Adult Highlights - Peters
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Reviews

Honey

Honey

Isabel Banta
Zaffre Publishing

Debut following the fortunes of Amber Young, a fame-hungry teen pop star in the late 90s/noughties. Her rise to fame sees her pitted against fellow teen idols Gwen and Savannah, who seem to gain longed-for success much more easily. Amber experiences the highs and lows of stardom, gets mixed up in a messy romance with a boyband member and eventually tries to leave the spotlight to pursue songwriting.

What is great fun is all the characters have echoes of the 'real' pop stars from of that era. It's a bit trashy but pretty readable - anyone nostalgic for this era of pop music will find plenty to enjoy here!

Due for publication 25 June

Laura Hayward Reviewed by Laura Hayward on 20th May 2024
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I'm a fan

I'm a fan

Sheena Patel
Granta

Fans of TV's Baby Reindeer might enjoy this tale of stalkerish obsession. 

Our unreliable narrator scours the internet, piecing together the lives of her lover's other women from their social media presences. She sways between hatred of them, and supporting them as equally mistreated by the man that connects them. Sometimes disturbing, sometimes hilarious, she takes aim at the social and gender injustices which separate and bind her with the objects of her fixation. Good for fans of literary fiction.

Helen Rosser Reviewed by Helen Rosser on 9th May 2024
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Hey, Zoey

Hey, Zoey

Sarah Crossan
Bloomsbury Circus

When Dolores finds an animatronic sex doll in her garage, everything she knows about her marriage and relationships is turned on its head. Initially she sees it as a symbol of her strained marriage but as she starts to talk to the doll, Zoey, other secrets emerge. A rather unlikeable character, Dolores nevertheless makes for a compelling protagonist as we learn more about her family, history and relationships. Despite the grim subject matter, this is an easy read thanks to the beautiful writing; I genuinely couldn't put it down. Recommended for fans of the author. 

Publication due 23rd May

Katie Merrick Reviewed by Katie Merrick on 30th April 2024
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The resort

The resort

Sara Ochs
Penguin

Fast-paced crime thriller told from the perspectives of two young women. Dive instructor Cass and travel blogger Brooke are living in an expat community on idyllic Thai island Koh Sang, when a series of murders lead to questions about the pasts from which they have escaped. Reminiscent of The Beach but updated for the 21st Century, this is a page-turner great for anyone after a summer holiday read. 

Paperback due 4th July. Previously published in hardback as The Dive.

Helen Rosser Reviewed by Helen Rosser on 22nd April 2024
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The sleeping car porter

The sleeping car porter

Suzette Mayr
Dialogue

Baxter is working as a sleeping car porter on a train crossing Canada. He's nearly saved enough money for dentistry school, and wants to keep his head down and avoid 'demerits' which put his position in danger. When the journey is delayed for 2 days, can he dodge the infractions so easily imagined by the passengers and senior staff? 

This touching tale of a gay, black man making his way in 1920s Canada has great sense of place and a vivid cast of characters. Convincing and engaging; recommend to historical fiction fans. 

Helen Rosser Reviewed by Helen Rosser on 12th April 2024
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The second murderer

The second murderer

Denise Mina
Vintage

Denise Mina takes on Raymond Chandler's classic detective character Philip Marlow, in this homage to the hardboiled crime friction drama that will delight fans. 

When the heiress to the wealthy Montgomery family goes missing, Marlowe takes the case. His search leads him through the underbelly of 1940s LA in a sweltering summer, taking in a vivid cast of characters and plenty of booze. The dialogue is pitch-perfect, and the mystery keeps you glued to the page. Very enjoyable.

 

Helen Rosser Reviewed by Helen Rosser on 5th April 2024
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Dragon rider

Dragon rider

Taran Matharu
Harper Voyager

Fantasy readers will find many familiar themes, character traits and plot developments in this teen/adult crossover. Lengthy context setting, convincing world-building and engaging writing accompany suitably dastardly political intrigues and betrayals. The hero epitomises the lost-beaten-down-but-determined-and-rising-to-the-task-royal. The female support is strong and brings welcome initiative. The dragons are not as prominent as expected but are nonetheless essential to plot progression - Winter is both adorable and exactly what you'd want from a bonded companion!

Totally immersive - I look forward to the sequel!

Diane Gill Reviewed by Diane Gill on 22nd March 2024
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Sociopath

Sociopath

Patric Gagne
Macmillan

Patric realises young that she doesn’t share the 'normal' emotions of those around her: in fact she feels nothing. She quickly learns that behaving 'badly' can halt the constant pressure in her brain, granting temporary relief. She makes it her mission to discover more about sociopathy, pursuing studies to find a true definition and chronicling her own personal struggles. 

This erudite, engaging account is her journey to understand herself and find a useful role in society. She is acutely self-aware and insightful, the style is very readable and fiction-like in its flow.

Laura Hayward Reviewed by Laura Hayward on 15th March 2024
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I'm rich, you're poor

I'm rich, you're poor

Shabaz Ali
DK

Comedian Shabaz Ali is on a mission: to expose rich social media influencers as fakes and help people see their ordinary lives are, in fact, extraordinary. From the arresting title to sharp, laugh-out-loud commentary on life as seen through social media, this is an enjoyable and thought-provoking read. Ali's humorous yet brutal skewering of influencers’ ridiculous lives also incorporates measured commentary on inequalities that blight our society, ending with a powerful call for a kinder, more just society. Great for anyone assessing their relationship with social media (which should be all of us!) 

Due out 26th March

Katie Merrick Reviewed by Katie Merrick on 6th March 2024
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The painter's daughters

The painter's daughters

Emily Howes
Orion

This debut novel fictionalising the story of Thomas Gainsborough's daughters is current pick for the BBC Radio 2 Book Club. 

It’s a slow burner woven around a multitude of secrets hidden by and within the Gainsborough family. It captures the anxiety and complexity of all the characters pretending to be something they are not.  Written from the viewpoint of Peggy, the younger daughter, interspersed with fragments from the life of her grandmother Meg, the novel leads the reader on a precarious tightrope of keeping up appearances. A fascinating read.

Emma McElwee Reviewed by Emma McElwee on 26th February 2024
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Budget family food

Budget family food

Rebecca Wilson
Dorling K

Full of simple, easy-to-follow recipes suitable for all ages, this is an ideal family cookbook for budget-conscious parents. Well-presented with the high standard of photography you would expect from DK, the meals look inviting and aren't full of pages of ingredients! Utilising air fryers and slow cookers, and containing sections aimed at fussy eaters and vegetarians, there really is something for every family here. A great addition to your shelves. 

Katie Merrick Reviewed by Katie Merrick on 19th February 2024
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The bandit queens

The bandit queens

Parini Shroff
Atlantic Bks

Geeta idolises 'bandit queen' Phoolan Devi, who fought gender and class inequalities in rural India with violent zeal. She therefore does nothing to contradict the reputation she's gained in her village since the disappearance of her husband, as variously witch or murderer. But when other women start approaching her to off their own spouses, can she keep up appearances?

Feminist revenge comedy which balances humour and irreverence with serious social commentary. Recommend this enjoyable satire to fans of How to Kill Men and Get Away With It and My Sister the Serial Killer

Helen Rosser Reviewed by Helen Rosser on 8th February 2024
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The last murder at the end of the world

The last murder at the end of the world

Stuart Turton
Raven Books

A combination of apocalyptic dystopia and crime thriller may not immediately spring to mind as a winning combination but in fact works well! I read and thoroughly enjoyed Evelyn so had high expectations. The involved plot and complex characters were there, alongside tense and twisty plot turns. The cautionary commentary on the state of humanity was blended in well. At times the plot stalled, at others it moved swiftly and required concentration to keep track. But my interest was maintained throughout and the pages turned very quickly. Maybe not an Evelyn but worth investing in.

Due for publication March 2024

Diane Gill Reviewed by Diane Gill on 1st February 2024
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My father's house

My father's house

Joseph O'Connor
Random House

In WWII Italy, Rome is occupied by the Nazis but the Vatican City remains neutral territory. Trying to evade the watchful eye of ambitious SS officer Paul Hauptmann,  Irish priest Hugh O'Flaherty exploits his neutrality privileges to run a covert escape line, with a host of likeminded expats. 

Transporting scene-setting, brilliant dialogue and well-paced drama makes this an excellent adventure to rank alongside the great heists. Based on a true story, recommend to fans of historical fiction and thriller alike.

Due out in paperback 15th Feb

Helen Rosser Reviewed by Helen Rosser on 19th January 2024
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How to say Babylon

How to say Babylon

Safiya Sinclair
HarperCollins

Jamaican poet Safiya Sinclair's memoir was recently selected by Barack Obama as one of his best books of the year. It tells of her upbringing in a strict Rastafari household, where her father's controlling influence became a tyranny that drove them apart. It's a beautiful love letter to the literature which gave her solace as a troubled teen, and through which she found the means for both self assertion and reconnection. Lyrical, gripping and inspiring - perfect for the start of a new year.

Helen Rosser Reviewed by Helen Rosser on 9th January 2024
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