Sunday, 15 December 2013

'Alpha Goddess' by Amalie Howard


Release date: 4th March 2014
Published by: Sky Pony Press
ISBN No: 978 1626362086


In Seraphine Caelum's world, gods exist. So do goddesses. Sera knows this because she is one of them. A secret long concealed by her parents, Sera is Lakshmi reborn, the human avatar of an immortal Indian goddess rumored to control all the planes of existence--Illysia (the Light Realm), Earth (the Mortal Realm), and Xibalba (the Dark Realm). Marked by the sigils of both heaven and hell, Sera's avatar is meant to bring balance to the mortal world, but all she creates is chaos. A chaos that Azraiel, the Asura Lord of Death, hopes to use to unleash hell on earth. Torn between reconciling her past and present, Sera must figure out how to stop Azraiel before the Mortal Realm is destroyed. But trust doesn't come easy in a world fissured by lies and betrayal. Her best friend, Kyle, is hiding his own dark secrets, and her mysterious new neighbor, Devendra, seems to know a lot more than he's telling. Struggling between her opposing halves and her attraction to the boys tied to each of them, Sera must become the goddess she was meant to be, or risk failing, which means sacrificing the world she was born to protect.




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'The Assassin's Blade' by Sarah J. Maas


Release date: 4th March 2014
Published by: Bloomsbury
ISBN No: 978 1619633612


Celaena Sardothien is Adarlan's most feared assassin. As part of the Assassins' Guild, her allegiance is to her master, Arobynn Hamel, yet Celaena listens to no one and trusts only her fellow killer-for-hire, Sam.

In these action-packed prequel novellas - together in one edition for the first time - Celaena embarks on five daring missions. They take her from remote islands to hostile deserts, where she fights to liberate slaves and seeks to avenge the tyrannous. But she is acting against Arobynn's orders and could suffer an unimaginable punishment for such treachery . . .

Explore the dark underworld of this kick-ass heroine and find out how the legend begins in the five page-turning prequel novellas to the New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series.




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'Little Egypt' by Lesley Glaister


Release date: 15th March 2014
Published by: Salt Publishing
ISBN No:  978 1907773723


Little Egypt was once a well-to-do country house in the north of England. Now it’s derelict and trapped on a small island of land between a railway, a dual carriageway and a superstore, and although it looks deserted it isn’t. Nonagenarian twins, Isis and Osiris, still live in the home they were born in, and from which in the 1920’s their obsessive Egyptologist parents left them to search for the fabled tomb of Herihor – a search from which they never returned. Isis and Osiris have stayed in the house, guarding a terrible secret, for all their long lives until chance meeting between Isis and young American anarchist Spike, sparks an unlikely friendship and proves a catalyst for change.




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'Balancing Act' by Joanna Trollope


Release date: 27th February 2014
Published by: Doubleday
ISBN No: 978 0857521071


Susie Moran is a success . She has founded and run her own highly profitable company , and now her three daughters are all involved in the business. Rooted in the traditions of the Stoke-on-Trent potteries, and producing charming, useable objects of distinctive design, Susie is justly proud of her family and her achievement - and has no intention of letting it change.

But what of the men in the family? Susie's husband, a musician and artist, has always seemed happy to take a back seat. One of her sons-in-law has few ambitions outside the home. Another daughter, though, has brought her husband into the company - and they want to change things, much to Susie's distress.

And then, into the mix arrives Susie's father, an ageing hippy who abandoned Susie as a baby. Now he's alone, and wants to build bridges , although Susie's daughters are outraged at the idea. Can the needs of a family business override the needs of the family itself? In wanting to preserve her business, will Susie lose something much more precious?




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'The Perfect Match' by Katie Fforde


Release date: 13th March 2014
Published by: Century
ISBN No: 978 1846056567



Three years ago Bella Castle left her home town nursing a broken heart over Dominic Thane, the man she fell in love with but couldn't have.

Now she's made a new life for herself in the country, working as an estate agent.
Bella loves her job and she loves her boyfriend Nevil. But recently he's been preoccupied, and she's starting to question if his future hopes and dreams are a perfect match for hers.
And when Dominic turns up unexpectedly in search of his dream house, she begins to wonder if home is really where the heart is. But she's over him, isn't she?




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'The May Bride' by Suzannah Dunn


Release date: 13th March 2014
Published by: Little Brown
ISBN No: 978 1408704684


 didn't stand a chance: looking back over thirteen years, that's what I see. In the very first instant, I was won over, and of course I was: I was fifteen and had been nowhere and done nothing, whereas Katherine was twenty-one and yellow-silk-clad and just married to the golden boy...

Jane Seymour is a shy, dutiful fifteen-year-old when her eldest brother, Edward, brings his bride home to Wolf Hall. Katherine Filliol is the perfect match for Edward, as well as being a breath of fresh air for the Seymour family, and Jane is captivated by the older girl. Over the course of a long, hot country summer, the two become close friends and allies, while Edward is busy building alliances at court and advancing his career.

However, only two years later, the family is torn apart by a dreadful allegation made by Edward against his wife. The repercussions for all the Seymours are incalculable, not least for Katherine herself. When Jane is sent away, to serve Katharine of Aragon, she is forced to witness another wife being put aside, with terrible consequences. Changed forever by what happened to Katherine Filliol, Jane comes to understand that in a world where power is held entirely by men, there is a way in which she can still hold true to herself.




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'The Lost Sisterhood' by Anne Fortier



Release date: 11th March 2014
Published by: Ballantine Books 
ISBN No: 978 0345536228


From the author of the New York Times bestseller Juliet comes a mesmerizing novel about a young scholar who risks her reputation—and her life—on a thrilling journey to prove that the legendary warrior women known as the Amazons actually existed.
 
Oxford lecturer Diana Morgan is an expert on Greek mythology. Her obsession with the Amazons started in childhood when her eccentric grandmother claimed to be one herself—before vanishing without a trace. Diana’s colleagues shake their heads at her Amazon fixation. But then a mysterious, well-financed foundation makes Diana an offer she cannot refuse.
 
Traveling to North Africa, Diana teams up with Nick Barran, an enigmatic Middle Eastern guide, and begins deciphering an unusual inscription on the wall of a recently unearthed temple. There she discovers the name of the first Amazon queen, Myrina, who crossed the Mediterranean in a heroic attempt to liberate her kidnapped sisters from Greek pirates, only to become embroiled in the most famous conflict of the ancient world—the Trojan War. Taking their cue from the inscription, Diana and Nick set out to find the fabled treasure that Myrina and her Amazon sisters salvaged from the embattled city of Troy so long ago. Diana doesn’t know the nature of the treasure, but she does know that someone is shadowing her, and that Nick has a sinister agenda of his own. With danger lurking at every turn, and unsure of whom to trust, Diana finds herself on a daring and dangerous quest for truth that will forever change her world.
 
Sweeping from England to North Africa to Greece and the ruins of ancient Troy, and navigating between present and past, The Lost Sisterhood is a breathtaking, passionate adventure of two women on parallel journeys, separated by time, who must fight to keep the lives and legacy of the Amazons from being lost forever.




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'The Picts' by Benjamin Hudson


Release date: 7th March 2014
Published by: Wiley-Blackwell
ISBN No: 978 1405186780


The Picts is a survey of the historical and cultural developments in northern Britain between AD 300 and AD 900. Discarding the popular view of the Picts as savages, they are revealed to have been politically successful and culturally adaptive members of the medieval European world.   Re–interprets our definition of ‘Pict’ and provides a vivid depiction of their political and military organization Offers an up–to–date overview of Pictish life within the environment of northern Britain Explains how art such as the ‘symbol stones’ are historical records as well as evidence of creative inspiration. Draws on a range of transnational and comparative scholarship to place the Picts in their European context.



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'God's Traitors: Terror and Faith in Elizabethan England' by Jessie Childs


Release date: 6th March 2014
Published by: Bodley Head
ISBN No: 978 1847921567


he Catholics of Elizabethan England did not witness a golden age. Their Mass was banned, their priests were outlawed, their faith was criminalised. In an age of assassination and Armada, those Catholics who clung to their faith were increasingly seen as the enemy within. In this superb history, award-winning author Jessie Childs explores the Catholic predicament in Elizabethan England through the eyes of one remarkable family: the Vauxes of Harrowden Hall.

God's Traitors is a tale of dawn raids and daring escapes, stately homes and torture chambers, ciphers, secrets and lies. From clandestine chapels and side-street inns to exile communities and the corridors of power, it exposes the tensions and insecurities masked by the cult of Gloriana. Above all, it is a timely story of courage and frailty, repression and reaction and the terrible consequences when religion and politics collide.




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'Inside the Tudor Court: Henry VIII and His Six Wives Through the Writings of the Spanish Ambassador Eustace Chapuys' by Lauren Mackay


Release date: 28th February 2014
Published by: Amberley Publishing
ISBN No: 978 1445609577


The reports and despatches of Eustace Chapuys, Spanish Ambassador to Henry VIII's court from 1529 to 1545, have been instrumental in shaping our modern interpretations of Henry VIII and his wives. Through his personal relationships with several of Henry's queens, and Henry himself, his writings were filled with colourful anecdotes, salacious gossip, and personal and insightful observations of the key players at court, thus offering the single most continuous portrait of the central decades of Henry's reign. Beginning with Chapuys' arrival in England, in the middle of Henry VIII's divorce from Katherine of Aragon, this book progresses through the episodic reigns of each of Henry's queens. Chapuys tirelessly defended Katherine and later her daughter, Mary Tudor, the future Mary I. He remained as ambassador through the rise and fall of Anne Boleyn, and reported on each and every one of Henry's subsequent wives - Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, Katherine Howard, and Katherine Parr - as well as that most notorious of ministers Thomas Cromwell. He retired in 1545, close to the end of Henry VIII's reign. In approaching the period through Chapuys' letters, Lauren Mackay provides a fresh perspective on Henry, his court and the Tudor period in general.




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'Those Wild Wyndhams' by Claudia Renton


Release date: 16th January 2014
Published by: William Collins
ISBN No: 978 0007544899


Three sisters – beautiful, cultured and aristocratic, born into immense wealth during the reign of Queen Victoria. Their dramatic lives are here unfolded in a rich historical biography certain to appeal to fans of Downton Abbey, ‘Georgiana’ and Stella Tillyard’s ‘Aristocrats’.

Mary, Madeline and Pamela – the three Wyndham sisters – were painted by John Singer Sargent in 1899. For The Times it was, quite simply, ‘the greatest picture of modern times’. But these beautiful, fin de siecle gentlewomen came to epitomize a vanished world. The languor of their pose reflects the leisured, gilded, existence of the late Victorian aristocracy that was to be dealt a deathblow by the First World War.

Yet the lives of these three Wyndham sisters were far more turbulent than their air of calm suggests. Brought up in artistic circles, their childhood was liberal and romantic. Their parents were intimate friends with the Pre-Raphaelites and the girls grew to become leaders of the aesthetic movement. Bowing to convention, they made excellent marriages but found emotional support from others – Mary with Arthur Balfour and the poet Wilfrid Scawen Blunt; Pamela with Liberal statesman and ornithologist Edward Grey. Their liaisons shocked society, while the First World War devastated their way of life.

‘Those Wild Wyndhams’ is their first ever biography, and is based on the many letters they have left behind – compelling, humorous and brilliantly illuminating. This sparkling debut by Claudia Renton captures them and their age in an unforgettable piece of historical and political biography.




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Tuesday, 10 December 2013

'The Tinker King' by Tiffany Trent


Release date: 1st February 2014
Published by: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
ISBN No: 978 1442457591


Science and magic mean danger in this sequel to The Unnaturalists, which School Library Journal called “an entertaining mix of steampunk and fantasy.”After Vespa, Syrus, and Bayne defeated the Grue and restored order to their world in The Unnaturalists, they thought their future was secure. Empress Olivia, committed to peace and equality for humans and Elementals alike, was a fair and just ruler. And the Creeping Waste had vanished, giving them hope for the first time. But rebellion is brewing in the far-off city of Scientia, and dark Elementals are plotting war in the ruins of New London. Before they know what’s happening, Vespa, Syrus, and their friends are plunged into a new swamp of intrigue, deception and magic—and the cost of survival may be more than any of them are willing to pay.




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'Timeless Icon' by Carlos Mazzoni


Release date: 25th December 2013
Published by: Mondadori Electa; Bilingual edition
ISBN No: 978 8837094652


A fascinating collection of photographs of Diana Spencer from a distance, capturing not the 'public' face but a far more natural subject, 'real' Diana; unaware of the camera lens, the results provide a remarkable insight into arguably one of the most photographed women of the twentieth century. 'Timeless Icon' tells a story of the 'people's princess', the 'rose of England', a stylish icon with great charm who almost defies description. Fifteen years ago, Princess Diana died in Paris in tragic circumstances. The book tells her story through more than 100 splendid photographs, which have been carefully selected to portray the charm, beauty and spirit of one of the best-loved women of all time. Diana was not only an icon of elegance: she showed untiring commitment to social matters. Her life was an incessant, endless spiral of official engagements, marked by strict protocol, and brief moments of light heartedness, pervaded by a longing for freedom and youth which was denied to her by sombre rituals of the English court.



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'The Amber Fury' by Natalie Haynes


Release date: 6th March 2014
Published by: Corvus
ISBN No: 978 1782392750


When you open up, who will you let in? When Alex Morris loses her fiance in dreadful circumstances, she moves from London to Edinburgh to make a break with the past. Alex takes a job at a Pupil Referral Unit, which accepts the students excluded from other schools in the city. These are troubled, difficult kids and Alex is terrified of what she's taken on. There is one class - a group of five teenagers - who intimidate Alex and every other teacher on The Unit. But with the help of the Greek tragedies she teaches, Alex gradually develops a rapport with them. Finding them enthralled by tales of cruel fate and bloody revenge, Alex even begins to worry that they are taking her lessons to heart, and that a whole new tragedy is being performed, right in front of her. The Amber Fury is a beautifully constructed psychological page-turner. It is a dark mystery of a novel about loss, obsession, and the deep, abiding human need to connect.




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'The Balloonist' by James Long


Release date: 6th March 2014
Published by: Quercus
ISBN No: 978 1780875347


Lieutenant Willy Sholto, invalided out of the Royal Flying Corps, has been delegated the most dangerous job on the Western Front - a balloon observer hanging under a gasbag filled with explosive hydrogen, four thousand feet above the Ypres Salient, anchored by a slender cable. Swept across enemy lines after his balloon is damaged, Willy is hidden by Belgian farmers, whom he grows close to during his stay. With their aid, he manages to escape across the flooded delta at the English Channel and return to his duties. But once he's back in the air, spotting for artillery and under attack, Willy is forced to make an impossible decision that threatens the life of the woman he has come to love.




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Sunday, 8 December 2013

'Hunted' by Karen Robards


Release date: 2nd January 2014
Published by: Hodder and Stoughton
ISBN No:  978 1444786170


In "New York Times" bestselling author Karen Robards latest heart-pounding romantic suspense novel, a reckless former detective knows too much, and a hostage negotiator is forced to join him on the run for his life.Caroline Wallace is one of New Orleans PD's top hostage negotiators, and she's never failed to get every hostage out alive. But this time, it's different. This time, the hostages include her boss--the chief of police--and the mayor. And this time, she's trying to negotiate with Reed Ware, a former co-worker who left the force disgraced, under investigation by Internal Affairs, and worst of all, considered to be volatile and extremely dangerous. As police snipers arrive on the scene and manage to get a clear shot of Reed, Caroline knows she only has a few moments left to persuade the hot-headed, reckless (and extremely handsome) Reed to let the hostages go and turn himself in before anyone gets hurt. When the SWAT team runs out of patience and launches an attack, Reed takes Caroline hostage and manages to escape with her in the chaos. During the escape, Reed reveals to Caroline that he's uncovered corruption at the highest levels of the police department and New Orleans city government, and those involved will stop at nothing to keep him from exposing what he knows...including murder. Now, the normally cool, calm, by-the-book Caroline is forced to question everything she thought she knew about her job and her city and join Reed on the run...putting both her life--and her heart--in jeopardy.




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'Bittersweet' by Coleen McCullough


Release date: 27th February 2014
Published by: Head of Zeus
ISBN No: 978 1781855874


From author of THE THORN BIRDS, one of the biggest-selling books of all time, comes this epic saga of love, betrayal and redemption in 1920s Australia. The four Latimer sisters are famous throughout New South Wales for their beauty, wit, ambition and sisterly love. They thought that would never change. But then they left home to train as nurses, swapping the feather beds of their father's townhouse for the spartan bunks of nursing accommodation. And now, as the Depression casts its shadow across Australia, they must confront their own secret desires as the world changes around them. Will the sisters find the independence they crave? Or is life - like love - always bittersweet?




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'Sword of the North' by Luke Scull


Release date: 4th March 2014
Published by: Roc
ISBN No: 978 0425264867


In "The Grim Company," Luke Scull introduced a formidable and forbidding band of anti-heroes battling against ruthless Magelords and monstrous terrors. The adventure continues as the company--now broken--face new dangers on personal quests... As Davarus Cole and his former companions were quick to discover, the White Lady's victorious liberation of Dorminia has not resulted in the freedom they once imagined. Anyone perceived as a threat has been seized and imprisoned--or exiled to darker regions--leaving the White Lady's rule unchallenged and absolute. But the White Lady would be wiser not to spurn her former supporters: Eremul the Halfmage has learned of a race of immortals known as the Fade, and if he cannot convince the White Lady of their existence, all of humanity will be in danger. Far to the north, Brodar Kayne and Jerek the Wolf continue their odyssey to the High Fangs only to find themselves caught in a war between a demon horde and their enemy of old, the Shaman. And in the wondrous city of Thelassa, Sasha must overcome demons of her own. Because the Fade are coming...



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'The Last Enchantments' by Charles Finch


Release date: 28th January 2014
Published by: St.Martin's Press
ISBN No: 978 1250018717


"The Last Enchantments" is a powerfully moving and lyrically written novel. A young American embarks on a year at Oxford and has an impassioned affair that will change his life forever After graduating from Yale, William Baker, scion of an old line patrician family, goes to work in presidential politics. But when the campaign into which he's poured his heart ends in disappointment, he decides to leave New York behind, along with the devoted, ambitious, and well-connected woman he's been in love with for the last four years. Will expects nothing more than a year off before resuming the comfortable life he's always known, but he's soon caught up in a whirlwind of unexpected friendships and romantic entanglements that threaten his safe plans. As he explores the heady social world of Oxford, he becomes fast friends with Tom, his snobbish but affable flat mate; Anil, an Indian economist with a deep love for gangster rap; Anneliese, a German historian obsessed with photography; and Timmo, whose chief ambition is to become a reality television star. What he's least prepared for is Sophie, a witty, beautiful and enigmatic woman who makes him question everything he knows about himself. For readers who made a classic of Richard Yates's "A Good School," Charles Finch's "The Last Enchantments" is a sweeping novel about love and loss that redefines what it means to grow up as an American in the twenty-first century.



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'The Illusionists' by Rosie Thomas


Release date: 13th March 2014
Published by: Harper Collins
ISBN No: 978 0007512010



From the bestselling author of the phenomenally successful The Kashmir Shawl.


London 1870.
A terrifying place for a young, beautiful woman of limited means. But Eliza is modern before her time. Not for her the stifling if respectable conventionality of marriage, children, domestic drudgery. She longs for more. Through her work as an artist’s model, she meets the magnetic and irascible Devil – a born showman whose dream is to run his own theatre company.
Devil’s right-hand man is the improbably-named Carlo Bonomi, an ill-tempered dwarf with an enormous talent for all things magic and illusion. Carlo and Devil clash at every opportunity and it constantly falls upon Eliza to broker an uneasy peace between them. And then there is Jasper Button. Mild-mannered, and a family man at heart, it is his gift as an artist which makes him the unlikely final member of the motley crew.

Thrown together by a twist of fate, their lives are inextricably linked: the fortune of one depends on the fortune of the other. And as Eliza gets sucked into the seductive and dangerous world her strange companions inhabit, she risks not only her heart, but also her life…



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'Guards! Guards!' by Terry Pratchett


Release date: 6th March 2014
Published by: Gollancz
ISBN No: 978 1473200180


This is where the dragons went. They lie ... not dead, not asleep, but ... dormant. And although the space they occupy isn't like normal space, nevertheless they are packed in tightly. They could put you in mind of a can of sardines, if you thought sardines were huge and scaly. And presumably, somewhere, there's a key...

GUARDS! GUARDS! is the eighth Discworld novel - and after this, dragons will never be the same again!



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Thursday, 5 December 2013

'Steadfast' by Claudia Gray


Release date: 4th March 2014
Published by: Harper Teen
ISBN No: 978 0061961229


The second book in the dazzling Spellcaster series from New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray is perfect for fans of the Beautiful Creatures and Hex Hall series.Nadia, Mateo, and Verlaine saved Captive's Sound from the dark sorceress Elizabeth . . . or so they thought. But despite their best efforts, a crack opened and a new, greater evil seeped through. With Mateo as her Steadfast, Nadia's magic is magnified but her training is still incomplete. And a darker magic has begun to call Nadia. . . .With her Steadfast, Mateo, and her best friend, Verlaine, Nadia must fight the black magic that tempts her and stop the One Beneath before he comes to claim what is his.




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'Let the Storm Break' by Shannon Messenger


Release date: 4th March 2014
Published by: Simon Pulse
ISBN No: 978 1442450448


Whirlwind romance and breathtaking action continues in the sequel to Let the Sky Fall, which Becca Fitzpatrick called “charged and romantic.”Vane Weston is haunted. By the searing pull of his bond to Audra. By the lies he’s told to cover for her disappearance. By the treacherous winds that slip into his mind, trying to trap him in his worst nightmares. And as his enemies grow stronger, Vane doesn’t know how much longer he can last on his own. But Audra’s still running. From her past. From the Gales. Even from Vane, who she doesn't believe she deserves. And the farther she flees, the more danger she finds. She possesses the secret power her enemy craves, and protecting it might be more than she can handle—especially when she discovers Raiden’s newest weapon. With the Gale Force weakened by recent attacks, and the power of four collapsing, Vane and Audra are forced to make a choice: keep trusting the failing winds, or turn to the people who've betrayed them before. But even if they survive the storms sent to destroy them, will they have anything left to hold on to?




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'The Summoning' by F.G. Cottam


Release date: 31st January 2014
Published by: Severn House Publishers Ltd
ISBN No: 978 0727883506


When student Adam Parker unearths a mysterious metal artefact during an archaeological dig in a Scottish forest, little does he realize that his life is about to change forever. For it is a sign that Adam has been summoned to fulfil his destiny, playing his part in an epic battle for supremacy that has been waged for centuries. Introduced to a dark shadow world that exists alongside our own, a place of despair and wilful cruelty, Adam will be tested to the very limits of his endurance. For within that shadow world lurks Rabanus Bloor, the man who has sworn to seek out Adam and destroy him - whatever it takes.




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'Murder of Crows' by Anne Bishop


Release date: 4th March 2014
Published by: Roc
ISBN No: 978 0451465269


Return to "New York Times" bestselling author Anne Bishop's "phenomenal" ("Urban Fantasy Investigations") world of the Others--where supernatural entities and humans struggle to co-exist, and one woman has begun to change all the rules... After winning the trust of the "terra indigene" residing in the Lakeside Courtyard, Meg Corbyn has had trouble figuring out what it means to live among them. As a human, Meg should be barely tolerated prey, but her abilities as a "cassandra sangue" make her something more. The appearance of two addictive drugs has sparked violence between the humans and the Others, resulting in the murder of both species in nearby cities. So when Meg has a dream about blood and black feathers in the snow, Simon Wolfgard--Lakeside's shape-shifting leader--wonders if their blood prophet dreamed of a past attack or a future threat. As the urge to speak prophecies strikes Meg more frequently, trouble finds its way inside the Courtyard. Now, the Others and the handful of humans residing there must work together to stop the man bent on reclaiming their blood prophet--and stop the danger that threatens to destroy them all.



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'The One Plus One' by Jojo Moyes


Release date: 27th February 2014
Published by: Penguin
ISBN No: 978 1405915571




One single mum
With two jobs and two children, Jess Thomas does her best day after day. But it's hard on your own. And sometimes you take risks you shouldn't. Because you have to . . .

One chaotic family
Jess's gifted, quirky daughter Tanzie is brilliant with numbers, but without a helping hand she'll never get the chance to shine. And Nicky, Jess's teenage stepson, can't fight the bullies alone.
Sometimes Jess feels like they're sinking . . .

One handsome stranger
Into their lives comes Ed Nicholls, a man whose life is in chaos, and who is running from a deeply uncertain future. But he has time on his hands. He knows what it's like to be lonely. And he wants to help . . .

One unexpected love story
The One Plus One is a captivating and unconventional romance from Jojo Moyes about two lost souls meeting in the most unlikely circumstances.



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'The Shroud Maker' by Kate Ellis


Release date: 2nd January 2014
Published by: Piatkus
ISBN No: 978 0749958046



A grisly find . . .
A year on from the mysterious disappearance of Jenny Bercival, DI Wesley Peterson is called in when the body of a strangled woman is found floating out to sea in a dinghy.The discovery mars the festivities of the Palkin Festival, held each year to celebrate the life of John Palkin, a fourteenth century Mayor of Tradmouth who made his fortune from trade and piracy. And now it seems like death and mystery have returned to haunt the town.

A faceless enemy . . .
Could there be a link between the two women? One missing, one brutally murdered? And is there a connection to a fantasy website called Shipworld which features Palkin as a supernatural hero with a sinister, faceless nemesis called the Shroud Maker?

Will history repeat itself once again?
When archaeologist Neil Watson makes a grim discovery on the site of Palkin's warehouse, it looks as if history might have inspired the killer.And it is only by delving into the past that Wesley comes to learn the truth . . . a truth that will bring mortal danger in its wake.




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Tuesday, 3 December 2013

An Author Interview with Hannah Fielding



Hannah Fielding grew up in a rambling house overlooking the Mediterranean. Her earliest memories are of listening, enchanted, to fairy stories at the knee of  her half-French half-Italian governess Zula. When Hannah was seven she came to an agreement with Zula: for each story she told me, she would invent and relate one of my own. That is how Hanna’s love for story-telling began.

A very warm welcome to you Hannah, and can I thank you, for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk to us today.
For the benefit of our international readers can you tell us a bit about the part of the world that you are currently resident in and why you like living there?
My husband and I split our time between our family home in the Kent countryside in the south of England, and what was originally intended to be a beach house in the south of France.  Each has its charms, its advantages and its disadvantages:
My husband is a countryman at heart and adores the rolling countryside of Kent, which for centuries has provided fruit and other cash crops for the London market. We live in an area of rolling down-land only a mile from the English Channel that is devoted to wheat and barley and maize. Being close to the sea has always been a great blessing for me: I grew up to the sound of the surf on the beaches of Alexandria, Egypt, and while the Kentish shore is very different from the beaches of my childhood, the impact on me is the same – open skies, good air, passing ships in the distance heading for mysterious, foreign lands. The history of this part of England, ancient and modern, also fascinates me. We are only a mile or so from the Battle of Britain Memorial on the white cliff not far from Dover, a reminder that Kent has always been a part of England very closely connected with Europe and everything that happens there. But most of all I love my house in Kent because it’s my home: the place I always return to, where my children grew up and where I have spent my happiest years. In summer the weather is warm, just as I like it, and the garden with its orchard and its giant beech trees is a picture postcard. The autumn and winter months have their own charm. There is no better feeling than snuggling in an armchair in front of a log fire with a book.

Then there is my French home. I have always loved France, and French was my first language from my days of a convent school to my French Literature degree at Alexandria University. We’ve come to find France wonderful in so many ways, and we now find ourselves spending more and more time there. Again, we live close to the sea, with a view across the bay to St Tropez. It is the brilliant colours of the vegetation, the fresh fruit and vegetables and variety of local fish you find at the open-air market place, and the warmth that enthral us most. Did you know that Bougainvillea now comes not only purple, but also in red, orange, white and all shades in between? Stunning! We also love to watch the sailing boats, and even the sea itself provides constant changes of colour and mood.


Can I ask what sort of books did you like reading as a child?
Looking back, I seem to have been remarkably consistent. I acquired a taste for romantic fairy stories from an early age and have stuck with romance ever since. I have, of course, also read the many French and Egyptian writers of history, philosophy and social commentary – fiction and non-fiction. I am now confident that I know what I like – which is well-written romance that delivers likeable and interesting characters, a good plot and a believable resolution. For a story to be credible to me, the central characters need to be explored for good and bad. Their humanity is all. They will never be perfect, but we will identify with them, or at least understand them and their actions. I think I have always embraced books that deliver on this.

Do you think the books that you read as a child have influenced your writing in any way?
Absolutely! When I was a child the first Egyptian Revolution started and all talk at home was very serious and fraught. This went on for years, covering all my teens, and I think I sought refuge in books that carried me to another place. I had no desire to read of horror or death or war. I tried science fiction, but never found myself immersed in the story. Instead, I sought romance in glamorous places and always hoped for a happy ending. I also read a lot of French poetry, which gave me a good ear for the beauty of language. Today I set my stories in places I have visited and that have kindled in me some sort of connection. For each of my books, I suppose the place is my muse.

Do you have a set routine when you are working on a novel?
Yes, I have a very rigid routine which has served well. Having researched my facts thoroughly, I plan my novel down to the smallest detail. Planning ahead, I have found, makes the writing so much easier and therefore so much more enjoyable. Then, when I am ready to begin writing, I settle into a regular routine – writing each morning and editing the previous day’s work, taking a break for lunch, writing a little more and then going for a walk somewhere inspirational, like the woods or the beach.

Where do you do your writing best?
I am a very passionate and emotional person, and as a writer, nothing affects my mood more than the setting in which I write. I love warm, vivid colours and lush landscapes, and I like nothing more than to watch the sun sink over the horizon from the balcony of my mas in the south of France. Places and settings have always had a powerful impact on me, and certainly this is apparent in my writing.

In France, my favourite writing place is my gazebo in the garden, surrounded by bright and exuberant vegetation and overlooking the Mediterranean sea. Just as important to me, though in a different way, is my house in Kent. While the English countryside doesn’t have the same intensity of heat or colour you find looking over the bay of St Tropez, my refuge and inspiration there is our oak-panelled library, where I write surrounded by the works of all my favourite authors. I especially love writing there while a wood-burning fire is roaring in the stove and an almighty storm is howling outside.

What helped you decide to actually write fiction novels?
From an early age, thanks to the encouragement of my imaginative governess, supportive and well-read parents, I enjoyed writing poetry and stories. I have never really stopped writing as I grew older, as I have always kept a diary in which I put down not only my feelings but also descriptions of scenes that have captured my imagination and of people I met.

Though I had plenty of stories to write when I first got married and had my children, with running my own business refurbishing rundown cottages and managing my home in the country with its dogs and horses, I had no time to concentrate on my writing. Only when I knew that my children were standing on their own feet did I take up writing seriously. After I had written a couple of books, it was really Nicholas, my husband, and my children, Christian and Alexandra, who pushed me to try to get them published.

My grandmother was a published author of poetry and my father published a book about the history of our family, so writing runs in my veins. I guess I always knew that one day I would follow in those footsteps and forge my own path in that field – a subconscious dream which finally came true.

To quote Anais Nin: “If you do not breathe through writing, if you do not cry out in writing, or sing in writing, then don’t write.” I do all that. Writing is my life.

When you are writing a novel, how do you place yourself into the time period that you are actually writing about?
Research, research, and more research. I think that the atmosphere of a book is a crucial element contributing to the reader’s enjoyment. I find it impossible to get this right without a real awareness of the details of the daily life of the time. Visiting a place and reading about its history is only the starting point. I need to have a clear picture in my mind of a street full of the people of the time where I can examine in my mind’s eye the clothes they are wearing, the food they are eating, the mannerisms they have. If I can create that picture in my mind, I think I have a chance of creating the right atmosphere in my book.

I think that environment and atmosphere are the most important elements for me. I believe that the setting in a romance novel is essential for establishing a romantic mood and transporting the reader to the fantasy world I am creating, to capture not only their attention but also their emotions. The reader must be able to see, feel, taste, hear, smell everything my heroes and heroines are experiencing, and I call upon all the senses to render an authentic ambiance. 
So, I physically travel to the locations, and I find a street cafĂ© and simply watch people, sometimes for hours. Then I explore every angle of time period in the setting itself. Politics, language, customs, fauna and flora – every facet of a country helps me to form the setting of a film in my mind where I can place my characters, knowing that their experience will be genuine and that my story will come from the heart. 

How do you go about imagining, developing and giving real lives and personalities to the characters that we read about within your books?
I probably do it subconsciously. I have met so many interesting characters on my travels and while living in various countries that some of them are bound to come out in my writing. Saying that, you will always find in my books an older person who is a wise confidante to either the hero or the heroine. That is the shadow of my governess, a lovely lady who was with us for twenty-five years, whose advice was always wise and who nurtured in me the love of telling stories as she herself was a wonderful storyteller. Other than that I do not consciously draw on characters or situations from real life.

For me the development of a story doesn’t happen quickly. I have usually visited somewhere which has resonated with me and I find myself imagining fragments of a story in that place. I will know that I want to locate a story in this place when these fragments begin to come together in a plot. I usually return to the place with a lot of ideas and I quickly meet characters and new elements of the story as I explore with increasing focus.

In The Echoes of Love, I actually saw my heroine, Venetia, in the street. In factionly saw her from the back as she was walking away from me, but she was one of those confident, impeccably groomed international women you often see in Italy. The hero, Paolo, was just as serendipitous: my husband introduced me to an Italian lawyer who had extraordinary charm, but who seemed to have been bruised by life. Later, I found it easy to build a tragic history around this figure.

Did you encounter any difficulties in getting your book accepted and published?
This only gets more difficult. As readers move from paperback to downloads, publishers are developing new business models and nothing stays the same. My new publisher resulted from the very positive reception of my first book Burning Embers, which was published by Omnific in the USA. Working with a London publisher and a fresh team is very different, but just as enjoyable.

What is your favourite book and why?
My favourite book of all time changes every couple of months! I read constantly and there are the most wonderful books being published all the time. I love writers who are versatile and bring real ingenuity to their work. For a glimpse at some of the romance novels I’ve really enjoyed, visit my ‘Books I Love’ page athttp://www.hannahfielding.net/?page_id=759.

Are you currently reading a book at the moment, and if so what is it?
I am currently rereading Naguib Mahfouz’s Cairo Trilogy. It was originally written in Arabic, but the English translation is excellent and brings the story and the characters to life. Mahfouz’s Nobel Prize for literature makes every Egyptian very proud. We regard him as the Egyptian Balzac; his stories describe so accurately small communities in a Cairo suburb. I think he makes every writer wish to tell the truth, whatever the genre, whatever the plot.

I also have a couple of romance novels on my Kindle, which I’ve downloaded from NetGalley to review – perfect escapism!

How do you connect with your readers?
I have a website, www.hannahfielding.net , with a personal blog which I update at least three times a week. This is gloriously self-indulgent: I write about books, poetry and places I find interesting, and include lots of photos of my favourite views, flowers, you name it.

I also have a Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pages/Hannah-Fielding-Author-Page/340558735991910?fref=ts. I don’t spend enough time on Facebook, but I Tweet a lot, and I have a growing band of friends on Twitter (https://twitter.com/#!/fieldinghannah) whom I value immensely.

How do we find out more about your new book?
First of all, take a look at the book trailer at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EgWkph8Tpwo. The publisher invited my input for this trailer and the director Jack Jewers has made something really worth watching. I am hugely proud of it.

You can also check out The Echoes of Love page on my website: www.hannahfielding.net/?page_id=3018/.

Also, follow my blog (www.hannahfielding.net) and Twitter (@fieldinghannah) to keep up to date with news pre- and post-publication. There will be plenty of chances to win a copy of the book!

When can we buy your new book and where?
My book will be available on Amazon from 6 December – the perfect Christmas present for romantics, young and old.


Hannah, I have been absolutely delighted and very honoured that you agreed to be interviewed for my literary site. I would also like to thank-you again for taking the time to speak to us today.