is Kingmaker 3: Unquiet Souls by Toby Clements, (Century), House of Bones by Annie Hauxwell, (Arrow) and Dictator by Robert Harris, (Arrow).

If you are a James Patterson fan there are a plethora of books from him and various collaborators throughout the first half of the year.

NYPD Red 4 with Marshall Karp – January (Century)

Private Sydney with Kathryn Fox – January (Arrow)

I Funny TV with Chris Grabenstein – January (Young Arrow)

First Love with Emily Raymond – January (Young Arrow)

15th Affair with Maxine Paetro – February (Century)

Truth or Dare with Howard Roughan – February (Arrow)

Miracle at Augusta with Peter De Jonge- March (Arrow)

Jacky Ha-Ha with Chris Grabenstein – April (Young Arrow)

Alert with Michael Ledwidge – April (Arrow)

Middle School: Just My Rotten Luck (Middle School 7) with Chris Tennetts – May (Young Arrow)

Daniel X: Lights Out (Daniel X 6) with Chris Grabenstein – May (Young Arrow)

Private Rio with Mark Sullivan – June (Century)

Murder House with David Ellis – June (Arrow)

So there we have them, a whole cornucopia of delights to appeal to any bookish tastes. I know what I have my eye on (and you may have an idea from from what I’ve said too) What catches your eye?

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Toppling the TBR pile – Hodder and Stoughton and John Murray 2016 titles

So the first publisher to cause the to read pile to wobble this year is Hodder and Stoughton whose imprints include Hodder, Hodder Fiction, Mulholland, Sceptre, Coronet. John Murray has imprints including Two Roads, Faith, JM Learning and Nicholas Brealey Publishing and is part of Hodder and Stoughton.

January is here and with it the publication of Dead Pretty by David Mark. The fifth story to feature DS McAvoy, Dead Pretty sees the Detective Sergeant looking into the murder of Ava Delaney and the disappearance of Hannah Kelly. He’s determined to see that justice is done. But others have their own idea of justice. (Mulholland)

The Words in my Hand by Guinevere Glasfurd is the re-imagined true story of Helan Jans, a Dutch maid in 17th Century Amsterdam and a mysterious lodger called Rene Descartes. Helena, desperate to write creates ink from beetroot and uses her body as paper. Interspersed with her story is that of Descartes and it is Helena who he seeks out. But in a world where reputation is everything, some things must remain secret. (Two Roads)

Blackout by Sarah Hepola is out this month. Sarah’s life was fuelled by alcohol. There was a price to pay – blackouts, blank spaces where four hours should be. Blackout tells of Sarah’s new adventure, the sober life she never wanted. (Two Roads)

Out in paperback this month is Ali Knight’s The Silent Ones. Darren was only eleven when his sister and her four friends vanished. A woman, Olivia Duvall, admitted to their murders but refused to say where they were buried. Years later Darren gets a job at the psychiatric hospital where Olivia is detained, determined to find out the truth. (Hodder fiction)

Non-fiction this time and Walking the Himalayas by Levison Wood. Recounting his trek walking the length of the Himalayas, along the silk route in Afghanistan and travelling through five countries Levison Wood details the bonds he made with local guides and inhabitants and reveals the history of the mountains. (Hodder and Stoughton)

Another non-fiction title that catches the eye is The Lovers by Rod Nordland. This tells the true story of Zakia and Mohammed, a couple from opposing ethnic sects who leave behind everything they know and risk their lives for their love for each other. A love story told against the backdrop of the practices Afghan women are subjected to. (Hodder and Stoughton)

Also out in January is The Punch by Noah Hawley, (Hodder and Stoughton), The Power by Jennifer L. Armentrout, (Hodder and Stoughton), Dragon Soul: Dragon Fall 3 by Kate MacAlister, (Hodder and Stoughton), The Night Charter by Sam Hawken, (Mulholland), Dinosaurs on another Planet by Danielle McLaughlin, (John Murray), Death is a Welcome Guest by Louise Walsh, (John Murray) and Deathlist: A Strikeback Novel by Chris Ryan. (Coronet)

February sees the publication of Sophie Hannah’s The Narrow Bed. The tenth instalment in the Culver Valley series sees the police investigating a series of murders carried out by a killer dubbed Billy Dead Mates. Billy is killing pairs of best friends, each victim receiving a small white book before they are murdered. The police have no idea what the book means until a woman comes forward. Kim was given a small white book containing four words a year ago. She has no friends so she doesn’t know why Billy has picked her. Or why she isn’t dead yet. (Hodder and Stoughton)

The debut novel from former TV presenter Janet Ellis, The Butcher’s Hook is published this month. It is 1763 and 19 year old Anne Jacob meets Fub, the butcher’s apprentice. However her parents have already chosen her a more suitable husband. Anne though is a determined young woman and has no fear in pursuing her own happiness. Even if that means she’ll get blood on her hands in the process. (Two Roads)

The fifth Inspector Bordelli novel, Death in the Tuscan Hills by Marco Vichi is published in February. Bordelli is still reeling from an investigation that went drastically wrong. Resigning from the force he leaves Florence for the Tuscan hills. But the case haunts him. And then he is offered the chance of retribution. (Hodder and Stoughton)

February also sees the publication of The Hollow Men by Rob McCarthy. Dr Harry Kent is a police surgeon, used to dealing with minor injuries and mental health assessments. But then Harry is called in to treat Solomon Idris, who has taken eight people hostage. The siege goes horribly wrong and then when Solomon’s life is threatened on the critical care ward, it becomes clear he knows something people are willing to kill to keep secret. Harry is determined to uncover the truth but comes to quickly realise someone is willing to break the doctors’ commandment of ‘do no harm’. (Mulholland)

Also out in February are The Devil’s Anvil by Matt Hilton, (Hodder and Stoughton), Star: Red Rising Trilogy 3 by Pierce Brown, (Hodder and Stoughton), The Reaction by Helena Coggan, (Hodder and Stoughton), the untitled new novel from Sarah Addison Allen,  (Hodder and Stoughton), Real Tigers by Mick Herron, (John Murray), The Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney, (John Murray), The Secret in Their Eyes by Eduardo Sacheri, (John Murray), The New Contingent by Anna Metcalfe, (John Murray), At the Water’s Edge by Sara Gruen, (Two Roads) and Honky Tonk Samurai by Joe R. Lansdale. (Mulholland)

March and the twelfth Lincoln Rhyme novel,  The Steel Kiss by Jeffery Deaver is published. As Ameila Sachs chases a killer through a department store an escalator gives way. Sachs helps those trapped in the machine, loosing the killer in the process. Was the elevator crash an accident or did the killer have a hand in it? Sachs and Rhyme investigate to find out the truth, before more people die. (Hodder and Stoughton)

Church of Marvels by Leslie Parry is published this month. Sylvian Threadgill is a solider who pulls out a terrible secret from the hollows. Odile and Belle are part of a Coney Island sideshow. Alphie is a young woman who wakes up in Blackwell’s Lunatic Asylum. One night these four people’s lives become entwined. (Two Roads)

The paperback edition of The Loney by Andrew Michael Hurley is published in March. The winner of the Costa First Book award 2015 it best that I quote the blurb and let you investigate the mystery of the book yourself, as will I. “Two brothers. One mute, the other his lifelong protector. Year after year, their family visits the same sacred shrine on a desolate strip of coastline known as the Loney, in desperate hope of a cure. In the long hours of waiting, the boys are left alone. And they cannot resist the causeway revealed with every turn of the treacherous tide, the old house they glimpse at its end . . .Many years on, Hanny is a grown man no longer in need of his brother’s care. But then the child’s body is found. And the Loney always gives up its secrets, in the end.” (John Murray)

Tell Me Lies by Rebecca Muddiman is also published this month. Laura James’s ex-boyfriend has been found buried in her back garden. DI Gardner thinks it’s an open and shut case. But he doesn’t anticipate the interference of Laura’s father. Or of the secrets that those involved want to hide. (Mulholland)

The Hope Family Calendar by Mike Gayle is out in March. Since his wife Laura died, Tom Hope has been heart-broken. His mother-in-law Linda has been there to pick up the pieces and help raise his daughters. In an attempt to make Tom reconnect with his children Linda leaves for Australia. Will Tom fall back into grief or become the father his girls need? (Hodder and Stoughton)

The Secret Lore of London edited by John Matthews and with a foreword by Peter Ackroyd is a guide to the legends of London and in its collection of essays and writings it explores the secrets of the city. (Coronet)

Also out this month is The Vatican Princess by C.W. Gortner, (Hodder and Stoughton), Altar of Blood: Empire IX by Anthony Riches, (Hodder and Stoughton), The Empty Throne: Those Below by Daniel Polansky, (Hodder and Stoughton) and Dreamland by Robert L. Anderson. (Hodder and Stoughton)

April and we have a new novel from another best selling author. John Connolly’s A Time of Torment is the fourteenth Charlie Parker novel. Jerome Burnel was a hero. He prevented multiple killings and in doing so he was imprisoned and brutalised. Before he dies he tells Charlie Parker his story, of those who tormented him and a hidden entity. Parker travels to an isolated location to track down the men who rule by murder. And to find the being they serve. (Hodder and Stoughton)

Hex by Thomas Olde Heuvelt is published this month. Black Springs, Hudson Valley seems picturesque. But it is haunted by the Black Rock Witch, a seventeenth century woman who has her eyes and mouth sown shut. She wanders through town and enters homes at will. The towns residents have almost forgotten she is there and forgotten the threat she poses. The legend is that if the stiches on her mouth and eyes are ever cut the whole town will die. The town elders have the town in lockdown. Frustrated at this, the town’s teenagers go viral about the haunting. And then the nightmare begins. (Hodder and Stoughton)

The Puppet Maker by Danielle Ramsey is the fifth DI Jack Brady novel. No one knew about the killer named the Puppet Maker until DI Brady found his victims. Each body was identical and each one altered. Now that the crimes are revealed Brady knows the killer will destroy the evidence, including his latest captive. Brady must uncover the identity of a killer hidden for 20 years. And whose victims were never missed. (Mulholland)

Also out this month is the fourth instalment in the new series from Lindsey Davis, Graveyard of the Hesperides, (Hodder and Stoughton), The 14th Colony by Steve Berry, (Hodder and Stoughton), The Edge of the Light by Elizabeth George, (Hodder and Stoughton), Long Dark Dusk: The Australia Trilogy 2 by J.P. Smythe,  (Hodder and Stoughton), The Weekend Wives by Christina Hopkinson, (Hodder and Stoughton), Life Before Him by Kay Langdale, (Hodder and Stoughton) and Revolver by Duane Swiercsynski. (Mulholland)

We come to May and Redemption Road by John Hart is released. Elizabeth Black is a hero who saved a young girl from a locked cellar and shot dead the kidnappers. But she has a secret and in the small town where the story is set, she’s not the only one. (Hodder and Stoughton)

John Grisham fans will be eager for May to arrive as the as yet untitled new novel featuring Theodore Boone is published. (Hodder and Stoughton)

Four Inspector McLevey novels by David Ashton are published in May, Shadow of the Serpent, Fall from Grace, A Trick of the Light and Nor Will He Sleep. (Two Roads)

Sockpuppet by Matthew Blakstad is also out in May. In today’s social media heavy society everything can be shared. But what happens when state secrets are leaked online? An online celebrity called sic_girl is doing just this and politician Bethany Leherer and programmer Danielle Farr are the ones who have to find out why. The trouble is sic_girl isn’t real, she is simply a program created to test code. So who is behind sic_girl and why? (Hodder and Stoughton)

The Perplexing Theft of the Jewel in the Crown by Vaseem Khan is also out this month. The Koh0-i-Noor diamond has been coveted by many over the centuries and now sits as part of the Crown Jewels. When the famous Crown goes on display in Mumbai security is tight. But on the day Inspector Chopra goes to view the jewel it is stolen right from under his nose. The hunt is on for the thieves and when an old friend of Chopra’s is accused he takes on the case. Accompanied by baby elephant Ganesha, he soon comes to realise that this more than just a case of greed. (Mulholland)

The final instalment in the Ibis trilogy, Flood of Fire by Amitav Gosh is also out this month. (John Murray)

Also out in May is Souls of Air by Mons Kallentoft, (Hodder and Stoughton), Children of Earth and Sky by Guy Gavriel Kay, (Hodder and Stoughton), the as yet untitled novel by Jasmine Warga,  (Hodder and Stoughton), Second Lives: The Timebomb Trilogy Book 2 by Scott K. Andrews, (Hodder and Stoughton), A Dying Breed by Peter Hanington, (Two Roads) and SEAL Team Six Book 6: Hunt the Dragon by Don Mann with Ralph Pezzullo. (Mulholland)

So we get to June and the publication of The Empathy Problem by Gavin Extence. Gabriel is given months to live. He has a brain tumour. The thing is the tumour is having an extraordinary effect on Gabriel. It is making him less selfish, less mercenary and more likeable. But as he becomes nicer and more likeable he comes closer to death, and the reader becomes more desperate for him to survive. (Hodder and Stoughton)

Deadly Secrets by Britta Bolt is also out this month. As Amsterdam gets busier as it hosts the Earth 2050 conference Pieter Posthumus is thankful for a quiet time at work. Until his friend’s former colleague is left for dead and Pieter agrees to look into the case. Memories of his time as a student radical re-emerge. Amsterdam attracts people with fierce views. Is someone willing to take things further and kill? (Mulholland)

Roald Dahl, A Life in Letters by Donald Sturrock is published this month. On the 100th anniversary of his birth this book is a collection of correspondence written by the legendary author. They cover a range of topics from the delights of childhood to flying as a WWII fighter pilot, from meeting presidents and movie stars to how to make friends. (John Murray)

Lie With Me by Sabine Durrant tells the tale of Paul. Running out of money and chances he clings onto his new relationship as a way out of his problems. Alice is unlike his previous girlfriends – wealthy, lonely and driven. When she invites Paul to Greece with her Paul is determined to make it work. But Paul isn’t the only one with a plan and Paul begins to realise his dreams of a new life could become a nightmare. (Mulholland)

Also out this month is Corpus by Rory Clements. It is 1936 and Europe is unaware of the horrors of war that are to come. In Berlin a young woman saves a Jewish dissident. In London, two men share a vital message. An elderly couple are discovered murdered in Cambridge. Thomas Wilde, an expert on Elizabethan spy networks uncovers a conspiracy that reaches to the highest levels in the Government. (Hodder and Stoughton)

In The Month of the Midnight Son by Cecilia Ekback is set in Sweden in 1855. There has been a massacre on a mountain. A murderer is in custody but refuses to talk. The Minister of Justice sends his son-in-law, Magnus to investigate, accompanied by his wife. There they will discover more about the murders and themselves. And realise self knowledge can come at a price. (Hodder and Stoughton)

Lucy Dillon’s All I Ever Wanted is also published in June. Nancy is four and talks constantly. That is until her parents split up. Then she stops talking. Eva is forty-four. When her husband dies she is left alone with his diaries, their dogs and with the thought she may have sacrificed more than she intended. A trust forms between Nancy and her aunt Eva, who realises too late she wants the love of a child. (Hodder and Stoughton)

Jasper Fforde fans will be pleased to hear that the Thursday Next creator’s first standalone novel is published this month. Early Riser is set in a world where all humans must enter a dreamless state to hibernate through the harsh winter, watched over by a group of Sleep Marshalls. Junior Sleep Marshall John Fugue is in a forgotten outpost. Then he hears of a viral dream that is spreading, causing paranoia and psychosis, and murder. When he awakes from his own Sleepstate he discovers all those who knew about the dream are gone. And that he can recall part of the dream, which shouldn’t be possible. (Hodder and Stoughton)

That Summer at Skylark Farm by Sarah Vaughan is published in June. In 1939 Will and Alice are evacuated to Cornwall. There they enjoy a childhood protected from the war. In 1943 something happens that has tragic consequences. 70 years later Alice is determined to make amends. 2014 and Lucy flees her childhood home, with her marriage and career in tatters. Can she rebuild herself and the family farm and help her grandmother, haunted by a secret, to finally find peace? (Hodder and Stoughton)

Motherland by Jo McMillan is set in 1978. Jess is the daughter of the only communist in town. When her mother is invited to East Germany teach, they find themselves heroes on the other side of the Iron Curtain. When Jess’ mother meets Peter it seems a new life is possible. But the Cold War has no time for love and trouble starts. (John Murray)

Also out this month is Agent of Rome: The Earthly Gods by Nick Brown, (Hodder and Stoughton), the untitled novel from Elin Hilderbrand, (Hodder and Stoughton), The Second Girl by David Swinson, (Mulholland), The Good Guy by Susan Beale, (John Murray), The Bed Moved by Rebecca Schiff, (John Murray) and We Were Kings by Thomas O’Malley and Douglas Graham Purdy. (Mulholland)

And a sneaky peek into the latter part of the year…

In July Marlow’s Landing by Toby Vieria is published. (John Murray)

Out in August is the as yet untitled new novel by Colleen Houck. (Hodder and Stoughton)

Also out this month is The Real Liddy James by Anne-Marie Casey. Liddy James is a top divorce attorney, a best selling author and mother. Suddenly her perfect life isn’t so perfect. As her world unravels Liddy takes her sons and runs away to Ireland for the summer. There she discovers just exactly who the real Liddy James is. (Hodder and Stoughton)

So there we have it, a whole host of bookish goodies to look forward to. I know what I’m looking forward to. What about you?



Filed under Spotlight on Publishers

Toppling the TBR pile – Little, Brown 2016 titles

So to the next culprits to cause the TBR pile to sway precariously. Little, Brown publish under a number of imprints including Corsair, Constable. Blackfriars, Sphere, Abacus, Atom, Piatkus, Piaktus Entice, Virago, Orbit and Little, Brown. Lets take a look at the treats they have lined up for the first half of 2016.

The New Year brings with it new books including The Expatriates by Janice Y.K. Lee. Set in Hong Kong, this is the story of three women, Mercy, Margaret and Hilary. The individual stories of the three women, living in the expatriate community, intertwine and are brought together when tragedy strikes. They find themselves outside of the world they know and into one where the rules they lived by before no longer apply. (Little, Brown).

Save some of your sales money for Black Widow by Chris Brookmyre. Diana Jager is a skilled surgeon and an active blogger about sexism. Her world comes crumbling down around her when her personal details are released in a revenge attack on her blog comments. She then meets Peter and within six months they marry. Six months later, Diana is on trial for Peter’s murder. Peter’s sister Lucy ask reporter Jack Parlabane to find the truth about Diana, dubbed the Black Widow. (Little, Brown)

Blueprints by Barbara Delinksy tells the story of Jamie MacAfee. She loves her fiancé (she thinks), knows she loves her job and works with her mother Caroline on a TV programme, Gut It! When there are plans for Caroline to be replaced as host by Jamie she is left feeling betrayed. And when tragedy strikes and Jamie is left guardian of her young step-brother tensions run deep with her fiancé, who doesn’t want the boy. (Piatkus)

Mr Splitfoot by Samantha Hunt is also out this month. Orphans Nat and Ruth run away from their orphanage with a travelling con-man. Decades later Cora is visited by her mute Aunt Ruth and decides to join her on a mysterious mission. They travel across New York. Where are they going and what has Ruth hidden in the woods at the end of the road? (Corsair)

Love Me Back by Merritt Tierce tells the story of Marie, a waitress and struggling single mother. She looses her self in a self-destructive path of sexual encounters as she battles between the desire to obliterate her life and the will to survive. (Corsair)

The City of the Lost by Kelley Armstrong is a standalone thriller. Detective Casey Duncan is looking to avoid her past. Her best friend Diana is seeking solace from an abusive ex. When Casey hears that Rockton, a hidden town almost impossible to reach, is looking for a new detective she knows where to go. But not long after they arrive they find a body. The town is full of secrets and Casey’s boss has his own agenda. Without help from the outside world, Casey is on her own to find a killer who will strike again if not stopped. (Sphere)

Also out this month is Alex Kava’s Silent Creed, (Sphere), The Chelsea Strangler by Susanna Gregory, (Sphere), If They Could See Me Now by Denise Welch, (Sphere). The Philosopher Kings by Jo Walton, (Corsair), Hostage by Jamie Doward, (Constable), A Master of Corruption by L.C. Tyler. (Constable), The Counterfeit Heiress, Death in the Floating City and Behind the Shattered Glass by Tasha Alexander, (Constable), Who’s Afraid? by Maria Lewis, (Piatkus), The Bourbon Kings by J.R. Ward, (Piatkus), My American Duchess by Eloisa James, (Piatkus), Dirt on Ninth Grave by Darynda Jones, (Piatkus), City of Light by Keri Arthur, (Piatkus), Spider Game by Christine Feehan, (Piatkus) and Changers Book One: Drew by T Cooper and Allison Glock-Cooper.(Atom)

On to February and Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist by Sunil Yapa. It is 1999 and Victor, homeless, wanders the streets of Seattle. His father is the Chief of Police and in charge of dealing with one of the largest protests ever seen. The protest turns ugly; two armed officers try to keep the calm, a protester with murder in their past makes a mistake and there’s a Sri-Lankan delegate who will do all that is possible to get to a meeting, one which could change the fate of his country. These stories and the story of Victor and his father combine into a collision course. (Little, Brown)

Rush Oh! is also published this month. Mary Davidson, the eldest daughter in a whaling family, decides to chronicle the whaling season of 1908. There’s a lack of whales, changes in weather and the arrival of John Beck, a whaler with a murky past and Mary is quick to develop a crush on him. Other romance is also on the cards and a relationship to be formed with a killer whale called Tom. (Virago)

Also out in February is The Same Sky by Amanda Eyre Ward which tells the tale of Alice who runs a barbeque restaurant, happy with her life except for the one thing that is missing, a child. Also running alongside her story is the story of Carla, tasked with looking after her six year old brother when her mother makes the illegal trip to Texas from Mexico. When Carla’s grandmother dies she decides to take the same trip as her mother, taking her brother with her. (Blackfriars)

When Everything Feels Like the Movies by Raziel Reid tells the story of Jude, who is also called Judy. School is like a movie set, no one is real. Jude only has eyes for Luke but Jude’s dream for them turns into a nightmare. (Atom)

The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen tells the story of a Vietnamese Captain who has ‘escaped’ to the US with compatriots, who are unaware he is spying on them and reporting back to the Viet Cong. (Corsair)

Jenny Colgan fans won’t be disappointed in February. The Little Shop of Happy Ever After sees Nina loose her job at the Birmingham Library when it is turned into a retail complex. Spotting a tiny bookshop bus available in the Highlands she decides to take the risk. There’ll be no computers, she’ll be out all hours driving in the wilderness and there will be only a tiny amount of stock to sell but Nina is up for the challenge. (Sphere)

Also out this month is The Promise featuring DC Gary Goodhew, by Alison Bruce, (Constable) and Acts of Violence featuring Inspector John Carlyle by James Craig. (Constable), Brotheerhood in Death by J.D. Robb, (Piatkus), The House of Eyes by Kate Ellis, (Piatkus), Tread Softly, Alice by Jessica Blair, (Piatkus), Crosstown Crush by Cara McKenna, (Piatkus), Getting Rough by C.L.Parker, (Piatkus), The Hurricane by R.J. Prescott, (Piatkus), The Lazarus War by Jamie Sawyer, (Orbit), Queen of Fire by Anthony Ryan, (Orbit) and Speak by Louisa Hall. (Orbit)

The Astonishing Return of Norah Wells by Virginia Macgregor is out in March. Six years ago Norah walks out on her family. She’s now back and finds another woman in her place. Fay has replaced her in the marital bed and Norah’s daughter now calls Fay ‘mummy’. Where has Norah been? Why has she returned now? and what happens to the one who stayed when the one who went returns? (Sphere)

In Kate O’Riodan’s Penance Rosie and Maddie meet Jed at Bereavement Counselling where they attend as Maddie holds herself accountable for her brother’s tragic drowning accident. Soon Jed moves in with Rosie and Maddie. On the outside everything seems perfect but hidden away a deadly triangle is emerging. When Rosie commits an unspeakable act the truth about Jed, and the death of her son begins to emerge. (Constable).

Beloved Poison by E.S. Thomson is also published in March. St Saviour’s Infirmary is waiting to be demolished. Six tiny coffins are found, each containing dried flowers and mouldering rags. Apothecary Jem Flockhart is determined to find out the truth about the coffins with the trail taking her to the operating room, dissection table. the infamous Newgate and the gallows. Some will go to any lengths to keep the truth a secret, including murder. (Constable)

Thin Ice by Quentin Bates is the latest instalment featuring Inspector Gunna. Two crooks have robbed Reykjavik’s leading drug dealer and taken two women hostage, escaping to a remote hotel. Meanwhile Gunna and her team investigate a seemingly unrelated disappearance of a mother, her daughter and their car, and the death of a thief in a house fire. How will this investigation and the two desperate robbers collide? (Constable)

An Unrestored Woman by Shoba Rao is also published in March. This collection of short stories spanning the Indian subcontinent includes the tale of an old woman who recollects the murder of her most precious thing, a girl who uses patience as a weapon and escapes her life of prostitution and a servant who spins a web of deceit after falling in love with his employer. (Virago)

In The Painted Ocean by Gabriel Packard Shruti’s mother is under pressure to return to India and remarry, meaning she would have to leave Shruti behind. When Meena arrives at school she puts a stop to the bullying Shruti is enduring. Shruti attaches herself to Meena in an obsessive way, following her through High School and University. When she follows her to India the obsession turns dangerous. (Corsair)

In Crongton Knights by Alex Wheatle, McKay has strayed from his turf and finds himself facing a friend’s crazy ex-boyfriend, hood-rats and a violent gangster with a vendetta that will hit close to home. Added into the mix is the fact that his father is working all hours to deep the bailiffs at bay and his brother is riding the streets at night, looking for trouble. (Atom)

Also out this month is The Predictions by Bianca Zander, (Blackfriars), A Brief Affair by Margaret Leroy, (Sphere), The Darkest Goodbye by Alex Gray, (Sphere), The House of Moriarty by Sam Christer, (Sphere) and The Primrose Path by Rebecca Griffiths. (Sphere), Radiance by Catherynne M. Valente, (Corsair), Dilly’s Lass by Rosie Goodwin (Corsair), Wraths of the Furies by Steven Saylor, (Constable), Scarred Souls by Tillie Cole, (Piatkus), Because of Miss Bridgerton by Julia Quinn, (Piatkus), Maid of Oaklands Manor by Terri Nixon, (Piatkus), Play to Win by Tiffany Snow, (Piatkus), Dark Promises by Christine Feehan, (Piatkus), The Spider’s War by Daniel Abraham, (Orbit), Snakeworld by Adrian Selby, (Orbit), Shadow and Flame by Gail Z Martin, (Orbit) and The Girl Who Raced Fairyland All the Way Home by Catherynne M. Valente. (Atom)

April and The Loving Husband by Christobel Kent is published. Frances awakes one night to the sound of her baby crying. She finds she is alone in bed. She finds him in the garden, murdered. As Frances tries to unravel his death she finds out nothing in their marriage was as it seemed. (Sphere)

Relativity by Antonia Hayes is also out in April. Ethan is a talented, science loving, 12 year old who has been raised in a loving home, in Sydney by his mother Claire. However he is now curious about his father. When Ethan falls ill, linked to a tragic event when he was a baby, Claire contacts Mark, Ethan’s father. Intercepting a letter from Mark, Ethan sets in motion a chain of events that pull the three of them together again. (Corsair)

Another Australian set book out in April is Mazine Beneba Clarke’s Foreign Soil. This collection of short stories covers a range of stories about the disenfranchised, lost and mistreated. (Corsair)

Already gathering praise on social media is Alex Marwood’s The Darkest Secret is published in April. Three year old Coco goes missing at a family event. Her family and their friends are rich and influential. Told over the weekend Coco goes missing and the weekend of her father’s funeral secrets of the past are revealed. (Sphere)

Fellside by M.R. Carey, author of the bestselling The Girl With All the Gifts, is out in April. Jess has been convicted of a murder she can’t remember committing. She’s transferred to Fellside, the biggest women’s prison in Europe, located in the bleak Yorkshire Moors. But Jess isn’t alone in her cell. There’s the ghost of a ten year old boy who wants Jess’ help. And who won’t take no for an answer. (Orbit)

Also published this month is The Chocolate Lovers’ Wedding by Carole Matthews, (Sphere), Operation Goodwood by Sara Sheridan, (Constable), May Day Murder by Julie Wassmer, (Constable), Her Royal Spyness, A Royal Pain and Royal Flush by Rhys Bowen (Constable), The Lazarus Curse by Tessa Harris, (Constable), The Obsession by Nora Roberts, (Piatkus), ‘Til Death Do Us Part by Jayne Ann Krentz writing as Amanda Quick, (Piatkus), Inspector Singh Investigates: A Frightfully English Execution by Shamini Flint, (Piatkus), Nearly Always by Ken McCoy, (Piatkus), Fire Bound by Christine Feehan, (Piatkus), Burned by Benedict Jacka, (Orbit), Bloodmage by Stephen Aryan, (Orbit), The Fall of the Dagger by Glenda Larke, (Orbit), Consumed by Abbie Rushton, (Atom), The November Criminals by Sam Munson, (Atom), Invasion by Sherrilyn Kenyon, (Atom), The New Order by Chris Weitz, (Atom) and Forest of Ruin by Kelley Armstrong. (Atom)

May and Girls on Fire by Robin Wasserman is published. Already gathering high praise on social media, Girls on Fire is the tale of Hannah Dexter. Bullied by Nikki at school she soon becomes friends with Lacey, sharing a hatred of Nikki, who’s boyfriend shoots himself in High School. Lacey has an effect on Hannah, changing her from good girl , to ‘Dex’ who will face any challenge Lacey throws at her. Their trail of chaso and rebellion has an effect on the town they live in. And Lacey has a secret, one that once revealed, will change everything. (Little, Brown)

Also published this month is Now and Again by Charlotte Rogan, which sees Maggie expose a high-level cover up. Getting the taste for doing good she soon sees injustice everywhere. As she gathers her proof she must decide how far to go for the truth. Meanwhile in Iraq Captain Penn Sinclair’s orders end in disaster. He reunites with survivors to expose the truth about the war. How does his story and Maggie’s connect? (Virago)

Fans of The Fifteen Lives of Harry August will be pleased to hear that the as yet untitled new novel from Claire North is published in May. Hope Ardern is being forgotten. Her father forgets to collect her, her mother doesn’t set her a place at dinner and her teacher doesn’t chase her missing homework. No matter what Hope does she is still forgotten. It makes her life tricky, but it also makes her dangerous. (Orbit)

Also out in May is Furious Rush by S.C. Stephens, (Sphere), Blood Torment by T.F. Muir (Constable), The City in Darkness by Michael Russell, (Constable), The Nearness of You by Sareeta Domingo, (Piatkus), The Lazarus War: Legion by Jamie Sawyer, (Orbit), A Blade of Black Steel by Alex Marshall, (Orbit), The Corporation Wars: Dissidence by Ken MacLeod, (Orbit) and The Summon Stone by Ian Irvine. (Orbit)

June and fans of Alexander McCall Smith’s Mma Ramotswe will be pleased to hear that a new story featuring the eponymous detective is published. The Woman Who Walked in Sunshine sees Mma Ramotswe on a reluctant holiday. However, she can’t resist looking into cases which causes her to look into the past of a man with a questionable reputation and an orphan called Samuel. Whilst all this goes on the arch enemy of Mma Makutsi, the co-director of the agency, has set up a rival secretarial college. Will she get her comeuppance? (Abacus)

Let Me Tell You About A Man I Knew by Susan Fletcher tells the tale of the wife of Van Gogh’s doctor. Finding herself drawn to the artist, she soon is banned from visiting him so takes to sneaking in his garden to visit him. Her actions have unforeseen, far reaching effects. (Virago)

Stephen Booth fans will be able to get The Secrets of Death this month. DI Ben Cooper and his team look into a series of suicides. What connects them and was one of them not a suicide at all? (Sphere)

If you are a fan of Lisa Dickenson then you’ll be pleased to know that the complete version of You Had Me At Merlot is out in June. Elle and Laurie head off to Italy for a singles holiday, Elle being the reluctant one. There they meet a mismatched band of tourists looking for love amongst the vineyards. Except Elle of course… You can read my review of this very funny and entertaining book here.

Also out this month is Summerlong by Dean Bakopoulos, (Blackfriars), A Grave Concern by Susanna Gregory, (Sphere), Cleopatra’s Shadows by Emily Holleman, (Sphere), Burned and Broken by Mark Hardie, (Sphere), The War Against the Assholes by Sam Munson (Corsair), Flameout by Keri Arthur, (Piatkus), Death Rider by Christine Feehan, (Piatkus), The Annihilation Score by Charles Stross, (Orbit), Babylon’s Ashes by James S.A. Corey, (Orbit), Changers Book Two: Oryon by T Cooper and Allison Glock-Cooper, (Atom) and My Favourite Manson Girl by Alison Umminger. (Atom)

Virago Modern Classics are reissuing  whole host of titles this year. Patricia Highsmith is the first to have titles published in 2016 as Virago Modern Classics with Small g: A Summer Idyll, A Game for the Living, A Dog’s Ransom, Strangers on a Train and Found in the Street are all out in January. April sees the reissue of Dunedin and The Orchard on Fire by Shena Mackay as Virgo Modern Classics whilst in May its the turn of Daphne Du Maurier following on from the reissue of Frenchman’s Creek (you can see my review here), Jamaica Inn and Rebecca. This time The House on the Strand, My Cousin Rachel and The Loving Spirit all get the Virago makeover. Angela Thirkell’s Before Lunch and Northbridge Rectory are also reissued in May. Patricia Highsmith’s This Sweet Sickness is published in June.

Corsair are publishing six books by Seanan McGuire with An Artificial Light in January, Late Eclipses in February, One Salt Sea in March, Ashes of Honor in April, Chimes at Midnight in May and The Winter Long in June.

So there you have it , a gigantic list of bookish treats for us in the first half of 2016. I know what I have my eye on. What about you?







Filed under Spotlight on Publishers

Toppling the TBR pile – Harper Fiction 2016 titles

So the next publishers likely to cause the collapse of my TBR pile is Harper Fiction. Publishing under a number of imprints including Harper Voyager, Harper Fiction, Borough Press they have a bevvy of beautiful sounding books to tempt us with in the first half of 2016. Here I’ve highlighted a few, though a full list will be available on the What’s out when page.

January sees the publication of The Trouble With Goats and Sheep, the debut novel of Joanna Cannon. In the heatwave of 1976 1o year old Grace Bennett and her friend Tilly are searching for God, and the missing Mrs Creasy, amongst the residents of their street. Unwittingly their investigation reopens old secrets to the surface. What will the amateur detectives find out? Already generating great reviews on social media this is one to look out for. It also happens to be my current read at the time of writing this post so keep a look out for my review in the near future. (Borough Press)

Fans of Stuart MacBride will be pleased to hear that January also brings with it the publication of his latest novel to feature Duty Sergeant Logan McRae. In the Cold, Dark Ground sees McRae finds himself commandeered onto the Major Incident Team’s murder investigation by his former boss, DCI Steel. McRae soon realises not all is as it seems and then personal issues start to impinge the investigation. (Harper)

Fire Damage by Kate Medina, is the first in a new series. Featuring psychologist Dr Jessie Flynn, she joins forces with Captain Ben Callan when a body is found on the Sussex coast. What is the link between Jessie’s four year old client and the suspicious death of an officer in Afghanistan that Ben is investigating? (Harper)

If you like classic crime fiction then keep a look out for titles from The Detective Story Club. Established in 1929, this was the forerunner to Collins Crime Club. Titles to be reissued and published include: The House Opposite by J. Jefferson Farjeon, The Ponson Case by Freeman Wills Croft, The Mystery of Stow by Vernon Loder, The Crime Club by Frank Froest and George Dilnot, The Blackmailers by Emilie Gaboreau, The Terror by Edgar Wallace and The Leavenworth Case by Anna K. Green. (Harper)

In The Invisible Garden the body of a teenage girl is linked to that off another killing a month earlier. Is it the work of a killer or the Basajuan, a creature of Basque mythology? This is the first in the Baztan Trilogy by Dolores Redono. (Harper)

January will also bring with it new titles from Josephine Cox, Amanda Brooke, Debbie Johnson, Jonathan Freedland and Peter V. Brett.

February sees the publication of Missing, Presumed. Susie Steiner’s novel tells the story of Edith Hind who has suddenly vanished, leaving behind a streak of blood and her coat hanging up. DS Manon Bradshaw listening to the police radio at night hears of her disappearance and sees the case as her way of making her mark. (Borough Press)

The Woman Who Ran by Sam Baker sees Helen Graham arrive at a tiny Yorkshire village. Her evasive behaviour attracts the attention of the villagers, the last thing she wants. Trying to bring memories to the surface to piece together her past, Helen doesn’t know who she can trust or what she can believe. (Harper)

Judith Allnatt’s The Silk Factory was inspired by a mysterious soot smell in a friend’s newly built home, one with no open fireplaces and the later discovery that the house was built on the site of an old silk factory. A story of how memories can bind people, The Silk Factory tells the stories of Rosie Milford who discovers a shocking secret from her childhood on inheriting a house and of Beulah Fiddemont, in 1812, who has secrets her master Septimus Fowler would do anything to obtain. (Borough Press)

The Dressmaker of Dachau by Mary Chamberlain is set during World War II. Ada Vaughan is ambitious and keen to escape family life. Stanislaus von Leiben is her chance to leave them behind. Persuading her to move to Paris. she is blind to the imminent threat of the Nazis. When they invade, Stanislaus abandons her. She is captured and forced to survive as a dressmaker. Her decision will come to haunt her. (Borough Press)

Lovers of the Bronte sisters will not be disappointed by Harper Collins titles in 2016. In February the paperback edition of Nelly Dean by Alison Case is published. A reimagination of Wuthering Heights, the story of Cathy, Heathcliffe and the other characters is told from the viewpoint of servant Nelly Dean. (Borough Press)

Also published this month are books from Dilly  Court, Francesca Haig, Kimberley Chambers, Peter Newman and Harry Sidebottom. Fans of J.R.R. Tolkien have a trio of treats with A Secret Vice and Beowulf (including the short story Sellic Spell) by the author and The Middle-Earth Location Guide Book by Ian Brodie.

March has another instalment for Bronte lovers. Reader, I Married Him, edited by Tracy Chevalier is an anthology of 20 short stories from writers such as Lionel Shriver, Sarah Hall, Helen Dunmore, Salley Vickers and Tessa Hadley. Using Jane Eyre’s famous line as a springboard the stories cover a wide range of tales including stories from Mr Rochester’s point of view and how Jane’s life continues after the closing pages. (Borough Press)

Tracy Chevalier’s At the Edge of the Orchard, also out in March tells the tale of James and Sadie, moving to Black Swamp, Ohio in 1838. Swamp Fever has killed 5 of their 10 children. This is the story of their life, the struggles they endure and also the story of their youngest son, who 15 years later is forced to confront the reason he left his life behind. (Borough Press)

Also published this month are books from Wilbur Smith, Mhari McFarlane, Camilla Lackberg, Ben McPherson, Brian Aldiss, Emmi Itaranta, Joe Abercrombie, Freya North, Kathleen Alcott and Sabaa Tahir.

April titles include Andrew Taylor’s Ashes of London. It is 1666. The Great Fire has consumed London, taking St Paul’s Cathedral in its destructive wake. A mummified body has been found in a tomb that should be empty, mutilated and with his thumbs tied behind his back, the sign of Regicide. Richard Marwood, government informer has been tasked with finding the killer. (Harper)

In Rob Ewing’s The Last of Us, a pandemic has wiped out the entire adult population of a Scottish Island. With only the children remaining, 8 year old Rona tells their tale of survival. (Borough Press)

Jax Miller’s Freedom’s Child sees it’s paperback incarnation being released in April. Freedom Oliver is a murderer, drunk, cop killer and fugitive. But she is also a mother, one who will stop at nothing to see the daughter she only knew for two minutes 17 seconds. (Harper)

Also published this month are new titles from Fern Britton, Lucy Foley, Jason Gurley, Kathleen Tessaro, Lucy Holliday, Bernard Cornwell and Robert Karjel.

May sees another re-imagination. Continuing with The Austen Project, Curtis Sittenfield turns her hand to a modern re-working of Pride and Prejudice, in Eligible. Lizzy Bennet is a magazine editor in New York. When her father falls ill she returns home with her sister Jane, to the family home in Ohio they thought they had left forever. They find a family in chaos, Kitty and Lydia are wild over a new fitness program, Mary is studying  yet again and Willie, their creepy cousin, paying the sisters far more attention than is comfortable. Then comes along reality TV star Chip Bingley and his prickly friend Fitzwilliam Darcy…(Borough Press)

A Hanging at Cinder Bottom, by Glenn Taylor is set in  West Virginia in 1910. Abe Baach and his lover, Goldie Toothman are to be hanged and the townsfolk gather to watch. Abe had left 7 years ago but returned to find his brother dead and his father’s saloon in shambles. He believes the same men may be behind both incidents. (Borough Press)

Solomon Creed is published in paperback in May. Simon Toyne’s new series starts with a bang as Solomon Creed flees the burning wreckage of a plane. He has no memories but has one name seared into his brain – James Coronado. Solomon has to save him, but how can he save a man who is already dead? (Harper)

Alexandra Brown fans will be pleased to hear that the inhabitants of Tindledale return in The Mystery of Orchard Cottage. April goes to Tindledale to stay with her great aunt Edith. She is dismayed to find the cottage and orchard that attaches it are in a sad state of repair, abandoned by Edith who is more concerned finding out the truth about the disappearance of her sister during WWII. April sets about righting this. With help from the inhabitants of Tindledale she begins to unravel the mystery and bring the house and orchard back to glory. (Harper)

Also published this month are titles from Lionel Shriver, S.J. Parris, Charles Cumming, Rosie Thomas, Neal Stephenson. Cynthia D’Apriz Sweeney, Tilly Bagshawe, Martin Edwards and Bonnie MacBird.

Finally we come to June. Louisa Young’s third novel to feature Riley and Nadine, Devotion, set in the 1930’s during the spread of Fascism, follows on from My Dear I Wanted to Tell You and The Heroes’ Welcome. (Borough Press)

The Marble Collector is the new book from best selling author Cecelia Ahern. Sabrina Boggs thought her life was ordinary until the day she finds her father’s collection of marbles.  Fergus Boggs can remember little of day to day living but has vivid child-hood memories. As Sabrina pieces together how her father’s collection came into being she learns how little she really knew of him. (Harper)

Carrying Albert Home by Homer Hickam is out in paperback in June. In the after effects of the Great Depression Elsie Lavender’s sole memento of her glory days is her pet alligator, Albert. One day though her husband Homer issues an ultimatum, it is either him or Albert. And so they begin an epic trip to return Albert to his home in Florida. There follows an epic journey where they encounter everything from revolutionaires to Ernest Hemmingway. (Harper)

The Wolf Road is the debut novel of Beth Lewis. Set in a remote land all Elka has ever known is what she has learned from Trapper, a man who has looked after her since she was seven. Her world is shattered when she finds out Trapper is wanted for murder. And Magistrate Lyon wants to talk to Elka…(Harper)

Also published this month are books from Lauren Weisberger, Barbara Taylor Bradford, S.K. Tremayne, Mark Lawrence, Fionnuala Kearney, Lars Kepler, Jilliane Hoffman, Beatriz Williams, Natasha Walter and George MacDonald Fraser.

So there we have it, the first half of 2016 in books from Harper Collins. I know which ones I am eagerly awaiting. Which ones catch your eye?


Filed under Spotlight on Publishers

Exclusive: Fahrenheit Press go ‘Transmedia’ – another first

Another first from Fahrenheit Press. This time they’ve gone ‘Transmedia’ What does this mean? Read on to find out…

Fahrenheit Press have certainly hit the publishing scene with a bang. They are shaking up how things are usually done. They are open about sales numbers and author deals, provide funny and granted sometimes rude interaction on social media and have a proclivity for random photo-shopping. Not content with being the first publisher ever to be allowed to sell a book on Amazon with no details as to the author or title Fahrenheit Press have brought us another first. Chris McVeigh, the brains behind the new crime and thriller publishers has worked his magic again. Having worked in the music industry Chris wanted a way to pull the two creative sides of his life together. And so he has, with a bang.

Collaborating with the band Blind Pilgrim he asked them to write a song for Fahrenheit Press. The result: Burn Again, which Chris describes as a ‘sleazy off-kilter bluesy number’, which fits the publishing company to a T’.  When Charles Kriel heard the song it inspired him so much that he wanted to integrate it into the story so he went back and rewrote one of the chapters to include the lyrics from the song, as he explains here;

“I’ve worked with transmedia concepts for years, building games that tell stories through every format possible. My biggest project was The White Island which featured 14 superstar DJs and was launched by Pete Tong. At the same time I’ve been pretty disappointed that publishing has been so slow to exploit technology, so when Chris told me about this opportunity I jumped at it.

I was listening to Burn Again when I reread chapter 4 and knew it would be perfect for the story. Fire is a theme throughout the book, as is Mel being a badass. 

And it fits Fahrenheit perfectly. They’re the only publishing house who would go along with an idea like this – releasing an entirely new edition of a book to include a song that didn’t exist when the book was first published. They’re doing things other publishers wouldn’t dream of. Some folks go on about thinking out of the box – Chris McVeigh doesn’t even know where the box is.”

The result of all this is that the Burn Again edition of Charles Kriel’s best-selling book The Lobster Boy And The Fat Lady’s Daughter is now on sale at Amazon. I have to say I love the idea of this. I may be the only person to do this but I often think of songs that would fit scenes in books, creating a sound track for the movie I’m playing in my head, if you will. That’s why this seems like the perfect plan. I believe it will make the story more rounded, more ‘real’, being able to listen to the song as Mel does.

The band are also clearly excited about this unique experiment as Stef Theodorou, bass player with Blind Pilgrim explains;

“When Chris asked us to write a song for Fahrenheit Press, we couldn’t wait to be a part of something so innovative. When we heard that Charles loved the song so much that he wanted to write it into his book we were blown away. Music has always been the perfect accompaniment to literature and to be the first band ever to write and record a song especially for a publisher to include in a book is just incredible!” 

In fact I’ve been lucky enough to be able to give it a go. I read the revamped Chapter 4 of The Lobster Boy and the Fat Lady’s Daughter whilst listening to Burn Again. And it seemed to me a perfect fit. It did seem to make the scene more real.  The sound of the song encompassed how I imagined the scene, gives you a sense of Mel, other than that described and gave me a hint as to how the rest of the novel will feel. A great amalgam of story and song and a great idea.

And what does the shy, retiring Mr McVeigh have to say about all this?

“Awesome ain’t it? 

It’s all so ‘meta’ it’s making my head spin. 

I’ve always had a Berlin Wall running between my work in the music industry and publishing but as I reread the new version of the book with the song playing in the background I suddenly had a vivid image of a bare-chested Charles Kriel, standing Thor-like, swinging a massive Blind Pilgrim shaped sledgehammer and busting that wall wide open. I knew right then that we had to make this happen.

Every author I know has an intimate relationship with music and every musician I know takes a lot of their inspiration from the books they read (yes, even the drummers – shut it you – comics are a kind of book). The convergence of Charles Kriel and Blind Pilgrim was almost entirely random but this all just seems like it was meant to be. For sure the universe is a minx, but in my experience she knows what she’s doing and it turns out she’s a minx with awesome taste in books & music.”

There you have it;

* A publisher commissions a band to write a song to publicise a book.

* The band record the song and release it as a single.

* The author loves it so much he writes the song into the book.

* The publisher releases a new version of the book with the song included.

* Life imitating art, imitating life, imitating art.

So you can now not only read the story but listen to its soundtrack too.

You can buy Burn Again here and watch the video here.

And The Lobster Boy and the Fat Lady’s Daughter is available here.


Filed under Spotlight on Publishers

Toppling the TBR pile – Orenda Books 2016

Today’s cause for the imminent collapse of my precariously balanced wishlist is Orenda Books. They launched in 2015 with some terrific titles and it looks like they have some treats in store for 2016. Full details including a synopsis will be included on the What’s out when page.

January brings with it snow, or rather the sequel to Snowblind, Nightblind, The second book in the Dark Iceland series from Icelandic author Ragnar Jonasson, brings the return of Ari Thor Arasson who has to investigate the murder of a fellow police officer in the remote Icelandic town. You can read my review of Snowblind here.

David F. Ross’ The Last Days of Disco was published by Orenda Books in March 2015. His latest novel, The Rise and Fall of the Miraculous Vespas is published in February and tells the tale of a small Scottish band that has to cope with suddenly hitting the big time.

February also brings with it the publication of Yusuf Toropov’s debut novel. Jihadi: A Love Story tells of a former intelligence officer accused of terrorism. His memoirs are being handled by a psychologist with her own agenda and the reader has to decide who the real terrorist is.

March sees the publication of Matt Johnson’s Wicked Game. Two police officers have been killed in separate attacks. Robert Finlay has to find out who the perpetrator is before he becomes the next victim.

Paul Hardisty’s second book to feature Claymore Straker, The Evolution of Fear is out in April. Straker, who appeared in the critically acclaimed, The Abrupt Physics of Dying, is on the run. Wanted for crimes he hasn’t committed and searching for Rania, the woman he loves, he flees for Cornwall. As his pursuers get closer his travels take him to Cyprus where he must uncover the truth the save himself and Rania.

Fans of Amanda Jennings, author of Sworn Secret and The Judas Scar are in for a treat in April when her latest novel, In Her Wake is published. Bella’s life has been turned upside down by a tragic event. Travelling to Cornwall she uncovers secrets, betrayals and a 25 year old mystery that could threat not only who she thinks she is, but also her life.

Michael Stanley’s Deadly Harvest is out in May and introduces us to Samatha Khama, new recruit with the Botswana Criminal Investigation Department. When a girl disappears Samantha suspects that she has been taken for use in muti, an ancient form of African medicine. Together with Assistant Superintendent David ‘Kubu’ Bengu, Samantha is in a race against time to discover the truth, more so when another victim emerges. Not only that A Death in the Family out in June, sees Assistant Superintendent David ‘Kubu’ Bengu investigate the murder of his own father.

Michael Grothaus’ Epiphany Jones is published in May. Jerry has suffered psychotic episodes and depression over the years, due to a traumatic past. When he is accused of stealing a priceless Van Gogh he goes on the run, meeting a woman who believes the voices she hears are from God. Jerry’s quest for the truth leads him to sex-trafficking in Hollywood and secrets from the past.

Gunnar Staalsen fans will be pleased to see that Where Roses Never Die is finally translated and published in June. Varg Veum is asked to investigate the 28 year old disappearance of a young girl. As he delves deeper he discovers a cover up and soon another brutal incident occurs and a pattern emerges.

So there we have it, Orenda Books treats for January to June 2016. I know which ones I can’t wait to read. Which ones catch your bookish eye?



Filed under Spotlight on Publishers

Toppling the TBR pile – Transworld Books 2016

Toppling the TBR pile is a new feature where I write about the books I believe will be highlights of 2016. This is a purely personal selection and I am by no means an expert so please do excuse me if a favourite of yours is missed. This is also not a complete list of titles to be released by a publisher. The What’s out when page will feature all the title release dates that I am aware of and will provide a synopsis of each book. This will be updated regularly so keep popping back to see what literary goodies are in store for 2016.

First to be guilty of radically increasing my wish list are Transworld Books. Their imprints are numerous and include Bantam, Corgi, Black Swan and Doubleday.

January bring with it what I can see being one of Transworld’s best sellers for 2016: The Widow by Fiona Barton. The Widow tells the tale of Jean, the newly bereaved widow of a man accused of committing a heinous crime. Just what is the extent of Jean’s knowledge and will she now tell all. You can see my review of The Widow here.

Also released this month is the new book from Cathy Bramley, author of Conditional Love, Ivy Lane and Appleby Farm. Wickham Hall tells the story of Holly Swift, events organiser at manor house Wickham Hall. Can she organise her life as well as the events the house?

Fans of John Irving will be pleased to see a post Christmas gift in the form of Avenue of Mysteries where Juan Diego travels to the Philippines where his past, in Mexico, meets with his future.

Secrets are fighting to be set free in Julie Cohen’s  The Day of Second Chances. What will happen when the secrets of three women from the same family all collide?

February sees the publication of another top title. Those who loved The Wake will be overjoyed to hear that Anna Hope’s new novel, The Ballroom is out this month. In a Yorkshire asylum love blossoms during the magical night each week when the inmates meet to dance. This one is firmly on my want list and I can’t wait to read it.

March sees the publication of the wonderfully sounding novel from Caroline Wallace, The Finding of Martha Lost. Martha, abandoned as a baby in a Paris station has spent all of her 16 years waiting for someone to come and reclaim her. Now she must find out who she really is and where she really belongs in a race against the authorities who have found out about her. This is another book I can’t wait to read – March seems an awful long time away!

Banish the April showers with a plethora of cracking reads. First up is Deep Down Dark by Tammy Cohen. She’ll have you wondering about your work mates in her latest thriller as she asks ‘If one of them had a dark and dangerous secret, would you even know?’

Fever at Dawn by Peter Gardos is based on true life events. Miklos has decided to find a wife and so he makes a list of 117 Hungarian women in his village and writes to each one. So what if he only has 6 months to live.

Another book I’m chomping at the bit to read is Different Class by Joanne Harris. This psychological thriller tells the tale of Latin master Roy Straitley. As he tries to cope with the changing face of his beloved school the past returns to haunt him in the shape of a former pupil.

If its a thriller you’re after then May brings with it Belinda Bauer’s latest offering: The Beautiful Dead. In an age where everything is played out in the media, Belinda Bauer brings us a serial killer who seeks the attention of the world, advertising his kills on TV before they happen. What links him to TV reporter Eve Singer?…

As we move into June the thrills don’t stop. Sharon Bolton’s Daisy in Chains is on the wish list and the fact that it is a 6 month wait is almost too much to bear. A convicted serial killer maintains his innocence. He wants his story told. Maggie doesn’t want to be the person to tell it but soon she finds herself unable to resist.

Finally The Long Cosmos by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter, completed 18 months before the sad passing of Pratchett will also be released in June.

What have I missed?

Danielle Steele fans won’t be disappointed. Transworld have two books to satisfy those cravings : Blue is published in February and Property of a Noble Woman is out in May. Bryant and May fans will be pleased to hear that the detective duo are back in February in the next instalment from Christopher Fowler, Strange Tide. Longbourn author Jo Baker turns her attention to Samuel Beckett in A Country Road, a Tree in May.

So there we have it, numerous bookish treats and those are just for the first 6 months of the year. Which ones are you looking forward to?


Filed under Spotlight on Publishers